Incredibly Sad Disneyland Report 2-22-22

Before I share this with you, I want you to know that Unofficial Guide and have been essential in all of our visits to Disney World. They’ve made our trips miraculously wonderful every time! We’ve ridden like fools, had a marvelous time, and enjoyed every single second of our visit(s) over the past 20 years of trips to Disney World.

One of my favorite moments was when we were done with the vast majority of our rides at Magic Kingdom, some of which we’d ridden several times, and I heard a woman say, “Pirates is only an hour and a half wait! Let’s do this one!” My kids were climbing the treehouse and I was on my way to do Carousel of Progress, basically done with all the best rides but still going strong until after fireworks!

So I’m incredibly sad to send the following report.

We just had our first-ever visit to Disneyland - a one-day, smash-and-grab-type visit, so we included everything: Park Hopper, Genie+ and two pay-per-ride Lightning Lanes - $572 for two tickets (including two $$$ Lightning Lane rides) on a very cold and rainy Tuesday in California. We thought the crowds would be lower due to date/weather, but that was not the case.

We arrived at the parking structure at 7:07 a.m. and made our way to rope drop - more than a mile away! - in time to squish into the crowds at Disney’s California Adventure. (We were aiming for Guardians of the Galaxy first, but accidentally got squished into the Web Slinger ride line, since we had no idea where we were going. Cast members were yelling “Strollers to the right!” so we thought we should stay to the left… Oops.)

On my phone, I bought Rise of the Resistance Lightning Lanes as soon as we got into the park, and we were (much later) thrilled to use it when the wait was posted at 130 minutes and all the $$$ LLs were sold out. Rise of the Resistance might have been the highlight of our day. What a ride!

But no matter what we did, we had serious and constant trouble with the Genie+ Lightning Lane.

All of the LLs were 8 a.m., so we grabbed one for Soarin’ - although we figured we would be on our first two rides - Guardians and Radiator Springs (single-rider) - for at least an hour. We expected to ride Guardians a couple of times, like we always did with Tower of Terror - but no chance for that at Disneyland! Crowds were insane at 8:30 a.m. After a 26-minute wait, we would have needed to wait another hour if we’d wanted to ride Guardians again.

Having that CLOSED window when you can only get ONE Lightning Lane for each ride is like having a blinking red light and a screaming siren in the brain all day long. Every Lightning Lane is like GOLD and if you miss your window, if you lose that ONE pass, you’re screwed, that’s it. You lose your one chance to ride that ride, because the standbys are obscene.

Does Disney even realize what they have done to us? Do they not understand how imperative it is to allow us to re-ride those rides we so love withOUT a three-hour wait?

Worst of all - with that red light blinking - Disney doesn’t even offer the Genie+ options they advertise on “My Tip Board.” So you are REALLY stuck - all day long.

So after our first ride, we had to cancel our Soarin’ LL. We chose a 10:35 LL for Guardians - but when we clicked “10:35” we got 11:55! An automatic 11:55-12:55 window. It didn’t matter that we also had a Radiator Springs $$$ Lightning Lane for 12:05 AND a Rise of the Resistance $$$ LL at 1:00. Genie+ didn’t care! It gave me THREE Lightning Lanes in two different parks all within a one-hour-long window!

But wait: there’s MORE: Radiator Springs broke during our three-rides-hour, so we spent twenty minutes getting a refund for our $$$ LL, knowing we had to be in the other park in half an hour and we weren’t sure if we’d get back to California Adventure.

So we had two hours to kill by either riding things we didn’t care about (standby) or trying single-rider lines.

We basically spent the rest of the day and well into the evening waiting … and waiting… for our two-obligatory-hour shifts to end so we could get another Lightning Lane pass. It was not even 9 a.m. when we got that “10:30-changed-to-noon” LL, so we had to wait two more hours just to find out where we might be going in the afternoon.

During our wait, we rode Radiator Springs using Single Rider. This worked like a charm. While in that line, I wondered why Disneyland would randomly DROP all those single-rider lines for other rides: Indiana Jones, Space Mountain…. Why would anyone destroy a single-rider line, if there’s one already set up? This crushed our spirits in ways no one can imagine. We’d been planning our trip for a month before we found out so many single-rider lines were gone.

Single rider lines are the saving grace that Disneyland needs to make ride-riders happy! It worked beautifully on Radiator Springs. We used it for Incredicoaster twice in a row! And we later got on Smugglers Run with no wait at all! We were literally the only people in the single-rider line. Then, while we were stuck in a downpour during our single-rider wait for Matterhorn Bobsleds, we only waited half an hour while the standby wait was at 75 minutes.

While we were waiting for our next Lightning Lane, we did Mickey’s Philharmagic. No line, ever. How can they only get this right for ONE ride?

But Lightning Lane? That was a total mess.

There is simply no way to factor in the “mess” for Touring Plans - which explains why it hasn’t been yet done that - because Genie+ doesn’t even know what it’s doing. After our late lunch (table service at Cafe Orleans, which was disappointing for other reasons), we ended up in Lightning Lane lines that were as long - if not LONGER - than Standby lines.

Space Mountain is a prime example. We secured our “4:15” Lightning Lane - and got 6:25 p.m. instead. When we finally got to Space Mountain hours later - on our fourth back-and-forth between parks - we stood in the rain for 70 minutes! How is that “Lightning” fast? We could see that there was an agonizing Standby line as well, and no one was particularly happy to be waiting in the rain.

Also apparently no one goes home during the rain/cold, even though it is amazingly miserable when it happens in California.

I wanted to grab LL for Buzz Lightyear, which Genie+ claimed were available immediately - but I could see that the Lightning Lane wait was at least as long as Standby. In fact, all the Lightning Lanes were as long, if not longer, than Standby by the time evening hit.

After getting up at dawn, and after years of closing down WDW, we gave up entirely on Disneyland. Our final (9:00 p.m.) Lightning Lane for Indiana Jones wasn’t worth it, so we went dejectedly back to our hotel.

Then, even before our 9:00 window hit, I got a notification on my Disneyland App that said my Lightning Lane pass was a multi-pass now (woo-hoo) because Indiana Jones was indefinitely CLOSED. But because all the Lightning Lanes were gone for the thrill rides, my choice was to use that woo-hoo multi-pass on Monsters, Inc. or Goofy’s Sky School (which was actually closed due to rain).

We were very, very glad we were no longer at the park when this happened, and thrilled to have left before waiting two hours to find out we could have never ridden Indiana Jones anyway.

At the end of the day, we would say the $20 we spent on Genie+ was “worth it” - but we were only able to secure LL passes for Guardians of the Galaxy and Monsters, Inc. during our five hours at California Adventure. At Disneyland, we paid $40 to do Rise of the Resistance, and our Genie+ rides were limited to Haunted Mansion and Space Mountain. We can’t count the broken Indiana Jones, or the broken Radiator Springs Racers, for which we received a $12 refund.

So we got a whopping four rides at $5 per person for each Genie+ Lightning Lane ride (in addition to the exorbitant prices just to walk inside the park, and $60 each to park-hop).

And I feel for the people who got NO Lightning Lanes. We did standby for Soarin’ which was dreadful: they let in a hundred Lightning Laners, then 20 people from Standby. We watched them do it again and again: LL patrons would pour in, then they’d take a handful of those of us who were stuck in Standby.

And here’s the list of rides we WANTED to ride, but couldn’t ride at all because the waits were unbearable:

Indiana Jones

Luigi’s Rollickin’ Roadsters

Mater’s Junkyard Jamboree

Toy Story

Winnie the Pooh ("10 minutes” on Genie+ was actually 45 and we had a lunch reservation)

Buzz Lightyear

Pirates of the Caribbean

Storybook Canal Boats

Jungle Cruise

Big Thunder Mountain Railroad

Snow White

It’s a Small World (and)

Alice in Wonderland.

So we rode five rides in Disneyland and six in Disney’s California Adventure, and we were there for 13 hours. We took exactly two breaks: a 45-minute lunch and a 15-minute milk break in Star Wars land.

That comes out to … 70 minutes and $49.80 per ride.

I am now rethinking whether or not it was "worth it” to go to Disneyland at all, with their faulty and ridiculous new system.

And if Disney doesn’t do something to remedy the situation, I am not sure I will ever return to Walt Disney World, either. The happiest place on Earth - and my favorite place ever - has now fallen into a black hole and I can’t see any way it will ever get out, unless Disney fixes the problem it created by forcing us to pay so much more for so, so, so much less.

Readers: please beware. Touring Plans are useless with this newly created disaster. Steer clear and use your $ to do something else.


I’m really sorry you had such a miserable time.


I didn’t write all of this to whine or complain, really. I am trying to save others from making the same mistake I did. I had no idea, going in, how impossible the Lightning Lane system was going to be. If I had, I wouldn’t have expected to have a stellar Disneyland vacation. I hope my experience helps others to avoid the same fate.


I’m sorry to hear your trip wasn’t good. I was there in December and had no issues at all with Genie Plus, thought it worked much better than it did in WDW when we used it there. If you give DLR another chance, I would recommend a multiple day trip, stay on Harbor so you can quickly walk to the gates in the morning, and avoid a holiday week. I know these things can’t always be helped, but a few tweaks to your planning could make another trip better. I am really bummed for you though, I love DL and DCA so much and have never had a day that was as frustrating as yours.


Thank you for the report! Sorry to hear of all the trouble, but we all get to learn from each other here, at least.


I’m sorry to hear about your trip. How disheartening after all that planning and money spent. Out of curiosity, did you following a Touring Plan together with using Genie+ and LL?

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The 70 minute Space Mountain LL is crazy, and worries me for my upcoming trip with my granddaughter. She has a DAS for anxiety/panic disorder reason, because she cant do an hour in line, esp when the latter part inside is what is hardest for her.
We have a planned VIP tour for a day on our trip, and that would be an expensive ride! Were other LL lanes that backed up?

Thanks - but I will not be giving it another chance. I spent a fortune on this day, and it really was the only day we were going to be on that side of the continent so … well, that was that.


@gchue - I spent six weeks fine-tuning my Touring Plans, yes. We had Park Hopper and I had from 8-1 in DCA and 1-9 in DL, along with contingency plans to possibly go back to DCA if we had time. According to Touring Plans, we should have had plenty of time for everything on our list - which includes everything mentioned in my report - and by adding in two individual LL and Genie+, we expected the day to get be even better! Instead, it was substantially worse. Our tour plans were off from the first moment we started.

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The anything LLs are good on anything listed under what you can use it for - if it says LL not currently offered that just means they are out of distribution. I have used 5 anythings on Guardians when they don’t have actual ride slots left.

I’m sorry you had a bad experience. I’ve found it really great this trip. (I am NOT denying your experience - just saying I had the opposite. Granted I don’t believe in planning to the minute, so that probably helps. And yes, I live on the East Coast so this is a much more rare thing - and I let myself have more days - I would never have tried to hop with only one day.)


@Grace61 - yes, many lines were that backed up later in the evening. It didn’t seem to be as much of a problem in the daylight hours (before 5 pm). If she has a serious disability, it might be worth a call to Disney to see if there is something that can be done. I know that when my husband had his hip replaced and couldn’t stand for long periods, they were able to accommodate him - but that was years ago at WDW. Definitely worth the phone call!

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The list they gave me (two hours after we left the park) said the only things that were available were Monsters Inc and Goofy’s Sky School, which - according to My Tip Board on Genie - was closed. It did not say I could use it for anything on the list, only the things that were available. Maybe it has changed? Doesn’t matter anyway - we got nothing good from Genie+ really.

I’m saying on Tuesday - the same day you had your experience - I had multiple anything passes that I used on Guardians. Everything I got purposely when a ride was down (usually Goofy’s Sky School) gave me an anything pass that was only not good on the paid ones. Throughout the day and night.

Did you click on “manage pass” and then “what can you use it on?” Or did you just look at the Tip Board? Because the Tip Board only shows the times that passes are and when they are given out. Not the time an anything pass must be used and what it can be used on.


By the time this happened to me, I had left the park and I got a notification. I didn’t click on ‘manage’ anything because I got a notification with a list and I was already gone.

I got four LL passes - ALL DAY - that I was able to use. I spent the rest of the day waiting for a time to choose my next LL, and having NO luck getting the rides I wanted at any time even close to the time it actually was. I am thrilled that you had tons of fun and multiple anything passes. I guess I was supposed to know on my very first Disney trip that I should try to game the system by getting passes for rides that were broken. Obviously I missed out.

I’ve honestly found that - negativity aside - the DIS boards for Disneyland are far more helpful for planning and learning the tips as many of those posters are frequent DL visitors.


45 minutes for Winnie the Pooh is Crazy!! That must have been a busy day!


I’m sorry you had a really bad experience at DLR and Genie+. It sounds like it was a super busy day. I bought Genie+ for a day early this month. We did not have any of the reservation issues you mentioned. Reservations were available almost immediately. Starting early evening though, some LLs were almost as long as stand by lanes! The super busy day probably contributed to your bad experience. And we know that Disney IT is terrible when handling crowds!:rage:

5 of my LLs converted to multiple experience/multiple park LLs. I got reservation crazy when a couple of rides went down mid day. They were good on almost any ride, even those that didn’t have LLs. But they were not good for rides with ILLs.

I’m sorry you won’t have the opportunity to give DLR another try.


Even crazier is Little Mermaid for up to 45 minutes!!!

I honestly only did that one a couple of times when the line was short just to get off my feet. Otherwise, if a ride was basically a duplicate of WDW, I skipped it. Pirates, Haunted Mansion, and Space Mountain were the exceptions because they are pretty significantly different. I did do Small World because even though it’s essentially the same, I love it. Otherwise, if I could do it in Florida, I skipped it here.


I am not sure if this is true for Disneyland but that seems the average for WDW. It’s possible to get more but without luck, it seems after that, it may not be needed for what’s left.


Thanks for the info. I scheduled the tour in the afternoon bc I figured it would be busier then, also for reserved, less crowded vip seating for fireworks and fanstamic; hopefully our guide knows when to go where. We go the 1 week of August. We are there for 3 park days, so we can probably find a time its not bad, fingers crossed. Space Mountain just hit a chord, because we did a trip to WDW last summer, and while she started out slow ( the first ride she wanted to try on her first day, 1st trip was the carosel, LOL, )she ended up last day getting up the courage to do Slinky Dog and loved it. She didnt want to do Space Mountain though, I think bc since she couldn’t see it, her anxiety got her worried too much. Her face was priceless when the peoplemover went in the building, had to sit in my lap)
We did watch videos of all rides, but nope!
Anyway she saw a video of Space Mountain with the lights on recently and she realized, no big drops, no upside down … and she wants to ride this time. But even so, Im sure she will be a little on edge until she actually does it so a short wait time is going to be important.
We need a more relaxed style of touring, with some breaks to let her get a break from all the noise and activity, but overall she does ok, there are people with issues that need more help than she does. The DAS enables her to be able to take those breaks and still be able to ride and enjoy the parks. Without it , waiting a long time would set off a cycle of , “Im worried about this what if this happens, why are they screaming, is it scary, around and around, then the emotions overwhelm, and she panicky, and needs to leave, or cries…then did not get to ride, so that gets her down, bc she wanted to…” Which is not fun time. If we can keep the waits less than 30, I can distract, but that’s probably the longest, especially on the more thrill type rides.

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