"Disney Genie" Digital Product Revealed at D23

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Kristen K.'s picture
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"Disney Genie" Digital Product Revealed at D23

As I watched a live-stream of the Disney Parks & Resorts Panel, there was one bit where the audience feel shockingly quite. That was the point at which Bob Chapek told a Hall full of obsessive Disney fans, may of which earn a living helping other people plan, that Disney was launching a new customizable digital product that would mean people didn't have to plan and research anymore.

Disney Genie is what they are calling it and you could have head a pin drop in that hall. I'm still trying to digest this new digital tool and decide what I think about about it. I think that there are still WAY too many unknown factors for me to really draw an opinion, but as I earn a living helping others figure out what to do at Disney I am not too sure I want an automated Genie budging in on my territory.

"Disney Genie is being designed to help you make the most out of your visit, whether you're a first-time guest or a seasoned pro."

Hrmmm... do you think Disney knows that seasoned pros get that way for a reason? Mostly because we are obsessive planners? Disney Genie does very much remind me of what *cough*Touring*cough*Plans*cough*not to name another site* and I can see this taking a fair bite out of their digital market. Luckily WDWFG doesn't operate in that space.

https://disneyparks.disney.go.com/blog/2019/08/revolutionary-new-digital-offering-disney-genie-coming-to-walt-disney-world-resort/

JMed's picture
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soooooooooooooo, I have many thoughts on this one too and they are night and day...

All I could think at first was "HOW COOL IS THIS??? I want to do all princess stuff today, click, boom, done"

Then it was more "WTF, I love to plan (and I know I still can) and I love people asking me my thoughts and favorites, will that stop?"

Then - "What will this do to Travel Agents"

I mean yea, it's cool tech, we all know they have been tracking us for years not only with MBs but surveys online and in the parks, and purchases. This just goes a step further. The day is coming where you can snag a FP to get a chip planted in your arm to forego MBs and your entire trip is planned just by thinking of the dates you want to go....

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Kristen K.'s picture
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I really haven't warmed up to the idea of this, you could say I'm digging in my heels. I love planning, and I don't want to lose the ability to micromanage my own trip. I'm still not as savvy with the FastPass+ thing as I probably should be, but then I rarely used the old FastPass system either. I don't know, I LIKE my spreadsheets and the weeks it takes me to research menus, and figure out which day is the best to go to what park. I feel like this is much more geared to the first time trip folks that either don't know they need to plan or don't want to. They are an important market segment too, I just hope that it doesn't shut me out.

Mandy's picture
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Joined: 06/18/2013
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I am very interested to see how this plays out.

Allie's picture
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Here are my thoughts in a very small nutshell (I could go on for hours about it): Will this new system REALLY optimize people's plans based on what they want to do OR is it another way for Disney to spread out crowds? Touring Plans already offers a system where you can put in the attractions you want to do and it will give you their predicted optimal order based on typical wait times, events, FastPass availability, etc. Touring Plans has no other skin in the game that would benefit them to do anything other then tell you the best possible order of attractions. Disney, however, does have multiple reasons that they might want to send you certain places in the park, and they have already shown that they are willing to try and do that on other mediums.

Currently, when you go to get a rolling FastPass the day of, I have always found that the initial FastPasses they will show available are much later in the day then what truly is available; I'm assuming to try and spread people's uses of FastPasses throughout the day. For example, if I go to get my 4th FastPass of the day at 1pm, it will often show me initially that there are no Haunted Mansion FastPasses available until around 5pm. When I keep refreshing and keep playing with times, I might slowly but surely might get that FastPass bumped all the way up to a 1:30pm FastPass. It is also often been reported that a Space Mountain FastPass might randomly pop up for 5 min from now if lets say Frontierland is pack and Tomorrowland is empty to try and spread people out. So my main question is, how will this all work with Disney Genie?

I have a feeling that similar tactics might be utilized that are more in Disney's interest in keeping guest flow and traffic the way they would like more then it actually benefits the user. Compound that with the fact that I feel most people using this app are going to be newbie Disney travelers who won't know to question the prescribed touring strategy Disney Genie gives them, and I really truly feel like a knowledgeable travel agent or TouringPlans.com (or a combination of both...even better!) is still the best resource a less experienced traveler can have. But the Disney Genie is an easy "solution" that will be marketed directly through Disney. waiting

Kristen K.'s picture
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Yes! Yes, yes, yes to all of what you said. I still haven't been able to put my main issues with Disney Genie into words, but I think you just nailed a lot of it. All of that combined with the fact that they have been squeezing their fan entrepreneurs out of market space that the fans created. I HATE this Disney Genie thing. Just the very idea makes me prickle. I know that I have been critical in other areas. CCP once called me a Disney traditionalist, and I will cop to that. This is more than just being a traditionalist though, this is manipulative in a way that makes me squirm.

Allie's picture
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I'm a 100% Disney fan through and through and I don't consider myself a pessimist, but manipulative is a great word for it. It's not only taking strategies that travel agents and dedicated fans have been perfecting for years and presenting them as their own, but they're also likely going to use those strategies to mislead people into following touring plans that actually benefit the company more then the person paying for the service. It makes me cringe a bit.

JanJ's picture
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Joined: 07/14/2013
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I don't use touring plans and won't use this new genie. I will book FP's, but it's truly based on how I feel at the time. We also go where we want to at the moment. I'm probably one of their worst guests in that regard, lol. laugh

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I agree with Jan. We have never used a touring plan. We quite often change plans based on what we feel like doing when we wake up. I am sure I would not use the genie.

Kristen K.'s picture
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I may or may not admit to having a subscription to that other site I shall not name. wink They've been really handing for me in figuring out crow calendars and I used the app for queue length before Disney offered that feature. When I'm super crunched for time I will map out my strategy for tackling a park. But their app allows you to customize in several different ways, and they have no ulterior motives for sending you in a specific direction.

It's going to be hard for me to write about Disney Genie.