This Week in Theme Park News: Disney Genie + and Lightning Lane Launch at Disney World


Make sure your Lightning Lane reservation is well paid and that you are properly strapped in, as This Week in Theme Park News is booming again in Paste. After a short break in order to actually visit some theme parks and pontificate that Walt Disney World has reached half a century, I’m back with our regular weekly rundown of all the latest events and misadventures in the world of parks. theme. And this week has been crazy, so let’s get started.

The big news is that Disney Genie, the updated app designed to make your trip to Disney World as smooth as possible, has finally launched. It opened to visitors to Disney World theme parks last Tuesday, October 19, much to the relief of some and the dismay of others. Genie is a free service within the Disney World app that offers a regularly updated feed of recommendations on what to do and where to go throughout your stay at the parks. If there is a certain ride that Genie thinks your party would like that currently has a short wait time, they will let you know. If reservations at a specific restaurant have been opened, you may be lucky enough to receive a notification about it on Genie. Genie is a way to make the most of your day, while giving Disney more control over the traffic patterns in its parks, and it’s all free.

Genie also has two additional paid tiers, which get the most attention. Genie + costs an additional $ 15 per day (it will be $ 20 when it rolls out to Disneyland), and it effectively replaces the old FastPass program. Genie + gives you access to the new Lightning Lane entrances, allowing you to schedule a specific window of time at over 40 attractions across Disney World’s four parks. This includes some of the best theme park attractions ever, including the Haunted Mansion, Twilight Zone: Tower of Terror, Soarin ‘, and Kilimanjaro safaris. You can only make a Lightning Lane reservation for the same day, starting at 7 a.m. if you’re staying at a Disney World hotel, so the era of waking up early in the morning 60 days before your Disney World vacation in the morning. he hopes of getting the best FastPass are officially over and frankly that’s great news in my opinion, because planning ahead was perhaps the least fun thing about a trip to Disney.

However, Lightning Lane does not cover all attractions. A Lightning Lane pass for some of the newer or most popular rides can only be booked at individual a la carte fares, which can range from $ 7 to $ 15 per passenger, per ride. This list includes two attractions at each park, including Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance at Hollywood Studios and the all-new Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure at Epcot. If you want to guarantee a ride on Space Mountain or Avatar: Flight of Passage without waiting in the queue, you will have to pay for it.

Obviously, these new add-ons will make a trip to Disney World more expensive than it already is. However, other theme parks have a long history of charging extra fees to avoid queues, something Disney World has never done until now. And if you use Genie + and Lightning Lane smartly, it looks like you’ll most likely be able to see and do more in a day than you typically would in the past. They’re both optional, of course, and there are queues for each attraction – and, as several people pointed out on Twitter this week, posted wait times tend to be longer than that. actual expectations.

I’ll be trying out Genie + myself in a few weeks, when I return to Disney World in November, and I’ll keep you posted on what happens next. The need for a coordinated strategy to get the most out of my trip was probably the biggest change I had to get used to when I first became obsessed with Disney parks for the first time since the early ’90s, and if Genie + and Lightning Lane can replace all that prep time and strategy with something a little more spontaneous and open, while also helping me do the most I can during my time in the parks, this could be a revelation. . I will find out in a few weeks!

Meanwhile, on the opposite coast at Disneyland, a new monster has taken root at the Oogie Boogie Bash Halloween party at Disney’s California Adventure, and while it may seem familiar at first, it’s probably not who you think it will be.

It was revealed via TikTok that Zombie Captain America now haunts Oogie Boogie Bash. The Star-Spangled Avenger’s Undead Corpse made its MCU debut in a recent episode of What if…? who owed a lot to Robert Kirkman and Sean Phillips’ Marvel zombies comics, and now he’s dragging his decaying body all over Avengers Campus. If you want to catch America’s Zombie in the flesh (or what’s left of it), you’ll need to act fast – Oogie Boogie Bash runs through October 31 – and, uh, you’ll also need to have purchased a ticket several ago. a few weeks, when the whole Halloween party sold out quickly. Perhaps you will have the opportunity to come face to face with Zombie Cap next year?

Speaking of deadlines: you officially have less than three months left to say goodbye to Shrek 4-D at Universal Studios Florida. The simulator attraction will close permanently on January 10, 2022, with the disappearance of its gift shop by its side. Fear not, however, Shrekheads: The Great Green Ogre and his friend Donkey will still be in attendance at the Meet Shrek and Donkey Meet and Greet. It’s not yet clear what will take the attraction’s place, but it seems highly likely that the critically acclaimed Secret Life of Pets ride that opened at Universal Studios Hollywood last year could also make an appearance in Florida.

It’s not last minute news, but it came out during my brief hiatus, and it appeals to my interests a lot, so I’m going to hit it up right away. Better late than never, right? Universal has confirmed long-standing rumors that Super Nintendo World, which opened at Universal Studios Japan during the pandemic, will expand with a Donkey Kong-themed add-on. The addition will make Super Nintendo World almost 70% bigger than it currently is, and it will include roller coasters, “interactive experiences” and new themed food and retail options. They hope to open the new area in 2024, which means maybe people outside of Japan can actually check it out when it opens. Other versions of Super Nintendo World are coming to Universal’s parks in California, Florida, and Singapore, of course, so even if the pandemic never ends, anyone could still visit Donkey Kong, regardless of the country in which they live.

And that’s it for another week. If you work in an amusement or theme park and would like to keep me and our readers updated with your latest news, please feel free to email me or on Twitter. And if you’re heading to an amusement park this week, stay safe and have fun!

Editor-in-chief Garrett Martin writes about video games, comedy, travel, theme parks, wrestling, and anything in his way. He’s also on Twitter @grmartin.

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