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Genie + Tips, Tricks and Strategies

by Marnie Raimondo

It’s no mystery that using the new Genie + service at Walt Disney World is complicated! It’s certainly not as easy as the old FastPass+ service, but the benefits are actually much greater – once you get familiar with how to use the system. With a little practice, it actually works really well and you can have a lot of success with it. And since we now have to pay for the service, it makes sense that you should do the research and understand it before using it. Otherwise, it’s a waste of money. 

Let’s dive into Genie + Lightning Lanes and Individual Lightning Lanes and learn tips, tricks and strategies to get the most bang for your buck!

The Basics

Disney Genie is the new itinerary planning tool in the My Disney Experience app that launched on October 19, 2021 at Walt Disney World.  While the basic planning tool (Genie) is free for everyone and great to help you plan your day in a very basic way, there are two components to the service that cost extra. 

Genie + Lightning Lane and Individual Lightning Lane purchases replace the former FastPass+ system. Either of these options allow Guests the opportunity to avoid long lines for attractions, especially during crowded, peak seasons. Your wait times will be much shorter and you’ll be able to get on more rides throughout the day.

But, as mentioned, these two options do cost money.

Genie + Lightning Lane is $15 plus tax per person, and Individual Lightning Lane attractions (an a la carte purchase) typically cost $7-15 plus tax per attraction/per person. Both options are available to anyone that wants to pay extra to maximize their park time and minimize their time in lines. These services are similar to FastPass+ (if you are familiar) and allow faster access and shorter wait times for attractions. It’s important to remember that standby and virtual queues are still an option, Genie + Lightning Lane and  Individual Lighting Lane purchases are NOT required to enjoy the attractions and to have a great day at the parks (but they do help!).

You can purchase the Genie + Lightning Lane service ahead of time when you buy your park tickets. This will apply Genie + to the amount of days equal to the park ticket at checkout. This may or may not be necessary depending on your itinerary and plan. Honestly, the better option is to purchase Genie + on the same day you plan to visit the park. This option allows more flexibility to decide if you’ll need the Genie + option or not. 

Individual Lightning Lane purchases can only be made on the day you plan to visit the park. 

Remember, you must have a valid park ticket and park reservation in order to make these purchases and selections. 

Genie + Lightning Lane vs. Individual Lightning Lane Options

The term “Lightning Lane” can be confusing because it’s used for both Genie + Lightning Lane and Individual Lightning Lane attractions. I wish Disney decided to give each option its own distinct name, it would be so much easier to explain! The term “Lightning Lane” in its most simplistic terms translates to the faster queue at each of the attractions. 

There are over 40 Genie + Lightning Lane attractions across all four parks. If you purchase Genie + Lightning Lane for the day, you will have access to make reservations for each of these attractions affording you shorter wait times.

There are currently 7 Individual Lightning Lane attractions across all four parks – two attractions at Magic Kingdom, EPCOT and Hollywood Studios and only one at Animal Kingdom. 

These are completely separate from the Genie + Lightning Lane attractions. If you purchase any of these a la carte options, you will also be able to use the Lightning Lane access. You do NOT need Genie + Lightning Lane in order to purchase these a la carte attractions. You can only purchase two Individual Lightning Lane attractions per day – they can be in separate parks. 

Here is a breakdown of what is available under each service at each park:

Magic Kingdom

Individual Lightning Lane Entrances

Attractions include*:

  • Seven Dwarfs Mine Train
  • Space Mountain**

Disney Genie+ Lightning Lane Entrances

Experiences include*:

  • 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
  • Mickey’s PhilharMagic
  • Monsters Inc. Laugh Floor
  • Peter Pan’s Flight
  • Pirates of the Caribbean
  • Mickey at Town Square Theater
  • Princess Tiana and a Visiting Princess at Princess Fairytale Hall
  • Cinderella and a Visiting Princess at Princess Fairytale Hall
  • Space Mountain**
  • Splash Mountain
  • The Barnstormer
  • The Magic Carpets of Aladdin
  • The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh
  • Tomorrowland Speedway
  • Under the Sea ~ Journey of The Little Mermaid

EPCOT

Individual Lightning Lane Entrances

Attractions include*:

  • Frozen Ever After**
  • Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure

Disney Genie+ Lightning Lane Entrances

Attractions include*:

  • Disney and Pixar Short Film Festival
  • Frozen Ever After**
  • Journey into Imagination with Figment
  • Living with the Land
  • Mission: SPACE – Green
  • Mission: SPACE – Orange
  • Soarin’ Around the World
  • Spaceship Earth
  • Test Track
  • The Seas with Nemo & Friends
  • Turtle Talk with Crush

Hollywood Studios

Individual Lightning Lane Entrances

Attractions include*:

  • Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway**
  • Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance

Disney Genie+ Lightning Lane Entrances

Experiences include*:

  • Alien Swirling Saucers
  • Beauty and the Beast Live on Stage
  • Disney Junior Play & Dance!
  • For the First Time in Forever: A Frozen Sing-Along Celebration
  • Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular
  • Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway**
  • Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run
  • Muppet*Vision 3D
  • Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster Starring Aerosmith
  • See Olaf at Celebrity Spotlight
  • Slinky Dog Dash
  • Star Tours – The Adventures Continue
  • The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror™
  • Toy Story Mania!

Animal Kingdom

Individual Lightning Lane Entrances

Attractions include*:

  • Avatar Flight of Passage

Disney Genie+ Lightning Lane Entrances

Attractions include*:

  • Celebration of the Festival of the Lion King
  • DINOSAUR
  • Feathered Friends in Flight!
  • It’s Tough to Be a Bug!
  • Kali River Rapids
  • Kilimanjaro Safaris
  • Naʻvi River Journey
  • The Animation Experience at Conservation Station

**Between February 25, 2022 and August 7, 2022, Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway, Frozen Ever After and Space Mountain will be included via Disney Genie+ service and will not be included as an individual Lightning Lane selection.

 

Using Genie + – The 120-Minute Rule and Stacking Attractions

So how does all of this work? And what should you be aware of before you purchase Genie + and begin to use the system. Let’s dive in and I’ll share what you need to know to make you a pro!

Before 7am, be sure to have everything set up properly in the My Disney Experience App – have everything/everybody linked and ready to go: your resort reservation, entire party and their tickets, and ensure you have a park reservation scheduled for the day.

  • If you are adding Genie + for that day, you want to do all of this well in advance of 7am (you can make your purchase as early as 12am on the day of your visit). At 7am, you need to be ready to make your first reservation. 

It’s 7am, you just made your first Genie + reservation for the day.  So, what’s next? When can I make another Genie + selection? Let’s break down how you can maximize your options and stack attractions to get on as many rides as possible!

This is when it gets a bit confusing for most! But I’ll try to make this as easy as possible. Here it goes…

The way Genie + Lightning Lane reservations work is that you can book one at a time – you can either make another selection after two hours (120 minutes) or once you tap into your previous Genie + Lightning Lane selection and redeem your reservation.

For example, if at 9am (when the parks opens for example) you get a reservation for Jungle Cruise at 6pm in Magic Kingdom, you do not have to wait until 6pm to make another selection. You’ll be able to make another reservation 2 hours (120 minutes) later at 11am. 

The only exception to this is if you make your first Genie + Lightning Lane selection before the park opens (which you should do at 7am). You will have to wait for 2 hours (120 minutes) after the official park opening time to make another selection. The clock on the 120-minute rule starts ticking at park opening, meaning that you cannot make another Genie + Lightning Lane selection at 9am (120 minutes from 7am).

So if you make your first selection at 7am and the park opens at 9am, you’ll have to wait until 11am to make another selection. Unless your first Genie + Lightning Lane reservation is sooner than 11am, then upon scanning into the ride, you can immediately make another selection.

For example, if your first Genie + Lightning Lane reservation is at 9:45am (which you reserved at 7am), you can make another selection as soon as you scan into the attraction. Then the next available time to make a reservation is at 11:45am OR when you scan into the next attraction, whichever comes first.

So it’s possible to “stack” reservations using either of these methods, or a combo of both.  Also note, if you purchase Individual Lightning Lane attractions, they can overlap Genie + Lightning Lane selections. That’s another way to maximize your time during the day.

It is definitely a bit confusing and takes a few times to get the hang of it. But, once you do, you’ll be a pro at it. It’s not really hard, just takes a little practice to get used to. 

Genie + Strategies

When using Genie + it’s important to know what attractions “book up” the quickest and the ones you will need to secure the fastest at 7am, otherwise you may not be able to ride them during your visit. Let’s break it down park by park.

Magic Kingdom

At Magic Kingdom, the most popular Genie+ Lightning Lane reservations are Peter Pan’s Flight and Jungle Cruise. My suggestion is to secure Peter Pan’s Flight (it will probably book up the quickest) for an early morning return time, and as soon as you check in to that attraction, select a reservation for Jungle Cruise for later in the day. The rest of the attractions at Magic Kingdom should be easier to reserve.  If purchasing Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, using the Individual Lightning Lane option, you will want to do that as early as possible also. During busy times, that will sell out and time slots will no longer be available for the day. 

Hollywood Studios

The Genie+ Lightning Lane reservations for Slinky Dog Dash will disappear the fastest at Hollywood Studios. Be sure to secure this immediately at 7am, especially if you want an early morning return window.  If purchasing Rise of the Resistance, using the Individual Lightning Lane option, you will want to do that as early as possible also. During busy times, that will sell out and time slots will no longer be available for the day. 

Genie + is the most advantageous at Magic Kingdom and Hollywood Studios. It is not necessarily needed for EPCOT or Animal Kingdom. You can actually wait until you visit the park that day to decide if you need to purchase it. If crowds are heavier and wait times are higher and you do purchase Genie +, here are the most popular attractions…

EPCOT

At EPCOT, Frozen Ever After, Soarin’ and Test Track are the most popular Genie + Lightning Lane reservations. Grab one of these first if they are on your list of must-do’s. If purchasing Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure, using the Individual Lightning Lane option, you will want to do that as early as possible also. During busy times, that will sell out and time slots will no longer be available for the day. 

Animal Kingdom

At Animal Kingdom, Kilimanjaro Safari and Na’vi River Journey are the most popular Genie + Lightning Lane reservations. I suggest grabbing Kilimanjaro Safari first for an early return time, and once you check into the ride, immediately reserve Na’vi River Journey for later in the day. Kilimanjaro Safari is awesome to ride earlier in the day, especially during the dog days of Summer when it’s blistering hot. You have a better chance of seeing more animals earlier in the morning before it gets too hot and they hide in the shade. 

Basic Rules & Tips for Genie + and Individual Lightning Lane Purchases

It’s no mystery that learning how to use both of these services is a bit complicated and layered. I assure you that once you get the hang of it, it’s actually quite simple and it really works! You can and will get the most out of your park day if you spend a little time getting to know and understand how the system works. I think the one downside to this process is how much you do need to pay attention to your phone. I know many like to put the phone away during vacation, but it’s required in this case. 

But, here are some basic rules and tips that will help: 

  • You can’t make more than one Lightning Lane reservation per attraction per day. This applies to both Genie+ Lightning Lane and Individual Lightning Lane attractions!
  • You can only purchase up to two Individual Lightning Lane reservations per day, and they can be in different parks.
  • Everyone (on and off property) can begin making Genie+ Lightning Lane selections at 7am the day of your visit in the My Disney Experience app.
  • If you are staying at an on-property Disney resort, you can purchase Individual Lightning Lane attractions starting at 7am on the day of your visit. 
  • If you are staying off property, you will have to wait until the official park opening to make your Individual Lightning Lane attraction purchases. 
  • You can make another Genie+ Lighting Lane selection after two hours (120 minutes) or once you tap into your previous Genie + Lightning Lane selection and redeem your reservation.
  • You don’t have to purchase Genie+ in order to purchase Individual Lightning attractions.
  • Genie + can be purchased for the day starting at midnight. Just be sure to make your purchase well in advance so you can make your first reservation at 7am.
  • If you miss your Genie+ return time, your only option left is to ride standby.
    • Missing your Genie+ Lightning Lane reservation makes it appear as though you’ve redeemed it, and because there is no second ride allowed with Lightning Lane, you will not be able to re-book another one for the same attraction. 
    • If you can’t make your return time and realize this ahead of time, you need to cancel and rebook before your return window expires.
  • If you access Genie+ to book your next selection and you don’t like the return times given to you, try refreshing several times before selecting and confirming your next reservation. 
    • It’s been noted that a lot of additional return times pop up when you take the time to refresh continuously before booking. 
  • The return window grace period for Lightning Lane is the same as it was for FastPass+. You are able to tap in up to 5 minutes early and up to 15 minutes late for your return window.  The light will still turn green when you tap your MagicBand and you’ll be let into the Lightning Lane queue. 

Can I Park Hop with Genie +?

Yes! You absolutely can park hop with Genie +. When making Genie + Lightning Lane reservations, you can make them across parks, but remember that you can not park hop until 2pm. Be aware of that when making selections. A Genie + Lightning Lane reservation will not get you into a park earlier if you hop before 2pm. 

Using Early Morning Hours with Genie +

I recommend taking advantage of early morning entry if you are staying on Disney property. You can enter any park on any day 30 minutes before the scheduled opening time for the park. Take advantage of this time, you’d be surprised how much you can accomplish. Be sure to get to the park(s) at least one hour and 30 minutes before the early opening time. So, if the park is scheduled to open at 8:30am, early morning entry is 8am, it’s suggested to arrive at the park by 6:30am. This allows you to get in and hit the bigger, more popular attractions (For example: Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance and Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway in Hollywood Studios) before the general public enters the park. This will help you maximize your time and perhaps avoid the need to purchase Individual Lightning Lane attractions (as they are usually the most popular rides in the park). Get those out of the way first. Remember, in most cases you already have a Genie + Lightning Lane attraction selected (that you reserved at 7am). So by the time the park officially opens, you may have already checked 2-3 rides off the list.

It’s a fair strategy that works, but you have to be committed to getting up early and getting to the park to enter as soon as they open the gates.

Pack Extra Battery Power

While Genie+ has a lot of great pros, one big con is the amount of time you need to be on your phone and rely on technology throughout the day. It sucks up a lot of the phone’s battery. Since Genie+ is part of the My Disney Experience app, you’ll likely be on your phone quite a bit managing your itinerary. Having extra battery packs is key to not running out of juice in the parks.  Disney still sells Fuel Rods, which are helpful, but they can be a bit pricey for the small amount of charge you get. They are there in a pinch if needed. But, if you plan ahead, you can get a great battery pack from Amazon for half the price and 5x the charging capabilities. Trust me, you’ll need it.

Cast Members Available for Help

Having trouble with Genie+? There are Cast Members located throughout the park to help. Look for the Guest Experience Team stations for assistance. 

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2 comments

Amy Hawkins March 14, 2022 - 1:35 pm

This was very helpful we are planning a trip in May and wanted to take the fullest advantage of a quick trip. Thank you for clearing up how to effectively use the Genie +.

Reply
Jamie Rumph April 17, 2022 - 11:26 pm

you’re welcome! Thanks for reading!

Reply

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