Our guide to the Genie+ at Disneyland and Disney California Adventure answers frequently asked questions about the paid FastPass and MaxPass replacement, info & tips based on official details, plus speculation & more about the new ride reservation, line-skipping Lightning Lanes, and itinerary tools that are coming soon.
In mid-August, Disney dropped the news that the paid Genie+ and Lightning Lanes are replacing free FastPass and MaxPass at Disneyland and DCA. The news was announced via standard press release, plus a video and supplementary information on other websites, social media, etc. A lot of details were not contained in the official announcement, which raised more questions than it answered. This announcement was made simultaneously for Walt Disney World and Disneyland.
Naturally, the update for the Florida parks overshadowed the California ones, and questions about the former outnumbered the latter by approximately 1,971 to 1. No surprise, since Walt Disney World planners are a lot more hardcore–and there’s also the reality that Disneyland locals experienced a similar system with MaxPass. However, we’re starting to receive more questions about the DLR incarnation, and added details are starting to trickle in, so we have an update…
Note that in addition to official public announcements, Disney has held media presentations and tech demos of the Genie system. During these, additional questions have been answered, and clarifying details have been provided. For some odd reason, a lot of this official information has not yet made its way to Disneyland.com.
There’s not 100% certainty about whether this details will apply to the Disneyland incarnation of the Genie+ system, but we’re nevertheless going to include them in the FAQ. Additionally, we offer speculation based on how FastPass and MaxPass worked in the past. Throughout the FAQ, we’ll make clear what has been confirmed by Disney, what’s speculation on our part, and where the Disneyland and WDW versions could diverge.
This is going to be a hot topic in the days, weeks, and months to come, and we want to be able to easily find and answer as many reader comments as possible. With that in mind, here’s our work-in-progress FAQ to Genie+ at Disneyland…
When will the Genie system launch at Disneyland?
Disney has not yet provided an official launch date for the Genie system at Disneyland, only that it’ll come after the system launches at Walt Disney World on October 19, 2021.
We’ve heard credible rumors that Disney intends to launch Genie for Disneyland approximately 2-3 weeks after Florida, contingent upon a smooth rollout there. Meaning that it could arrive in California as soon as early November 2021 if all goes well, or sometime in 2022 if there are hiccups. (Well, more like belches if there’s that long of a delay.)
What are Lightning Lanes, the paid Genie+ service, free Genie feature, and individual or a la carte attraction selections?
Disney Genie (Free) – A feature in the Disneyland app that’s basically a personalized itinerary feature. Think of it as Disney’s answer to Google Maps–it tells you where to go in the most efficient way, but doesn’t offer you any line-skipping.
Disney Genie+ (Paid) – This provides priority access to 19 attractions at Disneyland and DCA. You choose the next available time to arrive, and can make one selection at a time throughout the day. Disney Genie+ will cost $20 per day and also include audio experiences and unlimited PhotoPass downloads from your day at Disneyland Resort.
Individual Attraction Selections (a la carte purchases) – Choose a specific time to arrive at up to 2 different highly demanded attractions and bypass the standby line. There are 3 attractions at Disneyland Resort offering this, and they are not included in Genie+. Pricing for this option will vary by date and attraction.
Lightning Lanes (real world infrastructure) – The new name for FastPass+ entrances. These are the physical queues in the park through which Genie+ or individual attraction selection purchases can bypass standby lines.
Which attractions will be available for a la carte Lightning Lane purchase?
Disneyland has now confirmed all individual Lightning Lane purchase options. Here’s the full official list:
- Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance
Disney California Adventure
- Radiator Springs Racers
- WEB SLINGERS: A Spider-Man Adventure
Again, this trio of attractions will not be available via the Genie+ service. Additionally, guests can only buy 2 a la carte selections per day.
Which attractions will be available via the Genie+ service?
Here’s the official Genie+ list of attractions:
- Big Thunder Mountain Railroad
- Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters
- Haunted Mansion
- Indiana Jones Adventure
- “it’s a small world”
- Matterhorn Bobsleds
- Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run
- Roger Rabbit’s Car Toon Spin
- Space Mountain
- Splash Mountain
- Star Tours – The Adventures Continue
Disney California Adventure
- Goofy’s Sky School
- Grizzly River Run
- Guardians of the Galaxy – Mission: BREAKOUT!
- Monsters, Inc. Mike & Sulley to the Rescue!
- Soarin’ Around the World
- Toy Story Midway Mania
Can we purchase both Genie+ and individual Lightning Lane access?
Since there is no overlap between what’s covered by Genie+ and by the individual or a la carte line-skipping, you may purchase both.
When will guests be able to make Genie+ selections?
Disneyland guests will be able to make their first Genie+ selection or Individual Lightning Lane purchase upon entering the park.
Although unconfirmed, this should work exactly how MaxPass worked, meaning that you can make reservations immediately upon scanning into the turnstiles. Even if the park is not yet officially open or you leave, you should be able to make reservations.
Will joining the virtual queues for Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance or Web Slingers: A Spider-Man Adventure become more difficult?
Although we don’t know how much capacity Disney will reallocate to Lightning Lane guests, it’ll be some–probably at least 25%. However much is set aside for Lightning Lane purchases means that’s how much more difficult the virtual queue will become.
What will change with standby lines?
Regular ole walk-up standby lines will still be available on all attractions–except Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance or Web Slingers: A Spider-Man Adventure (for now).
What will change with virtual queues?
For now, nothing.
However, the virtual queue for Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance already ended at DHS, and the verbiage for Web Slingers: A Spider-Man Adventure has been tweaked to indicate that DCA ride “may” require a virtual queue. It’s possible one or both of these will be retired at Disneyland Resort by early 2022.
How many individual Lightning Lane attraction reservations can each guest book per day?
Two, and those reservations must be at different attractions. (In other words, no doing Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance–or anything else–twice.)
What about “winning” the virtual queue and also buying individual attraction Lightning Lane access for the ride?
That’s not yet known.
What will individual Lightning Lane attractions cost at Disneyland?
That’s also not yet known.
At Walt Disney World, the starting price is $7 per attraction, with the highest example price being $15. Our expectation is that Disneyland prices will be lower, as the locals-heavy guest base makes charging higher prices less viable. (To that point, we wouldn’t be surprised if the a la carte sales are not viable at all, but who knows–there’s a lot of disposable income in Southern California.)
Can the same attraction be booked multiple times with the Genie+ service at Disneyland and DCA?
Disney has confirmed that this will not be an option at launch for Florida.
It’s unclear whether this rule will also apply at Disneyland; it’s not “necessary” to the same degree, but Disney might keep the rules consistent between the coasts.
How many ride reservations can be made at a time with the Genie+ service?
Disneyland has only confirmed that guests will be able to make one reservation at a time–with the ability to make a subsequent reservation immediately upon tapping into an attraction.
What if the return time for that selection is not until much later in the day?
Walt Disney World has confirmed that guests will be able to make another reservation 120 minutes after their first reservation even if they have not yet redeemed the first Genie+ selection.
It’s unclear whether this will apply at Disneyland. Under the previous MaxPass system, the rule was 90 minutes–Disneyland could stick with that, or adopt Florida’s 120 minute policy. (It’ll be one or the other–not only the aforementioned “one reservation at a time” policy.)
How will groups be able to make Genie+ reservations?
Guests will have the ability to link tickets and select family and friends in the Disneyland app during the ride reservation process.
Will Genie+ and/or individual Lightning Lane attractions work with Park Hopping?
You will be able to reserve attractions after 1 pm in a different park than the one where you started your day and have reservations. Park Hopping with Genie+ or individual Lightning Lane attraction purchases will follow all the normal rules of all three (Park Hopping, Genie+ and Lightning Lanes).
Can only certain guests within a party choose to purchase individual attraction Lightning Lane access?
It’s highly unlikely that Disneyland will make you buy a Radiator Springs Racers ride reservation even for kids who aren’t tall enough to ride. It’ll likely be a process that allows you to choose among linked guests in the Disneyland app.
Can guests choose to purchase Genie+ only on specific days?
Only buying on specific days will give you the option to have “commando touring” days and more laid back ones, instead of simply buying for the duration of a Disneyland ticket or vacation package–saving money in the process.
Will Magic Key Passholders be able to purchase Genie+ or individual Lightning Lane access at Disneyland?
Magic Keyholders will be able to purchase Lightning Lane or add Genie+ on a per-day basis, just like regular theme park ticket holders.
At launch, there will not be a yearly add-on option for Genie+ for Disneyland Resort Magic Key Passholders. That seems likely to come at some point in the not-too-distant future, though.
Will there be Magic Key Passholder or DVC Member discounts?
Not at launch.
What will the yearly Genie+ access cost for APs?
Previously, MaxPass cost $125 for the year at Disneyland.
However, everything has gone up in price since then. Our guess for Genie+ is $149 to $199 for the year. It probably won’t debut until early 2022, though.
Will these systems force me to be glued to my phone all day?
Using the Genie systems will definitely require phone use throughout the day–there’s no way around that. However, it could be as little as a couple of minutes every 90 to 120 minutes, or shortly after entering an attraction queue. It won’t be necessary to be constantly on your phone.
With that said, just as before with MaxPass, it’s likely that those guests who refresh the app compulsively and are diligent about making reservations will be at an advantage.
Will there be multiple options for time slots when booking Genie+ ride reservations?
At launch, the only option will be the next available time slot.
Will refreshing and rebooking ride reservations be possible with Genie+?
That was the case with MaxPass, but it’s our understanding that will not be the case with Genie+ at launch.
Generally speaking, expect features and functionality to be added to Genie+ over time. It sounds like a “dumbed down” version of the services will be available at first, and expanded in subsequent updates through the rest of the year and early 2022. That’s probably for the best in the near-term, as fewer moving parts means less potential problems.
How will this impact Single Rider or Rider Switch?
What changes are coming to DAS?
Two new features are coming to Disability Access Service (DAS) in Fall 2021. The full details can be found on Disneyland.com. Our apologies, but we don’t have any additional details, insight, or speculation into how the DAS changes will work at Disneyland.
Keep in mind that Genie+ and Lightning Lanes still haven’t launched, and there’s still a lot of uncertainty and unknowns. Beyond that, Disney is clearly focused on launching the Walt Disney World version of the Genie system first, with Disneyland’s incarnation on the backburner for now–and likely to evolve based upon what happens in Florida.
More details should come in a few phases. First, when Genie launches on October 19, 2021 in Florida, a few more clarifying details should be revealed for Disneyland and Disney California Adventure. Second, when Genie+ and Lightning Lanes officially debut in California–assuming all goes well, that should happen by early November 2021. Finally, a few weeks after the official debut, when we can see how things ‘settle’ into place and actually operate once the system has allowed for test and adjust.
In other words, we should know more later in October 2021, then again during the Christmas season, and even more in early 2022 as the system continues to evolve. If you’re traveling before Halloween, don’t worry about Genie+ or Lightning Lanes–they won’t impact your trip. If you’re visiting Disneyland and DCA in the last two months of this year or any time in 2022, we’ll continue to keep you posted, updating this FAQ as we learn more.
This should answer most of the questions that readers have been asking about the Genie+ app feature and Lightning Lanes that are coming to Disneyland and Disney California Adventure. In some cases, those “answers” are simply our best guesses and speculation, but in a lot of cases that’s the best we can offer. There have been a lot of questions, so if we didn’t address yours, we apologize. Please post in the comments below and we’ll answer more as they’re asked!
Planning a Southern California vacation? For park admission deals, read Tips for Saving Money on Disneyland Tickets. Learn about on-site and off-site hotels in our Anaheim Hotel Reviews & Rankings. For where to eat, check out our Disneyland Restaurant Reviews. For unique ideas of things that’ll improve your trip, check out What to Pack for Disney. For comprehensive advice, consult our Disneyland Vacation Planning Guide. Finally, for guides beyond Disney, check out our Southern California Itineraries for day trips to Los Angeles, Laguna Beach, and tons of other places!
Have any questions we didn’t answer with the above FAQ? Still confused by how Genie+ or Lightning Lanes will work at Disneyland and DCA? Think this is an adequate replacement to the FastPass and MaxPass systems, or do you wish Disneyland would’ve just left those alone? Do you agree or disagree with our assessments? Other thoughts or concerns? Any questions we can help you answer? Hearing your feedback—even when you disagree with us—is both interesting to us and helpful to other readers, so please share your thoughts below in the comments!