Disneyland Resort Planning 101 Vacation Planner Walt Disney World

Everything You Need To Know About The New Disney Genie

October 20, 2021

There is a lot of confusion surrounding Disney Genie.

We try to put a positive spin on everything. After all, helping others plan their dream vacations is what we do. And it’s what we enjoy.

But, even I have to admit, this one has been rough, especially if you’ve been going to the Disney Parks and using the free FastPass+. Instead of seeing any positives new additions may bring, all we’re seeing is dollar signs. The very same vacation we booked years ago is going to cost more now. As a fellow Guest, it absolutely stinks.

But, regardless of the negativity surrounds the announcement, Guests will use it. I know that and Disney knows that. So, just like other posts you’ll find on this site, we’re going to put a positive spin wherever we see fit.

Please keep in mind that this post will likely change many times as we learn more about Disney Genie and how it works. If there is an easier way to use it, we will update you. (Updated August 2022)

Here we go…

Disney Genie Is NOT A Standalone App

The Disney Genie works with your existing My Disney Experience and Disneyland Apps. Much like Walt Disney World’s Disney MagicMobile, updating the App is all you’ll need to do.

I have personally used Disney Genie and Disney Genie+. And, while I had great success with it, I can see how others would find it confusing and not worth the money.

To those who say they won’t use Disney Genie, that’s ok. You can absolutely have a great time without it. But, don’t rule it out completely. After all, there is a large portion of the new addition that is FREE (more on that below).

Entrance to Disneyland California

Walt Disney World and Disneyland Will Finally Work On The Same System

Whether or not you liked FastPass+ or MaxPass, you have to admit, they came with a bit of a learning curve. And visiting opposite coasts required learning its own set of rules and lingo.

This is why many Guests ultimately use a Travel Agent, to help plan their Disney vacations. Planning is confusing enough.

But, in theory, once you learn how to use Disney Genie, it will work the same way on both coasts.

Frozen Ever After Entrance

New Disney Lingo

  • Disney Genie – Free Personalized Itinerary
  • Disney Genie+ – Paid Part that enables you to skip lines
    • FastPass+ replacement
  • Lightning Lane – Physical Line you stand in
    • They are the old FastPass queues
Remy's Ratatouille Adventure façade, including the queues

There Are Three Parts To Disney Genie…Including One That’s Free

Disney has been promoting the Disney Genie since the 2019 D23 Expo. And from what I can tell, everything they talked about is included in the Free Version.

At the time, they also compared it to mobile food ordering, Play Disney Parks, and online check-in. These are all FREE additions to the My Disney Experience App, created to enhance your vacation.

Disney Genie – The Free Part

Simply speaking, Disney Genie is a personalized itinerary.

Disney Genie recommends a plan, based on what you tell it what you want to do. Whether that means you’re focusing your day around specific attractions or you want to do everything princess related, the App recommends what you should do and the best time to do it.

And since it’s updated in real time, your recommendations may change, depending on wait times and availability.

Do I recommend this for first time Disney travelers?

Absolutely! Coming up with a strategy for hitting up as many attractions as you can on your first trip is the part everyone struggles with. So, it’s good to have a helping hand. And it’s FREE, so if you don’t like it or don’t find it helpful, you can simply stop using it and you haven’t wasted any money.

Disney Genie+-The 1st Paid Part

They’re being marketed as a way to enhance your flexibility and convenience in the Park. In reality, this is the replacement for Fastpass+ and MaxPass. Unfortunately, all this means is that if you want to spend less time waiting in line, you have to pay for that convenience.

  • Walt Disney World
    • Guests pay $15 per person (ages 3+) per day, plus tax
    • Booking window opens at 7am, whether or not you’re staying at a Disney Resort.
    • You are allowed to hold 1 Genie+ reservation at a time (doesn’t include Individual Lightning Lane Attractions or Virtual Queues – more on that below)
    • You can’t reserve the same attraction more than one time per day
    • Return times have a one hour window. To ride, head to the Lightning Lane entrances (old FastPass+ entrances) and tap your MagicBand at the touchpoint.
    • If you have Park Hopper Tickets, Disney Genie+ will work across all parks. You pay per day, not per Park.
    • Included with your purchase is the ability to use filters on your photos. There are many different filters, including location-based filters that only work when you’re in a certain area of the Park.
Inner Villain Lens on the Disney Genie
  • Disneyland
    • The Disney Genie+ add-on works exactly the same as Walt Disney’s World’s version, with a couple differences.
    • Guests will pay $20 per person (ages 3+) per day, plus tax.
    • Along with the special photo filters, you get unlimited Disney PhotoPass downloads from your day.
Helpful Tips

Helpful Tips For Genie+

  • Genie+ works like the old paper FastPass system. Your return time is based on the next available time slot, which you can see prior to reserving.
  • If you can’t make your reservation, cancel and rebook for a later time.
    • If you don’t cancel before your window expires, the system marks the attraction as unavailable (as if you’ve already ridden it). You can go to Guest Services and have them fix your account. They can see you didn’t redeem your Lightning Lane selection. But, it’s a big hassle.
  • Genie+ can now only be booked the day you’re going to the Parks. (Starting June 2022)
  • Refresh refresh refresh… Return times can jump around, possibly showing an earlier time.
    • I would not use this tactic on new or extremely popular attractions. You run the chance of not getting one at all.
  • Most queues use 2 MagicBand touch points. The 1st is at the entrance to the queue. And the 2nd is where the Lightning Lane and the Standby line merge. Once you tap your MagicBand at the 2nd touchpoint, book your next attraction to make the most of your purchase.
  • The 120 Minute Rule! – You are able to book another Lightning Lane after:
    1. You redeemed your Lightning Lane
    2. Your Lightning Lane window expires
    3. You booked your last Lightning Lane more than 120 minutes ago.
      • Many Guests book Slinky Dog Dash first thing in the morning since it’s still extremely popular. But, many don’t get a return time until evening, even when booking at 7AM. Instead of not allowing you to book anything else until you’ve redeemed that Lightning Lane, you’re able to book another attraction 120 minutes later, without while still keeping your reservation later in the day.
Storm Trooper in Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge

Individual Lightning Lanes – The 2nd Paid Part

  • You DO NOT need to purchase Genie+ to purchase Individual Lightning Lanes.
  • Disney Resort Guests can start booking Individual Lightning Lane Attractions at 7AM
  • Prices will vary by day, attraction, and Park.
  • You may book up to 2 Individual Lightning Lanes per day.
  • These selections include high demand attractions that are not included in Disney Genie+
Helpful Tips

Helpful Tips for Individual Lightning Lanes

  • The 120 minute rule does not apply to these attractions.
  • These attractions can sell out. I recommend booking Rise of the Resistance, in Hollywood Studios, right at 7AM.
    • Others may be available longer, so you may have more time to decide whether or not it’s worth the money.
  • Disney keeps changing what attractions are an extra charge. As of August 2022, Disney just announced that they are continuing to only have 1 attraction per Park be an Individual Lightning Lane, with the exception of Disney’s California Adventure
    • Magic Kingdom – Seven Dwarfs Mine Train
    • Animal Kingdom – Flight of Passage
    • Epcot – Guardians of the Galaxy – Cosmic Rewind
    • Hollywood Studios – Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance
    • Disneyland – Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance
    • Disney’s California Adventure – Radiator Springs Racers and Web Slingers: A Spiderman Adventure
  • Your Individual Lightning Lane Attraction broke down during your return time? You don’t lose your reservation. A special pass will be added to your account to return to that attraction, at any time by the end of the day.
Queue for Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind
Queue for Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind

Will Virtual Queues Still Exist?

Yes, but the change often.

There are currently Virtual Queues for Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind, in EPCOT and World of Color, in Disney’s California Adventure.

There are currently no Standby lines for Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind. If you want to ride, a Virtual Queue or Individual Lightning Lane will need to be made.

If you’re staying offsite, I recommend booking your Virtual Queue right away since these are FREE. Guests will grab these before booking any of the paid options.

Do You Have To Purchase Disney Genie+ or Individual Lightning Lanes to Ride Attractions?

No, purchasing Disney Genie+ and Individual Lightning Lane Attractions are completely optional.

If you choose not to purchase them, you’re welcome to wait in the regular Standby Queue. Only Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind does not have a Standby Queue to wait in right now. Their Standby Queue is currently being used by the Virtual Queue.

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