If you’ve been to one of the Disney Parks in the past 10 or so years, you’ve probably used a FastPass. You could snag FastPass tickets or reservations to avoid long lines at popular attractions for free. With a FastPass, you’d come back within a designated one-hour window through a special lane to board the attraction at a significantly reduced wait time. It felt like a magic ticket! The system evolved over the years, but now? Disneyland and Walt Disney World are saying goodbye to the FastPass and hello to Disney Genie, coming this fall.
According to the Disney Parks Blog, Disney Genie “is a complimentary and convenient new digital service designed to create your best Disney day.” And sure, you can use its free planning services to maximize your day at whichever park you’re visiting. In theory, you tell Disney Genie your interests and it will help you make an itinerary.
But let’s talk about how it replaces the FastPass system. The Disney Genie+ service is what will get you access to the new Lightning Lanes (previously FastPass lanes). Disney Genie+ costs $15 per ticket per day at Walt Disney World and $20 per ticket per day at Disneyland. For this fee, you can make one Lightning Lane selection at a time throughout the day. Disneyland had something like this previously with MaxPass; purchasing a $20 MaxPass for the day allowed guests to schedule FastPasses in the Disneyland app. However, Disneyland still also had a free digital FastPass system. Now, no FastPasses/Lightning Lanes will be free.
In addition to no more free access to shorter queues, you can only make Lightning Lane selections on the same day of your visit. Previous to this, Walt Disney World allowed guests with reservations for their hotels to reserve FastPasses (for no fee) up to 60 days prior to check-in. Non-Disney hotel guests allowed guests with tickets to make FastPass reservations up to 30 days in advance.
And there’s more (you’ll have to pay)! That per ticket cost mentioned above won’t cover every single attraction. If you want to access the Lightning Lane for higher demand attractions, you’ll pay an additional fee. Disney hasn’t shared that pricing yet but notes that it will vary by date, attraction, and park. Some example high demand attractions include Seven Dwarfs Mine Train at Magic Kingdom Park and Radiator Springs Racers at Disney California Adventure.
We know visits to Disney Parks will never get less expensive, but it’s disappointing to see fees like this pile on.