Goodbye Disney Fastpass - Hello Genie+
BY JEN AMBROSE
Disney Fastpass vs Genie+
Disney Genie+ is the replacement service for the previous FastPass+ system that was used at Walt Disney World Resort and the FastPass system used at Disneyland Resort. When Disney Genie+ launched in 2021, the previous FastPass systems were discontinued and are no longer available.
FastPass+ was a system that allowed guests to reserve a spot in line for certain attractions in advance, without having to wait in the regular standby line. Guests could select up to three FastPass+ experiences per day and make reservations up to 60 days in advance if staying at a Disney resort hotel, or 30 days in advance if staying off-property.
With the launch of Disney Genie+, the Lightning Lane access replaces the FastPass+ system. The Lightning Lane allows guests to make reservations for select attractions on the same day they visit the park, rather than making reservations in advance. However, the Lightning Lane access is subject to availability, so it is recommended that guests make reservations as early in the day as possible to secure their spot.
Additionally, unlike the previous FastPass+ system, Disney Genie+ does not offer a limited number of Lightning Lane reservations per day. Instead, guests can make an unlimited number of Lightning Lane reservations, one at a time, throughout the day.
It's worth noting that while the previous FastPass+ system was free for all guests, Disney Genie+ is a paid service. Guests must purchase Disney Genie+ in order to access the Lightning Lane for select attractions. Some attractions still offer a free virtual queue system, such as Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind and TRON Lightcycle. These attractions can be accessed through individual park apps.
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What is Disney Genie+?
Disney Genie+ is a new service offered by Disney that allows guests to purchase access to a Lightning Lane for select attractions at Disneyland and Walt Disney World Resort. The Lightning Lane is essentially a virtual queue that allows you to bypass the regular standby lines for certain rides, meaning you'll spend less time waiting in line and more time enjoying the parks.
In addition to the Lightning Lane access, Disney Genie+ also includes a planning tool that helps you build your own custom itinerary for the day, complete with recommendations for attractions, shows, and dining experiences based on your personal preferences and the wait times throughout the park.
How Does Disney Genie+ Work?
Disney Genie+ is designed to be a one-stop shop for all your theme park planning needs. Here's a step-by-step breakdown of how it works:
Step 1: Purchase Disney Genie+
The first step in using Disney Genie+ is to purchase the service. Costs are going to vary based on demand.
Step 2: Create Your Itinerary
Once you've purchased Disney Genie+, you'll be able to access the planning tool. This tool will ask about your group size, travel preferences, and favorite restaurants. Your answers will generate a customized itinerary. The planning tool lets you adjust plans during the day. For example, you can add or take away attractions, shows, or dinner bookings based on wait times and other factors.
Step 3: Make Lightning Lane Reservations
Using the Disney Genie+ app, you can make Lightning Lane reservations for select attractions up to 2 hours in advance. These reservations work similarly to FastPasses (which were discontinued in 2020), but instead of reserving a specific time slot, you'll be able to ride the attraction any time after the designated return time.
Step 4: Enjoy Your Day!
Once you've created your itinerary and made your Lightning Lane reservations, you're ready to enjoy your day at the park! With shorter wait times and a personalized itinerary, you'll be able to pack more magic into your day than ever before.
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Here is a picture of my family back in 2017 at the Mickey No So Scary Halloween party! At these events, Disney Fastpass was not offered. As of 2023, Genie+ is not offered at these events either. Lines tend to be shorter though as capacity is limited for special events.
Experience with Disney Genie+
As an annual passholder, I'm a member of several Facebook groups for passholders. I've read the good, the bad, and the ugly about the Genie+ system. Here are some thoughts and observations about the service:
Shorter Wait Times: Without a doubt, the biggest benefit of Disney Genie+ is the ability to skip the regular standby lines for select attractions. You are able to ride some of your favorite rides multiple times in a row, without ever waiting in a line longer than 20 minutes.
Personalized Itinerary: Disney-goers are impressed by the accuracy of the planning tool's recommendations. They were able to fit in all of their must-see attractions, plus some new ones they hadn't considered before, without feeling rushed or overwhelmed.
Flexibility: One of the best things about Disney Genie+ is the flexibility it offers. Unlike FastPasses, which required you to book a specific time slot, Lightning Lane reservations allow you to book rides on the same day. This means you can change your plans and itinerary without losing out on attractions.
It's also worth noting that Lightning Lane reservations can be made using the official Disney Parks app, making it easier than ever to manage your itinerary on the go. The app provides real-time wait times for each attraction, as well as the current availability of Lightning Lane reservations. This makes it easy to plan your day and ensures you can get on all of your favorite rides without wasting time waiting in line.
Another benefit of the Disney Genie+ service is that it allows guests to make the most of their time in the parks. By skipping the regular standby line, you can spend less time waiting in line and more time experiencing the attractions. This is especially valuable during peak season, when the parks can get quite crowded and wait times can be long.
For those who are looking for an even more streamlined experience, Disney Genie+ also offers the option to purchase individual Lightning Lane access to some of the most popular attractions, such as Seven Dwarfs Mine Train and Radiator Springs Racers. These individual Lightning Lane purchases are subject to availability and cost an additional fee on top of the Disney Genie+ service.
Disney Genie+ offers a lot of value for guests who are looking to make the most of their time in the parks. While the service is not free, the cost is relatively affordable when compared to other theme park add-ons. Additionally, the flexibility and convenience of Lightning Lane reservations make it easier than ever to plan your day and enjoy all the magic that Disney has to offer.
Disney Genie+ is a fantastic addition to the Walt Disney World Resort and Disneyland Resort experience. By offering Lightning Lane reservations, the service allows guests to bypass long lines and make the most of their time in the parks. While there is an additional cost associated with the service, the benefits of convenience and flexibility make it well worth it for many guests.
While there are certainly many benefits to using Disney Genie+, it's important to consider some of the potential drawbacks and limitations of the system as well.
One of the main complaints from guests is that Lightning Lane availability can be limited, especially for popular attractions. This means that even with the service, you may still have to wait in long lines or miss out on riding certain attractions altogether. While Disney Genie+ does offer the option to purchase individual Lightning Lane access to some of the most popular attractions, these purchases can quickly add up and become quite expensive.
Another potential downside is the added cost of the service. Even though it is less expensive than some other theme park add-ons, it is still an additional expenditure on top of the expensive park admission and other costs associated with a Disney vacation.
Some guests have also complained that the system is difficult to use, particularly if you are unfamiliar with how the app or the park is configured. This can lead to frustration and wasted time, especially if guests are not able to secure the Lightning Lane reservations they were hoping for.
Finally, some guests have expressed concern that the Disney Genie+ service may lead to longer wait times for those who choose not to use it. This is because guests who purchase Lightning Lane reservations are essentially cutting in front of those who are waiting in the regular standby line. While this is not a new concept (the previous FastPass+ system also allowed for this), it may be more noticeable with the increased popularity of the Lightning Lane reservations.
While there are certainly some potential drawbacks to using Disney Genie+, the benefits of convenience and flexibility are likely to outweigh these concerns for many guests.
Disney Genie+ aims to simplify and streamline the process of obtaining ride reservations and reducing wait times at Disney World theme parks. Genie+ offers a great level of flexibility, convenience, and affordability for visitors who are looking for a seamless and stress-free Disney experience. By planning ahead and utilizing all the features of Disney Genie+, visitors can maximize their time at the parks and minimize the time spent in long lines. Start planning your next Disney World vacation to enjoy all the exciting attractions, special events, and celebrations!