Genie Plus vs Lightning Lanes: Know the Difference!

Why settle for a day filled with long lines and missed opportunities at Disney Parks…

Get the inside scoop on how to maximize Individual Lightning Lanes (ILL’s) and Genie Plus because I’ve used both extensively and can tell you exactly how to make each work in your favor.

Skip long lines and make the most of your time in the parks. But how do they work, and which one is right for you? Let’s dive into the world of “individual lightning lanes vs genie plus”, and discover how they can transform your Disney vacation!

Key Details at a Glance:

Individual Lightning Lanes:

✅ Can be purchased starting at 7 a.m. if staying at a Disney World Resort, the Dolphin, Swan or Reserve. Otherwise, purchase at the park opening time

✅ Only two ILL’s can be purchased per day per person

✅ Individual lightning lanes are for the newest and busiest rides at each park

✅ Each ILL is good for ONLY ONE RIDE

✅ Price varies by ride

Genie Plus:

✅ Open for purchase beginning at midnight the day of your visit, no matter where you are staying

✅ At 7 a.m., reserve your first selection

✅ Reserve the next attraction either 120 minutes after opening OR upon the use of your first reservation

✅ Third reservation can be made after using your second reservation OR 120 minutes have passed

✅ Most rides participate in Genie Plus, but not all

✅ You cannot reserve the same ride twice in one day

✅ Price varies by park and day

Both services give you access to the faster lightning lane entrance as opposed to the standby line.

Wrist band on a young girl tapping into a sign that lights up green at Disney World when using individual lightning lanes or genie plus.
Tapping in…

Individual Lightning Lanes vs Genie Plus

Planning your Walt Disney World adventure involves understanding the differences between Lightning Lanes and Disney Genie Plus.

Both services aim to enhance your Disney experience by reducing wait times and offering reserved access to select attractions.

But how do they work, and what makes them unique? Examining each service in detail will shed light on their roles in making your Disney trip unforgettable.

Disney Genie Plus Overview

Disney Genie Plus is a paid service that allows you to:

  • Reserve access to select attractions, reducing wait times
  • With over 40 attractions available across all four Disney World theme parks, Genie Plus offers a wide range of experiences for you to enjoy.

In addition to attraction access, Genie Plus includes complimentary digital downloads of your on-ride photos, adding another layer of memories to your Disney vacation. To access Genie Plus, simply use the My Disney Experience app and navigate to the Tip Board where you can make reservations and manage your selections.

Lightning Lane Overview

While Disney Genie Plus offers a range of attractions to reserve, Individual Lightning Lanes take it a step further. This separate, pay-per-ride service provides expedited access to select popular attractions not included in Genie Plus. Some of the most sought-after Individual Lightning Lane attractions include:

  • TRON Lightcycle Run
  • Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance
  • Avatar Flight of Passage

To book Individual Lightning Lane attractions, you can use the same My Disney Experience app as for the Disney Genie service. Looks for rides that say ‘individual lightning lane’.

With Individual Lightning Lanes, you can make up to two selections per day, choosing your preferred return times for a more personalized experience.

Pricing Comparison: Genie Plus vs Lightning Lane

Having distinguished the differences between Genie Plus and Lightning Lane, we can now compare their pricing structures. Both services come with a cost, but how do they stack up against each other, and what factors influence their pricing?

When it comes to Genie Plus, the cost is based on the number of users and theme parks.

Genie Plus Pricing

Genie Plus pricing ranges from $15 to $35 per person, per day, with variable pricing based on park and date. This means that the cost may fluctuate depending on which park you visit and when.

🔹 For example, Magic Kingdom and Hollywood Studios typically have the highest Genie Plus prices, along with the All-Park option if you plan to park hop.

Individual Lightning Lane Pricing

In contrast, Individual Lightning Lane pricing varies from $7 to $25 per park ticket, depending on the attraction’s popularity and date. This pay-per-ride model allows you to prioritize your favorite experiences and allocate your budget accordingly.

Keep in mind that only the most popular attractions in each theme park are available as an Individual Lightning Lane. For a complete list of all participating rides, see Genie Plus at Disney World: Your Time Maximized.

Making Reservations: Genie Plus vs Lightning Lane

Now that we’ve grasped the pricing, we can delve into the reservation processes for both Genie Plus and Lightning Lane. Knowing how to make selections and manage reservations is crucial for maximizing your Disney experience and ensuring you get the most out of these services.

Genie Plus Reservation Process

To make a Genie Plus reservation, use the My Disney Experience app. Here are some important details to keep in mind:

  • There is a limit of one reservation at a time.
  • Book your first Genie Plus reservation at 7 A.M.
  • There is a 120-minute wait between bookings.
  • This means that once you make your first reservation of the day, you’ll need to wait 120 minutes or until you’ve tapped into the Lightning Lane for your current selection before you can make another one. 

Keep in mind that there is an exception to the 120-minute rule. If you make your first Genie+ Lightning Lane selection before the park opens, you cannot make another until one of two things happens:

  • It’s 2 hours AFTER the park opening time
  • You have used your first Genie Plus reservation

Yes, it can get confusing! Feel free to ask a Cast Member for help – there are several customer service kiosks set up around the parks to help.

Individual Lightning Lane Reservation Process

For ILL’s, you can also use the My Disney Experience app to make your selections. 

Unlike Genie Plus, Individual Lightning Lanes allow guests to make up to two selections per day and choose their preferred return times. This added flexibility enables you to tailor your day to your preferences and make the most of your time in the parks.

Here’s the process for making an individual lightning lane reservation:

  • Disney World Resort on-site guests and those of select hotels such as the Walt Disney World Swan, Dolphin and Reserve, can make reservations at 7 A.M. Both individual lightning lanes can be purchased if you choose to do so.
  • Off-site Disney World hotel guests cannot make individual lightning lane reservations until the park opens.
  • Choose the individual lightning lane attraction you want to purchase, confirm your party, and then you’ll be given a choice of return times. Click your preference, then hit continue and continue again. You are all set!

👉🏻 Note: It’s a lot easier to purchase both Genie Plus and ILL’s when you have a credit card already stored in the app.

Best Attractions to Use Genie Plus and Individual Lightning Lanes

Having gained a firm understanding of Lightning Lane and Genie Plus, let’s now identify the best attractions to use these services at each Disney park. Our recommendations will help you maximize your experience and create unforgettable memories during your Disney vacation.

Magic Kingdom Recommendations

At Magic Kingdom, prioritize TRON Lightcycle Run for an Individual Lightning Lane ticket, as this is the most popular attraction in the park. While there is NOT a standby queue for this ride, there is a virtual queue you can enter at 7 a.m. (also within the My Disney Experience app).

➡️ Here’s the problem I had with the virtual queue: Once your group is called, you could be waiting 1-2 hours IN LINE. To me, that time in Magic Kingdom is precious. I’d rather pay the $$ instead of waiting in line that long. But, that’s my opinion. Yes, you can enter both the virtual queue and have an ILL for Tron, so you can ride it more than once.

Seven Dwarfs Mine train is the other ILL here, but personally, we think it’s one of Disney’s overrated attractions and we do not waste money on this one. There is a standby line if you want to wait.

For Genie Plus, focus on popular attractions like Jungle Cruise, Space Mountain, and Big Thunder Mountain, as these experiences often have long wait times and can benefit from the expedited access provided by Genie Plus.

The post, Genie Plus at Magic Kingdom– How to Make it Worth Every Penny, goes into a lot more detail on how to plan your day with Genie Plus.

Epcot Recommendations

In Epcot, your only Lightning Lane choice is Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind. Frozen Ever After, Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure and Test Track are the most sought-after Genie Plus attractions. 

For Genie Plus, consider reserving Test Track or Frozen Ever After, both of which are popular attractions with longer wait times that can be significantly reduced through Genie Plus access.

However, my favorite way to play this is the following:

  • At 7:00 a.m., secure your first Genie for Frozen Ever After
  • Also at 7:00 a.m., enter the virtual queue for Guardians of the Galaxy (can have a second person do this).
  • At park opening, enter through the International Gateway by the Boardwalk area and head directly to Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure. You’ll be one of the first in line as the walk from the front of the park is quite long.
  • Test Track has one of the only single-rider lines at Disney World. Make use of this if your party doesn’t mind splitting up (I don’t advise this with young kids).

This recommendation allows you to experience everyone’s favorite rides while only needing one Genie Plus reservation. Feel free to use more Genie Plus reservations on not-as-popular rides.

Hollywood Studios Recommendations

For Hollywood Studios, reserve Genie Plus for Slinky Dog Dash and enter the virtual queue for Rise of the Resistance both at 7:00 am, two of the park’s most popular attractions.

Subsequent Genie Plus reservations should prioritize experiences like Tower of Terror and Toy Story Mania, as these are also popular options with long wait times that can be minimized using Genie Plus.

Animal Kingdom Recommendations

At Animal Kingdom, make Avatar Flight of Passage your first rope-dropped ride. This then eliminates the need to purchase an individual lightning lane.

Personally, I do not purchase Genie Plus at Animal Kingdom as there really aren’t that many rides to begin with. Plus, Expedition Everest has a single-rider line.

If you do decide to purchase Genie Plus, focus on attractions like Kilimanjaro Safaris and Na’vi River Journey, which often have lengthy wait times.

Park Hopping with Genie Plus and Lightning Lane

Park hopping, a favorite among many Disney guests, enables you to explore multiple parks in a single day. Using Genie Plus and Individual Lightning Lanes can further enhance your park hopping experience, helping you make the most of your time in each park.

When park hopping with Genie Plus and Lightning Lane, plan your reservations strategically.

Here are some tips:

  1. Genie Plus allows for one reservation at a time, with a 120-minute wait between bookings (unless you have tapped into your current reservation).
  2. Individual Lightning Lanes permit up to two selections per day, allowing for more flexibility in planning your day. Plus, you choose the return time.
  3. Be sure to make your reservations in advance and coordinate your selections to maximize your time in each park.

Maximizing Your Disney Experience with Genie Plus and Lightning Lane

Armed with a firm understanding of Genie Plus and Lightning Lane, let’s now talk about strategies for maximizing your Disney experience. From planning your day to making the most of your reservation windows, these tips will help you make the most of your time in the parks.

First, plan your day in advance. Knowing which parks and attractions you want to visit will help you make the most of your Genie Plus and Lightning Lane reservations.

Second, be mindful of your reservation windows, and try to book your selections as soon as possible to ensure the best availability.

Finally, consider combining the use of Genie Plus and Individual Lightning Lanes to maximize access and minimize wait times.

Accessibility and Special Considerations

Disney is committed to providing an inclusive and accessible experience for all guests. When using Genie Plus and Lightning Lane, there are options available for guests with disabilities and those without smartphones, ensuring everyone can enjoy the magic of Disney.

For guests with disabilities, Disney offers services such as the Disability Access Service (DAS). This option provides accessible attraction access and additional support for guests with special needs.

For those without smartphones or who are not tech-savvy, kiosks are available throughout the parks to make reservations for Genie Plus and Lightning Lane. Additionally, traveling with younger guests who are familiar with technology can provide valuable assistance in navigating the services.

Potential Issues and Solutions with Genie Plus and Lightning Lane

Even though Genie Plus and Lightning Lane can significantly enhance your Disney experience, you may encounter some potential issues. From reservation conflicts to ride breakdowns, it’s important to be prepared for any potential challenges and know how to address them.

In the event of a reservation conflict between Genie Plus and Lightning Lane for the same ride, you should prioritize your selections and adjust your reservations accordingly. If a ride breaks down during a Lightning Lane reservation, you will receive a refund, but may not have the opportunity to experience the attraction.

✨✨ Generally, your lightning lane return time is one hour. However, it’s important to know that you can tap into the line 5 minutes prior to this as well as 15 minutes later!

When managing reservations for large groups, communication and planning are key. Ensure everyone in the group can book at the same time and that everyone is aware of the reservation times and any potential conflicts.

Lightning Lane vs Genie Plus FAQs

We’ve covered a lot of ground in this guide, but you may still have questions about Lightning Lane and Genie Plus. To help clear up any remaining confusion, we’ve compiled a list of frequently asked questions and their answers below.

Which is better Genie Plus or Lightning Lane?

Overall, using Genie Plus at Disney World is the better choice for those who want to skip the lines, while Individual Lightning Lane Selections are best suited for the most popular rides.

Often, I do not purchase the ILL’s, but strategically plan my Genie Plus reservations.

Can I use both Lightning Lane and Genie Plus in the same day?

Yes, you can use both Lightning Lane and Genie Plus in the same day to maximize attraction access and minimize wait times.

Can I cancel or modify my Lightning Lane or Genie Plus selections?

Yes, you can modify or cancel your Lightning Lane or Genie Plus selections through the My Disney Experience app.

Is there a limit to how many Individual Lightning Lane selections I can make in a day?

There is a limit of two Lightning Lane selections per day, while Genie Plus reservations are limited to one at a time with a 120-minute wait between bookings (unless you ‘tap-in’ to your current reservation).

How many times can you use Genie Plus in a day at Walt Disney World?

The number of times guests can use Genie Plus in a day depends on factors such as park crowds and ride selection, but it is possible to experience multiple attractions.

Disney’s official website claims 2-3 rides. I actually find this ridiculously low. I’ve been able to use Genie Plus at Magic Kingdom on 8-10 rides. You just have to time things correctly and don’t waste time before making your next selection.

Can you book 2 individual lightning lanes at once?

Yes, you can book both individual Lightning Lane reservations at 7 a.m. without waiting, allowing for more flexibility in planning your day.

Individual Lightning Lane vs Genie Plus Summary

To summarize, Individual Lightning Lanes and Genie Plus serve as two potent tools, designed to uplift your Walt Disney World experience. By understanding the key differences and benefits of each service, you can make informed decisions about which option best suits your needs and preferences.

Whether you’re a first-time visitor or a seasoned Disney pro, Genie Plus and Lightning Lanes have the potential to transform your Disney experience. By leveraging these services strategically, you can minimize wait times, maximize attraction access, and create unforgettable memories with your loved ones.

So go ahead, embrace the magic, and make the most of your Disney adventure!

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