There is nothing that can divide Disney fans faster than today’s topic. Genie Plus has become an almost necessary tool with the park crowds since its inception in 2021. The reviews are still mixed! Will this system make your vacation less stressful? What is covered under it? Most importantly, is it worth the price? Keep reading because I will answer all these questions and more!
Basics of Genie – The Free Service
Let’s start with the basics; the Genie service is a free feature in the My Disney Experience app that allows you to see wait times in real-time, plan the best itinerary for your party, book restaurants, or order food in advance. Genie also gives you directions to whatever attraction you want right from the palm of your hand.
Basics of Genie Plus – The Paid Service
Genie+ is the paid add-on to this service. Through Genie+, you can book a lightning lane (formally fastpass and fastpass+) for the available attractions. Still, not all rides are included in this upgrade. We will touch more on that later in this piece. Still, the process is the same no matter what park you visit. For the sake of simplicity, I will go through my experience using Genie+ for my day at Hollywood Studios.
When to Purchase Genie Plus
Like Cinderella, the fun begins at the stroke of midnight. You can only purchase this service on the app the day you use it. Recently in February and March, there were days that it sold out. Still, it is usually available even at 7 am or later in the morning.
Cost of Genie Plus
Genie+ costs anywhere from $ 15-$35 per person. Since it is on a sliding scale, the only price indication you have is by looking to see what it costs the day before you plan to use it. The busier the day, the higher the price, but you will know the price once you purchase. If you planned on the $15 cost for a family of 6 for one day, but the actual payment is $35 per person, you will have a significant hole in your budget. That $120 would have covered the cost of a few meals, snacks, or other experiences you may have wanted. For the day I went, it was $30 per person, which I could anticipate because I was crazy enough to hit the park with the Spring Break crowds.
After Deciding to Purchase Genie Plus
Now what…. You made the purchase! Once you have successfully added the upgrade, you can see the rides available for whichever park you visit that day. This is great for planning the rides you want, but you can’t select until 7 am OR when the park opens.
Resort guests, this is where you get another advantage as you can make ride selections before anyone else. This gives you the power to take spots for popular rides and maximize the perfect combination of Genie+ and early entry rope drop to ensure you get the most out of your day in the park.
Not all rides in the park are covered by Genie+, and you can only choose one ride or experience at a time. You can select a lightning lane (which I will refer to as “LL” for the rest of the post!) selection for one ride, but rope drop a different one. Ensure you set your alarm because there are only a limited number of “LL” times per ride.
Genie Plus Rides at Hollywood Studios
When your magical hour hits, you can open the app to see what is available and for what time. For Hollywood Studios, you can choose from the following rides.
Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run
Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway
The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror
Toy Story Mania!
Slinky Dog Dash
Rock’ n’ Roller Coaster
Alien Swirling Saucers
Muppet*Vision 3D Beauty & The Beast Live on Stage
Indiana Jones Stunt Spectacular
Disney Junior Play and Dance!
Meet Olaf at Celebrity Spotlight
My Genie Plus Strategy
As you can see, my priority was the Runaway Railway, but yours may be a different ride. Ensure you include your entire party in the booking to ride the same thing simultaneously. The last thing you want to do is forget Grandma while planning the day. She would be sad or mad that she missed the ride, and you would feel terrible for ignoring her, so make sure you keep an eye on that.
Now, if half of your group wants to ride Slinky and the other half wants to meet Olaf, you can do that too! When you open the selection, it will ask who in your party will be on that booking. Select the party members who want the selection and then make the booking. Repeat the process for the other member and their choice. Remember that per person, you can only book one “LL” at a time, and you can not book the same ride twice in one day. If Uncle Ted wants to ride Star Tours while you take little Seth to Muppet*Vision, Uncle Ted can’t ride Star Tours via the “LL” again when you and little Seth decide to later in the day.
Not all Rides Included?
In the list of rides and experiences, did you notice a significant ride that was missing? Yes, that would be Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance. This ultra-popular ride is considered a premium ride with its own price for a lightning lane. Remember how I said I paid $35 per person to get Genie+?
It would be an additional $25 per person for my group to raise Rise of the Resistance. The price is steep, but the ride usually has a wait of at least an hour and a half on a regular day, and it is a fantastic ride! If you are like me, you may not need this feature and would rather spend that money on a popcorn bucket. For a Star Wars fan who has come from across the galaxy, $25 may be a small price for this lightning lane.
Individual Lightning Lanes
You can do that if you want to book an individual “LL” on top of your included selection! You have to be quick about it, though. The limited number of LLs per time slot means you can have Alien Spinner booked at 9 am. Still, by the time you get back to look at the individual “LL” for Rise of the Resistance, it may only have a time for 7 pm or, worse…be sold out. If you are park hopping or are desperate for the most fantastic ride in the galaxy, you may need to rethink your strategy.
Stay in the know through the Park
As the day passes and you walk off your first ride selection, you can open the app and choose your next ride! I went for Toy Story Mania!, which luckily had a time relatively close to when I had finished with the Runaway Railway.
With FastPass, we could book 3 rides at a time to ensure the group could experience more than one or two rides without an hour’s wait. In the past, when I was in Magic Kingdom, I had Buzz Lightyear booked at 11 am, but when I was done, the only ride available was Jungle Cruise for 9:30 pm. This is another pitfall of Genie+ in my books.
Park Hop with Genie Plus?
One of the great things about Genie+ is that it can follow you when you park hop! If you spent your morning at the Studios and want to travel to Magic Kingdom, you can switch parks in the app and check out the available ” LL ” offerings.
Remember that you can not park hop till after 2 pm and can not make a selection for a time before then. Also, consider the time it takes to jump from one park to another. If you are in Galaxy’s Edge for lunch at 1:45 pm and want to book the Haunted Manion for 2:15 pm, you can only use that lightning lane till 3:15 pm. Can your party of 6 with your 2 elderly parents finish their meal, leave the park, travel across the property to Magic Kingdom through security and crowds, and make it to the Haunted Mansion? Probably not. Make sure you are realistic about your timeline and goals for this trip.
Final thoughts about Genie Plus
If you aren’t going to return to the Most Magical Place on Earth anytime soon, Genie+ is a great way to make sure you see and experience everything you want. If you are staying on property, you can maximize Genie+ the most. Early ride selection combined with early entry to the park is the best way to use this tool. Suppose you can only live with riding your favorite ride. In that case, the individual “LL” purchase may be the better option if you do not want to purchase the full Genie+ or if the ride you want is a Premium one.
Locals Strategy on Genie Plus
Suppose you are a local with no time constraints, not staying on property for early entry, and have no particular attachment to a ride or show. In that case, you can spend that extra money on a Mickey Bar or three. I have used Genie+ during peak seasons when friends and family come to the parks and I don’t want to wait 3 hours for a ride I know I will love. It does not make sense for me to use it as often, and when I stay on the property, I usually only use the service for one of the days.
Make the Best Decision for your Trip
It all comes down to what experiences you cannot live without and which ones don’t you mind waiting in line for. I don’t think Genie+ will make or break a vacation. Still, it can aid in a smoother planning process for large groups who want different experiences. Whichever you choose, I hope you have a great vacation and enjoy the 100th-year celebration of the Walt Disney Company!
Whether you’re traveling with young children, teens, or adults, we’ve got you covered. From the whimsical fun of Disney’s Art of Animation Resort to the luxurious elegance of Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa, we’ve got something for everyone. So look at our resort reviews and start planning your dream Disney vacation today!