Disney Genie+ and Individual Attraction Selection (a.k.a. Pay Per Ride) has been in place at Disney World and Disneyland Resort for some time now.
We’ve made our way to the parks on both coasts to test out the new paid FastPass+ replacement systems and see just how they work. In essence, the idea behind both Genie+ and Individual Attraction Selection is that guests pay a certain amount to skip the standby lines at the specified attractions and thus get to ride their favorite attractions with a shorter wait. But can Lightning Lanes (the lanes used to help Genie+ and Pay Per Ride skip the standby waits) actually be LONGER than the standby lines? Here’s what we’ve seen.
A Quick Recap
Before we begin, let’s give a quick recap of just what Disney Genie, Genie+, and Individual Attraction Selection are.
First, there’s Disney Genie or “Free Genie.” The FREE Disney Genie service can help with planning your days in the parks. Essentially, you can tell Free Disney Genie what types of things you like, what you want to do, etc. and it will help create personalized itineraries for your day.
Next, there’s Disney Genie+. Through Genie+ guests essentially purchase access to use the “Lightning Lanes” (a.k.a. the old FastPass+ lanes) for select attractions around the parks. The cost is $15 per person, per day.
With Genie+, you can choose one attraction at a time and reserve a timeframe to use the Lightning Lane for that ride. When your lightning lane return time arrives, you can return to the ride and skip the standby queue and avoid the wait. Then, you’ll be able to continue making those Genie+ selections one ride at a time throughout the day.
Finally, there’s Individual Attraction Selection (a.k.a. Pay Per Ride). Not all rides are available through the standard Genie+ service. Select popular attractions like Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance, Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure, and others are not available through Genie+. Instead, if you want to ride these, you’ll need to pay to use their Lightning Lanes individually (that’s the Individual Attraction Selection option).
The price for these rides varies depending on the park, ride, and day. Guests can only buy a maximum of 2 pay-per-ride selections per day.
Can Lightning Lanes Be LONGER Than Standby?
So now that we’ve recapped the Genie+ and Pay Per Ride situation, let’s turn to those standby lines. Guests are not required by any means to pay for Genie+ and Individual Attraction Selection in order to ride an attraction in Disney World. If you don’t want to pay for these services, you can still ride Disney World’s attractions by using the standby (regular) lines.
But if you want to SKIP the standby line and get on the ride faster (theoretically) then you’ll need to use Genie+ or Individual Attraction Selection. That leads us to the question at the heart of this post — can Lightning Lanes (the ones you’re PAYING to use through Genie+ or Individual Attraction Selection) actually be LONGER than the standby lines?
We reached out to our fantastic DFB reporters who have utilized Genie+ in the parks (primarily in Disney World) before to see what their experience has been. In short, the answer we got was “no.”
One reporter shared that they have used Genie a couple of times but never experienced a situation where the Lightning Lane took longer than the standby. Another shared that they used to experience this issue with FastPass+ at times, but that they have used Genie+ twice and never had that issue.
Another reporter noted that, aside from personal experience, the very function of Genie+ is to provide guests with a way to “skip” the standby lines, so a situation should not arise where the Lightning Lane is longer than the standby line. In theory, if there were ever to be a tremendous backup when it comes to the standby line, Cast Members should prioritize the Lightning Lane and pull more guests from that line to help move the line along.
That might result in extended waits for guests in the standby lanes, but should not result in a situation where the Lightning Lane is longer (in terms of wait time) as compared to the standby line. In fact, when we reached out to some of our DFB readers about their feelings regarding Genie+, some noted that they felt like Genie+ has made the stand-by lines longer than before.
Note that some of this is based on the purpose of the system and what should happen, but our experience does seem to support it.
Some guests have commented on our previous posts, suggesting that standby times have been over-exaggerated, weren’t as long as posted, or simply weren’t that bad during their trip, making them feel that the use of Genie+ wasn’t necessary. The situation with standby lanes can vary depending on the day you visit, the park you’re in, the time of day, the time of year, etc. Though in the past we’ve found the wait times to be fairly accurate, things can depend.
Still, based on our experience wait times for Lightning Lanes haven’t been longer than standby waits. Is that what you’ve experienced? If you’ve had a different experience in the parks be sure to tell us in the comments.
But…Physical Lines Can Be Deceiving
While we personally haven’t experienced a situation where the wait associated with a Lightning Lane is longer than the standby line, there is something we want to caution you about — the physical lines for the Lightning Lanes can be deceiving.
We have sometimes seen the actual Lightning Lane line of guests stretch WELL past where the entrance to the ride is (particularly in spots like The Haunted Mansion). So from the outside, some of these Lightning Lane lines can seem extremely long (which might make you question how quickly they’ll help you enter the attraction). You paid for speedier service to the ride, so you deserve to get it, right?
From what we’ve experienced, though the physical lines can sometimes stretch well past the ride’s entrance, the Lightning Lane lines themselves tend to move. Again, this goes back to the idea that the Lightning Lane is meant to be prioritized because guests are paying for a speedier service and Disney needs to deliver on that in order to make the service “worth it.”
So while a physical Lightning Lane line might seem quite lengthy, don’t necessarily let that worry you. Based on what we’ve experienced, the Lightning Lane lines do tend to move, helping you get to your desired destination without too much of a significant delay.
Of course, keep in mind that this article is based on what we’ve seen and experienced in the parks. Things can be different on days where an attraction shuts down due to technical difficulties, delaying all guests (including those who bought access to the Lightning Lanes); or other situations that might delay all guests.
What have you experienced with Genie+? Tell us in the comments. And follow our newsletter for more Disney Genie+ updates.
What has your experience been like with Genie+? Tell us in the comments!