Disney Genie service deeply unpopular among fans before it has launched

Posted Friday, October 15, 2021 9:11 AM | Contributed by Jeff

From the article:

Disney guests clearly aren’t happy about the change — Disney’s announcement video for the Genie service has a telling 12,000 dislikes compared to 956 likes. The outrage mainly comes from the fact that the FastPass and FastPass Plus, Disney’s line-skipping services that will be imminently phased out, were free to use. Although you didn’t have much control over the specifics of your ride schedule, it still helped you avoid standing in a queue for hours, free of charge.

Read more from The Verge.

Wednesday, October 20, 2021 8:28 AM

China, that bastion of unfettered capitalism

Last edited by Brian Noble, Wednesday, October 20, 2021 8:29 AM
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Wednesday, October 20, 2021 3:39 PM
ApolloAndy's avatar

Coasterfantom2 said:

^^ They give you the option to pay for Lightning lane for the top two rides at the park, and the paid Genie + gives two lower level lightning lane for a total of four a day like the old fast pass system. I believes that's how it's working.

Genie+, the $15 all day service, (in contrast to Individual Lightning Lane, the pay per ride service) lets you book rides other than the top 2 as much as you want, though one at a time (with a max cooldown of 120 minutes) and only once per ride per day.

E.g. In MK, you could book Aladdin for 9:30, tap in, book Pan for 10:00, tap in, book Thunder for 2:15, wait 'til 12:00 (2 hours after booking Pan) and book Jungle for 3:00, at 2:00 you can book another one.

Last edited by ApolloAndy, Wednesday, October 20, 2021 3:42 PM

Hobbes: "What's the point of attaching a number to everything you do?"
Calvin: "If your numbers go up, it means you're having more fun."

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Wednesday, October 20, 2021 4:51 PM

The only limitation I don't like is that you can only do each ride one time. Teenage me used to love the days when we'd be on vacation and I could score Tower of Terror or Rock N Roller Coaster Fastpasses for every 60 minutes on the slow days when distribution would last all day and only be 45 minutes or so out from the current time. If I want to Rotor Man on Space Mountain for a day and the booking windows are open, I wish I had that opportunity.

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Wednesday, October 20, 2021 4:59 PM
Lord Gonchar's avatar

ApolloAndy said:

Genie+, the $15 all day service, lets you book rides other than the top 2 as much as you want...and only once per ride per day.


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Thursday, October 21, 2021 6:02 AM

^^ Thanks Andy! I was under the impression you could pay for the top two attractions, but additional to the Genie + price. I'll learn soon enough and will share how it worked for us.

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Monday, October 25, 2021 8:37 PM
Jeff's avatar

The butthurt runs deep in the Disney "fan" base these days...

https://wdwnt.com/2021/10/the-systematic-destruction-of-walt-disney...ws-closer/

There's so much hyperbole and drama. The dude genuinely thinks he's reporting "news." You know he'll be first in line to ride Guardians.


Jeff - Editor - CoasterBuzz.com - My Blog - Phrazy

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Monday, October 25, 2021 9:12 PM

This post comes from a selfish place

That seven word line near the end of the piece is an apt summary.


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Wednesday, October 27, 2021 8:09 AM

Many of the comments I'm reading on the internet regarding the increasing costs of a WDW vacation are hysterical.....people are really losing their minds with their entitlement mindset.

Disney has an obligation to its' shareholders not to leave money on the table so if going to a higher margin/lower volume model is the path for doing so, so be it. Didn't Disney say years ago that was the direction they wanted to take? Less guests, but spending more? Seems like it's working to me.

For kicks and giggles, I just priced out a WDW trip for the first week of December, one of the best times to visit in my opinion. Long story short, for a four day, three night stay at the Beach Club Villas (studio room), with four day park hoppers and Genie+ for two came in at just under $3K.

Is that affordable for all? Of course not; but it isn't a ridiculous price either like some would lead you to believe on the inter webs. Obviously, this particular quote was just for two people and at arguably the best resort on property (BC) if you aren't traveling with kids, so there is room to value engineer the price down a bit by staying at a less expensive resort. Add in some kids and the price goes north pretty quick.

Is Disney more expensive now than pre-COVID? Yes, of course as with many things nowadays. But you can't get mad at Disney for doing what they said they were going to do by shifting their operational pricing models to maximize revenue.

It comes down to one simple thing....you don't have to go. If you can't afford it, or don't like the product, exercise your free right and choose a different vacation experience.

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Wednesday, October 27, 2021 2:37 PM
ApolloAndy's avatar

I don't find the price point to be difficult. It's more or less the same as MaxPass with slightly worse functionality.

What is difficult is the number of ways you can access a ride now. Standby, G+ LL, ILL, VQ. Then there's vanilla genie on top of that which is a totally independent system. If it takes your typical Disney/coaster nerd more than 2 minutes to figure out your system, you're probably doing it wrong.


Hobbes: "What's the point of attaching a number to everything you do?"
Calvin: "If your numbers go up, it means you're having more fun."

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Wednesday, October 27, 2021 2:43 PM
Lord Gonchar's avatar

ApolloAndy said:

If it takes your typical Disney/coaster nerd more than 2 minutes to figure out your system, you're probably doing it wrong.

I've read this entire thread and followed many of the links to stories about this service and I still have no idea how the hell it all works.

They've simply managed to blur all the lines so that you never know who paid how much to have what kind of access to what (which is a good thing)...at price price point starting at "we hate poor people" and going up from there. (which is debatable, but not inherently bad)


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Wednesday, October 27, 2021 3:42 PM
Jeff's avatar

I haven't tried to actually use any of it yet, but when I opened the app the other day (we went to Epcot for lunch), I couldn't help but notice that the whole experience is a complete mess. I don't even know what to start with on the home page, and there are little notes on everything that say, "* not a reservation." If you need to call that out, you're probably doing it wrong.

Given what I know about their process, none of this is particularly surprising though. I've made software for a long time, in various engineering and product roles, and the problem with Disney is that no one really owns any given thing, from end to end. That's kind of weird, because my understanding is that they do have that structure for, say, a new attraction project. But software, it's a mess of contractors, consultants and some product folks not giving clear, written down outcomes.


Jeff - Editor - CoasterBuzz.com - My Blog - Phrazy

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Wednesday, October 27, 2021 4:06 PM
eightdotthree's avatar

It doesn't seem that complicated? (just read Jeff's response and I have no experience with the app)

Genie is the recommendation engine.

Genie+ is the paid upgrade that grants you the ability to use Lightning Lane (minus the two most popular attractions). This works exactly like Disneyland's MaxPass which was just a digital version of paper Fast Passes that also included photos.

In addition you can book an Individual Lightning Lane return time (Fast Pass +) for the two most popular attractions in each park for a fee per attraction. I think this is really what most people are annoyed with because the 1 ride they want to ride — take a guess (psst it's Rise of the Resistance) — has a standby queue of 2 hours. From what I can tell every other attraction covered by the Individual Lightning Lane has a reasonable standby queue.

Last edited by eightdotthree, Wednesday, October 27, 2021 4:08 PM
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Wednesday, October 27, 2021 4:24 PM
99er's avatar

As long as I can still get my Casey's corndog nuggets via the app in under 5 minutes then I am happy.


-Chris

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Wednesday, October 27, 2021 4:32 PM
ApolloAndy's avatar

8.3, it's not hard if you've followed the amusement park industry and/or Disney specifically. PLUS, you forgot an entire dimension (the VQ for Remy's).

VQ's really confused a lot of people. There was always some non-trivial rope drop rush to RotR by people who didn't understand the system. Even 20 years later, FastPass was still confusing people (some "GP" friends still thought Disney's FP's were paid for). Try explaining any of this to those people.

There are rides that are standby only, rides that are standby/G+, rides that are standby/ILL, and rides that are VQ/ILL. For now there are no VQ only or VQ/G+ rides, but there's nothing inherently preventing them. And then vanilla genie is none of those things.

I challenge anyone to try to communicate this information in any succinct and digestible format.


Hobbes: "What's the point of attaching a number to everything you do?"
Calvin: "If your numbers go up, it means you're having more fun."

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Wednesday, October 27, 2021 6:29 PM
eightdotthree's avatar

I wrote a response that came off as rude and deleted it. I was confused when it was announced but after reading the website I get it. If you show up and have no idea Genie+ exists you can still ride everything you have time for. Again. I have no experience with the app. The GP will be fine. The “enthusiasts” whining about it before using it whine about everything.


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Wednesday, October 27, 2021 8:47 PM
ApolloAndy's avatar

I actually defend Disney's decision to make all these changes. The amount of entitlement across the board is absurd ("back in my day, we used to go for a nickel....also, it's too crowded now."). I don't necessarily think this is TOO much. I don't think it's that much more foreign or weird than FP+'s 60 day reservation windows, which a lot of people lived without. I do think it will be hard to get on newer, better rides without some knowledge of the system. It was effectively impossible to get on 7DMT, FoP, and RotR without some understanding of what was happening.

I just don't understand why WDW chose to do all this stuff at the same time or why they couldn't find a better way to minimize the options. For instance, dropping VQ entirely and just going to standby, standby/G+, and standby/ILL would have made a negligible difference to whatever line metrics, probably would have helped their bottom line, and would have simplified things. Similarly, calling vanilla genie something totally different, like "Aladdin" or "Day Planner" or "This service does not entitle you to Lightning Lane Access" or something would also have eliminated confusion for very little cost.

Unless their intention is specifically to use obfuscation to reward people who do research or to obscure what's going on and who's getting on what ride for what cost, it seems overly complicated.


Hobbes: "What's the point of attaching a number to everything you do?"
Calvin: "If your numbers go up, it means you're having more fun."

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Wednesday, October 27, 2021 9:39 PM

Regular Me, who works in a giant corporation, assumes that Disney just didn't plan this out very well, it got caught in a dozen different committees each with their own mandate, and the hodgepodge that we get today was the natural outcome of that process.

Cynical Me says by making everything seem confusing, Disney is banking on the average guest just deciding that they need to pay for the most expensive option, which is what I assume I will do on my next visit.

(OK, those are both Cynical Me, but different Cynical Mes.)

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Thursday, October 28, 2021 4:47 AM

8.3 gives one of the better summations of how the Genie works, and I've read a few others similar including the official Disney explanation. I think most people are with Gonch and still don't understand how the system works others than the Genie will help us plan our day at a Disney park.

I didn't even think about the people that Andy brought up(ie not using fastpass because they thought they have to pay for it.) I just assume most people would have the same knowledge I have about the fastpass system. It's not like it was hard to figure out.

We've been DVC members since 2017, and the entitlement of some other DVC members is off the chart. I understand why they feel like they do. Especially the ones that have been members since the start. No one likes change, and changing to a paid system is sure to piss your loyal customers off.

We have three weeks booked for next month, end of April, and end of September. We are taking friends with us the September week and are hoping to have it down by that time. It'll be their first visit so we want to make sure they have a great time.

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Thursday, October 28, 2021 8:14 AM

Hambone- I was hoping for a thought from the Despicable Me, but then realized we were talking about Disney and not Universal.


But then again, what do I know?

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Thursday, October 28, 2021 10:14 AM

I'm not sure it has to be something that everyone (or even most people) "fully understand," the exception being a bunch of obsessive compulsive theme park/disneyana enthusiasts. (Guilty as charged, your honor.)

Instead, maybe the goal is to be like any other "modern" app: there's more to most of them than any one person understands, there is no "instruction" manual, but instead people discover bits and pieces as they go. I haven't done much more than play around with it but viewed through that lens it makes a little more sense. You can plan a lot or a little, the app will nudge you in ways it thinks will keep you engaged, and the app provides a bunch of different "in-app purchases" that appear as options when it is sensible to do that.

Maybe I'm being more tolerant of all of this because I (think I) understand it all---that I just don't understand that it's bad and the designers should fee bad. And sometimes people are in charge of things for no reason. But sometimes, those people aren't completely wrong.


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