The free Genie itinerary creation service, plus paid Genie + skip the line service for select attractions and individual Lightning Lane selections for each park’s two most popular attractions are now available in the My Disney Experience app. This new system will dramatically change Walt Disney World tours, whether you buy them or not, and we’re here to guide you through the process of setting up the free version of Disney Genie.
There are still many questions about the entire Disney Genie system, and we have done our best to answer those of the Genie + Guide to Walt Disney World and Lightning Lane Frequently Asked Questions. However, the day of the Disney Genie launch marks the first opportunity we’ve had to get our hands on the app’s feature, so a lot of that will change soon.
In addition, we have updated the itineraries so that you are ready to use the Genie + paid service:
Much more on Lightning Lanes and Genie + throughout this week. For now, let’s set it up to use the free Genie Itinerary Generator …
To begin using the Disney Genie suite of offerings, you will need to update the My Disney Experience app to version 7 by visiting the Apple iOS App Store or the Google Play Store.
You can click on those links or open the respective app stores and search for My Disney Experience …
You should then see this, albeit with “Refresh” instead of “Open”.
I accidentally took this screenshot after updating. Sorry, my brain barely works properly in the middle of the morning after coffee, let alone in the middle of the night before. (“We are off to a great start already!” ~ Roz’s voice)
After starting the My Disney Experience update (and letting many modules load), you will see Genie appear near the top as a “Recommended Activity”.
Scroll down and click “I’m done.”
If you somehow lose that button or, more likely, the module won’t load, you can also access Disney Genie by clicking the + at the bottom of the app and clicking “View Tip Board and My Day.”
Alternatively, click the hamburger button (three horizontal lines) in the lower right corner of the My Disney Experience app and select the “My Day” button with the lamp icon in the upper right corner.
Everything should take you to the exact same place to start.
The first time you start this process, you will be greeted with an introduction that briefly explains the Disney Genie service. (Similarly, when you first launch the updated My Disney Experience app, there is a multi-step click that introduces you to the new features.)
Click “Start Now” on this screen.
You will start by selecting a date.
We’re visiting the Magic Kingdom on Genie’s launch day, so that’s what we picked.
Then you will choose your party.
As with virtual queues, anyone with Disney Park Pass reservations should already be pre-selected here. Since Sarah and I will be field testing competing strategies today, we deselected each other so that each could do their thing. Otherwise, these plans would be for both of you.
The first thing you will do is select from a list of Magic Kingdom attractions.
Each attraction will indicate whether it offers a “Lightning Lane included with Genie +” or is a “Lightning Lane” (no further explanation) in the case of Seven Dwarfs Mine Train and Space Mountain at Magic Kingdom.
Either I missed it before, or Walt Disney World never said that much, but you can only select 8 attractions when creating your custom Genie itinerary. This is true whether you are doing the free or paid version of Genie.
I don’t know about you, but this limitation makes it almost useless for us. We were already skeptical that it would work as intended, but if you can only upload a portion of your plans to Genie for optimization and efficiency, you will likely lose its usefulness. (However, let’s go in with an open mind when trying it out.)
After that, you select the restaurants where you would like to dine.
They will be recommended at convenient times, with mobile ordering directions and walk-in waiting list (as available). Today is finally the day you conquer Mars. Er, the Mission to Mars Burger. Same idea.
Then select “Lovely Extras.”
You can choose up to 3 of these, but I only see one option: “Capture your moment.” I don’t plan on doing that, but I selected it anyway just to see what would happen.
From there, move on to selecting interests. These are organized into three categories: Disney Favorites, Interests in the park, and Interests in dining.
The character and brand categories are all “Disney Favorites”. I’m not sure why the icon says “Interests in the park”.
Above are the various interests of the park.
After selecting them, you can also choose meal types: casual dining, character dining, dining events, and signature or exclusive dining. I’ve already selected specific restaurants so I skipped it.
After pressing continue, “One last thing!” Height and accessibility requirements. I’m not quite that brief so I skipped this.
Pressing Continue Here essentially completes the Itinerary Builder. You will see a blue progress screen for a few seconds with a message (for example, “entering full force magic mode”) before an upsell is displayed on Disney Genie +:
I hit “Skip for now” to end the free Genie service and see what I would do next.
It continues with the blue screen for a couple more seconds while ‘creating my best Disney day’ and then deposits me on the My Disney Experience ‘My Day’ screen.
All of this was done around 5 am, at which point there was still no itinerary available. I’m not sure if this was due to time or because it is still launch day.
Regardless, at 7am, My Day was filled with 10 recommendations for my day:
Now my brain isn’t working on fancy algorithms (pretty much just chocolate milk and beef jerky at this point in the morning), but I’m going to question these recommendations already. Prioritizing Prince Charming’s Royal Carousel first thing in the morning over attractions that will actually have short lines at the ropes launch, and long lines later, is certainly an election.
As we said before, the free Genie feature could very well be aimed at benefiting Walt Disney World and redistributing crowds to places where there are few. In some cases, that can be of mutual benefit to guests and park operations. Here, that’s only true for the latter. It would have been better to start with 7 of my other 10 recommendations (the other 3 were things that aren’t open yet at 9:20 am, so there it is).
Ultimately, we still reserve judgment on the free Genie feature. It’s still day one and we still have to use it in Magic Kingdom. Speaking of which, today we will be in the park testing the competitor’s strategy (“compete” is probably the wrong word since one of us will have Genie +) and we will have a full report of our results tonight or, more likely, tomorrow by the morning. If you visit us today or during the rest of the week:a lot of field tests, research, etc. planned, please say hello!
Planning a trip to Walt Disney World? Learn more about hotels on our Walt Disney World Hotel Reviews page. To find out where to eat, read our Walt Disney World Restaurant Reviews. To save money on tickets or determine which type to buy, read our post Tips for Saving Money on Walt Disney World Tickets. Our post What to Pack for Disney Trips offers a unique look at smart take-out items. To find out what to do and when to do it, our Walt Disney World Tour Guides will help you. For comprehensive advice, the best place to start is our Walt Disney World Trip Planning Guide for everything you need to know!
What do you think of the free Genie service? Are you planning to use it to build your itinerary, or do you think it won’t be useful? Do you agree or disagree with our advice? Any questions we can help you answer? Hearing your comments, even when you disagree with us, is interesting to us and useful to other readers, so share your thoughts below in the comments.