Let’s just all admit it. Despite the “Most Magical Place on Earth” name, sometimes parts of a trip to Disney World can feel a little…less than magical.
Maybe you have a trip where everything goes wrong — your favorite ride breaks down, you can’t get a reservation for your favorite restaurant, and they totally sell out of the Minnie ears you were hoping to get. Or maybe some of the recent changes — like the addition of Genie+, the removal of Disney’s Magical Express, or the new versions of extra hours in the parks for resort guests (Early Theme Park Entry and Extended Evening Hours) — have made you feel like things aren’t quite as “good” as they used to be. Some might be feeling like the guest experience in Disney World just isn’t what they had hoped or what they were used to. Or some of you might be perfectly happy, but know that there’s always room for improvement! So, we reached out (via Facebook) to you all to see what you think Disney World can do to improve the guest experience. And you had a LOT of thoughts.
We received over 2,000 comments on our Facebook post on this topic. So, yeah, you’ve got some feelings here, we can see that! And that’s totally fair! As Disney World guests, lots of things probably come to mind when you think back on your last trip and question “what could Disney World have done to make my experience BETTER?”
Here are some of the most popular responses we got!
One of the biggest things that readers mentioned was COST. Disney World is expensive. There’s really no joking around about that. And things have gotten pricier over time. From hotel costs, to ticket costs, to food costs and merchandise costs — you can expect to pay THOUSANDS more on your Disney World trip in 2022 as compared to previous years.
Many guests said that they’d want for Disney to make the entire experience more affordable. One reader specifically asked for it to be affordable for the average family to go on a trip “without going into credit card debt.” Another said Disney should lower prices generally.
Some readers mentioned just how expensive a Disney World trip is for those coming from overseas, especially with flight costs increasing. This reader shared that if Disney made the experience cheaper, people might not need to make it a “once-in-a-lifetime” trip, and instead be able to return more frequently.
Another reader said that Disney should change how guests now have to pay for all kinds of little things that were previously included as part of the experience (Genie+, transportation to/from the airport and the hotel, etc.).
One reader said that they used to feel like staying on Disney property was worth it because of the perks. But now all the “per person, per day extra expenses” that they feel are a necessary for a good experience are an extra financial burden.
Another put it simply and said Disney should “stop nickel and diming” guests.
We’ve seen some pretty tremendous crowds in the parks lately, and we’re not the only ones who have noticed. A number of readers said that crowding was a big problem Disney could address to make the guest experience better.
One reader said Disney should let less people into the parks. They shared, “who can enjoy themselves when you’re fighting to walk through crowds of people or waiting [in] line for an hour for a ride[?]”
Others echoed that sentiment and said Disney should limit the number of guests in the parks so lines aren’t as bad. One reader said that the crowds have simply become “too much” and are taking away from the magical feeling of the parks.
Another reader specifically noted that lower crowd levels could make them feel better about the high prices because they’d be able to experience more in the parks.
While some saw lowering/tightening capacity limits as the solution to big crowds, others had more creative ideas! One suggested Disney build another theme park in the middle of the USA to help draw some crowds away from the existing parks.
Another said that Disney should open a 5th park right there in Orlando to help alleviate congestion and spread people out. Regardless of the “solutions” people devised, the crowds seemed to be a big issue.
Park Pass Reservations and Ticket Changes
A number of guests brought up other changes to be made regarding tickets and Park Passes. Some wished that Disney would entirely get rid of the Park Pass reservation system.
One reader presented the following scenario as a reason why the system should go away (note that we’ve altered some of the punctuation): “Had so much fun at the Magic Kingdom [that] you want to go back the next day? Well you can’t because you don’t have a reservation! Maybe wake up on a Saturday or Sunday and say “let’s go to Disney”? Oh that’s right, no reservation!”
Of course, these presume that no last-minute reservations are available. But still, the danger of Park Passes filling up for the dates you want to visit is real.
Other guests mentioned some ticket-related changes they’d like to see made — specifically the end of the date-based ticket system. Right now Disney’s system does assign a specific price for each date, so your ticket price for a date in December near Christmas is very different than a ticket in a slower time of year. And you have to buy tickets for specific dates — you can’t just buy a 3-day pass to use any time of the year.
Another also wanted tickets to no longer have expiration dates. Current Disney World tickets do have expiration dates which depend on the selected start date for your trip.
Another topic that a LOT (and we mean a LOOOOOT) of readers brought up is…Genie+. This is the new paid system (truly 2 systems — Genie+ and Individual Attraction Selection) that replaced the free FastPass+ system.
Many readers said that Disney should go back to the old FastPass+ system and remove Genie+ entirely.
Others didn’t necessarily want Genie+ to go away, but did have some ways in which it could be changed to make the experience “better.”
Some shared that they find Genie+ to be stressful and are not a fan of that 7AM wakeup call (7AM is when guests can make their first Genie+ reservation, and when Disney World hotel guests can make their first Individual Attraction Selection purchase).
This reader also said that they’d much rather get up early, 60 days in advance, lock in their initial selections, and then “breathe easy” when they get to the park. This is a reference to the old FastPass+ system, which did let you make 3 initial FastPass+ selections ahead of your vacation.
Another totally agreed on this point! They said they’d rather plan their Genie+ selections in advance. They admitted that this takes out some of the spontaneity of the day, but said that it also can help eliminate some of the stress and complications of the current system (at least in their view).
Another shared their frustration at the fact that Genie+ cannot be used twice for 1 ride (i.e. it can only be used to skip the line once for a particular ride).
One said that Genie+ should just be simplified so you “don’t need to take a 6 hour course to make use of it.” The new Genie+ system can certainly come with a learning curve, but we are here to help!
Others were okay with keeping Genie+, but wanted Individual Attraction Selections to be done away with (this is the system where guests can purchase the ability to skip the line at some of the super popular rides).
And some were ready to go ROUGE and get rid of it ALL! One guest said Disney should eliminate any kind of “skip the line” system and just put everyone through the regular standby line to “enjoy the details Imagineers put into the queues.”
Another big one that was brought up was Disney’s Magical Express. This service used to be free and would transport hotel guests to and from the Orlando airport and their Disney World hotel.
The free Magical Express service ended in 2022, so guests now have to figure out and pay for transportation to/from the airport and their hotel on their own.
Many guests specifically asked for the free Magical Express service to come back as a way to improve the guest experience!
But wait, there’s MORE! We’re not joking folks — our readers had a LOT to say on this topic. What else could improve the guest experience? Well, some felt that Park Hopping changes could make things better. Specifically, they wanted a return to all-day Park Hopping. Remember that right now guests can only Park Hop starting at 2PM each day.
Others wanted a return to the traditional Extra Magic Hours previously offered to all Disney hotel guests. Extra Magic Hours previously allowed all Disney World hotel guests to spend extra time in the parks in the mornings and/or at night (this was for select parks on select dates).
Extra Magic Hours has since ended and been replaced with Early Theme Park Entry (allows all hotel guests to enter any theme park 30 minutes early any day) and Extended Evening Hours (allows Deluxe Resort or Deluxe Villa guests to spend extra time in select parks at night on select dates).
Some wished it would go back to the old days or at least allow ALL resort guests (not just Deluxe Resort guests) to experience the extra nighttime hours.
Others wanted Disney to stop charging for hotel parking, bring back package delivery from the hotels to the parks, bring back the Dining Plan (and specifically FREE dining offers) (note that the Dining Plan is set to return in the future), bring back free MagicBands, stop relying so much on the phone app, offer more perks for passholders, make refillable mugs available for refills in the parks, put more money into maintaining rides, create more shade, bring back nighttime parades, and more! WHEW.
Others focused on Cast Members and shared that Disney should hire more staff and take extra measures to keep them satisfied and happy with their work.
Basically, there’s a lot that some fans think Disney can do to make the guest experience better. From taking things back to how they used to be, to making changes that could be better for the future — there were suggestions on nearly every part of the experience.
What do you think? What could Disney do to make the guest experience better? Tell us in the comments!
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What could Disney do to make the guest experience better? Tell us in the comments!
The post Guests Share What Disney World Can Do to Improve their Vacation Experience first appeared on the disney food blog.