With the news that fireworks and popular shows like Fantasmic were returning in 2022, many guests were hopeful that the return of FastPasses would be around the corner. Unfortunately, Disney decided to retire FastPasses in August 2021 for a new alternative called Disney Genie. Here’s everything you need to know about Disney Genie, Disney Genie+, and how it’ll work on your next Walt Disney World vacation.
What is Disney Genie?
Disney genie is a complimentary itinerary planner that guests can use and access through their My Disney Experience app on their smartphone. Disney Genie offers real-time, tailored park recommendations to guests based on the preferences they pick. So, if you’re new to the parks, this tip board can be an excellent resource to help you map out your day.
Disney Genie includes wait times for different attractions, upcoming showtimes, mobile orders, and restaurant check-ins. It also includes the return times for Lighting Lane purchases through Genie+, access to virtual queue lines such as Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure in Epcot, and can even connect you with a virtual assistant if you have any questions.
In addition to making recommendations for the kinds of experiences, restaurants, and attractions you’re most likely to enjoy based on your answers to the app’s screening questions, Disney Genie will also map out when is the best time for you to visit certain rides and provide you with an estimated wait time. This is a handy tool for parents who will be able to better plan snack or bathroom breaks with their children before heading over to their recommended ride or attraction experience.
How Does Disney Genie Work?
When you start your day at Walt Disney World, all you have to do is open your My Disney Experience app. If this is your first time using the app since Disney Genie was introduced, you will be automatically directed to swipe through a few short pages of “onboarding” – aka, an overview of what Disney Genie includes and how it works.
After you’ve read through Disney Genie’s short description, you’ll be able to access it on your My Disney Experience home screen. It’ll be the first option you see when you open the app, so you can’t miss it. To create a new recommended itinerary, click on the “Summon Disney Genie” button. Follow the prompts until it takes you to the screen where you can answer a few questions about how you want to spend your day.
This itinerary is called “My Day” and it essentially combs through thousands of combinations to provide you with a list of recommendations for what could be your perfect day in the parks. If you don’t like your recommendations, however, don’t worry. All you have to do is click the menu icon at the top to modify or swap out one of your recommendations.
Unfortunately, Disney Genie will not provide recommendations if you do not have valid theme park tickets. So if you’re looking to mess around with it before buying tickets, you’re out of luck.
Is Disney Genie Free?
Yes and no. The Disney Genie complimentary planning tool is free for all guests to use. However, Genie+ will cost guests $15 per person, per day. So a family of four using Genie+ every day in the parks could be adding $300 to their expenses if they’re visiting Disney World for five days and want to take advantage of Lightning Lane options for the duration of their trip.
What is Genie+?
Genie+ is what takes the place of the old FastPass system. It is a paid service that allows guests to skip the line at many Walt Disney World attractions through the Lightning Lane options that are displayed at most rides on property. These lines replaced the FastPass lines.
What Rides Are Included in Lighting Lane on Genie+?
As of publication, guests will be able to experience the following rides at Walt Disney World after a purchase of Genie+:
Available Lightning Lane Rides at Magic Kingdom:
- Buzz Lightyear Space Ranger Spin
- Mad Tea Party
- Big Thunder Mountain Railroad
- “it’s a small world”
- Under the Sea – Journey of the Little Mermaid
- Peter Pan’s Flight
- Pirates of the Caribbean
- Magic Carpets of Aladdin
- Haunted Mansion
- Splash Mountain
- Tomorrowland Speedway
- Jungle Cruise
- The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh
- Mickey’s Philharmagic
- The Barnstormer
- Monsters Inc. Laugh Floor
Read more: Disney World Height Requirements for Rides
Available Lightning Lane Rides at Epcot:
- Turtle Talk with Crush
- Living with the Land
- Journey into Imagination with Figment
- Test Track
- The Seas with Nemo & Friends
- Spaceship Earth
- Mission Space (both ride experiences)
- Soarin’ Around the World
- Disney and Pixar Short Film Festival
Available Lightning Lane Rides at Hollywood Studios:
- Toy Story Mania
- Alien Swirling Saucers
- Star Tours – The Adventure Continues
- Millennium Falcon: Smuggler’s Run
- The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror
- Muppet Vision 3D
- Slinky Dog Dash
- Disney Jr. Play and Dance
- Beauty and the Beast Live on Stage
- Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster
- Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular
- Frozen Sing-Along Celebration
Available Lightning Lane Rides at Animal Kingdom:
- Na’vi River Journey
- Kali River Rapids
- Kilimanjaro Safaris
- A Celebration of Festival of the Lion King
- It’s Tough to Be a Bug
- Feathered Friends in Flight
- The Animation Experience
How to Purchase Genie+ and Use Lightning Lane
When you make your theme park reservations, you have the option to add Genie+ for everyone in your party before checking out. Likewise, if let’s say you previously purchased your tickets but now want to add Genie+ for the duration of your stay, you can easily do so by visiting your account on Disney’s website. If you only want to use Genie+ at, let’s say, Magic Kingdom, but not at Epcot, you can add it for only the days you wish. However, just keep in mind that if you want to try out Genie+, you’ll have to purchase it at midnight on the day you want to use it. This can be a hit or miss with some guests, especially if they forget to stay up long enough to do this. If you’re not sure you want to remember to do this every day, it may be worth adding it on for the entire duration of your trip.
How Does Genie+ Work at Disney World?
Guests who’ve purchased Genie+ can only make one Lightning Lane reservation at a time. This window opens up at 7:00 am every day, so guests can make their selected reservations for any of the included rides and experiences before arriving at the park. Guests can either refresh the page to see what’s available or search for a specific ride directly.
Unfortunately, guests are not able to dictate what time they want to experience their selected ride. They must select the available return time presented on the app. However, if you book a reservation that is two hours or more after the park opens, you will not be allowed to make another Genie+ selection until after the park’s been open for 120 minutes. Confused yet? Let me try to help:
Essentially, you can book your rides at two-hour intervals, but this time frame doesn’t start until after you’ve entered the park. So, if let’s say you booked Buzz Lightyear Space Ranger Spin at 2:00 pm, but Magic Kingdom doesn’t open until 9:00 am, you won’t be able to book your next Lightning Lane experience until 11:00 am – aka two hours after Magic Kingdom opens. However, if you have a reservation that you booked inside of that two-hour window like at 9:00 am, and are boarding a ride at 10:40 am, you will be able to book your next ride early since you’ve hit the two checkpoints in the Lightning Lane.
Basically, once you’ve tapped into a ride to redeem your Lightning Lane selection through the app, it will open up another option for you to book another Lightning Lane attraction. While this sounds confusing, it’s actually pretty similar to the old FastPass option. You were never able to hold two FastPasses at the same time, even if you were finished with your first FastPass attraction – i.e. you couldn’t book a FastPass for Slinky Dog Dash at 10:45 am if you still held one for Tower of Terror from 10:00 am – 11:00 am. So even if you went on Tower of Terror at exactly 10:00 am, you couldn’t get a FastPass for Slinky Dog Dash until the hour window for Tower of Terror passed.
Once you’ve made a reservation for a ride through Genie+, you will be able to secure another one once your ride is over. Guests will not be able to get another reservation for the same ride, so if you rode Slinky Dog Dash at Hollywood Studios through Genie+, you’ll have to wait in the standby line if you want to ride it later on in the day.
When Can I Get in Line for Lightning Lane?
Guests can get in the Lightning Lane entry five minutes before it starts, all the way up to 15 minutes until after it ends. While this isn’t advertised on Disney’s website, this grace period also used to extend to those entering the FastPass lane in years past to accommodate for sudden bathroom emergencies or any unexpected delays guests may encounter while making their way to an attraction.
However, this is always subject to change so if you’re told that you’ve missed your window by a Cast Member, it may be true. It’s recommended that you adhere to the time slot given to you to ensure you get to experience the ride or attraction.
Can You Buy Genie+ For Just One Day?
Yes, you can. And truthfully, this is the method I recommend if you’re on the fence about whether or not Genie+ is for you. Unlike FastPasses, which put pressure on you to decide what rides you wanted to experience months in advance, Genie+ can be purchased as an add-on any day during your trip.
Does Genie+ Sell Out?
According to Disney themselves, Genie+ will not place a limit on how many guests can purchase Genie+ per day. However, that doesn’t mean that you’ll always be able to get your preferred Lightning Lane selections every day of your trip.
Like FastPasses, Disney only releases a limited number of individual Lightning Lane passes per day, meaning that the rides you want very much could sell out.
What About Individual Attraction Selection?
Guests also have the option to use Individual Attraction Selection, or pay-per-ride for the rides they want to experience. This is because there are certain rides at each park that are not included in Genie+.
When it comes to the pay-per-ride option, guests will have to do just that: pay per ride (plus pay tax). However, the cost of each ride will vary based on the day and park you’re at.
Rides included in the Individual Attraction Selection include:
- Space Mountain
- Frozen Ever After
- Seven Dwarfs Mine Train
- Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure
- Rise of the Resistance
- Expedition Everest
- Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway
- Flight of Passage
…aka the majority of the most popular rides at each of the four parks. However, Disney just made MAJOR changes to this list. For a limited time, popular rides like Space Mountain, Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway, Expedition Everest, and Frozen Ever after will be available as part of Genie + at no additional pay-per-ride fee. This limited run starts Sunday, December 19th, and ends on January 3, 2022.
Once this limited run ends, though, guests will have to pay to experience these rides if they want to experience them with little wait time. While the cost will vary, here is a breakdown of how much each ride will usually cost:
- Space Mountain: $7 per person
- Expedition Everest: $7 per person
- Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway: $8 per person
- Frozen Ever After: $9 per person
- Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure: $9-$11 per person
- Seven Dwarfs Mine Train: $10-$12 per person
- Flight of Passage: $11 per person
- Rise of the Resistance: $15 per person
Once you’ve added your selected experience to your cart, it will bring you to a checkout page. It’s always recommended that you keep your payment information stored in your Disney account that way you’re not taking your credit or debit card out every time you want to make an individual attraction selection.
It’s also important to remember that you cannot modify or cancel an Individual Lightning Lane once you purchase it. Nor, can it be switched with another person in your party. If you cannot make the ride for whatever reason, you will forfeit what you paid for it.
Read more: Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance
How Many Individual Ride Selections Can I Make Per Day?
Since there are only two rides at each Disney park not included in Disney Genie+, you can select a maximum of two individual ride selections per day at each park. These have to be for different rides; So, if you were looking to pay to ride Rise of the Resistance twice in one day, you couldn’t.
What if a Ride I Paid For Breaks Down?
If you’ve been visiting Disney World long enough, you know that breakdowns are a common occurrence – especially on rides like Space Mountain, Rise of the Resistance, and Frozen Ever After. So what happens if one of the rides you paid for breaks down? In cases like these, you’ll be issued an experience redemption. This allows you to return to ride at any point throughout the day once it’s resumed operation.
If the ride doesn’t get fixed while you’re at the park, you can visit Guest Relations to discuss potential refund options. This refund option only applies in this type of situation; Guests who purchase Genie+ will not be able to cancel their purchase or get a refund, which it’s why it’s incredibly important to know what to expect before purchasing it.
Can I Still Wait in a Standby Line?
Yes, absolutely. While Genie+ is different from FastPasses in many ways, one way they’re similar is that they’re both completely optional. If you don’t want to spend money on riding certain attractions or don’t mind waiting in line – especially if you’re visiting in the off-season like January or February – then Genie+ may not have many advantages for you.
All of the rides, except for Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure, which has a virtual queue – are all available for standby lines.
Have Standby Lines Gotten Longer Since Disney Genie+?
Not really. Wait times for rides are pretty close to normal and get longer during the afternoon. Because of the holiday season, the parks are pretty full, however, there hasn’t been a significant increase in wait times when compared to other times of the year since the introduction of Genie+.
Read more: Worst Lines to Wait in at Disney World
Does Genie+ Work With Park Hopper Tickets?
Yes, it does. However, keep in mind that you still won’t be able to access Disney’s ParkHopper option until 2:00 pm. So, if you were spending the morning at Hollywood Studios, you wouldn’t be able to select your next attraction until after 2:00 pm when you’d officially be allowed to hop over to Epcot.
Do Annual Passholders Get a Discount on Disney Genie+?
Unfortunately, no, not at this time, but that doesn’t mean there won’t be discounts or other benefits extended to Annual Passholders moving forward. This is most likely the result of Disney pausing most new purchases of Annual Passes due to most peak days being sold out across the parks already until the end of the year.
Disney hasn’t spoken out yet about whether or not AP sales will be reinstated in 2022.
Tips for Using Genie+
If you’re planning on Using Genie+ for your upcoming Disney World vacation, we have some helpful tips:
- Select a designated person to handle all the Genie+ reservations. This just makes it easier for your party.
- Don’t use Genie+ for attractions that have less than a 30-minute wait. It’s usually not worth it.
- Keep in mind that you may not always get the attraction that you want. In-demand rides may not be available as often throughout the day as others, so try to book the most popular rides early on if you can.
- Bring a battery pack with you, as the use of Disney Genie and Genie+ will drain your battery quickly. You can purchase one of these on Amazon or at the parks for $30, plus tax. You can find portable phone charging stations all across Disney property, including but not limited to the kiosks at Pecos Bill Tall Tale Inn and Cafe in Magic Kingdom, the Disney Springs welcome center, Rock Around the Shop in Hollywood Studios, Island Mercantile in Animal Kingdom, and at Test Track in Epcot. For a full list of where you can find portable phone chargers in Disney, click here.
Is Genie+ Worth it?
Unfortunately, that’s an answer only you can provide. With the removal of complementary services like Disney’s Magical Express and the reduction of portion sizes for meals on property, many Disney fans are reasonably upset with how much money they’re now having to pay for once-complimentary services…and Genie+ is no exception.
The value of Genie+ will be dependent on several factors. The first is obviously price. If you are traveling with a large group, the price to use Lighting Lane passes on multiple rides can add up quickly, meaning you’ll have to budget for it when you first start booking your vacation. Second, it can be difficult to sometimes get the rides you want, which can become frustrating for guests who really wanted to experience rides like Jungle Cruise or Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster with little to no wait.
The biggest con, for many Disney guests, is the fact that Disney Genie requires them to be on their phone a lot more during the day since this is the only way the app and recommendations are available. This can quickly take you out of the moment, not to mention deplete your battery pretty fast.
Despite all this though, the value of Disney Genie+ may be worth it if you have kids who may not be up for spending a lot of time in line every day. Plus, if you’re only visiting the parks once over the next few years, it could be worth it to pay for certain ride experiences like Rise of the Resistance so you can guarantee you get to ride it.
Overall, I think Genie+ is worth it at least for a few days of your trip if you’re visiting ride-centric parks such as Hollywood Studios and Magic Kingdom. Rides at Epcot and Animal Kingdom usually don’t have super long wait times and since they don’t have as many rides, you could easily still fit everything in you want to do by just waiting in the standby line.
I know there are a lot of changes going on at Disney World right now, and the addition of Disney Genie is a little confusing before you get started. As with everything, right now a lot of the kinks are still being worked out. There are pros and cons of Disney Genie, so only you know what’s right for you and your family on your next Walt Disney World vacation.
Will you go for Disney Genie+ next time you’re in the parks? Or, do you think it’s a waste of money? Let us know in the comments and don’t forget to follow us on Instagram for all the latest Disney tips, tricks, and trivia.
As a self-proclaimed Mouseketeer, Courtney Dercqu is a fan of all things Disney. Between decorating her desk with souvenirs from the park, to making unique mouse ears and having a dedicated Disney Instagram, Courtney is a true believer in the magic of a Walt Disney World vacation. Having had more than 200 articles published on various content, Courtney’s excited to share her knowledge and experience with everyone! Be sure to follow her on Instagram for all the Disney magic.