Are Wait Times Deliberately Inflated in the Parks? Here’s What Disney Says

in Walt Disney World

rise resistance

It’s one of the situations every Disney Guest prepares for.

Whether it’s a game, a book, or future Park planning, Guests spend a lot of their time waiting in line for attractions during a day at the Parks.

Walt Disney World’s wait times have always been a little off in their estimates, but since the launch of Disney Genie, it seems these wait time estimates have gotten more inflated.

carousel with cinderella castle
Credit: Disney

On October 19, Disney Genie officially launched on the My Disney Experience app, along with Disney Genie+ and Lightning Lane access, the new paid iteration of what was previously the FastPass service.

It’s a new service that has left Disney fans divided. Both FastPass/FastPass+ at Walt Disney World Resort and FASTPASS/MaxPass at Disneyland Resort are now officially retired, and instead, Disney Genie+ (with Lightning Lanes, the new FastPass queues) is taking its place — a paid service.

Disney Genie+ charges Disney World Guests $15 per person per day to utilize the Lighting Lane — the old FastPass+ queue. Walt Disney World Guests are able to pick one return time at a time for select attractions and skip the lines when their turn arrives. This can be purchased separately from Disney Genie, the complimentary service that is now within the My Disney Experience app.

disney genie
Credit: Disney

Inside the Magic was at Walt Disney World last week, and noticed interesting disparities between the posted wait times for attractions and the actual time we waited in line.

From November 10 to November 14, Inside the Magic enjoyed all four Walt Disney World theme parks and monitored the time we waited in line for attractions:

Disney’s Hollywood Studios

  • The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror – posted wait time 55 mins, actual wait time 26 mins.
  • Star Tours – posted wait time 25 mins, actual wait time 14 mins.
  • Millennium Falcon: Smuggler’s Run – posted wait time 45 mins, actual wait time 11 mins.
  • The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror – posted wait time 40 mins, actual wait time 14 mins.
  • Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway – posted wait time 45 mins, actual wait time 20 mins.
  • Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance – posted wait time 85 mins, actual wait time 32 mins.
rise of the resistance stormtrooper room
Credit: ITM

EPCOT

  • Mission Space – posted wait time 25 mins, actual wait time 0 mins.
  • Frozen Ever After – posted wait time 90 minsactual wait time 55 mins. 

Magic Kingdom

  • Tomorrowland Transit Authority PeopleMover – posted wait time 25 mins, actual wait time 10 mins.
  • Mickey’s Philharmagic – posted wait time 25 mins, actual wait time 5 mins.
  • Tomorrowland Speedway – posted wait time 35 mins, actual wait time 11 mins.
  • Space Mountain – posted wait time 45 mins, actual wait time 19 mins.

Disney’s Animal Kingdom

  • Expedition Everest – posted wait time 35 mins, actual wait time 5 mins.
genie disney phone mobile
Credit: Disney

Most of these wait time differences are more than 50% and would definitely affect how a Guest plans their day if they were more accurate.

In particular, Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance, Space Mountain, Frozen Ever After, Expedition Everest, and Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway are all Lightning Lane attractions that have to be paid for separately than the $15 a day Disney Genie+ service.

The general consensus among Guests is that Disney seems to be “increasing the wait times to encourage Guests to purchase the Lightning Lane add-ons”.

Mickey and Minnies Runaway Railway
Credit: Disney

In the My Disney Experience App, Disney has a statement regarding the wait times and the purchasing of Disney’s Genie+ and Lightning Lane:

Because we cannot guarantee the accuracy of these wait time estimates, you should not rely on them when making purchase decisions.

Additionally, when asked about the inflated wait time, a Cast Member in Disney’s Hollywood Studios admitted:

“We usually always increase the wait time near the end of the day no matter what the actual size of the line to discourage Guests from joining near the end of the night.”

Hollywood Studios
Credit: Disney

Ashley Carter also experienced an inflated wait time in Disney’s Hollywood Studios:

Got in the standby line for Star Tours to kill time until my Lightning Lane reservation for Tower of Terror. Disney Genie said the wait was 30 minutes. The actual wait was closer to 15 minutes.

And during the week Inside the Magic was at the Parks, Twitter user Is Genie Worth It noted the stark difference between posted wait times and the actual time spent in line for Guests:

Yesterday (11/10), actual wait times at Disney World were 55% of what was posted at the line entrance. By Park: MK 45% (!!), EP 49% (!!), HS 60%, AK 69% You could’ve expected to wait 14.6 minutes less than what they told you for each ride, every time throughout the day. (1/2)

Of course, with Disney Genie still being in its early stages of release, we’ll have to keep monitoring the success of the service along with the wait times in the Parks.

Have you noticed any wait times being inflated lately in Walt Disney World? Let us know.

View Comments (4)