For two decades, Guests visiting Walt Disney World Resort were able to walk up to some of their favorite rides and get passes that would allow them to skip the long lines if they came back later. FastPasses were free to all Guests in the Parks and made Disney days a lot easier for a lot of people. Sadly, when the theme parks were forced to shut down because of COVID, Disney announced that it would be doing away with the free FastPass system. FastPass would be replaced by Disney Genie+, a system that would cost money.
From the outset, the decision to bring Disney Genie+ to the Parks was a very unpopular decision. A Disney vacation is already a very expensive experience, so the decision to replace something free with something that costs money did not sit well with a lot of people. In October 2021, Disney Genie+ officially became a part of the Walt Disney World Guest experience. At first, Genie+ cost a set amount of money per Guest. However, things quickly changed, and the cost of Genie+ now varies based on the day of the week and the time of year.
To this day, Disney Genie+ is one of the most controversial aspects of a Walt Disney World vacation. Many people find it overly complicated and increasingly expensive. However, for all the complaining about Genie+, it seems that it’s all talk. No matter how expensive it gets, that doesn’t seem to stop Guests from buying it.
On April 4, Disney Genie+ reached the highest price it has ever been — $35 per person. While it is surprising to see the price that high, that didn’t stop Guests. Theme park reporter Scott Gustin tweeted that Genie+ sold out faster than it ever has, despite the price.
NEW: Genie+ at WDW is sold out for today. $35/person was a peak price – and now we have the fastest sellout so far. Sold out before 10am ET.
NEW: Genie+ at WDW is sold out for today.
$35/person was a peak price – and now we have the fastest sellout so far. Sold out before 10am ET. pic.twitter.com/Z8b3RI1f4a
— Scott Gustin (@ScottGustin) April 4, 2023
Disney Genie+ Struggles
Disney Genie+ was not the first time that Disney had charged Guests for front-of-the-line access to some of their favorite attractions. In 2017, Disney MaxPass was introduced at Disneyland Resort. MaxPass allowed Guests visiting Disneyland Park and Disney California Adventure to book ride reservations right from their phones. MaxPass started out at $10 per day and then went up to $15 per day. However, Disneyland Annual Passholders were able to add MaxPass to their Annual Pass for one set price.
MaxPass worked incredibly well at Disneyland and was very popular amongst Guests. However, the transition to Disney Genie+ does not seem to have gone as smoothly. While it is very convenient to book attraction passes right from your phone, Guests have been complaining of long waits, with some Lightning Lanes (new FastPass lines) extending through entire lands.
Every day, Guests beg Disney to get rid of Genie+ and reinstate the FastPass system. However, with Genie+ continuing to sell out at Disney Parks — even at record prices — it seems unlikely that Disney will do away with it.