Disney Adds New Charge for Single Ride at Theme Park

in Disney Parks, Disneyland Paris

Disney California Adventure Park Entrance

Credit: Disney

Another ride at Disney has been added to the list of attractions you need to pay for if you want to skip the line.

A wide shot of Disney California Adventure Park at Disneyland Resort in California.
Credit: Inside The Magic

Initially, Walt Disney World Resort and Disneyland Resort both had something called FastPass; when this debuted, you would take your paper ticket to a machine in front of the ride you wanted a FastPass for, put it in the machine, and out would pop a FastPass. Guests could get one FastPass at a time when they did this, and time slots would continue to be given out during the day until they were all used up. It eventually moved to an in-app complimentary service.

After the pandemic, Disney Genie+ was introduced, which is a paid system that allows Disney guests to skip the line via the Lightning Lane, which was essentially a rebranding. While the cost of Disney Genie+ started low, around $10-$15 per day per guest, now, it is not uncommon to see Disney Genie+ cost $35 per person per day.

Disneyland Railroad entrance to park
Credit: Disney

The service only promises to have guests skip the line on 2–3 rides, but even with the low line skipping rate, it still manages to sell out on busy days.

At Disneyland, there are fewer rides on the Disney Genie+ selection due to the size of the park, and the way the ride queues were structured when it was built. Since Walt Disney did not predict the need for a second line, some rides like Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride do not have space for it, and therefore, it is not offered as a Disney Genie+ option.

Disney California Adventure does allow for more of their rides to be utilized via the Lightning Lane, which is good for those buying the service, but does create a longer wait time for those using the regular line.

Now, another ride is being added to Lightning Lane at Disney California Adventure: The Little Mermaid ~ Ariel’s Undersea Adventure. Reporter Scott Gustin shared that the new Lightning Lane touchpoints are in use and active.

The Lightning Lane touch points and digital wait signs are now in use at The Little Mermaid ~ Ariel’s Undersea Adventure at Disney California Adventure Park.

At Magic Kingdom in Walt Disney World, Under The Sea—Journey of the Little Mermaid, an identical ride to this one, is already on Disney Genie+ as a Lightning Lane option, so it is not too shocking to hear of this attraction being added as well. That being said, Lightning Lanes have been known to increase regular queues by around 20-30 minutes, so it will affect other guests looking to go under the sea.

Ariel reaches out from the helm of ship at Journey of the Little Mermaid
Credit: Disney

Before The Little Mermaid ~ Ariel’s Undersea Adventure was added to Disney Genie+, Disneyland Park had to add Pirates of the Caribbean as a temporary Lightning Lane option. This is because Splash Mountain, which is currently being reimagined into Tiana’s Bayou Adventure, shut down, which was a popular attraction for guests, as well as Haunted Mansion, which is undergoing a queue refurbishment that has also shut down the ride.

With Disneyland Park already having a reduced amount of attractions for Lightning Lane, it seems Disney felt the need to add another offer to make the cost of the system worth it.

Ariel (Halle Bailey) resting on jellyfish and talking to Sebastian (Daveed Diggs)
Credit: Disney

It is interesting that Disney decided to implement the Lightning Lane feature after all the hype from the live-action The Little Mermaid movie starring Halle Bailey had calmed down.

While the film did suffer a lot of controversy surrounding the color of Halle’s skin in comparison to Disney’s original animated version of Ariel, the parks did push the movie with a new meet and greet the represented the live-action Ariel more accurately, and they could have also announced Lightning Lane for the attraction. Now, with Pixar Fest taking over DCA, the Lightning Lane announcement for this ride has certainly been overshadowed.

Are you a fan of Disney Genie+? Do you use it when you go to the parks?


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