Episode 84: Genie+ Changes (Transcript)

Jul 18, 2023



Nicole (00:00):
Hi everyone. Welcome to this week’s episode of Pixie Dust & Profits. Today we’re talking all about the Genie+ Changes. Now, if you dunno who we are, I’m Nicole.

Yasmine (00:10):
And I’m Yasmine.

Nicole (00:11):
And this is our summer snack series of Pixie Dust & Profits. We’re bringing you short and sweet episodes for the summer while you’re probably taking some time off your business or we hope that you’re taking some time off of your business. So today we have some brand new CHA changes coming for the Genie+ system. If you haven’t been to Disney since the Pandemic Genie+ is essentially what replaced the Fast Pass system of years past. We now have this kind of two-tier system for Lightning lanes where you can buy individual lightning lanes to the big ticket rides. Like what do we have? Seven Doors, mind Train, rise, is that still? Yeah, rise on it. The

Yasmine (00:51):
I think so. Tron as well. The Neutron Ride.

Nicole (00:54):
Yep. Guardians of the Galaxy. All of

Yasmine (00:56):
Of those rights of the resistance.

Nicole (00:58):
And so you can buy the individual passes to those rides that would otherwise have a very long wait or have a high demand. And then you can also buy Genie+, which is access to a system that allows you to re reserve a Lightning lane pass for one ride at a time. And you can only ride the red once. So if you’re familiar with Universal, you can buy an express pass that lasts all day long and you can go on the ride as many times as you want. And so today we’re talking a little bit about these changes. So at a baseline, all you really need to understand is when you buy Genie+ you have access to being able to get lightning cleans at all of the parks right now. And so there’s strategies around it. I will send you to Wish upon a planner if you would like to learn all the strategies, but we’ve had some good times and some times where it was kind of a waste of money. It can vary. It used to be a flat rate of, what was it, like $11? The first time we did it,

Yasmine (02:00):
It was 15. So when we had gone to Disney with Pixie Dust & Profits live, this was like two years ago, right Nicole? Yeah, it was like our second day. That was literally, it was literally, yeah, the second day it came out, the first day it came out, Nicole and I were there. We got it to try around at Epcot just to see what it was like to familiarize ourselves with it. And then the second day, that was when everyone else joined us and you know, we started using it for our park trips and yeah, it was 15 bucks per person. Yeah, think it’s not 15 bucks per person anymore. I’m not talking box for a person anymore.

Nicole (02:30):
I was there as a personal trip in April, which was kind of during the spring break time, so that’s probably one of the most expensive times of the year. And I think there was a day that it was like $25 each. So it can get pretty pricey if you have a large group. Fortunately only have a family of three, so it’s not too bad for us. But, you know, we’ve had the great experience where on one trip I was grabbing lightning lanes all morning long for the park. We were going to go to that night night, which was Hollywood Studios. And somehow we got to Hollywood Studios at seven at night. It was just me and my husband that our kiddo was with his grandma and we had lightning lanes for everything. We had like Rise, slinky Dog, millennium Falcon tower Terror was closed at that point I think.

Nicole (03:17):
So we didn’t get a chance to go on that, but we, we basically had everything all for after 7:00 PM so that was an amazing experience and probably like best case scenario, but I’ve also been on the flip side of that coin where we, we purchased it for a day also at Hollywood Studios hoping to save some time and you know, my kid very bravely went on rides of the Resistance for the first time and really enjoyed it. But he was done with rides after that. He did not want to go on any other rides. And so we had bought this Genie Plus and really did not use it that day at all. We didn’t get any of our money’s worth at all. So definitely go check out Wish Upon and Planner if you need some good strategies for using it. But I, we say all of this because to give context to the changes, there were definitely parks that you would just say no, I don’t need Genie Plus if I’m going to Animal Kingdom today the Safari is really never more than like a 15 minute wait for at certain times of the year.

Nicole (04:14):
Expedition Everest, you can walk on the single rider line most of the time and even when you wait with friends, it doesn’t take that long. It’s just not a park where lions are the problem. And so

Yasmine (04:26):
And the rides that do have long lines, well there’s the individual Lightning Lane pass for that. Yes. Like flight of Passage, the avatar ride, so

Nicole (04:34):
Right. So it’s a separate pass. So why would you buy Gen Plus if you’re just gonna buy that individual more premium ride? So you know, it’s not really worth it for, for that park. And then Epcot to a lesser extent, depending on what you wanna do at Epcot because you know, I think it’s cosmic rewind, the Guardians of the Galaxy Rollercoaster is on its own individual pass, but Remy I believe is now on the regular pass for the day. Mm-Hmm. So you’re really getting it for test track Remy and frozen. And you know, if you don’t have kids that are interested in any of those, then you might not need it. Testra being the one that goes down the most often. And I’d say if you really, really, really need to go and test track, you might wanna consider it. But essentially Disney saw this, right? They saw the data they had, they saw, you know, what people going into Animal Kingdom and people going to Epcot or not buying Genie Plus and we want them to buy it because that’s more money in our pockets.

Yasmine (05:30):
Well, especially as the prices increased. So originally it was sort of like a flat rate of like $15 per park, but then it started to increase based on how busy the parks were. Right? So it was like it was demand, right. Higher demand for it higher price and you know, there would be days where the price would go up to 30, $32. I think even 34 I remember hearing for

Nicole (05:53):
Gene Yeah. In March person

Yasmine (05:54):

Nicole (05:54):
Spring break. Yeah. Yeah. And, and the thing about the Genie plus to get the most use out of it in some ways you kind of had to buy park hop tickets because mm-hmm, you would, you know, in the morning you would kind of get your lightning lanes for the afternoon for whichever park you were switching to. And they, they put somebody restrictions around park hopping that you can’t do it till after 2:00 PM and you have to go to your new park because of the pandemic that I think they just started seeing that this was all getting so complex. I mean some of you probably understand everything we are saying and the rest of you were like, I can’t follow any of this. And so they knew that this is getting complex for their audience. They could tell with the questions coming in, the complaints at the customer service booths, what, what do they call them? Like the customer experience, like those happy booths they have? Yeah,

Yasmine (06:45):
The guest services. Yeah. Yeah.

Nicole (06:47):
So they were, you know, they have all this data and so one of the things that they decided to do was, well, we still wanna get our money for Genie Plus and we still wanna have this dynamic pricing so we can charge more money when things are busier because we’re Disney and we want revenue and profit. So now they’ve split it. So you can buy a multi park Genie Plus or you can buy a single park Genie Plus. And in some ways it simplifies things based on like if you have a park hopping ticket or not. I think they’re also doing away with needing to have park reservations starting in January, which is should also help this kind of problem where you’re like stuck into a park.

Yasmine (07:29):
The caveat right now though is like, that’s for dated tickets is what they’re guaranteeing like after January. Yeah. So if you buy like a gated ticket, I, I said gated, I meant dated. So it’s for like, you know, January 4th through 17th or whatever. That’s a really long window, but you know what I mean, like yeah, you don’t have to worry about reservations. Not a hundred percent sure if it’s completely being done away with for annual passes, but we’ll see.

Nicole (07:52):
Yeah. So like with all this backstory, I think the thing we really wanna touch on is, first of all, Disney makes their decisions based on data, but that doesn’t always mean the, they are ignoring like the feelings part or the like how users actually use it. So yeah, they’re getting a lot of questions and confusion and you know, they’re like, okay, we’ll make a, a single park pass and a multi-part pass and it’s cheaper for these. And we have some that are on their individual passes. It’s still really complex to understand and they’re trying so hard to be innovative because they’re Disney that when you turn around and look at what other parks are doing, like universal, universal is very expensive. It’s, you know, the trips I’ve been in the area that’s at least $200 a person. But you go and you get this unlimited express pass, it’s $200 and you can use it the whole day at the park you’re at. You just keep going on the ride, you wanna go on, they have a lane for you to like walk right on and you can go on that ride however many times. I think we did Flight of the Hippogriff five times cuz my kid really enjoyed that. You know, family rollercoaster. So Disney’s trying so hard to be innovative and different that is this really helpful? Yeah. So they just charge $300 for a pass .

Yasmine (09:14):
I mean if they charge $300 for a pass, I think we would see a lot of, a lot of angry posts in Facebook groups and and stuff. Absolutely. But, but yeah, like they’re, they’re trying to, you know, like created this amazing app. I mean maybe amazing is debatable, but they created this like complex app which does a lot like, it gives you recommendations on how to plan your day. It takes into consideration like where you are in the park and what you have planned to help guide you. Which if you were newer to Disney, that can be a valuable tool in your pocket. But of course with it comes all of these you know, priced experiences that historically were free and included in your park ticket. Like in the past the benefit was booking on Disney property because you got advanced access to picking out your fast passes, you get three per day and then after that it’s like once you use all those up you can get an additional one but you’d have to like use up your initial three.

Yasmine (10:09):
And it was it was, you know, great for everyone cuz it sort of leveled the playing field, but with obviously increasing costs and seeing what other parks are doing, Disney knew that there was revenue to be made. So they created the Genie Plus system and it sort of worked into all of the restrictions and changes that came after the pandemic. Everything sort of changed. So it was an easy way for them to be like, well we’re not doing Fast passes anymore, we’re doing this. But one thing that I have to give Disney props for, does anyone say that anymore? Nicole? Giving props my dating myself. I think I just did.

Nicole (10:44):
Yeah. You know, they, they take the w

Yasmine (10:46):
Yeah, they took the W Yeah, yeah. What what Disney takes a W four. Please don’t make fun of me on the internet. Any Gen Z we’re totally

Nicole (10:59):
Get a DM that’s like you use that entirely wrong. Yeah, yeah.

Yasmine (11:03):
Well, but they are not afraid to kill their darlings and in this case they’re not killing Genie Plus, but Disney is like, they have, they’ve scrapped entire projects that they’ve invested quite a bit of money into. If they saw that it wasn’t gonna, you know, bring a good return the Star Wars hotel, right? Like that’s the most recent one. They literally scrapped a product they spent millions upon millions on because it just wasn’t profitable. And they’re gonna shift directions and who knows what they’re gonna do. We’re gonna find out hopefully in the coming months and years. But they are okay with taking the data into consideration, taking the customer feedback and shifting gears because they do not want to sink money into something that is not maximizing revenue for them and profits. And

Nicole (11:55):
I think this is really important to keep in mind as a small business owner, like oh hundred percent, I have seen so many clients who are just like changing things nonstop . And it’s like, you know what, sometimes I get frustrated as the operations manager with that because it’s hard to like keep projects on track. But at the same time, like Disney isn’t afraid to just up and say, you know what, we’re completely changing the system. We don’t care that you already have a trip planned cuz people plan their trips but like a year out and they’re just, okay, you know, there’s gonna be millions of people that this will affect and we’re just gonna, we’re gonna roll it out and we’ll deal with the customer service that comes with it. So, you know, take some of those chances of like, don’t be afraid to, to change things if they’re, you know, not working. But it’s so interesting because I feel like this system is still so complex mm-hmm and they’re still trying to do it with data. But you know

Yasmine (12:51):
What, the price will increase and decrease depending on demand to a degree. But like you’re no longer paying 34 bucks for Animal Kingdom. It’ll be like 16 or $17 in. Yeah.

Nicole (13:00):
I feel like a lot of these parks are like, let’s do the premium experience where it’s just like easy one and done. You know, we upsell you how many people are gonna convert when something’s $300 versus you know, the mobile game method that Disney’s playing here where it’s like, oh, it’s just an extra 10, it’s just an extra 15. And then, you know, you look at your credit card statement at the end of the month and you’re like, oh, that was a lot of extra 10. Yeah.

Yasmine (13:27):
One of my my in-laws friends explained it as like, 30 dollaring you to death. It’s like, oh, it’s $30 for this, it’s $30 for that. They, they were talking about like yard equipment cuz we had recently renovated our backyard and need to get like a new hose attachments, like, oh, it’s just $30, but you’re like spending 30 here, 30 there. Before you know it, it’s like several hundred dollars that you have spent without really thinking of it because you just see, oh, it’s like 10 bucks per guest or 16 bucks per guest. Yeah, that’s not that much, but spread it over your whole trip. It adds up a bit.

Nicole (13:59):
Absolutely. And you know, when we come back to like your, your business, what, what products do you have? What price points do you have? Are you trying to be the, let’s have a lot of things at $27 and go for like volume where, you know, Disney probably nets out ahead of Universal in this, you know mm-hmm. Realm. And some of that’s just due to the sheer numbers Disney brings in. But when you look at it, it’s probably because of what Yasmine Yasmines was just talking about what Yasmine, princess deal, what Yasmines was just talking about, right. Where you are $30 to death and you’re just $30 doesn’t sound like much when you’re looking at a water bottle that’s $8. I won’t say that their water bottles are probably closer to $4. It’s the, it’s the alcoholic beverages that Yeah. Get into the numbers when you’re like, oh, well you, you know what? I can get Genie+ instead of getting a margarita, it’s the same prey. Mm-Hmm. But yeah, so just, just keep in mind it’s okay to change, it’s okay to be innovative, but at the same time make sure you’re getting data from your customers on like, is this working? And some of that data might be indirect, it might be nobody’s buying

Yasmine (15:10):
Mm-Hmm. and I recently went through an experience with this, with a client of mine, and I know like Nicole, you’ve been seeing this in the industry as well, where, you know, we have a premium product and it comes with a premium price and we notice that sales are down because literally like we’re in a recession, you know, people are holding onto their dollars a little bit more, but they still want that support. We still get, you know, an outreach of messages people for people looking for support. So we looked at, you know, we have our product, it’s a good product. We don’t necessarily want to change the product, but we need to change our strategy for bringing revenue into the business. And rather than, you know, steeply discount our products and take away from the premium value that this client offers, we looked into creating a newer lower cost product that wouldn’t necessarily, you know, take away from her current offerings.

Yasmine (16:03):
And that’s a product that we’re working on right now to bring in revenue and you have to be able to like adapt and you have to be able to change. And one of the consequences of introducing this product is we ended up killing one of our launches that we typically have every fall because right now it wasn’t the right time for it. You know, we knew that the projections weren’t going to help us hit the goals that we needed to as a business, so we pivoted to a degree. And that indirect feedback was what drove it ultimately. So like, don’t be afraid of change, but at the same time I wanna caveat like don’t change things all the time too quickly. Like it’s easy to have like, you know, a fear of something not working and wanting to pivot right away, but like, wait for some data that like, that’s important because what you don’t want to do is be all over the place.

Nicole (16:56):
Well thanks so much for joining us today and make sure you tune in for next week. We’ll have another summer Snack bite series episode of Pixie Dust & Profits. By the way, if you’re interested in joining us at Pixie Dust Live, which we talked about earlier in this episode, you can go to pixiedustandprofits.com/live to find out about our new events or sign up about the wait list when our events eventually fill up, which they always do. So thanks for joining us today and we’ll see you real soon.

Yasmine (17:23):



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