Disney Genie+ is a divisive issue with Disney World travelers! Can you afford to pay an extra fee to skip the lines for attractions in the parks? Can you afford NOT to?
We are in the parks every day using Genie+, learning all the tips and tricks to make your next Disney World trip easier. Today, we’re sharing some NEW tips for using Genie+ in 2023.
First of all, if Disney Genie, Genie+, Lightning Lanes, and Individual Attraction Selections sound like a foreign language to you, you’re not alone. This stuff IS Confusing! We’ve got a primer for you — Disney Genie 101, if you will, right here ➡️ Disney Genie, Genie Plus, and Lightning Lanes: Here’s EVERYTHING You Need to Know!
We know that planning a Disney World trip is A LOT. And this Genie+ thing can be so confusing – which is why we bring you posts like this so often. But we’ve also put together a complete guide in ebook format that gives you all of the info you need, all in one place! Use code WDW2023 for 25% off our DFB Guide to Dining at Walt Disney World.
Disney Genie + can be mighty useful — especially when it comes to its extensive list of Lightning Lane options (which will help you bypass the main queues for over 40 different rides and attractions in each of the four parks). HOWEVER, sometimes paying for this premium planning tool can be less helpful and more of an unnecessary extra cost.
THESE are the times when you’re gonna want to SKIP that Genie+ purchase:
On a non-busy park day
We can already hear y’all now: “But Disney World is ALWAYS busy!” It definitely FEELS that way lately, but we did experience some slower days in Disney World last year! When school was back in session (toward the end of August and throughout September), lines for rides were WAY more manageable — and having Genie+ wasn’t as worth the price per person, per day.
You can get an idea of when Disney will be expecting lower crowd levels just by looking at their day-based ticket prices on the Disney World website. If you’re seeing ticket prices toward the lower end of the spectrum, you’re probably NOT going to need Genie+ as much as you would when ticket prices are hitting their peak.
HOWEVER — those lower crowd seasons will also mean that Genie + prices will more than likely be lower, too. Back in October, Genie+ DID switch to a surge price system — meaning prices fluctuate daily (between $15-$22 per person) depending on demand. So, it’s a Catch 22. The less you pay for Genie+, the less likely you’ll probably need it — but the MORE you pay, the more likely you’ll probably need it for certain parks. (Ain’t that just the way.)
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When you’re visiting EPCOT/ Disney’s Animal Kingdom
There are TWO parks you really don’t HAVE to worry about getting Genie+ for, regardless of the season — and that’s EPCOT and Animal Kingdom.
EPCOT does have some rides that build pretty hefty lines (like Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure and Frozen Ever After, for instance), but if you make the most out of your Early Theme Park Entry and evening hours (and even use those single rider lines for Soarin’ and Test Track, if need be), then — hypothetically speaking — you should still be able to manage all the rides you wanna ride.
Just don’t forget to snag a Boarding Group for Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind at either 7AM or 1PM on your My Disney Experience App! Currently, that’s the only way you’ll be able to experience this ride.
Even IF ride lines are looking a little hectic while you’re at EPCOT, there’s so much to do here BESIDES riding things. You can bide your time exploring the World Showcase, trying different festival foods, watching outdoor performances, wandering through side exhibits, and checking out the SeaBase aquariums. (And THAT means you can still have a fun-filled afternoon here without waiting in ride lines for hours on end.)
As far as Animal Kingdom is concerned, there’s really not enough rides listed ON the Lightning Lane options for Genie+ to be worth your time and money. And that’s because… there aren’t a LOT of rides in the park in the first place.
Once again — you can fill your day with OTHER Animal Kingdom activities by wandering down the animal-lined walking trails, watching the shows, trying the different cultural snacks, or just taking in the sights for a bit.
But, with or without Genie+, you should still be able to experience all the rides you want within the day.
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If you wanna prioritize the a la cartes
Not EVERY ride in the parks is gonna be featured in the standard Genie+ lineup of Lightning Lane offerings. Those “E-Ticket attractions” (AKA: the most POPULAR rides in each park) will have a la carte Lightning Lane prices (meaning you’ll have to pay a surge price per person, per ride).
These a la carte Lightning Lanes include:
- Seven Dwarfs Mine Train in Magic Kingdom
- Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind in EPCOT
- Rise of the Resistance in Disney’s Hollywood Studios
- Flight of Passage in Animal Kingdom
Now, you don’t HAVE to pick and choose here. You can totally get Genie+ AND purchase up to two a la carte Lightning Lanes per day, too. HOWEVER, if you’d rather ditch the Genie+ price altogether and focus solely on buying an a la carte Lightning Lane (just to make sure you can skip over the MASSIVE lines for the HOTTEST rides), you’re more than welcome to do that too!
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When you arrive at the park too late
Lightning Lanes DO book up — especially during a busy park day. So if you plan on arriving at the parks later — or you’re already AT the parks and you’re thinking about purchasing Genie+ when it’s already getting into the afternoon — you’re gonna start off at a disadvantage. There’s a good chance that many of the rides you’re wanting a Lightning Lane for might’ve already been taken (or, if they’re not, they’ll have a next available return time WAY later on in the evening).
Buying Genie+ later ALSO means you’re not gonna be able to use that 120-minute rule to your advantage. Normally, you’re only able to book your NEXT Lightning Lane after you used the LAST one. But you can ALSO book your next Lightning Lane AFTER a 2-hour cool down period. So if you book a Lightning Lane for, say, Slinky Dog Dash in Hollywood Studios and the return time isn’t for another 3-4 hours, you’ll STILL be able to stack up on Lightning Lane reservations and make a SECOND selection after 120 minutes have passed.
And THAT’S why it’s better to purchase and start using your Genie+ as EARLY as you can the day of your visit — to get the MOST bang for your buck! You can start making reservations as early as 7AM, though the 120 minute rule won’t kick in until after the parks officially open for the day.
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And that’s our look at the times you should STOP paying for Disney Genie+ in Walt Disney World! Keep following DFB for the latest Disney World news!
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Have you used Disney Genie+? Share your tips in the comments!
My beautiful wife has a terrific formula for when we buy Genie + or Lightening Lane — never! We still go to the Walt Disney World theme parks but we never pay the extra admission price for Genie+ or Lightening Lane.
In 2023 there is no such thing as a “non busy park day” at Disney World. Historically mid-January through February was a much less busy time of the year (with the exception of Presidents Day weekend).
Me and my family went to Disney world in mid January and again in mid February (we live in southern Florida and are annual passholders). Every park was moderately to very busy ever single day — including mid week. By later morning to early afternoon every park had at least 2-3 rides with wait times far in excess of an hour. And it appears that many parents now consider school attendance to be optional.
I ADORE Genie+ and the Individual Lightning Lanes!! My family has used both extensively over our last several trips and we’re planning on using them again in the three trips we’ll take this year. The time savings is exceptional and my time and convenience are worth a tremendous amount when considering a trip like this. I’d much rather be able to select rides, minimize my wait, and keep moving than stand around if unnecessary.
WONDERFUL addition to our trips.
Hate or love it, Genie+ is never going away because Disney invested millons and they make millions off of it. The only way Disney will ever change it for the better of the guest and make for free laike FastPass once was, is if guest stop buying and using it. But unfortunately this will never happen as many people are willing to pay the price just like park tickets and passes increases. The Monster will never die if you keep feeding it.
We went on a Disney vacation in September of 2022. Even in a “less busy” time, we thought paying extra for Genie + was well worth the cost. At the time that I booked, you could add on Genie plus for the whole trip. With three toddlers, their attention span is about 5 minutes tops. With that being said, there were many very popular rides such as Frozen, Ratatouille, Peter Pan, and MRR with hour + wait times and we waited maybe 10 minutes tops. Definitely a must for us when budgeting our trip and future trips. If you are in a group of adults or older children maybe not but with littles I would recommend.
We successfully used Genie + on our trip in October at all the parks except MK. Seven Dwarf was not operating at early entrance and didn’t become functional until at least 2 hours after park opening. We had purchased an Individual Lightning Lane and once the ride was operating getting all ILL riders caught up used up so much time. This seemed to throw off our entire day and Genie+ Lightning Lanes kept getting booked up. It just seemed to be a complete waste but it may have just been a kink for our day. MK was wall to wall people the day we were there, so it may not have mattered anyway.
Get rid of Disney Genie, bring back fast passes. Have to get up early and spend all day on the Disney App booking lightning lanes etc. They are taking the spontaneity and the fun out of going to WDW.
I’m wondering if people find it useful to buy Genie + if you only plan to be in the park until after lunch and then visit another park at night? i.e. Magic Kingdom morning (get there at opening) and Epcot at night (5-9pm).
Richard Mercer says
I LOVED FP+ (FastPass Plus) as I could arrange everything online before leaving home on my desktop computer, at a time of my choosing, and at Disney World I could just enjoy myself!
I HATE HATE HATE Genie+ because it would force me to
(1) do everything on my phone with its teeny-tiny screen (1/20 the size of my desktop) for which I would need reading glasses
(2) do it at 7AM on the day of (later is possible puts everything at risk and a huge nuisance to do it in the parks)
I’m not sure I will be returning to the parks under these circumstances…. time will tell…
Like Megan, we went in September. While the parks were not slammed, they were still busy and wait times for popular rides were still in the one hour range. We purchased Genie Plus for Hollywood Studios and did everything there by 5:00 pm, getting us out of the park before the daily thunderstorms moved in. We did not purchase it for Epcot or AK and did fine at both of those parks without it. We purchased ILL for Flight of Passage and arrived at AK at 2:00 pm and completed everything by 7:00 pm, before the daily thunderstorms moved in. If you are willing to bear the heat (we didn’t mind it) and dance around the daily thunderstorms, September IS a great time to go. But I would still highly recommend purchasing ILL and Genie + for certain parks and certain days to get the most bang for your buck.