How to use Genie Plus Disney queue system at Walt Disney World
By Helen Wright
Planning a trip to Walt Disney World can be stressful, particularly if it’s your first visit to the happiest place on earth. As well as flights, hotels and organising your days, the new Genie Plus Disney queue system has also been sending people into a spin, but we are here to help! In this post, we break down Disney Lightning Lane and Genie Plus attraction bookings at Walt Disney World in a super simple way. We consider is Genie Plus worth it? and pass on some expert tips and tricks to maximise the perks of the new system if you decide to go for it.
From over 30 visits to Orlando, we have put together a range of guides to planning your Florida holiday, including our popular Disney Trip Planner, Orlando 2-week itinerary and how much does Disney World cost blogs.
Cover image: Joe Penniston1
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WHAT IS DISNEY GENIE?
Okay, let’s get started by explaining there is Disney Genie and a Disney Genie+. They are two different things and both accessible through the My Disney Experience app, which you can (and should) download for FREE at any time before or during your trip.
Having the My Disney Experience app will simplify everything during your visit to Walt Disney World. You can use it to access park maps, see attraction wait times and make mobile food orders during your visit. My Disney Experience also holds your park tickets, hotel room key (if staying at a Disney Resort hotel) and fun photos from Disney’s Memory Maker all in one place. You can link My Disney Experience to every member of your party, keeping everything together and readily accessible.
Once you have installed the app, you’ll see two options: Disney Genie and Disney Genie+. Disney Genie is a FREE service which, if used properly, can be really useful during your trip.
Before you arrive at the parks, using the app you can input your interests, must-do attractions, character experiences and restaurants. Then, the ‘Genie’ will put together a ready-made itinerary for you each day based on your information, along with the other members of your party if they are linked together in the My Disney Experience app.
How does Disney Genie work?
Disney Genie updates regularly via GPS as you move around the park and as things change (such as a ride breaking down or being far busier or quieter than expected). The Genie uses this information and your location to update your recommendations. Sometimes this can throw up some surprises, such as unusually short queue times for attractions in the area that you are in, meaning extra rides and less waiting! Genius right? Sometimes… Remember the service is relatively new to Disney and doesn’t always work as smoothly as it sounds, occasionally making random suggestions or in peak times or not offering much in the way of help due to large crowds.
The best feature on the FREE Disney Genie is the Tip Board. On this page you can pin your priority attractions and experiences at the top and keep an eye on their status throughout the day. This comes in extra handy if you don’t want to pay for Genie+ or Lightning Lane rides and would rather have a more relaxed (and free) strategy as you explore the parks. Pull down to refresh regularly and view standby line times, restaurant reservation availability and quick-service mobile order wait times, which can help decide on the spot what is best for you and your group.
My best advice would be to go with a rough idea of your plan (which direction to head in once inside the park and whether you plan to park hop in the afternoon to a different Disney park) and use the app as a handy guide for information, rather than a Disney Oracle.
Genie Plus Disney: How to use Genie Plus during your visit to Walt Disney World
Also available within the My Disney Experience app is the option to pay to skip the lines at Walt Disney World. This service is called Disney Genie+. Prices change based on how busy the park and attractions are, but start from £6.99 per day, per person* (*if you purchase for your whole holiday) or $15 per day if purchased individually on the morning of your visit. With Genie Plus Disney, you can join a ‘lightning lane’ at over 40 attractions and experiences at allocated times during the day.
This paid-for service replaces Disney’s formally free FastPass system. Unpopular at first, this brings Walt Disney World in line with other theme parks in Orlando that require payment for the privilege to skip lines. In my opinion, the new system (in particular the Individual Disney Lightning Lane option) has the potential to make planning your day far less stressful. And here is why:
When to book your Genie Plus Disney passes
From 7am on the day of your visit, you’ll be able to book your first Genie+ lightning lane. This is the same for both regular admission guests and guests staying at a Disney Resort hotel. You can only make one selection at a time and Genie+ lets you select the next available arrival window for the new Lightning Lane entrances. This includes some of Walt Disney World’s best attractions, like Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run, Slinky Dog Dash and The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror, which often have long standby lines. If you are planning to park hop (do more than one Walt Disney World theme park in a day), you can also select Lightning Lane arrival slots across multiple theme parks from 2pm. To simplify, this means that if you start the day at Magic Kingdom, for example, you can book a Genie+ slot at Epcot after 2pm if you plan to visit Epcot in the afternoon.
However, there is a catch: You can only book another Genie Plus Disney Lightning Lane booking once the previous Genie+ Lightning Lane booking has been used OR two hours from when you made your last Genie+ Lightning Lane booking.
Some of the busiest attractions do run out of lightning lane availability. The most popular ride on the Genie Plus Disney scheme is Slinky Dog Dash at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. So if you are planning to visit that park, you’ll probably want to book your Genie+ lightning lane for that attraction first thing in the morning (after 7am). If you make a Genie Plus Disney reservation for later in the day, you will still be able to book another one TWO HOURS after you booked it, with one small exception. The two-hour rule only starts once the park you are visiting opens for the day.
EXAMPLE: You plan to visit Disney’s Hollywood Studios for the day and the park opens at 9am. At 7am you book a G+LL for Slinky Dog Dash and you are given a 4pm slot, you will be able to book your next G+LL entry at 11am. Doesn’t make sense? Read it again.
You can experience an attraction more than once, but via the standby line. Using the Tip Board, you could make that happen if you are clever about when to join a standby line and when not to.
Here is the full list of Genie+ Lightning lane attractions:
Now, let’s talk about the, separate, Individual Disney Lightning Lane option
There is an extra way to skip the lines at Walt Disney World, but this again comes at a price. The five (currently) most popular rides at Walt Disney World are Seven Dwarfs Mine Train (Magic Kingdom), StarWars: Rise of the Resistance (Hollywood Studios), Avatar: Flight of Passage, Expedition Everest (both at Animal Kingdom) and Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure (Epcot) are included with Genie+. We predict the new Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind and TRON Lightcycle Run will also be added to this list. These premium attractions have an Individual Disney Lightning Lane entrance. This works on a pay-per-ride basis, which is in addition to what you have paid for Genie Plus.
TOP TIP: You do not need Genie+ to pay for an individual Disney lightning lane attraction. Individual Lightning Lane is a separate services available to guests who want to skip the standby line solely on these attractions. Disney Lightning Lane attractions do still have standby lines that you can join free of charge, but since they are the most popular attractions in the park, the wait time is usually over 2hrs per ride. You can take a look at how long the lines are at any point, on any day by looking on the My Disney Experience app.
There is a limit to the amount of Individual Disney Lightning Lane passes you can buy each day. This is currently two attractions (in any park) per day, per person. You cannot ride the same attraction twice with an Individual Disney Lightning Lane pass, it’s one ride, per person, per day, per attraction. (E.g: You will not be able to book StarWars: Rise of the Resistance twice in one day).
How do you book Individual Lightning Lane passes?
These passes are booked through the My Disney Experience app. Guests with general admission tickets are able to begin booking Individual Lightning Lane passes from the time your Disney park of choice opens for the day. (e.g. If you want to book Avatar: Flight of Passage at Animal Kingdom, and Animal Kingdom Park opens at 10am, you are able to book an individual lightning lane slot from 10am).
However, a huge perk for Disney Resort hotel guests is that they are able to book Individual Disney Lightning lanes from 7am on the morning of your park visit. This does give a significant advantage to Disney hotel guests because on wildly busy days, there is a chance that all Individual Lightning Lane passes for all attractions could sell out. This has happened on a some occasions, most commonly with StarWars: Rise of the Resistance. Even if you won’t be riding the attraction until much later in the afternoon, be sure to get online as quickly as you are able in the morning to secure a boarding pass. On Presidents Day this year, ALL individual Disney Lightning Lane passes for StarWars: Rise of the Resistance ($15) were sold out by 10am, one hour after the park opened.
Take a look at some of Disney’s popular on-site hotels.
How much are Individual Disney Lightning Lane passes?
Individual Lightning Lane entry changes based on the popularity of the ride or park capacity that day. The attractions start from $7 to $15 per person, per ride. On average, visiting on Friday, Saturday and Sunday usually means that Lightning Lane rides are more expensive than during the week by $2-$5 a ride.
Is Disney Genie plus worth it?
If you are planning a trip to Walt Disney World during the school holidays or other busy periods (Easter, Presidents’ Day (third week in February), Spring Break, Memorial Day, Thanksgiving and Christmas), the parks will be busy and reaching capacity. If you are asking whether Genie Plus is worth it, then yes you will benefit from purchasing Genie+, in particular at Magic Kingdom and Disney’s Hollywood Studios.
Is Disney lightning lane worth it?
In my mind, if you are asking is Disney Lightning Lane worth it? I think so, yes. It’s true that for guests who visited Walt Disney World when the free FASTPASS was available, paying an extra fee is frustrating, especially with the high cost of visiting Florida theme parks. However, securing a place on an attraction like Rise of the Resistance was stressful and unpredictable, with many guests missing out entirely. There have been times when guests would likely have begged for the opportunity to pay to experience such an attraction, and now there is.
If you buy Disney Genie+ in advance from the UK, prices start from £6.99 per person, per day if you purchase Genie plus Disney access for the duration of your trip (meaning 14 days if you buy a ‘14 days for the price of 7’ ticket). However, it may not be worth the money. This is because wait times do fluctuate and you may not want your entire Walt Disney World experience to be about rides and attractions. There are days where you won’t use the Genie+ at all (water park days, days where you might choose to dine at a table service restaurant, for example). With some rides being more difficult to reserve, it may interfere with your plans to park hop or not spend the whole day in the parks. You also have to be up really early to start booking your slots – do you really want to do that every day of your holiday?
I do think Genie plus is worth it, but only if you pick and choose your Genie Plus days and have a Genie Plus Disney strategy in mind.
TOP TIP: If you are a popular on-site hotels.” rel=”noopener” target=”_blank”>Disney Resort hotel guest, book your first Genie+ booking BEFORE your individual Disney Lightning Lane attraction. This is because regular admission guests cannot book Individual Disney Lighting Lane timeslots until the parks open for the day, giving you enough time to line up your first Genie Plus booking and secure an Individual Lightning Lane in the first half of the day. Along with Early Theme Park Entry (which you get from staying at a Disney Resort hotel) and some shorter queue attractions, you could potentially ride five or six attractions before lunch. Then, you really see the benefit of Genie+.
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