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Lightning Lane & Genie+ at Disney World | Guide & FAQs

This is our guide to Genie+ and Lightning Lanes, Disney’s permanent FastPass+ replacement.  Skipping the lines for attractions is still possible at Walt Disney World, although now you have to pay for it.

Genie+ Lightning Lane Disney World

In this guide to Genie+ and Lightning Lanes, we will cover everything you need to know about these new services.  We’ll explain what they are, how to use them, the cost, and the differences between Genie+ and Lightning Lanes.  Think of this guide as Genie+ Lightning Lanes 101.

In a move that is typical Disney, Genie+ is incredibly difficult to fully understand, even for seasoned theme park veterans, let alone first-time visitors.

Thankfully, we’ve had the chance to spend a considerable amount of time in the Disney World parks with Genie+ and using the Lightning Lanes.  This has given us the opportunity to learn all the ins and outs to help you find the best strategy for your vacation.

Of course, everyone wants to know if it’s worth paying all the extra money for Genie+ when FastPass+ was free for all these years.  We’ll answer that, along with how to get the most out of your money when using the Lightning Lane.

Here are a few of the topics we will cover:

  • Genie+ Basics & Individual Lightning Lane Basics
  • Prices
  • How to Use them
  • Frequently Asked Questions
  • Problems
  • The 120-Minute Rule
  • Genie+ Lightning Lane Strategies & Tips
  • Is Genie+ Worth it?
  • And much, much, more…

Basically, we’ll tell you everything you need to know about this FastPass+ replacement and what it means for planning your trip moving forward.

Genie Plus at Disney World

Many people are still calling it FastPass out of habit, and it’s taken us a while to get used to all the changes.  After two decades of the FastPass system, we’ve all become creatures of habit.  It’ll take some time, but there are some advantages to Genie+, even though it’s no longer free.

Before we get started we want to say, learning about the Disney Genie+ and Lightning Lanes is not easy.  It’s taken us months to get a good handle on exactly how everything works, and we are still learning new things each time we use it.

Here are a few of our most important articles about Disney Genie and Lightning Lanes:

This article is very in-depth and to really understand everything you may need to read it multiple times.  Don’t worry, it’s normal.  Take your time, and let all these changes sink in.

We tried our hardest to cover every possible question you might have about Genie+ or the Individual Lightning Lanes, but we likely left some out.  If you have a question that we didn’t cover, leave a message in the comments section and we will address it to the best of our ability.

Also, don’t forget to sign up for our FREE Weekly E-Mail Newsletter. There we bring you the latest changes to Disney Genie Plus and other Disney vacation planning tips. You can sign up here: Join our E-Mail Newsletter

Ok, let’s get started…

Genie+ Basics

Disney World Genie+ Lightning Lanes

What is Genie+? (How Does Genie Plus Work?)

Genie+ is a paid service that lets guests book reservations for attractions and skip waiting in line. It is Disney’s FastPass+ replacement and means guests now must pay to skip the standby queues.

This is not to be confused with the Disney Genie service which is free and included automatically in the My Disney Experience app (more on that later).  The free version is called “Disney Genie,” while the paid version has a “+” on the end of the word “Genie.”

Genie+ lets guests bypass the queue for a given attraction by giving them access to the Lightning Lanes.  These are the old FastPass lines that run parallel to the standby queue.

Most attractions at the Disney theme parks are included in the list of Genie+ rides and let you book a Lightning Lane reservation.  Two of the most popular attractions from each park however are not included with Genie+ and instead offer an individual Lightning Lane pass for a “pay-as-you-go” option.

How Much Does Genie+ Cost at Disney World?

Genie+ costs $15 per person, per day at Walt Disney World.  With taxes, it comes out to $15.98 per person.

At those prices, if you have a large group it can get quite expensive quite quickly so make sure to see if it’s in your budget before purchasing.

Disney Genie+ Price Summary

Genie+ at Disneyland is even more expensive than at Disney World where it costs $20 per day, per person.

How Do You Purchase Genie+?

Using Genie+ is a 2-step process.  First, you need to purchase Genie+ as a service, then you can make ride reservations.

The Genie+ service can only be purchased on individual days of your visit and can no longer be purchased ahead of time as part of your vacation or ticket package, or for the duration of your visit.

If you choose to purchase Genie+ for your entire vacation this must be done before arriving at Disney World.  You can do this through the official Walt Disney World website or by using an authorized Disney Vacation Planner.

The Genie+ service available to buy starting at 12:00 am on the date you plan on using it.  You can purchase it using the My Disney Experience app.

We recommend buying it BEFORE 7:00 am on the day of your visit so it is ready to go right when ride reservations start.

*It’s important to remember you need a valid theme park admission before purchasing Genie+.

To buy Genie+ open the My Disney Experience app, click on the menu button at the bottom of the page, and then click “My Genie Day.”

My Disney Experience Menu

You’ll see a button in the middle of the screen that says: “Take Today to the Next Level, Get Disney Genie+ for Today.”

Get Disney Genie+ for Today

Click “Get Disney Genie+ Service.”

Disney Genie+ startup screen

On the next screen, you can add guests to your party who are connected with you in the Family & Friends list in My Disney Experience.  If you are a family of 4 this is where you add the other members to the Genie+ purchase.

Buying Disney Genie+

Confirm your payment information.  Once that is done agree to the Terms & Conditions and click the “Purchase” button.  You will get a purchase confirmation email and you are all set!

Disney Genie+ Terms and conditions

How to Make Ride Reservations

Genie+ ride reservations cannot be made 60 days in advance like you could with FastPass+ and instead can only be made the day of your visit to the theme park.  Genie+ reservations are made available each morning starting at 7:00 am.  

This is true for all guests no matter if you are staying at a Walt Disney World Resort hotel, off-site, or if you are a DVC member or annual passholder.  Because of this, not nearly as much pre-planning is needed and you can wait until the day of to solidify any plans you might have.

To make a Genie+ ride reservation, open the My Disney Experience app and click the menu button at the bottom of the page.

Click on “Tip Board.”  Once on the Tip Board, you will see all available attractions listed.

Disney Genie+ Tip Board

Find the attraction you want and you will see the next available return time.  If you want it, click “Book Experience.”

Disney Genie+ Peter Pan's Flight Lightning Lane

If you haven’t selected your party already this is where you add who in your group wants a Genie+ reservation for this ride.  Make sure the list is correct so you don’t accidentally add someone who doesn’t want to go on this ride.

When you are ready click “Confirm Party.”

Review the details of your reservation and if everything looks good, click the “Continue” button at the bottom.

Peter Pan's Flight Genie+ Selection

You will then be given a confirmation screen.  Click “View My Day” button or the “X” to exit and return to the main screen.

Disney Genie+ Lightning Lane selection confirmation

You will be given a ride reservation with a 1-hour window much like FastPass+ used to do.  This gives you some leeway if you are busy in other areas of the park. 

You can check your upcoming Genie+ reservations in the “My Day” tab in the My Disney Experience app.  Come to this screen if you forget when your return time is.

Disney World Genie+ reservation list

How to Redeem Genie+ Reservations

Once your return window is ready, just show up at the entrance of the attraction and tap in using your MagicBand or park ticket on the touchpoint.  Once the touchpoint turns green, proceed through into the Lightning Lane and on to the attraction.

If the light turns blue instead of green, it means that something has gone wrong.  Likely you are either too early to your reservation or too late.  If that is the case, wait until your return window is ready or you can talk to a Cast Member for more help.

At some point in the queue, you will merge with other guests from the standby queue, but at that point, you will almost be at the end and the wait should only be a couple of minutes more.

Are Standby Queues Still Free?

While it may seem like Disney is charging for everything lately, it is still free to use the standby queue for all attractions.  No one is required to buy Genie+.   If you don’t want to spend the extra money and purchase Genie+ you can still wait in line like you always have.

Lightning Lane Basics

This is where things start to get really confusing.  You know what the Genie+ service is, but now we are going to talk about the Lightning Lane which is connected but different.

What is the Lightning Lane?

The Lightning Lane is the name for the physical entrance to attractions that allows you to skip the standby queue.  Lightning Lanes are the old FastPass+ entrances, just with a new name.

When you use the Genie+ service and redeem your reservation, you are sent through the Lightning Lane until arriving at the merge point with other guests before boarding the ride.  This is also true when using an Individual Lightning Lane Selection (we’ll explain that in a second).

For that reason, you will often hear “Lightning Lane” reservations used to refer to a Genie+ reservation, because you are sent through the Lightning Lane.

Lightning Lane Basics

What Are Individual Lightning Lane Selections

Individual Lightning Lane Selections is a pay-per-ride service separate from Genie+ that allows you to skip the standby queue on select attractions.  It’s à la carte, so instead of paying $15 per day for a group of attractions with Genie+, you pay on a per-ride basis.

To recap:

  • Lightning Lanes are the physical queue that let you skip the line.
  • Individual Lightning Lane Selections is a pay-per-ride service that lets you enter the physical Lightning Lane.
  • Genie+ is a paid line-skipping service where you pay one flat fee for the day and skip the lines in multiple attractions.

How Does Individual Lightning Lane Work?

Genie+ basics

The principle behind the Individual Lightning Lane selections is very similar to Genie+ in that you make a ride reservation and are given a return time with a 1-hour window.  When making your selection, you are given a choice of return times which you can choose to your liking.

Unlike Genie+, you buy Individual Lightning Lane attractions at the same you are making a reservation.  It’s not something that’s part of a package that you buy ahead of time.

When your return window is ready, just show up at the attraction entrance, scan your MagicBand or ticket at the tap point, and a cast member will let you into the Lightning Lane.

Let’s say you are at Disney’s Hollywood Studios and you want to skip the line for Rise of the Resistance.  In that case, you will pay a one-time fee for a Lightning Lane reservation.  You are given a return time at which time you will show up at the attraction to enter the ride.

How Do I Get the Lightning Lane?

The easiest way to book Individual Lightning Lane attractions is by using the “Tip Board” in the My Disney Experience app.  To do this, navigate to the Menu button at the bottom of the screen and click “Tip Board.”

Disney Genie+ Main Menu

There you will see a list of all the attractions in that park.  Scroll down until you find the Individual Lightning Lane attraction you are looking for where you will see the next available return window and purchase price.  Click the box to continue.

Individual Lightning Lane Frozen Ever After

TIP: If you don’t see the attraction you are looking for, make sure the right park is selected.  To change parks click the “Change Park” button underneath today’s date.

Individual Lightning Lane Select a Park

On the next screen, search and select your preferred return time.

Individual Lightning Lane Frozen Ever After select time

To see your current plans and if there are any conflicts during the selected return time click the “Plans During This Time” button.  The app won’t warn you otherwise if you have conflicting plans, so look through here to see if you have any prior Advanced Dining Reservations or Genie+ attractions scheduled.

Individual Lightning Lane Purchase

Next, we need to confirm our party.  If there are members missing that should be there, or people in the list that shouldn’t be, click the “Edit” button to make the appropriate changes.  This is important because you can’t modify the reservation once it’s purchased.

Select your party members and click “Confirm Party.”  

Once your party is confirmed, click “Continue” at the bottom of the screen.

Individual Lightning Lane Purchase select your party

The last screen is where you can review your booking and see the final price after tax.  Make sure everything is correct, agree to the Terms & Conditions, and click the “Purchase” button at the bottom of the screen to finalize your reservation.

Purchase Individual Lightning Lane

Next, you are sent to a confirmation screen.

Individual Lightning Lane confirmation

Lastly, you will see your Individual Lightning Lane reservation listed in the Tip Board.

See Individual Lightning Lane selection in Tip Board

How Much Does Lightning Lane Cost at Disney World?

Individual Lightning Lane attractions cost on average between $7-$17 each at Walt Disney World depending on the ride and date you choose to go.

The more popular the ride is, the more it costs.  Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance for example will always cost more than Expedition Everest because there is more of a demand from guests.

Does Genie+ and Lightning Lane Work with MagicBands?

Yes.  Both Genie+ and Lightning Lane work with the current MagicBand system, and also the new MagicBand+ coming in 2022.  The MagicBands hold your ride reservations and let you “tap in” to the ride queue once you arrive.

MagicBands are not required, however, and you can also use your park ticket or your Smartphone if you don’t have a MagicBand.

Disney Genie Free Service

Disney Genie+ Things to Know

What is Disney Genie? (Free Service)

Disney Genie is a free vacation planning tool for guests at The Walt Disney World Resort. This next-generation tool is built into the My Disney Experience app and lets guests make customized trip itineraries and touring plans based on their preferences and what they are interested in.

It is designed to help guests better plan their day by giving suggestions based on their personal preferences, therefore creating a more enjoyable experience and maximizing your time in the parks.  

Disney Genie features include:

  • Recommended Itineraries
  • Personal Tip Board
  • Dining Suggestions
  • Forecasted Wait Times

Is Disney Genie Required to Use Genie+?

Disney Genie and Genie+ are intertwined, but you do not have to use the free Disney Genie services to use Genie+.  Disney Genie was designed to help you get the most out of your day by using its suggestions, but it’s not required to skip the lines.

How Do I Download the Disney Genie app?

Disney Genie is not a separate app but an add-on to the existing My Disney Experience app and requires no additional installation.  To access Disney Genie, open My Disney Experience on your smartphone and click on “Tip Board” or “My Genie Day” from the main menu.

What is Happening to the My Disney Experience App?

My Disney Experience is not going away, in fact, it’s even more important for planning your day than ever.  The app has been updated with the new Disney Genie features but it is sticking around for long term.  

The jury is out on whether that is a good or bad thing, however.

How to make the most of Disney Genie screen

Advantages of Using Disney Genie?

While we aren’t huge fans of the free Disney Genie service, there are a couple of features you may find useful.  

Forecasted Wait Times – The times are not always accurate, but they give you a good general idea of how long you can expect to wait for a given attraction on that day.  You can also sort them based on your favorites which helps you find the ones you want quickly.

Tip Board – The Tip Board will give you suggestions about which attractions you might be interested in based on your likes.  This feature is helpful for first-time guests who aren’t completely familiar with all the attractions in the park.

On the other hand, we don’t find the Itinerary Creator very helpful.  It’s inconsistent at best and often suggests doing rides that otherwise wouldn’t be very high on our list.  We don’t feel it follows through with its promise to “quick and seamlessly map out an entire day” and it needs improvement before being able to rely on it.

This is just an overview, for more info read our Guide to Disney Genie Free Service.

Full List of Disney Genie+ and Lightning Lane Attractions

Genie+ Lightning Lane list

Not all attractions at Walt Disney World are available for Genie+ or Lightning Lane so it’s important to know which ones are ahead of time.

Genie+ Attractions

Here is the official list of Genie+ Lightning Lane entrances at Walt Disney World:

Magic Kingdom

  • Big Thunder Mountain Railroad
  • Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin
  • Disney Festival of Fantasy Parade
  • Dumbo the Flying Elephant
  • Haunted Mansion
  • “it’s a small world”
  • Jungle Cruise
  • Mad Tea Party
  • Meet Cinderella and a Visiting Princess at Princess Fairytale Hall
  • Meet Mickey at Town Square Theater
  • Meet Princess Tiana and a Visiting Princess at Princess Fairytale Hall
  • Mickey’s PhilharMagic
  • Monsters Inc. Laugh Floor
  • Peter Pan’s Flight
  • Pirates of the Caribbean
  • Space Mountain *(only until August 7, 2022)
  • Splash Mountain
  • The Barnstormer
  • The Magic Carpets of Aladdin
  • The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh
  • Tomorrowland Speedway
  • Under the Sea ~ Journey of The Little Mermaid

EPCOT

  • Disney and Pixar Short Film Festival
  • Frozen Ever After *(only until August 7, 2022)
  • Journey into Imagination with Figment
  • Living with the Land
  • Mission: SPACE – Green
  • Mission: SPACE – Orange
  • Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure *(only until August 7, 2022)
  • Soarin’ Around the World
  • Spaceship Earth
  • Test Track
  • The Seas with Nemo & Friends
  • Turtle Talk with Crush

Hollywood Studios

  • Alien Swirling Saucers
  • Beauty and the Beast Live on Stage
  • Disney Junior Play & Dance!
  • For the First Time in Forever: A Frozen Sing-Along Celebration
  • Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular
  • Meet Olaf at Celebrity Spotlight
  • Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway *(only until August 7, 2022)
  • Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run
  • Muppet*Vision 3D
  • Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster Starring Aerosmith
  • Slinky Dog Dash
  • Star Tours – The Adventures Continue
  • The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror™
  • Toy Story Mania!

Animal Kingdom

  • Celebration of the Festival of the Lion King
  • DINOSAUR
  • Expedition Everest – Legend of the Forbidden Mountain *(only until August 7, 2022)
  • Feathered Friends in Flight!
  • Finding Nemo: The Big Blue…and Beyond!
  • It’s Tough to Be a Bug!
  • Kali River Rapids
  • Kilimanjaro Safaris
  • Meet Favorite Disney Pals at Adventurers Outpost
  • Naʻvi River Journey
  • The Animation Experience at Conservation Station

Individual Lightning Lane Attractions

There are 2 attractions in each Disney World theme park that are not included in the list of Genie+ attractions, but instead are part of the Individual Lightning Lane selections.  These tend to be the most popular rides in each park.

Here is the official list of Individual Lightning Lane attractions at Walt Disney World:

Magic Kingdom

  • Seven Dwarfs Mine Train
  • Space Mountain *(until August 7, 2022, this is included in the base Genie+ service)

EPCOT

Hollywood Studios

Animal Kingdom

  • Avatar Flight of Passage
  • Expedition Everest *(until August 7, 2022, this is included in the base Genie+ service)

Lightning Lane Average Prices

Genie+ price

Prices for Individual Lightning Lane attractions range from $7 to $17 depending on the ride and date.  The most popular attractions like Rise of the Resistance cost more than others like Space Mountain.

Here are the current average prices per person for Lightning Lane rides in Walt Disney World:

Magic Kingdom

  • Seven Dwarfs Mine Train: $10-$12
  • Space Mountain: $7-$9

EPCOT

  • Frozen Ever After: $9-$11
  • Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind: $14-$17
  • Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure: $9-$11

Hollywood Studios

  • Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway: $8-$10
  • Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance: $15

Animal Kingdom

  • Avatar Flight of Passage: $11-$14
  • Expedition Everest: $7

Keep in mind that these are only average prices.  Disney can increase the prices during holidays and on the busiest days of the year.

Does Every Attraction at Disney World Have a Lightning Lane?

Not every attraction at Walt Disney World has a Lightning Lane queue, but the most popular ones do.  

At this time, Walt Disney World guests have access to 55 attractions using Genie+ or Lightning Lane selections.  From this point on, all new attractions will also be built with a Lightning Lane allowing guests to use either Genie+ or Individual Lightning Lane selections.

If an attraction doesn’t have a Lightning Lane that means that not enough people ride it to warrant one, so you don’t have to worry about long lines there anyway.

Top Attractions for Genie+ & Individual Lightning Lanes

Individual Lightning Lane purchase

Even though each theme park has many Genie+ attractions available to select, plus 2 Individual Lightning Lane attractions, not all of them are worth reserving.  You have a limited number of selections you can make each day and you don’t want to waste them on rides with low wait times.

Here are the priority attractions when using Genie+ and or Individual Lightning Lane. 

Magic Kingdom

Genie+ Attractions

The best choices for your early Genie+ selections at Disney’s Magic Kingdom are any of the following:

  1. Peter Pan’s Flight
  2. Jungle Cruise
  3. Big Thunder Mountain
  4. Splash Mountain

Individual Lightning Lane Attractions

At the Magic Kingdom, the only attraction worth buying Individual Lightning Lane access for is Seven Dwarfs Mine Train.  This routinely has the longest wait times in the park and often is more than an hour or more.

Space Mountain is not worth using an ILL on and you can often get on with the standby queue in 30 minutes.

Magic Kingdom Genie+ Lightning Lane Attractions

EPCOT

Genie+ Attractions

The best choices for your Genie+ selections at EPCOT are any of the following attractions:

  1. Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure
  2. Frozen Ever After
  3. Test Track
  4. Soarin’ Around the World
  5. Mission: SPACE (Orange and Green)
  6. Spaceship Earth

Individual Lightning Lane Attractions

Depending on when you are visiting EPCOT, there might be two rides worth buying with ILL, but the entire lineup here is getting switched around with the opening of Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind.

Cosmic Rewind is definitely worth buying an Individual Lightning Lane selection for, especially if you can’t get into the Virtual Queue. It will still be worth it if it is using a standby queue as lines here will easily be 2 hours long. 

The other two options are Frozen Ever After or Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure, both of which have used the Individual Lightning Lane in the past. At this point, we are waiting until August to see which one Disney brings back as an ILL selection if either of them.

During the busy times of the year wait, times for both can be 90 minutes or more which makes saving the time tempting.

We hate spending the money twice in one park but if it continues to have wait times this long it could be worth it.

EPCOT Genie+ Lightning Lane Attractions

Hollywood Studios

Genie+ Attractions

The best choices for your first Genie+ selections at Disney’s Hollywood Studios are these attractions in the following order:

  1. Slinky Dog Dash
  2. Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run
  3. Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster
  4. Tower of Terror
  5. Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway
  6. Toy Story Mania!

Individual Lightning Lane Attractions:

Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance is the most popular ride at Walt Disney World and is worth an Individual Lightning Lane selection.  If you are going to pay for one ride during your whole trip, this would be it.

Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway is the other ride with ILL (when available), but it’s not really worth it in our opinion.  Wait times will sometimes be over an hour and in that case you might want to consider it, but if not we prefer just waiting.

Slinky Dog Genie+ Lightning Lane

Animal Kingdom

Genie+ Attractions

The best choices for your first Genie+ selections at Disney’s Animal Kingdom are these attractions in the following order:

  1. Kali River Rapids
  2. Na’vi River Journey
  3. Expedition Everest
  4. Kilimanjaro Safaris
  5. Dinosaur

Individual Lightning Lane Attractions:

Only Avatar Flight of Passage is worth an Individual Lightning Lane selection at the Animal Kingdom.  Lines here can be 90 minutes or longer so unless going at rope drop or the end of the evening you can consider it.

Expedition Everest is not worth a Lightning Lane selection at all and unless you are going on a holiday it’s rare to wait more than 30-40 minutes.

Animal Kingdom Genie+ Lightning Lane Attractions

Lightning Lane & Disney Genie+ Differences

Under the Sea ~ Journey of The Little Mermaid Disney World

While Genie Plus and Individual Lightning Lanes are both services that allow you to skip the standby queue, there are some big differences between them you should be aware of.

Services

Genie+ allows you to ride multiple rides per day, as many as 20 in theory.  Most of the attractions throughout Disney World are in fact enabled with a Lightning Lane entry for Genie+.

Individual Lightning Lanes on the other hand only give you access to one ride at a time.  Your choices are also limited to 2 rides per day.

Price

Genie+ is a flat fee of $15.98 after tax while Individual Lightning Lanes can range from $7-$17 for each ride.

Selection Times

Genie+ does not allow guests to choose their own return time, you must take the earliest one available at the time of booking.  All guests can start booking rides starting at 7:00 am each day.  There is also a 120-minute wait time between each reservation.

With Individual Lightning Lane selections you can actually choose your preferred return time from the list of available times.  

Walt Disney World Resort hotel guests have the advantage in booking selections and can start at 7:00 am each day, while off-site guests must wait until park opening.  Both daily reservations can be made right away without waiting.

Which One is Better?

Hollywood Studios Genie+ Lightning Lane Attractions

Which one is better between Genie+ and Individual Lightning Lane selection is subjective and depends on many factors including your budget, touring schedule, how frequently you visit the parks, and how tolerant you are to waiting in line.

Genie+ costs $15.98 after tax per person, but it gives you the most bang for your buck.  Depending on which park you are going to it gives you a choice of 8-20 attractions where you can skip the standby queue.

The Individual Lightning Lane selections on the other hand for the most part cost less than Genie+ (between $7-$17) but you only are getting one attraction.  If that’s the only one you need to skip the line for, it may be the better choice.

Top Picks for Disney Genie

Since Genie Plus includes the ability to ride many attractions for that price, and Individual Lightning Lane only lets you ride one, between the two of them, Genie Plus is the much better value.  If you are able to do 10 rides in a day with Genie+, that means they only cost you about $1.60 per ride which sounds way better to us.

If you want to maximize your time in the parks and wait the least amount of time, you can get both Genie+ and buy Individual Lightning Lanes, though in most cases this will be excessive.  

You may want to do it though if you don’t have a lot of time in the parks and need to do as many rides as you can in a short amount of time.  It also makes sense if this is a once-in-a-lifetime vacation and money is not an object.

Ultimately, there is no “right” answer to the question and you’ll have to weigh the pros and cons and choose which one is better for your situation.

Genie+ FAQs

Disney Genie+ Lightning Lane Reservation Soarin Around the World

When Can I Add Disney Genie Plus to My Reservation?

Right now you can only buy Genie+ for individual days of your vacation.  

For each day you want to use the Genie+ service, you need to buy a one-day Genie+ pass. You can purchase it on the day of your visit, starting at 12:00 am (midnight).  This is the case for Annual Passholders and Single-ticket holders. Genie+ must be purchased on the My Disney Experience app.

If you want it for every day you are going to a theme park on your vacation, you must purchase Genie+ individually on every day you plan on using it. Genie+ can no longer be bought ahead of time for every day of your trip or as part of your vacation package.

To make sure there are no problems when Genie+ reservations open at 7:00 am, we like to purchase Genie+ by 6:45 am.  That way we have time to fix any credit card issues, etc.

Can You Purchase Genie+ at the Park?

Yes, you can.  If you are purchasing a one-day pass for Genie+ it can be bought at the park if necessary.  However, we highly recommend buying it BEFORE 7:00 am on the morning of your visit so you can start making reservations right at 7:00 am.

Can You Buy Genie Plus for Just One Day of My Vacation?

Yes, absolutely.  If you only want to buy Genie+ for one day of your vacation, that is perfectly ok.  We recommend this over buying it as a length of stay add-on because you only really need it at one or two of the parks.

Who is Eligible to Purchase Genie+?

Anyone with a valid theme park admission can purchase the Genie+ service.  This includes Annual Passholders.  This means you need to FIRST have a park ticket before you can buy Genie+.

Does Disney Limit the Number of Guests That Can Purchase Genie+?

Disney Genie+ Lightning Lanes list of rides

No, it doesn’t.  Disney does not put a limit on the number of guests who can purchase Genie+ on a given day, and technically everyone can buy it.

However, the number of Genie+ reservations for each attraction is limited per day, and the most popular rides always sell out more quickly.  Park capacity at Disney World is limited so don’t think you can find a Genie+ reservation for Slinky Dog Dash at 7:00 pm, all reservations will be long gone by then.

For that reason, we advise against buying the Genie Plus service late in the day.  All the best rides will already be sold out for the day and only the rides that no one wants will be left.  

We recommend purchasing Genie+ before 7:00 am in the morning so you can take advantage of the full lineup of attractions and make it worth the money.

Does Genie+ Include Lightning Lane?

Yes and no.

The Genie+ service does not include Individual Lightning Lane attractions.  Those attractions are à la carte and there are 2 per park.  They are 2 separate services.

Genie+ does however include the “Genie+ Lightning Lane” if you are referring to the name of the queue because that is what the old FastPass queue is called…the Lightning Lane.  That is what lets you skip the standby queue.  Again it’s easy to confuse these two.

Can I Add Disney Genie Plus to an Existing Reservation?

Yes, you can.  If you have already booked a Disney World vacation package with theme park tickets, you can add Genie+ to your existing reservation.  You can do this through the My Disney Experience app, over the phone, or at the theme parks at the ticket booth or a Guest Relations location.

What Time Can I Start Making Genie+ Bookings Each Day?

Genie+ bookings open for all guests at 7:00 am each morning.  It doesn’t matter if you are staying at a Walt Disney World Resort or not, it’s the same for everyone.

Can I Make Ride Reservations a Day in Advance?

No, you can’t.  Genie+ is not like FastPass+ where you could make your ride reservations 60 days in advance.  All Genie+ reservations can only be made on the same day you visit the park.  

If you are going to the Magic Kingdom on Monday, you have to wait until Monday morning at 7:00 am to start making reservations.

How Many Genie+ Reservations Can I Have at Once?

Guests can make one Genie+ reservation at a time and are required to wait another 120 minutes before booking the next attraction.  However, it is possible to hold more than one reservation at a time.  

Guests can “stack” multiple Disney Genie+ reservations, and it’s possible to hold even as many as 4 reservations at one time.  (We cover the “Stacking” strategy in more depth later in this guide.)

Can I Select My Return Time for Genie+ Attractions?

No, you can’t.  Genie+ return times are automatically selected and cannot be chosen.  Guests are given the earliest available 1-hour time window, much like the old paper FastPass system.

If you prefer a later return time, try waiting a while before making a reservation for that attraction, or choose a different ride.

TIP: Even after making a reservation, if you keep checking the Tip Board in My Disney Experience throughout the day, better times will come up and you can switch to that time.  They come and go quickly so keep checking.

How Long is the Return Window for Lightning Lane Reservations with Genie+?

The Genie+ return times work exactly how the old FastPass+ system did.  Return times are given in one-hour windows with Genie Plus so if your return time is at 2:30 pm, you really have from 2:30 pm to 3:30 pm.

That gives you plenty of time to show up in case you are already on another attraction or eating in one of the restaurants.  Guests also have an extra 15-minute grace period in case they are running late.

Disney Genie+ Lightning Lane Return Window

How Long Do I Have to Wait to Book My Next Genie+ Reservation?

Once you make your first Genie+ reservation for the day you must wait until tapping into the Lightning Lane for your current reservation OR after 120 minutes from the last time you booked at Genie+ attraction, whichever comes first.

That means if you book an attraction at 10:00 am, you either have to wait until 12:00 pm (120 minutes) or wait to redeem your current Genie+ reservation before you can make another one.  

The only time the 120-minute rule does not come into effect is when booking your first reservation of the day BEFORE the official park opening.  

If the park opens at 9:00 am but you made a reservation at 7:00 am, you don’t get another one at 9:00 am, the 120-minute rule kicks in and you either have to wait until 11:00 am to make your second one, or wait until you tap into the Lightning Lane of the first booking (as long as it’s before 11:00 am).

We’ll get into this more later on when we talk about the 120 Minute Rule.

How Many Genie Plus Rides Can You Do Per Day?

How many Genie+ rides per day at Disney World

So if you spend the $15.98 for Genie+, how many attractions can you actually do in one day?  How many Genie+ rides you can do in a day depends on many factors including how busy the park is that day, which rides you select, and in which order. 

Technically, it is possible to do an unlimited number of rides in a day, or at least as many Genie+ rides as there are in that park.  For example, at Hollywood Studios there are 13 attractions with Lightning Lanes so it’s possible to do all 13 in one day.

You are capped at 1 ride per attraction so if the park only has 13, you can’t do more than that.

The maximum number you can do in one day is 20 at Disney’s Magic Kingdom because that is how many Lightning Lanes they have.  If you timed everything perfectly and there were low wait times, it would be possible to do all 20 once.

The only exception is if you park hopped to a second park after the Magic Kingdom and started doing more attractions there.  But the odds are that you would never make it through all 20 and still have time to go to another park where there are still Genie+ reservations available.

What are the Best Days to Use Genie+?

The success you have with Genie+ is largely dependent on how crowded the parks are on the day you visit.  If you go on a holiday or on the weekend in peak season, it’s going to be much more difficult to get the rides you want.

On the other hand, if you go during the slower times of the year, especially on weekdays, you will have much more luck.

We suggest reviewing our Disney World Crowd Calendar to find out the most and least crowded times of the year including specific days that are the best or worst.

How Many Times Can I Ride the Same Attraction Each Day?

Guests are limited to riding the same attraction with Genie+ only once per day.  You cannot keep booking the same ride over and over again.

If you want to ride the same attraction more than once per day, you can do it once with Genie+ and then as many other times as you want using the standby queue.

Do Genie+ Attractions Sell Out Each Day?

Disney Genie+ attraction sellout

Many of the most popular Genie+ selections sell out each day in Disney World.  There are only a certain number of reservations each day, and when they are gone, they are gone.  

It doesn’t happen to every single attraction, every day, but it does to most of the good ones.  Expect rides like Slinky Dog Dash, Jungle Cruise, Peter Pan’s Flight, and Test Track to all run out of availability each day, sometimes early in the morning.  Make these a priority.

When an attraction has been sold out of Genie+ reservations you will see “Not Currently Offered” displayed on the screen.

For this reason, we highly recommend you read through our strategy and tips section in this article our individual Genie+ guides for each theme park to help you get the best ones.

How Can I Book Both Slinky Dog Dash and Rise of the Resistance?

This is a big problem since they are arguably the two most popular attractions in Walt Disney World right now, yet they both are located in Disney’s Hollywood Studios.  That means even if you are online at 7:00 am you can’t do both at the same time which is a problem since they both can sell out in seconds depending on when you are going.

The best way to handle this problem is to have two people making reservations at 7:00 am, one for Slinky Dog Dash and the other Rise of the Resistance.

If you are doing it alone, we would suggest Slinky Dog Dash first and then Rise of the Resistance.  At least Slinky Dog is free (with Genie+ purchase) and if you can only have one reservation it’s better to have one you don’t pay even more for.

Can I Modify or Cancel Ride Reservations?

You can’t modify a Genie+ reservation but they can be canceled as long as it is done before the return time window ends.  If your return window is from 1:00 pm to 2:00 pm, you need to cancel it before 2:00 pm.

At that point, you can rebook the same attraction at a different time, or book a different attraction.  This must all be done on the My Disney Experience app.

It’s best to avoid canceling your reservation whenever possible as it’s a tedious and time-consuming process.  Make sure to check if the new ride you want to book actually has availability before canceling your original reservation.

Is Disney Genie Plus Refundable?

Is Disney Genie+ Refundable

Whether or not the Genie+ service is refundable or not depends on if you bought it as part of your vacation package or if you bought it for just one day.

One Day Purchase – In this case, according to the Disney Genie terms and conditions, all sales of Genie+ are non-refundable.  If you buy it in the morning and then decide later you don’t want to use it after all, you will not be given a refund.

Length of Stay Purchase – Genie+ is refundable if you bought Genie Plus for your length of stay as part of a vacation package.  Since Genie+ is an add-on feature to your theme park tickets, it’s included in the vacation package refund policy.  

As long as you cancel your vacation more than 30 days prior to arrival you will receive a full refund for everything, including Genie Plus.

What if One of My Ride Selections for Genie+ Breaks Down?

Multiple Experience pass Genie+ Disney World

If a ride breaks down that you have a Genie+ for during your return window, you will be given a “Multiple Experience” pass, just like they used to do with FastPass+ at Disney World.

This pass lets you choose from the other Genie+ attractions in that park, depending on which ones still have availability.  

This happened to us while we had a return time for The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh.  We had all the other Genie+ rides available except for Peter Pan’s Flight because there was no more availability for the day.

You cannot use a Multiple Experience pass to reserve one of the Individual Lightning Lane attractions.

Once you use the Multiple Experience pass to book a new attraction, it counts as your pre-existing selection and you can then make another selection as soon as your next scheduled booking window arrives.

Can I Make Genie+ Reservations in Multiple Parks on the Same Day?

Yes, you can.  When guests buy the Genie+ service, they buy it for the entire day and can use it in multiple parks on the same day.  Genie+ can be used in 2, 3, or even 4 theme parks in the same day technically.

Your first Genie+ reservation needs to be made in the park where you are going first (the one you have park reservations for), then you can book more rides in another park and use the Park Hopper feature.

You could start the day at Hollywood Studios, then head over to EPCOT in the afternoon and evening.  In that case, you would make your first reservation/s at Hollywood Studios, then you can start making reservations at EPCOT after that.

  • When making a ride reservation in the second park of the day, the one in the second park needs to be after park hopping hours start.  For example, if park hopping starts at 2:00 pm, you can’t make a Genie+ reservation before that since you won’t be allowed into the park.

Does My Whole Group Need to Add Genie Plus?

No, they don’t.  As many members of your party can add Genie+ as they want.  If only 1 person wants to purchase Genie+, that’s totally fine.  If everyone wants Genie+, that’s fine too.  

You decide how many in your group it’s worth buying for.  Obviously, if a few of the members of your group don’t do many rides, it’s probably not worth it for them.

Disney Genie+ Lightning Lanes

Does Everyone in My Party Need to Manage their Own Reservations?

No.  All guests have the ability to make Genie+ reservations for other members of their party using My Disney Experience.  As long as you are connected together in the app, and as long as they have purchased Genie+ for that day, you can add any of your friends or family to the reservation.

Each guest can manage their own reservations, or one person can manage the reservations for everyone, it’s up to you to decide how to handle it.  If we are touring the parks with a group, we find it easier to assign one person to make the reservations for everyone.  That’s what we prefer but you can choose which way you like better.

Is Everyone in My Group Forced to Ride the Same Attractions?

No, absolutely not.  Each person in the group can choose which attractions they want to go on and which ones they want to skip, you are not required to all ride together.

For example, at the Magic Kingdom, if some people are more thrill-seekers and want to do all the mountains, they can make Genie+ reservations for those.  Meanwhile, the other people in the group who prefer doing slower rides like Peter Pan, Haunted Mansion, or Pirates, can use their reservations for those rides instead.

Can Guests Staying at an Off-Site Hotel Use Disney Genie+?

Yes, they absolutely can.  It doesn’t matter where you are staying, all guests with a valid theme park admission can use the Genie+ service, including guests staying at a hotel off-site.

At this time, there are no advantages for guests staying at a Walt Disney World Resort hotel when it comes to Genie+.

What About Non-Park Days?

Only purchase Genie+ for days you will be visiting the theme parks. If you are staying at the resort and having a pool day, there is no need to buy Genie+ for that day.

So if your vacation is 7 days total, but you only have park tickets for 4 days, the highest number of days you will want to pay for Genie+ is 4 days, not 7.

Disney World Genie+ on off-days

Can I Use Rider Switch with Genie+?

Yes, you can.  Nothing has changed with the way Rider Switch works now with Genie+ in comparison to the old FastPass+ system.  Both Genie+ and the Individual Lightning Lane let you take advantage of Rider Switch on attractions that offer it.

Other Features of Genie+ at Disney World?

Besides the normal ride-skipping feature, Genie+ also includes guided audio tours of the theme parks and AR filters for creating some pretty fun photos in front of Disney’s most popular landmarks.

Is PhotoPass Included with Genie Plus?

No, PhotoPass is NOT included with Genie+ at Walt Disney World.  If you want to take advantage of PhotoPass downloads you need to purchase a separate package from Disney.

On the other hand, the PhotoPass service IS included with Genie+ at Disneyland.

Lightning Lane FAQs

Lightning Lane at Tower of Terror Disney World

When Can I Purchase Lightning Lane?

Differently from Genie+, when you can make a Lightning Lane selection depends on if you are staying off-site or at a Disney World Resort hotel.

Walt Disney World Resort Guests – Reservations for Individual Lightning Lane attractions can be made starting at 7:00 am on the day of your visit to that theme park.

Off-Site Guests – Reservations can be made starting at park opening each day.  If the park opens at 9:00 am, that’s when you can start making Lightning Lane selections.

Just like with Genie+, you cannot make Individual Lightning Lane reservations days ahead of time and all reservations must be made on the same day you are visiting that theme park.

For example, if Hollywood Studios opens at 9:00 am on the day of your visit, Disney World Resort hotel guests can start making Lightning Lane reservations at 7:00 am that day, meanwhile non-resort guests must wait until park opening at 9:00 am.

Can You Buy Lightning Lane without Genie+?

Yes, you can.  The Genie+ service and Individual Lightning Lane selections are two separate things and are not dependent on each other.  If you want to buy Genie+ you are not required to make single Lightning Lane purchases, and vice versa.

If you want to only pay for one ride using the Lightning Lane, that is perfectly fine and you will not be required to also buy Genie+.

Can You Purchase Both Genie+ and Individual Lightning Lane Access?

Yes, you can.  Though not required, it is possible to purchase both Genie+ and Individual Lightning Lane access.  As long as your budget allows, it’s not an issue.  This is the best combination for guests who really want to get as many attractions done in one day as possible.

How Many Individual Lightning Lane Attractions Can You Purchase Each Day?

Each guest is allowed to make 2 Individual Lightning Lane reservations per day.  Guests cannot make more than 2 reservations under any circumstance.

Genie+ Lightning Lanes in multiple parks

How Many Lightning Lanes Can You Have at Once? Do I Need to Wait?

Guests are limited to a maximum of 2 Individual Lightning Lane reservations per day.  However, both reservations can be held at the same time and no waiting is required between making the 2 reservations.

For example, at Disney’s Animal Kingdom you can hold reservations for Avatar Flight of Passage and Expedition Everest at the same time.

If you plan on making 2 Individual Lightning Lane reservations on the same day, we recommend you to make both of them immediately at 7:00 am (or at park opening if staying off-site) to have the best chance of getting your preferred time slots.

How Many Times Can You Do the Same Lightning Lane Attraction Per Day?

Only once.  Guests cannot make 2 Lightning Lane reservations for the same attraction on the same day.  Even though you can make 2 Lightning Lane reservations per day, they must be for 2 different rides.

Unfortunately, that means you can only use the Lightning Lane for attractions like Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance once per day.

If you want to ride the same attraction twice, you can do it once with a Lightning Lane purchase, and then again using the standby queue as many times as you like.

Can I Make Individual Reservations in 2 Different Theme Parks?

Yes, you can.  Individual Lightning Lane selections are limited to 2 per guest, per day, but they can be in 2 different parks.  For example, you can book Rise of the Resistance at Hollywood Studios in the morning, and Avatar Flight of Passage at the Animal Kingdom in the Afternoon.

The important thing to remember is you need to have the park hopper option on your theme park admission to go to multiple parks in the same day, and the second Lightning Lane reservation needs to be after park hopper hours begin for the day, which as of this writing is 2:00 pm daily.

Disney Genie+ Reservations in 2 parks

Are All Attractions Available for Single Lightning Lane Purchase?

No, they are not.  There are only 2 Individual Lightning Lane attractions available in each Disney World theme park.  These are the 2 most popular rides in each park.

The rest of the attractions are available using the Lightning Lane through Genie+ or by using the standby queue.

Can I Buy Reservations for Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance?

Yes, you can.  Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance is one of the 2 Individual Lightning Lane attractions at Disney’s Hollywood Studios and definitely the most popular choice.

Because of its popularity, we suggest booking a Lightning Lane reservation for Rise of the Resistance immediately at 7:00 am as it tends to sell out early each day.

Do Lightning Lane Attractions Sell Out Each Day?

The best and most popular attractions sell out of Individual Lightning Lane attractions on most days.  This depends somewhat on the date you are visiting and how crowded the parks are, but in most cases, rides like Rise of the Resistance will sell out each day.

That is why we recommend booking your Individual Lightning Lane rides as early as possible in the morning so you can have your pick of time slots for the rides you want.

Disney Genie+ Lightning Lanes sell out every day

Can I Cancel Lightning Lane Reservations and Get a Refund?

In most cases, Individual Lightning Lane selections are non-refundable.  These purchases are final and you cannot get a refund if you change your mind after buying it.

They are also non-modifiable so once you make your Individual Lightning Lane selection you can’t change the return time or the number of guests with you in the reservation.

Don’t miss your return time with Individual Lightning Lanes, Disney is very strict at upholding this rule and you will lose your money.

What Happens If My Individual Lightning Lane Attraction Breaks Down?

Remember how I said Lightning Lane selections are non-refundable “in most cases?”  This is one of those times.

If a ride breaks down and never comes back online that day, you will be given a full refund for that specific Lightning Lane purchase.

If a ride breaks down during your return window and comes back online at some point later in the day, your return window will be extended through the end of the day.  You can come back at any time, but you will not be refunded, even if you never return to ride.

Even if you have other plans that don’t allow you to return to ride that Lightning Lane attraction, you still will not be given a refund.

If you have any questions about how it works you can ask a Cast Member or a Guest Experience Team member in the park, or visit Guest Relations.

Genie+ Ride breakdowns

How Long are Individual Lightning Lane Return Times?

Individual Lightning Lane reservations have a one-hour return window to experience the attraction.  If you have a 12:00 pm return your actual window of time is from 12:00 pm to 1:00 pm.

Can I Select My Return Time for Individual Lightning Lane Attractions?

Yes, you can.  This is subject to availability, but guests can select any time slot for Individual Lightning Lane attractions they choose.

Just remember, Individual Lightning Lane attractions are the most popular in the park and they tend to sell out.  To get the best selection of times, make your reservations at 7:00 am, or as early as possible.

Must Everyone in My Party Buy Individual Lightning Lane Access?

No, but everyone who wants to ride a specific Lightning Lane attraction must purchase it.

Just like when choosing who will use Genie+, each member of the group can decide if they want to make a reservation for an Individual Lightning Lane attraction or not.  One person in your group can use the Lightning Lane, half the group, or everyone in the group can do it.  It’s up to you.

If you decide you want to buy ILL for Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, everyone in your party who wants to ride it must buy access.  You can’t buy it for one person and then bring other people with you, everyone needs a pass.

Are Lightning Lanes the Same as the Virtual Queue?

No, they are not.  The Lightning Lane and Virtual Queue are two completely different things.  The only thing they have in common is that they both are ways for guests to reserve a place in line for a Disney attraction and in theory, make it possible to spend less time in the physical queue.

Disney’s Virtual Queue is a free service that everyone can use.  It was designed for guests to spend less time waiting in line and is mostly used for new attractions when they first open up.  When it’s your turn in line, you are notified on your mobile device.

The Lightning Lane is part of a paid service and is only accessible by using Genie+ or Individual Lightning Lanes selections.

Genie+ & Virtual Queue

Problems with Genie+ & Lightning Lane

While there are some big pluses to Genie+ and the Lightning Lane, there are also some big problems too.  Here are the things with the system you should be aware of and what we think needs to be addressed moving forward.

Potential Reservation Conflicts Between Genie+ and Individual Lightning Lane

The Disney Genie system allows you to book Genie+ reservations and Individual Lightning Lane reservations in overlapping time slots.  That means you could potentially have two rides conflicting with return windows at the same time.

In most cases, it’s not a huge deal because you have a 1-hour return window for both.  So if they were both at 11:00 am, in most cases, you can go to one first and still make it over to the other by 12:00 pm.

Still, you need to be careful and think about if making both reservations during the same window is going to be a problem for your family.  We’d recommend spacing them out slightly so instead of both at 11:00 am, try 11:00 am and 11:30 am which gives you more time.

To best do this, make your first Genie+ reservation in the morning at 7:00 am and then your ILL reservation.  You will have no control over the time slot for the Genie+ booking but you do with the Individual Lightning Lane for which you can then choose a convenient time.

Disney Genie+ Problems

Conflicts with ADRs or Other Plans

You also have to worry about Genie+ and the Lightning Lane conflicting with other plans throughout the day like Advanced Dining Reservations, dessert parties, tours, or other experiences.

Genie Plus will not stop you from booking an attraction in a time slot where you already have other plans for the day, so make sure to either time it right for the time you redeem your ride reservation, switch it to another more convenient time, or choose another attraction with a better time.

What Happens If I Am Early/Late to Ride Reservations?

In general, guests have 1 hour from the return time of a given attraction to actually show up and ride said attraction.  For example, if you have a return time of 1:00 pm, you can show up and get in line anytime between 1:00 pm and 2:00 pm.  The whole thing works almost identically to the old FastPass+ system.

If you are running late, Disney allows you a 15-minute grace period.  So if you have a 1:00 pm return time, technically you are fine until 2:15 pm.  You also can tap in 5 minutes early so if you show up at 12:55 pm, it’s also not a problem.

Early to Lightning Lane booking

If you show up less than 5 minutes early or less than 15 minutes late, there is no need to ask the cast member if you can enter the queue, the system should let you pass automatically once you tap in.

From our experience, if you show up more than 5 minutes early, the cast member will tell you to wait until your return time, and there is nothing you can do but wait.

If you show up more than 15 minutes late, you might run into some problems, but if you have a valid excuse, we recommend talking with a cast member as they can sometimes make an exception and let you on the ride.

Ride Breakdowns

While Disney does offer some solutions when there is a ride breakdown, there are still some problems that might come up depending on what your other plans are for the rest of the day.

With Genie+, when a ride goes down during your return window you get a Multiple Experiences pass which is great.  Actually, it can be better since you can replace the one you lost with a more popular attraction if you choose.

If it happens near the end of the day, however, you might not have much luck finding a good replacement since most of the best attractions will be taken by then.  Also, you might have dining plans or other experiences already scheduled for the rest of the day which could make it hard to find something good.

Long lines at Disney World with Genie+

It’s even worse with Individual Lightning Lane selections.  If the ride breaks down and doesn’t come back online for the whole day, you get a refund, but you miss the chance to actually ride it, which you may have done earlier in the day if you weren’t waiting for your Lightning Lane return time.

If the ride comes back online, you don’t get a refund, even if you have other plans.  This is a big problem for guests, especially ones who park hop because it means you now either are out $15 per person, or you have to stay in the park all day and wait until the ride comes back online, which it may never do.

In our opinion, if the ride goes down, you should then be given the option of canceling your Lightning Lane booking without penalty.  After all, why should you be penalized because of Disney’s error and forced to then change your entire day to make up for it?

Spending More Time on Your Mobile Device

I don’t know about you, but when I go to Disney World, I want to be immersed in the lands and stories Imagineers have worked hard to immerse me in, not be attached to my phone all day.

Unfortunately, this is becoming more and more impossible as the years go on.  Sure, you don’t have to be glued to your phone all day for Genie+, but if you really want to score the best reservations, you need to be diligent and check often.

Between making reservations, stacking multiple reservations, and checking My Disney Experience for wait times, mobile orders, etc, we feel like we are looking at our phones way too often for our liking.  Not to mention the constant battery drain.

Guests Without Smartphones are In Trouble

Genie+ without smartphone

As we just went over, the Walt Disney World vacation experience is much different than in the 80s and 90s, and most of the planning and reservations are all handled through the My Disney Experience app.  This has its advantages for sure, but it also puts guests who are not tech-savvy at a big disadvantage.

When we were young my dad did all the planning at the theme parks, but now just trying to order a hot dog can be a big challenge for him.  Now he lets us handle the park itinerary and it’s much easier for him that way.

To use Genie+ and the Lightning Lane, you absolutely need to know your way around a smartphone, which isn’t always the case for guests.

Fortunately, most people who are not the best with smartphones are going to be traveling with younger guests who know exactly what to do.  However, we feel for the couples traveling without kids who don’t have as much experience using mobile devices and Genie+ just made it harder.

Virtual Queue Conflicts

using virtual queue and Genie+ Lightning Lanes

As of this writing, there aren’t many rides at Walt Disney World or Disneyland that use the virtual queue.  If that is still the case when you are reading this, you won’t have an issue.  However, since Disney tends to use the virtual queue on new E-Ticket attractions, you might run into this issue on our next trip.

In that case, Genie+, Individual Lightning Lane selections, and the Virtual Queue all open at the same time, 7:00 am.  So which one do you book first?

We would do it in this order:

  1. Virtual Queue
  2. Genie+
  3. Individual Lightning Lane

The virtual queue should be your priority because it’s the only free option of the three and the competition is much higher.  Most attractions sell out in a matter of seconds, so if you try booking Genie+ or ILL first, by the time you get back to the virtual queue, it will likely be full.

It’s very rare for Genie+ or ILL attractions to completely sell out in the first few minutes, so even if you don’t get your ideal time slot, you will still get a chance to ride.  

Plus, the virtual queue and Individual Lightning Lane usually have the same attractions, and if you could book it for free with the virtual queue, why would you want to buy a pass for the Individual Lighting Lane?

No Genie+ During Early Theme Park Entry or Extended Evening Hours

One of the perks of staying at a Walt Disney World Resort hotel is taking advantage of the Early Theme Park Entry and Extended Evening Hours.  Both programs allow guests to get extended time in the parks without the general public (non-Disney World Resort hotel guests).

However, Genie+ and the Lightning Lane do not run at these extended times.  It’s not a huge deal since there are fewer guests in the parks at those times than in normal park hours, but it would be nice to get in at least one more Genie+ reservation at the end of the night.

By the end of the night, most of the best attractions are sold out, but they could make more inventory available during those hours to resort, hotel guests, only if need be.  Again, most of the time Extended Evening Hours has low wait times anyway, but if you go during the holidays, it is still packed.

Early Theme Park Entry Genie+ Lightning Lane

Are Standby Wait Times Longer or Shorter Now in Walt Disney World?

Any kind of line-skipping service makes the standby queue longer by default because it has to start up and slow down constantly to let guests in the Lightning Lane go ahead.

Since the Genie+ and Lightning Lanes were implemented in October 2021, we have noticed a slight increase in wait times across the board, but when comparing things to the FastPass+ era, overall wait times should be lower.  We’ll understand this better once crowds return to the parks 100%.

How Can I Complain About Genie Plus & Lightning Lanes?

If you have a problem with Genie+ during your trip, you can definitely bring it to Disney’s attention and let them know what happened and how you feel about it.  As long as it’s done with kindness and respect to the Cast Member you are dealing with, there is nothing wrong with letting them know about a sub-par experience.

After all, a trip to Walt Disney World is supposed to be the trip of a lifetime, and if it’s anything less, it’s the right thing to do to let them know how it can be improved the next time.

If you want to complain to Disney about Genie+, there are a few ways you can do it:

  • Telephone – Regular guests can call 800-2006-0809 and Annual Passholders can call 407-939-7277
  • Email – Guests can email Walt Disney World Guest Relations at: wdw.guest.communications@disneyworld.com.  Annual Passholders can also contact V.I.PASSHOLDER Support.
  • Mail – If you prefer writing a letter, you can contact “Walt Disney World Resort, Attn: Guest Services, P.O. Box 10000, Lake Buena Vista, FL 32830-1000 U.S.A.

120 Minute Rule & How it Works

One of the absolute most confusing things to understand about Genie+ is how long you have to wait between reservations and the 120-minute rule.  It’s taken us months to fully understand it ourselves, so we can imagine if you are just visiting for the first time.

Genie+ 120 minute rule Disney World

What is the 120-minute rule exactly and how does it work?

Remember that the way Genie+ reservations work is reservations are made one at a time, and to book your next reservation you either need to:

  1. Wait 120 minutes from the time you made your last reservation….OR
  2. Tap into the Lightning Lane entrance of your current attraction booking

Let’s say you make a reservation at park opening at 9:00 am.  At that point, you either must wait 120 minutes to book your next ride, (which you can do at 11:00 am), or you must use the first reservation you made.  If for example, the return time for that first booking was at 10:00 am, you can begin making your next reservation the moment you tap into the ride touchpoint.

All guests have the opportunity to start booking Genie+ rides at 7:00 am each day, and this is the only time when the 120 minutes do not apply.  At the beginning of the day, if you make your first reservation before park opening (like at 7:00 am), the 120 minutes start from the park opening, not from the time you booked the attraction.

Spaceship Earth Middle East scene EPCOT

Why did Disney come up with a 120-minute rule in the first place?  Why not just make it so that the only way you can book your next ride is by using your current one?

Let’s say you make your first Genie+ reservation in the morning for Slinky Dog Dash.  Since it’s such a popular attraction, the first available return time might not be until later in the day, perhaps with a 5:00 pm – 6:00 pm return time.

If it was a hard and fast rule that you can’t make another Genie+ reservation until you use your current one, that would mean you waiting all the way until 5:00 pm or after until you could book your second attraction of the day.  If the park opened at 9:00 am, that means you would have waited 6 hours between bookings. 

Not only would you be waiting hours and hours, there also wouldn’t be many good rides left to book as many are sold out by that time.  For that reason, you can see that the 120-minute rule gives everyone a chance to make a reasonable amount of bookings per day and not be “shut-out” so to speak.

Reservation Examples

Lightning Lane reservation examples

We know this can be very confusing, so let’s give you a few examples to help drive the point home.

Example 1. (Magic Kingdom) – The Magic Kingdom opens at 9:00 am.  You wake up early and make your first Genie+ reservation at 7:00 am for the Jungle Cruise.  It has a return time of 12:00 pm – 1:00 pm.  Your second Genie+ reservation can be made at 11:00 am (120 minutes after park opening).  Then once you use your 12:00 pm reservation you can make another booking (the tap-in rule applies).

Example 2. (EPCOT) – The park opens at 10:00 am.  You make your first reservation for Test Track at 8:30 am with a return time from 11:10 am to 12:10 pm.  You cannot make another ride reservation when the park opens because the 120 minutes start from park opening (10:00 am).  You show up to Test Track at 11:15 am where you can then make your second booking.  This negates the 120-minute rule. 

Example 3. (Hollywood Studios) – The park opens at 9:00 am.  At 7:00 am you make a reservation for Slinky Dog Dash with a return time of 3:20 pm to 4:20 pm.  You can book your second ride at 11:00 am (120 minutes past park opening).  Since your second reservation is also later in the afternoon, your third booking window is at 1:00 pm.  Since you still haven’t tapped into a Genie+ ride at this point your 4th reservation can be made at 3:00 pm.

Example 4. (Animal Kingdom) – The park opens at 8:00 am.  At 7:00 am you make a reservation for Na’vi River Journey with a return time of 9:00 am.  You arrive at the entrance to the ride at 9:15 am at which point you can now make your second reservation of the day (you tapped in so no need to wait 120 minutes.  Your next reservation is for Dinosaur with a return time of 12:30 pm.  Since you made the reservation at 9:15 am, you must wait until 11:15 am (120 minutes) to make your next reservation.  At 12:30 you use the one for Dinosaur at which point you can make another one.

Genie Plus Booking Strategy & Tips

After months of practice, we now have a much better idea of strategies and tips that you can use with Genie+ to help you get the most out of it.  We know it’s a lot, but following these steps ahead of time will help you greatly.

Genie+ Lightning Lane MuppetVision 3D

Purchase Genie+ BEFORE 7:00 am

We highly recommend purchasing Genie+ BEFORE 7:00 am on the day of your visit to a specific theme park.  This is important to do because Genie+ reservations open at 7:00 am each day and you don’t want to be slowed down by first having to purchase the service.

We recommend logging in at least 10-15 minutes ahead of time so you can first buy Genie+ for the day (unless you have it for your entire vacation package).  Don’t leave this to the last minute or you are already behind everyone else.

Technically, Genie+ can be purchased at midnight on the day of your visit, and if you are visiting during the holidays or another really busy time of the year, we recommend doing this if you are up late.

Be Prepared Ahead of Time

Even though reservations for Genie+ can be made at 7:00 am, that doesn’t mean you should log in to My Disney Experience 1 minute before and think everything is going to be fine.  Besides purchasing Genie+, there are other things you can do.

You need to specify your party in My Disney Experience.  You should think about who in your groups is going to be doing the same rides as you throughout the day with Genie+ and add them to your Genie party.  This will save you time when you actually go to make your ride reservation as everyone will automatically be selected for the booking.

Select party ahead of time Genie Plus

You also want to add your first attraction of the day to your “Top Picks” section in the Genie Tip Board in the app.  Here you can pick all the things you are interested in and Disney uses this information to make suggestions for things you would like throughout the day.

Eventually, you will want to add all your favorite attractions to this board, but before 7:00 am, you just want to add the first Genie+ attraction of the day.  How come?  It makes sure that your first ride shows up conveniently at the top of the board when you use our “Refresh strategy” which helps you book it more quickly.  We explain this more in the next section.

Top picks Lightning Lane rides

Make First Reservations at 7:00 am

Since the number of Genie+ reservations you can make per day is limited and there is a 2-hour window between each booking, it’s important to get started as early as possible to make the most of it.

It’s also important because the best attractions in each park sell out each day so if you aren’t quick enough, the ones you want to ride might be gone.  This is especially true if you are visiting during a holiday when rides like Peter Pan’s Flight or Jungle Cruise sell out early in the day, sometimes even before park opening.

Make sure you are ready to book ride reservations right at 7:00 am.

Guests who start making ride reservations at 7:00 am have an advantage over other guests who do it later, and the longer you wait, the smaller the selection will be.  All the most popular attractions get chosen first, so if you have a specific ride in mind, it’s best to book it immediately.  

For example, Slinky Dog Dash at Hollywood Studios is one that sells out quickly each day, so if that is on your list you need to get up early.

Now if you sleep in a bit and don’t make your first reservation right at 7:00 am, it’s not the end of the world.  Most attractions will still have availability when the park opens, but it’s better to be safe than sorry.  

You can get away with it during the off-season, but if you are at Walt Disney World during a holiday don’t delay.

Make Disney Lightning Lane reservations at 7:00 am

Refresh Your Page 1 Second Before 7:00 am – This is a hack to make sure you are one of the first in line.  Don’t forget, thousands of other guests are online exactly at 7:00 am just like you and they are probably going for the most popular rides too.

To do this have the “Tip Board” open in My Disney Experience at 6:59 am.  You want to swipe down on the phone to refresh the page exactly at 6:59:59 am.  That’s one second before the clock turns 7:00 am.

To do this we use a World Clock either on another phone or a laptop so we are synchronized perfectly with the correct time.

Every second is valuable and could mean the difference between getting your first ride at 10:30 am or 2:30 pm.

Combine Genie+ with Rope Drop To Save the Most Time

Genie+ at Rope Drop

Disney Genie+ will save you some serious time not having to wait in line without a doubt, but it’s not a perfect system and it doesn’t mean you can just show up at any time of the day and expect to be efficient touring the parks.

The way to get the most out of Genie+ is to combine it with a good rope drop strategy.  Rope drop if you aren’t familiar with the term means showing up to the park before the official opening time so you can beat the crowds and start riding the most popular attractions.

Usually, the first 1-2 hours of the day are the least crowded which means you can get done a bunch of rides without having to wait very long in line.  Once the late morning/early afternoon arrive, wait times increase significantly.

Pairing rope drop and Genie+ gives you the best of both worlds and maximizes the number of rides you can do in a day.  If the park opens at 9:00 am, our strategy is to not make any Genie+ reservations with return times before 10:30 am.

In any case, try to book your first Genie+ reservation of the day with a return time between 45-90 minutes after the park opening.

Genie+ and rope drop

However, for some rides like Peter Pan’s Flight or Slinky Dog Dash, we just take whatever time is available and go from there.

That gives us at least 1 ½ hours to get done 3-4 rides with minimal wait times.  Then our Genie+ reservations start coming up when the crowds are much heavier.

Obviously, during rope drop, concentrate on the best rides, the same type of ones you will be targeting with Genie+.  Since Genie+ reservations for the best rides tend to sell out early in the day, it’s not a guarantee all the ones you want will be available.

If you go early, you can knock some of these out right away, and then make Genie+ reservations for the ones you have yet to experience.  You can also use this strategy to ride your favorite E-Ticket attractions twice on the same day without waiting long in line.

If you wanted to ride Big Thunder Mountain twice, for example, go once at rope drop and make another reservation for it later in the day.

Book Lightning Lane Rides in the Middle of the Day

Try to book attractions with return times between 12:00 pm and 5:00 pm.

Don’t make the mistake of booking Genie+ or Lightning Lane with return times at the beginning of the day.  As we explained with our rope drop strategy, the first 1-2 hours is when crowd levels are at their lowest so don’t make Lightning Lane reservations then.

It doesn’t make sense to book a Lightning Lane attraction at the end of the day because wait times are also very low in the last couple of hours before park closing.  Use the standby queue for attractions at the beginning and end of the day to take advantage of low wait times and book Genie+ and Lightning Lane rides in the middle hours.

Don’t Wait to Book Rides

Don't wait to book Lightning Lanes at Disney World

This applies to Genie+ and Individual Lighting Lane selections.  As a continuation of our advice to wake up early and making your first reservations at 7:00 am, you also don’t want to procrastinate at any point in the day and make your next ride reservation as soon as you can.

Have a list of the rides you want to target reservations for, and book them as soon as your next window allows you to.  All the best rides will sell out of reservations at some point in the day, many of them in the morning, so don’t have an “I’ll do it in a few minutes” attitude.  Do it now.

This is especially true with the Individual Lightning Lane.  You know which park you are going to tomorrow so decide the night before if you want to pay to ride any of the attractions there or not.

If you are going to Hollywood Studios and want to buy an ILL for Rise of the Resistance, book it at 7:00 am and don’t wait until you get to the park or all the selections might be gone by then.

Use Your Time Wisely

Genie+ Lightning Lane Entrance Spaceship Earth

In general, it’s a good idea to plan out which attractions and experiences you want to do during the day and try to organize them in groups by location.  The Disney theme parks are big and to save time it’s best to plan to do attractions that are in the same area around the same time.

For example, at the Magic Kingdom, try to group the attractions by land.  In Frontierland, you can group Big Thunder Mountain and Splash Mountain together so you don’t have to walk all the way back there again.  It wouldn’t make sense to plan Splash Mountain, then walk over to Space Mountain, and then back to Big Thunder Mountain again.

When planning your Genie+ reservations, take location into consideration as much as possible to save time.

Also, in-between ride reservations, make the best use of your time.  Often, guests find themselves standing around for 15-20 minutes waiting for their next reservation when there could be something more productive to do. 

For example, if you have 30 minutes until your next return window, is there another attraction nearby with a short wait time you could do?  Why not plan to get some to eat at one of the quick service restaurants close to your next attraction?  All these tips will help you get your money’s worth when using Genie+.

Perks for Walt Disney World Resort Hotel Guests

Disney World hotel room

There is no advantage for on-site guests with Genie+.  All guests no matter where they are staying can start making park reservations at 7:00 am (or 2 hours before the official opening time).

There is an advantage however with Individual Lightning Lane selections.  In this case, guests staying at a Walt Disney World Resort hotel can book ride reservations at 7:00 am, while off-site guests can only start at park opening.

This can be a big advantage for attractions that tend to sell out each day like Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance.

Things can change in the future and more perks for on-site guests can be added regarding Genie+ and the Lightning Lane down the road.  A lot will depend on how hotel occupancy is in the coming months and years and if Disney needs to give more incentive to stay on-site.

Stacking Multiple Genie+ Selections

Stacking Multiple Genie+ Lightning Lane Selections

One of our favorite strategies when using Genie+ is “Stacking” reservations.  This allows you to accumulate multiple Lightning Lane reservations throughout the course of the day which in turn allows you non-stop ride skipping at any of the theme parks.

Make sure you understand the 120-minute rule well before reading this strategy.  If you don’t, go back up a few subheadings where we explain it in-depth.

The Genie+ “stacking” strategy works if you are visiting one park on a given day, but it’s even more effective when park hopping.

The general idea behind stacking Lightning Lane reservations is to book all the most popular rides in the park later in the day.  Each time your 120 minutes are up and you can make a reservation, you book a new ride.  

What happens is eventually you will end up with potentially 3-4 attractions all in a row that do can do in a very short amount of time.  This triggers a chain reaction which then allows you to book 3-4 more attractions in a row after that.

Remember, Genie+ doesn’t block you from making overlapping reservations.  Guests are responsible for making sure they don’t have any conflicting plans when booking a Lightning Lane.  That makes it possible to have multiple reservations with overlapping return times.

old FastPass+ machine Disney World

Let’s give you some examples so you understand the idea…

Example 1.  Let’s say you are going to Disney’s Hollywood Studios and the park opens at 9:00 am.  You wake up early and book Slinky Dog Dash with a return time of 2:00 pm – 3:00 pm.  

Because of the 120-minute rule, you have to wait until 11:00 am to make your next reservation, Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster with a return time of 2:15 pm – 3:15 pm.  Your next 120 minutes is up at 1:00 pm, where you make a reservation for Tower of Terror from 2:25 pm – 3:25 pm.

You use your reservation at 2:00 pm when you enter the Slinky Dog Dash queue and immediately make another Lightning Lane booking, since tapping in triggers your next reservation.  

Once you are done riding, you head to Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster and enter the queue at 2:20 pm.  This triggers another Genie+ booking opportunity.  You are done riding and enter the Tower of Terror queue at 2:45 pm, this gives you yet another reservation.

The reason why we want to target attractions in the afternoon is two-fold…

  1. It lets do a bunch of attractions in the morning before the crowds by rope dropping the park opening.  This is when lines are the shortest anyway, and we prefer to just use the standby queue instead of wasting a Genie+ reservation here.
  2. If you time them right like in our example, by 3:00 pm you already used all three reservations and there will probably be more “good” attractions left to book for later on.  If wait too long, you run the risk of not having anything worth booking with Genie+.  Grouping return times from 2:00 pm – 4:00 pm seems to be the sweet spot depending on the day.
Genie+ Lightning Lane Stacking

The only problem you might run into is that your first couple of reservations might not have return windows in that afternoon sweet spot when you go to book them.  Remember, with Genie+ you can’t choose the time you want to return but are at the mercy of the next available.

To resolve this issue, start out with the most popular rides in each park, which should book up more quickly, and therefore give you those afternoon return times quicker.  You will have to play with it to find attractions with the right return windows to make it work.

But wait, it gets better.  Pairing the “stacking” strategy with park hopping works even better.

If you go to make Genie+ reservations at your second park of the day, the system will automatically give you a return time of 2:00 pm or later.  This is because it knows you are in a different park and cannot make it to the second park until park hopping hours begin at 2:00 pm.

Thank goodness for once a Disney app that is intelligent!

This fixes the problem we mentioned earlier, where sometimes early in the morning you can’t find return times for the afternoon right away, which would slow down your booking capabilities.  Park hopping resolves that issue so you start with rides at 2:00 pm or later from the start.

Genie+ Lightning Lane Soarin' Around the World

Example 2. You are going to Disney’s Animal Kingdom and then park hopping to the Magic Kingdom later on.  The Animal Kingdom opens at 8:00 am.  You wake up early and book Peter Pan’s Flight at the Magic Kingdom with a return time of 2:00 pm – 3:00 pm.

Since the Animal Kingdom opens at 8:00 am, your next booking window is at 10:00 pm (120 minutes have passed since opening) and you get Jungle Cruise for a 2:30 pm – 3:30 pm return time.  At 12:00 you can make your third reservation, Big Thunder Mountain, with a return window of 2:50 pm – 3:50 pm.

Lastly, at 2:00 pm you make your 4th reservation for the Tomorrowland Speedway with a return window of 3:15 pm – 4:15 pm.

Once you show up to the queue of each attraction, start making your next reservation for later on in the evening.

We’ve found you get an extra boost by making the Animal Kingdom your first park of the day since your 120 minutes start earlier here than the other parks since it opens an hour earlier.  When the 120-minute rule is in effect, everyone else going to a park with a 9:00 am opening has to wait until 11:00 am, while you get your second booking at 10:00 am.

The Magic Kingdom is also a great choice for the second park since it has the highest number of Lightning Lanes.  That means there will be more available to choose from when stacking rides.

Don’t Miss Your Return Times

Genie+ Lightning Lane Return Times

Another thing to keep in mind when stacking Genie+ reservations is to make sure the timing isn’t too close where you end up missing one of your return times.  It’s up to you to know when your return times are so make sure it’s doable.

Don’t make them too close together if they are physically spaced out too far from each other.  This is good advice if you have ones in your group that are not fast walkers and it takes them a while to get from A to B.  Also, take into consideration what type of attractions they are.

For example, at Disney’s Animal Kingdom, if you book Kilimanjaro Safaris, Festival of the Lion King, and Dinosaur all with return times of 2:00 pm – 3:00 pm, it might be difficult to do them all in time if you don’t do them in the right order.

The Festival of the Lion King is 30 minutes long, and Kilimanjaro Safaris is 20 minutes.  Allowing for a few minutes in line, delays, and the time it takes then to walk all the way over to Dinosaur, you are likely looking at more than an hour.  If you do Dinosaur first, then Kilimanjaro Safaris, then Festival of the Lion King though, it’s much easier.

If you are at the Magic Kingdom, a good example of planning would be to book Big Thunder Mountain, Splash Mountain, and Pirates all together.  They are short rides and located right next to each other so you will have no problem doing them in less than an hour.

Park Hopping with Genie+

Riding Pirates of the Caribbean with Genie+ Lightning Lane

Both Genie+ and Individual Lightning Lane attractions are compatible with park hopping in Disney World.  This is one of the most useful features of Genie+ so that you can still park-hop and aren’t forced to stay in the same park all day.

If you are going to use Genie+, park hopping and moving between multiple parks is a good way to get the most for your money.  All the normal park hopping rules apply here, plus a few new things you need to be aware of.

As always, you need to start your day at the theme park where you have park pass reservations.  Even if you don’t stay there long, you at least need to tap into the entrance of the park.

Let’s assume you plan on visiting 2 parks for the day and would like to use Genie+ at both of them.  You follow our strategy of buying Genie+ ahead of time and you make your first reservation at 7:00 am.  When you arrive at the park you do some of the attractions with the standby queue and some using Genie+ reservations.

Once you have a good idea of when you will be going to the second park, you can start making Lightning Lane reservations there too.

Remember, your first reservation in the second park needs to be AFTER 2:00 pm.  Park hopping doesn’t start until 2:00 pm and you will not be allowed to enter there until that time.

What Happens If the Return Time with Genie+ is Before 2:00 pm?

Disney Lightning Lane Return Times

In theory, Genie+ automatically handles the 2:00 pm park hopping time.  When you go to make your first reservation in the second park, if the displayed return window is before 2:00 pm it should move the reservation to 2:00 pm for you if you are not in the park by that time.

We say it “should” because we’ve had some glitches with the system and recommend you stay cautious to make sure it’s working properly when you book your reservations when park hopping.

If the available booking windows have not yet gotten to 2:00 pm, wait a while and check back.  Book the desired attraction when you get a window of 2:00 pm or later.

Caution – There can be some delays with Disney transportation when moving from one park to another, so make sure to leave yourself enough time to make it to the park for your Genie+ or Individual Lightning Lane booking.

Does My First Genie+ Reservation Have to Be in My First Theme Park of the Day?

No, it doesn’t.  Your first Genie+ Lightning lane reservation doesn’t have to be in your first theme park of the day, it can be in your second park of the day if you prefer.

Again, remember that your Park Hopping hours don’t start until 2:00 pm, so your reservation must be after this time.

While it’s possible, we don’t think it’s the best strategy for most guests.  Waiting until 2:00 pm to redeem your first Genie+ selection is pretty late and in most cases, you are better off starting early to fit in more attractions.

Also, since you can’t choose your Genie+ reservation time, it’s hard to make your first reservation after 2:00 pm anyway, unless it’s a super popular attraction like Slinky Dog Dash or Peter Pan’s Flight.

Genie Plus and Disability Access Service (DAS)

Disney World Disability Access Service

Disney has recently overhauled the Disability Access Service (DAS), but it is still compatible with Genie+ and guests can actually use both if they want.

Keep in mind the changes that Disney has made to the system:

  1. Guests now have the option of pre-arrival DAS registration before your vacation begins, as well as the traditional registrations at Walt Disney World
  2. Booking ride reservations from My Disney Experience instead of in-person at the attraction entrance.
  3. Up to 2 bonus ride reservations for each day of your trip made ahead of time.

On top of those changes, you can also use Genie+ and the Lightning Lane to make even more reservations, but by using DAS, plus the 2 pre-selected rides per day, the combination of Genie+ to us is excessive and not worth spending the extra money.

If you are able to use Disability Access Service, you may as well take full of its advantages for free instead of paying even more money for Genie+  However, it’s up to you and if you think you will get your money’s worth, by all means.

Lightning Lane & Rider Switch

Frozen Show Genie+ Lightning Lane Hollywood Studios

One of the most asked questions is how the Rider Switch program works now with Lightning Lanes.  Anyone who has small children knows how useful Rider Switch can be a huge time-saver!

We’re not going to get into a big explanation about Rider Switch is in this article, but it was created back in the day as a way for guests to not have to wait in line twice for a specific attraction when all the adults wanted to ride but some had to stay back with small children who don’t meet the minimum height requirement.

For the most part, Rider Switch works the same way today with Genie+ and Lightning Lanes as it did with FastPass+.

With a Lightning Lane reservation, one adult can go through the line, while the other stays with the child/children.  Then after the first adult rides the attraction, the second adult is sent through the Lightning Lane, allowing them to skip the standby queue as they otherwise would have been able to.

Tapping into Genie Plus Lightning Lane

The first thing to keep in mind is that everyone who wants to go through the Lightning Lane with Rider Switch needs to already have a Lightning Lane booked.  This is true for Genie+ and Individual Lightning Lane selections.

So if your group wants to use Rider Switch on Tower of Terror, for example, everyone in the group that is planning on going through the Lightning Lane needs to have a reservation for Tower of Terror.  Rider Switch doesn’t work if only one person has a reservation, everyone needs to have one.

The second thing to know is that some people in your group may get to ride the attraction twice using Rider Switch.  Let’s say you have a family of 4 with 2 adults and 2 children, one of which is tall enough to ride and the other is not.  The first adult goes on the ride with the older child.  Sometimes the second adult is still able to take the older child on for a second ride when it is their turn.

We’ve found this often depends on the Cast Member at the attraction entrance, but most of the time they let the child through twice!

Annual Passholder or DVC Discounts?

Genie+ Disney World Annual Passes

Everyone is trying to save money when going to Walt Disney World, even though that’s getting harder and harder to do these days.  You may be wondering if there are any discounts for Genie+ or Individual Lightning Lanes?  What about for Annual Passholders or DVC Members?

At this point in time, there are no Genie+ discounts for anyone, including APs or DVC Members.  We could see that potentially changing in the future with Disney perhaps offering a discount to Annual Passholders, or Walt Disney World Resort guests even.

It all depends on how the public is reacting to Genie+ and if enough people are buying it at full price.  For example, they could view giving a discount as an extra incentive to get people to stay on-site.  Or give APs a reduced price to get them to open their wallets a bit more.

Some of this will depend on if Disney ever decides to introduce yearly access…

Genie+ Yearly Access

Disney Genie+ Lightning Lanes

One of the most asked questions we get is if Genie+ has a yearly pass option instead of buying it for a single trip or a single day.  As of this writing, the answer is no.  

Disney is not offering any yearly add-on for Disney+.  Frequent guests to Walt Disney World like Annual Passholders or DVC Member can purchase Genie+ or Individual Lightning Lane attractions just like all the other theme park guests.

What about in the future?  It’s possible Disney could offer a yearly add-on for Annual Passholders at some point in the future.  That would make sense from a revenue perspective since most APs now are not spending an extra $15 to buy Genie+ each day they go to the parks.

How Much Would It Cost?

If a yearly add-on was available it would definitely be tempting to most APs.  The only question is at what price point does it make sense for all parties?

Let’s say a yearly Genie+ option was available for $100 per guest.  If 10,000 guests bought it, that’s $1,000,000 in extra revenue right there.  I think $100 is WAY too cheap for a service like that and Disney can likely get $200 each.  At 10,000 guests it comes out to $2,000,000 extra.  

I don’t know how many Walt Disney World APs there are, but 10,000 people willing to spend the extra money seems super conservative to me, I think it would be much more for a service that lets you skip lines.

My guess is the price for Genie+ yearly access will be somewhere in the range of $149 – $199 per guest.

On Disney’s end it makes total sense because even though in the grand scheme of things it’s a drop in the bucket of company revenue, it’s free money they are not collecting from APs at this point in time.  

We’ll have to see what Disney decides to do, but we fully expect a Genie+ yearly add-on to be available at some point.

Are Lightning Lane and Genie+ Worth It?

Lightning Lane Rise of the Resistance

Let’s face it, you are already spending a bundle (or two) of money to come to Walt Disney World, so spending extra money on top of that to skip the lines might seem excessive to some, especially since not too long ago the FastPass+ service included this for free.

We’ll start by saying, whether or not Genie+ or the Lightning Lanes are worth is very subjective and depends on your budget, your touring style, how many days you will be spending in the parks, and what time of year you are going. We cover this more in-depth in our article Is Disney Genie+ Worth It? but this section will give you the basics.

The question you need to ask yourself is: “What is my time worth?”  You only have a certain amount of time to spend in Disney World, and if you are trying to see as many things as possible, wasting time in line can be a nuisance.  You might decide it’s worth the extra money to skip some lines.

For example, you only have 2-3 days in the parks and you are trying to squeeze in as many rides as possible, these services might be worth the money to you.  On the other hand, if you are going for 10 days and have plenty of time to experience them, you may want to skip paying the extra money.

Is Genie+ Lightning Lane worth it

If you are a first-time visitor, or it may be your only visit to Walt Disney World you ever take, again, spending the extra money will ensure you make the best use of your time.  On the other hand, if you are a DVC Member, or come every year, there is no rush and you might not want to pay extra for a ride you’ve done 100 times in your life.

Annual Passholders and locals will likely find minimal value in the Lightning Lanes and will probably not want to spend the money except for very rare occasions.

$15.98 per person, per day, adds up pretty quickly so your budget will play a big factor in deciding.  If you have a family of 4, that means each day you use Genie+, you are spending another $63.92.  Over 5 days in the parks you are talking about over $300 extra.

For that reason, you may decide it’s worth it for one day, but not the rest. We cover all the expenses to consider in our How Much Does Walt Disney World Cost Guide.

Dinosaur Genie+ Lightning Lane Disney World

One big factor is how much you value your sleep.  Using the Lightning Lane means you might not have to show up quite as early to the parks each day and everyone can sleep in a bit longer.

It’s true that you should wake up before 7:00 am to make your first ride booking, but if you want to go back to can then go back to bed it’s an option.  Plus, only one person needs to wake up to make the reservations, so everyone else can stay in bed.

If you are trying to get in a full day and do as many rides as possible, we still recommend rope dropping the parks.  However, if you want to take it a bit easier and don’t need to get absolutely everything done that day, Genie+ and the Lightning Lane make the best use of the time you do spend in the parks.

Lastly, if there is one ride you absolutely must go on but don’t want to wait, purchasing an Individual Lightning Lane for that ride might be worth it. For example, Rise of the Resistance would be a be choice if you have little time at Holywood Studios but don’t want to miss this blockbuster attraction.

Best Parks for Genie+

Though Genie+ is a useful way to save time in the parks, it’s not necessarily worth buying at all 4 Disney World theme parks.  You get the most value out of Genie+ by using it in parks where there are a lot of attractions.  The more attractions a park has, the more you should consider it.

Best Parks for Genie Plus

We recommend using Genie+ only at 2 Disney World theme parks: Magic Kingdom and Hollywood Studios.

The best park for Genie+ is Disney’s Magic Kingdom.  There are a total of 20 Lightning Lane entrances at the Magic Kingdom which means you will have plenty of choices in case some attractions start selling out.  If you are only going to buy Genie+ for one day, do it here.

Your second-best option for Genie+ is at Hollywood Studios.  There are 13 attractions using the Lightning Lane and many popular attractions which tend to have long standby lines which makes it worth it to skip them.

We don’t recommend using Genie+ at EPCOT or Disney’s Animal Kingdom.  There just aren’t enough rides at either park to make it worth it.  You can do all the attractions in each park in one day just using the standby queue, so why should you have to pay $15 more per person?

Should I Buy Genie+ as Part of a Vacation Package?

(This is no longer possible at Walt Disney World but it is available at the Disneyland Resort)

No, we do not recommend buying the Genie+ service as part of a Disney World vacation package.  If you do that you will end up paying for Genie+ for every day that you have a theme park ticket.

For example, if you buy a 7-day ticket, you will have a $15 charge for all 7 days, for every person in your party.  That means a family of 4 would be looking at an extra $405 before taxes.

If you have an unlimited budget and don’t care about spending the extra money, then be my guest, but in our experience, it’s too much and not necessary.  Depending on how many days you are visiting the parks it’s only worth it to buy Genie+ for a maximum of 2-3 days tops.  Anything more is excessive and a waste of money imo.

Future Individual Lightning Lane & Genie+ Attractions

TRON Lightcycle Run concept art

What does the future hold for the Genie Plus and Lightning Lane services?

I think it’s safe to say at this point that any new attraction built at Disney World and Disneyland will either use the Genie+ or Individual Lightning Lane services.  The deciding factor to which service a new ride joins is how popular Disney thinks that ride is going to be with guests.

As you know, the 2 most popular attractions in each park become Individual Lightning Lane selections, while the majority of other attractions are part of the Genie+ bundle.

However, there are some new attractions being built right now at Walt Disney World that I think will be so popular that they deserve a spot as an Individual Lightning Lane selection which means the current Genie+ and ILL lists are going to have to change.

The two new rides coming to Disney World in the next couple of years that will need a spot are Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind in EPCOT and TRON Lightcycle Run at the Magic Kingdom.  Both of these attractions will immediately jump to the number one spot for most popular attraction in their respective parks when they open.

That means another ride needs to get bumped out of ILL and into the Genie+ selection of rides.

Guardians of the Galaxy Cosmic Rewind Concept Art ride queue

At the Magic Kingdom, I think TRON Lightcycle Run will take the place of Space Mountain, which is already not busy enough to merit buying a Lightning Lane selection.  This is pretty clear-cut to me.

The situation in EPCOT is a bit murkier.  Cosmic Rewind will definitely be an Individual Lightning Lane attraction when it opens, it’s just a matter of figuring out if it will replace Frozen Ever After or Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure.

My instinct tells me that Frozen Ever After will move to Genie+ and Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure will be the one that stays around.  Daily wait times have been longer than Frozen Ever After since dropping the virtual queue, which is one reason to keep it.  Plus the fact that it’s the newer ride means it should have more “buzz” around it for at least the next year or two.

My guess for the future lineup of ILL attractions for each park is:

Magic Kingdom

  • Seven Dwarfs Mine Train
  • TRON Lightcycle Run

EPCOT

  • Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind
  • Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure

Hollywood Studios

  • Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway
  • Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance

Animal Kingdom

  • Avatar Flight of Passage
  • Expedition Everest

What Happened to FastPass+? Is It Ever Coming Back?

FastPass+ gone at Disney World

Disney officially announced that it was permanently eliminating the FastPass+ system in August 2021.  That means it’s never coming back again.

The Disney Genie+ system and Individual Lightning Lanes are the permanent replacements for FastPass+ at Walt Disney World and MaxPass at Disneyland.  

Genie+ and FastPass+ are essentially the same things, the only difference between them is FastPass+ was free to use whereas Genie+ is a pay-to-ride service above the base cost of your park ticket.

There is no free service anymore.  If you want to skip the attraction lines, you have to pay.

Let’s face it, after 22 years with FastPass, it was a pretty big deal, and it will be hard to get used to life without it in the Disney parks.  Having a paid service instead of a free one definitely hurts and this has been THE most controversial news at Disney World in a long time.

Only time will tell how guests adjust to these big changes.

Disney Genie+ Your day is almost here

That wraps up this mega-guide to Genie+ and Lightning Lanes at Walt Disney World.  We hope after reading all that it was helpful and that you will be as prepared as possible on your next trip.  Feel free to ask any unanswered questions below and we will add them to the article.

If you are thinking about going to Walt Disney World in the coming future, here are some other popular articles where you will find all the info and tips you need to plan your trip.

Your Thoughts

I want to know what you think about Disney Genie+ and Lightning Lanes at Disney World…

  • Do you like these services?
  • What changes would you like to see implemented?

Let us know in the comments section below!

If you enjoyed this article, as always I appreciate it if you’d share it with others via social media.  I work hard at making this website into a useful resource for you and your family to plan your visit to the Disney Parks and I hope it can help you! Thanks 🙂

Meet the Author of Ziggy Knows Disney!

Jennifer

Monday 4th of July 2022

Thank you for the great explanation! Very easy to follow!!

Ryan

Wednesday 2nd of February 2022

Hi Ziggy, great job on an extremely thorough and extensive walkthrough/guide, thank you! I do have a question in regards to advanced lightning lane stacking strategies. In your example of having 3 reservations between 2-4pm. I am looking to confirm that you are able to still book an additional reservation after you scan/check-in for each ride? So in your example, you are able to have 3 more lightning lane reservations total after you check-in to your 3 lightning lane reservations between 2-4pm?

My strategy I want to perform at Magic Kingdom (9am park open) is my 1st LL window anytime after 11:10. At 11am (post 120 minute rule), I make my 2nd LL reservation. At 11:10, after checking in for my 1st LL, I make my 3rd LL reservation. Can I continue to make LL bookings on both of those paths throughout the day (reserve 4th LL off of my 2nd LL, reserve 5th LL off of my 3rd LL)? Or is there a limit on which one allows an additional LL? I know loop holes were closed in November but haven't been able to find if what I am proposing would work. Thank you in advance for any insight/help you may provide!

Debi

Saturday 26th of February 2022

@Ziggy Oskwarek, Great read but the one huge thing you didn’t mention was that you can’t acces the Lightning Lanes unless you are staying at a Disney Resort. So you can pay extra for Genie+ but can’t get a Lightning Lane! So wrong!!!

Ziggy Oskwarek

Thursday 3rd of February 2022

Hi Ryan, that is a great question and we know it's an extremely confusing subject to understand, we still have to think about some aspects on a constant basis! Some loopholes were closed in November, but they were the ones that were letting guests exponentially grow the number of LL reservations they had by booking them, then canceling them, then booking new ones etc. The way you described for yourself is perfectly fine. Once you check in to the queue for any LL attraction, you automatically can book your next one. Then when you get to the next attraction, you can book another one, and so on. The only time you have to wait 120 minutes is when the return time is more than 120 minutes into the future. I hope that makes sense.

Tim Benjamin

Monday 31st of January 2022

I would like to download the Genie + Guide. Is it possible to do this and if so how?

Ziggy Oskwarek

Thursday 3rd of February 2022

Hi Tim. I'm glad you liked it. Right now I don't have a way to make it available for download, but I'll look into it in the future, maybe a more condensed version or something

marion

Saturday 29th of January 2022

Thanks for the explanations Ziggy. Very detailed. Appreciate your trying to keep it as understandable. I too do rely on my kids now, but l look forward to trying it on our own. Now that we have a guide. Thanks.

Ziggy Oskwarek

Thursday 3rd of February 2022

You're welcome Marion, glad you like them!

Bittermetimbers

Tuesday 25th of January 2022

Pure Kabuki Theater

Let it die a miserable death !

Fastpass return will be the message sent. Paying a hundred bucks, to watch someone else walk by you, is an insult to your intelligence.

Who goes first on ROTR the lightening lane rider or the $1500 a day SW Hotel, sap ?