When Walt Disney World reopened in July of 2020 it did so without FastPass+. The system, that allowed guests to skip the line on a few rides per day, wasn’t universally loved, but neither was standing in long standby lines at all times. Today, Disney World officially launched Disney Genie, the new app based service that is designed to make a trip to the parks easier for all, and also includes Genie+, that will allow guests to skip some lines for an added fee.
One would expect that no roll out of a major new system like this would be without glitches, and there certainly have been some. But does Disney Genie ultimately function as advertised, well, yes, and maybe no.
The weirdness started even before the first parks opened for the day. Guests staying at Disney World Resort Hotels were supposed to get first dibs on Individual Lightning Lane attractions. Two rides at each park will require their own separate fee to get Lightning Lane access.
While resort guests were seemingly able to get that access, a batch of earlier return times popped up when the parks opened, which means that some resort guests might have gotten stuck with later times than they would have had if they just waited.
At 9:08 I can purchase a 9:10 paid LL. Right before 9, the earliest time available was 3pm. 😳😖 pic.twitter.com/fKsowDfQjPOctober 19, 2021
And, of course, that extra fee for Individual Lightning Lanes is only worth it if it actually gets you on the ride faster, which isn’t always the case.
If you’re at Animal Kingdom, you can wait 5 minutes to ride right now, or you can pay $7 (plus tax) to ride in 20 minutes on Everest! pic.twitter.com/lsS6PHTfFCOctober 19, 2021
There also appear to be some real bugs in the system as some attractions are being listed in the wrong location. Frequent guests will certainly know what’s where, but vacationers, who are the obvious customers for Disney Genie, might get a little confused.
Hey! Jammitors made it into Genie at Epcot for recommendations! But.. it’s listing the wrong venue. 😑 pic.twitter.com/HLe4mr8eyxOctober 19, 2021
One of the things that Disney Genie is supposed to do, without costing extra, is help guests manage their day. This means, among other things, suggesting certain attractions for guests at times when wait times are lower. That part doesn’t seem to be working perfectly. Even a popular attraction like Pirates of the Caribbean is going to have shorter wait times than this.
I appreciate the recommendation, Genie+, but I wouldn’t call 55 minutes “low” pic.twitter.com/jJuDFmgTFgOctober 19, 2021
As somebody who got to see a bit under the hood of Disney Genie, the system is truly spinning plates trying to manage a lot of different things at once to make each guests’ itinerary make sense. Having said that, there may still be some learning the algorithm needs to do, as noon is never a good time to send anybody to lunch.
Questionable Genie logic at Epcot’s World Nature. Lunch right at Noon as “best time” and being told to do Turtle Talk right before Seas with Nemo. pic.twitter.com/qkK3OGVMROOctober 19, 2021
Disney Genie has some other cool features as well. If you’re not in a rush to go on one ride after another, there are a series of self guided audio tours throughout the parks that guests can take in, but it seems they may not be very nice for your phone battery.
Runaway Railway was an 85 minute wait, but we only waited six minutes with our $8.52 Lightning Lane pass. pic.twitter.com/ibFDWGGdPPOctober 19, 2021
However, for all the issues that some are having, other parks of Disney Genie seem to be working quite well. While the recommendation system may need some work, the Genie+ functionality seems to be quite seamless.
Some aspects of Genie and Genie+…not so much.Lightning Lane is working just fine.October 19, 2021
Certainly, there was only so much testing Disney Genie was going to be able to handle before actually being used by tens of thousands of real life people. Some bugs are to be expected, and as long as the problems don’t actually impact the overall experience, people will likely roll with them. As people use the system Disney Genie will certainly get smarter over time, and as it does, it will hopefully become a very useful tool.
Disney Genie is set to arrive at Disneyland Resort some time in the future.
CinemaBlend’s resident theme park junkie and amateur Disney historian. Armchair Imagineer. Epcot Stan. Future Club 33 Member.