Genie+ was launched in Walt Disney World last autumn to much controversy. This new paid for queue skipping system, which replaced the free FastPass+ system, is meant to help you maximise your time in the Disney Parks by enabling you to skip the standby queue for up to 40 attractions for the cost of $15 per person, per day.
Genie+ has now been in operation for a few months and we have seen and heard a lot of reviews and thoughts about it!
So is Disney Genie+ going to help or hinder your trip? Will it allow you to fit much more into your day or does your time in the Disney parks become restricted by it?
Brief Introduction To Disney Genie+
For $15 per person, per day you can now purchase Disney Genie+ to help you skip the standby queue and enter the shorter Lightning Lane for up to 40 rides across all four Disney World Parks.
From midnight on the day of your visit you can purchase Genie+. At 7am reservations open up and you can select one ride to book a reservation for. Once you have scanned into that ride you are then able to book your next reservation.
Genie+ can be used across the whole of Disney World, you can use it in any of the parks, which is fantastic for people who like to park hop.
Rides that are included in Genie+ are:
Big Thunder Mountain Railroad
Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin
Dumbo the Flying Elephant
“it’s a small world”
Mad Tea Party
Monsters Inc. Laugh Floor
Peter Pan’s Flight
Pirates of the Caribbean
The Magic Carpets of Aladdin
The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh
Under the Sea ~ Journey of The Little Mermaid
Disney and Pixar Short Film Festival
Journey into Imagination with Figment
Living with the Land
Mission: SPACE – Green
Mission: SPACE – Orange
The Seas with Nemo & Friends
Turtle Talk with Crush
Alien Swirling Saucers
Beauty and the Beast Sing-Along
Disney Jr. Dance Party
For the First Time in Forever: A Frozen Sing-Along Celebration
Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular – Returning December 19, 2021
Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run
Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster
Slinky Dog Dash
The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror
Toy Story Mania!
Celebration of the Festival of the Lion King
Feathered Friends in Flight!
It’s Tough to Be a Bug!
Kali River Rapids
Naʻvi River Journey
The Animation Experience
To learn more all about Genie+ read my Genie+ Explained blog post.
Is Disney Genie+Too Restrictive?
The main complaint that seems to arise is how Genie+ impacts your day. The aim is that it enables you to spend less time in queues so you have more time to enjoy everything on offer in the parks. But does the reality of using Genie+ live up to the expectation?
When you purchase Genie+ for the day you are at the liberty of the times that are available. Because of this Genie+ can start to dictate the way you have to spend your day, rather than complimenting your day.
Unlike the previous FastPass+ system, where you could book your reservations between 30 and 60 days before your trip, with Genie+ you have to book your reservations on the day of your visit.
You can book your first Genie+ reservation from 7am. Most people will try to get the most popular rides as their first reservation as slots for these attractions can run out (a pitfall which we will come to later!). This can mean your first reservation is not until much later in the day. This can mean the majority of the day has been wasted with Genie+ not helping you skip the queue and therefore you don't get your money's worth.
A little known feature to Genie+ is that if your first reservation isn't until much later in the day you are able to book another reservation 2 hours after booking your first. For example if at 7am you manage to book a reservation for Slinky Dog Dash for 4pm you won't have to wait until after checking in to this ride at 4pm to book your next reservation. Instead you will be able to book more reservations for earlier in the day. You can keep doing this every 2 hours or after you have scanned in for your ride reservation when you can book another (which is the usual system). This top tip can help you have more than one Genie+ reservation at a time. But be aware that if you book at 7am you have to wait until the park opens to use this hack! 2 hours after the park opens you can book another reservation.
The popular rides can sell out for the day very quickly, sometimes within minutes, so you may be left with the not so good selections of what to ride for the rest of the day. Being able to skip the queue for any ride is helpful but when it is for attractions that only have a 10 minute queue anyway it may not feel as if you are getting your money's worth if you have missed out on the big, popular rides.
The one plus side with these types of less popular rides is that you will have a much better range of time slots to choose from so you have a better chance of getting them throughout the day, making these types of ride reservations much easier to fit into your plans for the day. But they are rides that tend to not have long queues so unless you are visiting in a very busy time of year you may feel a bit shortchanged if you are only able to use Genie+ for these rides.
Something I personally loved about FastPass+ was that you could book your ride reservations well in advance of your trip and book them at times that complimented your plans for the day. This is one of the big disadvantages of Genie+ as you cannot plan in advance and you just have to accept what ride times are available. This can lead you to have far less flexibility and your day can lack structure.
Something we are starting to see a lot of is people having to fill time until they can go to their next reservation. This can lead to people not being able to live in the moment or making the most of their day as they are clock watching and time filling.
If you have a reservation at 11am you need to make sure you are in the part of the park close to that ride near that time. You are then restricted to what is available in that part of the park. If the queue times for other attractions in that area are quite high it would mean you wouldn't be able to ride any of them before your Genie+ reservation time which leads to waiting around. This can be a big downside.
If this is the case you could use it as a chance to have a break, grab a drink or snack or do some shopping. (A cynic may say this is a deliberate flaw to the system so that people end up spending more money!). Having to clock watch and kill time is definitely not what people want to do when having their dream trip to Disney World!
A way to avoid this is to spend your day the way you would like to and then just head to your reservation at the time you can ride. This can help you get more out of your day as you are not having to kill time but the downside is it can mean a lot of running from one side of the park to another. This isn't the most efficient way to visit the parks and it can leave you feeling exhausted with sore feet!
Something people aren't a fan of is having the make reservations at 7am. An early start to the day isn't everybody's idea of fun when on holiday! You don't have to book at 7am but the reservations for the most popular rides sell out within minutes so if they are ones you are wanting to book you will need to set the alarm clock.
Another bugbear is that FastPass+ allowed you to book your ride reservations for your entire trip in advance, whereas with Genie+ you have to book them on the day. This means needing to book every morning you were going to use Genie+.
An issue that comes up a lot is when your Genie+ reservation clashes with other reservations you have booked, such as a dining reservation, your Savi's Workshop reservation to build a lightsaber or a return time for a ride such as Remy's Ratatouille Adventure.
This is something that can worry people but rest assured that if this were to happen if you speak to the cast member at the entrance of the ride they would allow you to still ride.
Something people have not been a fan of is having to use your phone a lot to check for time slots and book your next reservation. When visiting Disney Wold you want to be in the moment to feel take in everything you are experiencing. So having to have a lot of screen time isn't always what people had planned.
These are the main issues that people have found when using Genie+. It can benefit your day by helping you queue for less tiem but the issues mentioned above can impact the fun you have if you feel you are being restricted or not being able to spend your day as you would like due to Genie+.
The Benefits To Disney Genie+
But it is not all bad! Genie+ can benefit you if you go in knowing what to expect and how to get the most out of it.
One of the great benefits for Brits is that you can purchase Genie+ for£6.99 a day, instead of the usual $15 a day.
This is available for anyone purchasing new Disney World tickets or people who have the old Ultimate Ticket but purchased it directly from Disney.
To use this offer you do need to add Genie+ onto the entire length of your trip. So if you have a 14 day ticket you have to add Genie+ for £6.99 a day for all 14 days.
This works out less than £100 for the entire two weeks, which is a pretty good deal! When looking at the grand scheme of the cost of a Disney trip an extra £98 to be able to skip the queues for the entire two weeks is not a bad investment. Especially when you consider it can cost upwards of £100 for a one day Express Pass at Universal Orlando.
If you don't want to use Genie+ every day of your trip days you can just buy it on the days you do want it. This can be a good way to cut costs.
We have found that not all parks need Genie+. EPCOT and Animal Kingdom don't have enough rides that would need to jump the queue so may not be worth the cost of Genie+. So on the days you visit these parks you can save the money (or maybe put it towards an Individual Lightning Lane Pass for Flight of Passage!).
Genie+ is best for parks like Magic Kingdom and Hollywood Studios which get the biggest queues and have the most amount of rides that would benefit from queue skipping.
If you are visiting Disney World for two weeks and will be spending multiple days in each parks you may want to visit without using Genie+ first to see if you need it. This can really help cut costs as you may decide to only use Genie+ for one or two days towards the end of your trip.
A big bonus is some really great rides are included! Some of the most popular rides at Disney World are included in Genie+ and you can save a lot of time if you are able to get a reservation for them.
Disney World will always have crowds, even in the quieter times of the year, so if you can skip the queue for 3 or 4 rides in a day then you will have more time to experience everything else on offer at Disney!
If you don't want to use Genie+ you can still use standby lines so you don't have to buy it. It may mean queuing for a longer period of time but you don't need to spend money on extras like Genie+ to have a great time at Disney World.
Individual Lightning Lane Passes may be better for you depending on what rides are key for you to experience. The 8 most popular rides at Disney World, two in each park, aren't included in Genie+. Instead to skip the line you have to pay per person, per ride. The prices range from $7 to $15 to do this.
Instead of paying for Genie+ you may want to buy a few Individual Lightning Lane Passes for rides like Rise of the Resistance, Remy's Ratatouille Adventure and Mickey and Minnie's Runaway Railway.