Table of Contents[Hide][Show]
- Disney Genie Service: It Has Levels, Let's Explain Them.
- Basic Disney Genie Service: What It Does
- Is Genie+ Worth the Cost?
- How Do I Use Lightning Lane Access?
- How Often Can I Book Genie+?
- Disney Genie+ Attractions at Magic Kingdom
- EPCOT Disney Genie+ Attractions
- Disney Genie+ Attractions at Hollywood Studios
- Genie+ Attractions at Animal Kingdom
- What if the ride is down during my Genie+ return window?
- Issues with Annual Passholders and Disney Genie+
- Overall Thoughts on Disney Genie+ and Some Tips to Make the Process Smoother
Losing Disney World’s free FastPass+ was a bummer. In its place Disney introduced Disney Genie+, a paid line-skipping add-on to an already pricey ticket. How to use Genie+ has been a hot topic all over social media with many, many questions. We utilized in on a recent trip and are here to share our successes and mistakes, including what parks to skip Genie+ in. Here’s how to use Disney’s new Genie service, both the paid and free versions.
Can we just lead off with how Disney named this new service after one of the most beloved Disney characters of all time? Who didn’t adore Robin Williams voicing the Genie in Aladdin? But the paid access Genie+ and Individual Lightening Lanes- not as popular with the Disney fans no matter what you’re calling it. Especially when it’s replacing a free product like Fastpass+ and Disney MaxPass, which were retired.
Disney Genie Service: It Has Levels, Let’s Explain Them.
First of all, a lot of confusion stems from the fact that the entire service is called Disney Genie but not all of it is paid. So I’m going to dive into a food analogy here because I love food and I think it makes sense. Then we’re going to break it all down in the sections below.
Your Disney park ticket is nachos. Everybody who buys a ticket gets nachos. Now they want to give you something to go with the nachos so you get complimentary salsa. It’s a small bowl and a little water-y but hey it was free right? The free salsa is Disney Genie service. It has the ability to input things your family likes/dislikes and what your priorities are. It will give you some ideas on how to maximize your park time, such as suggestions on slow times to go line up for rides. But it won’t get you on anything faster.
Genie+ is guacamole. It costs extra and it’s amazing. Genie+ gives you premium (guac) level access to book some of your rides with a specific return time. You’re fancy, you’re avocado, you skip the line. But the crowning glory of the nachos is the protein- steak or chicken fajita meat (Individual Lightning Lanes). That [email protected] costs extra extra. There are two rides per park that are a steak level upcharge. These you can pay for extra and the price varies per day (think Rise of Resistance, Mickey and Minnie Runaway Railroad, Seven Dwarfs Mine Train etc) . You do not need to have guacamole (Genie+) to order steak. Or you can go for over the top nachos and get both the guacamole and steak if you want.
Basic Disney Genie Service: What It Does
Just like the Genie in the Aladdin story, you’ll share your wishes with him. Tell Genie what you like- toddler rides, thrill rides, princesses and more. Genie will help build an itinerary and then direct you to rides when wait times are shorter.
This service is digital and built into the My Disney Experience and Disneyland apps. There are two tabs, Tip Board and My Day. This portion of the Disney Genie Service is free to use but you must have a linked ticket to get personalized recommendations on the My Day tab. Without a ticket Genie just shows you current wait times and upcoming shows on the Tip Board. It just won’t be a personalized itinerary.
TravelingMom Tip: If you haven’t updated your MyDisneyExperience app in awhile do it! The full power of Genie only works on updated apps and you certainly don’t want to be trying to run an update the first time you need to buy Genie+.
$15 Disney Genie+: When to Buy It and What It Includes
The portion of Disney Genie Service that is not free is the FastPass+ style perk: access to the shorter ride lines, now called Lightning Lanes.
Disney Genie+ service costs $15 per ticket per day at Walt Disney World Resort. At Disneyland, the cost is $20 per ticket per day, the same price Disney used to charge for MaxPass.
That means my family of six would pay an additional $90 per day at Disney World or $120 per day at Disneyland for Lightning Lane access. That’s on top of the park tickets.
What Does Disney Genie+ Include?
The daily Disney Genie+ price includes:
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- Lightning Lane access for shorter ride wait times at many rides and select attractions
- Disney parks-themed audio experiences and photos to capture memories
- Augmented reality lenses (Walt Disney World Resort)
- Unlimited Disney PhotoPass downloads (Disneyland Resort)
When Should I Buy Genie+?
Here’s where some folks are struggling. There is an option to buy a Walt Disney World park ticket that includes Genie+ in advance. It’s going to automatically have that daily charge built in per person right when you buy the tickets. This is great for folks who are budgeting carefully and want to pay their vacation down before they go. No big surprises, no big add-on charges daily when you get there. You know you have it and when you open your app in the morning to book its there. This is nice because you’ll be able to book immediately without confirming charges to slow you down.
However, depending on what your park schedule looks like you may be paying for a whole lot of nothing. In some of the parks like Magic Kingdom and Hollywood Studios there’s a huge advantage to having Genie+. However, in EPCOT and Animal Kingdom its useful but not 100% necessary. When you add Genie+ ahead of your trip it will automatically add it to every day of ticketing.
You can add Genie+ to a regular daily ticket after midnight on the day of your ticket. This method allows you to add it only to the days that you need it.
Is Genie+ Worth the Cost?
I’m going to confess that I was pretty against spending even more money on a Disney ticket when this option was revealed. Then I went in early December with my two middle kiddos ages 11 and 9. I have an annual pass. I purchased their park tickets through Sam’s Club (yes, you can buy them through Sam’s!). Originally my plan was to add on Genie+ every morning. But after looking at prices I realized that I could buy base one park per day tickets with the Genie+ option for roughly $60 less than through Disney. This means for one of us our Genie+ was “free”.
I’ve checked prices for upcoming dates and it’s still running about $53 less. On Sam’s Club tickets it adds $56.75 to adult tickets and $55.66 to child tickets per day for Genie+. Disney adds a flat $60 each. The purchase through Sam’s was easy. I got email ticket confirmations quickly. Then you load the ticket numbers into MyDisneyExperience and make your park reservations. When you arrive at Disney you just check in at Guest Services before entering the park and they either give you a Key to the World card or confirm that your MagicBands are connected.
We heavily utilized Genie+ while we were there. My 9 year old wasn’t doing great with lines and it helped us structure our day and move through everything faster.
TravelingMom Tip: With the 50th Anniversary weekends are busy. We recommend purchasing Genie+ if you’re headed to the parks on a Saturday or Sunday.
How Do I Use Lightning Lane Access?
When you pay for Disney Genie+ service, you use the MyDisneyExperience app to choose the next available time to arrive at that ride or attraction. The time will be a one hour arrival window during which you can show up and use the Lightning Lane entrance.
Here’s the current issue in execution. Currently many wait times on the Standby Line will get you in before the next available Genie+ time. On 1/24/2021 you could wait 30 minutes to ride Mad Tea Party at 1:40 pm OR book it with Genie+ for 3:40pm. That’s a huge difference. Is there an advantage to knowing when you’ll have a promised time? Yes. Is it worth it to wait hours for that promised time? Only if you have other stuff to do in the meantime.
How Often Can I Book Genie+?
The Genie+ booking window starts at 7am the day of your visit. Genie+ attraction selections are designed to be made one at a time throughout the day. There is one notable exception. If 120 minutes has passed since your last selection you can book another one, even if you haven’t ridden the first ride yet. This scenario is seen most frequently at Hollywood Studios. Slinky Dog Dash goes FAST. Even booking at 7am we weren’t able to get a ride return window until early evening. In that case at 9am we were able to book another Genie+ slot even though we hadn’t been on Slinky Dog yet. I set an alarm on my phone if the ride I booked was more than 2 hours out.
Park hopping? You can make selections across multiple theme parks if you have a Park Hopper ticket that allows you to visit more than one park in a day.
Disney Genie+ Attractions at Magic Kingdom
- Big Thunder Mountain Railroad
- Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin
- Dumbo the Flying Elephant
- Haunted Mansion
- “it’s a small world”
- Jungle Cruise
- Mad Tea Party
- Mickey’s PhilharMagic
- Monsters Inc. Laugh Floor
- Peter Pan’s Flight
- Pirates of the Caribbean
- Splash Mountain
- The Barnstormer
- The Magic Carpets of Aladdin
- The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh
- Tomorrowland Speedway
- Under the Sea ~ Journey of The Little Mermaid
- NEW! Character Meet and Greets have been added including Mickey at Town Square Theater and Princesses at Princess Fairy Tale Hall
EPCOT Disney Genie+ Attractions
- Disney and Pixar Short Film Festival
- Journey into Imagination with Figment
- Living with the Land
- Mission: SPACE – Green
- Mission: SPACE – Orange
- Spaceship Earth
- Test Track
- The Seas with Nemo & Friends
- Turtle Talk with Crush
Disney Genie+ Attractions at Hollywood Studios
- Alien Swirling Saucers
- Beauty & The Beast Live on Stage
- Disney Jr. Dance Party
- For the First Time in Forever: A Frozen Sing-Along Celebration
- Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular – Returning December 19, 2021
- Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run
- Muppet*Vision 3D
- Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster
- Slinky Dog Dash
- Star Tours
- The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror
- Toy Story Mania!
- NEW! Meet and Greet with Olaf at Celebrity Spotlight
Genie+ Attractions at Animal Kingdom
- Celebration of the Festival of the Lion King
- Feathered Friends in Flight!
- It’s Tough to Be a Bug!
- Kali River Rapids
- Kilimanjaro Safaris
- Naʻvi River Journey
- The Animation Experience
What if the ride is down during my Genie+ return window?
Unfortunately this does happen. On the last day of our trip we rope dropped EPCOT and headed straight to Test Track. When time came for it to open it didn’t. We got vague announcements about there being a delay. Finally, after waiting for a bit we left the line and I bought Genie+ for the day. I booked a later return window. Well, it was still down. We were issued a Genie+ Lightning Lane pass that could be used on any Genie+ attraction until the park closed. Luckily, the ride came back online again and we did end up making it on.
Get More, for More Money: Individual Lightning Lane Selections
High-demand attractions such as Seven Dwarfs Mine Train at Magic Kingdom in Florida and Radiator Springs Racers at Disney California Adventure park at Disneyland are not included in Disney Genie+. If you want to access the Lightning Lane for those rides, you will have to pay more since they’re sold individually. A la carte Lightning Lane attraction pricing varies based on day, time, and crowds. You DO NOT have to purchase Genie+ (the $15/day option) to book Individual Lightning Lane selections.
You can buy Individual Lightning Lane access the day of your park visit. There is an advantage for on-property guests. Individual Lightning Lane selections can be made by Disney Resort hotels and select guests at 7am the morning of. All other guests have to wait until the time that the park opens. This means that most early slots are taken by resort guests. Off-property guests staying elsewhere in the Orlando area may find it challenging to snag a spot on popular rides. Good news for guests of Shades of Green and the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin, you’re included in the 7am crowd.
The Two Rides We Would Pay for Individual Lightning Lane on Again and One We Wouldn’t
We do have one big recommendation for the Individual Lightning Lane. If you plan to ride the new Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure we recommend purchasing individual attraction access. We got from the door and into our mouse car in under 7 minutes and it took almost that long to walk through the queue. This ride just converted from virtual queue to standby on January 10th. EPCOT is a large park and is much easier to do if you head in one direction and keep moving that way without doubling back. Buying access allows you to plan your day better.
Rise of the Resistance is another one we bought. We were a little hesitant because it is known for its breakdowns and we didn’t want to spend money and then have the ride be down. This ride is famous for long lines though, averaging over an hour and a half. You can do a lot more with your day at Disney’s Hollywood Studios if you’re not waiting in a 2 hour line. In the end it was worth it to us and everything went smoothly.
I am so glad we skipped buying Individual Lightning Lane Access for Expedition Everest. The standby lines moved quickly and it wouldn’t have been worth the money. We rode it twice in one day with minimal waits each time.
Individual Lightning Lane Attractions at Walt Disney World
- Seven Dwarfs Mine Train
- Space Mountain
- Frozen Ever After
- Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure
- Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway
- Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance
- Avatar Flight of Passage
- Expedition Everest – Legend of the Forbidden Mountain
Issues with Annual Passholders and Disney Genie+
We did run into one major hiccup on our trip. It was slightly unique to our situation but I’m going to share it in case any other annual pass holders are reading. I have an annual pass. My kids do not. They are on my My Disney Experience account. I purchased tickets for them that included Disney Genie+.
This created a weird hiccup where I couldn’t add Genie+ to my account daily because it was showing that we already had it. In order to add it I had to try to book a ride return window and then when I selected all three of us and went to the final screen it would tell me one guest didn’t have Genie+ and prompt me to buy. It wasn’t a huge deal but of course by the time I bought it that ride slot would be gone. I hope that they address this issue.
Overall Thoughts on Disney Genie+ and Some Tips to Make the Process Smoother
I’ve got a lot of feelings on this one. I love Disney and have had many magical memories there. The Genie service within the app seems does help with planning.Being able to build a favorites board and predict future wait times will make Disney vacations better.
There has been a lot of chatter about how using the service makes you glued to your phone all day in a place that’s supposed to be about the memories. To an extent that is true. Trying to snag slots and line up rides definitely involved some screen time. And the 7am wakeup even on our EPCOT morning was slightly brutal. Here’s what I suggest that worked for us to reduce screen time.
- Start a Note or Memo on your smartphone or on a plain old fashioned little notepad. As you book times add them. This reduced the number of times I had to refer back to the app to see our next booked time.
- Use alarms on your phone for when you can book your next ride slot so that you aren’t checking. You can name the alarms. I’m a huge fan of alarm reminders at Disney. It helps my ADHD brain organize itself a bit. I have alarms set for when we need to start walking to dining reservations, when to find a spot for parades, and more.
- Explain ahead of times to your kiddos that you will need to check your phone from time to time. Try to do it when you’re in lines or stopping for snacks.
Disney is already an expensive vacation. An extra $15 per ticket per day is just one more expense for families to absorb. Genie+ is a decent way to skip some waits but in the long run it sets Disney fans up for the justification of more and more pay to play add on charges. We’re not looking forward to that.