Free FastPass+ Has Officially Been Retired – What’s Next?

Free FastPass+ Has Officially Been Retired – What’s Next?Another benefit of staying on property has been taken away and planning for your Disney trip has now drastically changed.
photo: DADventure
HEY!

Holy cow, do we have big changes coming to your future Walt Disney World trip. I was going to dedicate this week’s newsletter to the details announced for the holidays at WDW, but yesterday’s news pushed that back a week.

Disney has announced the end of the free Fastpass program and is launching Disney Genie – a virtual in-park planner for your trip. They also shared the future of Lightning Lane – the new pay-to-play version of Fastpass.

Lots to cover – so let’s get to it.
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photo: DisneyThe Genie is Coming
Disney Genie will be here – starting this fall – and with it comes big changes for your future Disney World trips.

What is Disney Genie? It’s an integrated portion of the My Disney Experience app that will customize your daily Disney itinerary, based on factors including park capacity/crowd size, real time attraction wait times, and your personal preferences.

This service will be complimentary, but just like the favorite game on your phone, the ‘good’ stuff will end up costing you something extra.

Let’s look at what this thing can do.
photo: Disney
* Disney Genie will be synced in to the parks in a way even My Disney Experience couldn’t do. You and your family will program in your favorite rides, shows, food and more and the Genie will keep track of them – showing you not only current wait times, but forecasted wait times for throughout the day.

* You will be able to make dining reservations or get on wait lists, get seats to shows, use mobile ordering for food and more – right from the app.

* Notifications will alert you if a wait time for a favorite ride has dropped allowing you to stay flexible throughout your day in the park.


* Have a real-time itinerary planned before you get to the park – but putting in your favorites, Disney Genie will even spill out the best plan of attack for your day – again, updating it as the day goes on as crowd size or wait times change.
photo: DisneyGenie+ & Lightning Lane
sHere’s where the FastPass replacement comes into play.

Genie+ is a paid service that will give you fast access to some of your favorite attractions.

The cost is $15, per guest, per day to use, at Walt Disney World. (Disneyland has the same services, but it costs $20 per person.)

Genie+ allows you to choose an attraction from the available list (full list has not been announced yet – but Disney mentioned Haunted Mansion, Big Thunder Mountain and even Smugglers Run in their release.) to choose to use Lightning Lane for.

What’s Lightning Lane? It’s the old FastPass entrance, bypassing the standby crowd.

You can choose ONE attraction at a time, and once in line, choose your next attraction – and this is unlimited throughout the day (of the available attractions).

Certain attractions won’t show up on this list – think the big ones – Seven Dwarfs, Rise of the Resistance, the new Ratatouille attraction, etc. For this level attraction, you can pay even more money to schedule those individual attractions. (Pricing not announced yet, and most believe it will flex with crowd demand much like Uber does.) Some of the big big attractions will continue to have virtual queues as well.

Some of the biggest changes:

Gone are the days of waking up at 5:00am, 60 days from your trip, to book your FastPasses. The Genie+ will only work the day of your visit. Not sure yet what this means for making Advancing Dining Reservations.

Resort guests will be allowed to start their Genie+ individual ride selections at 7:00am the day of their visit, while the general public cannot make selections until the parks officially open.

You can use Genie+ as you park hop, you no longer have to do three in one park and wait til the afternoon to get more for whatever park you hop to.
photo: DisneyBut Wait – There’s More!
Genie will have PhotoPass at Disneyland and some really cool Augmented Reality (AR) photo ops at Walt Disney World.

There will be music and other audio selections you can play on your phone, via the app, that corresponds with where you are in the parks. To me, this isn’t a great addition as the parks are already full of music and why kill your phone battery on that?

A Dining Tip Board will show you waits and availability at Disney restaurants.

DADventure’s Thoughts: Wow, there’s a lot to digest here, but my main take away – more money.

FastPass was free and was HUGE for families with little kids, allowing us to avoid long lines that help add to the melt down factor with the Littles.

Now we have to budget another $75 per day for my family of five to enjoy the one-attraction-at-a-time Lightning Lane. Added to the new budget for transportation from the airport (talked about it last week) – we’re adding quite a hunk of change to our trip.

I also worry about phone batteries, if you’re capturing photos and videos on your phone, and using the Genie all day – your battery is going to go FAST. Be sure to pack at least one portable battery charger in your park bags.

In all honestly, I like the functionality of the app, but I wish Disney would stop adding line items to an already full vacation budget.
photo: DisneyFOUND MORE CHARACTER STATUES
Here’s this week’s update!

Disney confirmed my clues on Figment and Chip & Dale. I also found Jaq & Gus from Cinderella, Abu from Aladdin, and Dumbo with Timothy Mouse.

I’ve found 31 of the 50 so far. And more to come! Click HERE to see the newest ones.
Can’t Wait?Disney World Holiday Details
If you can’t wait for a future newsletter with all the details for Christmas time at Disney World – click the photo above to see it on DADventureDisney.com
THIS WEEK’S DISNEY BRAIN TEASER
Can you guess what Disney item this graphic represents? It could be a movie, or a song or a quote or a character. Let me know your answers and I’ll share all the correct guesses next time!

Congrats to Jennifer and Autumn who both guessed that last week’s brain teaser was You’ll Be In My Heart from Tarzan.

Submit your answer by replying to this message (sorry that survey button didn’t work last week.)
So, what do you think? Is the Disney Genie a time saver or simply a money grab?

Let me know and of course, please share what you’d like to see in future newsletters.

So long!
Keith
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