Disney Genie is a free service that is a part of the My Disney Experience app. Genie lets guests plan out their Disney World trips by selecting preferences for rides, activities, food, and more.
Here is a run down of how to get started on the app, and how it works.
When you open the My Disney Experience app you'll see an option on the home screen to get started with Disney Genie. Once you click on the get started button. This will give you a quick overview of the Genie features and get you started.
After that you'll be asked to select your park days. Note that in order to select days you'll have to have a valid park ticket or annual pass, and a theme park reservation.
If you don't have a ticket and reservation you wont be able to move forward from this point.
You'll select your date, the park you'll be visiting, and then your party. You'll want to make sure your entire group is linked in the Friends and Family part of My Disney Experience. More on how to do that here.
Once you've made these selections you can pick your priorities at the parks.
This includes rides that you want to experience, restaurants (both quick service and sit down meals), and extras like parades and shows. These are NOT reservations or guarantees that you will be able to go on these rides or get reservations at these restaurants. It is rather a way to keep your "wish list" organized. This way the app can let you know when to book that restaurant or give you updates on wait times for a ride you've selected.
Next select some of your Disney "interests." This is a little more general. Things like Princesses, Pirates, Mickey, Star Wars, etc. This is so the app can give you recommendations on things that you might not know about or think to plan in advance.
So if you say you are interested in Princesses, the app can tell you about an upcoming Princess Cavalcade or meet and greet that you might want to check out when you're at the parks.
Lastly, the app will ask you if you have anyone in your group that will have height requirements or accessibility considerations.
If you are only using the free version of Genie, you can skip the option for Genie+ (which costs $15 per ticket per day). And you're done! Your free version of Genie is all set up.
The free version of Genie is easy to set up and use. I find it fairly intuitive, and it gives a lot of great options for your time at Disney World.
So if you aren't paying for the Genie+ upgrade, what will the free version do for you?
First, you can set up all of your preferences ahead of time. So as soon as you book your trip and have everything set up in My Disney Experience, start playing with the app.
When you make your selections Genie will save them and give you a timeline of when you can start booking things like restaurants. Just keep in mind any selections you make for rides or restaurants does not guarantee access.
The cool part about Genie is that it will make recommendations for you based on the answers you selected at set up.
So while I said I was interested in booking Skipper Canteen for my trip, it also suggested some other restaurants it thought I might enjoy. I think this can be especially helpful for guests who are first timers or aren't sure which restaurant they want to book.
Tip Board vs My Day
In Genie you'll see two tabs you can select. The first is called Tip Board. This will show you what the park looks like today. So if you are planning for a future trip in Genie, you wont really need this one until you get to the parks, however I would recommend taking a look at it just to familiarize yourself before you get to Disney World.
The tip board will give you a live look at rides at the park. You can see current wait times as well as Lightning Lane availability (should you decide to upgrade to Genie+ or purchase Individual Ride Selections. You can learn more about that here).
Genie will put the rides you selected at the very top of the list so that you can easily find them.
If you have paid for Genie+ you can book Lightning Lane right here. If not, you can just look at the standby wait time. Although I will say it is smart for Disney to show Genie+ times here. On busy days I could definitely see people jumping to upgrade to Genie+ if standby times are long and Lightning Lane times are available.
On the tip board you can also find dining. This is one of my favorite features, as it shows all restaurants in the park.
For sit down restaurants it will show if there is any walk up availability or reservation times available. For quick service locations you will easily see mobile order windows. From here you can easily place a mobile order or book a reservation. Being able to see all options quickly is a huge perk (anyone with kids who get hangry will understand this).
The next tab is called My Day. This is where you will see all of your park plans. You can switch through the days of your trip to see any upcoming plans and be given a time frame for booking restaurant reservations.
This will give you an overview of each day of your trip, and will list restaurants you want to visit and attractions you hope to ride.
You can customize your day by adding or changing any rides or restaurants, adding a second park (if you are park hopping), and even letting Genie know the times you plan on being at the parks.
When you select your second park you can again select attractions and restaurants you are interested in visiting.
This will give the app an idea of what you want to do, and when.
So far I think this new service in My Disney Experience is really cool! If you are a seasoned Disney pro, you may not get as much use out of the free Genie features. But if you are new to Disney, or don't get to visit the parks on a regular basis, having the app make suggestions and help plan out your day by showing wait times for your favorite rides is an amazing tool.
I love that the app is easy to use and set up. And if you aren't familiar with all of the rides and restaurants at Disney, your preferences will help the app to make suggestions that you might like.
I also love that things like wait times and restaurant availability are front and center. There is no searching for restaurants with seating. No flipping from screen to screen to find wait times. They are both easy to find and see everything in one place.
My initial thoughts are that this is a win!
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See you at the parks,