Disney Genie is a new service on the Disneyland app that is used at Disney Parks in the US. There are different levels of Disney Genie, including Genie+ and Lightning Lanes which is a paid service that allows guests to skip lines. Even without utilizing that, the app builds itineraries and is promoted (by Disney) to compile what guests are most interested in for ‘Your Best Disney Day’. In this post, we’ll review Disney Genie and the itinerary it builds for guests.
To be clear, this is not a review of Genie+ which, again, is the paid service that will allow guests to skip the line. That review will be coming in the following weeks. For now, we’re reviewing the free portion of the app that builds out park days. Yes, we did nearly a full day at Disneyland following Disney Genie’s suggestions. I was genuinely curious how the app would stack up to the itineraries we, and other across the Disney blogosphere, have made.
I’m not going to bury the lede, the Disney Genie itinerary didn’t compare favorably. There were a number of frustrations with the app as well as the plan it gave us and I do not recommend using it as an itinerary guide at all. Before we dive too deep, I will say that the Genie only says that it recommends things when in the app. Giving the developers the benefit of the doubt, I would bet that they would say to use the itinerary the app builds out for guests as a guideline instead of a rule. I do the same with the itineraries we have on this site. This shows that we all have watched Pirates of the Caribbean too many times and we also aren’t in your head to see what you actually love.
Before starting your day, Disney Genie will have guests pick out attractions, restaurants and interests that suit you. If you really like princesses or pirates then you’ll mark it down in the app. If there’s a certain place you want to eat or you’re really into specific entertainment then you can mark that down. There’s a limit on what all you can put down but it’s high enough to where it shouldn’t factor into your selections. You can see that screen above. Strangely, you can only select for one park at a time even if your Annual Pass does include a park hopper. I do not know why they went this route and am curious if that’s also the case for park hopper tickets.
We didn’t show up right at opening, instead opting for a few hours later, so we only selected 7 attractions that we wanted to do as we wanted to give the app a fair shake. You can add and drop selections throughout your park day. Here were our priorities:
- Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters
- Big Thunder Mountain Railroad
- Haunted Mansion Holiday
- “it’s a small world” Holiday
- Jungle Cruise
- Matterhorn Bobsleds
- Rise of the Resistance
We tried to add on Space Mountain later in the day but the app did not like that. Likewise, we did the Matterhorn at a much different time than the Genie recommended because we were tired of following it and hopped in the single rider line. By the way, we walked right on to the ride thanks to the single-rider line. Genie was able to fit in all of our other priorities in except for Rise of the Resistance. The attraction was on our itinerary until it went down for a few hours and then it never reappeared. It wanted us to go in the middle of the day, which certainly doesn’t coincide with our strategy of going right before the attraction closes. The app allotted two and a half hours for Rise of the Resistance so, needless to say, I wasn’t all that sad about not having to wait in line for that.
Before diving into the negatives, I do have two positives when it comes to the itinerary Genie offers. The first is that it does incorporate and adjust to you doing mobile orders of food. Disney Genie certainly offers food suggestions but once you make your own choice then it will remove its choices and adjust the touring plan. That’s handy!
Likewise, if you aren’t interested in what attraction or show is in the itinerary then you can remove it and the app will come up with a different suggestion. I should point out that this should help very indecisive people or first-timers.
While that’s true, there are many better tools and sites to use instead of this. Chances are that if you’re reading this post then you are aware of the vast number of options to get Disney information, many of which I’m happy to admit are better than ours! Disney Genie seemingly preys on the uninitiated to try and manipulate crowd movement and upsell guests on experiences.
I guess the latter should come as no surprise at this point, as Disney trying to upsell guests on different things is the biggest complaint among loyal fans right now. Every time you change your preferences in the app, you are also asked if you’d like to add Genie+ to your day. What’s worse is that the itinerary will have experiences like Droid Depot or building a lightsaber thrown in. I suppose the innocent could say that it’s simply trying to show guests the options on what all they can do in a Disney Park. That’s true but after removing the third upsell opportunity before my 5th hour in the park, I was frustrated with it.
From a practical standpoint, Disney Genie doesn’t really work either. The app promises to update to fit the park day and give you less time in line as the lines adjust. That didn’t happen at all for us. We entered Disneyland via monorail in the morning, which puts us out in Tomorrowland. At the time Small World had a 5 minute wait and we could see that there was no one in line. Instead of adjusting our itinerary to that, or even to something in Tomorrowland, it had us cross the entire park and start our day at Tom Sawyer Island. Well, actually it changed its mind while we were waiting for our raft and then we started at Winnie the Pooh. Far from practical and pretty frustrating.
Moments like that happened throughout the day. The only reasoning I could see for bypassing some of our priorities with low wait times earlier in the day is that they want to spread out the highlights. I don’t agree with that justification but it’s the only one I can think of. I’m not sure how much effort the app actually puts into adjusting the itinerary throughout the day as not much changed.
For the record, we did avoid long waits for a while. We lucked out with Rise of the Resistance going down and avoiding that line. Aside from that, we rolled through a few Fantasyland attractions after lunch. Genie didn’t have us in a line over 20 minutes but some of that is because it recommended the Castle Walkthrough or Pinocchio. I’d like to give it the benefit of the doubt but, then again, it did put us in line for Dumbo in the middle of the afternoon so we waited for a little over half an hour for that. Right after that, we were to go to the carousel but it’s line was out of the queue and we started to give up on Genie.
There are ways to avoid some of the crowds at Disneyland and we try to point them out often on this site. Putting guests in Fantasyland in the middle of the afternoon is the opposite of that. It’s the most crowded time in the most crowded area of the park.
Other minor frustrations with Genie included not being able to link the itinerary to other members of the party despite our tickets being linked, not being able to check off attractions once you were done with them and not having all attractions and shows listed in the preferences section. None of those rival the poor itinerary offered but they are small annoyances that add to the problem.
We are generally positive on this site and any negative review usually comes with a list of caveats and reasons why we might be wrong. Everyone is on the same team and would prefer to write/read cheerful things about Disney Parks. Unfortunately in this case, I don’t see how using Disney Genie’s itineraries could benefit anyone. Between the poor plans, upselling and number of missteps I think this helps Disney far more than it helps guests.
Have you used Disney Genie? What are your thoughts on the app and itinerary it offers? Let us know, along with any questions you might have, in the comments below. Planning a trip to a Disney Park? Check out all of our Planning Guides to help you along the way. If you enjoy what you are reading here on Wandering in Disney please share this post with your friends, as well as like our social media pages. You can also subscribe to the blog via WordPress or email. All of those links are on the right side of this page. Thank you for reading, we really appreciate it!