Disney’s greed is anything but magical


Alexis Smith

Art by Lexie Smith

Galahad Kai McDuff Wilken, Staff Reporter

Disney is a place of magic, wonder, and, like Scrooge McDuck, immense amounts of money. It is important to remember that while Disney World is a place of wonder and fun it is also a place of business and money making. And like a business, increasing profit is always a goal. Disney has shed new light on its Genie service, named for the popular character from the film Aladdin. Unfortunately for us, this particular friend has a price.

Disney first announced the Genie service as an extension of their My Disney Experience app – whose purpose was to help plan and make Disney World theme parks less stressful. Genie was first announced at D23, the Comic-Con of Disney, in 2019, but little information was available at the time. That was our first glimpse of Genie, it seemed like it would be a fun addition to their planning page that would help with line wait time estimation and make personalized suggestions. As of August 18th of this year we can see that this will not be the case.

Disney started their blog post like this: “Coming this fall to Walt Disney World Resort and Disneyland Resort, Disney Genie is a complimentary and convenient new digital service designed to create your best Disney day. We’ve been listening to your feedback – you want planning to be easier, you want more flexibility and you want better tools to help you make the most of your visit – and that’s exactly what Disney Genie is here to do. We’ve made significant investments in this cool new technology, which guides you through our theme parks with tips that can help you reduce time in lines, discover magic around every corner and take the guesswork out of “what’s next.” (Avery Maehrer, Manager of Communications, Walt Disney World Resort). They then went on to announce Genie Plus and Lightning Lane, which would be taking the place of FastPass+.

FastPass+ was a free service that allowed you to book passes that would help you skip lines at three rides each day along with your park tickets. It’s replacement, Lightning Lane is a paid experience that does the exact same thing, except you book it on the day at 7 am and you pay for it based on how busy the park is that day. This is the latest in a long line of free perks disappearing from the Disney parks experience, from them beginning to charge for parking in 2018, to taking away extra hours of the park being open for hotel guests, to taking away their free bus line from the Orlando airport. Fans of the Disney parks seem to be absolutely outraged by the Genie plus developments. In the post where Disney announced the development there were 201 comments, every one of them negative or confused. Even the YouTube video detailing the announcement has a 1:12 like to dislike ratio. All we can do is wait and see if Disney will have any reaction to the well of disapproval that has sprung up in response to their recent actions.