Disney’s newest digital service, Disney Genie, is launching on October 19 at Walt Disney World Resort. The service, first unveiled in August, is an update to the company’s earlier line-reservation tools for Disney’s parks, allowing guests to plan and update their itineraries, book time slots for the most popular attractions, and optionally purchase paid access to the fast lanes’ “Lightning Lane” entrances, either à la carte on top attractions or through the “Genie+” add-on.
The service will replace Disney’s older FASTPASS, FastPass+ and Disney MaxPass services, as Disney Genie will roll out across Walt Disney World Resort and Disneyland Resort, the company said.
At the core of the Disney Genie experience is a smart trip-planning capability that maps out a personalized itinerary based on which rides, attractions or food and entertainment experiences guests want to make sure to do while at the parks. That means Genie users can customize their day based on not only the top attractions, but also their general interests — like whether they need to incorporate Princess meet-and-greets into their day, or if they’d rather seek out the best cocktails at the park’s bars, for instance.
Before Genie, guests could make up to three reservations in advance of a park visit through the FastPass+ scheduling system, and could then continue to make reservations through the My Disney Experience app after those first three reservations had been used. But this free system made it difficult to get reservations on top rides, as it favored Disney resort-goers who could book 60 days in advance, while others got a 30-day window. It also didn’t make all top rides (aka Tier 1 attractions) available for the initial booking.
Disney Genie aims to address some of these issues, but for a fee. That’s led to quite a bit of backlash from Disney fans who feel they already pay enough for their Disney trips and don’t want to add more charges. In fact, the video announcement has a ratio of 12,000 dislikes to just 948 likes, as of the time of writing. However, paid fast-lane access to a park’s main attractions is a common staple at Disney’s theme park competitors — and one that can help those who have tighter schedules ensure they get everything done.
With Genie’s WDW launch on October 19, guests will be able to choose from the two paid options — either individual access to up to two Lightning Lanes or Genie+’s broader selection.
Disney says the following rides are available for the à la carte option: Seven Dwarfs Mine Train and Space Mountain at Magic Kingdom, Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure and Frozen Ever After at Epcot, Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance and Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway at Disney Hollywood Studios, and Avatar Flight of Passage and Expedition Everest at Disney’s Animal Kingdom.
While picking two options could help speed up your wait times, it may not include your must-have ride selections.
Disney Genie+, meanwhile, opens up Lightning Lanes at a total of 40+ attractions across the four parks instead, including many more of the Tier 1 rides. It will be priced at $15 per ticket per day at Walt Disney World Resort and $20 per ticket per day at Disneyland Resort, when available.
The à la carte pricing will vary by date, attraction and park, Disney says. While Disney hasn’t announced specific ranges for each ride, it has offered some examples. It says the Lightning Lane entrance to Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure will be $9 per person on October 19 and $11 per person on October 23. But on those same dates, the Lightning Lane entrance to Expedition Everest – Legend of the Forbidden Mountain will be just $7 per person, while Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance will be $15 per person.
With today’s news of the October 19 launch at Walt Disney World Resort, the company is also detailing how the feature is integrated into its My Disney Experience app. This is the app offering access to your tickets, park maps, showtimes, online food ordering and more.
Today, many park-goers turn to third-party apps like those from TouringPlans.com or other indie developers, as well as Disney fan blogs, to get tips about how to plan their route through a given park to ensure they see all the main attractions and events. But Genie promises to help prioritize your trip for you directly in its own My Disney Experience app, using the company’s understanding of things like wait times and other park changes — like rides that temporarily closed or other delays. This in-house option could potentially impact the revenue streams from the third-party businesses that have sprung up to address park planning needs.
Plus, unlike static plans, Genie’s experience will adapt to users’ days and their own unexpected plan changes — like needing to head back to the hotel to let little kids nap, taking an unplanned snack break or deciding you want to ride something twice. As you adjust your plans, Genie also updates your itinerary. And this aspect of the service is offered for free, even if you’re not paying for fast-lane entry.
Disney has not yet announced when Disney Genie will launch at Disneyland Resort, but said earlier that it would arrive this fall.