In recent months, Disneyland Resort fans have had to pay extra to avoid the longest lines for the theme park’s most popular attractions.
The higher prices for using the Genie+ app to skip the traditional queues come as fans flood Disneyland and California Adventure Park during one of the most popular times of the year: the Christmas holidays.
disney launched the Genie+ app in 2021 to address extended wait times at sought-after attractions – such as the Haunted Mansion and Matterhorn Bobsleds – while generating additional revenue on top of the daily minimum ticket price of $104. Park visitors who purchase Genie+ have access to an expedited “Lightning Lane” instead of the standard queues to enter the rides.
The line-cutting app is Disney’s latest feature allowing Guests to reserve a time to use a shorter line to ride their preferred ride. The first version was the FastPass system which offered a paper ticket to designate the time when visitors could use a shorter line. This system was replaced in 2017 by a digital version called MaxPass, sold for $10 a day.
The Genie+ application deployed at the price of $20 a day last fall. But in October, the company raised the price to $25 and moved to demand-based pricing for the service, meaning the more Genie+ fans get, the higher the daily price.
the OC register reported last week, Thrill Data, which tracks wait times at theme parks nationwide, shows that Disneyland has increased Genie+ costs to $30 at least 16 times since switching to its variable model.
the data exposure that the price hit $30 most often on weekends, especially Saturday, which tends to have the longest wait times, as well as Thanksgiving week. The price is highest on days with the longest wait times for groceries, the data shows. Genie+’s average price on Saturdays since on-demand pricing began is $28.50, according to the data.
Genie+’s higher prices have been noticed by Disneyland fans who say visiting the park has become an expensive investment.
Sean Nyberg, a 40-year-old Seattle resident who visits Disneyland several times a year with his family, told The Times he liked the service and used it, but thought adjustments needed to be made.
Instead of working as a perk or a way to get through lines faster, Genie+ feels like an increase in ticket price, Nyberg said.
“The way it is right now, it’s almost like you have to buy it to enjoy the park,” he said.
At the current price, the service is still affordable enough to be used by many park visitors, and that, Nyberg said, means the “Lightning Lanes” are sometimes not much faster than regular lines.
Disney should either remove the feature so that all lines move at an equal pace, or raise the price of Genie+ so fewer people use it, Nyberg suggested.
A Disneyland official said in a statement that the pricing model was introduced to customers via the company’s website on Oct. 11.
The spokesperson declined to say if there was a price cap on Genie+, but said customers can purchase the feature before their visit or once they enter one of the parks, from of $25.
The Genie+ app moved to on-demand pricing the same day Disneyland announced a price hike of up to 9% for admission tickets and 11% for preferred parking.
Times writer Gregory Yee contributed to this report.
Los Angeles Times