Disney Genie digital assistant app still planned for Walt Disney World

2 days ago in "MyMagic+"

Disney Parks Chairman Josh D'Amaro held a virtual presentation today for the media, and reiterated that the new Disney Genie app remains in Walt Disney World's plans.

Originally announced back in 2019, we have heard very little about the project since, but we expect to hear much more about this in the coming months.

The Disney Genie app for Apple and Android devices is set to dramatically change the way guests experience the parks, and something that Disney is betting its theme park experience on in a big way.

Here is how Disney described the Genie app when it was announced back in 2019.

"Disney Genie will make planning easier and more fun by providing customized itineraries geared to your interests, right at your fingertips – from a royal, princess-themed day at Magic Kingdom Park to a trip around the world at Epcot for foodies and even a perfect day for thrill seekers. Certain features of Disney Genie will also be available through your preferred travel professional.

Sometimes you may know exactly what you want to do, but may not know the best time or order in which to do it. You’ll be able to tell Disney Genie what you’d like to experience, and it will quickly evaluate millions of options to present you with an optimal day. And best of all, it’s flexible! If you change your mind for any reason, Disney Genie will re-optimize your day.

Disney Genie can also send you real-time tips and updates, including recommendations for experiences it thinks you’ll love, helping you navigate the theme parks with added convenience and comfort. If you don’t want to worry about making reservations in multiple steps, Disney Genie will even take care of that for you."

Discuss on the Forums
Article Posted: Apr 08, 2021 / 5:05pm ET
View all comments →

MurphyJoe1 day ago

Genie and custom itineraries would also be an easy way of selling dining credits (in a sense) to the off-site crowd through included meal(s) without losing the ability to pitch the dining plan for onsite stays. Add a quick service meal for only $AA, a table service for $BB (and Disney could include the reservation with payment), or two snacks for $CC. Easy money.

CastAStone1 day ago

Fair enough. That makes my point more salient I think though: Genie when used as intended isn’t really going to help people at an individual level maximize their vacations. It will almost certainly, however, be something that maximizers can use to their advantage in some way.

Weather_Lady1 day ago

Adjusting my tinfoil hat.] I hope you are right. However, my suspicion is that Genie's [I]chief goal won't be to send guests to attractions during times of low waits (although that will be a coincidental result in some cases), so much as it will be to spread the crowds out evenly to match Disney's pre-determined staffing and capacity for a given day -- not just for attractions, but even for counter-service restaurants and shops. I'm thinking Genie will not only manipulate crowd movements, but also manipulate projected wait times and mobile ordering availability in order to fool the guest into thinking that every time they go where Genie tells them to go, they've "saved time in line." After a few push messages shrilly congratulating them on this, they'll be fully trained and conditioned to do whatever Genie says, eat or shop wherever it suggests, and buy whatever upgrades and Fastpasses Genie tells them to buy, in order to maximize their "magic." Disney will have created its own army of Stepford tourists. Hopefully there will be some real world data to confirm or debunk that idea by the time my family visits next, but if I had to use Genie now, I'd be zigging when it told me to zag and cleaving more closely than ever to touringplans and the advice of seasoned forum participants and my own past experiences, simply because I no longer trust Disney to be acting in my best interests as a guest. As Cora Munro says in [I]The Last of the Mohicans, " I would rather make the gravest of mistakes than surrender my own judgment."

Magic Feather1 day ago

As quite a few have brought up elsewhere and on Twitter, most Disney tech "big swings" seem to be a big miss. Now, that said, this definitely seems like an easier way to implement some of the goals of the next gen initiative and/or implement greater levels of monetization for different experiences. On the one hand, I could see this being a new version of "surprise fastpass" (remember those?) that would steer guests to attractions they intend to ride that are experiencing lower waits during peak times. On the other hand, this would make it super easy to "sell" guests an itinerary with guaranteed expedited access to select attractions.

aliceismad1 day ago

"Oh hey, Jim, I see you just rode Slinky Dog Dash, would you like to continue the magic at home with your very own SDD roller coaster kit?"

lentesta1 day ago

Disney's goal with Genie is to maximize revenue. It literally says it in the job posting for the people working on the app.

nickys1 day ago

I think what he meant was that the “Pros” would ignore most of the “here is your optimal day“ suggestions but simply use it to buy an FP if and when it makes sense to do so.

larryz1 day ago

Ever heard the story of Coca-Cola versus the Polar Beverages company?

ptaylor1 day ago

Disney's plan with Genie is to monetize attraction admission. WDW pro's are not going to be able to manipulate the fact that it will be pay to play.

havoc3151 day ago

Definitely theoretically doable but it would likely take extraordinary computer engineering and massive ongoing data processing. All businesses are moving in the direction of capturing and utilizing the “big data.” (Think about Amazon giving you product recommendations... or Starbucks uses the big data to offer promotions as specific times and locations). On the scale required for an operation like WDW, at the level I suggested... Likely to complex to get there tomorrow. Much like their initial FP+ and Magic band plans ultimately under delivered. But I would expect to see that level of crowd management some day in the not-that-distant future.

CastAStone1 day ago

Disney’s goal with Genie will (presumably) be to maximize total enjoyment across all guests, not my enjoyment specifically. I imagine for WDW park pros, Genie will be something we manipulate, not some thing that manipulates us.

nickys1 day ago

My observation is that you need some guidance in how and when to use the TP optimiser, or not using it! 😉

Amidala1 day ago

Kind of an evil genius plan, but I could see it being beneficial. Is it doable though??? The app would have to juggle a lot of different variables and as a basis for comparison MDE doesn't exactly inspire confidence lmao. It seems more geared toward first timers and large groups who find the sheer number of parks, dining and attraction options, etc. overwhelming and need a little extra help planning out their day. I think it's a great idea assuming it actually functions as intended, which is a big IF. And I'd definitely like to give it a shot myself, but I'm probably not the target demo. Not sure how this is going to affect FP+ but I personally wouldn't be sad to see it replaced with a cross between DLR's Max Pass and a (more affordable?) UO Express Pass. I think it would shorten wait times in the long term and wouldn't mind splurging (within reason) every once in a while if I'm visiting parks with family/friends and want to get a lot done.

CastAStone1 day ago

Presumably even small changes to the overall FP system will have big impacts in some places. Someone keeping track of and analyzing the data will become even more critical. I look forward to continuing to spend hours tinkering with “optimized” touring plans to get additional time out of them by further minimizing walking (something the TP site could improve at), and then getting completely off schedule by 10AM and blowing up my carefully and lovingly designed plan by hitting “optimize” in the park.