Disneyland Bottles Genie On Its Debut Day

December 8, 2021, 6:39 PM · Technical glitches thwarted today's launch of Disney Genie and Lightning Lane at the Disneyland Resort.

By mid-afternoon, Disney had suspended sales of Disney Genie+ and Individual Lightning Lane access, as fans complained about downtimes and balky functionality for Genie services the Disneyland app. Queues backed up for Guest Service cast members at Disneyland and Disney California Adventure as park visitors looked for help.

Pardon the Inconvenience
Here's the message Disneyland app users saw when trying to summon Disney Genie this afternoon.

A Disneyland spokesperson issued a statement: "We are working hard to resolve some technology challenges that have impacted some of our guests today and are providing recovery options to those guests. We have paused sale for Lightning Lane options [Disney Genie+ / a la carte] for the remainder of the day."

If you wondered why Disneyland pushed its Genie launch to a Wednesday in early December before the holiday rush, well, here is your answer. A moderately-sized crowd helped keep wait times reasonable even as Genie's magic misfired across the parks. The Disneyland app showed Disney Genie+ return times as being available pretty much instantly throughout the day.

But that didn't help you if you couldn't get the app to let you buy the upgrade, or to use it. Still, the app reported a standby wait time of just 45 minutes for Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance in late afternoon, so top attractions remained available in the parks, even as Genie stayed bottled in its lamp, unable to help.

Disney Genie is supposed to provide custom, automated itineraries for Disneyland and Disney California Adventure visitors, while the upgrades are supposed to provide access to Lightning Lane, which is Disney's new term for the paid service that uses the old Fastpass queues. You can read more about Disney Genie and its upgrades in our earlier post, Disneyland to Launch Disney Genie, Lightning Lane This Week.

Update Dec. 9: Day two is going much better at Disneyland, with few complaints reported. Of course, rain all day is helping to keep the crowds (and bandwidth demands) down, too.

We also just got news that our travel partner has discounted Disneyland tickets available that include Genie+, which you can get at a discount by buying through our partner. Use the "SAVE5" discount code at check-out for an addition $5 off, too.

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Replies (8)

December 8, 2021 at 8:24 PM

i feel for the attractions cast members working to implement this in the early days.

December 9, 2021 at 8:58 AM

I guess this confirms that Genie+ is built on a completely different platform than MaxPass, because there were rarely technical issues with the old system, which also had to integrate with the paper FP system. I just hope those who spent the $20 early in the day with the expectation to use the system throughout their visit were given some type of refund since the system barely made it through lunchtime. The release mentions "recovery options", but the only "option" I would accept is a full refund to every person who paid for Genie+ only to see it break down halfway through the day.

I don't understand why Disney struggles so much with stuff like this, especially when they already rolled this out in Florida.

December 9, 2021 at 12:45 PM

I miss the old standby only days. When WDW reopened from covid and the lines moved efficiently that was a great experience.

December 9, 2021 at 2:18 PM

Anyone see Review Tyme's video on history of Fast Pass? Amazing in-depth points out how the 1999 launch had its own issues (including people not even understanding it and waiting in regular lines) and the changes so there's always been problems implementing new tech.

@RussellMeyer: That vid points out that there were problems moving FastPass to Disneyland even after it worked at WDW so it's no surprise problems now with Genie.

December 9, 2021 at 2:54 PM

@MikeW - I don't doubt there will inevitably be problems with a roll out of this scale, even when it's pretty much the same as is used elsewhere (or similar to a previous system). However, it makes you wonder why if MaxPass was working pretty flawlessly when it was taken down after the COVID closures (and was technically a more complicated system at that having to combine digital and "paper" FPs), why Disney felt the need to build a completely new system to accommodate Genie+, and why they made the sudden announcement to let Genie out of the bottle before it was obviously ready to go.

Considering that Genie+ had rollout issues at WDW and now in California, it leads me to believe that Disney did an unnecessary re-engineering of the systems, which is a common pattern with the company. Looking back on Disney's history with their various systems, you would think they would have figured things out by now to the point where they don't have to throw up their hands and shut a brand new system down hours after its launch.

Frankly, it's pretty pathetic, especially given how much guests are now paying for these systems in direct revenue. What happened to getting things right (or at least functioning) the first time? For as much data as Disney collects, they've got to know how different guests are going to try to use, abuse, and exploit their systems, yet we continue to do this dance of Disney putting something on the market and then having to continuously tweak it to compensate for the way people are using it. There are more than enough fan sites and blogs out there for Disney to know precisely how guests will react to these systems and what people will try to do to "break" them. It's like Disney never bothers to Beta-test their systems, and just relies on guests to stress it in a real world environment, consequences be damned. The difference this time is that guests are now PAYING real money for these systems and have no free alternative as there was with MaxPass, so when they break, Disney puts themselves in a heap of trouble.

December 9, 2021 at 3:08 PM

It is remarkable to look at the history of tech launches (from phones to apps to game consoles) where it seems the developers were so focused on some minute details they ignored the little issues like,oh, making sure it could actually work in large numbers with actual customers.

December 10, 2021 at 9:48 AM

Mike W. Yes i did see the You Tube vídeo You refer and yes it's very good!! It explains very well about the monster that was fastpass, i hope that Disney execitives also get a chance to See it. It's dificult to provide a balance for a great experience vs expectections in this parks. So much people, so much hype! I fear that managment is too much focused on tech tools. Costumers satisfacton is based on people perceptions, and they change too fast and depends on too Many variables. A mere app, no matter how sofisticated cannot cope with that. Better focus on good rides, good shows, well trained and well motivated staff, invest on good food and Quality merchandise, a little bit of fan service here and there, don't cut córners on maintanance, and don't monetize every single aspect of the park experience. And please don't treat your long time fan base with desdain.

December 14, 2021 at 1:34 AM

What exactly do you mean by 'return times?' Also, if there were technical glitches on Wednesday regarding Disney Genie, how could the app have shown these return times? As an aside, I haven't been to the park in quite some time.

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