A update to the Lightning Lane system has already taken place on Disney Genie’s third day of operation at Disney World.
It’s only been three days since Disney Genie debuted at Walt Disney World, but we’ve already seen a dramatic difference in how one aspect of the system, which is supposed to make planning your day easier, is working. It’s a wonderful improvement for those vacationing in Walt Disney World resort hotels, but it’s bad news for everyone else. Non-resort customers presumably no longer have access to the individual Lightning Lane attractions that may be purchased through Disney Genie.
It’s not uncommon for Disney World to provide extra benefits to guests staying at its own resort hotels. If you remain on property rather than off, you may often receive early or late entrance to specific parks. However, with the introduction of Disney Genie, resort guests received a new perk: early access to the Disney Genie+ and Individual Lightning Lanes reservation systems. While the general public would have to wait until the parks opened at 8 or 9 a.m. to make their initial reservations, resort guests could do so as early as 7 a.m.
However, something remarkable happened within the first two days of Disney Genie. Individual Lightning Lane attractions were reserved by resort visitors, and they were frequently fully booked at the early periods, leaving only late-day possibilities for others. However, after the parks opened at 9 a.m., a few of early reservation spots will become available again.
Disney World appeared to be withholding a batch of reservation times from resort visitors so that they didn’t use up all of the early time slots. But, according to Blog Mickey, it didn’t happen today. All early bookings for Rise of Resistance, Walt Disney World’s most popular attraction, were apparently claimed by resort guests, thus everyone else seeking to secure a slot had to wait until later in the evening.
On the one hand, this is great news for visitors to the resort. There were probably likely individuals who purchased an Individual Lightning Lane slot for Rise of the Resistance later in the day than they desired because that was what was available early in the day, only to discover they could have scheduled anything earlier if they had waited the previous two days. The time of an ILL cannot be adjusted after it has been scheduled. If you booked a Walt Disney World resort hotel based on the offered amenities, it’s a bummer if you can’t take use of them.
At the same time, it was refreshing to see Disney World not excluding visitors who were not staying in resorts. It was wonderful to see them have a crack at some decent ILL times. If you’ve ever remained off property during the days of FastPass+ and missed out on a FastPass for Flight of Passage or Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, you understand how frustrating it can be.
The issue is that balancing these two groups of individuals is quite difficult. It’s understandable that Disney World would want to give incentives to lure visitors to stay on property, but the resort also wants to ensure that every visitor gets their money’s worth. But, more importantly, how can you make everyone feel special while simultaneously making resort guests feel special?
We’ll have to wait and see what happens next. Perhaps this is the new normal, or perhaps Disney World will experiment with this for a time to see if they can find a way to make things work. Disney Genie will undoubtedly evolve over time as the resort looks for ways to improve it. I am confident that Disney want to make each and every guest’s Disney World experience great. The problem is figuring out how to accomplish it.
Sid Philips is a father of two and a loving husband. He currently resides in Pennsylvania and has been a fan of Disney since his parents took him there in 1980! Sid has visited multiple Disney parks around the world and loves each one!
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