Which Upcoming Disney World Change is the MOST Frustrating?

Between updated health and safety measures, the suspension of entertainment options, and more, a lot has changed in Disney World and Disneyland over the past year. And, there’s still more to come.

Magic Kingdom

Though park operations have become more and more “normal,” Disney has been making some BIG announcements on all the changes that we can expect over the next few months. And, with so much changing at once, it’s not uncommon for Disney fans to find themselves a bit frustrated. So, we turned to our AllEars readers on Facebook to see what upcoming changes are frustrating them the most.

Disney’s Magical Express Discontinued

Coming in as one of the top frustrations for our readers is Disney’s decision to discontinue the Magical Express service.

Disney’s Magical Express

If you’re not familiar, Disney’s Magical Express was introduced back in 2005 as a complimentary transportation option exclusively available to resort guests. Guests staying at a Disney World Resort hotel could input their flight information and arrive at the Orlando International Airport to be picked up (without having to worry about their luggage) and dropped off at their resort.

Plus, it even took you back at the end of your vacation.

Disney’s Magical Express Check-in Desk

Disney announced at the beginning of the year that the service would be discontinued after January 1st, 2022, and several Disney fans are sad to see the convenient transportation option go. Many found that it took one worry out of the equation when traveling and you really couldn’t beat the cost of free.

Disney’s Magical Express Bus Stop Pick-Up

Now guests will need to arrange for their own transportation to and from the airport and decide between renting a car, utilizing a ride share service, making a reservation through the new Mears transportation offering set to replace Disney’s Magical Express, or more.

Check Out All the Ways to Get To and From the Airport Without Disney’s Magical Express

Disney’s New Paid FastPass Program

While discontinuing Disney’s Magical Express was mentioned by tons of our readers as a big frustration, it was almost equally matched by those frustrated with Disney’s new FastPass+ replacement.


For those who missed it, Disney announced that FastPass, FastPass+, and MaxPass would not be returning to Disney World and Disneyland. Instead, guests will now be able to add on two PAID-for options that are very similar to the former FastPass service — Disney Genie+ and Individual Attraction Selection.


Disney Genie+ will cost $15 per guest per day (and $20 per guest per day at Disneyland) and will provide guests access to new Lightning Lanes (similar to the FastPass lanes that we knew) at over 40 attractions throughout all four parks in Disney World.


All guests who have purchased Disney Genie+ for the day of their visit will be able to begin making their selections as early as 7AM at Disney World (and upon park entry at Disneyland). And, unlike FastPass+, guests can only hold one Lightning Lane reservation at a time. So, once you use your pass at an attraction, you’ll be able to pick your next one.


Individual Attraction Selections will then be a separate cost from Disney Genie+ and provide Lightning Lane access to attractions that are NOT included in Disney Genie+ (aka the “fancy rides” as we’re calling them). It’s important to note that you don’t need to buy Disney Genie+ to purchase the Individual Attraction Selections, but you can only make up to two reservations through this system per day (NOT per park).

And, when it comes to cost, Disney has not yet shared an exact breakdown (or even what rides will be an Individual Attraction Selection), but we do know that prices will vary based on date, attraction, park.


This change has AllEars readers frustrated for a few different reasons. For some, the source of frustration comes simply from how confusing the new program is.

We’re Answering Your BIGGEST Questions About Disney Genie+

Disney hasn’t shared much information about the service and going from having two ways to ride an attraction (FastPass and standby) to one (only standby), all the way up to FOUR different ways to ride with little details makes it harder to plan a vacation nowadays.


For others, it’s the fact that Disney has eliminated another perk that once was “free” for all guests. And, others don’t enjoy that they’ll now need to wake up by 7AM on vacation to pick their Disney Genie+ attractions, Individual Attraction Selections, and join virtual queues.

Learn More About The Difference Between Disney Genie+ and Pay-to-Ride Attractions

Early Theme Park Hours and Extended Evening Hours

Another changing perk that has guests frustrated is Disney’s new replacement for Extra Magic Hours. Previously, guests staying at Disney World Resorts had exclusive access to extra time across all four theme parks on select days. Sometimes it was in the morning, other times it was in the evening, but these Extra Magic Hours are now discontinued.

Disney’s Hollywood Studios

Instead, beginning October 1st, Disney is introducing Early Theme Park Hours and Extended Evening Hours. And, while all guests can take advantage of the morning hours, only select guests have access to those in the evening.

Park Entrance

With Early Theme Park Hours, guests staying at Disney-owned hotels (and a few others) will be able to enter any theme park 30-minutes early every day. So, you won’t have to keep track of which park has the extra time — it will be the same for each park.

Main Street, U.S.A. in the morning

On the other hand, Extended Evening Hours will be similar to Extra Magic Hours in that they will be available on select nights and only in select parks. But, the biggest change is that only guests staying at Disney Deluxe Resorts and Deluxe Villas will be able to access these.

Cinderella Castle at Night

Many feel that this change favors guests who are willing to pay more during their vacation by only offering Extended Evening Hours to those staying at the most costly hotel. And, others feel that 30 minutes of additional park time really isn’t all that much compared to what was offered with Extra Magic Hours.

How Disney World is Quietly Making You Pay More

The End of Many “Free” Resort Guest Perks

The next most-cited frustration from our readers was the overall removal of “free” perks for guests staying at Disney World Resort hotels.

Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa

This ties into a few of the things that we’ve mentioned earlier, like Disney’s Magical Express ending, Extra Magic Hours changing to be less of a “perk” in the eyes of many guests, and no longer offering free FastPass reservations. But, there are a few more things to add to the list of diminishing perks.

Disney’s Art of Animation Resort

Disney no longer provides guests staying at hotels on-site with free MagicBands (instead they’re discounted) and even the early window to make advanced dining reservations has nearly disappeared. Plus, guests have had to pay to park their car at the resorts overnight for some time now.

Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort Lobby

Now, some things are still free (like transportation to and from the parks and complimentary theme park parking), but many commenters noted that it felt like they’re paying more to stay at Disney hotels but getting less.

On-Site vs. Off-Site: Which Hotels Offer the Most Disney World Benefits?

Annual Passholder Changes

Disney World’s new Annual Passholder program has also been the source of frustration for many of our readers. Annual Pass sales have been paused for over a year, but they will be BACK on sale in just a few days…though the program will look VERY different.

Annual Passes are BACK!

The new program will completely replace the former tier structure and feature only FOUR different options including the Disney Incredi-Pass, the Disney Sorcerer Pass, the Disney Pirate Pass, and the Disney Pixie Dust Pass.


And, while the passes will still include free theme park parking and discounts on merchandise, dining, and more, Disney PhotoPass and access to Disney’s Water Parks and Sports Complexes will now be an EXTRA cost.

Disney PhotoPass Photographer

In addition, these new tiers will feature a new set of blockout dates, a significant price increase, and out-of-state guests now only have ONE option for annual passes (and it’s the most expensive one).

That’s a lot of money to be a passholder!

So, it’s really all of these changes that are currently frustrating readers with many feeling that the new program increases costs, reduces perks, and favors in-state residents.

We’re Answering Your BIGGEST Questions About Disney World’s New Annual Passes

Overall Increasing Cost

Speaking of increasing costs, some commenters lumped all of these big changes and more together and noted how much more expensive vacationing to Disney World has become.

Spaceship Earth

From price increases on merchandise items like MagicBands and Spirit Jerseys to increases on food items and more, it is generally most costly to travel to the parks at a basic level.

Spring Roll Cart

Plus, Disney has also significantly increased the price of (and decreased the length of) exclusive holiday events like Disney After Hours BOO Bash and Disney’s Very Merriest After Hours.

Holidays in Magic Kingdom

So, with prices inching up on almost all of the Disney World experiences, many are frustrated and feeling like Disney has priced out the average guest. 

Has Disney World Become Too Expensive?

Having to Relearn How to Do Disney

The last source of frustration for readers stems from all of the little changes that Disney has made over the last year that has completely changed how we experience and interact with the parks today.

Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway

This includes Park Pass Reservations being required to enter the park, Mobile Ordering needed at most Quick Service locations, and now guests staying at resorts can even do almost everything from their phone without having to interact with any Cast Members.

Mobile Ordering is all over the place at Disney World these days!

Many readers feel that it’s nearly impossible to do Disney without a smart device on hand at all times nowadays and that all of these changes have made it challenging to have a day that isn’t completely planned from morning to evening.

Can You Even Do Walt Disney World Without a Phone?

So, there certainly are a lot of changes that have already come to Disney this year, and even more are on their way soon. And, while they may not all excite you, we’ll continue to bring you the latest updates and give you all of the tips and tricks that will make your long days in the parks just a bit easier (hopefully)!

Does Disney really need to keep changing? Here’s why the answer is yes!

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What upcoming Disney change frustrates YOU the most? Let us know in the comments!

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18 Replies to “Which Upcoming Disney World Change is the MOST Frustrating?”

  1. Unfortunately, people will still pay to go to Disney. We have always stayed at a deluxe resort, but with all the changes and extra costs, this time we are staying at All Star Music, which will be a big change for us. We always liked the convenience of staying in the park, and the perks it got you, especially the extra magic hours. We take the auto train down so we have our car with us, so have to pay for parking at resort. My kids are older now and we are doing 2 days at the 2 parks after a Disney Cruise. We were there last May and we only did 2 parks. Breaks my heart, but this will be our last trip to Disney for the foreseeable future. It has gotten too expensive!

  2. The loss of resort perks (advance Fastpass selection, Magical Express, resort package delivery, etc), the change to Genie+ with surcharge for individual attractions, and the need to constantly have your face in a phone all day, has seriously diminished the appeal of a WDW vacation for me.

  3. I feel as though Disney is making these changes with a deliberate eye toward weeding out people who won’t pay these rates, won’t come if they lose these perks, etc. I really feel Walt Disney World is trying to reduce its volume, because it can’t give a satisfactory experience to the crowd levels that are coming to WDW. Feel free to disagree, but that’s the vibe I get.

  4. Which one is the more frustrating? How about ALL OF THE ABOVE! It is just too much all at once, and Disney execs and stockholders may regret doing all this in the long term. With no new attractions being planned other than the ones currently under construction, there won’t be anything to attract the occasional visitor to return, and the long term customers are getting more frustrated with the rising costs and reduced services.

  5. All of these articles talking about the changes always refers to the perks that used to be ‘free’. Who are you trying to kid? Those perks like the DME and luggage service and fast pass were built into the price of rooms and the price of the tickets. And they got rid of them, kept the extra cost, and now added on additional cost. It’s like going to a beach resort all inclusive and being told, well the food is no longer free. The transfers from the airport will cost you additional now, there is a surcharge you have to pay for having sand on the beach, and if you were looking for the sun, that will be additional as well. And the room price that used to include that stuff will also be higher. So if what the goal of all these changes is to cut down on crowd sizes, I guess they knew exactly what to do. Start by stabbing your most loyal customers in the back. It used to be there were always SOME hassles to a Disney vacation. Now it’s a hassle start to finish. It used to be you looked at working at Disney as being able to release your inner child. Now it’s looking in the mirror to see if you are the cruelest and meanest of all.

  6. Thanks for the article. You listed some frustrations that I had not been able to fully identify, like “having to relearn how to do Disney”. That really hits home for my family with almost 40 trips under our belt since “95. This wasn’t specifically a choice, but my biggest frustration is the ever increasing need to have your smartphone in your face instead of in your pocket. Passes, planning, Genie+, park availability to park hop, order food, change dining ressies, on and on, it’s too much planning and not enough fun anymore. I’m waiting for Disney to figure out how to force us to buy cellular data from them while in the parks, lord knows we’re burning tons of it just to “enjoy a leisurely day in the parks”.

  7. Jenna, thanks posting such a great article I was amazed of how many fan favorite perks and services have been dropped or replaced with inferior services at a higher cost. I wish I could pick just one but there are so many since our last trip in December 2019. My wife and I did not renew our annual passes as we have lost our desire for Disney as the magic that what was Disney started to fade with the first few cuts like discontinuing the the magical express earlier this year then replacing the 3 free fast passes with a joke of the genie plus. Our next trip to Florida will NOT include Disney as we plan on visiting SeaWorld, Universal, and Busch Gardens Tampa and spending our time away from Disney in protest.

  8. Perks gone from staying on property. Without “mousekeeping” I am making beds and dealing with towels on a VACATION!
    Nickle and diming people to death and really dividing “haves and have nots” when making offers “exclusive” to deluxe hotels seems very undisney especially when the initial plan from Walt was for families to have fun together, I hope he didn’t mean only wealthy.

    1. I agree with you wholehardly. I don’t think Walt Disney would be happy with the way things are being done now. He wanted to include all people fairly, this is discrimination, if you don’t stay at deluxe resorts.

  9. The most frustrating wasn’t even named. I absolutely hate the park reservation system, having to plan months in advance where you want to go on a random day without regard to weather or how you feel or anything really stinks. It takes away all spontaneity. Oh, and the ridiculous rise in annual pass cost is a close second.

  10. My biggest problem is the loss of the “Extra Magic Hours”. It is wrong that only guests who stay in a Deluxe resort can have access to the parks after closure. That extra 30 minutes in the morning is not much of a perk. I also do not like having to pay a parking fee for my rental car.

    My next trip to Orlando will be split between WDW and Universal for the very first time.

  11. Disney has and continues to destroy the magic of a WDW vacation. Disney has discontinued all park guest perks. There are no longer any shows, no parades, no character meer & greets, and no park entertainment. If you go to any WDW park, you will stand in line the entire day, and this is no fun. People need to stop going to Disney parks!

  12. Having to make park reservations is the biggest deal killer for us. We normally have an idea on which park(s) we want to visit each day before our trip. However we sometimes make a game decision and pivot.

    The flexibility in pricing for the the lightening lanes is also a concern in regards to budgeting.

  13. Seems to me Disney is going to nickle and dime us to death. I get it, COVID hit everyone pretty hard, but to try make up for it on the backs of the American family just seems very un-Disney. Some families save for years to go to Disney World. Now it’s become out of reach for many. Personally,I stopped going a few years ago due to the changes made to the handicap access program. I used to rave to all my mobility challenged friends how easy it was to enjoy a Disney park. That ended a few years ago. My last trip was with several wheelchair bound friends and it was just a terrible experience.

  14. I’m so glad I didn’t buy into the DVC program. With the loss of all the “perks” I would have felt ripped off. Hope others in the DVC can off load their time shares before Disney raises prices again.
    It is less expensive to book a trip overseas than to go to Disney World. Looks like I’m going to Scotland next year. Bye Disney!

    1. You and me both! You’re right, going to Europe for 9 days costs me about half of the price of a long weekend, driving myself to Disney and staying at a moderate! I went to Paris and London in 2018 AND 2019 and would choose that any day over WDW! I feel like I should thank them for raising their prices and forcing me to try something new! Best experience EVER!

  15. Lack of Disney perks we had in February 2020, my frustration. I refuse to buy Genie+. They need to change the line names from lightning and stand by to the haves and the have nots, or royals and peasants.