App Review: My Disney Experience, Disney Genie and Disney Genie+
Was the extra $45 a day for Genie+ rides worth it? Eh. Let’s discuss.
Disney World has a new app that you use in the parks, and I really want to love it. It’s cute. It’s clever. It’s fun to swipe through and it’s pretty robust. Graphically, it invokes Robin Williams’ Genie from the cult classic Aladdin and in so doing, it telegraphs that it will fulfill your wishes for food, drink, bathroom access, ride access and times and princess parade locations with the swipe of a button or a push notification. But when I arrived in November, in Orlando, for the combo 50th Anniversary celebration and the Halloween Boo Fest, the user experience left me with mixed feelings.
On the one hand, using the free Disney Genie and the $15-per-person Disney Genie+ add-on to the My Disney Experience app was amazing for letting me see the time anticipated to spend in line at any ride at any one of the four parks that my family visited. For some rides, like the Safari at Animal Kingdom and Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run at Hollywood Studios, my family of four hopped on with no issues and no wait. The free Genie app saved us time and headaches because we skipped some rides — and some waits — completely. But some problems got introduced with the paid version of the app that allowed us to upgrade our ride experience and — in theory — select our ride time.
Ultimately, it wasn’t the cost that was a pain in the ass. It was the amount of time I spent on my phone during my vacation, paired with poor app execution and the tension introduced into my trip due to a so-called time-saving bit of tech.
How it Works
You download My Disney Experience to your phone, you link your magic bands to the app so you can access the park without using your cell phone. You only really use your phone when you need to use Disney Genie or Genie+ or when you get on the monorail or when you rise at 7 a.m. and log on to snag the best ride times. If you know where you want to eat, you use the app to purchase your lunch and dinner immediately, and get a…