Earlier this week, Disney Genie officially launched in Disney World, and we’ve been checking it out all week long!
On the official launch day, we sent 5 reporters into the parks to try out Disney Genie, Genie+, and the Individual Attraction Selections. They put the new systems through some rigorous testing and we were able to find the benefits, the flaws, and learn quite a bit along the way. Here’s what happened when we tried Disney Genie for the very first time!
The first reporter on our list started the day at Magic Kingdom with all three systems: free Genie, Genie+, and Individual Attraction Selections (pay-per-ride). The goal here was to try and learn all the ins and outs of the system as a whole, and BOY did we learn a lot!
We tried out the PhotoPass augmented reality lenses, purchase Individual Attraction Selections, made Genie+ reservations, listened to some of the audio experiences, AND allowed Genie to suggest things throughout our day. Basically, we got the full experience!
One of the biggest things we learned here was that the free Genie is smart, but you may still have to give it some guidance. You’ll want to make sure you load your preferences into the app ahead of time and continue to monitor the suggestions throughout the day. You can modify the Genie recommendations and swap them out, which actually helped to save us a little time!
Our second reporter used all three systems as well. Her goal was to be the prepared Disney resort guest. She started her day in EPCOT and hopped to Hollywood Studios with the goal of hitting popular attractions in two parks!
With a Disney Resort reservation, they were able to log on at 7AM and get a boarding group for Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure, purchase Individual Lightning Lanes, and make their first Genie+ choice of the day. We thought it would be hectic doing all three things at once, but it went more smoothly than expected!
With the goal of being the “prepared guest,” this reporter loaded all their plans into the Genie feature the night before, letting it know preferences for rides, experiences, entertainment, dining, and more. Using that information, Genie was able to fill in the gaps in their day incredibly effectively.
We had an Individual Lightning Lane scheduled for Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure first thing, but our first Genie+ Lightning Lane of the day wasn’t for another hour. So after we got off of Remy’s, Genie suggested that we visit Frozen Ever After due to a “low projected wait time.” We took that suggestion and it paid off for sure — the posted wait was 70 minutes but we only had to wait for 28!
Thanks to the suggestions of Genie and the Lightning Lanes they booked throughout the day, this reporter was able to accomplish almost all the big attractions in EPCOT. She was even able to ride Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure twice since she got a boarding group and purchased an Individual Ride Selection. After EPCOT, she hopped to Hollywood Studios to ride Rise of the Resistance with another Individual Lightning Lane, and still accomplish a few other rides after that! All in all, our experience here was rather productive.
Person #3 was sent to Animal Kingdom to kick things off, with the main job of comparing stand by wait time, Genie= wait time, and Individual Attraction wait times throughout the day. They tested out wait times throughout the day to check their accuracy and see how they’d been affected by the addition of the Genie system.
Here, we first decided to rope drop Flight of Passage to see how the wait time first thing in the morning compared with the wait through Individual Attraction Selections. Getting in line right at park opening time gave us a 40-minute wait for this popular attraction, but going back later with our Individual Lightning Lane was only a 7-minute wait! That saved us 63 minutes of waiting, considering the posted wait time was 70 minutes at that point.
For Expedition Everest, the park’s other Individual Lightning Lane, we experienced a completely different story. Using the Lightning Lane over there basically made no difference, as the wait time itself was posted at 10 minutes and we just barely beat the guests in the standby and single rider queues.
We ended up using Genie+ in the back half of the day to compare it with standby lines, and while we saved some time waiting in line, we would’ve still been able to accomplish most things in the park without paying extra, considering there aren’t as many attractions over there.
Our fourth reporter had a really unique experience throughout the day, as she was trying her best to be the guest who really didn’t understand the system just yet and didn’t use it the way it was intended. She spent her day in Hollywood Studios with the goal of hopping to EPCOT. She made her first Genie+ selection at 7AM…but it was for Slinky Dog Dash at 4PM. That’s a long time to wait!
Through this reporter’s experiences, we were able to learn a lot more about the infamous 120-minute rule. Basically, if your Genie+ selection is scheduled for more than 2 hours away from the time you booked it, you can make another one in exactly 120 minutes (so you’re not wasting away your day!). The only time that this rule changes is if you make your first Genie+ choice before the park opening time — in that case, the 120-minute countdown starts when the park opens. Hollywood Studios opened at 9AM, so our reporter wasn’t able to make her second Genie+ choice until 11AM.
Now, remember, this reporter knows the parks like the back of her hand, and learning these new systems was a completely new experience for her. Using Genie with such later initial Lightning Lane reservation made her struggle to accomplish anything all day.
And as if the universe knew what she was trying to accomplish, she purchased an Individual Attraction Selection for Rise of the Resistance and the ride went down THREE TIMES before she got the chance to actually experience it in its entirety. So long story short, our reporter did not get on many attractions after a 4-hour wait to book her first pass and an attraction going down three times. Due to this, she did not even get the chance to hop to EPCOT!
And finally, let’s talk about our “do it all” reporter. One person was sent to Magic Kingdom in the hopes of accomplishing every ride in the park in one day, and they succeeded with flying colors! Using Individual Attraction Selections and Genie+ for all the rides, they allowed Genie to fill in the spaces between with other attractions, shows, entertainment, and dining.
We finished every ride in the park around dinnertime, so we still had time to eat, watch fireworks, and redo some favorites in the standby queues if we wanted to! However, this is not necessarily a strategy that we recommend for a family on vacation — we were doing a LOT of running back and forth and there wasn’t much downtime during our actual day.
What We’ve Learned Since Then
Since Disney Genie launched on October 19th, we’ve been in the parks testing it daily. We’ve tried to answer every question that our readers have asked, and we’ve learned quite a bit along the way.
Less Time in Line Doesn’t Mean More Rides
On our second day, we had two reporters race each other and we found that Genie+ may not get you through your must-dos faster (because you’ll have to wait for Lightning Lane options to pop up), but you might enjoy less time waiting in line and maybe more attractions and offerings overall.
Genie+ Might Not Be NEEDED Everywhere
We’ve also figured out that Genie+ and Individual Attraction Selections aren’t really necessary in some of the parks. Without the new systems, we still would’ve been able to accomplish most of what was available in EPCOT and Animal Kingdom, especially with the help of the free Genie and the projected wait times. But in parks like Magic Kingdom and Hollywood Studios, where there are more rides and higher wait times, it definitely offers some advantages. Of course, this could shift depending on crowds and the time of year.
How Staying at a Disney Resort Will Help You Get on Rise of the Resistance
Also, speaking of advantages, there are a few potential benefits to being a Resort guest if you want to ride Rise of the Resistance. Disney Resort guests get to book their Individual Lightning Lanes at 7AM, but everyone else must wait until the park opens. For the first two days, this didn’t make much difference because additional Rise of the Resistance passes became available when Hollywood Studios opened. However, today there didn’t seem to be any “extras” handed out later — by the time 9AM rolled around, the only available times were after 5PM, and within a few minutes, they were all “sold out” for the entire day. It can certainly be beneficial to snag one at 7AM!
So that’s what we’ve experienced from Disney Genie so far! But don’t worry, we’ll continue covering the new system and offering up our thoughts, opinions, and experiments for you to learn from. Stay tuned to DFB for all the latest Disney World news!
Would you purchase Disney Genie+ for your trip? Let us know your thoughts in the comments!