This guide to Genie+ and Lightning Lanes at Walt Disney World explains the new paid FastPass, with answers frequently asked questions about the ride reservation, line-skipping, and itinerary planning tools for Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Animal Kingdom, and Hollywood Studios. Plus, tips & tricks, like how to leverage the 120 minute rule and strategically “stacking” to save more time! (Updated November 14, 2021.)
Since the Genie system launched, we’ve been in the parks testing it out–and share some results in Sarah’s Day Using Genie+ at Magic Kingdom and My Day Using Genie+ at Hollywood Studios, both of which cover our step-by-step experience using paid FastPass at Walt Disney World\. Those are good reads for anyone who wants to know how Genie works in practice, and the best ways to use it.
Unsurprisingly, there have still been a lot of questions–even from seasoned Walt Disney World veterans. The Genie system is convoluted and confusing with a lot of moving parts and separate features. It’s also a substantial departure from the free FastPass+ system, and is based more on MaxPass at Disneyland. In this FAQ and Guide to Genie+, we’ll try to answer the most common reader questions and concerns…
What are Lightning Lanes, the paid Genie+ service, free Genie feature, and individual or a la carte attraction selections?
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 does the introduction of Genie+ mean for the My Disney Experience app?
An update and a fresh look coat of paint, so to speak.
Despite the original Disney Genie announcement two years ago calling it an app, it’s actually a feature within My Disney Experience and not an entirely new app.
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.”
It also offers forecasted wait times throughout the day and attraction suggestions, so you can save time in line. In theory.
Why does that say in theory?
Because it simply does not work as advertised.
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.
Which attractions are available for (a la carte) Individual Lightning Lane purchase?
Here’s the full list of Walt Disney World’s Individual Lightning Lane purchase options:
- Seven Dwarfs Mine Train
- Space Mountain
- Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure
- Frozen Ever After
- Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance
- Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway
- Avatar Flight of Passage
- Expedition Everest
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, guests may purchase both.
If a guest purchases one a la carte 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 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.
Can you choose times for Individual Lightning Lane rides?
Pending available, 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.
Does this work with MagicBands?
Yes. It’ll also work with the upcoming MagicBand+, which will launch in 2022.
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 happens to virtual queues?
Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance already stopped offering its virtual queue. Read about this big change and the surprising result in our recent Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance Ride Report & Standby Strategy.
In its place, Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure now uses a virtual queue. This means the same 7 am “boarding pass dash” that occurs now. Those gaining access via the free virtual queue will use the attraction’s physical standby line.
Is joining the virtual queue for Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure now more difficult?
Disney has reallocated some capacity to Lightning Lane guests, but the exact percentage is unknown. However much plus how many Individual Light Lanes are actually purchased is how much more difficult the virtual queue will be on any given day.
What has changed with standby lines?
Regular ole walk-up standby lines are still available on all attractions–except Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure (for now).
Has this made standby wait times longer or shorter?
It really depends upon the attraction and to when you’re comparing waits.
As compared to early October, standby waits are already slightly longer on average. If compared to the FastPass+ era, standby wait times should be lower and lines should move faster.
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.
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 for Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure and also buying individual attraction Lightning Lane access for the ride?
For now, yes. This could always change in the future.
Does this mean I need to attempt to enter the Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure virtual queue and book Lightning Lane reservations both RIGHT AT 7 AM?!
Individual Lightning Lanes for Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure have yet to sell out on any day, period. That might change as crowds increase, but we doubt there will ever be significant pressure to buy access to Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure immediately. As a general principle, people don’t buy things that cost money as much as they use things that are free. Prioritize the free virtual queues–the rest can probably wait minutes or even hours.
What do individual Lightning Lane attractions cost at Walt Disney World?
Prices start at $7 per attraction.
Beyond that, Walt Disney World has offered sample pricing: “the Lightning Lane entrance to Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure will be $9 per person on October 19 and $11 per person on October 23. As another example, on both those dates, Lightning Lane entrance to Expedition Everest – Legend of the Forbidden Mountain will be $7 per person, while Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance will be $15 per person.”
Throughout the year, prices may be lower on some days and higher on other days. This option may be purchased at up to 2 different attractions each day. Check the My Disney Experience app on the day of your visit for current prices and attraction availability.
What is the cost of Genie+ at Walt Disney World?
Genie+ costs $15.98 per person per day after tax.
When can Genie+ be purchased?
Guests are able to pre-purchase the Genie+ service as part of their ticket or vacation packages for the duration of their visit.
Those who want to choose specific days to use the Genie+ service will be able to buy it as an in-app purchase via the My Disney Experience app beginning at 12:00 am on the date of their visit/use. The days we’ve used it, 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.
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
- 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
- Splash 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
- Mission Space
- 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
- Frozen Sing-Along Celebration
- Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular
- Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run
- MuppetVision 3D
- Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster Starring Aerosmith
- Slinky Dog Dash
- Star Tours – The Adventures Continue
- The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror
- Toy Story Mania
- A Celebration of Festival of the Lion King
- It’s Tough to Be a Bug
- Kali River Rapids
- Kilimanjaro Safaris
- Na’vi River Journey
- The Animation Experience at Conservation Station
- Feathered Friends in Flight
Do you recommend buying Genie+ as part of ticket or vacation packages?
Most guests will not need Genie+ every single day of their trip. If you want it for peace of mind and money is no issue, go for it. However, most guests will only need it for 2-3 days of their vacation, at most.
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.
Genie+ is least useful at Epcot and Animal Kingdom due to the low ride counts in each. 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+.
When can Genie+ ride reservations be booked?
All guests are able to make their first Genie+ selection at 7 am on the day of their visit, regardless of whether staying off-site or on-site.
Subsequent selections follow the legacy FastPass “rules.”
What happens if we don’t book a Genie+ selection right at 7 am?
Guests who book their first Genie+ selection at or around 7 am will be at an advantage, but certainly not an insurmountable one. To the contrary, a guest who instead makes their first selection at 9 am (two hours later), will effectively only be at “disadvantage” of only one attraction.
Can the same attraction be booked multiple times with the Genie+ service?
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.
Does this mean I can actually 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 a ton of quirks to the system that make it possible to accumulate a ton of Lightning Lane reservations via Genie+ later in the day. If you really want to leverage this, read our Tips for “Stacking” Genie+ Ride Reservations, which explains how to use the 120 minute rule in tandem with “last actions” to great success.
Fair warning: this is advanced-level Genie+ strategy, and might be confusing or intimidating at first. However, it is absolutely worth mastering as it will improve your day tremendously. Without question, the 120 minute rule and stacking are the two most important things to know about the Genie+ system. We *highly recommend* reading those two separate posts.
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.
The 15 minute late grace period is also significant for stacking purposes, as the Genie+ window closing is considered a last action that triggers the ability to book a new ride reservation–but you can still use the “expired” selection for up to 15 minutes after the window has closed.
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.
How will groups be able to make Genie+ reservations?
Disney has not explained this, but we expect this to work the same way that FastPass+ did (or virtual queues do currently) with guests having the ability to select family and friends in My Disney Experience during the ride reservation process.
Can one person in a group make Genie+ selections for everyone?
So long as you’re all linked in My Disney Experience, one person can make the reservations 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.
What 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?
No. It does not include PhotoPass downloads at Walt Disney World–only at Disneyland.
I’m having trouble visualizing how Genie+ will work in practice, and insight?
For step-by-step single day itinerary using Genie+ and Lightning Lanes, see our new series of posts:
Like all of this, those theoretical 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.
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 the return time for the attraction I book with Genie+ is before 2 pm?
If the return time displayed is before 2 pm, the system will automatically modify your reservation window to 2-3 pm.
It’s important to make Genie+ selections for popular attractions (Slinky Dog Dash is the best example) early in the day, so this policy can be helpful.
Can only certain guests within a party choose to purchase individual attraction Lightning Lane access?
Same process as describing above for selecting/deselecting members of your party.
Can guests choose to purchase Genie+ only on specific days?
Only buying on specific days gives you the option to have “commando touring” days or only purchasing Genie+ for the parks where it offers the biggest advantage (almost certainly Magic Kingdom and Disney’s Hollywood Studios). It’ll be interesting to see how strategy emerges to best save time and money by selectively utilizing Genie+.
Is there an on-site advantage with Genie+ or Lightning Lanes?
Not with Genie+, but those staying on-site will be able to purchase individual Lightning Lane access at 7 am instead of park opening time. (This would’ve been the better head-start for on-site guests, if you ask me.)
Whether this is an actual or illusory benefit remains to be seen. I’m highly skeptical that individual Lightning Lane access will ever sell out for anything other than Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance.
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 individual Lightning Lane access?
Annual Passholders may purchase Lightning Lane or add Genie+ on a per-day basis, just like regular theme park ticket holders.
Initially, there will not be a yearly add-on option for Genie+ for Walt Disney World APs. That seems likely to come at some point in the not-too-distant future, though.
Will there be Annual Passholder or DVC Member discounts?
There is already a discounted length-of-stay option for certain tickets, though.
What will the yearly Genie+ access cost for APs?
MaxPass cost $125 for the year at Disneyland.
However, everything has gone up in price since then, so our guess for Genie+ is $149 to $199 for the year. It probably won’t debut until much later this year–or even early 2022, though.
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.
Will refreshing and rebooking ride reservations be possible with Genie+?
Yes, but it’s very difficult. There’s no way to modify a Genie+ reservation, so you must cancel and rebook, which is a tedious process. By the time you get back to the booking screen, what you saw when refreshing will probably be gone.
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?
Recent changes were made to Rider Switch to better work with this system; those guests will use the Lightning Lane entrances for access to attractions that offer rider switch/swap.
What changes are coming to DAS?
Two new features are coming to 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 partially launched–read about them in Guide to Disability Access Service (DAS) at Walt Disney World. Stay tuned for more details!
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 3 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 4,000+ 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@example.com.
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 even though Genie+ and Lightning Lanes have now launched, this system will continue to evolve in the coming weeks and months. The system arguably debuted before it had been sufficiently tested and adjusted, so that process will play out in real-time for actual guests.
In other words, we should know more later in the year, and even more in early 2022 as the system continues to evolve. If you’re visiting 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 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!