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  • 2 months later...

A little update (probably been a few months but who's counting??) in relation to Rise Of The Resistance.

 

Disney have now updated the boarding pass system for the ride. Now guests are able to reserve their space on the ride via the "My Disney Experience" app as opposed to getting to Hollywood Studios early (A potential social distancing nightmare given the amount of people who was rocking up before the 7am release)

 

The ride now does two releases of boarding groups. One taking place at 7am and the other taking place at 1pm but with the 1pm release, guests are needed to be physically in Hollywood studios.

 

Now, given it's a lockdown and as a result I get bored easily, I decided to see EXACTLY how quick the passes go from the time they are released. Well, a staggering 5 seconds from the moment the "join" button appears at exactly 7am (12pm our time) the boarding passes for the ride are all gone!! Yes, the park is limited capacity but even before the pandemic and Disney was at full pelt this was an issue.

 

Now, the boarding groups has been a thing way before the pandemic started and it seems Disney have no plans to introduce a standby queue anytime soon. Personally, I would hate to be somebody who pays good money and travel hours to hopefully experience the ride just to then rely on pure luck to board the ride. On top of that, as you do not get a choice of boarding group, you then find yourself in a situation where if you are allocated a high number boarding group then you need to pray to whomever you worship that the ride does not encounter a single hitch. Which given its a highly advanced new ride is an issue. Obviously it will stay the same whilst the pandemic is still going, but I seriously do question at what point will Disney decide to bite the bullet and give it a proper standby line.

 

If it's a case of "waiting for the popularity to die down" and then they will do so, given Flight Of Passage is still drawing obscene queues 3 years post opening, I can not see ROTR dying down anytime soon given the hype surrounding the ride itself AND the fact it appeals to the massive Star Wars fanbase. 

 

*apologies for the "ringtone" soundbar blocking the time!!received_125619402745787.thumb.jpeg.ea059792eb08ee1c2cd64f54b70fe13f.jpeg

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  • 1 year later...

I felt inclined to write this, particularly as the world opens up and restrictions and barriers come further down. A big part of my Florida trip was Disney World. During the pandemic, my fiancé and myself decided on buying into Disney Vacation Club and essentially having a home resort at Animal Kingdom Lodge. We use points to pay for rooms and as a 35 year investment, we in the long run will save money. 

 

Disney World was the busiest I have ever seen it. This was my sixth visit to the area and baring in mind my last trip was in the middle of a Hurricane, the parks were in very different places. Covid-19 has meant the parks have fundamentally changed. There is now no FastPass, magic hours have completely changed. Parades are still not running, lots of shows are either closed or seriously cut back and you must reserve a place to visit the park. I'll do a run down of each park and the impact of the new Disney Genie system which has dramatically changed the parks in what I personally think is a hugely damaging and derogative way. This new system works at $15 a day per person and like fastpass prefer, you can reserve a place for your party to skip the stand by lines and get on rides faster. We tried this on three days of our visit. We also purchased the higher tier Lightening Lane twice on Rise of the Resistance to guarantee rides. 

 

Animal Kingdom

Perhaps the Park that has seen the smallest changes since 2019, Animal Kingdom remains my favourite park at WDW and reminds me of Disneyland Paris in that there's a peace and a tranquility to the place which is missing at the other three parks. Despite Everest being closed in its further long term refurbishment, AK was wonderful. We got on each ride in the park on both days we visited and this was by far my favourite days. Genie isn't required at AK. It's rides get far less affected by downtime and with the exception of Flight of Passage, the rides here take a lot longer to get long waits. With all the trails, animal areas and rides like Kali River Rapids which never got a queue, this park is a dream.

 

Hollywood Studios

Now that HS is a park with 7 E-ticket attractions and one filler ride, its very much a park full of busy busy rides and very little stuff to do in-between. Rise, Smugglers, Slinky, Tower, Runaway Railroad, R'N'R are packed out attractions with 60 minutes. Luckily, the rides are top quality but HS lisn't an easy park anymore. We did get Genie on this day and our first pass was Slinky. Because of the way the system works and the eagerness of Disney guests, the first time available was 4pm. This locked us out of the system for two hours. At 11am we booked our second pass for Rock and Roller at 4:40. Our next one we were able to book was at 1pm and stupidly was Tower of Terror at 5pm. So our Genie was never going to be properly useful to us until 7 hours after the park opened. You can have overlapping times but it's incredibly hard to get earlier times without pure luck playing its part. 

 

Extra Magical hours are no more. Instead early opens are the name of the game with each park opening earlier to Disney World resort guests. Jury is out on this move but on this day we chose to ride Micky and Minnies Runaway Railroad. This trackless dark ride has a really disjointed narrative and to be honest I enjoyed the pre-show more then the ride itself. We got two rides overall on it and its okay. Doesn't deserve a 90 minute wait. 

 

Magic Kingdom

MK is fundamentally broken. It's too busy, its worn down, its over-stretched, there's not enough to entertain 80,000 guests on a park that gets busier and busier. Increasing prices is not putting people off Magic Kingdom and Tron is going to compound the issue in devastating ways. When I first visited Magic Kingdom was lovely. Haunted Mansion, Jungle Cruise and Pirates to name a few had reasonable waits and you could definitely get your monies worth. No more. Jungle Cruise 90 minutes, Pirates and Haunted Mansion, 60 minutes everyday. Small World at 40 minute waits? People-Mover at 35 minute. Ridiculous.

We did use Genie on both days because I think it is now the only way to enjoy this park but sadly it has huge damaging effects on non-Genie guests. IMO, Genie is too powerful at MK. The system is too cheap, the amount of good high quality rides is too high so having it means substantial gains. Reliability was also in a terrible place here. At one point Space, Thunder and Splash were down and across the parks so was many other rides. 

 

Epcot

Finally, Epcot was fine. It has the most boring selection of rides compared to the other parks and whilst I like Ratatouille, I can wait 30 minutes in Paris, I will not be waiting 90 in America for the same ride with no real changes whatsoever. We had a lot of food in Epcot as it was the arts festival and there was some fantastic stuff on offer. Genie isn't very effective here as rides like Spaceship Earth, Living with the Land, Figment, Three Caballeros and Mission Space don't get anywhere near as busy as the big rides and with good planning we got on Testrack, Frozen and Soarin' relatively easily.

 

So a mixed bag and I think Genie needs significant price increases. At the moment 50% of guests use it so the main guests get absolutely screwed over and Genie feels like a waste of money when it feels difficult to get reasonable times. The magic at WDW is still there but its strained, less care free and a little bit harder to find. A real concern as the chase for financial gain ramps up under Bob Chapek.

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Really interesting to read this..  Thank you.

 

I haven't been to Disney since Genie but it sounds like an absolute fiasco on top of existing cracks that are beginning to show.

 

I must admit the pull towards Disney is beginning to wear off for me...

Don't get me wrong, I very much look forward to going back, but I can't get onboard with all this pre-planning that now needs to happen before a visit.

Genie, dining plans, dining reservations, magic bands, arriving hours early to see shows... I don't really understand why you now seem to need to plan and invest so heavily before even leaving for Disney.

 

I understand that you can use quick service and standby queues etc (cringe at all this Disney lingo by the way), but they've 'imagineered' it so that you don't have as good a time as you would if you'd jumped through the Disney hoops and payed the extras.

 

We're planning on going to Orlando in the next few years hopefully, and watching various videos and reading posts like @Mark9's above just stresses me out 😂 and really only makes me look more in the direction of Universal etc, where you can just book park tickets and have a great time. Remember those days? 🙄

 

Maybe I'm just becoming an old fart, but I just cba to get the degree in Disney planning that now seems to be required before a visit.

When you search online/YouTube on Disney, it's all about planning/diningplans/reservations.. Ugh, who cares?

Is it that worth it? I'm not sure it is.

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I don't think I could bring myself to visit with all that nonsense going on. Fortunately it'll be a few years until my daughter is old enough to be making a visit likely, hopefully by then this system will be on the scrapheap, but it feels like a one way situation at the moment. Once reliant on the queue jumping cash it's hard to come away from.

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Interesting review @Mark9; thanks for posting!

 

Out of interest, does Genie still require the same amount of advance planning as FP+ required when I last visited? I seem to remember us planning our days about 2 months in advance when we went in 2019, so I'd be intrigued to know if Genie has removed that extent of planning. I didn't personally mind it too much, but I know many don't like it.

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The only thing that requires planning really is restaurant reservations and booking your place in the theme parks. Even with that, we don't tend to eat in the super popular restaurants (Be Our Guest, Cinderellas Royal Table) so in theory you could just go to the park on a day and get lucky.

 

Genie requires no forward planning, you buy it and then at 7am, WDW resort guests can book their first ride, non resort guests can start at park opening so staying at WDW does give you perks and benefits. The main difference is

 

A) You now pay to skip queues

b) There's no guarantee you get to skip the queues for the ride you want. A lot of it is pure luck and rides like Jungle Cruise, Slinky Dog and Peter Pan run out extremely quickly.

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