We just returned from a trip to Disney World and the biggest question we got was: “Is Genie+ worth it?” Our trip started on October 21, 2021- just two days after the Disney Genie+ release date on October 19. We visited all four parks and had varying experiences with using Disney’s Genie+ and Lightening Lanes at each park. Keep reading for our Genie+ review and tips for using the Genie+ service!
Genie+ Guide: Table of Contents
What is Genie+?
Before we get into our tips for using Genie+, it’s helpful to understand each of the services with Disney’s new Genie and Genie+ services. Disney Genie is part of the existing MyDisneyExperience app, and everything you need to do to utilize Disney Genie and Genie+ can be completed within MyDisneyExperience.
- The new Genie service from Disney is a planning tool that’s free to all Disney guests. It lets you plan your day around rides, wait times, shows, dining and other activities you’re interested in doing at Disney.
- Genie+ is a paid skip the line service at Disney that you can purchase for each day at the theme parks. It allows guests to reserve preferred rides in advance and leverage the Lightning Lanes to skip the lines. (This service replaced the former MaxPass and FastPass skip the line options at Disney.) The cost for Genie+ is $15 per ticket (per person) per day at Disney World and $20 at Disneyland.
- Each Disney World park has 2 individual lightening lane ride selections that you can pay for to skip the lines. Just like Genie+, these Lightning Lane passes can be purchased through the MyDisneyExperience app. The prices vary by ride and day, and these are separate from the rides included in Genie+. The individual lightening lane rides are as follows:
- Magic Kingdom Individual Lightning Lane Rides: Seven Dwarfs Mine Train & Space Mountain
- Epcot Individual Lightning Lane Rides: Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure and Frozen Ever After
- Animal Kingdom Individual Lightning Lane Rides: Avatar Flight of Passage & Expedition Everest
- Hollywood Studios Individual Lightning Lane Rides: Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway & Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance
You can find the full list of rides eligible for Lightning Lane at Disney World here.
How to Purchase Disney’s Genie+
You have three options for purchasing Genie+ prior to your Disney World visit:
- Option 1: If you’re purchasing a new ticket or resort package from Disney, you can add Genie+ to your entire ticket package for everyone in your party at the time of purchase.
- Option 2: If you did not purchase Genie+ up front, you can always add it later. You can add Genie+ to your entire ticket package by modifying your existing tickets to add Genie+. This option is available up to 5 days prior to your visit to Disney World or Disneyland.
- Option 3: You can purchase Disney Genie+ at 7am on the morning of your park visit through the MyDisneyExperience app or online. Make sure you have a credit card on file for ease of facilitating the purchase. This option is also available if you don’t want to purchase Genie+ for every day at the parks, or if you only want to purchase Genie+ for certain members of your party.
Once you add Genie+ to your tickets, it cannot be removed. If you’re not sure about Genie+ and want to see how it goes when you’re there, I recommend using option 3. Currently there is no discount for purchasing Genie+ in advance.
Pro Planning Tip: As a rule of thumb, you can always add days or services to your Disney tickets, but you can never remove them. (This includes park days, park hoppers and Genie+.)
Disney Genie+ Lightening Lane Tips
After using Genie+ on our trip to Disney World with toddlers, we learned a few things about using Genie+ and Lightning Lanes. Below are our Genie+ tips and tricks for making the most out of the service.
- Set your phone alarm for 7am as a reminder to purchase Genie+ and/ or book your first ride. It can be easy to miss the window!
- If you want to do both Lightning Lane rides that require an additional purchase, ride the higher cost ride at park open and pay for the lower cost ride. (Waiting in line for both or paying for both is an option too!)
- Lightning Lane windows are 1 hour, and that window of time is pretty strict. You can get in line 5 minutes before your LL window starts.
- You have the option of booking Lightning Lane rides after riding each ride or “stacking” Lightning Lane rides throughout the day.
- If your first Lightning Lane ride is early in the day, you can book another LL ride immediately after using your first Lightning Lane pass.
- If you choose to stack rides for later in the day, you can only book each ride every 120 minutes, starting with 2 hours after the park opens. (This is the 120 minute rule for Lightning Lane that many people refer to.)
- Lightning Lane bookings can be canceled if you change your mind.
- You can have both a Genie+ LL ride and a purchased LL ride booked during the same window of time.
- Do the higher demand rides earlier in the day as Lightning Lane allocations can fill up prior to the park closing. As of late November 2021, some individual Lightening Lane rides are booking just minutes after the window opens at 7am.
- You can use child rider switch with Lightning Lane rides.
- Make sure you have a portable charger/ power bank for your phone. Disney currently does not have charging stations and you may be out of luck if you run out of battery!
- Having a magic band makes using the Lightning Lane easier, but it’s not required. You can tap your physical ticket or use magic mobile as well.
- One person should manage the plans for everyone in your group to ensure you can get in LL lines at the same time. Be sure to link tickets for your group ahead of time.
Note: All guests can reserve their first Lightning Lane ride with Genie+ starting at 7am. For individual Lightning Lane rides, guests staying at Disney Resorts can purchase LL rides starting at 7am. Guests staying off Disney property have to wait until the park options to purchase individual Lightning Lane attractions.
Additional Disney Genie Planning Tip
Prior to your Walt Disney World vacation, use the Genie planning tool to start planning each day at the parks. In the MyDisneyExperience app, go to “My Genie Day” from the bottom right tool bar or “Summon Disney Genie” from the homepage. You can then walk through the series of questions for your top rides, attractions, dining and general interests. Disney Genie will populate an interactive “Tip Board” that makes suggestions for rides along with the option to book a Lightning Lane selection when you’re eligible to do so. Change your day and park to complete this for each day that you have a park reservation.
Planning in advance with Disney Genie will help to alleviate the morning scramble before you’re heading to the parks!
So, how do you book Lightning Lane rides? On the morning of your park reservation, you can book your first Lightning Lane ride in the MyDisneyExperience app. (This is at 7am for Disney resort guests or when the park opens if you’re staying off property.) Your “Tip Board” will prioritize the rides you selected from Disney Genie. Then there’s a button under each ride listed on the Tip Board that allows you to book a Lightning Lane reservation once you’re eligible to do so. You can either select the next window of time available or select a future time on that day. You’ll continue to go to the Tip Board throughout the day to book each new LL reservation.
Which Disney World Parks Are Best for Genie+?
The number of rides per park at Disney World and the number of Lightning Lane rides varies by park. Depending on the age, heights and interests of everyone in your party, the amount of use you can get out of Genie+ for each park can vary. Below are our recommendations for purchasing Genie+ for each park.
Magic Kingdom Genie+ Recommendation
With the number of lightning lane rides at Magic Kingdom, we absolutely think it’s worth purchasing Genie+ for Magic Kingdom. Several rides without height requirements are included in Genie+. That means you can use Genie+ at Magic Kingdom for rides like Peter Pan’s Flight, Jungle Cruise, Splash Mountain and Thunder Mountain Railroad without waiting in line. You can also go right to the Seven Dwarf Mine train when Magic Kingdom opens for the shortest wait time.
Overall: YES! It’s worth it to purchase Genie+ for Magic Kingdom.
Epcot Genie+ Recommendation
The two highest demand rides at Epcot are Ratatouille and Frozen, and they aren’t included in the Genie+ Lightening Lane rides. For this reason, you may not need Genie+ for Epcot. For an Epcot Lightning Lane strategy, I’d recommend joining the virtual queue for Ratatouille at 7am or 1pm, riding Frozen when Epcot first opens and tracking wait times for the other rides. That said, if you’re spending a full day at Epcot or going in the afternoon when wait times are higher, you can absolutely make use of Genie+ at Epcot.
Overall: IT DEPENDS. Genie+ may not be worth it for Epcot depending on the ages and heights of your group.
Animal Kingdom Genie+ Recommendation
Similar to Epcot, the two high demand rides at Animal Kingdom require paid Lightening Lane selections. (Avatar Flight of Passage and Everest.) You could definitely make due without having Genie+ at Animal Kingdom, especially if you get there early. We did use Genie+ at Animal Kingdom, however, and we were able use Lightning Lanes combined with child rider switch while our youngest was napping. I also purchased a Lightning Lane pass for Everest to ride it solo, and I was able to completed the ride and wait time in 10 minutes. (Definitely recommend this!) Avatar FOP is the more expensive paid lightning lane ride at Animal Kingdom, so I’d recommend doing that ride when Animal Kingdom opens.
Overall: IT DEPENDS. Genie+ is probably not worth it for Animal Kingdom unless you’re planning to do every ride or have a park hopper.
Hollywood Studios Genie+ Recommendation
Unless you’re visiting Hollywood Studios with much younger kids who don’t meet most height requirements, Genie+ is likely worth it at Hollywood Studios. High demand rides like Tower of Terror, Slinky Dog and Rock n Roller Coaster are all included with the Genie+ Lightning Lane rides at Hollywood Studios. If you get to the park prior to the park opening, Star Wars RoR is the best ride to start with to avoid paying the high Lightning Lane fee. (With younger kids at Hollywood Studios, we opted to start with Minnie & Mickey’s Runaway Railway and only waited about 20 minutes.)
Overall: YES! We think Genie+ is worth it for Hollywood Studios.
Disney Genie+ With a Park Hopper
You might be wondering, should I purchase Genie+ with a park hopper? While you’re adding an additional cost to an already costly ticket, we absolutely think Genie+ is worth it with a park hopper. Regardless of which park you start with, ride lines will be higher when you switch to the next park. (Generally, wait times for rides at Disney World start increasing significantly around noon and later.) Instead of possibly spending hours to get through a few rides, you can book your first Lightning Lane ride with a park hopper before you get to the next park to save time and squeeze in more rides.
Pros and Cons of Disney Genie+
Overall, we really liked the new Disney Genie service at Disney World. There are definitely some pros and cons to using Genie+, however, and we’ve outlined a few below.
Pros of using Genie+ at Disney World:
- The free Disney Genie service was very intuitive and made it easier to manage your day. We loved the line alerts and dining check-in reminders.
- If you’re visiting Disney World with young kids who aren’t great at waiting in line, the skip the line feature is SO helpful. (Really, it’s helpful regardless of age. Who actually likes waiting in line!?)
- Each time you use a Lightning Lane pass, you can book a new one after going through the line. (Make sure you’ve tapped the second magic band kiosk before doing this)
- You can use Lightening Lane at multiple parks if you have a park hopper. (You just have to book LL selections for after 2pm for your second park.)
- The longest line for Lightning Lane that we waited in was about 7 minutes.
- Genie+ was very helpful with a park hopper, particularly in the afternoon when ride lines start to increase.
- If you want to save money, you can choose Genie+ for certain parks and not others. We ended up using Genie+ for 3 out of 4 days.
Cons of using Genie+ at Disney World
- The cost can be prohibitive for some people, especially if you have a large group.
- It takes a little while to get fully accustomed to the functionality. (I had some trouble canceling Lightning Lane selections at first!)
- You can only book one ride at a time (versus FastPass where you could book 3 rides in advance.)
- Your day is based more around your phone, which makes it a little tougher to live in the moment.
- In its current state, the service times out often. It can also be tough to book the next ride right away with limited phone service in lines.
- There are only so many Lighting Lane slots available per ride per day. Try to book higher demand rides early since they can fill up as the day goes on.
- If your phone dies and you’re not visiting with other adults who can log on, you’re out of luck. (For this reason, a battery charger for your phone is one of the top things to purchase before Disney World!)
- It puts a lot more pressure on the morning before the parks when you’re getting ready. I’m hoping this changes and Disney allows for more advanced planning at some point like you could for FastPass.
So Is Genie+ Worth It?
Overall, our answer is yes! (And if you’re asking, is Genie+ worth it with kids? DEFINITELY, yes! ) We loved being able to skip the lines and use as many Lightening Lane passes as we could fit into our day. Between getting to the parks early and using Genie+, we didn’t wait in any lines longer than 20 minutes. (And that was only for two rides that we didn’t use Lightning Lane for. Once for the Ratatouille virtual queue line and once for Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railroad.)
Ultimately, however, it depends on the ages and heights of everyone in your party and your desire or ability to wait in lines. If you’re not as tech savvy or don’t mind waiting in lines, Genie+ may not be for you. Save the money and use it for something else!
Pro Tip: If you’re still not sure about purchasing Genie+, you can always just purchase it for your first day in the parks to test it out. Then wait to purchase the other days until you decide if you like it.
What questions do you have about Genie+? We’ll be sure to update these tips for using Genie+ as we learn more in the future!
**I’m also a certified Disney Travel Agent and specialize in Disney with toddlers. If you need help planning your next Walt Disney World vacation, contact me with details on your trip so we can get started!