Walt Disney World has announced that two additions will be made to the Genie+ lineup at Hollywood Studios, as the Star Wars Launch Bay meet and greet will have Lightning Lanes once that location reopens. This article covers details about the duo joining the paid FastPass ride roster in summer 2022 and commentary on the change.
In case you missed it, Walt Disney World made a ton of changes to Genie+ in an effort to balance supply and demand, while trying to improve dismal guest satisfaction scores. The first change happened a few months ago, with Walt Disney World is moving individual Lightning Lane attractions from each park to Genie+ until August 7, 2022. Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure was also added to this list with the opening of Cosmic Rewind.
A number of other changes sought to achieve the same end results, but were less well received. The most recent of these was that Genie+ ticket add-on is removed at Walt Disney World. Although it was initially greeted with great unhappiness, Genie+ has yet to sell out for any day at any park, despite the arrival of the peak summer season.
The goal of all of this is to increase the capacity or supply of Lightning Lanes and/or slightly reduce customer demand for the service, thereby improving the overall experience. Before the rides moved to the Genie+ service, many readers complained about the limited availability of ride reservations. (Complaints continue to occur, but Genie+ “dissatisfaction rates” seem to have dropped.)
Walt Disney World also sought to lower expectations by adding a “disclaimer” that “on average, guests may enter 2-3 attractions or experiences per day using Lightning Lane entry if first selection is made early in the day. the day”. (Read more in Genie+ really pays FastPass+ at Walt Disney World.)
In this context, Walt Disney World has announced that Star Wars Launch Bay will be added to Genie+ on July 17, 2022.
Walt Disney World actually lists three added Lightning Lane options. Here’s the complete list of Disney’s Hollywood Studios with highlighted additions:
- Alien whirling saucers
- Beauty and the Beast live on stage
- Disney Junior Play and Dance!
- For the first time ever: a frozen celebration in chorus
- Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular
- Star Wars Launch Bay (from July 17, 2022)
- Star Wars Launch Bay: Meet Darth Vader (from July 17, 2022)
- Star Wars Launch Bay: Meet Chewbacca (from July 17, 2022)
- Meet Olaf at Celebrity Spotlight
- Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway**
- Millennium Falcon: The Smugglers’ Race
- Muppet*Vision 3D
- Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster with Aerosmith
- Slinky Dog Dash
- Star Tours – The Adventures Continue
- The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror™
- Toy Story mania!
Color me skeptical, but I don’t think entering the building will require a Lightning Lane reservation (if it does, that would be absolutely a waste). Either there is another meet and greet being added, or the top list is a redundancy.
For those who have forgotten Star Wars Launch Bay or have never experienced it, here is how Walt Disney World describes it: “Explore immersive exhibits of costumes, models, concept art and movie props real ones, as well as authentic replicas created especially for star wars Launch bay.
Watch an exclusive short documentary about the creative team behind the ever-evolving story. Explore a Cantina and other movie-inspired settings, then share a furry hug with Chewbacca, Han Solo’s trusty sidekick.
I can’t even remember the last time I walked into Star Wars Launch Bay at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Probably mid-2019, as I think at some point I assumed it would be removed when Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge opened.
Honestly, part of me is surprised he’s coming back. While I was glad to have more things to do (which also feature air conditioning), I was also hoping that the entire Animation Courtyard would be replaced soon. The return of Star Wars Launch Bay makes an announcement about it less likely at the next D23 Expo.
Bringing back Darth Vader is a huge. While I appreciate that Imagineering and Lucasfilm are willing to “compromise” the Batuu timeline, I wish it went further. I don’t mean the whole country should become free for all, but it’s crazy to me that Darth Vader isn’t here.
Also perplexing to me is that Chewbacca is is going to meet at Launch Bay given that he’s been wandering around Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge since this land opened. Again, my memory is fuzzy and I can’t remember if this was the norm for Launch Bay after opening Galaxy’s Edge, but it would make more sense to rotate a character into Launch Bay’s off-planet slot which “cannot” appear on Batu.
If Star Wars Launch Bay had to exist, what would I do really love for it to become is a place of crossing. Take things in a totally different direction and justify the existence of this place as the intersection of Disney and Star Wars. Give us Darth Goofy, Jedi Mickey, Stormtrooper Donald Duck, etc.
But I digress.
Another interesting thing about this move is that it’s another meet and greet added to Genie+ at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. You might remember they tested it with Mickey and Minnie’s Red Carpet Dreams when this came back a few months ago.
Shortly after being converted from a physical distance viewing to an actual encounter, Red Carpet Dreams was dropped from the Genie + Lightning Lane lineup. Disney never gave a reason for this, but it was almost certainly the limited space in the queue.
Star Wars Launch Bay has a lot more space, so that probably won’t be an issue.
From the standpoint of making Genie+ more appealing and usable in Disney’s Hollywood Studios (the park where it’s having the most trouble), it’s a good move. Of course, that’s not the case if you’re not planning on buying Genie+ at DHS.
As a reminder, it is NOT necessary to purchase Genie+ to beat the crowds at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Our recent articles: DHS Early Entry: Triple-Digit Trio Triumph and Disney’s Hollywood Studios Afternoon Arrival Strategy explain how to approach morning and evening in the park.
You can accomplish just about anything in the first and last hours of the day under a few conditions. That should hold true until Fantasmic returns. To this end, we (once again) recommend to check Strategy Genie+ versus Savvy at Walt Disney Worldwhich is the result of extensive “testing” to determine the best and worst ways to beat the crowds at each park.
Beyond that, we recommend anyone visiting the parks during the busy summer season to follow our Walt Disney World Itineraries. We have started updating them and will finish them by next week.
In addition to that, check out our Disney’s Hollywood Studios Genie+ Priorities and Lightning Lane Ride Rankings. This list should be updated once Star Wars Launch Bay returns, but these encounters and greetings are unlikely to change the top priorities.
Ultimately, this won’t change the equation for buying Genie+ when Disney’s Hollywood Studios visit in the summer of 2022. While it will improve the value proposition of the paid FastPass service, none of these additions will is a headliner that will result in high wait times that will be difficult to derive.
Essentially, the operative questions to determine if you should buy Genie+ at DHS is whether you will be making an early entry and being in the park in the middle of the day. If you’re not doing early entry but will be at DHS at noon, then you may want or even need Genie+ to experience it all in one day. If you arrive early and stay late, you won’t need Genie+ at all. (In fact, it could be counterproductive and cause more headaches than it’s worth.)
Adding more to the Genie+ line at DHS is another step in the right direction, but there are still many issues with Walt Disney World’s Genie system. If you have any other unanswered questions, check out our Genie+ Guide to Walt Disney World and Lightning Lane FAQ for all the essential information on this replacement for Free FastPass+. This whole system is confusing and convoluted, so you might have a question or two dozen. This answers all of the most common questions we’ve received from readers.
Planning a trip to Walt Disney World? Learn more about the hotels on our Walt Disney World Hotel Reviews page. To find out where to eat, read our Walt Disney World restaurant reviews. To save money on tickets or figure out which type to buy, read our tips for saving money on Walt Disney World tickets. Our What to Pack for Disney Trips article takes a unique look at smart items to pack. To know what to do and when to do it, our Walt Disney World Ride guides will help you. For comprehensive advice, the best place to start is our Walt Disney World Travel Planning Guide for everything you need to know!
What do you think of Walt Disney World adding Star Wars Launch Bay meet and greet with Chewbacca and Darth Vader to Disney’s Hollywood Studios Genie+ service? Do these additions tip the scales in favor of purchasing Genie+ from DHS? Do you agree or disagree with my assessment? Questions we can help you answer? Hearing your feedback – even when you disagree with us – is both interesting for us and helpful for other readers, so share your thoughts below in the comments!