Disneyland thoughts post-Genie

bryanfze55

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
My family and I are currently here on summer vacation. We visit nearly annually, and we did a two week trip this year which included time in Laguna, La Jolla, Newport, Universal Hollywood and Griffith Park. Overall we’ve had a great time and continue to be reminded why California remains our ideal vacation spot. But we’ve been at Disneyland for three days now, and the last two have been absolute nightmares. Fathers Day was actually wonderful - weather was pleasant and wait times were relatively low all day.

These last two days, the wait times are unlike anything I’ve ever seen at Disneyland. Jungle Cruise is at 70 minutes. I thought that only happened at WDW. It seems that Genie+ has really done Disneyland wrong. I had high hopes it might work as well as MaxPass, but I do not recall MaxPass affecting wait times this much. We visited last October with no form of “skip the line” and it was our best trip ever. I’m sure having Pirates down and Toontown shut down is not helping things, but there are always rides down and I’ve still never seen anything like this. Walkways don’t appear unusually packed, so I think this has more to do with low staffing and Genie+ than unusually high crowds. Mix in the grueling heat this week (I know, out of Disney’s control), and this has been a letdown of a Disney trip despite Sunday being wonderful. It seems Disneyland is being run more and more like WDW, and that is really a shame. One prime example is it seems like the Main Street Vehicles stop running earlier than they used to.

Given line lengths, we’ve spent more time than usual in the shops and while I know this isn’t a new complaint, it’s hit home how terrible the merchandise is and how the same crap is sold in every store. Now me, a grown man, not being interested in the merch is one thing. But my kids are at a Disney park and the only merch they’ve been interested in are legos from the Lego Store in Downtown Disney. Pathetic. I don’t see why we can’t have unique ride-themed merch - I’d buy a Big Thunder shirt in a heartbeat.

Some positive notes, to the contrary, as I try to be an eternal optimist:

-I am surprised at the level of entertainment that’s been brought back. Live music is plentiful. At DL alone there’s a parade, fireworks, projection shows, and Fantasmic! every night. It’s almost a personal disappointment, as I enjoy the riverboat running at night and not having traffic flow issues all hours of the night. But I do commend the effort. We’ve seen a lot of roaming characters and had spontaneous interactions. The level of entertainment at DL post-COVID is higher than it was at WDW pre-COVID.

-The cast members are still great for the most part. A few bad apples, but by and large they’ve been great and the interactions with them continue to help make your day a little better. After the working conditions they’ve been put through the last couple years, I truly commend them.

-The number of benches per guest at the Disneyland Resort is so much greater than it is at WDW and makes DL a bearable destination even when it’s busy and hot.

-Plaza Inn breakfast was legitimately good, and the characters and character handlers were wonderful. It was really the highlight so far for my kids. This was the cheapest character meal we’ve ever done at either US resort and the best (not just in terms of value but genuinely the best).

-The parks have been pretty clean overall. I’ve yet to see overflowing trash bins or filthy restrooms. Not as clean as they used to be, I’m sure, but better than WDW has ever been and as good as it was pre-COVID.

-The Disneyland Railroad is perhaps the greatest ride in the world and has been a lifesaver this trip with the heat/crowd combo. The train is a drag at most parks but feels like a genuine ride at DL. Main Street Cinema may be the greatest non-ride attraction for similar reasons.
 

Sirwalterraleigh

Premium Member
Well…I just can say I did genie on Saturday at wdw…more curiosity than anything…and I made it my

Ended up with like 9 Rides in magic kingdom and then studios. So total 15 ish things on a park hop day? Most I have done in forever.

Haven’t used it since…but like maxpass…you can use it to your advantage if you know how to arrange it.

But like with anything…the problem is capacity. It’s a potentially miserable experience if you don’t pay their ransoms.
 

Phroobar

Well-Known Member
Given line lengths, we’ve spent more time than usual in the shops and while I know this isn’t a new complaint, it’s hit home how terrible the merchandise is and how the same crap is sold in every store. Now me, a grown man, not being interested in the merch is one thing. But my kids are at a Disney park and the only merch they’ve been interested in are legos from the Lego Store in Downtown Disney. Pathetic. I don’t see why we can’t have unique ride-themed merch - I’d buy a Big Thunder shirt in a heartbeat.
Whenever MiceChat creates an article on new Disneyland merchandise, I wonder who in their right mind would buy this stuff? There must be adults that like to look like preschoolers when they go to Disneyland. It's kind of sad. Why can't I have a normal hood sweatshirt that says Disneyland on it?
 

bryanfze55

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
Well…I just can say I did genie on Saturday at wdw…more curiosity than anything…and I made it my *****

Ended up with like 9 Rides in magic kingdom and then studios. So total 15 ish things on a park hop day? Most I have done in forever.

Haven’t used it since…but like maxpass…you can use it to your advantage if you know how to arrange it.

But like with anything…the problem is capacity. It’s a potentially miserable experience if you don’t pay their ransoms.
We bought Genie+ yesterday - I think the heat and the fact that we spent more time in DCA than DL perhaps contributed to a lesser feeling of fulfillment - act of nature and user error, not necessarily Disney’s fault. Today we decided to forgo Genie+. I agree that it works as well as Max Pass, as we did six rides with it yesterday. It works fine at reducing wait times.

The issue is it seems to affect wait times at non-Genie attractions more than MaxPass ever did. But maybe this is just a fluke. Or understaffing.
 

Phroobar

Well-Known Member
Disneyland used to be good at getting on and off a ride. Just look at how fast people get on space mountain and off. Compare that to Magic Mountain where it takes 8-10 to load/unload the ride and there are only two cars on the track. It seems these newer rides take longer to load/unload. I also think the cast member traffic cop at the intersection of stand by and LL+ doesn't know anything about portions.
 

bryanfze55

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
Disneyland used to be good at getting on and off a ride. Just look at how fast people get on space mountain and off. Compare that to Magic Mountain where it takes 8-10 to load/unload the ride and there are only two cars on the track. It seems these newer rides take longer to load/unload. I also think the cast member traffic cop at the intersection of stand by and LL+ doesn't know anything about portions.
We went to Legoland last weekend. The ride operations are the one place Disney is still far above the rest. It’s really amazing how quickly they can still load and unload a ride compared to other theme park operators. The lady at Legoland literally went around to every rider on the carousel checking their seat belt. It took ten minutes after I buckled my kid for them to start the ride.
 

Ne'er-Do-Well Cad

Well-Known Member
Wait times have been shocking lately. 75 minutes for Jungle Cruise at 10 am, and 80 minutes for Big Thunder. Undoubtedly it's due to Genie+. But also, Pirates, Tarzan, Toontown (Roger, Gadget, Mickey's House), and Nemo are all down. Not to mention the constant breakdowns of major attractions throughout the day, which has really plagued the park post-covid-closure.
 

Sirwalterraleigh

Premium Member
We went to Legoland last weekend. The ride operations are the one place Disney is still far above the rest. It’s really amazing how quickly they can still load and unload a ride compared to other theme park operators. The lady at Legoland literally went around to every rider on the carousel checking their seat belt. It took ten minutes after I buckled my kid for them to start the ride.
We went to legoland in Florida shortly after it opened and it was the most painful loading experience ever…but if you think about it: so much of the rides are for 5 year olds…and there’s no way to speed through that
 

Disstevefan1

Well-Known Member
Well…I just can say I did genie on Saturday at wdw…more curiosity than anything…and I made it my *****

Ended up with like 9 Rides in magic kingdom and then studios. So total 15 ish things on a park hop day? Most I have done in forever.

Haven’t used it since…but like maxpass…you can use it to your advantage if you know how to arrange it.

But like with anything…the problem is capacity. It’s a potentially miserable experience if you don’t pay their ransoms.
9 rides in the Magic Kingdom and 6 more in the studios! Wow! On a Saturday! You have mastered Genie! I wish I knew the tips and tricks!!!
 

Ryan120420

Well-Known Member
Disneyland used to be good at getting on and off a ride. Just look at how fast people get on space mountain and off. Compare that to Magic Mountain where it takes 8-10 to load/unload the ride and there are only two cars on the track. It seems these newer rides take longer to load/unload. I also think the cast member traffic cop at the intersection of stand by and LL+ doesn't know anything about portions.

Disney still is great with ride operations. That's not the problem.

The problem is that 80% of a rides capacity is given to Lightning Lane guests and that ratio only climbs higher if LL is impacted in any way. This is what is creating the crazy high wait times, Disney is selling WAY too many Genie+ to people at too low of a price point.


Having an 80% ratio of Lightning Lane guests to Standby is just insane. No other park, (not owned by Disney) in the world operates like this.

Disney use to be the gold standard in providing the best guest experience to ALL of its guest. Not anymore.
 
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bryanfze55

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
I take back what I said about park cleanliness. While the walkways are clean, the queues for Peter Pan and Dumbo were absolutely littered with trash.

I blame guests for not having the decency to throw their own trash away. But this is far below Disney’s standard. I have never actually had a guest complaint before, but I’ve been taking photos and plan to tweet it out. That’s the only thing that gets their attention.
 

PiratesMansion

Well-Known Member
My family and I are currently here on summer vacation. We visit nearly annually, and we did a two week trip this year which included time in Laguna, La Jolla, Newport, Universal Hollywood and Griffith Park. Overall we’ve had a great time and continue to be reminded why California remains our ideal vacation spot. But we’ve been at Disneyland for three days now, and the last two have been absolute nightmares. Fathers Day was actually wonderful - weather was pleasant and wait times were relatively low all day.

These last two days, the wait times are unlike anything I’ve ever seen at Disneyland. Jungle Cruise is at 70 minutes. I thought that only happened at WDW. It seems that Genie+ has really done Disneyland wrong. I had high hopes it might work as well as MaxPass, but I do not recall MaxPass affecting wait times this much. We visited last October with no form of “skip the line” and it was our best trip ever. I’m sure having Pirates down and Toontown shut down is not helping things, but there are always rides down and I’ve still never seen anything like this. Walkways don’t appear unusually packed, so I think this has more to do with low staffing and Genie+ than unusually high crowds. Mix in the grueling heat this week (I know, out of Disney’s control), and this has been a letdown of a Disney trip despite Sunday being wonderful. It seems Disneyland is being run more and more like WDW, and that is really a shame. One prime example is it seems like the Main Street Vehicles stop running earlier than they used to.

Given line lengths, we’ve spent more time than usual in the shops and while I know this isn’t a new complaint, it’s hit home how terrible the merchandise is and how the same crap is sold in every store. Now me, a grown man, not being interested in the merch is one thing. But my kids are at a Disney park and the only merch they’ve been interested in are legos from the Lego Store in Downtown Disney. Pathetic. I don’t see why we can’t have unique ride-themed merch - I’d buy a Big Thunder shirt in a heartbeat.

Some positive notes, to the contrary, as I try to be an eternal optimist:

-I am surprised at the level of entertainment that’s been brought back. Live music is plentiful. At DL alone there’s a parade, fireworks, projection shows, and Fantasmic! every night. It’s almost a personal disappointment, as I enjoy the riverboat running at night and not having traffic flow issues all hours of the night. But I do commend the effort. We’ve seen a lot of roaming characters and had spontaneous interactions. The level of entertainment at DL post-COVID is higher than it was at WDW pre-COVID.

-The cast members are still great for the most part. A few bad apples, but by and large they’ve been great and the interactions with them continue to help make your day a little better. After the working conditions they’ve been put through the last couple years, I truly commend them.

-The number of benches per guest at the Disneyland Resort is so much greater than it is at WDW and makes DL a bearable destination even when it’s busy and hot.

-Plaza Inn breakfast was legitimately good, and the characters and character handlers were wonderful. It was really the highlight so far for my kids. This was the cheapest character meal we’ve ever done at either US resort and the best (not just in terms of value but genuinely the best).

-The parks have been pretty clean overall. I’ve yet to see overflowing trash bins or filthy restrooms. Not as clean as they used to be, I’m sure, but better than WDW has ever been and as good as it was pre-COVID.

-The Disneyland Railroad is perhaps the greatest ride in the world and has been a lifesaver this trip with the heat/crowd combo. The train is a drag at most parks but feels like a genuine ride at DL. Main Street Cinema may be the greatest non-ride attraction for similar reasons.
As an outside observer, I have no doubt that Genie is underpriced and causing problems. That said, I think there are a few additional factors at play too that are easy to overlook:
1. DLR totally revamped their AP program and the old adage of "summer's manageable because the passes are all blocked" no longer applies. This would be, in some ways, new territory even if everything else was operating status quo.
2. As mentioned by you and others in other posts, a lot of attraction/area closures right now.
3. Jungle Cruise was recently reimagined and I know at WDW last fall it had (and to my understanding, is still experiencing) a significant popularity bump. I'm sure that's still happening to some extent, as I imagine is true of Snow White as well.

Agreed on the merchandise. I feel like WDW has turned the corner on this a little bit, if only because it seemed like someone over there has figured out that since they have so many stores, maybe they could diversify a tad, but DL seemingly has never gotten the memo.

I'm interested to see what I'll think during my first post-closure trip next month. Bringing a DL newbie, so hopefully some of the issues I've been hearing about will be ironed out by then?

Plaza Inn: How were the character interactions? Did they seem like normal pre-covid interactions (if you had experience with them in the past) or did they just wave and walk by, as the website seems to describe? What characters were there? I'm going with someone who wants to do a character meal, which is a new experience for me, so I'm curious and can't fall back on my own knowledge in this case.

Nice to see you back on this side of the boards @bryanfze55! It's been awhile!
 

bryanfze55

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
Ride reliability is awful right now. Rides shutting down left and right at all times. Star Tours has had issues two nights in a row. I’ve never known Star Tours to be anything but a tank. We saw people walking off Splash Mountain mid-ride last night. Not sure how COVID affects the ability to hire maintenance people
 

shambolicdefending

Well-Known Member
I'm starting to get more skeptical about the "understaffed" narrative. It may still be an issue to some extent, but it shouldn't be a primary driver of operational shortcomings anymore. They've been re-opened for well over a year and, with general economic conditions being poor, they should've been able to turn a corner on the labor issues by now.
 

bryanfze55

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
As an outside observer, I have no doubt that Genie is underpriced and causing problems. That said, I think there are a few additional factors at play too that are easy to overlook:
1. DLR totally revamped their AP program and the old adage of "summer's manageable because the passes are all blocked" no longer applies. This would be, in some ways, new territory even if everything else was operating status quo.
2. As mentioned by you and others in other posts, a lot of attraction/area closures right now.
3. Jungle Cruise was recently reimagined and I know at WDW last fall it had (and to my understanding, is still experiencing) a significant popularity bump. I'm sure that's still happening to some extent, as I imagine is true of Snow White as well.

Agreed on the merchandise. I feel like WDW has turned the corner on this a little bit, if only because it seemed like someone over there has figured out that since they have so many stores, maybe they could diversify a tad, but DL seemingly has never gotten the memo.

I'm interested to see what I'll think during my first post-closure trip next month. Bringing a DL newbie, so hopefully some of the issues I've been hearing about will be ironed out by then?

Plaza Inn: How were the character interactions? Did they seem like normal pre-covid interactions (if you had experience with them in the past) or did they just wave and walk by, as the website seems to describe? What characters were there? I'm going with someone who wants to do a character meal, which is a new experience for me, so I'm curious and can't fall back on my own knowledge in this case.

Nice to see you back on this side of the boards @bryanfze55! It's been awhile!
Thanks! I tend to be most active when planning a trip or currently taking one as that’s when I have most of my grievances!

Plaza Inn was 100% back to pre-COVID operation. All of the characters walk around to each table, and you are allowed to hug them (I personally did not hug them, but my kids did), take photos, sign autographs, etc. I believe we saw 8 in total - Minnie, Daisy, Chip, Dale, Pluto, Tigger, and the two mice from Cinderella. They will stay and hang out with you for awhile as long as it’s organic. Dale was goofing off with my oldest a lot. It’s generally the “animal” characters, I believe, which I find more fun and less awkward. But it’s always subject to change. Minnie is the only guarantee. Breakfast was $40/adult and $24/kid which, given that the buffet has a wide selection and the hot food was decent, I don’t consider *bad* necessarily.
 

bryanfze55

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
Right now at DCA alone, the following rides are temporarily closed:

-Pixar Pal A Round
-Jumpin Jellyfish
-Silly Symphony Swings
-Goofy’s Sky School
-Golden Zephyr
-Grizzly River Run

How is that possible?

The Little Mermaid is at one hour! I’ve never seen it longer than 15 minutes on any prior visit. I have no idea what’s going on, but Disneyland is fundamentally different. The beautiful thing about the park has always been the large number of small attractions one could hop on in 5-10 minutes. It was a serious distinction from WDW where that no longer exists.
 

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