Disney World in Trouble as Guest Experience Plummets

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The icon for the Disney World paid service, Genie+ inside of Magic Kingdom Park.

Credit: Inside The Magic

If you’ve been to Walt Disney World recently and felt that the overall park experience wasn’t that great, you’re not alone. Hundreds of other guests feel the same; all issues point to one system that does not work for WDW.

Severe weather over Walt Disney World Resort.
Credit: Edited by Inside The Magic

Disney World News Over the Last Week

We know you’re busy living your best life, so we’ve covered you in the news straight out of Disney World over the last seven days. Disney’s quarterly earnings report was released, giving the big company some hope in revenue and streaming. Here are some highlights from the report:

  • Net income of $264 million, or 14 cents per share, up from $162 million, or 9 cents a share, during the year-ago period
  • Revenues for the quarter and year grew 5% and 7% compared to the prior-year quarter and prior year, respectively
  • Disney+ added 7 million core subscribers during the quarter to reach 112.6 million
  • The company credited the debut of theatrical titles Elemental and Little Mermaid, as well as the series Ahsoka

In other news, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis’ board faces corruption allegations after new information indicated some big payouts for board members.

The Disney Dining Plan is also returning for the nighttime spectacular Fantasmic! in 2024. Fans will soon be able to purchase their tickets for this event and enjoy a nice meal while watching the show inside Disney’s Hollywood Studios at WDW.

Spaceship Earth at EPCOT inside Walt Disney World Resort
Credit: Disney

But the most recent news of WDW is the possibility that the magic is dying for many fans and guests who frequent the parks or who have come to love the House of Mouse over the last few years.

The program that seems to be heavily in the spotlight recently is Disney’s paid service, Genie+. But what is Genie+? Well, let’s let the official Disney World website explain it for us:

Disney Genie+ service lets you use Lightning Lane entrances at select attractions and experiences. On average, Guests can enter 2 to 3 attractions or experiences per day using Lightning Lane entrances if the first selection is made early in the day.

The problem with this service is how high the cost has gone up for average Park goers. Just this summer, pricing for this paid service reached an all-time high of $35 per guest. The average pricing for Genie+ at Walt Disney World Resort is between $16 and $35. But the high cost has caused lines to double and even triple at almost all attractions, leading to longer-than-average wait times for many people who are there for a short time and trying to enjoy their Disney vacation and get some of that Disney magic.

Accessing Genie+ service from smartphone
Credit: Disney

Many guests agree that the service is causing their vacation to be worse, leading to many folks not wanting to return to the parks after spending some time in the long lines and high wait times. On the r/WaltDisneyWorld subreddit page, one guest took to the social media platform to address their destain for the service, saying the following:

We are AP holders who go regularly and do not use G+. Over our last few trips G+ LL have absolutely ruined our enjoyment of our park days. We go in just hopping into lines based on wait time and hit whatever we deem reasonable.

We have no problem waiting +/- the listed the wait time generally. What has happened though is that the wait times have become meaningless. We now routinely wait double what the listed wait time is because the LL gets mobbed due to an influx of guests. Once that happens the regular queue is maybe getting 10% of the guests loaded. I can’t imagine how much ill will this is creating for people experiencing the first time or once every few years.

Simple example just today, Soarin was listed at 60 min when we got in but we saw the LL was out the door and walked away. By the time we walked to SE the wait doubled. Over in MK we hopped in JC and the parade ended while we were in line. We got in listed at 30 min. It ended up over 60 with no break down.

I know it will not change, just wanted to share our experience with the way the current system works.

In summary, guests speak out against this paid service by sharing their experiences with the app and how it has affected their Disney vacation. Another guest mentioned that Disney only looks for “vacationers with the $200K plus household incomes as customers.”

A person holding up a smartphone with the Genie+ service open while looking up at the Cinderella Castle inside of Magic Kingdom Park.
Credit: Inside The Magic

More guests said that Disney had a “conscious choice at some point to ration access and increase prices.” With the call for Disney to do something about Genie+, most guests will not be returning for quite some time, some not even thinking of returning for at least another five to ten years.

Disney has no plans to let this program go. With the Disney Dining Plan officially returning in 2024 and the park reservation system going away forever, it will be interesting to see what the crowds and wait times look like for 2024 and 2025. You can read the entire Reedit post by clicking here.

What are your thoughts on Genie+ at Disney World? 

So that you know, the story outlined in this article is based on a personal Disney Parks Guest experience. No two Guest experiences are alike, and this article does not necessarily align with Inside the Magic’s personal views on Disney Park operations.

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