New updates to Walt Disney World for 50th anniversary

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Deanna Wright

Walt Disney World has released new updates on perks for visitors in preparation for their 50th anniversary.

The Florida theme park has been operating in Orlando since Oct. 1, 1971.

With Disney’s 50th anniversary right around the corner, many perks have either come and gone or have evolved over time to what they are today.

One of these perks is that guests are able to purchase annual passes instead of just buying tickets each time they visit. Up until the COVID-19 pandemic started back in March 2022, all guests were allowed to purchase them.

Once the pandemic hit and the parks closed for over three months, Disney made the decision to put a hold on selling passes, with the only exception allowing current pass members to either renew or cancel their current passes.

On Sept. 8, Walt Disney World will sell annual passes again with new names for the different levels. These names and costs being the “Incredi-pass” which is available for everyone ($1299), the “Sorcerer Pass” for Florida residents/DVC members only ($899), and the last two options being “Pirate Pass” ($699) and the “Pixie Dust Pass” ($399) that are only available to Florida residents.

“I don’t mind the new names for the annual passes, they are more Disney themed which is fun,” junior Emma Lytle, said.

Pricing on these passes did go up again with favorite perks not being included and guests having to pay more for these such as photopass.

“I currently have a silver pass, and the new comparable pass would be an upcharge of over 200 dollars without some of the perks I had with the silver pass,” senior Laura McKenna said.

Both Lytle and McKenna have had their passes since they were freshman in college and neither plan to renew their passes after they end due to the new price increase.

The new passes and pricing is not the only change the company has recently announced. The Walt Disney Company announced that the popular fastpasses had their last days, right before the pandemic due to them discontinuing the perk when the parks reopened back in July 2020.

“I really enjoyed the pre-pandemic fastpass system,” Lytle said.

With free fastpasses being retired, Disney announced their new fastpass programs, “Genie+” and “Lightning Lanes,” which will include an additional fee to guests who choose to use them, launching sometime this fall.

“I am so disappointed in Disney’s decision to discontinue fast passes,” McKenna said. “As a college student I can barely afford my annual pass, and I will not be paying for Genie+ or [Lightning Lanes].”

Disney Genie is a free mobile app that will guide guests through the parks with tips that will help reduce time in lines, discover magic around each turn and help design the best Disney day.

The Disney Genie+ will be a reservation system that allows guests to make one reservation at a time that will cost $15 per day to over 40 attractions.

Individual Lightning Lane passes will be part of the Disney Genie+ but will be a separate expense and the price has not been announced.

These passes will allow guests to utilize the Lightning Lanes entrance at one of Disney’s highest demand attractions and will be available on a pay-per-ride basis.

Guests will only be allowed up to two passes per day. Walt Disney World Resort hotel guests will be allowed to purchase up to two individual attraction selections through Lightning Lane access at 7 a.m. the day of their visit. Other guests not staying on property can make their purchases of their two when the park they plan to visit opens.

For more information on these new services visit Walt Disney World’s website.

 

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