I am pretty sure that nobody pays for Genie+ without intending to use the Lightning Lanes. Line-skipping is the major draw. To everyone who reads up beforehand to maximize their value, Genie+ Audio Tales may feel like this mysterious feature that gets mentioned briefly when describing the service and never referred to again. Well, here is your chance to read an entire article devoted to this component of Genie+. We’ll walk through how to use it, and talk about why you might want to.
How to Use Genie+ Audio Tales
You’ll need to start by purchasing Genie+. If you’re not already familiar with the basics, you can read up here and come back: Step-By-Step Guide: How to Use Genie+ and Lightning Lane at Disney World.
Once you’re all set with Genie+, open the My Day tab and scroll until you see the band labeled “My Disney Genie+ Features”. Tapping this band will pop up a small menu at the bottom of the screen. Select the Audio Tales option.
Once you’ve tapped on Audio Tales, a map will display on the screen. This map appears identical to the one that you can access from the main menu across the bottom of the app, but it’s only for Audio Tales. The locator icon on the bottom is not lit the way that it would be if you were using the map feature of the My Disney Experience app. (See: How to Use the Map in the Disney World App.) Zooming in on a park will show headphone icons indicating where Audio Tales are available.
I was able to access Audio Tales for all the parks, even though I had only purchased Genie+ for a single park. In our experience, the Audio Tales remain available until midnight of the day that you purchased Genie+, even after the parks are closed.
Although the Audio Tales are meant to be listened to when you are in a particular location, you can listen to any Tale from anywhere. I listened to them for the first time from my hotel room. Depending on where you’re located when you launch the Audio Tales feature, you may need to zoom out (pinch gesture) and swipe to get one of the parks centered in your map, and then zoom in (spread gesture) to see the headphones.
When you tap an individual headphone icon, a popup indicates the name and offers the option to listen. There is also an option to get directions; some of the Tales ask you to look around you and observe specific things. In my experience, being at the location may enhance the Tale, but is far from essential.
After tapping Listen Now, an Imagineering Field Guides loading screen will display. This screen is the same for all Tales. At the bottom you’ll see the standard slider control for length, plus pause, volume, and Closed Caption controls. Once loaded, you’ll see a still image that is specific to the Tale you’re listening to. This image will remain the same throughout the Tale. To display the controls again, simply tap the image.
Why Listen to the Audio Tales?
If you haven’t spent a lot of time at Disney parks, you’ll notice that people who have will be quick to correct you if you refer to it as an amusement park. “No, no – it’s a theme park.” There are a few rides at Disney World that are not much more involved than the bare roller coaster track you’ll find at your traveling fair (yes, Barnstormer, I’m looking at you). But the majority of Disney World attractions are meticulously themed to tell stories. They draw you to a different world the same way that a good book or a movie does. And it’s not just the attractions; the environment too.
Allowing yourself to soak in the theming can help you to have a great visit. It makes you feel that there was more to your Disney World visit than waiting in line for half an hour to spend 2 minutes on a ride. But it won’t happen by accident. You have to look around, let your imagination go, and sink into it. If you’re willing to open up to the idea that the theming of Walt Disney World is as much of an attraction as any of the rides, Audio Tales can serve up “How It’s Made” details that offer a peek into the effort involved in creating the transportive theming.
If your party has purchased Genie+ but you’re not able (or not willing) to go on all the attractions, Audio Tales can be interesting listening while you wait. When your traveling partners return, you can play tour guide and let them in on the backstage knowledge you’ve acquired. The same applies if you’re using Rider Switch. Especially if you’re using Rider Switch! If you’ve got kids who are old enough to play I Spy, I’m sure I don’t need to tell you about their eagle eyes. Once they understand the patterns of theming details, they may begin to see them everywhere, just like Hidden Mickeys.
There are currently 12 Audio Tales available in the Magic Kingdom, two each in each of the five lands, plus two more on Main Street. There are 11 Audio Tales in EPCOT, one at Spaceship Earth and one for each country in the World Showcase. There are 14 Audio Tales in Hollywood Studios, and 8 Audio Tales in Animal Kingdom where you’ll again find two per land, except in Pandora.
Have you used the Audio Tales feature of Genie+? What did you like about it? Let us know in the comments!