As a refresher, Disney's Fastpass+ & MaxPass systems were last available in March 2020. Disney Genie+ was rolled out in October 2021. You can find the pre-roll out details HERE.
The quick version:
Is it worth $16 per person to skip the line at 3-4 attractions & save 2-3 hours of time?
If your answer is yes- Get Genie+.
I use those numbers because on the worst day, I think you could easily have those benefits.
If you want the long version of if Disney Genie+ is for you, we need to start with some basic definitions.
Standby Line & Lightning Lane
When you approach most attractions (attraction is a word that includes rides, shows, character sightings & experiences) there are 2 lines.
One line is the STANDBY line. This line will have a wait time posted (in the app, on the signage above the entrance to the attraction & sometimes, if the line is long, on a sign being held by a cast member at the end of the line.) Anyone can use the standby line. You get in line & expect to wait the posted amount of time for your turn on the attraction.
The second line is the LIGHTNING LANE. Lightning Lanes provide expedited access to rides... so when you use the Lightning Lane you do not wait as long & sometimes even walk straight on a the ride. Lightning Lanes are currently present at 60 attractions.
Some attractions have a 3rd line for single riders.
Who can use the lightning lanes?
Lightning Lanes are accessible to guest who PAY for access. This paid access is available in 2 ways: Genie+ and Individual Lighting Lanes (sometimes called Individual Attraction Selections or IAS.)
Lightning Lanes may also be used by people with Disability Passes with reserved times, Rider Swap Passes, Ride Recovery Passes or VIP Tours.
Genie+ is $15+tax per ticketed guest per park day. It can be purchased in advance when you want to have it for ALL guest for ALL of your park days by including it in your Vacation Package.
Ticket only guests purchasing multiple days can add it for ALL park days at time of ticket purchase, but can mix & match which guests have it & which guests do not.
It can also be purchased for single park days & only certain guest in your travel party via the My Disney Experience app on the day you want to use it.
Genie+ gives access to reserve a time for 52 of the 60 Lightning Lanes attractions.
Individual Lightning Lanes are the other 4 attractions not included in Genie+. There are 2 at each theme park & their price varies based on ride & day. An article about IF getting these individual Lightning Lanes is worth it is coming soon.
NOTE: From February 28 to August 7, 2022, Genie+ gives access to 56 of 60 Lightning Lanes and there is only 1 fancy Individual Lighting Lane at each park.
What Lighting Lanes are included with Genie+?
You can see a full, up-to-date list of what is included on Disney's website. As of the day I am writing this, here is a break down of those.
The numbers below reflect the changes from February 28 - August 7, 2022.
What is NOT included with Genie+?
Multiple uses of the same Lightning Lane
Attractions with posted wait times/show times (rides, shows, character sighting & experiences) that have no Lightning Lane:
Individual Lightning Lanes (changes from February - August 2022 are included)
how do I reserve my ride time?
You will use your My Disney Experience App.
You can make your first selection at 7:00am on the day you are using Genie+. If you have pre-purchased Genie+, it should be ready to go at 7:00am.
If you have not pre-purchased Genie+, you will need to do that between midnight & 7:00am so that you can make your first selection at 7:00am.
A full strategy of using Genie+ is coming soon.
Will I still use standby lines if I have genie+?
99% of the time, yes.
It is going to take a lot of strategy, criss crossing the park, flexibility & bypassing attractions with no Genie+ Lightning Lane access to ONLY use Genie+ for your trip.
If you purchase Genie+, you are likely going to have a healthy mix of standby lines & Genie+ Lighting Lane reservations. I would not expect to avoid standby lines all together, but using Genie+ means you can minimize them.
Overall Pros & Cons to Genie+
So should you get it?
From my personal experience, it is absolutely worth it (especially when I compare it to other expedited line pricing.) I used it for 2 days while park hopping in December 2021. I was there from park open to park close both days, so I was putting in a lot of time in the parks, but having Genie+ saved me around 4 hours of wait time each day.
I think the following scenarios will really benefit from having Genie+:
- 2-3 day trip where you are trying to do it all.
- Only 1 day at Magic Kingdom
- Planning to park hop & do not want to enter the 2nd park mid-day & wait in those peak lines
- You do not have access to or do not plan to use extra park hours in the morning (all Disney resort guests) or select evening hours (Disney Deluxe Guests.)
It may be easier to manage without it if:
- You have a longer trip with multiple days at some parks.
- You go to the parks frequently.
- You are planning to be in the parks at open & close with mid-day breaks OR taking advantage of smaller lines, experiences & shows mid-day.
Park-wise, you are going to get the MOST out of it at the Magic Kingdom. It is also very handy at Hollywood Studios IF you are going to use some strategy. There are simply less rides available at Animal Kingdom & EPCOT. It is still useful (and I think worth it) & you can save time/ have more time for experiences when you use it, but there is simply less to choose from there.
I think you get MORE than $15 worth at Magic Kingdom & most days at Hollywood Studios. Animal Kingdom & EPCOT are break-even days. I would utilize that "extra time" there to rest, re-ride shorter lines, snack more😊, watch shows & take part in experiences that I usually skip because I am waiting in line.
What is the best strategy if I do not get genie+?
If you do not get Genie+, I would be sure to be an onsite guest who utilizes Early Park Entry and/or is in the park for the last 2-3 hours until close. These are both times when you can knock out ride based attractions more easily because lines are shorter.
If you are a deluxe guest, I would take advantage of the select nights of extra park hours.
I would pack my patience pants mid-day. This would be a great time to watch shows, rest & experience attractions that have no Lighting Lane.
You may also consider purchasing the Individual Lighting Lane for 1 or 2 attractions mid-day.
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