When Walt Disney World reopened in July of 2020 it did so without FastPass+. The system that allowed guests to skip lines wasn’t the most popular in the world, but for many it was better than nothing. Recently we learned that a new system, Genie+, that would accomplish the same thing, for a price, was on the way. Today Disney announced that All Disney Genie features, including Genie+. will launch at Disney World beginning October 19. But that's just the beginning of what Disney World revealed.
Today I was part of a group of media that were given a special preview of Disney Genie, the new suite of features being added to the My Disney Experience app. We saw not only what the app can do, but we also got a glimpse under the hood as well.
Disney Genie is a new part of the Disney app that is supposed to make the experience of all guests in the Disney Parks better. It's designed to take into account all the things that guests want to do, as well as just the things they like, and build an itinerary to allow them all to happen.
But the system doesn't stop there. It's always looking at what's going on in the park and adjusting the plan in real time. If a ride has unexpected downtime, or if you decide you're hungry now, and not later, everything else will adjust around the changes. If you make a dinner reservation, Genie will be sure to schedule other plans so that you won't miss your meal.
Guests will be able to use Genie to see what dining reservations are available and what mobile order wait times are, even in other parks. You can add yourself to a wait list from any location. Park Hoppers will even be able to tell Genie what hours they plan to spend in what parks, and itinerary will be generated accordingly.
I got to see just how many factors Disney Genie is trying to balance, and it's all quite impressive. It wants to be sure guests don't feel rushed, but also doesn't want to leave them waiting around. It will try and make sure that when guests do wait in lines, it will do so when they're short, but it will try and do that for everybody.
The comparison made during the presentation was that Disney Genie works like a navigation app. It will show your best route from where you are to where you want to be, and every step in between, but it will take into account traffic patterns or road construction, it might also find an accident on your path and redirect you around it.
The purpose of Disney Genie is to make every guests' experience better, and most of what Disney Genie can do is free. But the part of the system that has received the most attention is the new Lightning Lanes, which replace the previously free FastPass+ with a new paid option.
Lightning Lanes And What They Cost
Signage for the new Lightning Lanes has been going up at Disney World over the last few weeks, so it was clear that Genie+ would be arriving sooner than later, but now we know it will be here in a little over two weeks. And it’s important for no other reason than the fact that Genie+ will cost money, so guests will need to budget.
Genie+ will cost $15 per person per ticket, and will give guests access to Lightning Lanes on most attractions. It will work similarly to Disneyland's MaxPass, where guests will be able to simply select the next available window for when they can enter the attraction of their choice. Once they use their Lightning Lane time, they'll be able to reserve one on another attraction. However, if the "next available time" on a selected attraction is several hours in the future guests will only need to wait a couple hours before making another selection.
A few select attractions will not be part of the bundle, and will have their own separate cost to get Lightning Lane access. In this case, rather than simply being given a return time, part of the additional fee is the ability to select the time you want to go on the ride.
While not all pricing of the "a la carte" Lightning Lanes were revealed, we were given an idea of what pricing looks like. The cost will vary slightly, depending on the ride, and whether the purchase happens during the week or on a weekend. In some examples given, Remy's Ratatouille Adventure will be $9 per person on the day the system launches and $11 per person that weekend, while Expedition Everest at Disney's Animal Kingdom will be $7 per person at both times. The most expensive example given was Rise of the Resistance, which will be $15 per person all of opening week. All of these attractions will also have the traditional standby line option, except for Remy, which is currently using a Virtual Queue.
All the rides that will be part of the separate pricing were officially confirmed. There will be two per park and they are as follows:
- Seven Dwarfs Mine Train
- Space Mountain
- Remy's Ratatouille Adventure
- Frozen Ever After
Disney's Hollywood Studios
- Rise of the Resistance
- Mickey and Minnie's Runaway Railway
Disney's Animal Kingdom
- Avatar Flight of Passage
- Expedition Everest
Certainly, with these additional fees, the price of Disney World has potentially gone up. A family of four will be adding $60 to their ticket price for a day of Genie+, and potentially that price again two more times if they want access to the additional attractions.
However, there are many that have suggested that FastPass+ itself was largely to blame for some of the really bad wait times at Walt Disney World. With Genie's ability to continually read wait times and adjust, it's possible that lines in the future might not be that bad, thus making Genie + and Lightning Lanes less necessary and more of a luxury add on for those that can afford to spend the money.
Certainly, Disney Genie is promising a lot. It wants to be useful for the frequent guest and the first time vacationer. It wants to be useful for the people that plan every detail of their Disney trip, and for those that tend to be more flexible.
It's a lot, but if it all works as advertised, it could be a complete game changer for visiting Walt Disney World. Of course, we won't really know how well it actually works until it's here, so we'll find out October 19.
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CinemaBlend’s resident theme park junkie and amateur Disney historian. Armchair Imagineer. Epcot Stan. Future Club 33 Member.