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Disneyland Article
What Disney Worlds Bumpy Genie Plus Rollout Could Mean For Disneyland

Space Mountain
ID:
TMS-4863
Source:
SFGate
Author:
Julie Tremaine
Dateline:
October 24, 2021
Posted:
November 06, 2021
Status:
Current
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Genie Plus, the new paid replacement to Disney’s previously free Fast Passes, debuted at Walt Disney World on October 19. No one knows when Disneyland’s Genie Plus will go live, other than vague hints that it will happen sometime this fall — but the rollout of Florida’s version can tell us a lot about what might (or might not) happen when the system is released in California.

Genie Plus is the only way to get faster access to rides ...

In the past, guests at Walt Disney World were able to book three Fast Passes in advance of their visit for free, then book passes every few hours when they were in the park after the first three had been used. Disneyland guests had to redeem in person with a paper ticket at the attraction, or they could pay $20 per person per day to use MaxPass and book those Fast Passes online. With the launch of Genie Plus, free Fast Passes are officially a thing of the past.

At Walt Disney World, Genie Plus is $15 per person per day to access 46 “Lightning Lanes” across its four parks. It will be $20 per person per day at Disneyland for 19 rides across two parks when it launches.

Unless you buy Individual Attraction Selections

Guests will have the option of paying an additional “Individual Attraction Selection” fee for access to three rides: Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance, Radiator Springs Racers and Web Slingers: A Spider-Man Adventure.

These rides are available separate from Genie Plus, so it’s not necessary to purchase both if you only want to ride Rise of the Resistance and are willing to wait for everything else. Prices for individual rides aren’t known at Disneyland yet, but the one ride that’s a crossover between Anaheim and Orlando, Rise of the Resistance, costs $15 per rider per day at Walt Disney World. For a family of four at Disneyland, that could total $60, if the ride's price is consistent between the two parks.

The app has been glitchy Genie Plus has only been live at Walt Disney World for a few days, and anyone who’s ever used the Disneyland or WDW app or website knows that Disney’s tech is notoriously prone to crashing during times of high traffic. Many people at Walt Disney World this weekend, via social media, reported brief outages of the Genie Plus app, where there was a blank screen rather than the available Lightning Lane selections. When you’re paying a premium to maximize your rides for the day, not having access to the thing that lets you access those rides, if only briefly, has been a pain point for early users.

A spokesperson for Walt Disney World told SFGATE that though there were some temporary issues on the first day of Genie Plus, those specific situations had been rectified and they felt overall the app was working smoothly.

The system prioritizes Disney hotel guests

At Walt Disney World, guests staying on Disney property can start booking their Lightning Lane selections at 7 a.m., before the parks open for the day. Guests who aren’t staying at a Disney hotel have to wait until 9 a.m., when early time slots for the most in-demand attractions may have already substantially been claimed for the day.

Some wait times are actually shorter if you don’t pay

On opening day of Genie Plus, Disney blog Inside the Magic reported that some of the attractions that have the paid option to ride more quickly were actually boarding later for paid users than if you stood in the free standby lane.

“Space Mountain has an additional charge to ride, but the line is only 25 minutes long, and Splash Mountain is only 5 minutes,” Alessa Dufresne wrote. “You could actually get on Splash Mountain by waiting in the queue faster than your Lightning Lane return time.”

Not all the good stuff costs money

Despite complaints about the cost, there is actually a free component to the service called Disney Genie. Genie Plus is a paid service that will get you on rides more quickly, and also includes a photo pass for the day. But Genie is actually free, and is included as an update to the Disney World (and soon to be Disneyland) app. The Genie service gives suggestions of which rides it’s a good time to head to, based on average wait times, and has many other features.

“Our complimentary Disney Genie service creates your best Disney day inspired by your party’s top interests,” Walt Disney World wrote. “It also grants you new planning features, including a personalized itinerary creator that seamlessly and smartly maps out your visit with updates that continue from morning to night. And, Disney Genie can even remind you when you’re eligible to make dining and activity reservations in advance.”

And there are a lot of Easter eggs hidden inside

People have been having a lot of fun with the free features of Disney Genie, namely the photo filters included in the app. One filter allows you to see Cinderella Castle as it looked when it was under construction before Walt Disney World opened in 1971. There’s also a filter that makes it look like you’re standing in front of the iconic “Cake Castle” makeover the park gave the castle for its 25th birthday, as well as one that makes you look like the Genie from “Aladdin.”
 
Attractions Referenced

Space Mountain

Splash Mountain

Star Wars Rise Of The Resistance

 
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