Guests “Hate” Disney Genie, Prefer Universal’s Costly Express Pass

in Walt Disney World

Disney Genie in Disneyland Resort/ People in front of Disney Castle

Credit: Disney Parks Blog

When visiting Walt Disney World and Disneyland, you will notice that the FastPass system Disney previously used is no more. Instead, Disney revealed its new Disney Genie and Lightning Lane system into the Disney Parks last year to some criticism.

disney genie
Credit: Screenshot via Disney Parks Blog

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Disney Genie is free but for an extra charge, Guests can upgrade to Genie+ which allows them other access to reservation systems as well as the option to purchase individual Lightning Lanes for rides, essentially letting them pay to skip the stand-by ques. As stated above, this new system has been met with lots of frustration and criticism from new and long-time Disney Guests and fans.

disney genie
Credit: Screenshot via Disney Parks Blog

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A recent post in Reddit highlighted this issue as well as showed that most Disney Guests online would prefer a system more like Universal Studios. See the full post from u/BlueJeanMistress below:

If you had a choice in Disney when it came to skipping lines would you prefer an express similar to Universal (pay a one time high fee but skip all the lines) or stick with Genie +?

I have been reading various review of LL/Genie + and all the scheduling and planning that goes behind it and quite frankly I think I’d rather purchase an express pass like Universal. I used to think Universal’s express pass was a lot of money but now compared to Genie + it seems worth it.

Which do you prefer?

If you had a choice in Disney when it came to skipping lines would you prefer an express similar to Universal (pay a one time high fee but skip all the lines) or stick with Genie +? from WaltDisneyWorld

User u/Slumpy_ commented:

I would absolutely pay for a universal express at Disney if it was available. I dislike having to compete with others for the exact time and availability with Genie+ and fastpass. I don’t want to plan my entire day at 7am or 60 days out. It would be worth it to me to explore the park how I want and ride all the rides I want.

User, u/Sweetbeans2001 agreed, saying:

Universal. Way fewer people would purchase thereby not affecting the standby line negatively. Right now, so many people buy Genie+ that it kills the standby. It’s a lose/lose to everyone except Disney.

User u/CareyBeary21 commented:

Universal. I hated having to plan my day around when I had a lightning lane pass.

User u/jinkinater agreed as ell, saying:

That universal express pass is a game changer. My family did it once and now we can’t do it without it. Even though you pay so much more the benefits save you so much time

User u/llcomx3 talked about how Universal handles the hotels:

I wish Disney could do unlimited express at the deluxe hotels like Universal does

User u/ethelmertz62 talked about how annoying it can be to use your phone all day:

I so wish WDW had express pass! It’s not very vacation-y to have to fire up your phone at dawn to get LL.

Disneyland Disney Genie
Credit: Disney

Disney Genie+ and Lightning Lane were released last year to some criticism and frustration, leaving some Guests feeling confused by the service. In theory, this paid service should enhance Guests’ experience at the Parks, but in practice, it seemed to just be an expensive itinerary planner for some, while others love it. These paid services allow Guests to skip lines for a price, meaning Disney now has a financial incentive to have long lines. At Disney World, for $15.00 per day per Guest, you can skip the long standby queue by making a Lightning Lane reservation (new FastPass) and returning at that time.

disney genie
Credit: Screenshot via Disney Parks Blog

At each Park, however, there are two attractions that Guests would need to purchase a separate Lightning Lane ticket for if they wanted to skip those lines. Those attractions are: 

  • Seven Dwarfs Mine Train
  • Space Mountain
  • Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure
  • Frozen Ever After
  • Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance
  • Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway
  • Avatar Flight of Passage
  • Expedition Everest
hogwarts express at universal studios florida
Credit: Universal Orlando Resort

Universal Studios Orlando has a similar pass but it works slightly different than Disney’s. The Universal Express Pass starts at $79.99 and allows Guests to skip the lines on rides and attractions. Guests have the option to upgrade to an Express Pass which allows unlimited skips for all participating rides and attractions starting at $109.99. The Express Pass, however, can increase dramatically depending on the day, and time of year. We have seen the pass cost over $200.00 for one single day use during the summer months.

Universal describes their Express Pass as: 

Get to the Fun Faster.
When you add Universal Express access to your theme park admission, you get to skip the regular lines at most of your favorite rides and attractions. So you can fit way more fun into your day.

Volcano Bay
Credit: Universal

Below are the participating rides and attractions included:

Universal Studios Florida

  • The Bourne Stuntacular
  • Despicable Me Minion Mayhem
  • E.T. Adventure
  • Fast & Furious – Supercharged
  • Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts™
  • Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit
  • Hogwarts™ Express (Park-to-Park admission ticket required)
  • Kang & Kodos’ Twirl ‘n’ Hurl
  • MEN IN BLACK™ Alien Attack™
  • Race Through New York Starring Jimmy Fallon
  • Revenge of the Mummy
  • The Simpsons Ride™
  • Woody Woodpecker’s Nuthouse Coaster

Universal’s Islands Of Adventure

  • The Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man®
  • Caro-Seuss-el™
  • Doctor Doom’s Fearfall®
  • Dudley Do-Right’s Ripsaw Falls®
  • Flight of the Hippogriff™
  • Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey™
  • The High in the Sky Seuss Trolley Train Ride!™
  • Hogwarts™ Express (Park-to-Park admission ticket required)
  • The Incredible Hulk Coaster®
  • Jurassic Park River Adventure
  • Poseidon’s Fury
  • Skull Island: Reign of Kong
  • Storm Force Accelatron

Universal’s Volcano Bay

  • Honu of Honu ika Moana
  • ika Moana of Honu ika Moana
  • Krakatau Aqua Coaster
  • Maku of Maku Puihi Round Raft Rides
  • Puihi of Maku Puihi Round Raft Rides
  • Punga Racers
  • Taniwha Tubes

Additional Rides Available with Express PLUS:

  • Kala & Tai Nui Serpentine Body Slides
  • Ko’okiri Body Plunge
  • Ohno of Ohyah & Ohno Drop Slides
  • Ohyah of Ohyah & Ohno Drop Slides

Which system do you prefer? Universal’s or Disney’s? Let us know in the comments below!

Let the expert team at Academy Travel help you plan your next magical vacation to Disney World’s water parks, four theme parks — Magic Kingdom, EPCOT, Disney’s Animal Kingdom, and Disney’s Hollywood Studios — and the Disney Springs shopping and dining district!

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