There is a lot of confusion and disappointment surrounding the announcement of the brand new Disney Genie.
We try to put a positive spin on everything. After all, helping others plan their dream vacations is what we do. And it’s what we enjoy.
But, even I have to admit, this one has been rough. And it’s been especially rough for those of us who have been going to the Disney Parks for some time now. Instead of seeing any positives new additions may bring, all we see is dollar signs. The very same vacation we booked years ago is going to cost more now. And the Free Perks that were once there is no longer an option. As a fellow Guest, it absolutely stinks.
But, in the spirit of trying to keep things light, we’re doing our best to keep an open mind. Rather than solely focusing on the negatives, we’re just going to explain what the Disney Genie is.
And regardless of what negativity surrounds the announcement, Guests will use it. I know that and Disney knows that. So, just like other posts you’ll find on this site, we’re going to put a positive spin wherever we see fit.
Here we go…
Disney Genie Is NOT A Standalone App
The Disney Genie will work with your existing My Disney Experience and Disneyland Apps. Much like Walt Disney World’s brand new Disney MagicMobile, updating the App once it’s released is all you’ll need to do.
There are many who have said they won’t be using Disney Genie. And that’s ok. But, in my experience, it’s easier to simply check it out if it’s already there.
Walt Disney World and Disneyland Will Finally Work On The Same System
Whether or not you liked FastPass+ or MaxPass, you have to admit, they came with a bit of a learning curve. And visiting opposite coasts required learning its own set of rules and lingo.
This is why many Guests ultimately use a Travel Agent, such as myself, to help plan their Disney vacations. Planning is downright confusing if you don’t know what others are talking about. And who wants to spend that kind of money to be confused on vacation.
But, theoretically, once you learn how to use it, it will work the same way on both coasts. This is actually good news for those of us who wish to visit multiple Disney Parks.
There Are Multiple Versions of Disney Genie…Including A FREE Version
Everyone is laser focused on the paid versions of the app. Believe me, I get why.
But, Disney has been promoting the Disney Genie since the 2019 D23 Expo. And from what I can tell, everything they talked about is included in the Free Version.
At the time, they also compared it to mobile food ordering, Play Disney Parks, and online check-in. These are all FREE additions to the My Disney Experience App, created to enhance your vacation.
The Free Version
Simply speaking, Disney Genie is a personalized itinerary.
The concept is that you’re supposed to be able to tell the Genie what you want to do and the Disney Genie will generate a plan for how it thinks you should spend your day. Whether that means you’re focusing your day around a specific attractions or you want to do everything princess related, the App is supposed to recommend what to do and when to do it.
Since this is the part that everyone struggles with, I am excited to test this part of the App out.
If it lives up to the hype and its recommendations maximizes my time in the Parks, I will absolutely use this version of the App. And considering it’s free, I’d happily recommend it, as well.
The Paid Versions
Technically, there are 2 paid versions.
They’re being marketed as a way to enhance your flexibility and convenience in the Park. In reality, this is the next evolution of Fastpass+ and MaxPass. This means, if you want to spend less time waiting in line, you’re going to have to pay for that convenience.
MaxPass, in Disneyland, was already a paid option. But, for Guests who didn’t want to pay for MaxPass, you could still get FastPasses simply by walking to each attraction. For those of us who visit Walt Disney World more often, FastPass+ was always free. This is why so many Guests are so enraged by this change.
- Walt Disney World
- Guests will pay $15 per ticket, per day to use this paid add-on service.
- Starting in Fall 2021, the add-on service can be included in your Vacation Package or Ticket purchases made ahead of time. If you choose this option, you will pay to use this service for each day you have a Park Ticket. If you’re planning a 7 day trip with 4 Park Days, you will be charged $15 x the number of Guests, ages 3+, in your Party x 4 Park Days.
- Same day Disney Genie+ purchases will be available. This will be more convenient for Guests who only want to use Disney Genie+ for 1 day, regardless if they booked a Vacation Package or not.
- There is no planning ahead. There is no limit to how many attractions you can skip the line for. But, you will only be allowed to hold 1 reservation at one time, starting on the day your arrive to the Park.
- Once your window opens, you will have one hour to arrive to the Lightning Lane entrance (old FastPass entrances).
- If you have Park Hopper Tickets, Disney Genie+ will work across different parks.
- Included with your purchase is Disney Parks-themed auto experiences and photos using augmented reality lenses.
- The Disney Genie+ add-on will work exactly the same as Walt Disney’s World’s version, with a couple slight variations.
- Guests will pay $20 per ticket, per day to use the is paid add-on service.
- Included with your purchase is Disney Parks-themed auto experiences and unlimited Disney PhotoPass downloads from your day.
Individual Attraction Selections
- Prices will vary by day, attractions, and Park.
- There is a maximum of two attractions in this category each day.
- These selections include high demand attractions that are not included in Disney Genie+. The only attractions we know are included right now are Seven Dwarfs Mine Train and Radiator Springs Racers.
- Guests who stay at a Disney-owned Resort will be given the first opportunity to choose their 2 Individual Attraction Selections, starting at 7am.
What is Lightning Lane?
While the name Lightning Lane may be new, the concept nor the physical queue is new. For those who have used FastPass on either coast, the concept is the same. Once your time window has opened up, just head to the Lightning Lane queue.
Will Virtual Queues Still Exist?
The short answer is YES.
Virtual Queues for Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance, Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure, Radiator Springs Racers, and WEB SLINGERS: A Spider-Man Adventure will remain FREE.
Due to extreme popularity, there is no standby queue at these attractions right now. So, the option to purchase Lightning Lane may become an additional option to experience the attraction. However, I don’t expect this to be offered right away.
Do You Have To Purchase Disney Genie+ to Ride Attractions?
No, purchasing Disney Genie+ is completely optional.
If you choose not to purchase it, you’re welcome to wait in the regular attraction queue. The only exception to this is Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance, Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure, Radiator Springs Racers, and WEB SLINGERS: A Spider-Man Adventure, which use virtual queues.
Why is Disney retiring FastPass, FastPass+ and Disney MaxPass?
Only Disney executives know this answer for sure. But, my theory is a little more complex than “Disney just wants to make more money.”
For years, Guests have complained about FastPass+, especially at Walt Disney World. You got a 60 day headstart on grabbing FastPasses, if you stayed on property. And even if you didn’t, you were still able to get them 30 days before you even got there. Guests who planned their trips last minute never stood a chance. Those good Fastpasses were long gone, unless you got very lucky.
At the same time, Guests also complained that FastPass lines slowed down the regular queue. A line that would be a 20 minute wait turned into a 40+ minute wait because Cast Members had to be sure that the FastPass system truly made the line move…well, faster.
Will Disney benefit financially from this new paid version? Absolutely! But, they also know that there are Guests who won’t pay for this service. And I expect a lot of these people to be first time travelers, since they won’t know what this service is that they’d be paying extra for.
Taking my family for example: We have 2 adults, 2 boys over age 3, and a soon-to-be newborn (baby boy #3 due September 2021 🙂 ) We usually get 5 Day Tickets. If we choose to use this service, we are now looking at spending an additional $300 for a similar service that used to be free, at least until baby boy turns 3.
Maybe it won’t make a difference. But, if enough people opt out of purchasing Disney Genie+ and/or Individual Attraction Selections, what we end up with a VIP experience for those willing to pay while also speeding up the regular queues. But, I guess only time will tell.
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