We could spend the next three days talking about all the different complexities of Disney Genie, Disney Genie+ and Lightning Lane services but suffice it to say, the most expensive vacation in the world for families continues to veer off into a whole new world of stratification and expense. If that doesn’t scare you away, then this service will likely appeal to you even if it appears at first blush to be a watered down and more costly version of Disneyland’s Max Pass which I was a fan of at Disneyland because it worked the way the traditional FastPass system worked just digitally and wasn’t a bad deal if you could stomach the premium, add-on-pricing of the times.
I’ll be the first to admit I’d be willing to pay more in order to save time for most things in life and Disney is well aware of this so they will nickel and dime everyone until everyone says enough. But if this pandemic has proven anything, it’s that the appetite for Walt Disney World and Disney vacations seems to be insatiable no matter the perceived costs and difficulties in reservation systems and all the general planning that now encompasses a Disney vacation. You almost now require a Mensa degree just to get a pass for the day, pray your ride might even be available due to maintenance or other capacity issues and then now we have another artificial layer that has yet to roll out with the ensuing complexities and complaints that are inevitably going to tax cast members like never before. Cast Members whom have been losing their own theme park privileges and discounts as the pandemic has worn on. But accepting less for more has quickly gone vogue at the Walt Disney Company.
Disney is giving less and less every day but consumers are paying more and more and there doesn’t seem to be any respite coming anytime soon. For those who can afford Disney Cruise lines, Star Wars Hotels, D23 Memberships, Annual Passes with rates that are sure to skyrocket whenever they are finally announced, the endless money stream means you’ll be able to enjoy Disney likely better than ever before unless you were already ponying up for private tours of the kingdom already. If you are staying at Four Seasons, dining at Bull and Bears what’s a couple more pennies. But those scrapping by on their Pop Century resorts stays already may be on the outside looking in if they weren’t already there.
It’s impossible to fault Disney management for everything new they try. Universal has had Universal Express for decades albeit a much better value but it’s in the relative ballpark of theme park dollar cash grabs. I’m personally willing to give these services a fair shake and see if they improve the guests experience but my gut feeling tells me what it’s telling everyone else. This is money recovery time. How Disney is still in business to this day takes some behind the scenes financial mastery and budget cutting to extremes. It seems Chapek has shown the roadmap for everyone to pay up and it’s opening salvo is a rug that can be pulled right from under you over and over until every dollar friend you thought you had left is gone during your next Disney vacation. Will that be worth it to you, depends how many zeros are next to your expense account. For my blood it will be a rare treat if that unless Disney can convince us all they truly have built something that is consumer focused and not just to plunder whatever is left of this average consumer.