Walt Disney World offers yet another way to make your experience more magical (or more miserable, depending on how you look at it). Disney’s Genie service, which launches on October 19, will grant you a number of wishes, including the ability to skip lines – once you’ve paid.
Disney first introduced the service in August blog post, and note that you can access the Disney Genie service through the My Disney Experience and Disneyland apps. The Disney Genie will serve as your personal trip planner and, if you opt for the paid option, you can jump the front row of your favorite attractions through the Lightning Lane entrances. The only downside is that you can only choose one ride at a time. While this sounds like a nifty service to have, it’s the extra cost to the Genie Plus that Disney-goers aren’t happy about.
Both the free and paid versions of the Genie service provide tailored recommendations for dining, events, and attractions. Just tell the service what you want to do at Disney, and it will give you personalized results. It also gives you information about how long the wait can be for certain attractions, and also offers planning suggestions to help you beat the crowds. When you start to consolidate your plans, you can use the service to browse your daily schedule, including reservations for restaurants, hotels, and specific events.
If you just want to make use of the above features, the Genie will prove to be handy and very useful. However, the advantage of skipping the line comes at a price that some may not be willing to pay. The paid Disney Genie Plus service costs $15 per ticket per day at Walt Disney World and $20 per ticket per day at Disneyland.
And if you don’t want to use Disney Genie Plus at all, you’ll need to buy Lightning Lane passes for a very limited selection of individual rides. To make matters even more confusing, those individual rides aren’t even included with Genie Plus. This means that in addition to Genie Plus, you’ll have to pay another fee if you want to experience attractions like Space Mountain or Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance.
Disney guests are clearly not happy with the change – Disney’s announcement video because the Genie service has a whopping 12,000 likes compared to 956 likes. Most of the outrage comes from the fact that the FastPass and FastPass Plus, Disney’s line-skipping services that will soon be phased out, were free to use. While you didn’t have much control over the details of your ride schedule, it still helped you queue for hours, for free.
Right now, the only benefit of the Disney Genie Plus service is that it should give you a better chance of getting to the more popular attractions. Still, it’s not really fair for guests to add the cost of the Genie Plus service to expensive tickets, hotel stays, and restaurant visits. Who knows, if people aren’t happy with their Disney Genie experience, maybe we’ll see more people hijacking employee iPads so they can skip queues with some of their own magic.