In 2021, Disney’s popular FastPass system was replaced by Disney Genie – a paid, tiered system that allows guests to skip the line at many popular Disney World attractions. While FastPass was included in the cost of your Disney World vacation, guests will have to pay at least $15 per person in their group to bypass the line at most attractions at the parks.
Let’s take a deep dive into how much these revised “FastPasses” cost and if it’s really worth it on your next Disney World vacation.
How Did FastPasses Work?
Guests staying at a Walt Disney World resort were able to book three FastPass selections for each day of their trip. So, for example, guests visiting Hollywood Studios could select a FastPass for Tower of Terror at 10:00 am, a FastPass for Toy Story Mania at 2:00 pm, and Alien Swirling Saucers at 8:00 pm. While it wasn’t always possible to get every ride you wanted due to closures or FastPasses being at max capacity, the FastPass system offered guests a guaranteed chance to skip the regular line and have a shortened wait time compared to guests in the standby line.
Once a guest had their FastPass, they had an hour window to visit the attraction and ride it. Once the window closed, usually so did their ability to utilize their FastPass. While it wasn’t really publicized, you were still usually able to use your FastPass up to 15 minutes after the window closed to account for families that got out of their dining reservation late, encountered a breakdown on another ride, or had to make an impromptu stop at the bathroom. During my bachelorette party, my girlfriends and I were about 15 minutes late to our “reservation” at Splash Mountain and they let us on without any issues.
Disney Genie operates similarly, with the biggest difference being that guests now have to pay for this experience. The debate as to whether or not it’s worth it has been a hot topic amongst the Disney community.
How Disney Genie Works
Disney Genie is essentially split up into two categories. The first is a free trip planning itinerary service that gives you recommendations on when to ride certain attractions and how long the wait time will be throughout the day. It will even remind you when you’re eligible to make dining reservations for your upcoming trip. In a lot of ways, Disney Genie is basically just an upgraded version of the Disney World website and My Disney Experience app on your smartphone.
The other half of Disney Genie has two options for guests to choose from. Either guests can choose to purchase individual Lightning Lane passes for up to two attractions per day for popular, in-demand attractions like Rise of the Resistance or they can purchase Disney Genie+ which allows guests to use the Lightning Lane entrance at select attractions for a flat fee (excluding certain Lightning Lane-exclusive attractions that have a separate fee to ride). Confused yet? It’s alright, keep reading.
Disney Genie+ costs $15 per person (plus tax, of course) and can be added to your trip either upon arrival or while you’re booking everything in advance. Furthermore, you can purchase it for select days and parks. For example, Disney Genie+ may be better suited for those visiting Magic Kingdom than Animal Kingdom, since Magic Kingdom has more rides and higher wait times. Regardless of when you decide to tack on Disney Genie+ for your trip, you’ll have to make your arrival time selections at 7:00 am on the day of your visit. Selecting individual Lightning Lane options is only available to guests staying on Disney World property; guests visiting locally or staying off property will have to wait to make their Disney Genie+ Lightning Lane selections until they’re in the park.
Read more: DISNEY GENIE PLUS HACKS THAT ACTUALLY WORK (WE PUT DISNEY EXPERTS TO THE TEST)
Disney World Rides Included in Genie Plus+
With the former FastPass system, most rides were included, and the same can be said for Disney Genie Plus+.
Here are the attractions included in Disney Genie+ at each park:
- Tomorrowland Speedway
- Pirates of the Caribbean
- Under the Sea – Journey of the Little Mermaid
- The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh
- The Magic Carpets of Aladdin
- Splash Mountain
- Space Mountain
- Haunted Mansion
- Big Thunder Mountain Railroad
- Disney Festival of Fantasy Parade
- “it’s a small world”
- Mad Tea Party
- See Cinderella and another visiting princess at Princess Fairytale Hall (this princess will vary)
- See Princess Tiana and another visiting princess at Princess Fairytale Hall (again, this will vary)
- Peter Pan’s Flight
- See Mickey at Town Square Theater
- The Barnstormer
- Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin
- Jungle Cruise
- Mickey’s PhilharMagic
- Dumbo the Flying Elephant
- Monster’s Inc. Laugh Floor
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- The Animation Experience at Conservation Station
- Feathered Friends in Flight!
- Celebration of the Festival of the Lion King
- Kilimanjaro Safaris
- It’s Tough to Be a Bug!
- Na’vi River Journey
- Expedition Everest – Legend of the Forbidden Mountain
- Kali River Rapids
- Mission: SPACE (both orange and green lanes)
- Turtle Talk with Crush
- Test Track
- Frozen Ever After
- Disney and Pixar Short Film Festival
- Living with the Land
- Soarin’ Around the World
- Spaceship Earth
- The Seas with Nemo & Friends
- Journey into Imagination with Figment
- Slinky Dog Dash
- Toy Story Mania!
- See Disney Stars at Red Carpet Dreams
- Alien Swirling Saucers
- Beauty and the Beast Live on Stage
- Muppet*Vision 3D
- Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run
- Star Tours – The Adventure Continues
- The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror
- Disney Junior Play & Dance
- Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular
- For the First Time in Forever: A Frozen Sing-Along Celebration
- Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway
- Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster Starring Aerosmith
- See Olaf at Celebrity Spotlight
Now if you read our last article on Disney Genie, (shameless plug to go ahead and read it here), you might be surprised by the inclusion of certain rides on this list since they were exclusive Lightning Lane attractions last year. Until August 7, 2022, Frozen Ever After, Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway, Space Mountain, and Expedition Everest are included in regular Disney Genie+ purchases and NOT available for individual Lightning Lane purchases.
Will this be extended after August 7th? Nothing has been reported yet, but, likely, it won’t be. Personally, this extension was probably done to increase Disney Genie+ purchases, as a lot of people have complained about it, especially since the big rides are sometimes already gone by the time people log onto the app. Despite these complaints, Disney has reportedly shared that more than a third of all US-based guests have purchased either Disney Genie+ or Lightning Lane attractions for their Disney World vacations. How many of these will be second purchases remains to be unseen.
The reason why we bring up the good and bad with Disney Genie+ and individual Lightning Lane selections is that we want you to be as informed as possible while booking your trip. The price of a Disney World vacation has gone up exponentially over the past few years, and while we can justify some of the increases due to the company’s closures over the past two years, the price hikes are pricing out a lot of US families. With the purchase of Disney Genie+ or individual Lightning Lane attractions, a family of four could be spending upward of $240 a day just to skip the standby line. To go from free to this has been a huge issue of contention for a lot of guests.
Read more: HOW MUCH DOES IT COST TO GO TO DISNEY WORLD IN 2022?
Is There Any Other Way for Me to Skip the Lines at Disney?
The best way to reduce your wait time is by showing up at rope drop or taking advantage of early access hours available to guests at select Disney World hotels. These Disney resorts include:
- Disney’s Wilderness Lodge (including villas and cabins)
- Disney’s All-Star Movies Resort
- Disney’s All-Star Sports Resort
- Disney’s All-Star Music Resort
- Disney’s Pop Century Resort
- Disney’s BoardWalk Inn
- Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa (including the villas)
- Disney’s Yacht Club Resort
- Disney’s Beach Club Resort (including the villas)
- Disney’s Art of Animation Resort
- Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort
- Disney’s Rivera Resort
- Walt Disney World Swan Hotel and Swan Reserve
- Walt Disney World Dolphin Hotel
- Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort & Spa
- Disney’s Old Key West Resort
- Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge
- Disney’s Contemporary Resort and Bay Lake Tower
- Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort (including villas)
- Disney’s Port Orleans
- Campsites at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort
- Disney’s Coronado Springs
Other Disney Good Neighbor resorts that also offer this early access include:
- Four Seasons Resort Orlando
- Waldorf Astoria Orlando
- Signia by Hilton Orlando Bonnet Creek
- B Resort & Spa Lake Buena Vista
- Hilton Orlando Lake Buena Vista
- Hilton Orlando Buena Vista Palace
- Wyndham Garden Lake Buena Vista
- Drury Plaza Hotel Orlando Lake Buena Vista
- DoubleTree Suites by Hilton Orlando
- Holiday Inn Orlando
- Wyndham Lake Buena Vista
Many families traveling with younger kids may have early breakfast reservations, so getting to the park as soon as it opens gives you a better shot of riding the big rides before the crowds pile in (usually around 11:00 am – 12:00 pm). So while you won’t technically be *skipping* the lines, you could be giving yourself the biggest advantage over those who enter the parks later in the day. The other option is to try and visit during slow months. While these are increasingly getting harder and harder to come by, certain times of the year (and certain days) tend to be less packed than others.
Read more: WHAT TO DO WHEN IT’S CROWDED AT THE MAGIC KINGDOM
What is the Slowest Month at Disney World?
The weeks immediately following a big holiday are usually the least crowded as many families have to return to work and school. This includes the second week of January after Christmas and New Year’s wraps up, as well as the first few weeks of September when kids are back in school. February is also a slower month at Disney World, as many families will wait until Spring Break to book their trips. Likewise, families may benefit from visiting the busiest parks (such as Hollywood Studios and Magic Kingdom) on Wednesdays, as the majority of families (including locals) visit the parks on the weekends or on the first day of their vacation (which tends to be Monday). Since Hollywood Studios and Magic Kingdom are among the most popular and busiest parks, families tend to visit these two first, making Wednesday a better day to visit.
Will using these tips mean you won’t wait in any lines? Unfortunately, no. But, it does give you a better shot of shorter wait times and less crowded parks.
FastPass Paved the Way for Disney Genie, But Do You Agree That It’s a Good Thing?
Even though FastPass may be gone, Disney Genie+ allows guests to bypass the regular standby queue, and on super busy days, it can definitely be worth it — especially for those coveted rides such as Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure and Rise of the Resistance. Though, for 22 magical years, FastPass was a beloved system by many Disney World guests and many of us are still adjusting to the loss.
Have you used Disney Genie+ yet? What are your thoughts? Let us know in the comments below 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.
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