In August 2021, Disney announced that it would be doing away with its popular — and free — FastPass program. The program would be replaced by a new system called Disney Genie. According to Disney, the Disney Genie service was going to completely reimagine the Guest experience while in the Parks. Disney Genie would be a free planning tool that would give Guests wait times and customized recommendations based on each Guest’s preferences.
In addition to the free planning tool, Disney Genie would also have a paid-for option that would allow Guests to book individual Lightning Lane reservations. Lightning Lane was simply the new name for FastPass. The paid system would be called Disney Genie+ and it would save Guests time by letting them see what rides had available Lightning Lane spots and when, then Guests could pick the one they wanted most.
When Disney first described Disney Genie+, they made it sound like Guests would be able to ride a ton of attractions in one day, and only have to wait in line for a minimal amount of time. However, when Genie+ launched at both Disneyland and Walt Disney World, the actual system did not work quite as well as Disney, and Guests had hoped. The Disney experience had definitely changed.
Guests found that popular Disney Park rides would be booked up incredibly quickly, and they would struggle to get Lightning Lane reservations for the attraction they wanted. There was also the issue of Lightning Lanes becoming incredibly backed up. On top of that, Guests who did not — or could not afford to — purchase Lightning Lane saw standby wait times skyrocket.
Now it looks like Disney is taking a step back on how much theme park Guests should expect from Disney Genie+. Instead of advertising that you can pick from available rides all day long, Disney now tells Guests to only expect to be able to ride 2 or 3 attractions via Disney Genie+. Disney has changed its Genie+ description, which now reads:
When you take your day to the next level by purchasing Disney Genie+ service, you may choose the next available arrival window for Lightning Lane entrances at select attractions and entertainment. This unique service lets you use our new Lightning Lane entrance at select attractions and experiences at the Walt Disney World theme parks. On average, guests can enter 2 to 3 attractions or experiences per day using the Lightning Lane entrance if the first selection is made early in the day.
It looks like Disney has realized that Disney Genie+ may have overpromised and under-delivered when it came to just how many times Guests would be able to use it — especially during peak seasons.
Disney Genie+ is currently available at both Disneyland and Walt Disney World Resort. For Guests visiting Disneyland Resort, Genie+ costs $20 per day per Guest and includes unlimited PhotoPass downloads. At Walt Disney World, Genie+ costs $15 per Guest per day, and it does not include Disney PhotoPass.
What do you think of Disney Genie+?