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A lot has changed at Disneyland and Walt Disney World since the parks reopened. One of the biggest changes was the end of the free FastPass system, for the new, fee based, Genie+ and Individual Lightning Lanes. A lot of people were frustrated to see a formerly free option become a paid addition, but it apparently didn’t stop people from spending the money as apparently more than a third of guests have spent the extra money since the options launched.
Speaking on The Walt Disney Company’s Q1 earnings call, CEO Bob Chapek revealed that the Genie+ and Lightning Lane options have been even more successful than anticipated as more than one out of every three guests has purchased either the Genie+ option, an Individual Lightning Lane, or both. The new systems launched at Disney World in October and Disneyland Resort in December.
Needless to say, that number is pretty impressive. While it may be a minority of guests, it’s a significant percentage of the number of people in the parks at any given moment. And at $15 per sale at Disney World, and $20 per sale at Disneyland, multiplied by one third of the guests that have entered the park since the systems launched, the absolute dollar value is a not insignificant amount of money. It likely contributed to the Disney Parks, Experiences, and Products division of the company having its second biggest quarter of all-time. What pandemic?
While there was certainly a vocal contingent of fans who were less than happy with the new option, as it replaced a previously free option. But at the end of the day, it’s clear that there was little hesitation to actually spend the money when it came down to it.
At the same time, there’s reason to believe these numbers are a bit inflated. Many of the guests at Disney theme parks are families, so groups of three or more people. For Genie+ or Individual Lightning Lanes to be useful, everybody in the group has to use it, so if a family of four buys Genie+ it certainly makes up for some of the people who may choose not to spend the money.
But at the end of the day it doesn’t matter. If Genie+ or Lightning Lanes were not being purchased we could conceivably see them removed or drastically changed, but that’s not the case. People are spending the money, so anybody who wanted to see Genie+ die is going to be disappointed.
Of course, just because a lot of people have used the new services now, time will tell if they have legs. Not everybody who has used Genie+ believes its worth it, which means those people, and perhaps others, may be less likely to spend the money in the future.