7 Ways Your Wait in Line at Disney World is About to Change

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I’m working on the first printing of the 2022 Unofficial Guide to Walt Disney World, which goes to print in October and should be in your hands in December, 2021.  Two of the book’s chapters deal with time and money, and as part of those discussions we explain how waiting in line works at Walt Disney World.  Obviously, Disney’s not going to tell us in advance something they’re not ready to tell the public.  Instead, we have to do a little detective work to figure out where Disney’s headed.  The speculation you’re about to read – and it’s mostly educated guesses – comes entirely from publicly available information such as fan websites, the US Patent and Trademark Office, and looking inside the My Disney Experience app code.  The theme for all of them is the same: make guests pay to wait less in line.  As a reminder, I could be wrong on all of this.

Here are the 7 ways I think you’ll wait in line at Walt Disney World, and how they’ll be different from today.

#1 – Standby Lines (Status: Will Change)

This is what most people are familiar with: You get in a line, such as for Magic Carpets of Aladdin, and you wait some number of minutes until you ride.  It doesn’t cost anything, and you know from the wait-time sign in front of the attraction some estimate of how long you’re going to wait.

The big change coming with Standby Lines is that at some point during the day – either at a specific time of day, or when the wait gets too long – Disney will stop letting guests get in the standby line.  So even if you’re perfectly willing to get in a 210-minute wait for Flight of Passage, Disney won’t let you.

We saw this happen at Slinky Dog Dash at Hollywood Studios when social distancing was in effect: Once the line stretched from Toy Story Land, past One Man’s Dream, and to Voyage of the Little Mermaid (a wait of around 100 to 120 minutes), Disney stopped letting people get in line.  Of course, that was because they were running out of room to put people.

The net effect of this will be to nudge guests into visiting second- and third-tier attractions, which often have unused ride capacity.  Or – and I’m sure Disney’s hoping for this – you can buy shorter waits in line.  More on that below.

Cost: I’m confident this will be free with park admission.

Timeline: I think this will happen in 2021, possibly by October 1.

Will extended queues outdoors become a thing of the past?

#2 – Standby Pass (New)

Think of Standby Pass as a virtual line to get in a real line.  Once the Standby Line gets too long, Disney will require guests to obtain a Standby Pass to enter the Standby Line.  For example, let’s say Big Thunder Mountain switches to Standby Pass at 10:00 a.m., and Disney knows that there’s around 65 minutes’ worth of people in the standby line already.  When you request a Standby Pass, you’ll be given a return window that starts at the next available time, say, 11:05 AM.  Like the old FastPass system, you’ll have a window of time to return to ride, which I think will be 30 minutes.  So you’ll need to show up between 11:05 a.m. and 11:35 a.m. to redeem your Standby Pass.

When you return to ride, you’ll be able to enter the Standby Line for your 65-minute wait to ride. In Disneyland Paris, you’re able to hold one Standby Pass at a time.  And I don’t think you’re able to cancel a Standby Pass once you make it (probably because that would throw off the ride capacity allocations).  So the big challenge, then, will be in choosing which Standby Pass to get, and when.  We’re planning to model these to suggest which Standby Passes to get, and when.

One of the operational side-effects that Disney’s counting on for these changes to Standby Lines and Standby Pass is that it’ll force guests into experiencing less popular rides. For example, if you’re in the Magic Kingdom and Space Mountain, Big Thunder, Splash Mountain, and Seven Dwarfs Mine Train have all switched over to Standby Passes, the only things that might still have Standby Lines are secondary attractions.  From a park operations perspective, this is a nice bit of automatic crowd-leveling: more people will take in a show at Country Bear Jamboree or Hall of Presidents, because they can’t get on anything they want to ride more.  I wonder how this will affect overall park satisfaction, though.

Cost: I think Standby Pass will be free with park admission.

Timeline: I think this will happen in 2021, possibly by October 1.

Premier Access Pass and costs at Disneyland Paris. (c) Disney

#3 – Boarding Groups (Will Expand)

A Boarding Group is a virtual line, like Standby Pass, but without a specific return time.  Boarding Groups are already implemented at Rise of the Resistance at Disney’s Hollywood Studios.  It’s possible that Disney will implement boarding groups for Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure when it opens at EPCOT on October 1.  Here’s how it works: You’ll need to make a park reservation for the ride that you want to ride.  At exactly 7:00 a.m. on the day of your visit, you’ll use My Disney Experience to request a boarding group.  If you’re successful, you’ll get a boarding group number (like “57”), and a rough estimate of how long you have to wait until your boarding group is called (“250 minutes”).

You’ll need to be fast and lucky: Boarding Groups for Rise of the Resistance are typically allocated for the entire day within 10 seconds, or 7:00:10 a.m.  So many people are trying to get a boarding group that it’s essentially a lottery as to who gets in. And if anything goes wrong your chances are almost certainly shot.

If the ride is running smoothly, boarding groups start getting called within 30 minutes of park opening, starting with Boarding Group 1.  The MDE app will display the current range of boarding groups that are able to ride now.  When your boarding group is called, the MDE app will alert you so you can return.

Why does Disney use boarding groups?  Because Rise of the Resistance breaks down often, Disney isn’t confident that it can give guests a specific time to return and ride.  For example, suppose Disney gave you a specific time to return and ride Rise of the Resistance: 1:00 to 2:00 p.m.  If Rise of the Resistance breaks down between 1:00 and 2:00 p.m., then at 2:00 p.m., the ride has to accommodate everyone who didn’t get to ride between 1 and 2 and everyone who was scheduled to ride between 2:00 and 3:00 p.m.  There’s not enough ride capacity to do that (and I don’t think you’d want to run the ride at half capacity to anticipate for it anyway).  Boarding Groups solve this problem by not attaching a specific return time to your virtual wait.

One issue I can see with this is that you won’t be able to ride Rise of the Resistance or Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure unless your first park of the day is the Studios or EPCOT.

Cost: I think Boarding Groups will remain free with park admission and reservations.

Timeline: I think this will happen in 2021, possibly by October 1.

Rise of the Resistance boarding group screen

#4 – Lightning Lane, a.k.a., “Paid FastPass” (New)

Shout out to Mickey Views on YouTube for finding this name.  We all know that a pay-to-use version of Disney’s former FastPass system is coming – it’s already implemented in Shanghai Disneyland and Disneyland Paris, and Walt Disney World has more guests with more money than either of those resorts. It’s called Premier Access in Disneyland Paris. “Lightning Lane” might be a working title for it in Walt Disney World, and from a marketing standpoint, Lightning McQueen would be a great spokescar for this new service. (“Speed. I am speed.”)

Lightning Lane should work like Disney’s recently closed FastPass+ system: Disney offers a set of return times for you to choose, such as “1 PM to 2 PM”, “1:15 PM to 2:15 PM”, and so on.  You’ll pick the one that works best for your day.  When you return to ride, you’ll use a special “Lightning Lane” – a separate, shorter line than the Standby Line.  And like the old FastPass+ system, guests in the Lightning Lane will be given priority to board the ride.  I also expect character greetings (when they return) to offer Lightning Lane.  In fact, I expect almost all of the attractions that offered FastPass+ to offer Lightning Lane.

In the old, free FastPass+ system, Disney would normally allocate 75 to 80% of a ride’s hourly capacity to FastPass+ riders.  In practice, that meant that Disney put 3 or 4 people from the FastPass+ line on the ride for every 1 person it took from the Standby Line. But even with a separate line for FastPass+ riders, people often waited 30 minutes or more in the FastPass line once they returned.  I’m told that because Lightning Lane will cost real money, Disney wants to set some sort of upper limit on how long people will wait when they purchase a Lightning Lane pass: for example, something like 25% to 35% of the posted wait for the Standby Line.  The problem with that is that the line for Flight of Passage has hit 210 minutes recently, so 25% to 35% of that is still 53 to 74 minutes.  Are people really going to be happy paying $20 each to wait an hour to ride Flight of Passage?  That’s a great question.

I don’t think Lighting Lane will work with Boarding Groups, so you won’t be able to pay to get a return window for Rise of the Resistance or Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure.  For those, you’ll need Lightning Lane+ (see below).

Also, I think Lightning Lane passes will only be offered on the day of your visit. That’s different than FastPass+, where you could make a ride reservation up to 60 days in advance of your visit.

To avoid cannibalizing VIP Tours, which accommodate up to 10 people at a cost of up to $850 per hour, with a minimum 7-hour commitment, Disney will probably limit the number of Lightning Lane passes you can purchase in a given day.  My guess is that number will be far fewer than 10 (roughly the average number of rides a guest experiences in the Magic Kingdom, according to Disney), possibly around 5 or so. I also expect there to be “packages” of Lightning Lane passes available, possibly targeted to parents with small children, such as for Peter Pan’s Flight, Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh, and Seven Dwarfs Mine Train.  I think the big thrill rides will remain a la carte, because they target teens and adults.

Cost: Disneyland Paris costs are around $10 to $18 per person per ride.  The cost varies depending on the ride and the time of day.  That means you would expect to pay far, far more for a Flight of Passage pass on New Year’s Eve than for a Magic Carpets of Aladdin pass in the middle of September.

I’d be surprised if any Lightning Lane pass costs less than $9 in the US.  I’d be surprised, too, if the most expensive Lightning Lane pass is less than $25.

It’s also possible that you’ll need to pay a small fee, say $15 per family, to enable the Lightning Lane feature on the app, sort of like how MaxPass worked at Disneyland. I don’t think a final decision has been made on this part.

Timeline: I think this will happen in 2021, but possibly after October 1.

Ka-Ching$$$. Wait, it’s ka-chow, right?

#5 – Lightning Lane+, a.k.a, “Paid instant ride access” (New)

Again, I’m not sure this is the name that Disney will go with.  But the idea here is that you’ll pay a lot of money to get on a ride right now.  If you didn’t get a boarding group for Rise of the Resistance and you still want to ride, Disney might offer you the chance to get on the ride instantly for, say, $50 per person.  Don’t want to get a Standby Pass for Slinky Dog Dash just so you can wait another hour to ride?  For $35 per person, Disney might be able to solve that problem for you.

Obviously, Disney will not be able to sell very many of these per attraction per hour – the idea is that you’re getting on the ride instantly.  So there might be only 50 to 100 of these sold per hour.  It’s possible there’ll be a third line at these rides, too, just for Lightning Lane+, to guarantee that immediate access.

I expect all of the headliner attractions that offer Lightning Lane will also offer Lightning Lane+.  You might not see it at Triceratop Spin, but it’ll be available at Kilimanjaro Safaris.

I think Lightning Lane+ passes will only be offered on the day of your visit.

Cost: The market for kidneys and spleens is hot right now, so I’d guess at least $25 to $50 per person, per ride.

Timeline: I think this will happen in 2021, but possibly after October 1.

#6 – Disney Genie, a.k.a, “Surprise FastPass” (New)

Disney announced the Genie itinerary-planning app back at the D23 convention in 2019, and has been pretty quiet about it since then.  Originally, the Genie app looked a lot like our computer-optimized touring plans: you tell Genie what rides you want to ride, and Genie told you the order in which you should ride those rides to minimize your wait in line.  Sounds familiar, right?

However, based on this recent Disney patent, I don’t think that’s what Genie is going to do – I think that’s Genie+ (or whatever they’re going to call it).  Rather, I think the base version of Genie is going to work like this:

  • You’ll select a set of “favorite” attractions for each park in My Disney Experience.  For example, Buzz Lightyear Space Ranger Spin and Jungle Cruise in the Magic Kingdom.  Obviously, many thousands of people can also select those attractions as favorites.  So you won’t be alone.
  • Throughout the day, Disney will monitor the standby and Lightning Lane wait times for those rides.
  • If the standby or Lightning Lane waits gets low enough at one of those rides, Disney will select a subset of guests who “favorited” them, and send them an alert to get in the appropriate line.

In many ways, this works like a “Surprise Fastpass” – you’re randomly chosen to take advantage of the shorter line.  I expect this will work in conjunction  (somehow) with Standby Pass and/or Boarding Groups, because the patent mentions guests already being in a virtual line as a condition of getting access to a second attraction.

The random, “surprise” element of Genie is an interesting bit of psychological manipulation on Disney’s part. Unpredictable rewards on things like slot machines are part of what makes gambling addictive.  Clearly, what Disney’s trying to do here is get everyone to use Genie.

I think Genie will be integrated into My Disney Experience, somehow.  Credit to Mike over at WDWNT for figuring out how this Disney patent might work.

Cost: I think the basic version of Genie will be free.

Timeline: I’m not sure if this will be in 2021 or 2022.

Sample Genie screens. Image (c) Disney

#7 – Disney Genie+, a.k.a., TouringPlans.com (New)

I think Genie+ will be the product that mimics our touring plans – given a set of attractions, meals, and breaks, arrange those things into an itinerary that minimizes your overall wait in line.

I think Disney’s looking at Genie+ as a way to sell Lightning Lane access: they’ll be able to tell guests something along the lines of “Hey, we did the best we could in avoiding lines, but there’s no way around this 120-minute wait at Tower of Terror.  Want to buy an $18 Lightning Lane pass for it instead?”  And the reason I think that is that Disney’s job posting for the Director of eCommerce role for Genie specifically mentioned revenue and “app monetization” as job functions.

There are a number of technical challenges to creating optimal touring plans, especially at the scale Disney’s going to attempt.  I’ve spoken to a number of now-departed people who’ve worked on Genie, and some of those big challenges were not solved at the time we had those discussions. And for at least one major problem, the person I spoke to wasn’t aware that the problem even existed, let alone how to solve it.  So that was interesting.

Cost: Disney has said this part of Genie will be “priced competitively”.  I’m not sure whether that means $18 per year (which is what we charge), or much, much more.  Given the amount of development that goes into something like this, Disney’s costs for that, and the relatively small size of the market for this sort of thing, it’s going to be interesting to see what it’s priced at.  My guess is $15 per family.

Timeline: I’d be moderately surprised if this rolled out before 2022.  I could be wrong.

As always, these aren’t written in stone, and a lot can change. (If we learned nothing from 2020, I know we all learned that!)

What are your thoughts about these predictions? What would you be willing to pay for, and how much? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.

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Len Testa

Len Testa is the co-author of the Unofficial Guide to Walt Disney World, and has contributed to the Disneyland and Las Vegas Unofficial Guides. Most of his time is spent trying to keep up with the team. Len's email address is len@touringplans.com. You can also follow him on Twitter: @lentesta.

99 thoughts on “7 Ways Your Wait in Line at Disney World is About to Change

  • August 10, 2021 at 12:02 pm
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    I’m really curious how this will impact DAS.

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  • August 10, 2021 at 12:20 pm
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    Fascinating article Len. I guess Disney has decided they don’t care about their money-hungry image when it doesn’t impact the number of people who keep coming and keep paying. It’s kind of coming full circle, isn’t it, back to pay-as-you-go like the old E, D, C tickets. I can just see the look on my husband’s face when I explain that after paying at least $200 for the two of us to get in the park, we now have to pay $50 each to go on Rise of the Resistance, and then another $15 each for Slinky Dog unless he wants to wait around the park with a Standby Pass for our turn to enter a 200 minute Standby Line…. he’ll have us down the street at Universal pretty quick. (We’ll be riding Men in Black over and over again, wave if you see us!)

    Always grateful for your predictions and analysis.

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    • August 10, 2021 at 5:15 pm
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      This all just stresses me out!

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      • August 12, 2021 at 11:58 am
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        Same! Have already been pricing out a Universal/Sea World vacation for our next trip to FL. And we’ve been Disney Parks “snobs” for decades!

    • August 10, 2021 at 7:38 pm
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      I’m not ok with these pay this pay that options. We’re already forking out big bucks to come to the parks. No one wants to pay extra money for something that used to be free! I MIGHT be okay with it, if fast pass came in a bulk amount. Say you can buy 10 fp’s for the day for $50 for everyone on your package! I’m also good with the way boarding passes are, just add a few more attractions in for those.

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    • August 16, 2021 at 8:25 am
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      With a little luck this new CEO will be given his walking papers before Disney loses its core of annual pass holders. Walt is rolling in his grave!! Some family park! Lets see I bring my children to Disney and it costs me $300 per person per day to enter and ride my favorite rides. Good luck with that strategy – people will vacation elsewhere. Why not keep it simple stupid like Universal with a fast pass bump after 4 pm for an annual fee? Greed kills everything!!

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  • August 10, 2021 at 12:31 pm
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    Len – This is amazing content! I hope we keep seeing articles like this from you with all the changes sure to come in the upcoming years.

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  • August 10, 2021 at 12:35 pm
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    Let me know where I need to get in line to… get in line.
    I think this is the anvil that broke the camel’s back on ever going back to WDW. Started with a charge for parking at all Disney resorts. I would use the phrase “nickeled and dimed to death”, but it is more than nickels and dimes.

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  • August 10, 2021 at 12:46 pm
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    I think this will price Disney out of a lot of vacation budgets. It might help sell annual passes though.

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    • August 11, 2021 at 10:50 pm
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      Welp, if all this comes about we will go from a family that visits WDW quite regularly (since 1987!) to maybe a visit every 5 years. Upon hearing news of this and the demise of DME, my husband’s exact words were, “We’ve been to WDW a lot. There are lots of other places to go on vacation.” It will be interesting to see what happens when DIsney prices out it’s most frequently visiting demographic: the middle class . Universal and Sea World will benefit from this. We were dyed in the wool WDW fans but all of this has me going online to look at Universal and Sea World, hotels near them, etc. Call it pre-planning for trips once WDW becomes too expensive to budget for! So glad we never bought into DVC!!!

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  • August 10, 2021 at 1:00 pm
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    Did MaxPass at Disneyland and it worked great for the one day we were there. But having to do it for a multiple day trip that WDW vacations are, seems excessive. Glad that our kids are no longer want to go all the time any more. This definitely seems like a way to make an already expensive vacation less accessible.

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  • August 10, 2021 at 1:09 pm
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    It seems like a lot of change creating the potential for a lot of confusion. I think the thing that gets under my skin the most is the fact they are taking something that has always been included with the price of admission (at least in the 27 years I have been visiting WDW), and making it pay for play. I can certainly see this as the tipping point for people both for and against the new system concepts.

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    • August 10, 2021 at 2:21 pm
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      Let’s just call this the “Disney anti-family pass” and call it a day. There may be couples who can afford to drop $100+ extra bucks a day to skip some lines, but for my family of five this could easily mean dropping $100 PER RIDE, multiple times a day, over multiple days. That’s like doubling, (tripling?) the per day ticket price and acting like it’s “in response to guest expectations”. Add in Disney’s well-documented manipulation of their “estimated wait time” now being used to push people into buying expensive add-ons, and this just tipped into the “icky” column. How soon before this hits Disneyland?

      But don’t blame the messenger. I really appreciate the thoroughness of this article. Touring Plans is a great value, and this heads up is a great example of why.

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      • August 11, 2021 at 11:07 pm
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        Exactly! Families! Families below a certain income level will no longer be able to afford a WDW vacation. Families ABOVE that income level can afford many more vacation locations that are NOT Disney Parks! “Honey, I priced out 2 weeks in Europe and a week in WDW and they are about the same cost. Which should we do?” Haha! They will go to WDW just enough to keep the kids happy but not with the same frequency as those of us in a lower income do! I see this as a bad move for Disney Parks. I’ve loved WDW since 1987. Have taken 4 kids through all varied ages. But if I have to chose between paying the amounts speculated here or spend half of my park day waiting in lines…. Well that reduces my park experience to the point that it’s just no longer worth it. I’m already making a mental list of non-WDW vacas!!!

    • August 13, 2021 at 8:43 am
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      Fast Pass has only been available since 1999, so 21 years of operation, not 27.

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  • August 10, 2021 at 1:09 pm
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    Thank you for this insight, Len! We are going to WDW in October, and I have been very happy about the suspension of FastPass+ since I have heard NOTHING “+” about it. It’s been 20 yrs since we last visited WDW, and with these potential changes and the cost associated therewith, it may be another 20 years before we go again.

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  • August 10, 2021 at 1:27 pm
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    Great Article. What is the price you and the Touringplans folks are going to charge Disney for the information regarding the problems they apparently don’t know they have with the Genie + app? I’m grabbing the popcorn to watch Disney crash and burn with this one.

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    • August 17, 2021 at 7:36 am
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      Sorry to say that I agree that “people in charge” are trying to kill the golden goose. I don’t think our grandkids are going to be able to afford Disney Magic as it passes into history (and I love enjoying Disney, but I am not made of gold).

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  • August 10, 2021 at 1:31 pm
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    Great article, Len. My initial thought re: Genie+? I don’t care if Disney offers it for $5/year. I’ve been a subscriber of Touringplans.com for 17 years, and I couldn’t come close to estimating how much time, money and angst it has saved me. I guess TP has saved 3.7 years of my life, +/- 3 months, when taking stress, time saved, and money as measured by what I make/hour. But that was based on a really quick and dirty calculation.

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  • August 10, 2021 at 2:11 pm
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    After the paid FPs came to Paris, I have been saying that people will pay a premium to guarantee a ride on RotR instead of trying the boarding group lottery at 7:00 a.m. just for the peace of mind.

    My big concern with all if this is will Standby Pass and Lightning Lane kick in at a set wait time that is the POSTED wait time or the ACTUAL wait time? Long time readers of this blog know what I am talking about.

    While I expect that everyone will have to download Disney Genie at some point (much like we all need MDE now), there is no way I would trust it to do a touring plan for me. I fully believe it would be used for crowd control for the benefit of Disney and not like the Lines app that we all know and love that is done for the benefit of the park guest.

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  • August 10, 2021 at 2:20 pm
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    This sounds horrible and stressful. I do not want to pay a small fortune for a WDW vacation to wait in 60-200 minute lines. Nor do I want to criss/cross the parks backtracking multiple times every day to return to rides I’ve already visited. At least with the previous system I could schedule our FP’s in an order that allowed us to tour the parks without any backtracking. This system would be a logistical nightmare for guests. It would make every day super stressful not knowing how the day was going to go… not knowing if we would even get to experience all those headliners and favorite rides we traveled to WDW to experience. I truly do not understand why Disney has to make everything so complicated for their guests. Universal has had it right from the get go. No scheduling. Just get in the Express line as you come to that attraction. Our next trip is only tentatively scheduled for December 2022 and I already have a very bitter feeling about it. If this crapfest of a system comes to fruition, we may very well abandon WDW vacations and that is not hyperbole.

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    • August 10, 2021 at 2:37 pm
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      This was my exact take away.

      The lack of predictability would be a killer for families with small children and especially at large parks like Epcot and Animal Kingdom. I could maybe swing this at Disneyland which is so compact and has lots of lower wait things to do, but not at the WDW parks.

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    • August 10, 2021 at 3:05 pm
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      I agree with you. Might be time for Universal.

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      • August 11, 2021 at 11:36 pm
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        Same! Have already been pricing out a Universal/Sea World vacation! And we’ve been Disney Parks “snobs” for decades!

  • August 10, 2021 at 2:23 pm
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    Will I need a degree in Disney Parks to work all these options out each day? Sounds complicated AND expensive – I don’t think my husband really knows how much WDW tickets cost as I just get on with buying them (what he doesn’t know won’t hurt him) – can’t think I’ll be able to buy all these passes without his knowing how much they are though!!! Need to sit down and consider whether any of the paid-for passes are going to be worth it – I suppose the question for everyone will be – what do I have most of – money or time?!

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  • August 10, 2021 at 2:45 pm
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    I do hope you get a kick back from Disney for pointing out problems they have not even thought about!

    The one thing that confuses me, is why they would have virtual stand by lines that put you in line, to get in line. Why can’t these just be virtual queus? They still will have the problem of people waiting in a physical line instead of shopping or snacking.

    If they did virtual queues when a line get too long, plus a smallish number of the lightening plus passes for those who just want to ride now, I think the guest satisfaction would be much higher and they could still accomplish most of their goals (but perhaps without as much short term profit).

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  • August 10, 2021 at 2:57 pm
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    Great article. Thank you for your careful analysis. The one thing that sticks in my craw is that we used to get FP–and later FP+–for free. Indeed, if you were strategic back in the days of FP machines, you could easily get half a dozen FP return tickets a day. So, I think that the idea of charging a consumer for something they used to get for free will annoy. That said, if there is a way to get on ROTR for a semi-reasonable price, or even a slightly unreasonable price, I will probably pay it through gritted teeth.

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  • August 10, 2021 at 2:58 pm
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    As a Brit without a US mobile phone who needs to rely on the WIFI at the parks, I’m resigned to possibly never getting a boarding pass for ROTR, if I have to spend all day on a phone to get into Virtual Queues etc, I might as well give up now.

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    • August 11, 2021 at 7:04 pm
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      Both times I’ve gotten a boarding group, it’s been on hotel wifi that everyone says kills your chance getting a boarding group.

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  • August 10, 2021 at 2:59 pm
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    This is a great article so thank you. I have been a Disney fan for decades (and also a big fan of your site, app and books!!) and try to get to WDW or DL once a year. This may end it for me. It’s already so expensive and now only the wealthy will be able to avoid standing in long lines? Way to be inclusive Disney.

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  • August 10, 2021 at 3:01 pm
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    I was curious, so I did a quick comparison:

    Currently, at Universal my family of five can spend around $230 more per night to upgrade from Cabana Bay (Value) to Royal Pacific Resort (Deluxe). That’s less that $50 a person. In exchange we would get Universal Express Unlimited. Meaning UNLIMITED, dramatically reduced waits on the majority of rides (plus Wizarding World rides that can often be experienced during early entry). All that *plus the perks of staying in a deluxe hotel. But it’s an even better deal than that since you can pick up your unlimited express pass at any time on your check in day, basically giving you a bonus day. So for a 4 day/3 night trip, I could basically spend an extra $35 a person per day to have unlimited fastpasses, plus a swanky hotel upgrade. *Plus it is infinitely less complicated, stressful and physically demanding than what Disney is planning.

    I’ve spent a lot more time at Disney World than at Universal, but if/when these changes drop, I fully expect that ratio to flip, if WDW even remains in the equation.

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    • August 10, 2021 at 3:11 pm
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      Ironically, if the ratio were to flip, how long would it be before Universal tries to monetize what used to be free?

      I do think there will be a point in which Disney goes too far with their high ticket, resort, and add-on prices, but I doubt any of these changes will be the tipping point for that to happen.

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    • August 10, 2021 at 5:54 pm
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      I will say our last couple of trips Universal Express still meant 45 min in line + ride for most attractions around 11am on but it was disappointing to me as in the past it meant literally I never waited more than 10/15 min absolute tops. It still sounds better than all this mess….I can’t even keep it all straight. Maybe I just go to the hotels and enjoy the resorts from now on?

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    • August 10, 2021 at 7:41 pm
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      We’re with you. DVC owners of multiple contracts at Disney and haven’t been in 2 years but we’ve been to Universal multiple times! (Love the Hard Rock Hotel!) Looks like it may be a new trend and we might be pocketing a great deal of money off of some DVC contracts . This really makes me so sad as I’ve been to WDW no less than 100 times over my 40 years of life but it’s getting out of control.

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    • August 19, 2021 at 9:30 am
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      Universal has made a lot of great choices lately, with new attractions being easily comparable to “Disney” quality, excellent value resort options and a world class water park. With the new park hopefully coming soon I could easily see Universal gaining more ground on Disney as the top tier vacation destination in central Florida

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  • August 10, 2021 at 3:06 pm
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    This was a great article.

    The collective impact of these changes sounds miserable to me. I geek out on this stuff, and it seems like it will be even more complicated than the way things were before (and even more expensive).

    I’m glad we had some great trips (using TouringPlans of course) while the getting was good.

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  • August 10, 2021 at 3:11 pm
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    I agree with all that has been said, especially the extra cost for families. It made my head spin with how complicated this all will be. I also have bad arthritis and can’t be going back and forth all the time. disappointed if they do all of this.

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  • August 10, 2021 at 4:28 pm
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    Fascinating article. And I agree that WDW seems at serious risk of making this too complicated, let alone too expensive.

    Re. comments about how long until Universal tries to monetize everything. It seems to me that Universal would be smart to do the opposite. Double down on marketing the simplicity and ease of planning an incredible Universal vacation, where you can ride everything. ….I see a TV ad with a family at a dinner table looking at their laptop frustrated with the complications and expense of a Disney vacation. Ah, but it doesn’t have to be this way…..

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    • August 10, 2021 at 4:44 pm
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      Universal would only attempt monetizing their perks if there was a dramatic shift in the market where they would be the solid #1 in Orlando. Up until then, they should definitely advertise themselves as a vacation from the Disney vacation!

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      • August 10, 2021 at 5:16 pm
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        Universal’s perks ARE monetized, and always have been. ExpressPass is either an out-of-pocket cost, or a perk included with staying at their most expensive hotels.

      • August 10, 2021 at 5:27 pm
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        Very true, Andy. Pretty much true everywhere. All Ears has a recent article titled, “How Much Do You Have to Spend at Disney World to Get Free Perks?” that point out the costs for “free” snacks and extra time in the parks as well some of the elite level perks like private tours and Club 33 membership.

  • August 10, 2021 at 5:15 pm
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    Very fascinating speculation. A couple thoughts to add to all the thoughts above:

    -I’d be very surprised if any paid/upcharge systems are announced prior to Oct 1. The start of the 50th is going to bring a lot of media attention, and I assume Disney will want that coverage to focus on their new offerings and upcoming stuff, and not have every story mention that they will now be charging extra for fastpasses.

    -It took me a second to grasp the difference between lightning lane and lightning lane+, but I think I get it. You think, rather than replacing the existing system with a Uni-style expresspass system, they’re going to start charging for the existing FP system *AND* add a Uni-style expresspass system? That’s a lot.

    -If I were them and was committed to going down this road, I think I’d consider family pricing as linked to a resort reservation. Maybe lightning lane access costs X for one person, or 2X for everyone staying in the same disney hotel room. Possibly too much for disney’s lousy IT to handle, but this would create a new on-site advantage out of thin air (those not staying in a disney hotel could only access per-person pricing), and probably sell more lightning passes than if people had to pay for each kid individually.

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  • August 10, 2021 at 5:21 pm
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    DAS will also be a very tricky piece of the puzzle.

    If you put fastpass access behind a paywall, but continue to offer DAS to any family who claims that they need it (with or without documentation), I see guest relations handling out a whole lot more DAS cards…

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  • August 10, 2021 at 5:53 pm
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    They need to make the distribution of boarding passes a true lottery by metering their distribution over a longer period of time instead of a few seconds by releasing them all at once which turns it into a fastest finger/ phone/network contest, don’t know if their IT dept is up for that.

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    • August 10, 2021 at 6:24 pm
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      This, I DON’T like! If I want to play a lottery, I’ll spend $1, but not thousands of dollars to play a Disney lottery! At least with the way it is now there is some skill and research involved to increase your chances at getting a boarding group.

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      • August 11, 2021 at 5:25 pm
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        What skill and research. We are going in Nov and I am already stressed out about this

  • August 10, 2021 at 6:16 pm
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    Trust Testa; Doubt Disney.
    Subscription and Book Purchase just paid for itself. I will gladly support the transparency of Touring Plans / Lines over the Disney Marketing Machine.
    Thank you to all behind the scenes as well!

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  • August 10, 2021 at 6:23 pm
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    From a description of the Genie app I saw, I definitely thought it sounded just like touring plans. But it doesn’t really do what I buy your service for, which is to track things like historical crowds–and the checklist for when to start making which type of plans is gold for the uninitiated. I kind of look at your plans and use them in a fellow traveler sort of way, but I would never get my family to follow them so I take what I can as a general guideline and go from there.

    I don’t think Disney has a handle yet on how they’re going to finally figure out crowd control. In looking at the paid fast passes, I’ve often thought that if money was no object and I was pressed for time, I’d buy the tour that includes fast passes to almost everything. And if money is a very small object and it’s my only chance to go to Disney World, I might be tempted to get the per ride version for specific rides. I don’t see doing it for Peter Pan, which even Hurricane Irma had to wait 70 minutes for (I’m being tongue in cheek), but I can see doing it for Rise of the Resistance.

    Having been a guest at Disney world for 45 of its 50 years, I would guess that these are several things they’re going to try and if they (a) make things worse or (b) don’t net them the money they are hoping for, then they will let those things drop by the wayside, perhaps with no comment at all, which we’ve seen happen that whole time with various improvements (or non-improvements).

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  • August 10, 2021 at 7:36 pm
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    I dread that this is coming but the bad publicity is going to be terrible unless there are steep discounts for people staying in Disney resorts.
    The price per ride is too high for us even though we typically stay in a deluxe resort to get closer access to the parks.
    We’ll rely on touring plans even more (and getting up super early to be near the front of the rope drop line to skip most of the wait for the most popular ride that doesn’t have boarding groups).

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  • August 10, 2021 at 7:39 pm
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    I’m not ok with these pay this pay that options. We’re already forking out big bucks to come to the parks. No one wants to pay extra money for something that used to be free! I MIGHT be okay with it, if fast pass came in a bulk amount. Say you can buy 10 fp’s for the day for $50 for everyone on your package! I’m also good with the way boarding passes are, just add a few more attractions in for those.

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  • August 10, 2021 at 7:48 pm
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    My gut feeling is that Lightning Lane and possibly Genie+ will be included as an AP Benefit.

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    • August 11, 2021 at 8:58 am
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      I’d bet they won’t be without paying an additional surcharge.

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  • August 10, 2021 at 9:16 pm
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    This all just depresses me, I’m seriously considering selling my share in our family’s Disney time share if these go into effect.

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  • August 10, 2021 at 9:31 pm
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    So the question becomes do you go all in for 1 day instead of 2. Like if you have $1k to spend for a family of 5. Do you go with slow just park admission over 2 days or do all the fast passes and skip a 2nd day.?
    Which is interesting because when these rates go up with no onsite perks then I’m not eating or staying with Disney which seems like a major loss to them.
    And at $1k for just a nice park day, I’ll probably follow Matt Hochberg to RCL.

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    • August 10, 2021 at 9:43 pm
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      I miss Matt from the WDW Today podcast days.

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  • August 10, 2021 at 10:06 pm
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    Change can be tough – and I remember trepidation with the flip from fastpass to Fastpass+. I’d say that should give me hope for this round of changes … BUT, these changes make that look like a non-event. Add $ into the mix with this new system, and lots of complexity … and I can tell you this fan is incredibly sad. I’m beyond mad … to the point that I’m actually dreading my November trip, should this happen. I can’t imagine dragging my travel party through the parks with this kind of chaos and cost. Even if I was willing to fork over the $, I’d have a bad feeling the entire time. Not a vacation at all!

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  • August 11, 2021 at 5:46 am
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    I am visiting Disneyland Paris in March 2022 so will let you know how I feel about pay per ride. That said I have also got a reservation for Disney Orlando November 2022 and will now be cancelling this. Am so sad that my family, friends and I will not visit Orlando again. Not sure Disney could care less. I am 65 years old and cannot stand in line for hours I also refuse to pay per ride on principle as I will already have paid a huge amount of money to visit Orlando, stay in a Disney hotel, paid every day to park and paid for park tickets. Again not sure Disney could care less. Thank you so much for posting the information. Keep well and safe folks.

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    • August 11, 2021 at 5:59 am
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      I would wait, to cancel, it might all have changed by then.

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    • August 13, 2021 at 1:24 am
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      I sent customer service an email basically saying the same thing. I did get a response but it was mostly saying ‘we look forward to seeing you again”. I think they missed the point. At 66, with asthma among other physical limitations we won’t be going back

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      • August 13, 2021 at 7:09 pm
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        Emily is the voice of WDW’s bread and butter client: families with children, that can possibly make return trips as their children grow. This was us! We took our firstborn at 7mo old and have made many many trips back as our family expanded. Disney Parks execs had better listen to this voice as it will be their heads that roll if this new system fails by discouraging return visitors.

  • August 11, 2021 at 6:08 am
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    As a matter of principle there is no way I would be prepared to pay the extra expense involved in these changes. It already feels that we are being ripped off with the parking charges at the hotels and other costs for things that used to be free. The food and drink is extortionate as well. Regrettably this is likely to be the final straw that will stop us travelling any more from the UK. Sad.

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  • August 11, 2021 at 7:03 am
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    Just wondering if it will be cheaper to get the VIP tours if there are 10 of in our group sharing the price – rather than pay per ride……… or will they put the price up of the VIP tour …….

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  • August 11, 2021 at 9:41 am
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    Money hungry Disney it should be called. Shame on all of them that is thinking of doing this. Families will not be able to go anymore with all of these changes because they won’t be able to afford this. Walt Disney is rolling over in his grave at all of this.

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  • August 11, 2021 at 10:03 am
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    This post really bummed me out. If we’re seriously looking at $100 (or even $40) for a family of 4 to get in a shorter line for one popular ride or $200 to ride it “instantly”, we would never pay. I can see keeping some free FPs/Lightning Lane options per day with the ability to purchase more, but being told we can come back later to stand in line for 65 minutes is depressing and insulting. If it’s about crowd control by turning off long-time fans and repeat visitors, it will accomplish that.

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  • August 11, 2021 at 11:45 am
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    I’m not convinced that Walt Disney would be turning in his grave. The thing is that WDW is a business – and, as long as people are prepared to pay (and there will be lots and lots people who will be prepared to pay whatever Disney charge for the Disney experience), they will put the prices up and up. Disney have made an incredible and unexpected loss over the last 18 months – they will only regroup and reconsider if enough people stop going and spending (and I seriously don’t think that will ever happen). Maybe WDW is going to be yet another luxury that only the rich can afford – but, every time Disney introduces a new paid for service, people are outraged – for a while – but soon get used to it and they still keep going to WDW!

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  • August 11, 2021 at 12:48 pm
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    Can anyone even Imagine another company that could make it so complicated to go to a park and ride a roller coaster? In 2005, 2010 & 2015 we flew to Orlando and spent more time at Disney than Universal. we flipped that for ladt year’s trip. In Octoberwe will fly to Orlando, and for the 1st time ever, only visit Universal. I have a feeling it won’tbe the last.

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  • August 11, 2021 at 2:10 pm
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    It’s possible to sell a node of your liver as well as one kidney and who needs a spleen.

    I really like (and am horrified by) the comparison to in-game purchases. Lootboxes for Walt Disney World? People will pay because being in the emotionally charged atmosphere of the bubble. People throw themselves off the parking lots in Las Vegas when they come to their senses. I again, am aghast at the gambling psychology.

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  • August 11, 2021 at 4:23 pm
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    I’ve been planning a big family trip for my twins for years. My husband and I love Disney World and want to share that joy with our children. We wanted to go for both their 5th birthday and the 50th anniversary, but then because of COVID we decided to delay until spring 2022. Seeing these possible changes makes me absolutely sick to my stomach. Taking very active 5 year old twins to the park for their first big trip was already intimidating enough, and now adding this extra expense and complexity is just overwhelming. I’m wondering if a trip to the beach and just a day at the Magic Kingdom would be better than the 6 days at WDW we had originally planned. It kind of breaks my heart because my girls love princesses and Mickey, but I just don’t know if all this nonsense is going to be worthwhile.

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    • August 13, 2021 at 6:56 pm
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      Emily is the voice of WDW’s bread and butter client: families with children, that can possibly make return trips as their children grow. This was us! We took our firstborn at 7mo old and have made many many trips back as our family expanded. Disney Parks execs had better listen to this voice as it will be their heads that roll if this new system fails by discouraging return visitors.

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  • August 11, 2021 at 5:29 pm
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    What skill and research. We are going in Nov and I am already stressed out about this

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    • August 11, 2021 at 8:53 pm
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      Loved the article Len. Like one reader said, I love all the tech talk. Anytime we stand in line, I’m wondering…how many people can move through this line each hour…it’s fascinating to me. We go to Disney every year. My 16 year old has been going since she was 6 months old. I’ve poured over touring plans and books, loving the planning almost as much as Disney. But this…this will be the Disney killer. We pay a premium to go…I can’t imagine feeling like I’m at the state fair with my tickets for the Ferris wheel clutched in my hand. Could we afford the up charge…probably, and I’m not trying to brag or anything. I just want to say that it’s not because we can’t afford it…I was outraged enough that I’m paying more and having to bring my own trash bags. Pay $20 bucks a pop for each ride??? No thank you Disney. Maybe we will try our luck at the Cajun heartland fair.

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  • August 11, 2021 at 9:38 pm
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    And they’ll probably offer the large groups that no one can stand complimentary Lightning Passes for booking “in bulk” as one would say. Meanwhile people who scrimp and save for a trip for years can’t even have a good time anymore. With touring plans, I was able to get on literally every single ride for every trip without any issue. But now, without any FP options (I’m certainly not paying PER RIDE – I can’t afford that), and boarding passes that can mean you just spent thousands of dollars on vacation and can’t do the ONE new thing b/c you weren’t lucky enough – I honestly can’t say it’s even worth it to try.

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  • August 11, 2021 at 11:10 pm
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    Any thoughts on how they build incentives for staying at Disney Resorts into these changes? The value of staying on site has dropped close to zero at this point and a system like this would bleed that even drier. My first thought in looking at a system like this is that I will simply convert the $200-$300 premium per day I am spending on the resort into money spent on rides. That negates the additional revenue Disney hoped to achieve.

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    • August 12, 2021 at 12:02 am
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      The only incentive I see is the 30 minute head start that resort guests get in the morning. If a resort guest can get ahead of the offsite guest crowds, then they can get on the rides that will most likely go on Standby Pass or Lightning Lane first, then ride the A and B ticket rides and see shows later in the day, and after reading your post, anyone who researches these potential new procedures may do the same as you may.

      Of course, anyone staying in deluxe resorts or higher will get extra time in the evening in select parks with those at the same tier resort and likely not need to pay for Lightning Lane.

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    • August 12, 2021 at 11:57 am
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      $200-$300 premium i think is underestimating big time!

      And I agree………Not only that but the reason WDW offered Magical Express to begin with was to keep people on their property for their entire visit……..Now they will not only lose out on the hotel revenues, but also everything that goes along with that (dining and merch)

      I think this will backfire on them……People have finite budgets…If my trip was $10k before, it’s still $10k now but if i have to pay $2k to get what i got from free before, the budget doesn’t go to $12k, it stays at $10k and comes from someone where else. In my case it will be the lodging (will will stay at Hard Rock and do 3 days in WDW and 4 days in UOR/Volcano Bay

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  • August 12, 2021 at 12:08 am
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    I have been following some Facebook groups discussing this, and one person had a very interesting take in the complexity of these potential procedures. She said that Disney may know how complex this is and could be banking on guests just throwing their hands up and taking the easy route by throwing cash at it to get in the fastest lines. She could have a point because once Disney has your money for tickets and resort stays, you are unlikely to leave early. So to make the best of a bad situation, whip out another grand or two to make sure the kids get to ride what they want.

    On the other side of that is it would be extremely short-sighted of Disney to do that at the expense of customer satisfaction and repeat visitors.

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  • August 12, 2021 at 3:46 am
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    Even if all of these options were free, they would be so complicated it would suck a lot of fun out of the trip just trying to keep all the options straight.

    Call me a fuddy-duddy, but my favorite system is still what was in place before Fastpasses; there was only a standby line. If the line was longer than you were willing to wait, you went and did something else and came back later. It worked just fine. Standby lines moved faster because they weren’t held up by letting Fastpass holders ahead.

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  • August 12, 2021 at 9:28 am
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    I manage a customer experience design group for a fortune 500 and here is what i would be concerned about if i were Disney. Not only would this really complicate things over what FP was, it’s also going to blow up the very clever tactical approach to hiding costs in package pricing. Think about dining plans – we all pretty much know they wont save us much if any money, so what we are paying for is to not have to worry about the psychological strain of paying out 100 bucks every time your kids want chicken nuggets that they wont eat. Paid individual fastpasses (especially if the pricing is dynamic) are going to have parents standing in the parks or even at home pre-trip with calculators and the app trying to figure out what they can do and what they can’t. That’s MISERABLE customer psychology right there. If you told me 1000 bucks extra a week for your kids and wife for FP to top 3 rides per day and guaranteed one day of ROTR, then im likely in – on the other hand if you told me i would need to do 20+ individual purchases or calculations of total cost I AM OUT! even if it totals less than the 1000 bucks. And if all you want is that extra theoretical 1000 bucks per family because you think the economics work, then just raise the darn prices by 40 bucks a day per person and be done with the complexity. Basically what i’m saying is that Disney makes their fortunes by delivering max value while lumping and hiding costs the best they can (not letting people think about what they are spending for too long before delivering on the value) – and this is headed in exactly the opposite direction!!!

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  • August 12, 2021 at 11:37 am
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    Len…..Do you think this could affect occupancy rates? With little to no perks left at hotels and the costs increasing, my guess is people will seek to stay elsewhere and be able to do the parks in far fewer days by using the paid system, thus lowering occupancy rates and shrinking average trips………..

    For eg., i normally stay at Poly for 7 nights…..Now i will stay offsite and get 3 day Park Hopper and use the hotel savings to pay for FP and then go visit Universal for 3 days…………

    I think this could have the exact opposite affect on WDW revenues since now I wont be staying onsite, wont be buying every meal in WDW and will be going to other local attractions as opposed to staying exclusively at WDW

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  • August 12, 2021 at 2:29 pm
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    With all these increases and changes coming, I am so happy I’ve been to Disney many, many times, and have taken various family members over the years. At least we have our memories and pictures to look at because there is no way I would pay extra for individual rides or any of the other crazy plans that are around the corner. Shame on Disney for making what used to be an affordable vacation for families (I have been going for 30+ years) to something that most families will now be unable or unwilling to afford. I will not visit again and that makes me sad.

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  • August 12, 2021 at 8:27 pm
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    All of these sound horrible. I hope I get in one more trip before any of it starts.

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  • August 13, 2021 at 8:33 am
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    Maybe – just maybe – Disney are telling us all about these things that they are going to do – and THEN only introduce one or two of them – and we all go “phew – isn’t Disney marvellous only introducing a couple of new things” – and we all carry on visiting – a bit of psychology for you – playing with our minds! Lol

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  • August 13, 2021 at 10:25 am
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    Jan 2020 was our last visit to WDW. Our last visit prior to that was in 2016. We have a visit coming up in Dec 21, just a month shy of 2 years in between. Looks like we might go back to the once every 5 years schedule and use our DVC at Aulani, Hilton Head. Not worth the cost and hassle for my family of 4. We can go to Disneyland for a whole lot less and have a better experience if we want a Disney Fix, even with the additional airfare. 2 weeks in Mexico or the Bahamas will also cost us less.

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  • August 13, 2021 at 6:17 pm
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    They will be charging to use the bathroom next. They are becoming nothing but money hungry assholes

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  • August 13, 2021 at 8:15 pm
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    Pardon me because I haven’t finished the art lesson but want to comment as I go. The proposed StandyBy pass is essentially how they’ve handled DAS, except the DAS returned to the FP+ line. All of this makes me wonder if they will eliminate DAS. As far as I know they aren’t under any legal obligation to provide that level of access. Most of the queues are now wheelchair accessible as are many of the ride vehicles, they have closed captioning devices, etc. I’m not sure how far ADA goes in terms of access. If the ride times can be eliminated for a fee for those who cannot wait it may well meet the requirement for accessibility, even if it is financially unobtainable for most families. I’m not being a list, I’m trying to be realistic as the parent of a child with multiple disabilities. Years ago anyone with. Wheelchair could get what was the equivalent of DAS. Then they modified the queues to accommodate wheelchairs… I think it may be that they eliminate free DAS for good soon.

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  • August 13, 2021 at 8:32 pm
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    Another area I would expect Disney to monetize soon will be menu items. I’m surprised that they still allow people to bring food into the parks. I imagine that will be ending soon. And then all menus will be digital so they can apply surge pricing to food as well as rides. A hot day in MK at near capacity- a Dole Whip jumps from $4.99 to $6.99. People must buy food in the Park. Even if only 10% of the approximately 50,000 people buy a dole Whip that day Disney makes an extra $10,000 on that one menu item on that day. Expand that to the thousands of menu items, say they all cost $1-10 more during Christmas week, and imagine the profits! It’s j a matter of time before someone at Disney thinks of this.

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  • August 14, 2021 at 1:02 am
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    From a British view…..what a cheek! I have been visiting with my family since 1997 and I’m bringing my granddaughter for her first (and now probably last) visit in Spring 2022, if the travel ban is relaxed. It’s already a very very expensive holiday when you factor in flights, accommodation and park tickets and now it feels as though Disney are sucking all the spontaneity and every last dollar out of what should be a fun and exciting trip. What a shame.

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  • August 14, 2021 at 10:51 am
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    Good God if people think Disney planning is complicated now I can’t even imagine helping to explain this to new visitors.

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  • August 14, 2021 at 8:47 pm
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    After having the worst WDW trip ever this July due to covid and other changes (no fp, no dining plan, mobile ordering madness), I cannot imagine being excited to go again and having to pay more for what used to be standard. Quit counting the $$ and bring back the magic please!!

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  • August 14, 2021 at 11:55 pm
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    Using your touring plans worked great for our 5-day WDW trip in 2018. We couldn’t get into some things we wanted to see, because of long waits, but there was plenty to do where the waits were reasonable. However, our ability to avoid insane lines only worked out because this was our first trip to WDW in 35 years, so much of it was new to both of us and our 8-year-old granddaughter.

    I live two hours from Disneyland. From the sound of things, if they start charging to wait in a slightly smaller lines at WDW than those who don’t pay, I’m going to stick with the original park that is practically in my backyard — eventually, I’m sure I’ll get into ROTR, because I’ll go alone and bring plenty of water and a book to read in line.

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  • August 17, 2021 at 2:17 pm
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    Covid could turn out to be the best thing that ever happened to DisneyCo. It gave them the excuse they wanted to cancel FastPass and Magical Express. They’re hoping pent-up demand and the 50th Anniversary will allow them to squeeze even more money from the masses. If all this happens, us normal families will wind up paying hundreds of dollars per day just to go into the parks and watch the richer folks ride the rides! If you can’t afford to pay for the new “perks”, Disney doesn’t really want you there.

    I would not be surprised if, within a few years, you will need to buy a daily or weekly transportation pass to ride Disney transportation (monorail, buses, Skyliner, etc.).

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  • August 17, 2021 at 2:50 pm
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    This is very interesting. Appreciated the article. It was thoughtful. I have been to Disney twice a year since 1991, thereabouts. Paying per ride would really make me uncomfortable. Trying to figure it out, even more uncomfortable. It is interesting, though, we have to remember, if you have never been to Disney before, they would be unaware of “how it was” in the past. They would only know how it is now. I think Disney may be “banking” on getting those first time visitors in and perhaps willing to sacrifice the loyal customer base that has been developed over the years. Sadly, I think this may work due to the “pent up demand” that they are experiencing right now. We have always stayed on property – typically in a deluxe or moderate – depending on the trip. But the deluxe prices right now, without a discount are a tad high – even for me. Not that it wouldn’t be in my price range – just that I can find an all inclusive elsewhere for about the same – if not less than staying at Disney and purchasing park passes. My adult son/fiancé, who often travel with us, is ready to jump the Disney ship and move on to other things. Only time will tell how this works out. I have emailed customer service expressing my opinion only to get a thank you for your comments email back. I may be wrong but at this point I think Disney is not especially sensitive to those comments. New management team. New focus.

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  • August 19, 2021 at 8:56 am
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    This is an incredible amount of sleuthing and extremely well-written (as always) with the rationale given for each new feature, and a couple of good shout-outs to various sites. This might be one of the best articles you’ve ever written, Len. And it seems much of it is going to come to pass very closely to what you’ve written. Kudos.

    Whatever Disney does, I’ll be keeping my touring plans, thank you very much.

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  • August 19, 2021 at 2:00 pm
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    Just saw an article posted on WESH2 News Orlando, August 19, 2021, that Disney World will be removing FastPass and replacing it with Disney Genie. Reserving one popular attraction will cost $15.00 and will be used for making eating reservations and place yourself in virtual queues. No one says what happens when your reserved attraction is not working and how a refund of ride works into this mess.

    I suspect that Disney will use a sliding fee to charge more per ride during peak times. Just another method by Disney to get more money from the guest. I’m going to EPCOT this fall. Eating and drinking around the world. No rides and I’m fine with that.

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  • August 19, 2021 at 2:16 pm
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    Lots of articles out there now. YES it will be a paid Fast Pass System similar to Max Pass at Disneyland but different. $15 per day per ticket so you can access the old “fast pass” lane and then an addition pay per ride for the more popular rides – prices and exact rides to be determined. I believe the $15 per day per ticket also includes the photo pass. No surprise though this is the direction. They will “get people to pay” and people will not think anything of it.

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  • August 19, 2021 at 2:19 pm
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    Saw this on allears.net

    “he base Disney Genie service will be completely free to all guests of Disney World and Disneyland! The new service will be available through the MyDisneyExperience app for Disney World, and the Disneyland app for Disneyland Resort.

    This complimentary service will include:

    Personalized Itineraries & Tip Board (with Attractions Status, Showtimes, Dining Availability, and Standby Wait Times)
    Forecasted Future Wait Times
    Virtual Assistant
    Restaurant Wait List, Check-In, & Reservations
    Mobile Order
    Attraction Virtual Queues

    The next level of the service is Disney Genie+. This will be replacing the now-retired Fastpass+ service in Disney World and MaxPass in Disneyland. As a note, Fastpass+ was a free service and Disney Genie+ is paid.

    The price for Disney Genie+ is $20 per ticket per day at Disneyland Resort (the same price as the previous MaxPass service) and $15 per ticket per day at Disney World. Guests will be able to purchase in advance, but will not be able to make their selections of rides until day of.

    This level of the service will include:

    Lightning Lane (the replacement for the Fastpass or MaxPass queue) for more than 15 attractions at Disneyland Resort and more than 40 attractions at Walt Disney World Resort (one selection at a time, throughout the day, subject to availability)
    Disney World Disney Photopass Augmented Reality Lenses
    Disneyland Disney Photopass downloads from the day
    Audio Experiences

    ou can also purchase Lightning Lane for some individual attractions not included in Disney Genie+. This purchase can be made in addition to or instead of Disney Genie+.

    At this time, pricing for this option has not been announced but it will vary by date, attraction, and park. Keep an eye on AllEars for the pricing as we get closer to the launch of Disney Genie.

    These selections will include higher-demanded attractions like Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, Radiator Springs Racers, Rise of the Resistance, and more.

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