When you visit a Disney park you pay a premium price to do so. The the “Disney Difference” is going to cost guests even more if they actually want to ride attractions with their already overly expensive park ticket.
Buckle up because it’s about to get more complicated and expensive than before.
According to Touring Plans, they have a good idea about what’s likely coming.
They are confident in it enough to put it in their Unofficial guide to Walt Disney World that is coming out in a couple of months. To me, that says they’re pretty confident.
Most of what is mentioned are things we’ve talked about or heard before, but let’s recap for those who didn’t see them. I can promise that visiting the parks as you knew it is going to get even more difficult and you will have to actually plan much more, which sucks because it’s already been overscheduled for awhile. The only way to truly “win” is to “pay.”
Standby Lines Will Be Shorter
Likely you read that and thought “Good! Shorter is better.” Not necessarily.
Before, someone could get into a standby line and wait for your turn to ride an attraction. Sometimes those lines could be very long. Recently lines have been extremely long due no FastPass+ and social distancing, however the wait times weren’t nearly as bad as they indicated because of no FastPass+ and social distancing. However, lines could stretch from an attraction queue clear through a backstage area and quite a ways from the ride entrance.
To avoid that Disney is likely going to put a cut off to the standby lines after it reaches a certain point. This leads us to the next change.
2. Standby Pass
The Standby Pass would be used for times when you can’t get into the actual line, but you want to get into the actual line.
Yes. You read that correctly. Now you will need a pass to get in line to potentially wait two hours for an attraction.
If the line says 120 minutes, you will need a pass with a call back time (Like FastPass but less of a window to return) just to get in line and wait that 120 minutes. Now it’s starting to get way more complicated and limiting.
But wait, there’s more.
3. More Rides Will Require Boarding Groups
This is one that Disney themselves has eluded to. Soon more of the popular rides will require a Boarding Group like ‘Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance.” If you have ever tried to secure a boarding pass for that one, you know that normally it’s very hard to do so and they are gone within a couple of minutes (If you even get that much time.)
Now you will have to secure more than one of these if you actually want to ride without paying more. Right now there’s no word on how many you can have at a time.
Now we are to a point where you can’t plan ahead. If you aren’t in a queue in time you have to get a pass to get to a queue, and if you don’t score boarding groups you can’t ride the most popular attractions.
Seems a bit much doesn’t it?
Well it keeps getting “better and better.”
4. Paid FastPass or “Lighting Lane”
Again, we’ve heard this rumor a couple of times and given what they just did in Disneyland Paris it’s likely. You want to ride an attraction faster you can pay to do so. The price breakdown in Disneyland Paris was around $10 – $20 per person / per attraction. A family of four could end up paying $80 more to “Lighting Lane” an attraction when FastPass was free.
Now Universal Orlando does something like this with Express Pass and Disneyland offered the Max Pass, but it was one set, mostly reasonable, fee per person/ per day.
According to Touring Plans, this basically is what was a free FastPass+, but they won’t put as many people though as before because 1. I don’t think people will be paying this much for each ride 2. They said Disney wants the lines shorter for those that pay. However, you could still be waiting for quite awhile, just not as long as those who have to get a standby pass or boarding pass.
Still want to burn money and not wait? Disney has a plan to take more of your money again.
5. Lighting Lane+
If you want to spend even more money and get instant access you can do so with the Lighting Lane+ upcharge. Who knows how much this one will set you back per person/ per ride.
You pay more an get on a ride instantly, thereby setting back the regular Lighting Lane people and the Standby People and those waiting for a turn to get into line, etc.
Good news is that most people won’t be shelling out that kind of money, however if you have more money Disney is setting it up for you to give it to them so you don’t have to wait with the plebs.
And we thought $120+ per day was a lot. Now we’re heading into paying that just to walk around, shop and barely ride anything unless you are lucky or pay more.
If these all end up true, it’s the new “Disney Difference”
6. Disney Genie App and Surprise Fast Pass
Touring Plans points out that the upcoming Genie App that was supposed to help you navigate the parks to get onto attractions easier (basically a way for Disney to control your movements even more) will now be used as a way to randomly get surprises.
We did talk about this rumor before.
Basically you select the attractions that are your “must do” and as availability comes up they will send you the that line as a “surprise.”
I do think it’s interesting that Touring Plans does bring up that it’s almost like playing the lottery or a slot machine. It’s just enough to make you feel like you’ve “won” something, but in reality it’s what you used to get for free before. But you will feel happier about being ripped off.
For this one I’m simply going to quote Touring Plans, as they have it written best:
“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.”
I love Disney parks. I grew up going to them, but if these are true it’s ridiculous. They are already far overpriced compared to other locations and now they are going to basically DLC guests to be able to do anything.
They already have implemented that if you stay at a Deluxe you get extra time in the parks. Disney is turning into ground zero for class warfare. This is the same Disney that had some of their Cast Members take priveledge tests.
We’ve been telling you they are going after the wealthy and it’s becoming more and more apparent that they’re going to make it extremely complicated for those that can’t or won’t shell out hundreds of dollars more per day for better access. Some guest could pay the same ticket price and only get to ride a couple attractions while a wealthier guest could come in and get to ride everything, but it also costed them hundreds of dollars more.
Again, this is mostly rumor, but Touring Plans thinks it’s true enough they are printing it all in their upcoming book. I myself have heard most of these rumors from sources before. I think most of these rumors are likely.
I highly recommend reading their article as it has a lot more information including estimated roll out times and pricing.
Pirates & Princesses (PNP) is an independent, opinionated fan-powered news blog that covers Disney and Universal Theme Parks, Themed Entertainment and related Pop Culture from a consumer's point of view. Opinions expressed by our contributors do not necessarily reflect the views of PNP, its editors, affiliates, sponsors or advertisers. PNP is an unofficial news source and has no connection to The Walt Disney Company, NBCUniversal or any other company that we may cover.