I’ve been pondering this for some time now, but I think it may have finally happened: has a Walt Disney World vacation become too complicated for the average vacationer?
Before you answer, consider: you’re reading a largely Disney parks-focused blog right now, and a pretty niche one at that. I suppose you could be here exclusively for my sparkling wit and winning personality, but it’s more likely you enjoy discussing Walt Disney World. Heck, you seek it out, you pursue it. Therefore, you are NOT the average Disney vacationer.
WAIT, WHAT’S GOING ON AT WALT DISNEY WORLD?
So you probably already know that the tipping point for my query came on Wednesday with the announcement of Lightning Lane and Genie+, the ostensible replacements for the now officially retired FastPass+ system. But just to be safe, I’ll summarize as best I can:
Genie will be an extension of the My Disney Experience app that helps with planning in some yet unclear capacity.
By contrast, Genie+ will be a $15/day option to take the Lightning Lane (basically a FastPass line) for a selection of attractions in any given park.
Separately, Lightning Lane will be an a la carte option to purchase entry into the Lightning Lane for individual attractions. There is some overlap with Genie+, but your biggest and most desirable attractions (including Rise of the Resistance) will only be available individually.
Both programs kick off “this fall.”
WALT DISNEY WORLD WANTS MORE MONEY?!
Okay, yeah, pour one out for free FastPass in all its forms. Alas and alack. But as many have pointed out, it was never a matter of if Disney would begin charging for the service, but when. However, beyond merely being annoyed about the extra charges, many – myself included – aren’t even entirely clear on how all this is gonna work.
We do know this, though: it will be one more thing to stress and prep for. Hooray!
Which leads me to my original point, which is whether WDW is getting too darn complicated for the average once-in-a-while family vacationer to master.
HOW MUCH PLANNING IS TOO MUCH PLANNING?
Between dining reservations, FastPass+, and then Park Passes, it was already a lot of research and advance planning. Then you have to get there at rope drop and execute a careful plan if you wanna make the most of your trip.
I have heard so many sad stories from people who HATE WALT DISNEY WORLD and just CAN’T UNDERSTAND HOW ANYONE LIKES IT and THEY HAD A TERRIBLE TIME. I have ways to deal with that negativity, but it’s still a bummer. And that’s well before any of this new info dropped!
The thing us die-hards sometimes forget is that if you don’t know what you’re doing, WDW can be a tiring, sweaty, confusing, time-consuming mess.
Most vacations require at least some prep work, but WDW was already pretty serious stuff. Now Disney is adding MORE layers to vacation planning, and charging money for them to boot.
Sure, of course, I’M going to bang my head against Genie+ and Lightning Lane until I figure out how to work the system, but I’m a Disney parks obsessive. I’m already invested and used to putting the legwork in.
On the flip side, I can totally see a family of four just trying to perform their obligatory once-in-a-lifetime Childhood Disney Vacation reading two pages of the WDW website and immediately suffering a brain meltdown.
I’m also in the privileged position of being one of those fabled childless millennial park goers. I don’t want to drop $20 to ride Rise of the Resistance, but if another $40 is what it takes to get Pat on the ride for the first time, fine, I’ll do it, albeit while muttering under my breath.
But for a family of four, or six, or eight, whose expenses have already been multiplied by default, that’s now another $100-give-or-take they’re throwing on top of what it costs to house and feed and ticket them. That’s gotta hurt.
All of this is a lot of words to say a little: a Walt Disney World vacation is starting to feel pretty darned complicated to me. To ME! One of the small subsection of people who kneel at the altar of WDW! How must the average family feel, peering into our World for the first time?
I don’t know. It’s all speculation at this point. Maybe it’ll work swimmingly. Maybe we’ll all start having better WDW vacations than ever. I’m just nervous and overwhelmed. I hope Genie+ and Lightning Lanes drop soon so we can figure it out!
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