Some things at Disney World have stayed (relatively) the same over several years. You can still hop on a boat and sing an extremely catchy tune at “it’s a small world,” there are still lots of Disney hotels to stay at, and (of course) you can still say “hello” to Mickey Mouse in the parks.
But, lots of things in Disney World have also changed over the past few months, and many more changes are on the way. The Magical Express will be ending, new PAID FastPass-like systems will be introduced to the parks soon, and more changes have already been announced. When fan-favorite things go away or new things are introduced to the parks, there can be some frustration. So, we reached out to our fantastic DFB readers via Facebook and Instagram to see what upcoming changes frustrate them the most.
We got QUITE a lot of responses citing a variety of things that frustrated our readers, but some really stood out. Here are some of the top upcoming changes that frustrate our readers.
The Introduction of Disney Genie+
At the very, very, VERY top of the list was the introduction of Genie+. This was by far the thing that readers mentioned the most in their responses.
In case you missed it, FastPass+, FASTPASS, and MaxPass will not return to Disney World or Disneyland. Instead, two paid FastPass-like systems will replace them — one of which is called Disney Genie+.
With Genie+, guests will pay $15 per day per ticket at Disney World ($20 per ticket per day at Disneyland) and will be able to select the next available time to return to an attraction and use that ride’s Lightning Lane (the new name for the FastPass line). When their set time arrives, the guests will be able to use the Lightning Lane for that attraction and skip the standby line.
Once they’re done riding that ride and utilizing its Lightning Lane, they’ll be able to make their next Genie+ Lightning Lane selection. Guests will be able to continue to make Genie+ Lightning Lane selections 1 attraction at a time throughout the day.
Over 40 attractions at Disney World will be included in Genie+ (and over 15 attractions will be included at Disneyland Resort). In some ways, Genie+ is similar to the MaxPass system that was used at Disneyland, or somewhat similar to the olden days in Disney World where you would obtain 1 FastPass at a time throughout the day.
Many of our readers mentioned being frustrated with the introduction of Genie+ for several reasons. First, they mentioned that they were frustrated at having to pay for a FastPass-like system, when that used to be free (i.e. included in the cost of admission) for Disney World and Disneyland guests in the past.
Some were also frustrated at the fact that Disney hasn’t released a lot of information over this new Genie+ system yet. We’ve gotten some details about the system and a video showing a basic idea of what it will look like, but we are still waiting on a lot of details. We don’t have a set date when the system will begin being offered (just the expectation that it will be this fall). We also don’t have a full list of attractions that will be available through Genie+, though Disney has mentioned that Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run, and Haunted Mansion will be included in Disney Genie+.
Another thing people were frustrated with is the timing surrounding Genie+. At Disney World, all guests will be able to make their first Genie+ Lightning Lane selections at 7AM. Some readers (who we expect are not early risers) were not thrilled at the idea of having to wake up early on vacation for another thing (as if waking up early to try and grab a Boarding Group for Rise of the Resistance wasn’t enough!). Note that at Disneyland things are a bit different, as guests can make their first Genie+ Lightning Lane selection once they’re in the park.
In Disneyland, Genie+ includes unlimited PhotoPass downloads from that specific day of your trip. But, at Disney World, PhotoPass photos are NOT included in Genie+. Instead, at Disney World, Genie+ only includes augmented reality filters to use while taking photos. Some guests were less than pleased at that differentiation and were rather frustrated that the Disney World version doesn’t include PhotoPass.
As we mentioned, there’s still a lot of outstanding questions about Genie+. We’re working on getting as many of those answers to you so be sure to check back with us for more updates.
Ending of the Magical Express
While Genie+ took the number 1 spot in terms of mentions, there were also LOTS of guests who mentioned that they were incredibly frustrated at the ending of Disney’s Magical Express. Disney’s Magical Express was a service offered to Disney World hotel guests (and operated by Mears) which transported hotel guests to and from Orlando International Airport for free.
Earlier this year, Disney announced that the service would be ending in January of 2022. Several readers mentioned their frustration at the Magical Express going away overall. But, others also specifically mentioned that they were especially frustrated at the loss of the Magical Express luggage delivery system. With that system, guests didn’t have to pick up their own checked luggage from baggage claim. Instead, it was all coordinated and taken care of through Magical Express, and the luggage would then be delivered to guests’ rooms.
We’ve taken a look at some of the best ways to get to Disney World when the Magical Express is gone, one of which is the new service from Mears that is essentially meant in many ways to replace the Magical Express. If you’re planning a trip to Disney World for 2022 and relied on the Magical Express, the discontinuation of this service is something you’ll want to plan ahead for.
Click here to see how the cost of the Magical Express replacement compared to an Uber to Disney World.
The End of Many “Free” Perks
The third most mentioned frustration in our comments section was probably the removal/end of many of the free perks or benefits to staying on property, or generally the removal of free things in Disney World.
This can tie into a few things mentioned above, like the ending of the FREE Magical Express service, the removal of FREE FastPass+ selections, and the ending of Extra Magic Hours and its replacement with other offerings (we’ll discuss more about that in a second). Under the new Genie+ system, hotel guests don’t get an extended booking window to book their Lightning Lane selections (as they used to with FastPass+). Now, they’ll be on equal footing with all other guests as they work to make their first Lightning Lane selections at 7AM.
Some readers mentioned that they felt like they’re paying more now, but getting less. Others noted that ticket prices aren’t going down to accommodate for these changes, and now guests will have to pay for things that previously were included in the cost of admission or were a special, free perk for hotel guests.
Some things are still free in Disney World, but a number of changes have been announced for the future that will take away or otherwise change some fan favorites and it seems a number of readers were rather frustrated by this.
Extended Evening Hours and Early Theme Park Hours
Extended Evening Hours was another one that was mentioned quite a bit. Starting in October, guests staying at Disney World Deluxe Resorts, Deluxe Villa Resorts, or select other hotels will have the opportunity to stay in certain Disney parks a few extra hours into the night on select dates. So far, a number of dates have been announced for this special hotel perk, and Disney has shared a list of the attractions that will be open during these extended hours.
But, again this benefit is only for those staying at Deluxe Resorts, Deluxe Villa Resorts, and select other hotels Disney has identified. So, guests staying at Disney’s Art of Animation Resort (a Value Resort) won’t qualify for this perk. Considering that Disney previously offered Extra Magic Hours for ALL Disney World hotel guests (regardless of hotel level), guests were a little less than pleased that Extended Evening Hours is more limited.
But, all Disney World hotel guests (regardless of what type/level of resort they’re staying at) and guests staying at select other hotels will get the chance to enter any Disney World theme park 30 minutes early starting in October with Early Theme Park Entry. It wasn’t mentioned as much, but some readers did note that the loss of the previous version of Extra Magic Hours and its replacement with these two systems is something that they were not pleased about.
Some also noted that the fact that Early Theme Park Entry was limited to just 30 minutes is something they were disappointed about.
Individual Attraction Selection
Another thing several readers mentioned they were frustrated about is the NEW Individual Attraction Selection offering. This would be potentially tied for 4th place or potentially 5th on the list in terms of the number of mentions.
As we discussed above, FastPass+ is going away, and Disney Genie+ will serve as the new, PAID FastPass-like system. But, on top of Genie+, Disney is also introducing something called Individual Attraction Selection. With Individual Attraction Selection, guests will have the ability to PURCHASE and schedule a return time during which they’ll be able to visit one specific attraction and ride the attraction by using that ride’s Lightning Lane.
Essentially, you’d be paying to utilize a FastPass for a single ride. Pricing hasn’t been released for Individual Attraction Selections, but Disney has shared that the price will vary by attraction, date, and park. A maximum of 2 Individual Attraction Selections can be made per person per day.
What rides’ Lightning Lane access will be available for purchase? Disney hasn’t shared the full list, but they have mentioned that it will be for select, highly popular rides. So far, Disney has mentioned that Seven Dwarfs Mine Train at Magic Kingdom, Radiator Springs Racers in Disney California Adventure Park, WEB SLINGERS: A Spider-Man Adventure at Disney California Adventure Park, Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance, and Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure at EPCOT will be included in the Individual Attraction Selection option.
One important thing to note is that the rides offered through Individual Attraction Selection will NOT be available through Genie+. For example, if you want to access the Lightning Lane at (and skip the need to get a Boarding Group for) Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance, that will NOT be included in Genie+ (the service where you pay $15 at Disney World to make Lightning Lane selections at over 40 rides). Instead, you’ll have to pay individually to access the Lightning Lane JUST for Rise of the Resistance.
Various readers commented that this specific additional cost of paying to access the Lightning Lane for select highly popular rides was very frustrating to them, particularly in light of the fact that Genie+ is also an additional cost.
Benefits for Those Who Pay More
While it wasn’t necessarily mentioned as much as the items above, various readers did note that they were frustrated at the fact that more things in Disney World appear to be becoming exclusive only to those who pay more. This applies to various things like Individual Attraction Selection, Genie+, and Extended Evening Hours. For both Genie+ and Individual Attraction Selection, there is an additional fee associated with them that is above and beyond the base Disney World ticket price.
For Extended Evening Hours, guests won’t have to pay extra for that offering, but it is only being offered for those who are more than likely paying more for their hotel stay — those staying at Disney World Deluxe Resorts, Deluxe Villa Resorts, or select other hotels.
Overall, several readers mentioned being frustrated at the fact that these specific benefits are now only going to be accessible to those guests who are willing to pay more for them when in the past things like Extra Magic Hours and FastPass+ were free to all Disney World guests.
And Other Changes
Readers mentioned a few other upcoming changes as well that frustrated them. Some mentioned that they didn’t like the idea that Disney is essentially forcing guests to use their phones more, rather than less. You need your phone for a LOT of things in Disney World right now (like Mobile Order, online Check-In, mobile dine walk-up waitlist, and more).
And you needed in the past as well when it came to FastPass+ selections, though those could also be done on monitors in the park. Guests will certainly need their phones with Genie, Genie+, and some of the newer services, as many of them will be built right into the My Disney Experience app.
Some guests also mentioned that they were frustrated Annual Passes are not on sale again yet (though sales of Annual Passes are set to resume soon). Others were frustrated that sales for things like the Dining Plan, or Tables in Wonderland also haven’t returned.
Some mentioned that they were frustrated at Harmonious and the barges for the show, which the reader lovingly called an “eyesore.” One reader mentioned being frustrated at the fact that 180-day dining booking windows haven’t returned yet. Others were frustrated at…well, a lot of stuff! Some responded by saying they were frustrated at basically ALL of the upcoming changes or simply asked us where to even start!
There are a lot of changes that are set to be made in the next few months at Disney World, and we’re sure there are many more changes coming in the future. Some of these changes may make you super excited (like a new fireworks show at Magic Kingdom), while others may frustrate you. We’ll be sure to be on the lookout for details about all of these changes and share updates with you. So, be sure to check back with us here at DFB for all the latest!
Click here to learn more about some of the changes coming to Splash Mountain for its Princess and the Frog re-theme!
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What upcoming Disney change frustrates you the most? Tell us about it in the comments.