Explained: How to Use Genie+

Let’s face it… Disney’s Genie+ is complicated! You might remember the days of running to get Fastpass from the kiosks throughout the park. It seemed like simpler times. But, I am here to help you understand how to use Genie+ it as much as possible before you go! If you do your research beforehand, I promise it will seem easier once you are in the park and get a sense of how it works.

Genie vs. Genie+

Genie is Disney’s complimentary service to help you improve your experience while at the Disney parks. When you start it up through the My Disney Experience app, you will make choices on what rides or shows might be most important to you. Then it will generate a custom tip board, day itinerary, and recommendations for you based on your preferences.

I find that the Genie tip board is a good reference, but nothing that I follow specifically. It is mainly a great way to see current wait times and remind you of upcoming meal reservations.

Genie+ is a paid service that you add on to your ticket each day and allows you to skip the lines for a number of attractions. It is most beneficial to purchase Genie+ at popular parks on the most crowded days. On average, it will allow you to skip 4-5 lines per day which can drastically help cut down on your time spent waiting for rides. Purchasing Genie+ will now also include free digital downloads for all your Photopass photos taken throughout the park that day.

Cost of Genie+

The cost of Genie+ fluctuates each day based on park popularity and crowd level. Generally, Genie+ will cost you between $15-30 depending on the day. This will be per person for one day at the park.

To put this into perspective, for our family of four, at a minimum we are paying $15 per person for four separate parks. That is $15 x 4 people x 4 parks which is a whopping $240! Genie+ is not cheap, but on a crowded day it can be really worth it to maximize your time in the park.

How to Use Genie+

Starting at 7:00am on your day in the park, you will be able to make your first Genie+ reservation for everyone in your party. Remember, you must have a valid reservation for a specific park each day. Using the My Disney Experience app, you will see a selection of all the rides and the current available time slots for each. You will select a return time (an hour window) when you will be able to enter through the special express entrance.

You cannot select a specific time to use your Genie+, but will have to take whatever is the next time available slot. If you are looking for a later return time, wait 10 minutes and then see if the times have adjusted to a time that better fits your schedule.

Hot Tip: Plan ahead for which ride reservation on want first and book it the moment it turns 7:00am. Reservations for popular rides will go quickly so it is important to act fast.

How to use Genie+

When your time window for a ride opens, you will return to the express entrance and scan in at the MagicBand reader. Keep your MagicBand or app open as you will have to scan in twice before getting on the ride. Once you have scanned in, you will be able to immediately book another time slot for a different ride.

You will only be able to book a Genie+ reservation for a ride one time. If you want to ride something more than once, you will have to use the standby line.

What about park hopping? You can only make Genie+ reservations in the park for which you have a reservation. You cannot make a Genie+ reservation at another park until after 2pm when park hopping is allowed.

Lightning Lane vs. Genie+

Think of lightning lane as the a la carte version of Genie+. It is a way to purchase the skipping line capability for one ride only, allowing you to book a maximum of two lightning lane experiences per day.

Making reservations for lightning lanes are extremely similar to Genie+. You can start at 7:00am and will book for whatever time slot is available. Most importantly, these are are only available on a first come first serve basis so again it is important to act quickly.

While most all rides have Genie+ available, there are a select few that do not such as: Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, Cosmic Rewind, Flight of Passage, and Rise of the Resistance. These are the top picks that sell out of lightning lane passes shortly after 7:00am. If you don’t plan to rope drop these rides, then I would definitely pay for lightning lane or you will end up facing long wait times.

How to use Genie+

Hot Tip: Make sure your credit card information is already stored in the My Disney Experience app to make purchasing lightning lane quick and easy. You might miss your chance to purchase if you have to take the time to put in all your information.

120-Minute Rule

You can maximize your time saved standing in lines by utilizing two different ways to cash in on your Genie+ reservations. After you have made your first reservation, you are eligible to book another the moment after you have scanned in. I often will book another ride while standing in line waiting to board.

The second way you are eligible for another reservation is 120 minutes after you last made a selection. For example, if you made your first selection at 9:00am for a return time of 1:30pm, rather than waiting to scan in to make another selection, the 120-minute rule starts immediately after you made the booking. Therefore, at 11:00am, you would be eligible to make another reservation.

For advanced Genie+ users:

Take advantage of this rule and hold multiple Genie+ reservations at one time by using a technique called “stacking”. If you make your first selection at 7:00am, your clock for the 120-minute rule will start two hours after park opening. Therefore, make your first reservation for a ride about 2 1/2 hours after the park opening. From that point, you can book another two hours later. You will now have two reservations and can select a new one each time you “cash in”.

How to use Genie+

Hot Tip: Stacking works best if you plan to rope drop and can utilize the first two hours of park opening when lines are shorter. You can use your Genie+ reservations to skip some of the longer lines in the afternoon.

Times to Know

Make a note of these times by setting alarms on your phone so you don’t miss on any opportunities to book Genie+ and Lightning Lanes:

12:00am – You used to be able to purchase Genie+ when you purchased tickets, but now you can only buy Genie+ on the day you will be visiting a park. This means at midnight you can purchase Genie+ for that day. Genie+ can sell out, but it is rare. Since it was started, it has only sold out twice on popular holiday weekends.

7:00am – If you are staying at a Disney resort, you can book your first Genie+ or Lightning Lane pass at 7:00am. I often booked these while standing in line waiting for the shuttle or standing at rope drop.

Park Opening – Take note of the official park opening time (not early entry) and add two hours to it. This is when the 120-minute rule takes effect for booking additional reservations, only if you made your first selection prior to park opening.

1:00pm – If you missed the opportunity to book Lightning Lanes at 7:00am, then you have a second opportunity when a new set is released at 1:00pm. This is a great option if you could not rope drop a certain ride and the 7:00am release was sold out.

Virtual Queues

As if Genie+ wasn’t complicated enough, Disney has also introduce the idea of virtual queues which are mainly used for their big new attractions. While Genie+ costs a fee, joining a virtual queue is free to everyone. A virtual queue allows you to book a return time for the popular rides so you do not need to physically be there while waiting your turn. The benefit of this is that you can experience the rest of the park while still holding your spot in line.

To utilize these, you will sign into your My Disney Experience app and at 7:00am you can attempt to get “in line”. If you are successful with booking, you will receive a boarding group time slot for when you can return to get in line. You will still have a standby wait after you return, but it will be far less than waiting 4+ hours for a ride.

How to use Genie+ Virtual Queue

Rides that have virtual queues will also have the opportunity to buy individual lightning lane passes for a fee. Both virtual queue and lightning lanes will become available at 7:00am and they will go FAST! Make sure you are ready to go; just being a minute behind might be the difference between getting a boarding pass and not.

What if I have an advanced dining reservation at that time? Don’t worry! Since you likely made your dining reservations 60 days in advance, cast members are used to this. Go to your reservation, enjoy your meal, and then come back to get on the ride. I recommend bringing your meal receipt just in case you run into any issues, but you shouldn’t. This happens all the time.

Genie+ Recommendations

Below are my recommendations for rides to use Genie+ on when available. I prioritize skipping these longer lines when making my selections in the morning and then pick-up whichever extra rides might be available based on time. There are a few attractions that are not included in Genie+ that I recommend either doing at rope drop or splurging for a lightning lane (though I will always chose rope drop!).

How to use Genie+: Recommendations

Magic Kingdom

  • Peter Pan’s Flight
  • Space Mountain
  • Big Thunder Mountain Railroad
  • Haunted Mansion
  • Virtual Queue or Lightning Lane: Tron Rollercoaster (opens in April!)
  • Rope Drop or Lightning Lane: Seven Dwarfs Mine Train


  • Soarin’
  • Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure
  • Frozen Ever After
  • Spaceship Earth
  • Mission Space
  • Test Track
  • Virtual Queue or Lightning Lane: Guardian’s of the Galaxy Cosmic Rewind

Hollywood Studios

  • Slinky Dog Dash
  • Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway
  • Tower of Terror
  • Toy Story Mania
  • Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster
  • Rope Drop or Lightning Lane: Star Wars Rise of Resistance

Animal Kingdom

  • Kilimanjaro Safaris
  • Expedition Everest
  • Dinosaur
  • Na’vi River Journey (this ride is boring in my opinion, but if you want to ride it do not wait 60+ minutes for it)
  • Rope Drop or Lightning Lane: Avatar Flight of Passage

Hot Tip: I would not waste a Genie+ reservation on any stage shows since the seating capacity is typically extremely large and you can get in without one. However, if you think you might be able to make a show that is happening within the next 15-20 minutes, then go ahead and get a Genie+ as you will be able to shortly cash it in and get another.

Is it worth it?

Short answer, yes! I certainly preferred the free Fastpass days, but the lines have gotten so long at Disney that I recommend Genie+ especially if you are going on crowded days. The less time my family spends standing in lines in the hot sun, the better. We averaged skipping the lines of 4-5 rides in addition to taking advantage of shorter lines during rope drop and early entry. If you prioritize fitting in as many rides as possible, then definitely get Genie+. If you prefer to relax and just eat, then I wouldn’t worry about purchasing Genie+.

Genie+ is tricky and hard to get a grasp on without being there in the parks, so if you have individual questions please comment below or reach out to me directly! Need help planning your day? Check out my post on how to plan your day at Disney with a free template included!

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