Putting the Genie(+) back into the lamp

You all know me. Mr. “I hate FastPass.” And now, that hatred has become magnified with the creation of the Genie+ and LL+ changes. I’ve held off making a post detailing my reasons, however, because I wanted to let my initial emotional reactions die down a bit.

But, here I am, still angered by the new system…to the point that I really wish there was an effective way we could all boycott. (I don’t think that would work…as much as I think Disney needs to have us vote by our wallets, too many people are scared to go and NOT pay for the new service because they’d be behind everyone else who is…so, here we are.)

To start, let me say, I’m not against a “skip the line” system which lines Disney’s pockets in some fashion…but I AM against a “skip the line” system which borders on the equivalent of a pyramid scheme, in a way. I’ll get to that point shortly.

So here are my issues:

  1. Any system which allows a guest to bypass the standby queue, by definition, causes those who are in the standby queue to have to wait longer. This was the problem I had with FP+ as well. HOWEVER, with FP+, it was a “trade”. You skipped a long wait in one (or, actually, three) line, but made up for it (on average) by waiting longer in the other lines. Of course, there were those who could play that to their advantage, but as a whole, it was a wash. Smoke and mirrors, really.

But, as it turns out, Genie+ doesn’t have this “it all balances out” feature. Anyone who is paying for Genie+ is effectively making the lines longer not only for every guest who isn’t paying for G+, but also for the G+ paying guests themselves for each ride they get into the standby line for while they are waiting for their LL access.

  1. As a result of number 1, what we have now is Disney creating false scarcity so that they can charge extra for something they wouldn’t have to pay extra for otherwise. As more people use G+ to skip the lines, the standby waits go up. As the standby waits go up, more people will want to skip the lines. The more people who want to skip the lines, the more will pay (extra) for G+. And round and round we go. Suddenly, Disney has an ever-increasing revenue stream by CREATING the very problem they supposedly set out to solve. This creates, in a sense, an artificial revenue stream, where they are making money on the backs of the guests…that is to say, G+ STEALS time away from paying guests entering the park and gives it to those willing to pay MORE for G+. For every guest who uses G+, it devalues the ticket that others who are NOT using G+ have paid for.

  2. The secondary aspect of G+ (sort of) is the separate paid LL access. In fact, I read someone quoting Josh D’Amaro saying that it is to guests’ benefit because if they can’t get, for example, a BG to ROTR, they now have the option to buy LL access. But, this is entirely disingenuous. Ride capacity did NOT increase on ROTR simply because they started charging money for LL. Rather, in order to be able to allow some people to pay for access, they have to TAKE AWAY ridership potentiality from everyone else. That is to say, they have reduced the available pool of BGs. So, fewer people can now obtain a BG to begin with by Disney falsely increasing scarcity. As a result, someone who couldn’t get a BG before doesn’t really have INCREASED chance to ride. The same number of people can ride as they could before. Only, some people will now try to BUY their way onto the ride from a separate pool of riders…a pool which is still limited in capacity, and will likely cause a lot of people to be unable to actually obtain LL access. So…still no guarantee to ride, yet Disney is now making money by charging extra for entry into the line that they could have had access to for free.

At first glance, this may still seem advantageous to some. But remember, Disney completely controls this. If they could accommodate 10000 people before with “free” BGs, they might decide to reallocate 1000 slots to paid. So, 9000 people can ride for free, while 1000 people pay. Once Disney starts successfully selling access to those 1000 people daily, they can simply say, “Let’s make more money.” Bam. The take another 1000 people from the free BG pool. Now only 8000 people can ride for free, while 2000 can pay. This makes it increasingly difficult to obtain a BG for free, and drives more people to pay until, one day down the line, pretty much the only way to have a chance to ride ROTR is to pay…on top of your already expensive ticket price.

  1. Now to come to a point I hadn’t originally thought of on my own until I was watching an episode of Mickey Views on YouTube. Brayden was pretty much iterating a lot of the same points/concerns I already had. But then he mentioned one I hadn’t…which in a way ties to number 3.

Step back, for a moment, and consider ride capacity again. Disney has worked hard in the past to create rides with extremely high ride capacity. And, “demand” for a rider is almost entirely based on ride capacity. Peter Pan’s Flight, for example, used to be a coveted FP+ to obtain because it has very low ride capacity, which drives up wait times.

So, what happens when Disney decides not to bother designing rides that can handle the crowd demands? (I’m looking at you, ROTR! But not just you.) Well, first they’ve had to come up with the whole BG mechanism. Which now leads to them being able to start CHARGING access to the ride.

See where this is leading, though? Disney can actually control (once again) whether they can charge people for individual rides by PURPOSELY limiting ride capacity. In fact, it becomes in their best interest, financially, to reduce capacity on a ride so that more people are now willing to pay for it! This goes even for rides that have relatively sufficient capacity!

Future rides, in particular, are ripe for Disney to no longer care if they can only handle 1000 riders per hour. For them, that makes it a revenue-generating stream!

Compare this to FP+ (or just having no skip the line system in general). In such a scenario, Disney has reason to keep guests happy by trying to keep rides up and running as efficiently as possible. Lengthy wait times lead to customer dissatisfaction! But, if you, instead, have a paid skip-the-line system, then with that same lengthy wait time, rather than blame Disney, guests can “kind of” blame themselves because they “should have gotten Genie+” and didn’t.

But those Jedi mind tricks won’t work on me! Or well…I wish I could say they won’t…

In all of this, what we see is that Disney is in complete control of making money off guests for things that used to be entirely free, and for which each guest is paying exorbitant amounts already in the ticket pricing. They artificially create demand so that people UNNECESSARILY start paying more.

What is the “fix”? I don’t know. As I said from the start, I really wish people would express their outrage to Disney about this model by refusing to participate. But such a movement would have to be adopted by a huge number of people beyond just on Touring Plans. It would have to be a grass roots movement. I just don’t see that happening.

I think Disney could have had a skip the line system that would benefit their bottom line without causing the issues I mentioned above. Rather than charge for access directly, they should have followed a similar model to FP+. For example, give free Fastpasses to on-site or all guests (perhaps in a reduced fashion…maybe 2 per guest), and then grant first-dibs access to those FPs based on accommodations. Deluxe guests get 60 day access, Moderate 45 days access, Value 30 days out, and then off site maybe 15 days out (or some similar tiers). This would potentially drive more people to be willing to pay for higher-end accommodations, but still allow everyone access to the FPs.

There are other ways. That is just one idea.

Anyhow, sorry about the long post.

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Wow. I kinda feel like I read a math textbook. But for once, I sorta understood the algebra. ~ Mind blown. ~

I think I am willing to stop going to WDW after this next trip. If they send me one of those follow-up surveys [does Disney still do that?], I’ll be sure to tell them why we’re not going back.

I feel glad that Genie isn’t launching until after I’ve been there. I was already seriously annoyed by the pay-for-parking thing. I can’t believe they’re charging resort guests for parking! Disney isn’t doing anything to earn that $25 per car per day thing. The lots are already paved!

Sorry. Different rant.

Anyway, I had said that DH and I would utilize paying for Genie+ and the more desirable attractions, but now you’ve shown me the light.

I’m really sorry the current management are such greedy jerks. :frowning_face:

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I completely agree with your points. My DH really wants to start a grass roots movement to boycott the G+, but like you said, trying to get enough people on board to make the system not sell at all is next to impossible. If I choose to boycott it, I’m only punishing myself by waiting in the lines that everyone else is skipping. It’s so manipulative.

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Yes. Exactly…which makes it all the more infuriating.

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Great points again, you are right on!

I keep thinking about something that Len said on the podcast. He expects this whole new paid system to be completely different or gone by 5 years from now. Not sure of his exact reasoning but my guess is that this could backfire (long-term), especially when people don’t have as much extra money that they have had in this current economy.

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Great points. I’m not willing to boycott, but I probably won’t use G+ or LL+ most of the time - only for the days / rides I really need it.

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I’m certainly willing to wait until the system is up and running before I complete my opinion, but I doubt we’ll use G+ on a regular basis.

Between this and the new AP, the whole thing just leaves a bad taste in my mouth.

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Of course, your “need” for it increases the more people use it “only for the days/rides they really need it.” :wink:

I’ll admit, I’m glad I’m not heading there soon. By the time December 2022 comes around, we’ll be able to see how it plays out in practice more. Will we use it? If we were going THIS December, based on what we know how, we determined we MIGHT need G+ for 3 out of 7 days, the LL+ for a total of 4 rides. But, it totally irks me that I even have to think that way. In the meantime, as I mentioned in another thread, we reduced some of our plans to accommodate the added costs. So, even if we DO end up using it, it won’t ultimately offer Disney any additional revenue. We will just be getting a reduced experience for the same amount of money.

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Great points. Disney already does manipulate capacity for rides, such as only running one side for BTMRR or Space Mountain. So it’s not without precedence.

We are getting Genie+ for our trip after Thanksgiving, much to my frustration, because we already determined this is our last trip for a very long time, if ever. We want to make sure we are able to ride our favorites one last time. I know people aren’t going to boycott this because people won’t boycott other money grabbing ventures that Disney has introduced. So we are stuck paying on top of the tickets we bought precovid. If we didn’t get Genie+, it would only hurt us in the end.

And since we aren’t doing a Christmas party, the money for that is going to Genie+. So no extra money is being spent.

The difference here, though, is that Disney does not financially benefit by manipulating capacity. At least, not directly so. But now?

Take Space Mountain. Let’s say Disney adds SM to LL+ access. And then…they decide to shut down one side of the ride, cutting capacity in half. Lines sky rocket, and more and more people are now forking over money to get on it. Disney effectively increases their money by purposely reducing capacity!!!

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Do the park reservations enter into the Genie+ and Laser Lanes - sorry, lightning lanes equations at all?

As for spending more money to ride rides I doubt we’ll do that. We didn’t use many FPs in a day. And actually forgot to use some.

When many of your favorite memories over the decades have nothing at all to do with rides, it’s tough to feel the need to get on that bandwagon.

A long way of saying supply (ride capacity per day) is fixed by Disney (both by ride design and by how they staff/use ride vehicles and track) … and now Disney is selling a portion of that ride capacity for a higher price due to the excess demand.

I think your example at the end about “free” FP+ with on-site stays is really the same thing because Disney could raise the price of each level of resort depending on the FP benefits of that resort level.

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I have a different view on this, but it still ends with a dislike for LL+. I don’t think he is entirely disingenuous, just somewhat so.

If you are a family on your Once in a Lifetime Trip, being able to purchase LL$ for ROTR does let your ride it. So he is accurate. True it takes away from other people playing the morning lotto, but that family gets to ride even if they lost the 7:00 lotto. It will improve some guests satisfaction.

Where he is completely, utterly and totally disingenuous is for all of the rides that do not have less capacity then there is demand. I am looking at KS, Space, etc. which just seem like utter money grabs to me. The only upside is that there should be fewer people paying for LL$ for these rides than would pay for G+, so hopefully that will actually mean shorter stand by than if they were included in G+

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Yes they do. Less labor cost is an immediate savings and then longer term there is savings from less wear and tear on the ride vehicles.

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It isn’t the same (although I’d be perfectly happy for them to eliminate it entirely) because the money they are making from this new system rides on the back of other guests, as I mentioned. It isn’t due to Disney giving something extra…but taking something away from other guests.

When all rides are running at capacity (which is pretty much the case for all of WDW) it doesn’t matter which system Disney uses to manage their queues, average number of rides per person stays the same, because its constraint is ride capacity, e.g. if the ride capacity for Space Mountain is 1k/hour, the park is opened for 10 hours and there were 20k people on the park that day, the average MK goer will go on Space Mountain 0.5 times, and the number of attractions people experience on average is the sum for all rides. It doesn’t matter if it’s a boarding group, virtual queue, FP, FP+, Maxpass. This number only changes with:

  • Operation changes (like running multiple trains and theaters)
  • Park hours
  • Number of people in the park
  • Number of available attractions

All of those cost money to actually improve. Disney used to not even run rides with all available ride vehicles in low season.

What different systems do is change “ride wealth” distribution. Some systems have everyone pretty close to average (just having lines does that). Some have a small minority with way above average and everyone else slightly bellow average (like the express pass at UOR). FP+ was not very equalitarian, but it’s system privileged planning as well as money. Genie+ gives Disney a ton of knobs to adjust how they want this distribution to look like, and I don’t really know what they will aim for.

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You skipped quoting my “At least not directly.” :slight_smile:

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I seriously question this angle. First of all Rise of the Resistance is estimated at 1300-1700 per hour - so if everything is working well it is exactly the same as Tower of Tower (1700) for example. So we have not seen any new attractions looking to lower the bar as of yet and create an artificial scarcity.

But more importantly, if they lower the bar where a majority of guests CANNOT ride a new ride nor even pay for it, that is going to cause a serious dissatisfaction with guests who just won’t be willing to come any more. Limiting capacity to entice payments might be a solid short term strategy, but it is decidedly a move that will haunt them long term if fewer people bother to pay to enter the parks in the first place. I just don’t see them risking upsetting a large number of people paying $100+ to enter the parks, just to collect an extra 15 (or slightly more with LL) on those still willing to pay. It would be very bad economics and if DI$ is all about the dollar, it doesn’t make sense…

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Saving money on reduced labor costs for staffing rides is about as direct as you can get.

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Indirectly. :slight_smile: