I'm sure you have questions about Genie Plus. Everyone has questions about it (including me). Well, you are in the right place because this is where Genie Plus will be explained. It can feel overwhelming, but hopefully, I can help.
I'm not going to tell you that it is my favorite thing at Disney. It definitely is not. But since we now have to live with Genie Plus, we might as well understand how it works, and how to best use it. And I am going to explain how to make the most of Genie Plus.
A Brief History
Disney has a long history of tickets for rides. And honestly, Genie Plus is just a more sophisticated version of buying a ticket to ride an attraction. So Genie Plus is by no means a "new" concept.
When Walt Disney World first opened, you would buy an entrance ticket to Magic Kingdom, and then you would have to buy a book of tickets to get on/into attractions. The attractions were rated from A to E, which is why people use that language today when describing attractions and their thrill factor.
In 1982, Disney World and Disneyland stopped using ticket books and started using what they called a "passport". That is basically what we still use today. You buy an entrance ticket to a park, and then you can ride any of the attractions once you are inside the park. It was such a great change in my opinion, although I do have a sentimental fondness for old ticket books.
Disney then introduced us to a new way to not have to wait in lines for attractions. It was called FastPass. You would get in the park, and then using your park ticket, go to whatever attraction you wanted to ride and get a window of time to come back and get on the attraction. They said the reason was so you didn't have to spend so much time in line (which is partly true). The benefit to Disney was that you had more time to shop and spend money. So basically it was a win-win. You didn't have to use FastPass to get on attractions, but it assured you didn't have to wait in a long line for certain attractions. Also, not every attraction had FastPass. Only the attractions that regularly had long lines got FastPass. It wasn't perfect, but it worked.
As time went on, technology advanced and we got what was called FastPass Plus. This was FastPass on steroids. It was all done through the My Disney Experience app, and you could reserve a time to get on a ride up to 60 days in advance; 60 DAYS! It took planning your vacation to another level. You could reserve up to 3 passes, and then if you knew to get the passes for early in the day, you could get more passes as the day went on. It was "free" to use. Not only did it make planning more complicated, not everyone knew how to use it (or that it existed), and many believe it made the standby lines even longer.
Hello Genie Plus
On October 19th, 2021 Walt Disney World started using Genie Plus. It was not introduced to Disneyland until December 2021. It was released with Genie, which is Disney's electronic assistant to plan your day, and "Make the most" of your day at a Disney park. TouringPlans.com have been doing it for YEARS before Disney (and frankly I believe they do it better). And to be honest with you, I believe it was another way for Disney to reach into our wallets. They also introduced Lightning Lane, which we will talk about later.
How Much Is Genie Plus?
When Genie Plus was introduced it was $7 per person per day to use it at Disney World, and make reservations. Disney just recently change that to be a variable rate based on the day you are visiting. Now Genie Plus can cost between $7 and $15 depending on the day. At Disneyland, it will cost you $25 and up based on what day you are there. You need to check each day of your vacation to find out what the price will be. You may have days that are $7, and you could have days that are $15. It is based on what Disney believes the demand will be for the day. Busier days will obviously cost more.
How Do I Get Genie Plus?
You can purchase Genie Plus at Midnight on the day of your visit if you have a reservation for a park (reservations for parks are another topic to discuss). I would not suggest you stay up to get Genie Plus. You can get it at 6:45 am on the day you are going to the park. What time you buy Genie Plus makes no difference in your ability to get a ride reservation. So don't stay up (unless you are already up and partying.) Once you have purchased Genie Plus, you can start making reservations at 7 am on the day you are visiting the park.
How Does Genie Plus Work?
You can only make one reservation at 7 am. You can make another reservation if any of the following things have happened:
- You "Tap in" for your last Genie Plus reservation.
- The window for your last Genie Plus reservation has passed
- It's 120 minutes after the park opened (if you made a reservation before the park opened).
- It's been 120 minutes since you made your last reservation during normal park hours.
It is a lot to take in, but if you take a minute and slowly read each item in the list, I believe they will make sense to you. And if you are a savvy Disney vacationer (which you are since you are reading this), you will notice that you could "Stack" your reservations for a day. That means that you can have more than 1 reservation at a time (depending on when your reservations are). That is something to keep in mind to best utilize this service.
Do I Need Genie Plus?
You do not need Genie Plus to enjoy the parks. As a matter of fact, you may decide the cost does not give you much return on investment. If you choose not to use Genie Plus, just be aware that you will probably be standing in longer StandBy lines.
I will say that if you have a "Must Do" attraction that will ruin your vacation if you don't get to ride it, then you should DEFINITELY get Genie Plus. It may be the only way to ride an attraction without waiting in a long line. You will probably get to ride it, it just may mean you don't have time to ride all the other attractions you would like to ride.
I will put a caveat on this section. There are two parks that I don't believe you need Genie Plus; EPCOT, and Animal Kingdom. In my opinion there just aren't enough attractions you will need it for to justify the cost.
If you want to ride Flight Of Passage in Pandora at Animal Kingdom, I would suggest you "Rope Drop" that attraction. That means show up early at the park, and when they literally drop the ropes so you can go ride attractions in the park, go directly to Flight Of Passage. You will have to wait in line, but it won't be long, and you will be happy you didn't spend the money on Genie Plus. The same holds true for attractions at EPCOT, if there is one attraction that you HAVE to ride (say Frozen Ever After), then you should rope drop that attraction. Save the money and maybe buy a fun snack (and there are a lot at both parks). You will likely remember that experience you create more fondly than the attraction you paid $15 to ride.
What Is Lightning Lane?
Now, let's talk for a moment about Lightning Lane. There is 1 ride in each park that you can pay MORE money to skip the line for the attraction. Lightning Lane attractions can cost anywhere between $7 and $22 per person.
YOU DON'T HAVE TO BUY GENIE PLUS TO BUY LIGHTNING LANE. That is the question I get a lot of when talking about Lightning Lane. Also, Lightning Lane attractions ARE NOT INCLUDED in Genie Plus. They are ALWAYS an additional cost if you have Genie Plus or not.
Here is the attraction in each park that has Lightning Lane. There is only one per park:
- Magic Kingdom - Seven Dwarfs Mine Train
- EPCOT - Guardians Of The Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind (I would rope drop this)
- Hollywood Studios - Star Wars: Rise Of The Resistance
- Animal Kingdom - Avatar Flight Of Passage (I would rope drop this)
Lightning Lane is purchased through the Disney My Experience application, just like Genie Plus.
Once you understand the basics of Genie Plus and Lightning Lane, it is not that hard to use. It is just a matter of do you want to spend the money on either one. It can have the ability to make your vacation special.
Now that I have explained Genie Plus, let me tell you what I really think about it. If you don't want to know, thanks for reading, and make sure you sign up for The Goofy Guy email.
I do not like Genie Plus. I think it is a money grab from Disney. For years we were able to use these same systems for free. I also think that they make standby lines longer (that is a longer article.)
I almost wish that they would do what Universal Studios does and charge A LOT for the privilege to jump to the front of the line. What that does is make it harder for people to afford the privilege to line jump. I'm ok with that. If you want to do that you should pay a lot. It also means that if fewer people are using it, then the standby lines will move faster (which they do at Universal).
I do not begrudge Disney for making money (I have said that many times). They are a company whose business is making money. I just really wish they had thought this through more so that Genie Plus would benefit everyone, whether a guest chooses to use it or not. If fewer people used it, the standby lines would also be shorter.
That is what I call a win-win.