A vacation at any Disney park is undoubtedly one of the best trips a family can take together. It’s a culmination of many years of love, storytelling, and nostalgia within an immersive experience–you can only have that in the happiest place on earth.
That being said, any Disney trip also requires a lot of planning and maneuvering around hundreds of other families looking for exciting and fun adventures, which is where utilizing what used to be known as “FastPasses” comes in handy. Let’s say you’ve considered Disney World packages and decided you want to skip a few lines and get some premium services–if paying a little extra isn’t an issue, then this article is for you.
It’s also important to note that a few things around FastPasses have changed recently.
What Is the Disney FastPass?
For many years, Disney offered FastPass as a way to avoid waiting in line for rides. You would instead be assigned a one-hour return window later in the day during which you could experience the ride with a much shorter wait.
In October 2021, the FastPass entrances at each ride at Disney World transitioned to what is now called “Lightning Lane.”
To access the Lightning Lanes, you’ll need to pay a fee (whereas FastPass was free). An important first step is to download the MyDisneyExperience app, which is a free trip-planning service offered by Disney that allows you to make/manage your dining and hotel reservations, buy park tickets, and purchase entry to select rides and attractions before you even get to the park. Part of this is the new “Disney Genie+” service which is integrated with other Disney apps, making it even easier to manage your scheduled experiences right from your phone.
Disney Genie+ is a paid service that allows you to skip lines for certain attractions, and can be accessed via the mobile Disney World’s My Disney Experience app.
How Do Disney Genie+ Services Work?
The Disney Genie+ service cost varies depending on the day (crowd levels, season, etc.) and theme park chosen. Expect to spend somewhere between $15-$30 per person per day at Disney World for the service, which serves as a “package deal” for entrance to most of the Lightning Lane eligible rides at a single theme park. (A multi-park offering is also available for those with Disney park hopper tickets).
Say you’re planning on going on a popular ride first thing in the morning when the park opens. You know that the line will be incredibly long, so you use the Disney Genie+ service to make a reservation for that ride.
You’re given a window of time to show up. When you get there on time, you’ll be able to bypass the regular line and go straight to the Lightning Lanes to avoid the long queues.
You can keep making reservations like this, one at a time, for as many rides as you can schedule before the park closes for the day.
Previously, with the FastPass+, travelers could book up to sixty days in advance for certain attractions. Now, with Disney Genie+, reservations begin only at 7:00 AM on the day of the visit for those staying at Disney Resort Hotels — and at park opening for everyone else. Still, the good news is that most of the popular experiences like the Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run, Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, and Haunted Mansion are included as part of the service.
It’s important to note that you can only make one reservation at a time, and Disney says most Guests can reasonably expect to use the service to skip the line at 2-3 rides per day during crowded times (maybe more on slower days).
How Does Individual Lightning Lane Entry Work?
As mentioned above, most of the Lightning Lane attractions are eligible for Genie+, but some are not. Lightning Lanes at the most high-demand rides at each park — usually the newest or most thrilling — are not included in Genie+ and can only be accessed by buying individual access. One such example is at Disney’s Hollywood Studios for Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance. Costs vary — typically from around $10 to $20 (but occasionally more) — depending on the popularity of a particular experience and the time of year.
What Else Can You Do on Disney Genie+ and MyDisneyExperience?
First, aside from booking rides through paid Disney Genie+ and Lightning Lane purchases, the MyDisneyExperience app also allows you to find interesting content about the different rides and attractions and access unique photo experiences with augmented reality components while onsite.
Visitors can also place dining orders in fast food eateries and make reservations at certain restaurants on the app, as well.
Lastly, visitors can make a curated itinerary based on the attractions they want to visit. The app can suggest the ideal itineraries showing real-time, forecasted wait times for each activity, which is perfect for people who want to wait in line as little as possible.
By giving a bit of control and peace of mind to your vacation, the MyDisneyExperience app (and its new Disney Genie+ service) is an effective digital integration of the Disney experience. The app makes it easy to plan and manage scheduled experiences right from your phone. For just around $15-$30 per day, Disney Genie+ offers incredibly helpful services, including making reservations for select rides and attractions on the day of your visit.