In 2021, FastPass+ and MaxPass were discontinued at Disney World and Disneyland and thereafter replaced with new paid systems — Disney Genie+ and Individual Attraction Selection (otherwise known as pay-per-ride).
We’ve got an entire page dedicated to Genie+ and we’ve tested the system on both coasts to give you our best tips. But visiting the Disney parks during peak busy times can be a whole other challenge entirely, adding high crowd levels into the mix.
So now we’re sharing our TOP TIPS with you if you plan on using Disney Genie in the parks during busy periods and/or the holidays!
What is Disney Genie+?
Before we begin, let’s do a quick Genie+ recap.
First of all, we have the FREE Disney Genie planning service. The free Genie planning service is built into the My Disney Experience app and Disneyland app. To use this, you’ll tell Disney Genie what you want to ride, what types of things you like, etc., and Disney Genie will create a personalized, flexible itinerary for you.
With free Genie, you’ll be able to see forecasted wait times, mobile order your food, see walk-up waitlist availability, make restaurant reservations, adjust your plans, and more. Plans will continuously update to help you get the most out of your day. Essentially, free Genie is designed to help you plan your day and optimize your plans.
Just how smart is the free Genie service in Disney World? Click here to find out!
Next, we have Genie+. Disney Genie+ is a PAID FastPass-like service. Prices vary by date, starting at $25* per day, per ticket at Disneyland Resort and starting at $15 per day*, per ticket at Disney World. If you pay for this service, you’ll be able to see when the next available time is to use various rides’ Lightning Lanes (i.e. FastPass+ lanes).
You will select the next available time to use the Lightning Lane for whatever ride you want, and when your time arrives, you can visit the ride and use the Lightning Lane (skipping the standby line).
Once you’re done with that ride, you can make another Genie+ Lightning Lane selection — 1 ride at a time, throughout the day. Note that there is a special 120 minute rule and some adjustments that have been made to certain policies. You can click the links to learn more.
Over 50 attractions are available through Genie+ at Disney World, and over 15 attractions are available through Genie+ at Disneyland. NOT all attractions are available through Genie+.
Click here to see the full list of rides typically included with Genie+ in Disney World.
Click here to see the full list of Disneyland rides typically included with Genie+.
When Can You Buy Genie+?
You can buy Genie+ for individual days by buying the service ON the day of your visit.
In Disney World (if you’re buying Genie+ on the day of your visit, rather than in advance) you can buy Genie+ as early as midnight on the day you’ll be visiting the park (essentially as soon as the day of your visit begins).
In Disneyland, guests can purchase and add Genie+ to a park ticket or vacation package in advance OR purchase it once they enter a theme park via the Disneyland app.
Click here to see our step-by-step guide to buying Genie+ in Disney World
When Can You Make a Genie+ Selection?
In terms of actually making your first Genie+ selection, that differs.
In Disney World, you won’t be able to actually make your first Genie+ Lightning Lane selection until 7AM (regardless of whether you purchased it in advance for your trip or on the day of your visit).
At Disneyland, you cannot make your first Genie+ selection until you have ENTERED a Disneyland Resort theme park (again regardless of whether you bought Genie+ for the length of your trip in advance or if you bought it on the day of your trip).
Click here to see how Genie+ is different in Disney World vs. Disneyland
Individual Attraction Selection (Pay-Per-Ride) Overview
Finally, we get to Individual Attraction Selection (or pay-per-ride). Select, highly popular attractions (like Seven Dwarfs Mine Train at Magic Kingdom, Radiator Springs Racers in Disney California Adventure Park, Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance in Disneyland and Disney World’s Hollywood Studios, and Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind at EPCOT) are NOT listed on Genie+.
That means that even if you pay for Genie+, you will NOT be able to select a time for/use the Lightning Lane at those attractions. Instead, if you want to use the Lightning Lane for those attractions, you’ll have to pay for the attractions INDIVIDUALLY.
You can only buy a maximum of 2 pay-per-ride selections in total per day. Prices for each experience can vary by ride, park, and day.
Click here to see our step-by-step guide for booking pay-per-ride selections in Disney World
When Can You Buy Your Pay-Per-Ride Selections?
In Disney World, you can buy and make your first pay-per-ride selections at 7AM on the day of your visit IF you’re staying at a Disney owned and operated Hotel or select other hotels (specifically the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Hotels and Shades of Green). All other guests can make their first pay-per-ride purchase when the park opens.
In Disneyland, guests can make their first pay-per-ride purchase upon entering a theme park.
Click here to see more about Genie+ in Disneyland
Check out our video below for more Genie+ info!
Click here to see our FULL PAGE dedicated to explaining everything you need to know about Genie+!
Alright, now let’s get to our tips for using Genie+ during the busy times and holiday periods in Disney World.
Using Genie+ During Busy Times in the Parks
First, it’s important to be prepared. Before your trip arrives, make sure you have downloaded the My Disney Experience app or Disneyland app.
Make sure you also have set up your Disney account, logged in successfully, linked your tickets/vacation package, and linked your entire party so that you see all of them on your list of family and friends. If others don’t have their own accounts, you can also create profiles for them.
If you’re going to try to make Genie+ selections for your entire party, you’ll need to make sure that you are all linked and that everyone’s tickets are linked to their respective accounts or profiles.
Practice Makes Perfect
Before your trip, you’ll also want to become familiar with Genie+. You can read our articles and watch our videos, but there’s nothing like actually taking a look at the system. So ahead of your trip, open up your My Disney Experience app or Disneyland app and check out the Tip Board and My Day sections in the Genie portion of the appropriate app.
There, you’ll get to see what the system looks like, see the return times for the rides, tap through to see how to make selections, etc. The more familiar you are with the system, the better prepared you’ll be when it’s time to use it in the parks. Even just a few seconds can make a difference when getting a hard-to-get selection.
Click here to see step-by-step instructions on how to buy Genie+ in Disney World
Click here for step-by-step instructions on how to buy Pay-Per-Ride selections in Disney World
Be Prepared for Price Increases
If you’ll be using Genie+ during a busy time period, be aware that you may encounter some price increases for the pay-per-ride selections and for the Genie+ service. We’ve specifically seen surge pricing put in place ahead of weekends in both Disney World and Disneyland. We also saw holiday surge pricing put in place in Disneyland.
Prices for the pay-per-ride selections can vary depending on the ride, park, and day, meaning that prices during busy periods can be more expensive than during slower periods of time. So while we have lists of the typical prices for these rides, be aware that they might be MORE expensive if you visit during the busy period. You’ll want to set aside some extra funds in your budget to accommodate this.
As of October 2022, variable-by-date pricing was introduced for the Disney Genie+, as well. Now, the base price starts at $25 per day, per ticket at Disneyland Resort and starts at $15 per day, per ticket at Disney World. As you might anticipate, holiday and busy seasons affect the pricing of Disney Genie+ as well.
Thus far (as of January 2023), the highest price we have seen in Disney World for Disney Genie+ is $29 per day, per ticket. The highest price we have seen in Disneyland Resort for Disney Genie+ is $30 per day, per ticket. The peak price was put in place for days including Christmas Day and New Year’s Day, and even the week in between.
In fact, throughout the year, we are also tracking the price of Genie+ by date HERE, so you can get an idea of how special events at Disney World and various holidays may affect pricing.
See day-by-day PRICING for Disney Genie+ HERE.
Book Your Selections A.S.A.P.
In the recap section above we discussed the various times when you can make your first Genie+ and Pay-Per-Ride selections in both Disney World and Disneyland. Be sure to have those times written down somewhere and set your alarms. You’ll want to make sure you can make those first selections A.S.A.P. (especially if you’re trying to get a selection for a popular ride)!
We have seen Genie+ selections run out temporarily, though they often come back with availability later in the day. Still, if you’re looking to get your ideal return time and assure that you get a return time, you’ll want to book those popular rides early. When it comes to pay-per-ride selections, those can in fact SELL OUT (though again it’s always good to keep checking availability in case anything changes).
Find out HOW QUICKLY pay-per-ride selections can sell out on Christmas Day HERE.
If, for example, you’re hoping to get a Pay-Per-Ride selection for something like Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance, you’ll want to get those as soon as they open up for you.
Prioritize Your Picks
Sort-of in line with the above, you’ll want to prioritize your picks so you can do your best to get the Genie+ selections you want. What’s rides are must-dos for you? What rides do you feel like you absolutely need a Genie+ selection for? Do you want to go on any of the rides that have been selling out quickly?
If you’re hoping to get a Genie+ selection for something like Slinky Dog Dash in Hollywood Studios, the return times for that ride can quickly get quite late, so it’s one that you’ll probably want to prioritize.
Click here to see the rides to book FIRST with Genie+ and pay-per-ride.
Remember Selections Can “Sell Out”
As we mentioned above, keep in mind that Pay-Per-Ride selections can sell out and Genie+ selections can temporarily run out (but more selections may pop up later). This can happen during normal times, which means the busy season only makes it worse, as you’ll be fighting to get your picks with an even larger crowd.
Again, if you have some rides that are must-dos, make sure you get the Genie+ or Pay-Per-Ride selections for those rides first or as early as you can.
Things with Genie+ can move fast! You might scroll past some rides and see one return time, but when you refresh, the times have changed. Or, you might not find something you need, but it may appear after you refresh. If you’re using Genie+ and you can’t locate something you need, you might want to consider refreshing to see if it then pops up.
Be Specific With Free Genie
If you’re planning on using the free Genie planning service, be sure to give the system as much information as you can and be specific. The more information you can provide Genie (generally) the better tips and suggestions it can give you.
Be sure to enter in ALL of your preferences as early as you can so that the system is ready to go once the day of your vacation actually arrives.
Click here to see our FULL GUIDE to using the free Genie service
Consider Utilizing Early Theme Park Entry and/or Extended Evening Hours to Get More Done
If you’ll be staying at a Disney World Resort hotel or another hotel that qualifies for bonus time in the parks, consider utilizing that. That’s not necessarily a direct Genie+ tip, but that extra time in the parks could help you knock out some rides early on, giving you more wiggle room and flexibility when it comes to making Genie+ selections for the remainder of the day.
Guests staying at Disney World hotels and select other hotels can take advantage of Early Theme Park Entry — allowing them to enter any park of their choice on any day 30 minutes early (temporarily extended during the holiday period in 2021). Keep in mind that Park Passes and a valid ticket are still required.
Guests staying at Disney World deluxe resorts and deluxe villas can also take advantage of Extended Evening Hours — allowing them to spend extra time in select parks on certain nights.
Again, during the busy season, getting this extra time in the parks with more limited crowds can really help you have more flexibility later in the day.
Using Genie+ During the Holidays in the Parks
All of the above tips and tricks still apply for the holiday periods in Disney World and Disneyland, which tend to be very busy. But there are some other things you’ll also want to be aware of during the holiday season.
Limited Time Changes Can Happen
During the holidays, some limited time changes can happen that could greatly impact your Genie+ experience. We already mentioned the holiday surge pricing for Pay-Per-Ride selections. At Disney World, Disney also made some limited-time changes to the specific rides included in Genie+ vs. Pay-Per-Ride during the holidays in 2021 and into early 2022. For a limited period, select rides that were normally available through Pay-Per-Ride were actually available through the regular Genie+ service. (These rides were ultimately added to the regular inclusions with Disney Genie+ and therefore may not be applicable during the 2022 holiday season, but it remains a good example of changes that may occur during the busy seasons.)
In Disney World, the Early Theme Park Hours perk also got extended during a limited holiday period in 2021 and early 2022, giving Disney World hotel guests even MORE time in the parks.
Should you get Disney Genie+ during the holiday season? We discuss it HERE.
It’s not clear if these changes will occur again in the future, but limited-time changes like these are good to be aware of as they could greatly impact your trip.
And that’s a look at some of our tips and tricks for using Genie+ during the busy and/or holiday periods in Disney World and Disneyland. As we continue to experience and test Genie+ in the parks, we’ll continuously update this page with more advice. Be sure to check back with us for all the latest.
All About Disney Genie, Genie+, and Individual Attraction Selection
BIG Genie+ Changes Being Planned For Disney World
FULL List of Rides Included With Genie+ in Disney World
3 Tips to OUTSMART Genie+ in Disney World Right Now
Please Stop Skipping These Genie+ Hacks in Disney World (They Really Work!)
Genie+ Tips for the Most Crowded Days in Disney World and Disneyland