Thursday, February 24, 2022

Disney World Makes Genie Plus Attraction Changes


Starting February 25 and continuing through August 7, Walt Disney World has made some changes to their Genie+ service.  In the past, two attractions at each park have been available for purchase via Individual Lightning Lanes (ILL), which are a la carte purchases and not included with the general umbrella Genie+ service.  During the holiday season, one of these attractions at each park were moved to Genie+, leaving just one ILL per park. That change is taking place again, and this time for a significant period of time, as announced.

The attractions moving to Genie+ are Space Mountain (Magic Kingdom), Frozen Ever After (Epcot), Mickey & Minnie's Runaway Railway (Hollywood Studios) and Expedition Everest (Animal Kingdom).  Remy's Ratatouille Adventure at Epcot was formerly an ILL that is also moving to Genie+ for this time period (and perhaps beyond). That leaves just one ILL attraction at each park - Seven Dwarfs Mine Train (Magic Kingdom), Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind (Epcot), Star Wars Rise of the Resistance (Hollywood Studios) and Avatar Flight of Passage (Animal Kingdom).


You might be wondering why this change is being made.  The attractions being moved to Genie+ are the "lesser" of the two ILL attractions at each park - this isn't a controversial statement.  Even so, it's not as if Disney was losing money by having them priced individually.  As long as SOME people were purchasing them, that was simply pure profit for Disney. So why would they choose to give that up?

The answer is likely in the customer satisfaction with the Genie+ system.  If Disney is trying to sell Genie+ to the average guest (and they are!), they want people to come away satisfied with the system.  This is already a tough sell to any guest who had been to Walt Disney World in recent years, as it effectively is a replacement for the FastPass+ system, which, as you probably know, was included with the cost of your ticket.  So any paid system was going to receive some push back, often via online communities.

But Genie+ is what we have, like it or not.  By moving these attractions during the busiest time of year, Disney had a sample of guest utilization as well as guest feedback.  If you're paying $15 per person per day to use Genie+, the question is what are you getting for your money?  When the parks were very crowded, there have been horror stories of people only being able to ride two or three attractions with Genie+.  That's not exactly a point in its favor.  This is less of a problem during less busy times, but with Spring Break and Easter coming up, Disney is getting ahead of this issue (though one wonders why they didn't make this change before President's Week, one of the most crowded weeks of the year).

So how does this change make Genie+ more functional?  The simple answer is that the more attractions that are available, the more guests can use the service and pick up Genie+ reservations throughout the day.  This is one of the reasons why Genie+ is easier and more useful at Disneyland, where there are fewer parks but more attractions per park.  Even one more attraction per park at WDW can make a difference in availability throughout the day.

The park that should benefit most from this change is Hollywood Studios, which has a top heavy attraction lineup.  Slinky Dog Dash, for example, has run out of return times very early in the day, meaning that if you didn't jump on that one right at 7:00 a.m., you would likely not have a chance to ride it via Genie+.  Having Runaway Railway there now should spread out demand between these rides, leaving both of them with more availability throughout the day.  Animal Kingdom should also benefit from this change since it is the park with the fewest rides, though it's a moot point until Expedition Everest comes back from refurbishment.

Disney has plenty of data regarding Genie+ and seeing them make changes here is not surprising.  I'm sure this won't be the last one.  They are looking for an optimal adoption rate, where enough guests purchase it to make it worthwhile but not TOO many guests purchase it or it loses functionality.  If they're making this change, you can bet the bottom line is always behind it.

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