The Problem With Disney News Sites

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News reporting about Disney has a problem, and nothing has highlighted this more than the recent ‘Lighting Lane Multi Pass’ changes that are coming to Walt Disney World after 24th July.

As part of the end of Genie+, Disney is taking inspiration from it’s popular old style FastPass system. ‘Lighting Lanes’ will be available up to 7 days before you visit the park if you’re staying on site, and for all the days that you are staying. Rather than being free, this is a chargeable service with details yet to be announced as to the cost. Disney Parks Blog did a whole post explaining what was changing and how.

As part of the end of Genie+, Disney is switching to a chargeable FastPass+ like system where you can pre-book ‘Lighting Lanes’ three days before you visit the park, and if you’re staying at a Disney Resort, seven days before you arrive for all the days you’re staying. Disney Parks Blog did a whole post explaining what is changing.

The problem is that Disney didn’t detail what happens for international visitors. If you try and buy Genie+ at the moment in the app it’ll happily tell you that its only available for people in the US and Canada, visitors did have the option to buy it in advance but its mostly for on the day purchases, and selections are made while in the country. The post didn’t detail any changes of that requirement, and a lot of international visitors assumed that the location requirement wouldn’t change as part of this.

This started a whole discussion about how unfair it is, and someone took action and asked customer services what would happen. If you’ve dealt with Disney customer services over the phone or web chat, they’ll quite happily tell you no for anything they’ve not been briefed on as to ‘under promise, and over deliver’. So, as expected, the cast member the person spoke to said no and that they have no plans for that. This is a service change that will be launching in a months time, i’d expect that Disney hasn’t even finalised the processes for the call centres yet as to what they need to do.

Roll on a few hours later and what seems like every single blog and talking head online is echoing this. Walt Disney World News Today did an entire piece without citing one source. Another favourite, WDW Magazine, were again parroting the same line with no actual source. Both of these link to the official Disney Parks blog post almost citing it as a source for the restriction, but not a single mention of it is in there.

Due to the readership size of the sites they’re seen as ‘reputable’, even though they have no other details other than the press release, and it has now turned into a echo chamber on social media with people screaming that Disney is abandoning the international Disney fans. So much so that even a petition has started up to get Disney to change their ways.

Now, we could be wrong, but thinking of Halon’s razor, we don’t believe Disney had even thought about purchase or app restrictions when they posted that blog. The press release was aimed at trying to announce that Genie+ was going away.

The biggest thing to remember at the moment is that no one needs to buy the new service until the 17th July anyway (which is 7 days prior to the 24th), the current restrictions in the app are all down to how Genie+ is used and sold as of the moment. If it was approaching the launch date and we had still heard nothing then maybe we would be worried. But, we have seen how quickly Disney can implement big changes in a short period of time, and in the world of development this isn’t that short a window with what they already have in place.

In a nutshell, this is our issue with some Disney news sites; they can be a terrible rumour mill that is never held accountable for spreading false information, use click-bait titles to drive traffic, and purposefully choose language aimed at pitching Disney fans against one another.

The current Lightning Lane drama will be settled in a few weeks, and we will know for sure what Disney’s plan is. If they were wrong, these sites will claim this was their victory and they made Disney change their mind. If they’re right, they’ll get to say they were in the know.

Take everything you read from these sites with a pinch of salt and read the source. We include our own site in that bucket, which is why we clearly mark our opinion pieces as they are just our thoughts on a subject.

“Never let the truth get in the way of a good story.” - Mark Twain

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