Tuesday, June 27, 2023

Genie+ Now Priced Per Park


Disney recently announced more changes to Genie+ - they simply can't stop tinkering with it!  The journey to this point has been a long one, so I won't recap all of it but some of the "highlights" include Genie+ not being available for pre-purchase, variable pricing by date and the ability to modify your reservation (that last one at least is a positive).

The variable pricing was probably the biggest sea change, as originally it came out as one fixed price. Now the pricing is based on Disney's expected crowd level, meaning that the busier and more crowded the parks are, the more Genie+ would cost you.  Disney has pushed the envelope with the pricing, maxing out (so far) at $35 per person during this past Easter season.

This new change continues that pattern, as now Disney is introducing park specific pricing for Genie+. It remains to be seen how it plays out in real life, but Disney did put out "sample pricing" for how the new system may work, which can be informative in terms of how they are thinking it will play out.  The park specific model actually isn't new to Disney, as last year, the new round of ticket price changes (mostly increases) included park specific pricing for one day tickets for the first time.  


This information is important, as Disney made it clear what parks are more favorable based on the pricing tiers - Magic Kingdom being the most expensive, with Epcot and Hollywood Studios in the middle and Animal Kingdom being the cheapest.  Side note here - the ONLY tickets that have park specific pricing are single day tickets.  If you are purchasing multi-day tickets (as most people do), they are date specific but not park specific.  This makes even more sense now that park reservations are mostly a thing of the past - Disney won't truly know what park you are visiting, and it's not worth it to have striated pricing for that length of time.

But back to the topic at hand - Genie+.  The sample pricing follows a similar pattern to the park specific ticket prices, with Magic Kingdom being the most expensive, followed by Hollywood Studios, Epcot and then Animal Kingdom.  The difference here is the Epcot is substantially cheaper than Hollywood, which would indicate that Disney feels the value of Genie+ is far lower at Epcot (and I would tend to agree - my general rule of thumb has always been that Magic Kingdom and then Hollywood Studios are the most "worth it", with Epcot occasionally based on the time of year and Animal Kingdom almost never).

There is also a "multiple park" option, priced at the same price as Magic Kingdom. This makes sense too - the park hopping Genie+ price has to be at least as expensive as the highest single park price, otherwise there would be ways to manipulate the system.  I'm a little surprised that the multiple park option isn't MORE than the highest single park price, but I guess that's still a possibility for the future!

That potential higher pricing is really the wild card here - until now, the price was the price, full stop.  Now Disney can presumably push the envelope of the top "tier" here, as both Magic Kingdom and the multipark option can reach new heights, while the "other" parks can still stay in a (somewhat) reasonable range.  That sort of tactic can make people think there is a bargain to be had at another park.

Will this price stratification lead to a more even distribution of Genie+ sales throughout the parks?  That's unknown, as Disney doesn't release their usage information. I would have to think that the prevailing wisdom about Magic Kingdom being the best use of Genie+ remains true, even at the highest price point.  Perhaps this is a way for Disney to attract someone to purchase it at, say, Epcot, where instead of balking at the $27 price point, a guest would be willing to spend $18.  

I'm sure more tweaks are coming to this system as Disney gathers more data.  It will be interesting to see the largest range between the highest and lowest priced parks.  This is also only one of many more possible changes on the horizon - Disney did tease that in 2024, guests would be able to book Genie+ attractions ahead of time.  How many, how far in advance and what the limitations would be are still unknown, and nothing about this announcement has any effect on that future change.  For now, this is just another way for Disney to try to find the "sweet spot" between pricing and usage when it comes to their paid line skipping service.

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