At the 2019 D23 Expo, Disney announced the Disney Genie as a new interactive planning tool set to debut by the end of 2020. It promises to make planning “easier and more fun by providing guests customized itineraries.” However, the project may be delayed or cancelled as a result of the Coronavirus pandemic.
November 16, 2020: As part of the virtual IAAPA conference, the Chief Technology Office of Disney, Tilak Mandadi shared a preview of the Disney Genie. BlogMickey.com posted the video.
June 19, 2020: The Disney Parks Blog provided an update on the complimentary Magic Bands that were issued to park guests:
In 2021, we plan to unveil an innovative new offering as part of the My Disney Experience app that will bring features of a MagicBand to your smart devices, building on the app’s existing digital key feature. With this new offering on the horizon, we will be retiring our complimentary MagicBand distribution to Disney Resort hotel guests for new reservations with arrivals beginning Jan. 1, 2021. Disney Resort hotel guests will continue to have the option to purchase new MagicBands at a discount, and we’ll be introducing even more colors and designs featuring favorite Disney characters in the future. Guests who prefer not to purchase a discounted MagicBand will be able to use the My Disney Experience app or a Key to the World card during their visit. We will still offer MagicBands in retail locations and on shopDisney.com, and guests will be able to continue using the wearables throughout Walt Disney World Resort.
May 28, 2020: Disney is cancelling all existing Fastpass+, Dining Reservations, Experiences and the Disney Dining Plan from May 28, 2020 through September 26, 2021 in anticipation of a new reservation system.
Additional details were outlined on the Disney Parks Blog including the following:
- Fastpass+ will be suspended upon re-opening
- Extra Magic Hours will be suspended upon re-opening
- Temporarily suspending the purchase of new tickets
Guests with existing tickets and Annual Passholders will have the first opportunity to reserve dates at the theme parks when they re-open. All guests will be required to reserve the day or days they plan on going to the parks.
The full statement from Disney is as follows:
Beginning May 28, 2020, all dining reservations, experience bookings, Disney dining plan and FastPass+ selections will be cancelled. Guests with existing Resort reservations will have priority access to the new park reservation system when it becomes available. Additionally, when reservations for dining and other experiences resume, Guests who had existing reservations will receive priority access to rebook. Keep in mind, for dining locations within our parks, Guests will need a park reservation and valid admission before they can rebook dining and experiences.
Guests who purchase a Disney dining plan and tickets for dates between May 28, 2000 and September 26, 2021 will receive an automatic cancellation and refund of their Disney dining plan.
Guests who booked Resort hotel reservations with a Free Dining package for dates between May 28, 2020 and September 26, 2021 will receive an automatic cancellation of their Disney dining plan and are invited to rebook their vacation for later date with a 35% room discount.
Plans to support required physical distancing as well as enhanced cleaning measures, along with a number of other safety and cleanliness protocols, will be implemented as part of the planned phased reopening.
May 5, 2020: On Disney’s Quarter 2 Fiscal Year 2020 earnings call, Disney Chief Financial Officer Christine McCarthy stated the company’s plans to reduce capital expenditures during the Covid-19 pandemic. McCarthy stated that capital expenditures for the parks and resorts would be reduced by $900 million by way of pausing refurbishment and construction projects.
Details of specific projects that may be subject to delay or cancellation were not stated, but construction on all ongoing Walt Disney World projects was suspended shortly after the park closure in March.
It is unknown whether or not the Disney Genie will be cancelled or delayed as a result of the reduction in capital expenditures.
August 25, 2019: During the Parks and Resorts presentation at the 2019 D23 Expo, Bob Chapek announced the Disney Genie will debut in 2020. The new interactive planning tool set promises to make planning “easier and more fun by providing guests customized itineraries.”