One of the most common questions we’ve received about Walt Disney World’s new Genie+ service is how it’s possible to “stack” multiple Lightning Lane ride reservations. This post explains how you can stockpile selections to great success, with afternoons and evenings of non-stop line skipping at Magic Kingdom, Hollywood Studios, or Epcot. (Updated November 29, 2021.)
Part of the confusion with using Genie+ to stack Lightning Lane reservations undoubtedly stems from Walt Disney World’s official verbiage that with Genie+ you can only “make one selection at a time, throughout the day” and that additional selections could be made once redeemed. As we’ve stressed from the beginning, that info was/is incomplete and misleading; the 120 minute rule also applies. (That post is a must-read if you’re unfamiliar with the 120 minute rule–this post assumes you already understand it.)
Additionally, see our “Speed Strategy” for Making Genie+ Lightning Lane Selections. Again, this is advanced knowledge that isn’t strictly necessary most days. However, if you’re visiting during peak season and want a chance at Slinky Dog Dash–or the earliest possible time for any attraction, it is highly recommended!
Finally, see our Guide to Genie+ at Walt Disney World & Lightning Lane FAQ for foundational need-to-know info about this paid FastPass+ replacement. The Genie system is confusing and convoluted, so you might have a question or 17. That answers all of the most common ones we’ve been receiving from readers.
The goal with that is to address the basics–the goal here is to take things to the next level with more advanced hacks and strategy…
In a nutshell, “stacking” Genie+ reservations is possible because of the 120 minute rule. If you prioritize grabbing Lightning Lane reservations for popular rides early in the day–my preferred approach and objectively better strategy for most people–you’re likely going to be holding multiple Lightning Lane reservations simultaneously so long as you continue making them whenever eligible. This is because your return times will be kicked out further into the future, and you’ll be able to make new selections prior to redeeming old ones.
This might be new territory for some Walt Disney World fans, but anyone who has experience with the legacy FastPass systems should be well-versed in stacking ride reservations. In fact, it was incredibly common and downright easy to be an “evening FastPass hoarder.” Same goes here. Really all you need to do is always make the most popular/higher priority Genie+ selections, and do so aggressively throughout the day. The basic premise is pretty simple–but it gets more complicated.
One of the big things with FastPass+ was that it didn’t allow conflicting ride reservations; like other recent Walt Disney World systems, it was “smart” and prevented guests from double-booking themselves.
Depending upon your perspective, Genie+ is a step backwards to a “dumb” system like paper FastPasses. It doesn’t care if you overlap ride reservations, and will let you know about a conflict but not prevent you from making conflicting plans. The one exception to this, thankfully, is when it comes to Park Hopping hours–Genie+ will automatically move selections to 2 pm if you start making them for a subsequent park and the return time clock otherwise hasn’t advanced.
This means the onus is on you to be mindful about not using Genie+ to make conflicting Lightning Lane selections. If you’re concerned about a time being too close to an existing Lightning Lane reservation, either choose a different attraction or wait 5-10 minutes for the return time clock to move forward and give you more of a buffer between them.
Despite the connotations, the “dumb” system is far better for savvy guests than the “smart” one. If I make Genie+ ride reservations for both Soarin’ Around the World and Spaceship Earth from 2 to 3 pm, plus Test Track at 2:15 to 3:15 pm, that is all very doable–even if I walk slowly between them. It’s far superior to spacing those out from 2 pm until 5 pm, as would’ve been required under FastPass+ rules. Overlapping plans benefits the diligent and makes it easier to book the next slew of ride reservations.
November 29, 2021 UPDATE: Last week, as Genie+ Collapsed in Peak Season Crowds, Walt Disney World made number of tweaks to how Genie+ and Lightning Lanes work. This includes the closing of a variety of loopholes, including what’s described below.
The normal 120 minute rule still works. It’s an intentional feature of Genie+ that is there by design and was inherited from MaxPass and legacy FastPass. However, now stacking can only be done in the intuitive, one-at-a-time sense. It’s no longer possible to leverage the last actions described below in such a way that you can turn a single selection into multiple branches, and grow those exponentially.
Again, the *120 minute rule still works* and regular stacking is possible, just not the advanced hacks discussed in the following section. This makes complete sense and we can’t fault Disney for closing what was possibly an unintentional loophole. Definitely a bummer for those who like to hack, but that’s how it goes.
We will leave the following section for posterity’s sake (and just in case this feature gets “turned on” again once crowds are lower). For anyone visiting during the Christmas 2021 season, what follows DOES NOT WORK ANYMORE!
Advanced Stacking Strategy (Obsolete)
This is probably going to be confusing, so please don’t get discouraged if it doesn’t make sense at first, or if you need to re-read it. (This is even more convoluted than normal with Genie+ stuff, which might be hard to imagine, but just wait!) Accordingly, I’m going to over-explain and then give a few examples.
Right now, eligibility for a new Genie+ reservation is triggered by your “last action,” for lack of a better term. This can either mean the 120 minute rule taking effect or tapping into a Lightning Lane…or both!
Stated differently, letting 120 minutes elapse is a “last action” that triggers eligibility for a new Lightning Lane reservation. Once those two hours have passed, you’re eligible. Tapping into a Lightning Lane is also a “last action” that triggers eligibility in Genie+ for a new Lightning Lane reservation.
If you make another Genie+ selection after 120 minutes but before tapping into the previous selection, you can also make another once you’ve tapped into the Lightning Lane. There are two “last actions” in that scenario, and the former does not obviate the latter.
This means you are able to score two Lightning Lane selections from a ride reservation that’s more than two hours into the future. Not only are you not penalized for choosing more popular attractions—you’re arguably receiving a windfall.
Where this gets more complicated is with Genie+ reservations that straddle the 120 minute rule, so to speak. Ones where you could tap in either before or after 120 minutes has elapsed. In the vast majority of cases, you will want to WAIT for those 120 minutes to pass before tapping into the Lightning Lane.
This is because the “last action” of tapping into the Lightning Lane eliminates the potential “last action” of 120 minutes elapsing, but not vice-versa. If you tap in at the 90 minute mark, for example, you never hit 120 minutes. As such, that “last action” never came to fruition. Conversely, you’re tapping in regardless—the 120 minute rule does not and cannot eliminate that.
Here’s a mnemonic device that might help, using an iconic Arnold Schwarzenegger film that’s beloved by all as inspiration: “Last Action Hero (1993) is longer than 120 minutes.” To be the last action hero of your Walt Disney World vacation, wait over 120 minutes before booking another Lightning Lane selection via Genie+ when possible.
Even if mnemonic devices aren’t your thing, at least we plugged one of the all-time cinematic classics. I think we all can agree that’s a huge victory.
Still confused? Here’s hoping a few examples clear things up…rather than make them worse!
During My Day Using Genie+ at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, my first Lightning Lane ride reservation was Slinky Dog Dash. As explained in that post, we strongly recommend booking this first–right at 7 am.
The screenshot above shows my Lightning Lane arrival window of 10:45 am to 11:45 am for Slinky Dog Dash. I tapped into this at 10:40 am, which I thought was a slick move because it gave me a 20 minute jumpstart over waiting until 11 am, when I could’ve made another Lightning Lane ride reservation pursuant to the 120 minute rule.
I was wrong. It was not-so-slick. Saving 20 minutes cost me an extra Lightning Lane reservation. Because the 120 minute rule was never reached, I was only able to make one Lightning Lane selection.
Had I waited until 11:00 am, I could’ve booked a new Lightning Lane pursuant to the 120 minute rule.
Then, I could’ve tapped into the Slinky Dog Dash Lightning Lane at 11:01 am. I could’ve immediately booked another Lightning Lane reservation via Genie+ because that was another “last action.” Get it? Two “last actions” for the price of one! (Huge props to Tristan who alerted me to this in the reader comments of a prior post!)
Here’s a more common example, and one you’ll invariably encounter at DHS. I tapped into my Tower of Terror ride reservation at 12:10 pm. After tapping in, I made my next Lightning Lane ride reservation–Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run for 5:40 to 6:40 pm.
The math whizzes out there will tell you that 5:40 pm is multiple 120 minute rules after 12:10 pm, making it impossible to *not* trigger both last actions. Be sure you make new Lightning Lane reservations at both points–first at the 120 minute mark and then again upon tapping into the Lightning Lane. This is how you’ll almost certainly end up with a stockpile of ride reservations in Genie+ later in the evening.
Here’s another example. I booked a Na’vi River Journey Lightning Lane reservation for 8:55 to 9:55 am. Even though the end of this reservation is only 115 minutes after park opening, its official end time triggers eligibility for another Lightning Lane reservation (and remember, you can tap in up to 15 minutes after the end of a Genie+ ride reservation).
Accordingly, I waited for the window to close, then used Genie+ to book a Lightning Lane for Kilimanjaro Safaris. Immediately after that, I tapped into the first Navi River Journey Lightning Lane checkpoint and immediately booked a Lightning Lane for Dinosaur. Doubling my Lightning Lane numbers so early in the day set me up for a huge day, and that wouldn’t have been possible with any other attraction at Animal Kingdom due to more immediate return times. (If this helps, think of it like compound interest–starting earlier pays bigger dividends in the future, but in the currency of Lightning Lane reservations rather than dollars.)
Another piece of advice: try to book a new Lightning Lane reservation after performing any “last action” in the park–or whenever you’re unsure about whether you can make a new Genie+ selection.
At worst, you’ll get the ‘not eligible’ error message above (which is oddly the only way of seeing the time when you can make another selection). At best, you’ll have surprise success.
We recommend this because it’s incredibly difficult to keep track of Genie+ bookings, especially later in the day when they’ve multiplied like Gremlins.
Genie’s “My Day” feature in My Disney Experience is nice for those doing a single park, but its organization is abysmal once you start Park Hopping. Random recommendations, park hours, directions, and other unsolicited advice are scattered among Lightning Lane reservations–which are often displayed out of order and not grouped by park. In other words, you should just try to book new reservations whenever it seems like maybe you’ll be able to do so.
Due to the top-heavy nature of the Disney’s Hollywood Studios attraction lineup, you almost certainly will be using the 120 minute rule a lot there. This means ride reservations made in the morning won’t be redeemable until afternoon, and by the time evening rolls around, you’ll have spawned a half-dozen or so Lightning Lane selections.
If you’re good at this and diligent about booking, Park Hopping will be a must. The no re-ride rule means you’ll run out of worthwhile attractions in your first–and maybe second–park and will need to move on. Aside from the no re-ride rule, the biggest limiting factor on how much you can accomplish is operating hours.
Ultimately, this is how I’ve ended up with huge stacks of Lightning Lane ride reservations for the late afternoon and early evening when using Genie+ at Walt Disney World. Simply prioritizing popular attractions and using the “last action hero” trick produces results similar to Dr. Honeydew and Beaker’s experiments with the Inflate-o-Matic! Unlike Waldo, you’ll actually want a ton of Lightning Lane reservations.
Like so much with Genie+, the learning curve isn’t nearly as steep with stacking in practice as it is in writing. Once I wrapped my head around how the “last action” rules worked to trigger more Lightning Lane selections, I quickly mastered it. (Just wait until you read the recap of my 3-park day yesterday–it’s absolutely bonkers.) With that said, it’s possible that this is a bug rather than a feature, and Walt Disney World will quickly close this “loophole” if Genie+ power users leverage the system to their benefit by too great of a degree. There were similar strategies with FastPass+, and those loopholes were never closed, so I guess we shall see!
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!
Did this help you understand “stacking” Lightning Lane ride reservations in the Genie+ system? Understand the “last actions” of the 120 minute rule and tapping into Lightning Lanes? Planning on being the “last action hero of your family’s Walt Disney World vacation? Thoughts on strategy for making Lightning Lane ride reservations in light of this rule and the ability to stack selections for later in the day? 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!