Disney World’s NEW & FREE Genie planning service is now available for everyone to check out.
The free Disney Genie service is a planning tool that is meant to help optimize your day in the parks, help you plan the best path for your day, show you wait times, help with dining arrangements, and more. This free service is meant to be very smart and useful in terms of really helping you get the most out of your day, but just how smart is it? We put it to the test and here’s what we’ve found.
As a quick recap, 3 NEW services just launched in Disney World:
- FREE Disney Genie — the planning service to help you optimize your day which is built into part of the My Disney Experience app.
- Genie+ — the paid FastPass+ replacement that gives you the ability to select a return time to ride an attraction through the Lightning Lane (basically the old FastPass lane). These selections can be made 1 at a time (with some exceptions) for 46 rides in Disney World.
- Individual Attraction Selection — Disney’s pay-per-ride service where you pay to use the Lightning Lane at an individual, high demand ride. You can buy a maximum of 2 of these per day.
Again, as we noted above, the FREE Disney Genie service is meant to help coordinate your day and really optimize your plans. Essentially, what you do is tell Genie what you like, things you must see, what your existing dining plans are, etc.
You can give Genie your top picks of things you really want to see so that it can help factor that into the plan for your day.
Then, Genie provides you with what is essentially a recommended schedule for your day, including recommended attractions in the order you should ride them in, good times to visit these rides, forecasted wait times, and more.
Genie is meant to integrate basically all of your plans into one intuitive service — so, it’s meant to take into account things like dining reservations, wait times, and the interests you’ve marked down. Genie is also meant to continuously update as things change in the park so that it can best optimize your plans.
But, how smart is Genie in practice? Well, we put it to the test to find out.
One thing we tested was Genie’s integration with Genie+. Specifically, we were interested in how Genie would respond if we marked an attraction as one of our must-do items, which would then theoretically add it to our recommendations in the Genie app. But, then we also scheduled a Lightning Lane time for that ride with Genie+.
Would Genie recognize that we booked a Lightning Lane and no longer recommend that we visit the ride through our normal day? Would it still show us a recommended time to visit the ride (outside of our return time) and show us standby waits for it?
The short answer is: Yes and no. We know — it’s kind of confusing. For some of our reporters, they weren’t being recommended rides they had already been on with Genie+. However, other reporters kept having the same rides recommended to them, even though they had already used their Lightning Lane pass for the ride through Genie+. For example, one reporter was repeatedly recommended to ride Mad Tea Party, even though he had already been on it!
Basically, when you pick your priority rides at the beginning of the day (or before), Genie will keep offering them to you, even if you’ve already been on the ride. You will have to physically edit the list with the rides you haven’t been on yet. You can also tell Genie to stop recommending a certain attraction, it just takes a few clicks and a little time. It would be much simpler if there was an “already rode it” button we could push!
So basically, Genie, Genie+, and Individual Attraction Selections aren’t effectively communicating with each other with what you’ve already done that day, you have to make it work for yourself by removing those recommendations. If you’re trying to ride as many rides as possible in the parks, you’ll have to take matters into your own hands, because Genie doesn’t seem to want to recommend a day like that.
But, again, some of our reporters didn’t experience this. One was given excellent recommendations that filled up her time in the park effectively. The only must-do ride Genie didn’t recommend for that reporter was Soarin’, but that was probably because she didn’t have time in her schedule with the other Lightning Lanes that were booked.
The smartest feature of Genie is probably the projected wait times. Genie can stick a ride between your plans that it knows you want to do and that you have time for, according to the projected wait. For example, we were recommended to go ride Seven Dwarfs Mine Train when it was a 60 minute wait. Now, we didn’t want to go wait an hour for Mine Train, so we didn’t — but, Genie was smart in making the recommendation because that was the lowest wait time for the remainder of our time in Magic Kingdom (before we planned to park hop) and we had that time in our schedule.
BUT, that doesn’t always happen. We also experienced gaps where we had nothing to do and Genie wasn’t giving us any recommendations, so it’s kind of hit or miss.
Another potential issue is with Genie giving you recommendations for what time you should eat meals in the park. This is great if you’re flexible, but some families might want to eat earlier or later than the suggested time!
And, along the lines of food, your food recommendations can change. For example, we were told to eat at Fairfax Fare for lunch later in the day, after we told Genie were were going to park hop. But, as the day went on, it changed the recommendation to Backlot Express. This is probably due to Genie managing crowds and trying to send you to less crowded areas.
So, is it smart in that sense? Yes. It’s trying to give you less crowded places to eat. But, it’s not smart enough to recognize that you don’t want to eat at certain restaurants! Genie doesn’t know if you like Backlot Express or not, it just knows that it’s less crowded there than other places.
What we’ve gathered is that if you want a chill, go-with-the-flow day in the park with some recommendations from Genie, it’s a good experience. But, if you’re trying to ride as many rides as possible in a day, it might not be not so great at creating that schedule for you. It will really depend on the day and the park.
Of course, keep in mind that we tested this just as Genie and its related services launched. All of the systems are subject to change or be updated in the future. We’ll keep an eye out for more updates and we’ll keep sharing the latest Genie news so you can make the most out of this service on your next trip. Stay tuned for more!
Will you be using the free Genie planning system during your next trip to Disney World? Tell us in the comments!