Why Disney World’s Paid Rides and Park Passes May Be Here to Stay

A lot may be back to a new level of “normal” in Disney World, but two big changes seem to be here to stay.

Cinderella Castle

Disney introduced the Park Reservation system after reopening in July 2020 as a way to manage crowds during the COVID-19 pandemic, and the free FastPass+ ride system was replaced by a new paid system called Genie+. You might be hoping that these changes were only temporary, but it’s more likely that they’re permanent. Here’s why.

Disney is Concerned with the Bottom Line

As much as we love the magic of Disney Parks, in the end, Disney is  in business to make money. Disney Guests has shown that they are willing to pay for Genie+.

Do YOU like Disney Genie+?

This also isn’t the first time Disney has charged guests for rides. Rides were not included in the price of admission when Magic Kingdom first opened in 1971, and both Disneyland and Magic Kingdom operated this way until June 1982.


Even with Genie+ as an option, you CAN still ride standby without paying, so you’re not required to make the extra purchase. Regardless, maximizing profits for its shareholders is the end goal of any corporation, Disney included.

Why pay-per-ride isn’t new to Disney Parks — click here to read.

Crowd Control

Both Genie+ and Park Pass reservations allow Disney to more easily manage crowd levels. Park Passes help guarantee crowds spread more evenly across the parks, and Genie+ can send people to specific rides at certain times.

Spring break crowds around Cinderella Castle

Not only can Disney know ahead of time how many people are guaranteed to arrive in each Disney Park, but they can also adjust a variety of operations to accommodate those crowds.

Click here for what Disney World isn’t telling you about the Park Pass reservation system.


​​And speaking of operations, Park Pass reservations also help Disney determine how much staff (also known as Cast Members) they’ll need in each park on any given day. After layoffs and staff shortages, it’s important for Disney to be able to plan ahead to avoid further staffing complications.

Cast Members

Disney recently announced the return of the Disney College Program and the Cultural Representative Program, but that doesn’t mean Disney no longer needs to maximize staff assignments around the parks.

Read more about Disney staff shortages here.

Paid Lightning Lanes vs Virtual Queues

Before Genie+ debuted, a few rides such as Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance and Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure utilized virtual queues that would guarantee guests spots in line. The problem was that getting in the virtual queue wasn’t exactly easy, and if you missed out you wouldn’t get to board the ride that day.

Jungle Cruise Lightning Lane entrance

As it turns out, people seem to prefer to pay for these popular rides for a guaranteed spot rather than attempt to get in the virtual queue. You can imagine how disappointing it could be if you don’t get a place in the virtual queue and you end up being unable to board your ride of choice!

Click here to read about how pay-per-ride works in Disney Parks. 


Park Passes are also a good way to predict future busy park days and time periods. While Disney can generally rely on holidays being busy, sometimes there are unusually busy periods of time.


Disney can adjust hotel prices accordingly, open more blocks of rooms, assign more staff, and more. It would be helpful for their operations to be able to see those busy times in advance.

Click here for the BEST times to visit Disney World in 2022.

May Deter Local Visitors

And finally, Park Pass reservations may prevent some local Annual Passholders from visiting as often as they once did, and instead, Disney can prioritize out-of-town visitors who stay in hotels. The Annual Pass Park Pass limits can also help with crowd control, and may make it harder for those who live locally to Disney Parks to visit several times a week.

Annual Passholder Card

Each Annual Pass limits guests to holding a certain amount of Park Passes at a time, which means passholders may have to plan further ahead and may not be able to visit as many times as they used to.

Here’s everything to know about the Disney World Annual Pass program.

So if you’re hoping that the Park Pass system or Genie+ are just temporary, the benefits to Disney’s bottom line may mean they are here to stay.  Keep following AllEars for more Disney planning news!

A last minute Disney World trip isn’t impossible. Here’s why!

Join the AllEars.net Newsletter to stay on top of ALL the breaking Disney News! You'll also get access to AllEars tips, reviews, trivia, and MORE! Click here to Subscribe!

Click below to subscribe

What do you think about Genie+ and the Park Pass system? Tell us in the comments!

Trending Now

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

One Reply to “Why Disney World’s Paid Rides and Park Passes May Be Here to Stay”

  1. It makes perfect sense to know how many people are planning to attend a particular park on any given day. It is somewhat inconvenient for the guest because it makes it hard and/or impossible to change plans , particularly close to the day you plan on going. And of course Disney is in the money making business. But….making money is one thing. Eliminating the magic is quite another. The entire Disney experience from walking out your front door until you return home is not what it was. And, I believe, people would have paid for the services Disney cut like DME, luggage service, etc. They were given no say. And also claiming what you are doing is pandemic related….that ship has sailed. There are few, if any, pandemic caused restrictions anymore at Disney, but the changes made as a result of the pandemic remain. As long as attendance is high AND people spend lots of money on food and trinkets, Disney will continue as is. And they will do one other thing: raise prices even more.