Disney World has made some changes to the My Disney Experience app and specifically the Disney Genie+ service that seemingly attempts to hide how bad the service is. There are two changes made recently and we purchased Disney Genie+ today to take a look at the updates.
This first change will only happen during “high demand” times, but it’s a bandaid in every sense of the work. From 7am to 7:30am, guests will not be able to see what the next available Lightning Lane return window is. Instead, Disney masks it and instead shows “check availability” which requires guests to tap into an attraction that they want to book a Lightning Lane for to see when the return window actually is. A similar bandaid for Individual Lightning Lane invites guests to “See Available Times”.
So, why did Disney implement this change? Simply put, the service is in such high demand first thing in the morning (and at select times throughout the day) that the return window that is presented on the Tip Board screen rarely matches the return window that you end up securing by the time you’ve clicked through the subsequent pages to book your Lightning Lane. Instead of implementing a fix for this “sliding return window” issue, Disney simply makes it impossible to see the next available return window until you’re closer to booking.
Here’s a look at the Tip Board during the “high demand” check availability timeframe and then how the Tip Board looks for the rest of the day. We can see the “check availability” bandaid during the 7am to 7:29am timeframe in the left screenshot below, and then the return window UI display starting at 7:30am in the right screenshot below.
Highlight Secured Lightning Lane
This is a simple change, but after using the service a bit since the last change was implemented, we need to highlight another pain point created by the recent changes.
First, here’s a look a the new change that was pushed with the change listed above. The new change simply highlights your selected and secured Lightning Lane attractions. Here’s a look at the old UI on the left and the updated highlight UI on the right. This in and of itself is a good change, but let’s take a look at a pain point from the late June update.
Back in late June, Disney made an update to the UI that showed your selected return window on the Tip Board instead of the current return window. In the screenshot below, we can see the change. On the left, we had booked Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure, but the time listed was the current return window if you were to make a Genie+ Lightning Lane selection at the time of the screenshot. In order to find out what window you booked your Lightning Lane for, you’d have to go to the My Day screen. Then, in late June, Disney made an update to the UI that showed your currently booked Genie+ Lightning Lane window on the Tip Board. At first, this seemed like a good change, but then we started to use the service more.
As it turns out, advanced users of the service were put at a disadvantage with the UI update. Now, there is no way to see what the current Genie+ Lightning Lane return window is for an attraction that you have already booked. That means that you’d have to cancel your current secured Lightning Lane to see if a better return window is even available. Now, we called users of this “advanced users”, but booking a more preferable return window is probably pretty common.
Furthermore, the UI is broken during the “check availability” window. As you can see in the left screenshot below, the green highlight UI shows that we have booked Slinky Dog Dash, but because it’s not 7:30am and Disney is still hiding the next available return time, they are also hiding our booked return window. Hopefully Disney agrees that this is an issue and it will result in a UI fix if Disney continues with the “check availability” bandaid.
Overall, the new changes made to Disney Genie+, especially “check availability”, feel like we’re going backward with the service. A bandaid is not a fix, and Disney really needs to continue to make a wide array of changes to the service before it can be considered a benefit to guests. Right now, Disney Genie+ is a necessary evil.
For more on Disney Genie, Disney Genie+, and Individual Lightning Lane attraction selections, check out our articles below!
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