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 August 7, 2022.)
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. Lots of good reads in there for anyone who wants to know how Genie works in practice, problems we have using ride reservations, and more. Those posts also include Genie+ news and changes, which happens more often than you might think!
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 its free predecessor at Walt Disney World, 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…
Before starting, we want to offer 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 Genie+ v. Savvy Standby Strategy at 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, the last several months have been busy at Walt Disney World. The more people who buy the Genie+ service, 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. While that trend is likely to reverse for a few months this fall, it’ll once again be an issue between Veterans’ Day and early 2023.
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 mid-August 2022. 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)?
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.
What is the cost of Genie+ at Walt Disney World?
Genie+ costs $15.98 per person per day after tax.
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. It’ll be interesting to see whether Walt Disney World tweaks that in late 2022 or beyond.
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.
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
Festival of Fantasy Parade
“it’s a small world”
Mad Tea Party
Magic Carpets of Aladdin
Monsters Inc. Laugh Floor
Peter Pan’s Flight
Pirates of the Caribbean
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
The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh
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
Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure
Soarin’ Around the World
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 (not available August 22 to September 9, 2022)
Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular
Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway
Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run
Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster Starring Aerosmith
Meet Olaf at Celebrity Spotlight
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
Feathered Friends in Flight
Finding Nemo: The Big Blue and Beyond
It’s Tough to Be a Bug
Kali River Rapids
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:
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.
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 more availability added to Genie+ throughout the morning?
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 Worldfor more on this added availability throughout the day. This can make it much easier to book Lightning Lanes for the best attractions.
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:
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. Crowds spiked at Walt Disney World from Presidents’ Day through Spring Break. Summer crowds weren’t as bad as spring, and the Genie+ system worked better for most guests who made their first selections early in the morning and were diligent about booking subsequent selections.
With that said, 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.
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
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, prices start at $7 per attraction and go up to $17 per person depending upon the ride and dates. Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance is usually most expensive at $15. (Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind peaked at $17, but it’s now $14.)
Throughout the year, prices may be lower on some days and higher on other days.
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.
Both Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind and Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance book up fast. If you’re not staying on-site, it’s unlikely you’ll be able to book either of those.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Is refreshing and rebooking ride reservations possible with Genie+ like it was with FastPass+?
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.
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?
No. It does not include PhotoPass downloads at Walt Disney World–only at Disneyland.
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+ automatically accommodates Park Hopping. If the return time displayed is before 2 pm, the system will 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 this policy can be helpful.
What about virtual queues?
Both Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance and Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure have ended their virtual queues.
When will Walt Disney World be “done” with virtual queues?
Probably not anytime soon.
Our expectation is that the virtual queue for Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind will end during the off-season in Fall 2022. If the virtual queue isn’t retired in the off-season, it’s entirely possible Cosmic Rewind keeps using a virtual queue until January 2023 or beyond. Then there’s the space-constrained TRON Lightcycle Run, which will likely use a virtual queue when it debuts sometime this decade at Magic Kingdom.
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.
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 longer on average. If compared to the FastPass+ era, standby wait times should be lower and lines should move faster.
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 this year–or probably ever.
Are there Annual Passholder or DVC Member discounts?
Not yet and it’s highly unlikely they’re offered anytime soon.
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?
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 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 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 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 2022 as the system continues to evolve.
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. Thanksgiving 2022 is the next big test, as peak holiday tourist season begins the week leading up to turkey day and will continue until early January 2023. 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!
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!