Disney always seems to be working on their technology to enhance the user experience. It’s great to have technology at our fingertips to help with our vacation planning, of course the downside is the learning curve to help get it set up and running properly… but then there are always factors outside of your control, that well… it just doesn’t work right some of the time. So it’s a love hate relationship for sure.

Disney has released their new Disney Genie Service. A technology designed to make your planning easier, give you more flexibility and provide better tools to help make the most of your visit. This service will be available at both Walt Disney World resort and Disneyland resort later this fall.

Disney states that “this new technology will guide you through the theme parks with tips that can help you reduce time in lines, discover magic around every corner and take the guesswork out of what’s next.”

Disney Genie Overview

Disney Genie is built right into the My Disney Experience and Disneyland apps. This means that you will be prompted to make sure your app is up to date before getting it set up. There are three parts to Disney Genie Service. Let’s go over some of the features of these services.

Complimentary Service

The first part of this service is simply called ‘Disney Genie’. Disney Genie is a personalized Day Optimizer that helps structure your day based on your interests. It creates an itinerary based on your preferences and updates throughout the day, monitoring wait times, weather delays, available dining options and more.

When you launch the Disney Genie, you will be guided through several steps to choose your interests including which attractions, dining and special experiences, etc that you would like to do. You can even choose interests such as Princesses, Star Wars, thrill rides, etc. You will then receive a personalized itinerary based on those interests. The app will reflect a good time to visit the experience and forecasted wait times. Recommendations are updated throughout the day as you enjoy the parks and even recognizes when you have experienced a certain attraction so it will remove it from your recommendations (that’s what it is suppose to do, but more on that later.)

Disney Genie Itinerary
Disney Genie Tailored Recommendations
Disney Genie Customization

Your “My Day” tab is where all of your recommendations will be and will include any reservations you already have set up. You can even chat with a Cast Member if you have questions.

It will also display recommendations on the best times to visit attractions, mobile order and give dining recommendations.

There is also a real time Custom Tip Board – This feature will let you see estimated wait times for your top attractions, entertainment and dining. This is also where you can order food, make reservations, join a virtual queue and book your arrival times for lightning lanes (more on that later).

Disney Genie My Day Tab
Disney Genie Tip Board

Disney Genie+ Service

This is the one that most people have been waiting for. Who doesn’t love the opportunity to skip the lines?? In the past, FastPass was a service that Disney provided free of charge to ticket holders and guests were allowed to choose 3 FastPass selections up to 60 days before their vacation and then more in the park once they used those 3. The FastPass system had it’s lovers and haters as well. Some didn’t like having to plan so far in advance or having times to be different places, the FastPass system was great if you had a FastPass for that attraction, but if not, then it slowed the standby wait down. This is one of the reasons why wait times have been more reasonable the past few months. Personally, I enjoyed the FastPass system and the planning that went into it. With Disney Genie+, the replacement for FastPass and MaxPass at Disneyland, there is less advance planning but at the cost of $15 per ticket per day. Universal Orlando already has a similar system with their Express Pass. Basically a paid “skip the line” pass. The main different though is the ability to schedule an arrival time. At Universal, you just go whenever you want and enter the Express Line.

You will want to consider purchasing the Disney Genie+ service. This service allows you to select arrival windows fro Lightning Lane entrances for more than 40 attractions and entertainment options across all 4 Walt Disney World theme parks, one at a time throughout the day. You will also receive access to Disney PhotoPass lenses and Audio tales.

There are a couple of different ways you can purchase Disney Genie+. You can add it onto a vacation package for the duration of your visit or you can purchase the same day of your visit as early as 7am within the My Disney Experience app.

Once you have purchased the Disney Genie+ Service, you can book an arrival window for your first selected attraction through the My Disney Experience app beginning at 7am on the day of your visit. Once you have scanned into your first selection, you can then select another attraction using the app one at a time throughout the day.

Optional Add-on - Individual Lightning Lanes

Several of the most popular attractions at each of the 4 Walt Disney World theme parks will now have Lightning Lane entry as an individual purchase. You do not have to purchase Disney Genie+ in order to purchase these individual Lightning Lanes.

You can select a time to arrive at up to 2 different attractions each day. The cost of Individual Attraction Selections will vary by date, attraction and park but we’ve been given a range of $7-15 per person per attraction.

Disney Genie Lightning Lanes
Disney Genie Audio Tales
Disney Genie Photopass
Disney Genie Individual Lightning Lanes

The Individual Attraction Selections must be purchased on the same day of your visit only through the Disney Genie Service in the My Disney Experience mobile app. Advance purchase is not available. You can purchase individual selections for up to 2 different attractions per day.

  •  Guests of a Disney Resort hotel, the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin hotels or Shades of Green resort can make their first purchase and selection at 7am on the day of their visit.
  • For theme park guests not staying at one of the above resorts, they can make their first purchase at park opening.

My Final Thoughts...

Ok, so that’s a pretty good overview. Now let’s go into some of my thoughts…

In theory, the Disney Genie planning service may have been a good idea. Obviously I am a travel planner who specializes in Disney and Universal vacation planning and initially I was a little concerned about the value of my services over this free planning genie… That concern quickly went away the more that I read and learned and the more I spoke with other people actually using it in the parks. 

I think this can be a great tool to use alongside a more personalized itinerary to keep up with wait times or find additional things to do after completing your must do list; however, a piece of technology can never replace the personal time and attention that you get when working with a travel agent. 

This genie may tell you which attraction has the lowest wait time or when the best time to visit is, but it won’t tell you if that attraction is worth your time, or where the best snacks are. It may suggest a show at park opening because of the short wait time, but it won’t tell you that shows aren’t the best use of your time first thing in the morning. So while I still think that this can be a good tool in the event of rides shutting down for problems, or weather and monitoring wait times, I don’t really think it is something you should rely on as your only source of itinerary planning on such an expensive vacation.

 Now on to Genie+…

I think Genie+ can be worth it. If you are visiting Disney during a particularly busy time of year, think holidays or Spring breaks, then it is probably a no brainer. But I don’t necessarily think you need it for every day or every park. 

Magic Kingdom has a ton of attractions. It’s a large park with lots to do and see and it’s difficult to get through it in one day. I would say most definitely would be beneficial here. The other parks I am not so sure. 

I would probably say Hollywood Studios as well, just because it has several hot ticket thrill rides and tends to get some of the longest waits across all the parks. But there are 2 attractions, Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway and Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance that are Individual purchase or standby only here. So you really need to look at the other attractions here and determine how much use you would get out of the Disney Genie+.

The other two parks, EPCOT and Animal Kingdom, I don’t really think it would be worth it. Of course, it’s always nice to skip the line and it would save time, but if you really need to save money, this is one area you can get away with it. There aren’t as many attractions at either of these parks and then you still have the two popular ones using the individual purchase only. If anything, maybe choose one of the attractions to purchase the lightning lane and rope drop the other one. That would probably save you a little bit.

I hope this information helps you in deciding whether you want to let this Genie out on your next Walt Disney World vacation. If you still need help, check out our video over this as well. As always, if you want some help planning your next Disney vacation, you can get started here!