Lightning Lane & Genie+ at Disney World Guide & FAQ
This guide to Genie+ and Lightning Lanes at Walt Disney World explains paid FastPass, with answers frequently asked questions about ride reservations, line-skipping, and itinerary tools for Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Animal Kingdom, and Hollywood Studios. Plus, tips & tricks, how to use the 120 minute rule to strategically stack and save time! (Updated May 23, 2023.)
Since the Genie system launched last fall, we’ve been in the parks extensively testing it out and sharing results in our posts about Genie+ and Lightning Lanes. Those are good reads for those wanting to understand how Genie works in practice, problems we have using ride reservations, and more. We also cover Genie+ news and changes, which happen more often than you might think!
To that point, we should probably start out with the big change that’s on the horizon, which is that advance booking of Lightning Lanes is coming to Genie+ at Walt Disney World. This was announced alongside 5 Major Improvements for 2024 at Walt Disney World, and it’s assumed that pre-booking Lightning Lanes will also arrive in January 2024, but that’s not official. It could happen this year or at a later date in 2024. Whenever it does happen, that will be a paradigm shift that fundamentally changes how Genie+ works and renders much of the following advice obsolete. We’ll keep you posted and update accordingly here–but for now, here’s everything you need to know about Genie+ at Walt Disney World in 2023…
Unsurprisingly, there have still been a lot of questions–even from seasoned Walt Disney World veterans. The bad news is that the Genie system is convoluted and confusing with a lot of moving parts and separate features. It’s also a substantial departure from its free predecessor at Walt Disney World, and is based more on MaxPass at Disneyland.
The good news is that most of these changes have been positive, and Genie+ is now better and easier to use. This FAQ and Guide to Genie+ will answer the most common reader questions and concerns, making you a ‘power user’ of Genie+ in the process!
Before you get carried away with the prospect of being a Genie+ power user, let’s start with a few words of caution. First, you do not need to buy Genie+ or use Lightning Lanes to have a fun and productive day at Walt Disney World. To the contrary, this feature in the My Disney Experience app can be frustrating due to its unfriendly user interface, propensity for glitches, and the fact that it’ll increase your screen time.
To that end, check out Best Time-Saving Strategies for Walt Disney World, which is the result of extensive ‘testing’ to determine the best and worst ways to beat the crowds. Genie+ is only the clear winner at Magic Kingdom. In the other 3 parks, there are superior strategies for saving time waiting in line. Even Disney’s Hollywood Studios, which has a lot of popular rides with long lines, has better ways to beat the crowds. Anyway, we strongly recommend checking out that comparison and building your itineraries accordingly.
Second, much of the user experience with Genie+ is crowd-dependent. When school is in session, the price of Genie+ typically drops and it becomes better and easier to use. On weekends and during holidays, not only does the cost increase, but the ‘quality’ decreases. Despite that higher price, more people buy Genie+ resulting in more competition for the best Lightning Lanes.
In other words: the busier the parks, the more people who buy the Genie+ service; the more people who buy it, the less useful it is. On some days and in some parks, you might only score a couple of worthwhile ride reservations–making it not worth the money or frustrations.
We’ve found that the ‘sweet spot’ for Genie+ is on moderately-busy days. If crowds are too low, Genie+ is unnecessary; if they’re too high, Genie+ will only help you on a few rides before it runs out of reservation inventory. (See When You Should SKIP Genie+ at Walt Disney World for more guidance on this.)
As covered in Genie+ Price Plummets Post-Peak of Spring Break at Walt Disney World, the service both increased in price (to an all-time high of $35) and sold out for several consecutive days during Easter week. It has sold out a total of 6 times ever, and not once before 9:45 am.
Our expectation is that it’ll sell out again during peak season dates in October, November, and December 2023, but probably not before then. The summer season isn’t as bad as holiday weeks and other more concentrated school breaks. (See our 2023 Walt Disney World Crowd Calendar for a rundown of dates that have high crowd levels.)
On a positive note, the usability of Genie+ has improved as compared to last year. That comes with a higher price, but it’s good that the paid FastPass service is now usable even on busier days. Other tweaks have also been made that have made Genie+ better and easier to use. The addition of the modify button (discussed below) is a huge improvement that improves the service considerably. Beyond that, the Genie+ length of stay ticket add-on is no longer available, which alone cuts down the number of people using Lightning Lanes by a significant number.
With that out of the way, here’s a rundown of everything you need to know about Genie+ and Lightning Lanes at Walt Disney World as of Summer 2023. This will help you master Genie+ and leverage it to score more ride reservations than the average guest!
What happened to the free FastPass+ system?
FastPass+ has been permanently retired at Walt Disney World. Genie+ is the permanent replacement, and is very different.
What are Lightning Lanes, the paid Genie+ service, free Genie feature, and a la carte attraction selections or Individual Lightning Lanes (ILLs)?
This FAQ assumes you’re already familiar with the differences between the various components of the new Genie system. For a full breakdown and foundational knowledge, see Lighting Lanes v. Genie+ at Walt Disney World.
What is the free Genie service in the My Disney Experience app?
The free Disney Genie service in the My Disney Experience app will “maximize your park time” via a personalized itinerary feature that will “quickly and seamlessly map out an entire day.”
You can read our Review of Walt Disney World’s Free Genie Itinerary Creator for more info on why this is such a letdown and pointless feature. Accordingly, we won’t be wasting any additional time covering it here.
What is the main or most important element of the new system?
In our view, Genie+ is more significant than Individual Lightning Lanes. We mostly recommend planning around the latter–doing those rides at rope drop or late in the evening so you don’t have to pay extra per-ride.
Can Genie+ selections be made 60 days in advance like FastPass+?
No. Genie+ is a same-day ride reservation system and selections can be made starting at 7 am for everyone, regardless of whether you’re on-site, off-site, Annual Passholder, DVC, etc.
The inability to pre-book any ride reservations has been one of the most common complaints we’ve heard from readers. However, this is coming from veteran vacation planners. First timers likely do not share the same sentiment. To the contrary, too much planning is a common complaint from Walt Disney World newbies.
With all of that said, Walt Disney World has indicated that advance-booking of Lightning Lanes is coming at some point. No other details have been released, but our expectation is that it’ll be a “compromise” between the old FastPass+ protocol and current Genie+ same-day system.
What is the cost of Genie+ at Walt Disney World?
You might see outdated resources indicating that Genie+ costs $15 per day plus tax. That changed within the last few months–Walt Disney World switched to date-based pricing for the Genie+ service. This means that on days when demand is projected to be higher at Walt Disney World, Genie+ will cost more.
Genie+ pricing will work very similarly to the date-based ticket system, minus the pre-published calendar with prices for each month–you won’t know how much Genie+ costs until logging into My Disney Experience the day of your visit. With that said, we’d expect the cost of Genie+ to more or less be tethered to tickets, so it should be relatively easy to surmise based on the 1-day ticket calendar.
Since the change, Genie+ prices have ranged from $15 to $35 before tax. The higher end of the spectrum occurred during last year’s holiday season and again this year around Presidents’ Day and Spring Break. We expect prices around $30 to happen again throughout Summer 2023. Non-holiday weekdays have been less expensive ($16-$22) and non-holiday weekends have ranged from $20 to $24 on average. Expect those to be the baseline prices throughout the rest of 2023.
When can Genie+ be purchased?
Genie+ service can be purchased as an in-app purchase via the My Disney Experience app beginning at 12:00 am on the date of their visit/use. We’ve simply bought Genie+ at about 6:50 am, shortly before making our first ride reservation–it takes about 30 seconds to buy via My Disney Experience.
Can Genie+ be bought as a ticket add-on?
Walt Disney World eliminated the Genie+ ticket add-on for 2023, which angered many fans. Despite what many think, this is being done to help fix Genie+ (not make it worse) due to low guest satisfaction scores.
Which attractions are available via the Genie+ service?
Here’s the official Genie+ list of attractions:
- Big Thunder Mountain Railroad
- Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin
- Dumbo the Flying Elephant
- Enchanted Tales with Belle
- Festival of Fantasy Parade
- Haunted Mansion
- “it’s a small world”
- Jungle Cruise
- Mad Tea Party
- Magic Carpets of Aladdin
- Mickey’s PhilharMagic
- Monsters Inc. Laugh Floor
- Peter Pan’s Flight
- Pirates of the Caribbean
- Meet Ariel at Her Grotto
- Meet Cinderella and a Visiting Princess at Princess Fairytale Hall
- Meet Mickey and Minnie at Town Square Theater
- Meet Princess Tiana and a Visiting Princess at Princess Fairytale Hall
- Space Mountain
- Goofy’s Barnstormer
- The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh
- Tomorrowland Speedway
- Under the Sea ~ Journey of the Little Mermaid
- Disney & Pixar Short Film Festival
- Journey into Imagination with Figment
- Living with the Land
- Frozen Ever After
- Mission Space
- Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure
- Soarin’ Around the World
- Spaceship Earth
- Test Track
- The Seas with Nemo & Friends
- Turtle Talk with Crush
- Alien Swirling Saucers
- Beauty and the Beast: Live on Stage
- Disney Jr. Play & Dance
- For the First Time in Forever: A Frozen Sing-Along Celebration
- Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular
- Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway
- Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run
- MuppetVision 3D
- Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster Starring Aerosmith (closed through Summer 2023)
- Meet Olaf at Celebrity Spotlight
- Slinky Dog Dash
- Star Tours — The Adventures Continue
- The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror
- Toy Story Mania
- Festival of the Lion King
- Expedition Everest
- 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
- Na’vi River Journey
- The Animation Experience at Conservation Station
Which Genie+ selections are the “best” ones?
We actually rank the best Genie+ Lightning Lane picks for each park based upon time saved and how quickly return times fill up and run out. This is incredibly helpful for choosing the order to book your ride reservations:
- Magic Kingdom Genie+ Priorities & Lightning Lane Ride Ranks
- Hollywood Studios Genie+ Priorities & Lightning Lane Ride Ranks
- Epcot Genie+ Priorities & Lightning Lane Ride Ranks
- Animal Kingdom Genie+ Priorities & Lightning Lane Ride Ranks
Since popular rides run out of reservations early in the day and there are no re-rides, we’d strongly recommend making your Genie+ Lightning Lane selections in order of those priorities, or risk getting “shut out” of headliner attractions like Slinky Dog Dash, Frozen Ever After, Jungle Cruise, etc.
How important is it to make a Genie+ reservation right at 7 am–will we be penalized for sleeping in?
Guests who book their first Genie+ selection at or around 7 am will be at an advantage, but certainly not an insurmountable one.
It’s okay to sleep in, but we’d recommend booking something before park opening. The “why” of this is explained in You Do NOT Need to Get Up at 7 am for Genie+ at Walt Disney World.
I’m booking right at 7:00:00 am and am STILL not getting immediate return times–what gives?
You’re not alone–there’s fierce competition right at 7 am, resulting in return times going fast for certain popular attractions. Jungle Cruise, Peter Pan’s Flight, Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure, and Frozen Ever After are all among the rides that go quickest.
Far and away the most popular is Slinky Dog Dash, which can fill up in seconds or minutes, depending upon the season. For this attraction and whenever possible, follow our Speed Strategy for Genie+ Selections.
Is refreshing and rebooking ride reservations possible with Genie+ like it was with FastPass+?
Yes, and it is easier with the introduction of a modify button. As explained in How to Modify Lightning Lane Ride Reservations: A Genie+ Gamechanger!, you can now play the ‘refresh game’ and get better or more convenient return times, and also search for availability at other attractions without losing your existing Lightning lane ride reservation.
Previously, there was no way to modify a Genie+ reservation, so you had to cancel and rebook, which was a tedious process. By the time you got back to the booking screen, what you saw when refreshing was usually gone. Not only that, but cancelling and rebooking reset the clock on the 120 minute rule. With the addition of the modify button, all of that has been fixed.
Is more availability added to Genie+ throughout the day?
If you have trouble loading the app or have an error at 7:00 am (which happens much more than you might think), it can be better to wait ]instead of booking the first Lightning Lane selection you see at 7:03 am (or thereabouts).
There tend to be two refills before 7:30 am, plus others throughout the day, usually shortly after the hour or half-hour. See Ride Reservation Refill Rules at Walt Disney World for more on this added availability throughout the day. This can make it much easier to book Lightning Lanes for the best attractions.
With the introduction of the modify button, searching for ride reservation refills is now easier than ever. Combined, the two strategies can be leveraged to score several more Lightning Lane selections per day.
I’m having trouble visualizing how Genie+ works in the parks, any insight?
For step-by-step single day itinerary using Genie+ and Lightning Lanes, see our series of posts:
- 1-Day at Magic Kingdom with Genie+ and Lightning Lanes
- 1-Day at Disney’s Hollywood Studios with Genie+ and Lightning Lanes
- 1-Day at Epcot with Genie+ and Lightning Lanes
- 1-Day at Animal Kingdom with Genie+ and Lightning Lanes
Like all of this, those sample itineraries might be overwhelming and discouraging. Just keep in mind that a normal touring plan might also be overwhelming and discouraging for first-timers. Walt Disney World is one of the most complicated and convoluted vacation destinations on the planet, and it only becomes “easy” with knowledge and experience.
How many Genie+ attractions can guests book per day?
That’s highly variable, and dependent upon which attractions you choose, their return times, park, and attendance levels. The Genie+ system works better for most guests who make their first selections early in the morning and are diligent about booking subsequent selections.
Even on the most crowded days of the year, we have been able to book at least 3 attractions via Genie+. During the off-season, we’ve been able to exceed a dozen Park Hopping between Magic Kingdom and Epcot. With that said, some readers have shared horror stories about only being able to score one or two selections during peak dates.
If you want an idea of how hard using Genie+ is on a 10/10 crowd level day, see My Day Using Genie+ Lightning Lanes in Peak Crowds at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. That’s good reading for anyone visiting Walt Disney World during the busy travel seasons. You can also check out Best Way to Use Genie+ at Disney’s Hollywood Studios for a partial-day approach that’ll avoid a lot of common headaches at Walt Disney World’s most frustrating park.
Individual Lightning Lane Basics
Which attractions are available for Individual Lightning Lane purchase?
Here’s the full list of Walt Disney World’s Individual Lightning Lanes:
- Seven Dwarfs Mine Train at Magic Kingdom
- TRON Lightcycle Run at Magic Kingdom
- Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind at EPCOT
- Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance at Disney’s Hollywood Studios
- Avatar Flight of Passage at Animal Kingdom
How much do Individual Lightning Lane attractions cost at Walt Disney World?
Currently, Individual Lightning Lane (ILL) prices start at $11 per attraction and go up to $25 per person depending upon the ride and dates. Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance is usually most expensive at $20.
Throughout the year, prices may be lower on some days and higher on other days. See our Guide to Individual Lightning Lanes at Walt Disney World for everything else you need to know about price ranges, ILL availability, and much more.
When can Individual Lightning Lane attractions be booked?
Guests staying at a Walt Disney World resort hotel are able to purchase and schedule the first Individual Lightning Lane attraction at 7 am, ahead of off-site guests, who can to do so when the park opens.
TRON Lightcycle Run, Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind, and Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance book up fast on busier days. If you’re not staying on-site, you may not even have a chance to buy ILLs for that trio. On slow to moderately-crowded days, you should have a shot.
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.)
Can you choose times for Individual Lightning Lane rides?
Pending availability, you can select your return time slot for Individual Lightning Lane attractions. What we’ve seen so far is that earlier in the day tends to fill up first, and evenings are last to sell out.
Other Common Genie+ and ILL Questions
I’m having a problem with [insert technical difficulty], what am I doing wrong?
It’s probably not a “you problem,” but rather, a “system error.”
Like so much of Walt Disney World technology, the whole Genie system is incredibly glitchy, prone to crashes, downtime, and other assorted errors. About the best technical troubleshooting we can offer is to force close My Disney Experience and reopen the app. That probably won’t fix the issue, but it’s worth trying.
Are there better or worse days for using Genie+ or booking Lightning Lanes at Walt Disney World?
As a general matter, the lower the crowds, the more success you’ll have with Genie+ and Lightning Lanes.
See our 2023 Walt Disney World Crowd Calendar for recommendations when it comes to choosing months, weeks, or specific dates for visiting. If you’ve already chosen your dates but want day-of-week recommendations for each park, see our Best & Worst Days of the Week to Visit Each Park at Walt Disney World.
Can we purchase both Genie+ and Individual Lightning Lane access?
Since there is no overlap between what’s covered by Genie+ and by ILLs, guests may purchase both.
If a guest purchases one Individual Lightning Lane reservation at 7 am, does this interfere or prevent them from making Genie+ selections?
The system allow both to be booked simultaneously, as they work independently of one another, and each have their own cost.
As a practical matter, we’d recommend making your first Individual Lightning Lane reservation at least a couple of hours after park opening so it doesn’t conflict with your first Genie+ selection–or doing rides via standby before crowds build.
You mentioned booking Slinky Dog Dash and Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance right at 7 am…how?
Disney’s Hollywood Studios is home to the most popular Genie+ attraction and the most popular Individual Lightning Lane attraction in all of Walt Disney World. Both of these often book up within seconds of 7 am, which presents a practical problem–how do you book both?
There is no good way for one person to accomplish both beyond trying to do things quickly and hoping for the best. Realistically, you’ll want to have two adults awake at 7 am, with one booking Slinky Dog Dash and the other booking Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance.
Can the same attraction be booked multiple times with the Genie+ service?
No, re-rides are not currently possible.
As with anything, this is subject to change as the system evolves.
How many ride reservations can be made at a time with the Genie+ service?
Guests are able to make one reservation at a time–with the ability to make a subsequent reservation immediately upon tapping into an attraction or pursuant to the 120 minute rule.
What’s the 120 minute rule?
The way Genie+ ride reservations work is that you can book one at a time, and can either make another selection after two hours (120 minutes) or once you tap into your previous Genie+ selection (both tapstiles at attractions that have two)—whichever comes first.
That just barely scratches the surface. For full details, see How the Genie+ 120 Minute Rule Works at Walt Disney World.
In the morning, when does the clock start ticking on the 120 minute rule?
There’s a lot of confusion as to whether the clock starts running at 7 am (or whenever your first ride reservation is made), or at park opening. It does not start until park opening.
To illustrate, let’s say that you make your first Lightning Lane selection at 7:15 am, booking Jungle Cruise with an 1 pm to 2 pm return window, and Magic Kingdom opens for the day at 9:00 am, you can make your next Lightning Lane selection via Genie+ at 11 am. In other words, 120 minutes after 9 am.
Can I hold multiple Genie+ selections simultaneously?
Walt Disney World’s official wording is confusing, but it’s possible to “stack” Genie+ selections. In fact, there are quirks to the system that make it possible to accumulate Lightning Lane reservations via Genie+ later in the day. If you want to leverage this, read our Tips for “Stacking” Genie+ Ride Reservations.
Is it possible to return early or late to Genie+ ride reservations?
You can tap into Lightning Lanes up to 5 minutes early and up to 15 minutes late. These are automatic grace periods, and you do not have to ask a Cast Member for them–tapping in will simply work. (In fact, don’t ask a Cast Member, as they might tell you there is no grace period, which is wrong.) No exceptions are granted beyond that.
Can guests choose return times via Genie+?
This is just like the old paper FastPass system–you receive the earliest available 1-hour return window, with no option to choose later or earlier times.
What if that conflicts with other plans, ADRs, or ride reservations?
Genie+ will not stop you from making overlapping plans, so you need to monitor this yourself and make sure it doesn’t happen.
If a specific attraction’s return time conflicts with your schedule, either select a different attraction with a return time that isn’t problematic, or wait 5-10 minutes until the clock moves forward on return times and eliminates the conflict.
Which parks do you recommend buying Genie+?
Genie+ is most useful at Magic Kingdom due to that park having the highest number of popular attractions with Lightning Lane entrances. It’s second most useful at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, due to the number of headliner rides in that park. It has become more useful at Epcot now that Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure and Frozen Ever After are both included in the service, but it can be difficult to score Lightning Lanes for both.
Genie+ is least useful at Animal Kingdom due to the low ride counts. However, operating hours make it easy to split a Genie+ day between Epcot and Animal Kingdom–we cover that in My Morning in Animal Kingdom Using Genie+ and My Afternoon in Epcot Using Genie+.
How does Genie+ compare to Express Pass at Universal?
Not at all, really. Aside from both being line-skipping services, they are fundamentally different in just about every other material way.
If you’re really curious about how the two stack up and which is better, see Universal’s Express Pass v. Lightning Lanes & Genie+ at Walt Disney World.
How are groups be able to make Genie+ reservations?
Guests have the ability to select family and friends in My Disney Experience during the ride reservation process, and one person can complete the process for everyone. (It should go without saying, but Genie+ needs to be purchased for every single guest who wants to use the service.)
Can only certain guests in my party book certain Genie+ reservations?
It’s incredibly flexible–if half your party wants to do one ride and the other half wants to do another, that’s entirely possible. You select who is riding during the Genie+ selection process.
Can only certain guests within a party choose to purchase Individual Lightning Lane access?
Same process as describing above for selecting/deselecting members of your party to buy ILLs.
Does this system work with MagicBands?
Yes. It also works with the MagicBand+.
With that said, MagicBands are not required. You can use your park tickets or MagicMobile via your phone instead if you don’t have MagicBands.
What about virtual queues?
Both Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance and Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure have ended their virtual queues.
However, Walt Disney World’s newest attraction, Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind at Epcot, just opened and is currently using a virtual queue. See our ride guide: How to Ride Guardians of Galaxy Cosmic Rewind & Virtual Queue Speed Strategy for advice on successfully scoring spots.
When will Walt Disney World be “done” with virtual queues?
Probably not anytime soon.
The virtual queue for Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind will probably end sometime in Summer 2023, but the TRON Lightcycle Run virtual queue will almost certainly continue until Fall 2023. It might even remain around until 2024.
What else does Genie+ include at Walt Disney World?
Ride reservations and line-skipping via the Lightning Lane on the aforementioned attractions plus AR filters for photos and guided audio tours of the parks.
Does Genie+ include PhotoPass downloads?
Yes. As of earlier in 2023, guests who purchase Genie+ also receive digital downloads of their Disney PhotoPass attraction photos, taken in the park on the day of their purchase, at no additional charge. On-ride photos are taken while in the parks at more than a dozen of Walt Disney World’s most popular attractions including Space Mountain, Slinky Dog Dash, Test Track, Expedition Everest, TRON Lightcycle Run, and more.
Note that this only applies to on-ride photos. If you go up to a PhotoPass photographer in the park, the resulting photos will not be offered to you for free as part of the Genie+ service.
Does Genie+ and/or Individual Lightning Lane attractions work with Park Hopping?
You can reserve attractions after 2 pm in a different park than the one where you started your day and have Disney Park Pass reservations. Park Hopping with Genie+ or Individual Lightning Lane attraction purchases follow all the normal rules of all three (Park Hopping, Genie+ and Lightning Lanes).
What happens if I want to Park Hop but the return time for the attraction I book with Genie+ is before 2 pm?
Genie+ accommodates Park Hopping, but you need to wait for the return time for Lightning Lanes to advance beyond 2 pm for your subsequent parks. If you’re attempting to reserve a Lightning Lane for a park that is not your reserved first park, the system will not let you do so if the return time is before 2 pm.
Unfortunately, this is a relatively recent change. Previously, the system would automatically modify your reservation window to 2-3 pm if you’re not already in that park. It’s important to make Genie+ selections for popular attractions (Slinky Dog Dash is the best example) early in the day, so understanding how this works and making Lightning Lane selections strategically is important if you’re Park Hopping.
What has changed with standby lines?
Regular ole walk-up standby lines are still available on all attractions except Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind.
Is there an on-site advantage with Genie+ or Individual Lightning Lanes?
Not with Genie+, but those staying on-site are able to purchase ILLs at 7 am instead of park opening time.
Are other on-site perks possible down the road?
That remains to be seen. Walt Disney World has on-site hotel occupancy targets that are incredibly important metrics. If bookings are low or cancellations continue, expect to see more incentives to stay on-site, including the potential for Genie+ included with select stays.
Can Annual Passholders purchase Genie+ or ILLs?
Annual Passholders may purchase Individual Lightning Lanes or add Genie+ on a per-day basis, just like regular theme park ticket holders.
Demand has been incredibly high for Genie+ in Florida. With fewer eligible attractions, the capacity probably does not exist for a Walt Disney World AP add-on. Don’t expect to see one at any point in 2023–or probably ever.
Are there Annual Passholder or DVC Member discounts?
However, this could happen at some point in 2023 as Walt Disney World looks to improve guest satisfaction. Now that the ticket add-on has ended, Lightning Lane availability has improved, and offering a discount to APs and DVC Members could be a good way to spike sales while also improving guest goodwill among those groups.
Will these systems force me to be glued to my phone all day?
Using the Genie systems definitely requires 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 FastPass+, it’s likely that those guests who refresh the app compulsively and are diligent about making reservations will be at an advantage.
What about guests without smartphones?
They are out of luck.
Guests without My Disney Experience will be unable to use Genie+ and Lightning Lanes, and instead will be stuck with standby.
How does this impact Single Rider or Rider Switch?
Recent changes were made to Rider Switch to better work with this system; those guests use the Lightning Lane entrances for access to attractions that offer rider switch/swap.
What changes have been made to Disability Access Service?
Two new features have debuted with Disability Access Service (DAS): pre-arrival registration and planning via live video chart and a same-day DAS return time self-selection tool. These have now launched–read about them in Guide to Disability Access Service (DAS) at Walt Disney World.
Unfortunately, the ins and outs of DAS are not our area of expertise, so we cannot offer further insight or recommendations for those new tools. What we can say is that we’ve received many reader complaints about this new system, delays, and understaffing. As such, we highly recommend initiating the pre-arrival registration as early as possible before your trip. Go in with the expectation that it’ll take a while to get done, and be patient. This is one of many ways that Walt Disney World is short-staffed right now.
How could this “have been so much worse”?
Several of you caught our “this could have been so much worse” line in the announcement post and questioned how that could possibly be true. For starters, recognizing this requires acknowledging that paid FastPass was an inevitability. Don’t cry because free FastPass is over, smile because it didn’t happen 5 years ago when first planned. 😉
Rumored versions of the paid FastPass replacement were all worse than this, either in terms of cost or policies. The version that was incredibly close to coming to fruition was entirely a la carte. Take a look at the pricing for Premier Access at Disneyland Paris and you’ll see what we mean. Moreover, all of the paid FastPass “pilot programs” at Walt Disney World cost more than this and offered less.
Walt Disney World probably opted for the most confusing option, but it’ll make a lot more sense in practice (or for anyone who has already used MaxPass). We don’t love Genie+ or Lightning Lanes and certainly aren’t trying to “sell” you on them–just pointing out that this is pretty far from the worst case scenario.
Disney said: “We’ve been listening to your feedback — you want planning to be easier, you want more flexibility and you want better tools to help you make the most of your visit — and that’s exactly what Disney Genie is here to do.” Is it really, though?!?
You just read 5,000+ words about this “easier” and “better” tool and there’s a good chance you still have questions. What do you think? 😉
How can we provide feedback to Walt Disney World about Genie+ or Lightning Lanes?
We recommend respectfully expressing your opinions as to how Genie+ or Lightning Lane will impact your vacations or business with Walt Disney World by email [email protected].
This is far superior to complaining in comments, social media, forums, etc. (Although Disney sees all of that, too.) Rather than starting petitions, which are largely ineffectual, share feedback in guest satisfaction surveys, bring it up if you speak with managers or others in park leadership, or even contact Guest Relations.
Keep in mind that Genie+ and Lightning Lanes will continue to evolve in the coming months. The system arguably debuted before it had been sufficiently tested and adjusted, so that process has been playing out in real-time for actual guests. In other words, the “rules” and how Genie+ works will continue to evolve and we will update our recommendations accordingly.
There actually already have been ‘seasonal’ changes, with some Individual Lightning Lane attractions shifted over to Genie+ and parade viewing added in order to help with demand and capacity. We’ll continue to keep you posted, as more changes are likely on the horizon starting that holiday weekend. We’ll also continue updating this FAQ as we learn more and we receive more reader questions.
This should answer most of the questions that readers have been asking about the Genie+ app feature and Lightning Lanes that are coming to Walt Disney World. 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 Walt Disney World trip? Learn about hotels on our Walt Disney World Hotels Reviews page. For where to eat, read our Walt Disney World Restaurant Reviews. To save money on tickets or determine which type to buy, read our Tips for Saving Money on Walt Disney World Tickets post. Our What to Pack for Disney Trips post takes a unique look at clever items to take. For what to do and when to do it, our Walt Disney World Ride Guides will help. For comprehensive advice, the best place to start is our Walt Disney World Trip Planning Guide for everything you need to know!
Have any questions we didn’t answer with the above FAQ? Still confused by how Genie+ or Lightning Lanes work? 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!
To book our second genie + selection of the day, it has to be 120 minutes after official park opening. Does early entry count? Or is it the opening of the park to all?
Can we make a second ILL génie plus ( after our first at 7) 120 min later, after the park opening? If we are not in the park yet?
Because we are flying 10-2pm …arriving in the park around 5
Yes! Stack them after 2 hours. just make sure your return times are after the time you will enter the park so you don’t lose your chace to actually use your lightning lane passes. If you see you’re not going to make it for a pass then make sure to modify your time BEFORE your return time otherwise it’ll count as used even if you missed it and you won’t be able to rebook it. Also, be aware that the ability to rebook a G+ lightning lane only lasts as long as there are still open reservation slots for that ride. Headliner rides usually lose open capcity for reservations earlier on.
Thanks for the answer
I appreciate all your knowledge and have been diving into the triforce of advanced level genie + strategies. I have a few questions – just to make sure I’m completely getting this.
1. When making your first genie + reservation at 7am. I’m understanding that I may have the option to select a return time of 9am-10am on the first screen and by the time I get through the reservation process it now may say 2pm-3pm. Do you find that out after it’s been booked that the actual time you got is 2pm-3pm? Or do you still have the option to not take the now 2pm-3pm?
2. In regards to reservation refills. Say you have the now 2pm-3pm return time from the example above (whether b/c that’s what was given to me OR I was able to see the new 2pm-3pm and I knowingly still took it). Now – can you start refreshing and waiting for reservation refills over the next 25 minutes or so and take a better option if available? If yes, I’m assuming the app will alert me afterwards that I have 2 genie + reservations to the same ride and one needs to be cancelled?
After reading numerous Disney Tourist Blog posts (which are so brilliantly written, educational and joyfully funny), it’s clear that using Early Entry is a suggested strategy for maximizing a WDW experience. However, on our upcoming trip May 3-7, 2023, we are staying offsite. We have 5 day park hopper tickets and I’m curious if there’s a suggested way to handle reservations (given that we do not have early entry). For instance, should we start one day each park and do MK twice then park hop in afternoons or are we better to double up reservations for certain parks and only do others after 2pm? We are open to purchasing Genie+ and ILL, particularly since we can’t take advantage of extra hours, but understand that not staying on sight may make that harder to get reservations in the mornings. Any strategies for off-site guests would be helpful. If there are specific posts that would answer my questions I’d love to be directed to them.
Is it better to prioritize the individual lightning lane reservation at 7am or the Genie+ reservation at 7am if only one person is doing it?
In general, ILLs are available longer. If you are going to HS and want to get SDD and ROTR, then get genie+ for SDD first b that will “sell out” faster.
Only exception to this is with Tron. If going to MK and want to ride Tron, you can try for a boarding group at 7am (they sell out in seconds) or you can just skip and buy an ILL for Tron (benefit is you get to pick return time for ILL and if that’s ur park hop park, then you can purchase for later in day at 7am)
Not sure if this is allowed so please delete if not but this article just came out and has some info.
Hello I love reading all your posts. I do have a question, can you purchase genie + off site (like another state) while traveling to DisneyWorld that day? Then start booking rides at 7am as usual (not in FL yet) obviously for later in the day when we arrive? Thank you
Can Disney Gift Cards be used to purchase Genie+ and ILLs?
I understand that you can’t book an attraction more than once with genie +, but would it create a problem, for example, to get a genie time for slinky dog for late afternoon and also ride it first thing at early entry?
No. There is no limit to how many times you can ride an attraction, only to how many times you can book a lightning lane for it.
Which part of this post was updated 3/3/23?
The paragraphs above and below the Spaceship Earth photo near the top are new. There are other slight tweaks to the Q&A, but those are nothing major (e.g. Enchanted Tales with Belle is now back; on-ride photos will be free starting March 20).
If you’ve read the FAQ before, there’s really no reason to re-read it now.
I just reread this and it appears to say that if you park hop it will immediately adjust time til after 2 but that has changed, right?
grand doing their senior trip 3/28 til 4/1 and have referred her and classmates to your site for best info.
You are correct–sorry about that! I’ve updated this guide again to reflect that change.
There is a LOT to keep track of with Genie+ and Lightning Lanes, and even I can miss some of it when doing these updates.
No problem. You are the very best. My grand’s senior class is the first one who are staying at cabana bay rather than an all star resort and only doing two days at Disney parks, two days at universal, and arrival day at volcano water park. Previously it was three days at Disney, one at universal and one Disney water park. They’re trying to figure out If they want and/or can afford to do Disney genie splurge on one day.
I’m planning a quick trip for August with the objective of riding Tron and Guardians as much as possible. I have done a lot of reading and vlog-watching and am still thoroughly confused so hoping someone can help!
I know that the only way to access both rides is by ILL or virtual queue; that you can purchase a total of two ILLs per person per day on separate attractions (but you can only buy the second ILL after the first has been used); and (I think?) that you can join two virtual queues per day, but you can’t be in two boarding groups at once.
If I wanted to try and hit both Tron and Guardians in one day, what would be your strategy? Would you try for some combination of ILL and virtual queue, or just one or the other? Is it correct that you can’t join a virtual queue via the 1:00 pm drop unless it aligns with your park reservation (so e.g. if I had an MK reservation, I wouldn’t be able to join the Guardians virtual queue at 1:00)? TIA!
As of right now, you can buy ILL for both right at 7am (I would 100% do Tron first) and choose your return times for both
Tom Bricker thinks GoG will drop VQ nd go to stand by and ILL when Tron opens…..
Since VQ are free, they will “sell out” quicker than ILL…….So if you dont mind paying then ILL will likely be your best chance to ride Tron……..If you do get an ILL, you can then try for the VQ at 7am (most likely will be gone)………..If you dont get an ILL at 7am, then you could also try and get one at 1pm VQ so you could ride it twice………
Park Hopping doesnt start until 2pm so you will need to be in the park and have a park pass for whatever ride you want to try and get a VQ at 1pm
Should have said :
.If you dont get a VQ at 7am, then you could also try and get one at 1pm so you could ride it twice, once with ILL and once with VQ
Thank you SO MUCH! Whatever I read about only buying your second ILL after the first was used must have been out of date info, which doesn’t surprise me. Definitely willing to just buy both at 7:00am. For a Wed/Thu/Fri visit in mid-August, would you order park reservations for MK and Epcot any particular way? Thank you again.
We are going April 15-23………We have 7 day park tickets………For the first time in a while, I purchased the Park Hopper and here’s my reasoning:
We wanted the chance to get on Tron as much as possible. We booked Magic Kingdom Park Passes for our Epcot and AK days. We figured one if us would try and get VQ while the other bought an ILL…….This way we could hop to our second park every day. The only problem is, you have to scan into your first park before hopping so if you get shut out on both, you still have to go to MK
Thanks, this is also helpful! Feels like you need a PhD and direct line to Disney Parks to figure this stuff out, especially if like me you haven’t visited in years.
I would book MK every day and hop to Epcot every night
Can you make an individual lightning lane when not at the park and you are park hopping.
Ex. Start at AK
At 7:00 make ILL for Avatar for 2pm
At 8:00am make a LL for navi at 12:00pm
At 9:00am make a ILL for guardians at 7pm
Then make next LL at 10:00am
Is this possible with park hopping!?
I’m sorry but it’s WAY more complicated than that……..I will try to explain to my best ability
First and foremost, you need to understand the 120 minute rule.
1) Everyone can book their first Genie+ selection at 7am.
2) The 120 minute rule begins after you make your first selection. You can then book your 2nd ILL after PARK OPENING that you have park pass for. So for eg., you have park pass for Epcot and it opens at 9am. At 7am you make ILL for Test Track for noon return time. Then 120 minutes after park opening (in this case that’s 120 mins after 9am opening so at 11am) you can make your 2nd ILL selection. Then you can make your third at 1pm and so on…….you can also book another one if you use your ILL before the 120 mins is up
Now to answer your question and using your example…..you can only make ILL’s for a second park (Park hop or park you do NOT have park pass for) when the ride return times are after 2PM. To complicate things even further, there are 4 (soon to be 5 with Tron) that are NOT included in Genie+ selections and are called Individual Lightening Lanes : Avatar Flight of Passage, Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, Guardians of the Galaxy and finally Rise of the Resistance (and Tron beginning April 4th). You have to buy these as one off, separate ride selections to skip the line. Only resort guests can buy an ILL at 7am and everyone else when park open
So to get to your example above, here’s how it would work:
1) 7am – Lets say you have Park Pass to MK and plan on hopping to AK (keep in mind you HAVE TO scan into your first park before hopping) you can only book a ride in AK that has return time after 2pm……Test Track or Remys would be likely candidate. if you are a resort guest, you can also separately buy Avatar at this time
2) 120 min applies to park you have pass for and MK opens at 8am, so 120 mins after 8am, at 10am, you can make your next selection at AK as long as the return time is for after 2pm
3) 120 mins later at noon you can make your 3rd LL (again, as long as the return time is after 2pm)
This discussion does not help me to ever like genie+ More confused than ever. It is just way too complicated. Main question, are the big five always now called ILL? Are the rest never called by that name, but just LL? Do you have to buy genie+ to also buy the big five, or can they be purchased separately?
I’ll try to address your example. Sorry in advance if I am over explaining.
Yes, you can make an ILL(s)when not at the park and you are park hopping.
If you are staying at Disney or Disney springs hotel you can make one or both of your ill’s at 7 am. If you are staying outside the park you can make your one or two ILL’s whenever the park the ILL is within opens. You don’t have to be in that park, it just has to be past the opening time of that park.
Given your particular example:if you are staying on site, you can probably get an ILL for avatar for 2 or there about at 7am. if you wait til 9 you may still get a guardians ILL for 7 pm or there about but you could also have done this at 7 am.
Regarding LL’s. At 8 you can make your Navi reservation. It may not have cycled to 12 yet ,but you now have the ability to modify LL’s (unlike ILL’s) if your preferred time becomes available. You could also have made this first LL at 7.
The second LL can be made either after you used your first or two hours after the park LL is in opens, whichever comes first. In your example, today ( feb. 9), you couldn’t make a second LL at 10 because all of the parks have regular openings after 8. Once it’s 2 hours past opening, You can make your second LL at a park you are hopping to if there are times showing after 2.
Hope that helps.
They are both called Lightening Lanes…….The Big 5 are called Individual Lightening Lanes (ILL) because you have to buy them separately. The Genie+ ones are just called Lightning Lanes
Genie+ gets you on all Genie+ rides, EXCEPT the Top 5…….
The Top 5 have to be bought seperately and you can buy 2 per day max and can be at separate parks and you can pick your return time
Sorry if I missed it, but how does the 120 minute rule work when you modify your return time? Do the 2 hours reset when you modify? Thanks!
At this point the 2 hour wait does not reset when you use modify. I’m hoping that Disney doesn’t change this.
Well that’s not quite right, showed up 6 minutes early for Guardians was made to wait. Tried 2 minutes early was told wait…. Tried Remy’s 5 minutes late was told too late though I was stuck behind someone and ho The as blocking the path forever .
I am going with my family to Magic Kingdom (1 day) and Animal Kingdom (1 day) next week (the week that looks great on the crowd estimator outlook). It is our first time. Based on the outlook I am thinking about just not fussing with any of the Genie+ or Lightning stuff to keep things more relaxed. Is this a reasonable idea for days with lower crowd expectations? My kids are all 9 and under and dont have any specific rides they are hell bent on doing.
I think that’s probably fine. You might consider it at Magic Kingdom to make your day easier, but absolutely no need at Animal Kingdom.
Since we won’t be doing any headliners at HS except in Galaxy’s Edge, we are going to skip Genie+. I think buying ILL for Rise should be it. We are really trying to avoid extra costs.
“There is no good way for one person to accomplish both beyond trying to do things quickly and hoping for the best. Realistically, you’ll want to have two adults awake at 7 am, with one booking Slinky Dog Dash and the other booking Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance.”
How does this work if you can only book one attraction at a time?
One is Genie+ and the other is ILL. Resort guests can book ILL too at 7. Non resort have to wait until park opening but can book genie at 7
Bought lightning lane this am for $22.00 each for me and my son… only available use all day was a 10:30 am on rock and rollercoaster..nothing else l day. just paid $46.00 to ride RnR
This is a lie. I checked and there were plenty of reservations available on that day
Either that or the user did not know how to use Genie+ and ILL. By the sounds of it, the user bought an ILL thinking it was Genie+ this only buying one ride as opposed to thinking they were getting access to multiple. I’m not surprised, this is confusing for seasoned veterans never mind newcomers/first timers
I reserved my family’s vacation package back in April, when it was a ticket add on. Since the price is changing, are they going to adjust my cost when I arrive in November? Will I automatically have access to genie + on my days. I added it to all 5 days of my tickets.