Disney Genie has stirred up a bit of controversy with longtime fans of Walt Disney World since launching on October 19th. With the paid Disney Genie+ option replacing the previously free FastPass+, many fans have written off the entire Genie service altogether.
But what if I told you that the BEST part of this thing is actually included in the free half of Disney Genie?
Clearly there will be some growing pains, and it is still early in this new service’s life, but one element has already stood out as something we’ve needed for years in the Walt Disney World official app. Regardless of your feelings on the paid portion, you should give this free part a try!
First, The Bad
Before we get to what’s good about Disney Genie, it is worth noting what I find to be completely useless. Sadly, it’s the part of Genie that’s supposed to be “smart.”
The free Disney Genie section of the My Disney Experience app, (Walt Disney World’s official app,) is split into two sections: My Day and Tip Board.
My Day, which shows any plans or reservations your party may have for today, is also automatically populated by “suggestions” made by Genie itself. It may suggest somewhere for lunch, what attractions to check out in between other things you have planned, and more throughout the day.
For the most part, I find the My Day section far too cluttered to be useful for checking my reservations, and its suggestions are often laughable. It seems to want to tempt you with less popular attractions, while also suggesting popular rides when they’re at their highest wait times, strangely.
So, I’d say this part of Disney Genie has fallen flat for me, to say the least. (If you want to see your plans for the day in a more simplified manner, I suggest checking out the Future Plans section of the app instead.)
Wait Times, Simplified (Sort Of)
While the My Day section of Disney Genie isn’t perfect, (and here’s hoping it gets better as time goes on,) I have had more luck with the Tip Board section.
The Tip Board shows you all the current wait times for the attractions at any park in Walt Disney World. Select the park at the top of the page, (and it doesn’t matter if it’s the one you are currently at).
You can personalize the Tip Board by selecting your favorite attractions so they show up at the top of the list, which is incredibly useful for checking wait times at a glance.
In addition to wait times for all of the rides, you can also see what the next available Lightning Lane reservation time is for each attraction. This may not be useful to you if you are not utilizing the paid add-on, Disney Genie+, or plan to purchase any of the Individual Lightning Lane passes, but they are all listed here for convenience if you are. (You can see our Complete Guide to Lightning Lane for more details.)
You can still see wait times by viewing the map section of the app. And if you want, you can even show them in a list by selecting “Show List” on the top-right of the map page. However, the Tip Board makes it a lot easier to see the rides you care about most and fast. And it’s easier to switch between parks in the Tip Board as well.
The BEST Part of Disney Genie
At the top of the Tip Board section of Disney Genie are two tabs, one for Experiences, which includes rides and shows, and one for Dining. I wonder if people miss this, as it took me a few hours before I noticed, (and I was analyzing every inch of this thing the day it launched).
The Dining tab of Tip Board shows you a list of pretty much every quick service and full service restaurant for the selected park. If the information is available it will show you what the next Mobile Order time is for quick service locations, whether or not reservations are available for full service locations, or how long the walk up list will take.
Before, if you wanted to attempt to find a place to eat, the best method on the app was browsing the map. You could also use the Search feature, if you knew the name of the restaurant you were looking for. Checking for an available reservation meant selecting a time of day, only to come up empty and continually having to select another, and another, and another.
But now with the Dining tab of the Tip Board section of Disney Genie, which sounds more complicated than it is, you can easily see literally EVERY single dining location and whether it has availability or not… IN ONE PLACE!
I know, I am probably blowing this out of proportion, but it’s such a helpful and easy to use system that it honestly should’ve always been a part of the app from the start. The only way to make this any easier would be to add a Dining shortcut to the app’s bottom menu. Then more people would be able to find it too!
Just like the attractions, you can tell Genie what your favorite restaurants are and they will always be listed at the top of the list. This can be perfect for checking in to see if a dining reservation pops up without having to search.
I still haven’t decided whether or not I like the paid add-ons for Disney Genie, but from testing the service while visiting the parks a few times I can already tell that the Tip Board will be a staple of every visit.
What do you think? Have you tried Disney Genie yet, and if so, what do you think of its features? If you haven’t used it yet, don’t forget about that Dining tab hiding in there. It can be extremely useful on your vacation!
That’s all for now, but check out our Complete Guide to Lightning Lane for more information on the paid elements and how to use Disney Genie+ to reserve your attraction return times!