Disney Parks announced a new service on Wednesday it says will cut down on guest wait times — but there's a cost.
Disney Genie, a service that debuts in the Disney Parks apps this fall, aims to do the planning for you. Say you want to ride Tower of Terror, meet Mickey Mouse, and eat at PizzeRizzo. Disney Genie will tell you how to best accomplish all those things in the shortest amount of time. But to actually skip the line at rides and attractions, you'll need to pay: Formerly free FastPasses, which were put on hold during the pandemic, are being replaced by Lightning Lane, which is only available through the paid Genie+.
This service costs $15 at Disney World and $20 at Disneyland. Lightning Lane can be used for more than 15 attractions at Disneyland and more than 40 at Disney World.
Some fans were quick to describe the news as another "money grab" by Disney, which is back to making billions in revenue on its theme parks and experiences after taking a hit during the pandemic.
Genie+ will also offer guests audio experiences centered around different Disney themes, augmented reality lenses for Disney World guests, and unlimited PhotoPass downloads for Disneyland guests.
In spite of the criticism, Josh D'Amaro, Disney Parks chair, told CNN Business that Disney Genie and Genie+ are just another way to make sure the guests have the best experience at Disney Parks.
"We've had 60 years of experience in theme parks," he said. "So we know exactly how people are behaving, how the attractions are behaving. We know exactly how to optimize a day. So with technology advancing, we're able to take all that information and all of that data that our industrial engineers have and serve it up in a very convenient way to our guests."