Disney declined to discuss its pricing plans for this option. The company also declined to list the attractions, though one will be Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, a gentle Disney World roller coaster where the standby wait can exceed two hours on busy weekends. (On Tuesday night it was 85 minutes.)
Daily Business Briefing
“This allows us to, No. 1, create a better guest experience,” Josh D’Amaro, the chairman of Disney Parks, Experiences and Products, said in a Zoom interview. “It should be obvious, but a better guest experience is better for our business. No. 2, it allows us to best utilize our capacity — you can distribute demand much more effectively through your ecosystem. And then obviously there is revenue attached to this. That revenue we get to then reinvest in new experiences.”
Disney Genie will be introduced “in the fall,” according to the company, which is charging less for Genie+ at Disney World, in part, because families tend to visit for several days. The much smaller Disneyland Resort is more of a day trip. Genie+ will include sweeteners beyond Lightning Lane access; Disneyland’s version, for instance, will include downloads of photos shot by park photographers.
Over the last decade, Disney has spent tens of billions of dollars to upgrade old rides and build new ones at its theme parks around the world. At Disney World, which will celebrate its 50th anniversary in October, an overhaul at Epcot is underway and a “Star Wars”-themed resort (the conceit involves staying on a ship in space) is under construction, among other projects.
Disney has never been shy about seeking a substantial return on its theme park investments. But some people will undoubtedly see the new line-skipping options as a money grab. Others may view Genie+ as creating an uncomfortable class system.
Mr. D’Amaro said the new offerings were intended to emphasize choice and flexibility, which customers have told the company they want. “Change is change, so it will take a moment for the guest to understand what this is,” he said. “But we are very, very confident in this tool and its ability to improve the guest experience over all.”
Bob Chapek, Disney’s chief executive, first discussed plans for Disney Genie at a fan convention in August 2019, when he was the company’s theme park chairman. Last week, Mr. Chapek told analysts on an earnings-related conference call that Disney’s spending on the planning tool had been “significant.”