Is Disney Genie Plus Worth It? 15 Tips to Help You Decide
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If you’re considering whether or not to add the Disney Genie Plus service to your next trip, this post is for you. We’ll cover everything you need to know about the service, including what it is, how much it costs, and how to use it. When you are done reading, you’ll be able to answer the question, ‘Is Disney Genie Plus worth it’ for yourself.
In addition, we’ll give you 15 tips so you are ready to start using it if you decide it is worth it to purchase Genie Plus. So read on and get all the info you need to make a decision before booking your next trip!
What is Genie+?
Disney’s Genie+ is a new service taking the place of the free, now-retired Fast Pass system. Basically, you pay in order to skip the lines at Disney World. This service is completely optional.
Genie+ is accessed through the My Disney Experience app on your phone. You’ll use the app to book your times for rides, shows, Disney’s Festival of Fantasy parade special seating, and character meet-and-greets.
How Does Genie Plus Work?
There are two parts to Genie+ and it’s important to know the difference.
Individual Lightning Lanes
First, you have Individual Lightning Lanes (ILL). These are specific to a particular ride. You can purchase ‘skip the line’ access to this one ride. Cost ranges from $10-22 per ride, per person. These are the most popular rides in each park.
Disney allows you to purchase up to 2 of these ILL’s a day (per person), however, only the Magic Kingdom has 2 ILL rides (TRON and the 7 Dwarfs Mine Train) whereas the other parks only have one.
If you are a Disney Resort guest, purchase your ILL at 7:00 A.M.
Log on to My Disney Experience, and in the ‘Tip Board’ section, look for the words ‘LL Individual Lightning Lane’. If you can purchase it, it will be in black and not grayed out.
If you are not staying at a Disney Resort, you cannot purchase any Individual Lightning Lane until the park opens. Make sure you know when each park opens on each day.
Personally, why Disney spent so much money to change the Fastpass Lanes and all their signage to Lightning Lanes is beyond me. They could have still made people pay for them now and call the Individual Lightning Lanes something like Fastpass Express. Would have saved Disney a lot of money, but no one asked me!
Note: When Disney World debuted a new ride in the past, usually admittance is by virtual queues. At this time (mid-2023), two rides use the virtual queue: Guardians of the Galaxy at Epcot and TRON Lightcycle in the Magic Kingdom.
However, they both are also ILL’s, so if you definitely want to ride either of these, you are better off purchasing the ILL.
Disney’s Genie Plus
Genie Plus is most similar to FastPass+. This allows you to select rides the entire day that you want the ability to skip the line for.
At the Walt Disney World Resort, Genie Plus costs $15 -25(each day, per person), although, at the Disneyland Resort, it’s $20-30. In October 2022, Disney started ‘surge pricing’ that’s why the cost varies. Genie Plus is more expensive on days when park capacity is high.
Start making your Genie Plus reservations at 7:00 A.M. no matter if you are staying at a Disney Resort or offsite.
You can only make another Disney Genie+ reservation either after you have used one OR after two hours have passed.
In addition, once you make your 7:00 A.M. reservation, you cannot make another one until 2 hours after the park opens, or once you have used the first one you made, whichever is the earliest.
Admittedly, there are a lot of rules around Genie+ and Lightning Lanes. I remember hearing people thought Fastpass+ was confusing. In my opinion, that’s nothing compared to this! Feel free to ask a cast member if you can’t figure something out.
Just remember that using Genie Plus gives you access to the Lightning Lane entrances instead of the long lines of the standby queue.
Is Disney Genie Plus Worth It?
I can say, after the fact, that it was definitely worth it at The Magic Kingdom, Epcot and Hollywood Studios.
While I did purchase it for Animal Kingdom as well, I didn’t feel it gave us that much. Probably because there are not as many attractions there.
If you have someone who wants to ride anything related to Star Wars and loves fast rides like Aerosmith’s Rock ‘n Rollercoaster or the Tower of Terror, Genie+ definitely comes in handy as those lines are continuously long.
But, is it worth all that money?
Disney has gotten notoriously more expensive than even just 10 years ago. This is one more thing in their arsenal. People are willing to pay.
For me, it’s usually just my daughter and me. On the other hand, there are families of 5 for whom it would cost a lot more.
You need to decide if you are fine with waiting in the standby line for each ride. If you are impatient like me, it may be worth it to buy Disney’s Genie Plus.
Maybe you decide not to purchase any Individual Lightning Lanes and just go with Genie+. Remember, they are mutually exclusive, so you can just buy one or the other.
Or, if you have younger kids, the best time to go is during the offseason, like September. In this case, there may not be a need to purchase a skip the line pass because the crowd level is low.
Take all of the above into consideration when you are deciding is Disney Genie Plus worth it. Remember, both Genie+ and ILL’s are additional costs to that of your park tickets.
Disney World Genie+ Tips
So, if you decide that Genie Plus is worth it. Or, if you are still contemplating it, but want to know more about it, here are 15 tips to help you use it! Maybe these tips will help you decide if it’s worth it or just too much trouble!
1. Download and setup My Disney Experience before your trip
This first tip is quite simple, yet it’s very important.
Do this before your trip. You don’t want to be fumbling around at 7:00 A.M. when it’s time to make your first reservation.
Look for ‘My Disney Experience’ and download that app to your phone. Setup an account if you don’t already have one. Remember your password! I can’t stress this enough. You will use this app heavily.
2. Don’t give up!
For those of you that were pros at FastPass+ (R.I.P.), do you remember seeing the message ‘All Fastpasses have been given out for the day’?
Well, I thought the same was going to happen for Individual Lightning Lanes (ILL)…. but, it didn’t!
Two out of four times when I tried to get my ILL right when the park opened (I stayed offsite. For those staying on Disney property, you can get them at 7:00 A.M.), it said none were available.
However, I kept looking to see if more times became available and they did!
Availability came and went sporadically, but I wasn’t quick enough to get it. Then, around one and a half hours later, I was finally able to snag a Ratatouille reservation. The same thing happened for the Seven Dwarfs Mine train.
So, the moral here is don’t get discouraged if you don’t get your Individual Lightning Lane reservation immediately. Be persistent and keep checking your phone for availability. Hopefully, you will eventually get it (we did not get so lucky for Rise of the Resistance).
3. Get your first Genie+ at 7:00 A.M.
No matter if you are staying at a Disney Resort or offsite, purchase your first reservation at 7:00 A.M.
Trust me, everyone that is planning on using Genie+ is up on their phones this early in the morning trying to score a coveted reservation.
You do NOT get a choice of times.
Disney gives you the next open slot available. Keep this in mind if you are deciding between two reservations.
If it looks like a particular attraction will ‘sell-out’, by all means, secure that one. So, if the return time is already 5:00 P.M., most likely this attraction will sell out of its open slots soon. Grab it now – it won’t be there by the time you can make your next Genie+.
4. Secure the most important reservation first
This is necessary if you have someone in your family that HAS to go on a particular ride. For me, my daughter really wanted us to go on Space Mountain.
I’m not a fast rollercoaster person (although I love Big Thunder Mountain) and I promised her the next time we were at Disney World, I would ride Space Mountain. She and my husband kept thinking I would throw up and they would laugh. Well, I didn’t!
Since this was so important for Little K, I secured this first. Luckily, it still was in the morning, around 10:10, so once we used this one, I immediately booked our next.
5. Set alarm for park opening and secure Individual Lightning Lane
This only applies if you are staying offsite at a non-Disney resort: Individual Lightning Lane reservations can only be first purchased starting at park opening.
NOTE: Disney Resort guests can purchase them at 7:00 A.M.
Just so you don’t forget to get them ASAP, set an alarm on your phone to remind you.
Park hours differ between parks and sometimes days of the week. Make sure you check the official Disney World calendar for the correct park hours.
6. Set your alarm for 2 hours after the park opens
Why, you may ask? Because that’s the next time you can get another Genie+ reservation if you didn’t secure one that you already used.
Let me try to explain:
If you already used your first Genie+ reservation, make another one immediately.
However, if your first Genie+ reservation has not been used yet, you can still make another one 2 hours after the park opens. In this case, you would have two Genie+ reservations to use.
The easiest way to remember this is to set an alarm. Don’t worry, the My Disney Experience app also tells you if you can or cannot make a new reservation. In addition, it tells you what time your next reservation can be made.
Get the free Disney Genie Plus Primer here!
7. Secure the next Genie+ immediately after using one
Similar to Fastpass+, make your next Genie+ reservation immediately upon using one. Be aware that some rides need you to tap in twice, so don’t make a new reservation too soon.
So, while you are sitting in an It’s a Small World boat for 14 minutes, don’t forget to secure your next ride reservation!
8. Know which rides are Genie+ rides and which are Individual Lightning Lanes
These two new Disney terms are mutually exclusive of each other, so know what attraction is which.
As of January 2023, there is one Individual Lightning Lane attraction in each of the theme parks. Disney deems these the most popular attractions.
However, when Tron Lightcycle opens on April 4th, 2023, Magic Kingdom will have 2 ILL’s.
Individual Lightning Lane Attractions
- Magic Kingdom: Seven Dwarfs Mine Train
- Epcot: Guardians of the Galaxy – Cosmic Rewind
- Hollywood Studios: Rise of the Resistance
- Animal Kingdom: Avatar Flight of Passage
Genie+ is most similar to Fastpass+ in that there are many rides you can access. Here’s a list of the parks and their respective Genie+ attractions. Maybe seeing these will help you decide is Genie Plus worth it.
Magic Kingdom Genie+ attractions
- Big Thunder Mountain Railroad
- Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin
- Festival of Fantasy Parade
- Haunted Mansion
- It’s a Small World
- Jungle Cruise
- Mad Tea Party
- Magic Carpets of Aladdin
- Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh
- Mickey’s Philharmagic
- Monster’s Inc Laugh Floor
- Peter Pan’s Flight
- Pirates of the Caribbean
- See Cinderella at Fairytale Hall
- See Mickey at Town Square Theater
- See Princess Tiana at Fairytale Hall
- Space Mountain
Splash Mountain(Closed for rebrand/refurbishment until 2024)
- Tomorrowland Speedway
- Under the Sea
Epcot Genie+ attractions
- Disney and Pixar Short Film Festival
- Frozen Ever After
- Journey into Imagination with Figment
- Living with the Land
- Mission: SPACE
- Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure
- Seas with Nemo
- Spaceship Earth
- Test Track
- Turtle Talk with Crush
Disney’s Hollywood Studios Genie+ attractions
- Alien Swirling Saucers
- Beauty and the Beast Live on Stage
- Disney Jr Play and Dance
- First time in Forever Singalong
- Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular
- Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway
- Millennium Falcon: Smuggler’s Run
- Muppet Vision 3D
- Rock ‘n Roll Coaster
- See Disney Stars at Red Carpet Dreams
- See Olaf at Celebrity Spotligh
- Slinky Dog Dash
- Star Tours – The Adventures Continue
- Toy Story Mania
- Twilight Zone Tower of Terror
Animal Kingdom’s Genie+ attractions
- Animation Experience at Conservation Station
- Celebration of the Lion King
- Expedition Everest
- Feathered Friends in Flight
- It’s Tough to be a Bug
- Kali River Rapids
- Kilimanjaro’s Safari
- Na’vi River Journey
Often when introducing a new ride, Disney uses a virtual queue instead of a standby queue.
Enter the virtual queue through the Disney app at 7 am. You will be given a boarding group with an estimated time of when your group will be called. It does not guarantee you will be able to ride this attraction, especially if it breaks down before your group is called.
➡️ However, virtual queues are free and open to everyone. In my experience, we waited 2 hours in the Guardians of the Galaxy line after our boarding group was called. I thought this was quite long and wasn’t sure I would do it again.
But, we did. The next time, our wait in line was one hour. Still, very long in my opinion. Purchasing an ILL for this ride definitely has shorter lines.
Currently, Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind and TRON: Lightcycle have virtual queues. Enter at 7 am from anywhere. In addition, if you are inside the park, there is another virtual queue you can enter at 1 pm.
On nights that Disney World operates Extended Magic Hours for guests of Deluxe Resorts and Villas, there is an additional virtual queue at 6 pm, just for those specific guests.
With the opening of TRON: Lightcycle in April 2023, this new ride will now be the fastest ride at Disney World. I expect both the virtual queue and the ILL access to sell out quickly.
🔷 TIP: If you KNOW you want to ride Tron, my suggestion is not to waste time with the virtual queue and instead, purchase the ILL. We did this a couple of weeks after the ride opened and only waited 10 minutes in line compared to the hours we waited in the virtual queue line for Guardians.
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9. Buy Genie+ each day you need to rather than for all parks
Determine if you really need Genie+ before buying. This probably depends on what your traveling party wants to do. Most of Epcot’s attractions are slow. At the same time, Animal Kingdom does not have many on Genie+.
Decide if you want to spend $15 per person or you could just wait in line. You could also just buy the ILL for that park.
If you decide you only want to purchase Genie+ for some of your park days, know that the only time you can purchase it daily is starting at midnight of the day you go to the park (this is for annual passes, too). If you decide you want it for your entire trip, you can pre-purchase it for your entire stay all at once.
10. Stack Genie+ reservations in the afternoon or evening
There are two reasons (that I can think of) in which you may want to stack your Genie+ reservations.
First, you are staying at a Disney Resort and plan to rope drop (aka beat the crowds) as many rides as you can in the first two hours of park opening. Lines are usually the shortest then and there isn’t a need for a reservation.
If this is the case, still make your initial 7:00 A.M. reservation in addition to reservations at 2 hours past the opening, plus 2 hours after that. This way, with a 9:00 A.M. park opening, by 1:00 P.M. you will have three reservations to use later in the day when it’s most crowded (in addition the ILL reservation if you choose to make one).
Second, maybe you are park-hopping and want to use all your Genie+ reservations at the second park. Follow the plan laid out in the above paragraph. When you get to your next park (currently, park hopping is allowed after 2 P.M.), you will have reservations for the rides you want the most.
11. Genie+ reservations can overlap
Unlike traditional FastPass+, Genie+ and Lightning Lane reservations can overlap. I actually love this feature. Go from one attraction immediately to the next.
Remember, you can enter an attraction 5 minutes before the stated time and 15 minutes after.
Here’s what it looks like in the My Disney Experience app when you have overlapping reservations:
In this case, I have overlapping reservations because I purchased the ILL for Seven Dwarfs Mine Train and I secured a Genie+ reservation for It’s a Small World at the exact same time.
12. Grab Genie+ reservations for close to the current time, then repeat
This was by far my favorite thing to do, but I realize it may not work for all parties, especially if you have your heart set on riding certain attractions.
When I chose my first Genie+ reservation, the return time was between 10:15 – 11:15 A.M. Perfect. After I tapped into this reservation, I immediately booked my next one, but this time, I just looked for a time frame that was close to the current time.
I repeated this process throughout the day and we hardly waited in line at all. For times when we had to wait an hour, we grabbed something to eat or shopped.
This allowed us to ride almost everything at both Magic Kingdom and Epcot. I say almost because we never rode Big Thunder Mountain Railroad because the reservation times were always 4+ hours away, then they sold out.
In addition, this process did not work at Hollywood Studios or Animal Kingdom. I think that’s because they just don’t have the number of rides the other two parks do. I don’t really care to see shows (I’ve seen them all, mostly twice), so we were mostly stuck waiting a couple of hours for each Genie+ reservation.
13. Stay onsite for better Individual Lightning Lane reservations
Ugh! I can’t believe I typed that, but I did. For those that have been following me for a couple of years, you know that I prefer to stay in offsite Disney World hotels.
But, similarly to Fastpass+, you do not have access to the best rides at the same time those staying onsite do. There are several good reasons to stay at a Disney resort, although I usually prefer the quietness of a condo.
An offsite guest can make ILL reservations when the park opens. A Disney resort guest can make them at 7:00 A.M. While I was able to get the ILL at both Epcot and Magic Kingdom, I could not get Rise of the Resistance at Hollywood Studios.
I kept trying, but never saw more availability for this particular ride. I’m assuming most everyone staying onsite did get reservations for this.
14. Rope drop either the ILL or your second Genie+ selection
Now that Disney World allows Disney Resort guests in every day a half-hour early, only those guests can now participate in ‘rope drop’. This is when you get to the park early and are there waiting for the cast members to drop the ropes and allow you into the parks.
However, even though we did not stay on-site, we rushed to Haunted Mansion after entering the park and only waited 5 minutes in line.
So, if you do not want to pay for the ILL, my suggestion is to make this your first attraction of the day. Unfortunately, if you are staying offsite, the line will already be filled with resort guests. The two times of the day the lines are shortest are early morning or right before closing.
If you do pay for the ILL, make your second most wanted attraction the first you stand in line for. Again, lines are short right now (assuming you are there at the park open). Now, this ride is out of the way and you won’t be waiting hours for your Genie+ reservation.
15. Make sure you bring a phone battery pack!
So, what did you notice when reading all of the above? Your phone is getting a good workout! Make sure you bring a battery pack with you and throw it in your Disney park bag. There are not that many places within Disney World where you can charge your phones, Yes, there are some, but who wants to be tethered to one spot for a half-hour?
Instead, take a portable charger that connects to your phone while it’s in your purse or backpack. This is the exact one I have and it worked great for my iPhone. It has enough charge to reload a phone 2.5 times.
- Up to 2.1 Full Phone Charges - Portable power bank containing a 10,000mAh battery
- Versatile USB-C Port - Use the USB-C port to recharge the powerstation record time or use that same port to charge a device
- USB-C PD Output - Charge your phone at the fastest speed possible with the USB-C’s 18W output and get up to 50% battery in just 30 minutes
- Charge Multiple Devices - Charge multiple devices at once by plugging one device into the USB-C port and another into the USB-A port.
- Compact and Convenient - The lightweight, portable powerstation easily fits in your bag so you can always have a boost of power wherever you go
- Stylish Fabric Finish - A premium fabric finish adds style and prevents scuffs and scratches.
- LED Power Indicator - The integrated four-light LED power indicator displays charging status and the current battery life.
Is Disney Genie Plus Worth It Summary
If you are going to Disney World anytime soon, it is important that you know the different parts of Genie+ and Individual Lightning Lanes. You should also decide whether or not this service will be worth the cost for your family before making a decision about the purchase.
Take a few minutes to really understand all the Disney Genie Plus tips above. If this is something you can see yourself doing, and you don’t mind shelling out the extra cash, then it may be for you.
Here’s your last chance to download the Genie Plus Primer now!
However, if all those steps sound way too complicated and it’s not something you want to engage in, then maybe save yourself the extra money and just have fun without being tied to your phone!
What are your thoughts? Is Disney Genie Plus worth it or not? Let us know in the comments below!
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Christine is a mother, wife and travel fanatic. She loves to plan trips, especially using points and miles. Disney is her passion while vacations in Europe have her wanting to move there. To continue reading, click more about me.