We tested the Disney Genie app and learned more about Genie+. Here are all the answers you’ve been waiting for…
I went inside the lamp with the Walt Disney World Digital Experiences team yesterday to find out more about how Disney Genie app works. And better yet, they let us put Genie to the test to see exactly how it will work for guests.
Since Disney Genie was announced over the summer, there has been a lot of mystery surrounding exactly what a friend like him can do.
I had a lot of questions and finally got into a room full of people who could answer them. VP Digital Experience, Gary Daniels; Director of Digital Experience, Nicole Bond, and Director of Technology, Michael Gilbert presented the Disney Genie app and patiently explained the magic (and algorithms).
We Know When Genie+ Will Go Live
Gary Daniels, VP Digital Experience, spilled the beans yesterday: Disney Genie and Genie+ will materialize on October 19th, 2021.
There will be nothing new to download.
Just open up your My Disney Experience app and he’ll be waiting to help you plan your next Best Day Ever.
But how does this affect you if you’re a planner? A non-planner? Just a local popping in with your Annual Pass?
We Finally Know What Genie Does In The Lamp
Well, aside from magic, there are a lot of algorithms working in your favor, here.
Turns out, Genie is a genius.
At the presentation I attended yesterday, I could tell that Director of Technology, Michael Gilbert, was really in his element as he pointed to a screen of graphs and tables.
Remember on I Dream of Jeannie when sometimes we got scenes inside her lamp? That’s where Gilbert works.
Gilbert was showing us the backend of the Disney Genie system, where we watched as it took our sample itinerary and compared it to thousands of combinations.
A graph displayed the busiest times for Seven Dwarfs Mine Trail and Cinderella’s Royal Table. It compared our itinerary against all of the other guests using Disney Genie in the parks and ended up with an itinerary that would minimize our wait times and even avoid inclement weather.
These are a few of the factors that Disney Genie takes into account while building suggestions for your day:
- The busiest and least busy times for each attraction
- Itineraries of other guests
- Changes in park crowds
- The shortest distance between two locations
- Your Parkhopper plans
As guests move through the park, Disney Genie is constantly updating the system.
Genie Tracks Guests Through the Parks
VP Digital Experience, Gary Daniels stated, “As we’ve started to share this with our guests and Cast Members, one thing that’s really resonating, and the best comparison for people, is that Genie is most like a navigation app on your phone.”
Those who use Disney Genie will opt-in to let Genie track your spot in the parks. Like Google Maps, it takes into account your location and will switch routes and options as needed. This means that when you are in front of Space Mountain and ask Genie where to eat, he won’t tell you to walk all the way to Casey’s Corner.
Instead, Genie will suggest a closer Quick-Service or Table-Service restaurant, taking into account the wait times and reservation availability.
This tracking technology goes for everyone else using Disney Genie… that means Genie won’t blow up your spot. When he says Lunching Pad in Tomorrowland is your best option, he won’t tell everyone else to mob it, too.
What will Disney do with all this tracking data? I asked Gilbert, and
We Found Out Which Rides Will Be Lightning Lane Attractions
I got confirmation from the digital team: A grand total of 45 attractions will have Lightning Lanes across all four parks at Walt Disney World.
Director of Digital Experience, Nicole Bond brought up a slide that had me furiously jotting down these 45 experiences so you’ll be able to hit the ground running on October 19th, 2021.
There are so many that we compiled them in a post of their own to make it easier for you. Check below for the full list of Lightning Lane Attractions!
- 🧞 CONFIRMED Disney Genie+ Lightning Lane attraction list
- 🧞 CONFIRMED Individual Lightning Lane list
- ⚡Individual Lightning Lanes
These Rides Are The Individual Lightning Lane Selections
I finally found out at the preview session yesterday, and I think you probably had an inkling. The most high-demand attractions at Walt Disney World will make up the eight Individual Lightning Lane selections.
Magic Kingdom Individual Lightning Lane Attractions:
- Seven Dwarfs Mine Train
- Space Mountain
EPCOT Individual Lightning Lane Attractions:
- Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure
- Frozen Ever After
Hollywood Studios Individual Lightning Lane Attractions:
- Star Wars Rise of the Resistance
- Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway
Animal Kingdom Individual Lightning Lane Attractions:
- Avatar Flight of Passage
- Expedition Everest
Individual Selection Pricing Will Vary Per Day
During our session with the digital team at Walt Disney World, we looked at sample prices for all four top-tier attractions.
The team revealed that, like ticket and resort pricing, the price of Individual Lightning Lane selections will vary. We looked at a weekday date in October and compared it to a weekend date to see how some attraction prices fluctuate (or don’t).
For more information on how prices will vary, check out our full explainer on how to get Individual Lightning Lanes on Genie+…
AR Lenses are Both Charming and Scary
Part of the benefit of plussing your Disney Genie experience (that is, purchasing Disney Genie+ for at least $15 per person per day), will be the addition of AR Lenses and Audio Tales.
These magical extras are designed to help guests immerse themselves in the magic, and the AR lenses give you a chance to create funny moments with family and friends.
The AR lenses I tried at the test presentation were certainly Insta-worthy. Here’s a list of what you can expect when Disney Genie+ goes live:
- The Genie: You know this was coming. It successfully turned my entire head bluer and balder than even when I did this to myself for a sci-fi convention.
- Lady and the Tramp: Sip noodles to the tune of accordion music, and even add a friend to complete the classic scene
- Remy: This lens puts a see-through hat on your head and wait… Remy is controlling your every movement! Tilt your head to reveal his machinations.
- Disney Villains: Which villain are you? We tried out Hades and it was quite unsettling.
Audio Tales Will Be Self-Guided Tours
I am the person at the museum who annoys her family by reader every plaque in sight. That’s why I’m pretty excited to dilly-dally as I listen to the Audio Tales available via Genie+ in all four WDW parks.
Audio Tales will be Imagineering and behind-the-scenes stories that guests can listen to at certain points in the park. They could give you insight into the names on the windows on Main Street, or even tell you about the Imagineers who worked on the attraction you’re standing in front of.
How to Listen:
- Go to the Genie+ Screen and click on Genie+ Features
- Click AR Lens and Audio Tales
- Click Audio Tales
- A Map will pop up. Navigate to the park of your choice
- Select a headphone marker to listen
When I test drove Genie+ yesterday, I counted all of the Audio Tales laid out on the map so that you could have some idea of how many could be in the parks at launch:
- Magic Kingdom: 12 Audio Tales, many in the Main Street, U.S.A. area
- EPCOT: 9 Audio Tales, distributed mostly through the former Future World area.
- Hollywood Studios: 7 Audio Tales throughout the park
- Animal Kingdom: 6 Audio Tales throughout the park
These were just the Audio Tales listed at the time of our testing session, so be advised that your mileage may vary!
You do NOT have to be in the park to listen to an Audio Tale, but Genie+ will suggest Audio Tales nearby if you are in the park.
What About Resorts and Disney Springs?
This first rollout of Disney+ has a sharp focus on the four main gates.
Nicole Bond confirmed that Disney Resorts, etc are on their way to joining the dining selections, but audio tales for Disney Resorts and Disney Springs were not confirmed.