Guests Accuse Disney of Lying To Sell Genie+

in Walt Disney World

Guests gather round phone to use My Disney Experience in front of Cinderella Castle

Credit: Disney

If there’s one thing that unites the Disney Park community, it’s not Mickey Mouse, Princesses, or Space Mountain – it’s negative feelings towards Genie+. Replacing a free, uncomplicated queue-jump system with one that not only costs money but adds extra stress to your already expensive vacation? No, thank you.

Regardless of the community’s sentiment, Disney continues to sell huge numbers of Genie+ every single day – occasionally selling out completely. Prices change on a day-to-day basis, depending on the season and crowd projections, but typically cost between $15 and $35 per person.

Two young female and two young male Guests enjoy Magic Kingdom
Credit: Disney

If you’re a solo traveler or couple, shelling out a combined $40 to guarantee access to the Tower of Terror or Peter Pan’s Flight isn’t a huge deal. For a family of five on a week-long vacation, however, Genie+ can go from an added cost to a big burden – especially when you take a look at the wait times you’d otherwise have to endure.

However, some Guests suspect that these wait times aren’t quite what they seem. Upon their return from Walt Disney World, one parkgoer recently took to Reddit to share their suspicions that Disney inflates its wait times in the My Disney Experience app to pressure Guests into feeling like they need to buy Genie+ to have a good time.

A couple of Guests using Disney Genie+ in front of Cinderella Castle at Disney World
Credit: Disney

“My family was at Disney World all last week and we were fortunate to ride everything multiple times,” wrote user Lovegov. “The parks were really dead. What was really strange was that the wait times in the app were always, (I’m not exaggerating), ALWAYS, wildly overstating the actual wait times.”

They went on to give specific examples from their vacation. On one day, Magic Kingdom’s Big Thunder Mountain Railroad was listed at 30 minutes. Upon joining the line, they waited five minutes. Another occasion saw Slinky Dog Dash reported as a 70-minute wait time, only for the user and their wife to get on the ride in a matter of 20 minutes.

The same happened with Rise of the Resistance (listed at 75 minutes but only took 30), Seven Dwarfs Mine Train (80 minutes versus 35 minutes), and Space Mountain (40 minutes versus 15 minutes).

“We were talking about this on the plane ride home trying to figure out why when my wife came up with the best hypothesis,” they concluded. “If the app shows high wait times people are more likely to buy Genie+. I hope she’s not right but I harbor suspicions she is. Which if true, that’s pretty crappy Disney.”

Mouse Greets Guests at Disney's Hollywood Studios
Credit: Disney

While some users defended the practice as a strategy Disney uses to “under promise and overdeliver,” others agreed that they’ve experienced the same during Disney World visits – and while some had experienced it pre-Genie+, many agreed that it was worse since its launch.

However, one reasonable explanation put forward by a few fellow parkgoers is that this is just another way Disney controls its crowds. “The crowd control tactic factors on what’s called a ‘balking’ number,” wrote Cmfolsom. “If Disney says a ride’s wait is 85 minutes, there’s a percentage of people who won’t line up. If they say 60, there are more people in the Park who will line up. So, if they want to redirect people away from crowded lands or areas of the Park, they might inflate the times just a bit.”

What do you think? Have you noticed extra inflation on wait times since the launch of Genie+ – or is this just another tactic used to ensure smooth operations across Disney Parks? Let us know in the comments!

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