In a nutshell? Yeah! Disney’s new Genie Plus service is absolutely worth the extra 15 bucks, if you’ve got it to spare.
But that’s only if you use it correctly!
Listen, when we went to DisneyLand for the first time, my daughter stared at me while waiting in line and said “told you we should have gotten fast passes”. I died!
But she was right. If it’s one thing we hate, it’s waiting on line.
So when it was time to plan our first Walt Disney World trip, I knew we needed “fast passes”.
But they’re not called fast passes at Disney, and things changed right before we were heading there! The service is now called Disney Genie Plus, that allows you to enter a “Lightening Lane”. And with so much talk about this new service, here’s the full story of our experience so you can see if Disney’s new Genie Plus service is right for YOUR family.
How we used Disney’s new Genie Plus service
My daughter and I used Disney’s new Genie Plus service at Walt Disney World a few days ago, on our first WDW trip, and it worked pretty darn well. Not perfect, but well.
Please keep in mind that our tiny family, is a family of two.
So it’s fairly easy for us to get on rides, since it’s just the two of us. (This should work well for families of 4 as well, since I’ve noticed most rides seat 4 at a time.)
Anywho … you can start booking rides using Genie Plus on the app, at like 7am!
Crazy, because who the hell is up that early?
(I meannnn … we were for DisneyLand, but definitely not for WDW.)
And it’s okay if you’re not up that early, because we had no problems with times.
Okay, sorry, keep reading, I’ll explain.
So with our hectic mornings, since we woke up late, and then rushed on over to the parks before it got too hot, and too crowded, I never booked anything before we were physically at the parks. Even though you can.
I just couldn’t fathom waking up any earlier than 9am to do anything! And by the time we got up, it was like … “okay sis, now you gotta get it together so y’all can get in this park before these lines start looking CRAZY”.
So once we got to the park, we’d stop to take it all in, and then I’d look at the app and check the ride times and see what was available for Genie Plus. THEN I’d book a ride depending on what was first available.
I kept in mind what we wanted to ride, because of course I made a list of rides we had to try, and then I also kept an open mind on what could be fun for us.
My daughter made sure of it!
She’s very “go with the flow”, so if a ride we wanted didn’t have an early enough time slot, she’d take a look at what WAS available, make me read the description, and then make me book it if it sounded okay. She’s cool like that! She also didn’t care what she rode as long as she was on rides all day long.
And since it was her birthday trip, I let her have control of what we could do.
But because we used Disney’s new Genie Plus service this way, we got to ride almost everything we wanted each day!
If we didn’t ride something, it wasn’t because of Genie Plus.
(Well there was that one ride, but that wasn’t on our list to do! I’ll explain in a bit!)
So yeah, on our first day we got to ride 8 rides?
And that’s because we booked some rides, and then stood on the general wait line for others.
So here’s the thing about booking Genie Plus rides.
You don’t just book whatever you want, whenever you want.
Like I thought we could.
You’re basically making an appointment to get on a shorter line, for the ride.
So if it’s 10am right now, depending on the ride you want, you could book something for 10:15am, 10:30am, or even 1:15pm!
It really depends on what’s available at the time you look at the app. And yes things change often, so don’t forget to keep checking the app. But also, don’t stay glued to your screen damn it! You’re on vacation!
If this sounds like A LOT, I promise it’s really not. Especially not if you like schedules! If you don’t like schedules, then you may be a little annoyed at the time restraints. However …
It’s super easy to book a ride. You just click the time spot you want for the ride, and it schedules into your day and you’re good to go.
The cool thing about booking your “appointment” is that you don’t have to RUN to get on line at the time you choose.
Unless … yup, there’s a short story coming here.
But you don’t have to run, because once you book your “appointment” the time slot is open for an entire hour!
Yup, you heard that right. You have an hour to get on line and swipe in for your ride.
So if you book a time slot at 1:15pm, you’ll have until 2:15pm to “check in”.
Now here’s that quick story, and why I said you don’t have to run.
Sooo … you may not HAVE to run to get in line. But at one point we sure as hell did!
We didn’t have to break out into a full sprint or anything, but we were running super late to our next ride “Dinsosaur” and OMG was I scared! I was still new to the whole Disney Genie Plus / Lightening Lane / book a schedule / be on time thang and whew!
We got there literally at the time our ride “appointment” would have expired! I mean, it was literally on the dot, with a few seconds to spare when we swiped in. Never have I ever … had to rush to a ride like that in my life!
The ride was totally worth it though.
I’ll post our full experience on Dinosaur, since we rode it twice, and the other rides, soon. But yeah, sometimes you have to run?
Although … I hope I never ever have to do that again! Rushing ain’t for me y’all. I hate it!
You can only make an appointment for each ride once though.
So that’s the thing with Disney’s Genie Plus service, right. You can’t ride the same ride over and over and over again. I mean you CAN … but not using the Genie Plus service.
You not ’bout to get on this Lightening Lane all day for say … Avatar … and hog up the machines cause you paid a little extra to get on the faster line. Yeah nah. Sorry.
You can book each ride ONCE!
If you wanna ride it again, which trust me, your kids will come across a ride they love and want to ride it again and again and again … *ahem* like Sariah, who once rode the same ride 5x in one day! I’ll tell you THAT story when I write about DisneyLand rides.
But yeah, Disney has its limits, and that’s probably because they know they have some crazy fans who do crazy things.
But guess what …
Sometimes the ride you want has a short enough line that you may not need Genie Plus.
And this is why I say keep checking that app!
The second time we rode Disnosaur the GENERAL wait was only 15 mins long! And when Riah saw that wait time she said, “yup, I can wait, let’s do it again”.
15-30 min waits aren’t hard to do. It’s those 100+ min wait times you need to look out for! THOSE are the rides you wanna book a time slot for using Disney’s Genie Plus service!
So when we saw Dinosaur had a 15 min wait, we booked another ride, so we could just calmly walk on after waiting and riding.
This is the ultimate trick to using Disney’s new Genie Plus service y’all!
Always think and plan ahead.
Make sure you’re looking at the app to see what general wait times are, and what the “appointment” time slots are for Disney’s Genie Plus Lightening Lane rides.
Then book according to what you wanna do, what time the rides are, and keep an open mind in case a ride you don’t have on your bucket list opens up.
That way you can maximize your time at the park and get on as many rides as possible!
When I booked our Lightening Lane rides, I booked it far out enough so that we could get in a general wait line, while waiting for the Lightening Lane ride.
So say it’s 11am, I looked for a general wait that was 15-30 mins long, and then booked a Lightening Lane at 11:30am or later. This allows us to wait online for the general admission ride, enjoy our ride, and then hop on over and walk right in for the Lightening Lane ride.
This is how we were able to ride 8 rides in one day!
Without tears, and anger, and frustration!
‘Cause that’s the thing, you can totally ride 8 rides in one day, but after standing on 5 lines for an hour each, your patience for anything else becomes pretty thin. And with the HEAT, everyone’s already borderline cranky! And all that waiting makes everyone hungry!
So trying to do a LOT in one day, with general wait times, is exhausting.
We know because we did it at DisneyLand and especially at Universal Hollywood y’all. Which I still need to write about!
This is the BEST thing about using Disney’s new Genie Plus service!
Everyone thinks the best thing about the service is the shorter wait times. And don’t get me wrong, that’s one of the perks that extra $15 per park ticket gets you!
10 mins vs 100 mins is a complete no brainer.
But if I’m being completely honest — the BEST thing about using Disney’s new Genie plus service isn’t the shorter wait times. It’s beating the heat!
Because of those shorter lines, you’re rarely standing in line, OUTSIDE the attraction!
There are a few exceptions of course, because some rides do have extremely long Genie Plus lines — since they’re that popular.
But here’s why that doesn’t even matter.
Using our 8 ride day as an example … as a general ticket holder, having to stand on 8 general wait lines means wait times are from anywhere between 15 mins and 100+ mins. Yup, some wait times are like 120 mins! That’s two freaking hours, for a ride that’s like 5-10 mins long? It’s insane! Worth it, yes, but insane!
But the reason those wait times are so LONG, is because there’s that many people on line.
And the more people on line, the longer the line is. The issue with long lines is that … none of the attractions have enough space inside (where it’s much cooler) to keep ALL those people. So the line usually extends all the way outside, and wraps around.
So if you’re standing in a 30min+ wait line, half of your wait is spent outside! In the sun! And that’s what makes waiting in line so unbearable! It’s the heat! Of course, it’s also standing on your feet for hours, since you’re doing this for multiple rides. But yeah.
To me, that extra 15 bucks is totally worth not having to stand in the sun all day.
Standing in the sun all day is what makes everyone cranky. You’re hot, you’re sweating, and you’re basically wondering if the ride you’re waiting for is even worth the wait. And for those of us who already hate waiting on lines, the heat just makes waiting even worse.
And if you have kids? Forgetaboutit!
Those Disney games on your phone won’t keep them entertained for an hour, every time you have to get on another long line. TV shows won’t do much either, since they’d rather be on a ride, instead of watching their shows.
So to me … it makes a lot of sense.
Is it more expensive this way? Absolutely! And Disney knows that. But is it worth it?
You bet ya!
Plus, using the Genie Plus service kind of makes you feel VIP-ish at Disney.
I’m serious! Getting on line, and walking past a TON of people, feels very VIP-ish. And we LOVE us a VIP experience. (I’ll have to tell y’all about that time we got VIP tickets to a Cirque du Soleil show, oh and omg the Trolls Experience! Both VIP experiences were great.)
At this point VIP experiences feel very much like the norm for us, so anything with a long wait, or that “feels” like an extra cost, feels like “too much trouble”.
That’s just because we’ve made friends with some great PR reps, and now we’re spoiled press brats. Hell, we even got the VIP experience when we covered Nickelodeon’s SlimeFest a few years ago.
I promise to write about all these experiences and share photos with y’all over the next few weeks.
But yeah … we’re all about the VIP life! So for us Genie Plus was worth it.
But as I said before, Genie Plus isn’t perfect!
And I don’t want you guys to think we had this AMAZING trip without any issues. I mean, we did have an amazing trip, but we also ran into a few issues.
While waiting for our friends in Epcot, Riah and I tried to get on one of the rides, since we were standing right next to it. But …
A few seconds after we booked the time slot for our ride, while waiting, the ride broke down.
The app did get notified that the ride was down, and they basically “refunded” our ride ticket, so we could book another ride later in the day once it was up and running again.
But since we only had so much time, we never got to ride it! I’m still pretty bummed about it, because Riah was so smart to have us check the app to see if there were any short wait times so we could experience a new ride while waiting for our friends.
So keep in mind that, sometimes rides break, and you may have to change your whole schedule because of it. Oh and …
Sometimes the ride you want doesn’t have a Lightening Lane time slot available, which is frustrating.
There were a few times where I opened our app and it would said “unavailable”, which means we couldn’t book a time slot for that ride, and we’d have to choose something else.
Because of this we never got to do one of the rides we wanted.
Also, sometimes the time slot for a ride is so late, you may not be able to book it.
We tried to book a ride, a few times throughout the day, but since we weren’t staying in the park all day it didn’t make sense to book a ride after 6pm, when that’s when we were trying to leave. Our flight was the next day, and I knew staying in the park until closing would be a bad idea. We were already in the parks all day long for the last 2 days. We are not morning people, and we do not work well when tired.
Plus … sometimes booking a time slot further ahead during the day, when you can only book two rides at a time (with a big wait in between) means you’ll have to get on the general line for any other rides you need while waiting.
So if it’s 11am, and there’s only a time slot for your most coveted ride at 5pm, it may not be worth booking!
Because from 11am, until after you get on that ride you can only use the Lightening Lane once more since you’ve got another ride booked.
Which means if you’re trying to get on more rides during the day, you’re stuck on the general wait line. And that decreases the ability of riding a ton of rides by … a lot.
So for us, since we wanted to ride as many things as possible on our first trip, it didn’t make sense.
Plus, I’m not gonna lie … Genie Plus could be a little cheaper!
It’s 15 bucks, for each ticket, for each park day! Which means I paid an extra $45 for our 3 park days, for the both of us. That’s almost $100 when you do the math!
Not every family has that kind of disposable cash laying around! And Disney park tickets are already expensive as it is.
I think 10 bucks extra per ticket, is more than enough, considering that some rides aren’t “available” or can break down at any moment. But maybe that’s just me being picky and cheap? Thankfully …
Just like any other “appointment”, you CAN cancel Genie Plus rides if you need to, so that’s also a plus.
Why would you need to cancel a Genie Plus ride, if the Lightening Lane is shorter?
Well, sometimes the general admission line wait time changes, while you’re waiting for your Genie Plus ride time slot!
And this can mean that …
Standing in a general admission line could possibly be shorter than waiting for the Lightening Lane slot!
Say you book a ride for like 3pm, and it’s only 1pm but you notice the general wait for the ride is only 30 mins, you can cancel the ride and get on that general admission line! 30 mins standing on a line, is a lot shorter than waiting 2 whole hours to get on that same exact ride. So why not? And yes we did this a few times.
What I did was, jump in line for our general admission wait, then while waiting in line I cancelled our Genie Plus ride, and booked a different time slot for a different ride.
It’s really that simple. And this keeps your “schedule moving” throughout the day.
So instead of having lots of down time in between each ride, you can keep getting on one ride after another.
Now for those of you who go to Disney just for the snacks, I know you’re probably wondering how do you have time to eat all the things, if you’re busy riding rides all dang day!
I got you! Keep reading!
Here’s another cool tip for maximizing your time, when booking Disney Genie Plus rides …
If you book your schedule just right … you’ll have enough time for a general admission ride, a Genie Plus / Lightening Lane ride AND snacks! It’s all about timing baby!
If you book your Genie Plus ride far enough, right before you get on your general admission line, hop on over to a quick service cart nearby and grab you a snack!
Then you can eat your snack online while you wait for your general admission line.
Once your snack is done, there’s usually enough garbage cans and hand sanitizer available on your walk into the ride so you can throw out your trash and clean your hands before getting on your ride.
And since most wait lines are outside … you’re not required to mask while eating. Of course things have changed now, so the masking requirements are a bit lighter now.
Oh and if you don’t finish your snack in time before your ride, it’s okay!
You can stand to the side inside and finish, they won’t rush you. Just make sure you’re not in anyone’s way. Then once you throw everything out you can just enter.
We may have thrown out this slushy because we were too excited to wait and finish it outside. And yeah we’re crazy, but we bought the slushy to cool down, grab photos, and taste it. It served it’s purpose people! It wasn’t a big waste, trust me. We both drank as much as we could and then threw the rest away.
So yeah … with all that said, for our family Disney’s new Genie Plus service is totally worth it.
And I’d totally get it again. For full disclosure, we were at the parks for like 3 days, but only used Genie Plus 2 days.
We spent our 2nd day at the park with friends, who didn’t have Genie Plus tickets, so we just waited in line with them.
We still had an amazing time either way! And for us, it’s all about the experience we have at Disney, the little details don’t really matter. If we have fun and stories for later, that’s what really counts. So I’m not mad that I paid for 3 days but only used it on 2 days.
Disney’s new Genie Plus service just made our park days a lot more bearable and fun! We were barely in the sun, so we never got TOO hot. (I’m talking, sweat dripping all over my body, hot. I know you know the song.)
Our wait times were never over 45 mins, no matter how popular the ride was.
And we got to knock off a ton of rides on our bucket list. So now when we go back, we only have a few new rides to experience, and we know exactly what our faves are and what’s worth waiting on!
What’s worth waiting on your ask? Don’t worry! I’ll tell you exactly what rides are worth the wait when I share reviews for each ride we’ve been on. You can expect those reviews in the upcoming weeks! Until then, follow us on Instagram to see some of our photos and keep our site bookmarked so you can check back later for more reviews.
I hope this helped! Happy planning!