Both Walt Disney World and Disneyland apps have been updated to now allow purchasers of Genie+ the ability to modify their Lightning Lane selections. This post will show the step-by-step process for making modifications to ride reservations, why this is such a big deal, and how to use it strategically to get more value out of paid FastPass.
Previously, you booked each Lightning Lane, you could not change the time or the attraction. This was unlike Advance Dining Reservations, FastPass+, or pretty much any other reservation bookable in the My Disney Experience app for Walt Disney World or the Disneyland app.
Instead, you needed to cancel and rebook your Lightning Lane ride reservation if you had a change of plans or saw a better time. This was an objectively awful system for a number of reasons, which we’ll touch on below. The modify button is an unequivocal upgrade and one that should’ve been present from day one. Regardless, here’s how to use the modify feature…
There are a couple different ways to access the modify feature. From the “My Day” screen, you should see a “…” on your Genie+ LL selection.
Tap “…” the button to bring up your options for that Lightning Lane ride reservation…
From this pull-up menu, “select “Modify Plan.”
Should be pretty intuitive.
You can also do this from the My Disney Experience app’s home screen, which shows your upcoming plans including Genie+ Lightning Lanes, but without the “…” for whatever reason.
Simply tap on any of these, and it’ll pull up a separate screen:
From there, the next step should be obvious–click the “Modify Plan” button. Do NOT click “Cancel Plan,” even if you no longer want to do Jingle Cruise (or whatever ride reservation you have booked).
(Apologies that my home screen and modify screen don’t ‘match.’ I thought I took a screenshot of the home screen, but apparently not.)
That brings you to the Modify Experience screen, which gives you the option to select a new time or a new experience.
You’ll notice that I started this process after 7:30 am, which is when return times first appear in the app for Walt Disney World (before that it’s “Check Availability.”) The right screenshot is actually the earlier of the two–you can see me move forward from 3:55 pm to 2:40 pm.
What this should illustrate how to play the ‘refresh game’ in the hopes of a cancellation or ride reservation refill. This is one of Walt Disney World’s best interactive games, far better than anything in the Play Disney Parks app. It was especially popular during the FastPass+ days, as it provided a great way of “upgrading” those 4th, 5th, etc. selections.
Even if you’re not trying to score more Lightning Lanes, it can also make things easier for you. Return times regularly change, and if you’re concerned about criss-crossing the park or return times conflicting with ADRs or other plans, refreshing and obtaining a different time is a great fix for that. It’s not as good as choosing from a variety of timeframes to begin with, but it’s a definite step in the right direction.
With a couple more attempts at the refresh game, I was able to move my return time forward to 11:55 am. That’s a big improvement from my original 3:55 pm return time…or so it would seem. I’m still subject to the 120 minute rule, so it didn’t really matter in the end. (If anything, I would’ve liked a slightly later time, as Jingle Cruise really shines at dusk!)
This also should reinforce the point that it is not essential to make your first Genie+ Lightning Lane selection right at 7:00 am (except Slinky Dog Dash, as that goes fast). I could’ve made this ride reservation anytime between 7:00 am and 8:59 am and it wouldn’t have impacted my total number of Lightning Lanes whatsoever.
The screenshot above shows a couple of things. First, how to modify from the Tip Board. Again, it’s via the three dots that pull-up the various options, including modifying your plans.
Second, this shows that I can still book my next Lightning Lane at 11 am. I wouldn’t have triggered a reset even had I cancelled and rebooked since the clock on the 120 minute rule doesn’t start ticking until park opening, but it’s important to understand that modifications do not reset the clock on the 120 minute rule–whereas cancellations do.
Here’s a look at the other experiences available from the Modify Experience screen.
Strategy-wise, my best bets would be Peter Pan’s Flight or Jingle Cruise if I could get return times for either before 11 am. In that case, I could make my second selection prior to 11 am, upon tapping into the attraction’s Lightning Lane. That’s a “big deal” because it would give me an advantage over everyone subject to the 120 minute rule for their second selection.
Peter Pan’s Flight ended up being my 4th selection at Magic Kingdom on this day, as I played the refresh game a couple of times and ‘upgraded’ to near-immediate return times for both Splash Mountain and Space Mountain. Objectively, those aren’t as high priority as Peter Pan’s Flight, but knocking them out fast is still superior. (There aren’t any hard and fast rules for this–if you used FastPass+ enough, you probably got a “feel” for what was best. The same knowledge/skill now more or less applies with Genie+ modifications.)
Anyway, what the above screenshot illustrates is the ongoing time shift issue. On the left, Genie+ is showing a 3:55 pm return time (which is the result of a cancellation, not a refill). By the time I click through, it’s gone–and 7:20 pm is what’s actually available. That’s 5 minutes worse than my current time, so I cancel the change.
Here are a few more things to know about modifying Genie+ Lightning Lane selections:
You can modify the modified Lightning Lane (and so on), meaning there’s no limit to modifications. I modified my Jingle Cruise Lightning Lane about 5 times before all was said and done.
Modifying does not reset the clock on the 120 minute rule. Again, this is huge. In the example above, I could’ve kept modifying my Jingle Cruise Genie+ LL until 10:59 am and still booked my next selection at 11 am. Each time you cancel and rebook, that does restart the 120 minute clock.
Modifying does not lose your existing Genie+ LL selection. In the example above, I tried to snatch an earlier time for Peter Pan’s Flight, but had the rug pulled out from under me…so I simply kept my earlier time. Had I cancelled and rebooked, I would’ve been stuck with the later time…and reset the 120 minute clock. Double whammy!
For this reason…NEVER CANCEL. Modifying gives you a safety net, and allows you to upgrade without the risk of ending up worse off. Cancelling and rebooking has no safety net. Nine times out of 10, you will be worse off when cancelling and rebooking. Your risk will not pay off.
Use the modify feature to safely change times if you don’t like the first available option, or it conflicts with your plans. Start by booking the highest priority, regardless of it being a “bad” time. Get that 120 minute clock stopped!
As we wrote when this was first announced, the introduction of the modification feature is HUGE, and impossible to criticize. It’s an improvement for everyone, a big leap forward on the ‘quality of life’ front that makes Genie+ more intuitive and user-friendly. Obviously, it’s not a panacea for all that ails the app feature, but it’s good to see UI issues are being addressed.
This brings Genie+ more in line with FastPass+ (a system many of you seemed to love) and much closer to MaxPass at Disneyland, which was our ideal ride reservation system. It still lacks some of the (superior) options of MaxPass, but it’s close in just about every material way. For us, this was the conspicuous omission, and adding the modify button is a gamechanger.
While the modify button is an expected feature that’ll improve the experience for everyone, there’s no denying the reality that it’ll benefit power users more. Anyone who understand how cancellations and ride reservation refill rules work has a distinct advantage here. First-timers are less likely to play the ‘refresh game’ so they are less likely to benefit from that–and will thus be disadvantaged to some degree.
We’ve been advocates for changes that helped first-timers or less knowledgeable visitors at the expense of diehards, but still, the modify button is such a basic and expected feature that it’s impossible to quibble with this. The modify button makes the UI easier and more intuitive. This is the kind of feature the average user–even the average inexperienced user–likely expects to see, so it’s a big step forward.
Ultimately, the modify button is a feature that will reduce headaches for every ‘level’ of Genie+ user, as it eliminates all of the frustrations that flowed from cancelling and (attempting to) rebook ride reservations. I would say it’s a game-changer for everyone, as it eliminates one of the more common complaints and sources of friction. While the Genie system is still convoluted and confusing, it’s making steps in the right direction and is now much more intuitive and easier to use than a year ago at this time–or even 6 months ago.
The biggest beneficiaries of the modify button are power users. Without question, it’s an absolute game-changer for anyone who reads resources like this one, putting it at least on par with FastPass+ (minus the cost and lack of advance-booking, for those of you who liked that) and inching closer to MaxPass territory.
During this ‘test’ day in Magic Kingdom, I was able to score 2 Lightning Lanes that I would not have gotten otherwise thanks to modifying and playing the refresh game. The only reason that number was not higher was because I maxed out my number of ‘useful’ Lightning Lanes (but I did do so earlier than normal). This has me really intrigued to use the feature at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, where I think the most benefits exist in a strong refresh game.
Between this and most of the Genie+ ticket add-ons being gone (meaning that utilization will presumably be lower), I’m really looking forward to using Genie+ in 2023. It still won’t be perfect–and obviously, it will continue to cost money–but the app feature should be significantly easier to use in the new year.
If you have questions about the basics of using–or not using–the paid FastPass service, see our Guide to Genie+ at Walt Disney World & Lightning Lane FAQfor all of the foundational need-to-know info. This whole system is confusing and convoluted, so you might have a question or two-dozen. That answers all of the most common ones we’ve been receiving from readers.
Pleased that Genie+ has added a modify button to change Lightning Lane selections without losing them? Do you view this as a game-changer, or do you not want to spend more time on your phone playing the “refresh game” for better Lightning Lane selections or times? What do you think of the recent UI changes to Genie+ at Walt Disney World? Do you consider this a meaningfully positive improvement to the paid FastPass service? Will you purchase Genie+ or does this all sound like too much of a headache? Do you agree or disagree with my assessment? 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!