Big changes are coming this fall at Walt Disney World and Disneyland!
Yesterday evening Disney announced the expected release of the Disney Genie Service this fall for both Walt Disney World and the Disneyland Resort.
Note: This is our initial announcement post, please see our new Disney Genie and Genie+ Service Page for full details.
UPDATE: 21 Oct 2021 – Patrick AFB ITT advises that very soon you will be able to add Genie+ to your military tickets at the time of purchase.
UPDATE: 8 Oct 2021 – Disney Genie and Genie+ go into effect on 19 October 2021 at Walt Disney World. Disneyland will follow later.
The Disney Genie is an update to the WDW My Disney Experience and Disneyland smart phone apps, that replaces FastPass+ at Disney World and both FastPass and MaxPass at Disneyland.
Gone are the days of planning ahead!
Many will be pleased that the days of making your FastPass+ reservations 60 or 30 days ahead of time (which did not line up with dining reservation limits and currently theme park reservations) are over. Many complained about the lack of spontaneity that the old paper FastPass System allowed..
Disney Genie will be a totally Day Of system!
Disney Genie will offer 3 levels of service, 1 free and 2 paid. And staying at a Disney Resort Hotel will offer scheduling advantages.
How Disney Genie Works
The 3 levels of Disney Genie Service are:
- Disney Genie
- Disney Genie+
- Individual Attraction Selections
At the basic free level Disney Genie will help you through your theme park day.
Simply setup what you are interested in doing, by clicking on rides and attractions, Or if you’re not sure just general interests like Star Wars or Princesses.
Then as you tour the park Disney Genie will let you know the forecast best times to experience those things in order to have the shortest standby wait times.
Here are a few more features:
- Get Itinerary Updates from Morning to Night: Disney Genie will continue to update the Guest’s itinerary throughout your day, so they can be more spontaneous and go with the flow.
- Find Favorites at a Glance: Guests can create their very own personal tip board to instantly see their favorites. It will display current AND forecasted future wait times, helping Guests predict when they might experience quicker entry to attractions.
- Disney Genie brings existing planning features together in one place. Guests can join a virtual queue at certain attractions, make dining and experience reservations, mobile order food at many locations, get help from a virtual assistant and more.
Did your catch that? Virtual Queues are not going away, Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure will have a virtual queue!
The free Disney Genie service in the My Disney Experience app will “maximize your park time” via a personalized itinerary feature that will “quickly and seamlessly map out an entire day.” It will also offer forecasted wait times throughout the day and attraction suggestions, so you can save time in line.
The Plus level is the first paid level, offering a service just like the old paper FastPass System orDisneyland’s MaxPass.
Genie+ costs $15 per day per person at Walt Disney World and $20 per day per person at Disneyland.
When purchasing ahead you must purchase for all days of your stay, so for a family of 4 using 4-day Disney Armed Forces Salute tickets at Disney World it would be $240.
You may purchase single days as you enter the parks, but this eliminates the Disney Resort guest advantage (which we’ll get to in a sec).
Genie+ allows you to use the “Lightning Lane” (the old FastPass Lines) at a variety of attractions and experiences at a designated time. The way it works is Genie+ will show you an available 1 hour long time slots at the various attractions. After selection one you’ll do other things while waiting on your time slot to open. Once your slot opens you’ll experience the attraction by entering the Lightning Lane. Afterwords you’ll then be able to select your next attraction at which you’ll use the Lightning Lane. You can do this continuously all day long and multiple parks.
Attractions with virtual queues will be excluded from this part of the service from what we’ve heard.
Disney Genie+ will also include:
- Disney parks-themed audio experiences
- Photo features to capture your memories – augmented reality lenses for those visiting Walt Disney World Resort
- Unlimited Disney PhotoPass downloads from your day if you are visiting Disneyland Resort (why it costs more at DLR)
I understand the audio experienced will be tour type trivia that you can play about your current location in the parks
Photo features from what I’ve seen are still and video character interactions with you in your pictures and selfies.
Guests can make their first selection at 7 a.m. the day of their visit at WDW and after entering a park at DLR.
Individual Lightning Lane Attraction Purchases
This is a pay to skip the line feature that can be used to purchase scheduled times to arrive at two highly demanded attractions each day using the Lightning Lane entrance.
Two attractions in each park will be available for this service and, these 2 will not be available for the Genie+ service! It’s a either or…
Guests can use this option without paying for the Genie+ Service.
Examples given are Seven Dwarfs Mine Train at Magic Kingdom Park and the upcoming Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure at EPCOT.
Disney indicated that attractions covered by this pay to skip the line feature will not be included in the regular Lightning Lane scheduling of Genie+.
This feature may be used at more than 1 park per day, which is good for Park Hoppers!
Pricing for this option will vary by date, attraction and park. Prices start at $7 per person per attraction and go up (the initial highest price quoted by Disney is $15 for Rise of the Resistance.
This announcement also seems to indicate that attractions with virtual queues (as Remy’s is mentioned) will sell excess time slots if the queues don’t fill up.
Guests staying at Select (We are assuming Deluxe) Walt Disney World Resorts can purchase Individual Attractions at 7 a.m. the day of their visit.
All other WDW guests can purchase after entering the parks.
Disneyland guests can purchase after entering the park.
When Will Disney Genie Roll Out?
Disney has only said “This Fall.”
I expect it will be in place for the 1 October 2021 50th Anniversary Celebration kickoff.
It could start that day or roll out sometime earlier in September.
Over to You
What do you think about this big change?
Let me know in the comments section just a little lower on this page!
This MDT Post By: Steve Bell
Steve is the the Military Disney Tips Founder. He a retired U.S. Military Member who's been touring the Disney Parks since 1971! Steve's mission is to help military families with their Disney vacations in every way. Check out Steve's Bio.
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Katie B says
Thanks for these important new updates, Steve. We usually vacation at WDW, so that’s where these changes impact us the most. Even though the new Genie+ system offers more flexibility, I’m disappointed that this is a fee-based service.. I appreciated how the FastPass+ system, while not as spontaneous, was included in the price of our tickets. We’ve visited other theme parks over the years, and I’ve always been a little irked when they offer a few-based advantage system. One of the things I’ve always admired about Disney is that they didn’t. Until now.
I’m curious to see what other readers think, especially those who wanted more flexibility and spontaneity in their planning. I understand I don’t have to pay for the basic service, but the trade-off is no Lightning Lane entries.
Thanks so much. You’ve brought up some great points! So many complained about the need to make FastPasses 30 to 60 days ahead of time or risk having to stand in a 3 hour line. On top of that, when trying to get a specific high demand attraction, having the day you could get a Fastpass not line up with Advance Dining Reservations that you might have had to make 180 days out in order to get a high demand restaurant.
Universal has has the paid Express Pass for years and while pricey to buy outright comes as part of your stay at one of their 3 premier hotels which are priced more like Disney Moderates. I’d expected Disney to do the same and include the Genie+ with a Deluxe Resort stay. The only nod to staying in a more expensive Disney Resort seems to be the hint that the Individual Attraction Selection will allow those staying at “Select” (I’m assuming Deluxe) Walt Disney World Resorts can purchase Individual Attractions at 7 a.m. the day of their visit.
I know there will be lots of folks put off by Disney’s switch to a paid FastPass which they have broken up into 2 tiers, Genie+ for most FastPasses and Individual Attraction Selections for the most desired ones (and then still virtual queues on top fo that).
Amy Campbell says
Has there been any discussion on how will this affect Annual Passholders or Florida Residents? Also, will this have any impact on the guest assistance programs for people with disabilities?
As I understand it the new system will work in some fashion with or in place of the DAS system.
I’ve heard rumor of a Genie+ AP add on to come and with no need to do aything in advance like we had to with FastPass, single-day, day of in app purchases of Genie+ are workable.
Frank Dolcater says
Disney is also planning on adding a pre-arrival sign up for those with disabilities. I don’t have any information on how that will be incorporated into Genie ( if at all). The old way of signing up for disability access after you arrive will also be available.
SherryAnne Smith says
Your article said for a 4 day Armed Forces Salute ticket you would be charged $60, do to pay this the first day you use your pass? I usually buy the 5 day then go twice during the length of the pass. And stay various days at SOG combining resort days, DS and 2-3 park days each stay..
Does this mean I would pay $75 on my first day of use and would have the service for both trips to total the 5 days?
WDW has only released the first basic info about this new system. They’ve said more info will follow.
But from what they have said so far there will be 2 routes to go.
1. Adding Disney Genie+ to your Disney Resort Reservation for the number of days on your ticket (or I guess the days on your reservation if it’s shorter – This is unknown now). It’s unknown if you can do this for Shades of Green right now.
2. Purchasing Disney Genie the day of your visit in app day by day. So you’d pay 15 each day if you wanted to every day.
There is no need to do this ahead like there was for FastPass. The one and only bonus for adding it to your resort reservation is making Individual Attraction Selection purchases at 7 a.m. rather than park open when staying at “Select” Disney Resorts. Select has not been defined yet.
It’s going to be a learning process for guests and probably an evolving process for Disney for quite a while!
SherryAnne Smith says
Thank you, Steve
How can I add Genie+ to my military tickets? I’m not able to do it on the app.
My MDE app says “You will need to call your Reservation Provider or the Disney Reservation Center to add Disney Genie+ service to your existing package.
Or you can purchase it the day of, each day on desired days via the app.