Higher Paying Disney Guests Lose New Perk, Glitch Locks Them In Park

in Disney Parks, Walt Disney World

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

Credit: Edited by Inside The Magic

While park hopping at Walt Disney World Resort has finally returned to a sense of normalcy after years of complications, there is a snag in the system that will prevent those paying a lot more to enjoy the parks from park hopping entirely.

Park Hopper Option
credit: Disney

When the pandemic shut down Disney World, many other operational changes were altered with it. While the parks were not closed for that long (four months, compared to Disneyland’s year+ shutdown), when they reopened during the pandemic, things had to be put in place for guest safety. With social distancing being necessary to protect guests, Disney not only had mask mandates, but they socially distanced their queues and added in capacity restrictions with park pass reservations.

Park hopping, which has always been one of the bigger perks of buying one of the more costly ticket option at Disney World, allows guests to go from Magic Kingdom to EPCOT, or Disney’s Hollywood Studios to Disney’s Animal Kingdom (or any version of that) all day. When park hopping returned to Disney, however, it was only allowed after 2:00 p.m.

Disney World parks reservation system - Main Street, U.S.A. inside of Magic Kingdom park at Disney World.
Credit: Inside The Magic

This change has been in effect for years until today.

On January 9th, many changes have taken place at Disney. Park hopping is once again allowed at any time of the day, park pass reservations are gone for date-based ticket holders, and the Disney Dining Plan is back.

While being able to park hop whenever a guest wants is a great perk to have back, especially since ticket prices never lowered when the park hopping hours were reduced, there is a snag in the system.

After the pandemic, Disney also introduced Disney Genie+. Gone were the days of free FastPass, now guests wanting to skip the line and use a Lightning Lane option had to purchase Disney Genie+ on their My Disney Experience app. This added cost changes by date and park, but during the holiday season, we saw costs soar into the $39 range per person. Typically, the price floats in the mid to high $20 range.

While park hopping can now happen before 2:00 p.m., Disney Genie+ seemingly did not get the memo. Guests looking to park hop cannot make a Lighting Lane reservation until after 2:00 p.m. still.

Accessing Genie+ service from smartphone
Credit: Disney

One guest took to the internet to go on a small rant about the issues that guests have to face when visiting the Disney parks, and mentioned that Disney Genie+ is keeping guests from park hopping earlier than 2:00 p.m., even though they paid more money than the average guest who is not using a Lightning Lane.

“Want to park hop before 2pm? Great news, you can! You can even – oh wait, you still have to make a park reservation and scan in before going somewhere else. But if APs can park hop before 2, clearly Genie+ must be able to – no? I’m still only limited to selecting LLs for one park before 2pm unless I’m physically there? I see. But surely if I’m not going to the park until the afternoon that means I can start planning/stacking LLs, I mean surely they wouldn’t open up all day park hopping for APs but not let us choose any LLs outside of our first park reservation – oh that’s exactly what they did? Huh.

Genie+ is the worst fast pass service Disney has ever implemented, and honestly sometimes it feels like a punishment being a local AP. Why offer a feature (like normal park hopping) if you aren’t going to 100% offer that feature. It feels like Disney is actively working against those who want to PLAN THEIR DAY. Believe it or not, I don’t want randomized LL times and contradictory restrictions. If you’re going to let APs park hop, then just LET US PARK HOP.”

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

While this post targets the difficulties Annual Passholders may face, it did confirm that Disney Genie+ has not yet acclimated to the new park hopping change.

Others in the comment section seem to believe that this is just a kink that Disney needs to adjust, “All day park hopping returns today, as with a bunch of other things like good-to-go days. I’d give them a couple days to iron things out re: G+.”

Another said, “it sounds like Genie+ didn’t update to the new rules. I’ve seen multiple posts saying it’s not working properly, but it should be. So I’d expect that to get sorted out”.

Logo for Disney Genie+ on a blue background with a winking Genie head from Aladdin.
Credit: Disney

It does seem that this is the likely option, and that Disney just has not made all of the necessary changes that accompany their new park hopping rule. That being said, visitors coming to the most magical place on earth in the next few days should be cautious about purchasing Disney Genie+ if they plan to park hop early in the day.

Park hopping at Disneyland, however, has still not changed, with their park hopping time being 11:00 a.m. each day for guests looking to transfer from Disneyland Park to Disney California Adventure or vice versa.

Are you happy to see park hopping return to normal at Walt Disney World? 

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