Tuesday, December 6, 2022

Genie+ Finally Adds The Ability To Modify Reservations

In exciting (?) news today, Disney announced that starting within the next week, guests will now be able to use Genie+ to modify their existing reservations.  This change will take place when the app next updates for both iOS and Android.  

Is this a big deal?  Why make a whole separate post about it?  I mentioned this as one of the big differences between Genie+ and the old FastPass+ system in my long rundown of whether to purchase Genie+.  That post was already long enough, so I thought it was worthwhile to pull this out separately, as it is fresh information.

Previously, if you wanted to modify the time of your attraction reservation, you had to first cancel your existing reservation to select a new one.  This was clunky for a few reasons, the most notable of which was that you were taking a big risk by canceling something without having something else to replace it.  If you happened to see a good time for a hot attraction pop up (say, Millennium Falcon Smuggler's Run), by the time you were able to cancel and book that new one, there was a good possibility that the time you saw was no longer there.  Then your original reservation would likely be gone as well.  Not ideal.

This brings Genie+ more in line with how FP+ worked "back in the day",  as the kids (used to) say.  As a practical matter, this makes the process much more smooth and streamlined.  If you're happy with your attraction selection but aren't happy with your time, you can look periodically to see if something better has appeared.  This also goes well with "drops", where attraction inventory is opened up at certain times throughout the day.  If you search around drop times, you will likely find a better time and now you can easily change it without being worried about losing something.

I know this would have been beneficial on our last trip, as we were sort of handcuffed by a bad time for our Jungle Cruise reservation, even though we made it first thing in the morning.  I'm certain that better times appeared between booking and our return window, but it wasn't worth the risk of losing it at that time.  I believe this was also at the time before you were able to even see the return window on the main Genie screen, making it an even more annoying process to click through.

If you wanted to change your attraction entirely (not just the time), that can also be done.  One caveat here is that you can modify your ride selection in the park you are in - if you're attempting to change to a ride in a different park, you still have to cancel and rebook.  That seems like a pretty decent compromise in this case.

It remains to be seen if this will benefit "power users" the way FP+ did.  If you were savvy (and checked your phone often enough), you were usually able to modify your existing FP+ reservations to earlier times, thereby giving you a chance to book more than your original allotment of three attractions.  It's possible that it won't be as easy to do this with Genie+ as there's no way to know if there is a larger or smaller pool of possible reservations, a different crowd dynamic, how many people purchased Genie that day, etc.  But I have to think this is a step in the right direction for flexibility.

I also don't know if it's a coincidence that this is the first change to anything park related since the return of Bob Iger as CEO.  It's likely that this was already in the works (as I said in that prior post, there was really no reason NOT to have this functionality, as dining reservations work this same way even now) and that it would have happened regardless of who was in charge. It's also possible that Iger hasn't even had a chance to review anything in the parks division yet, as streaming is his number one concern in the short term.

Regardless of whether or not this is the "Iger effect" in action, it's good to see some POSITIVE changes come to Disney.  Often tweaks to their services are designed to fix holes that they themselves created, and usually have a neutral or negative effect on the guest experience.  This should be the opposite.  Stay tuned for how this works in the real world.

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