Supply and demand. It’s a simple theory that has driven pricing more and more at the Walt Disney World theme parks in recent years. From the introduction of date-based pricing to limited attendance, high-cost events like the After Hours series of offerings. In a perfect world, the supply would sell out for things like an After Hours event just before the event starts, showing that the pricing is just right to meet the demand from a consumer base. While we’ve kept an eye on things like the highly demanded Disney Boo Bash offering and the relatively lightly demanded Disney Most Merriest After Hours, we have a new offering to keep an eye on for more daily metrics. Enter, Individual Lightning Lane attraction selections.
Last week, Disney introduced the concept of Individual Lightning Lane attraction selections as part of the Disney Genie suite of offerings. These individual selections really show not only the popularity of a specific ride at Walt Disney World but also the monetary value of a ride to The Walt Disney Company. We’ll have more thoughts on how Lightning Lane might shape the future of the parks in subsequent articles, but in this article, we wanted to talk a bit about attraction pricing. First, here’s a list of currently offered Individual Lightning Lane attraction selections.
When it was announced, the range for Individual Lightning Lane pricing was set at $7 on the low end up to $15 on the high end. In reality, that range should be much larger to optimize the offering. We’ve kept an eye on which Lightning Lane-enabled attractions are selling out quickest as part of a larger attempt to come up with a list of priorities for each park next week, but we wanted to highlight the fact that not all Individual Lightning Lane attraction selections are created equal. In fact, we think that Disney could easily tinker a bit more with the offering as they look to further optimize yield management.
Overpriced Lightning Lane Attractions
We’ll start with the Lightning Lane Attractions that are either obviously overpriced or in some cases, perhaps even unnecessary.
Let’s start with the glaringly obvious – Expedition Everest. Not only is Expedition Everest grossly overpriced at even $7, it probably should not even qualify as an Individual Lightning Lane attraction. Of course, perhaps some balance is being struck by Disney and maybe even a bit of pity shown by making Expedition Everest such an obvious choice to skip, but if we were counting pennies at Team Disney Orlando, we’d probably swap Everest for Kilimanjaro Safaris. At the very least, we could see Expedition Everest becoming one of the first Individual Lightning Lane attractions to break through the “floor” of $7 to a much more enticing price of maybe $3-$5. Charging $2 is definitely too cheap, but we haven’t seen an enticing price presented to even make a kneejerk purchase yet.
Next up on the overpriced list is Space Mountain. Just like Expedition Everest, Space Mountain rarely has a Lightning Lane return time more than 45-60 minutes into the future and often has a return time of less than 30 minutes. In reality, Space Mountain will very likely be swapped out for TRON Lightcycle Run…whenever it opens.
At this point, we’d consider those two attractions to be the grossly overpriced Lightning Lane attractions. All others either seem to fall into the fairly priced range or as we’ll see next, undervalued.
Undervalued Lightning Lane Attractions
On the flip side of things, there is one Individual Lightning Lane attraction that could clearly use a price increase – Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance. This attraction has been at the $15 “ceiling” of the Lightning Lane price range since Genie debuted, and it has constantly sold out within the first hour or two of park operations. It’s not a fun thing to say, but Disney could easily break through the $20 per person, per ride mark for Rise of the Resistance, and probably even climb to $30 before finding a supply/demand balance. While instantly “sold out” Boarding Groups signaled a tough day for Guest Relations before Genie, instantly sold out Lightning Lane passes represent money left on the table for Disney accountants.
Staying at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, we don’t have another attraction that is overpriced, but perhaps an attraction swap that would make more sense. As we’ve seen in the opening days of Genie at Disney World, there has been immense demand for Slinky Dog Dash. It is without a doubt the top Genie+ Lightning Lane priority attraction, and we could see Disney swapping that out of the bundle Genie+ pricing and charging a pay-per-ride fee at Slinky Dog Dash instead of Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway. Perhaps regular shutdowns for summer afternoon storms would prevent making Slinky Dog Dash a good choice for a premium pay-per-ride attraction. Other than that, Runaway Railway is likely performing well in Disney’s eyes as an Individual Lightning Lane attraction.
For more on Disney Genie, Disney Genie+, and Individual Lightning Lane attraction selections, check out our articles below!
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