Genie is Disney’s free service for scheduling activities and attractions at their theme parks. It allows you to select a few things you’re interested in – including rides, shows, and dining – and then recommends related attractions you may enjoy. The day of your visit, it will assign times for each attraction. Genie’s approach is to come up with a schedule that you can meet with time to spare. So, you may see it give you over an hour for an attraction that only takes half an hour. Disney’s hope is that you’ll spend the extra time shopping and dining. This is different from RideRouter, which is built around optimizing your day, and getting you to all of the attractions that you’ve selected. RideRouter will also let you create a plan up to 30 days in advance.
Genie also shows estimated wait times for the day. (Here are our predictions for Disneyland and Walt Disney World). It won’t give specific numbers, but it does give a bar graph that can give you an idea about when lines will grow or shrink.
You can access Genie through the Disneyland and Walt Disney World mobile apps.
Lightning Lane is the replacement for FastPass and FastPass+. It’s a ride reservation system for the most popular attractions in the Disney parks; a Lightning Lane pass lets you use the Lightning Lane rather than the standard queue. Normally it takes about 10 to 15 minutes to get through the line. Since the line moves so fast, you can cut down on the time you spend waiting in line. You can get a Lightning Lane pass through Genie+, or through Individual “A La Carte” Lightning Lane Selections.
Each Lightning Lane pass you get will have a one-hour window. You need to go to the attraction during that window to use it. If you arrive early, the Cast Members will ask you to come back later. If you arrive late, the pass will expire, and you will not be able to use it.
You can only get one Lightning Lane per attraction per day.
For a fee, you can access Lightning Lane passes for popular attractions. After purchasing Genie+, you can make reservations through the Disneyland and Walt Disney World mobile apps. Lightning Lane return times are given out just like the FastPass return times were. The first reservations will be for the time that the attraction opens. As more people make reservations, those times move later into the day. There are also limits on when you can make a reservation. You can make your first reservation of the day starting at 7:00 AM. After you have a Lightning Lane pass, you can get another when one of these three has happened.
- You have redeemed the previous Lightning Lane
- It has been two hours since you reserved the previous Lightning Lane
- Your previous Lightning Lane has expired
Overall, Genie+ runs almost exactly the same as Disneyland’s MaxPass used to.
Genie+ costs $20 per person per day at Disneyland, and $15 per person per day at Walt Disney World.
Individual “A La Carte” Lightning Lane Selections
At each park, the most popular attractions have been excluded from Genie+ and require a separate purchase. These Lightning Lanes cost $8 to $20 per person. You do not have to buy Genie+ to buy one of these “A La Carte” Lightning Lanes.
When Disney talks about a Virtual Queue, they are referring to a system that allows you to save a place in line, without being in line. At 7:00 AM, you can register for a Boarding Group in the Disneyland or Walt Disney World mobile app. While Lightning Lane gives you a specific return time, a Boarding Group does not. Instead, Disney will call Boarding Groups as capacity becomes available for the ride. They’ll start by calling Boarding 1, and after the people in Boarding Group 1 have had a chance to board, they’ll call Boarding Group 2. After Boarding Group 2, Boarding Group 3 gets called. They’ll keep going up through the Boarding Groups until the end of the day. Having a Boarding Group does not mean you are guaranteed to ride the ride, so a lower Boarding Group is better.
Not all Boarding Groups are given out at 7:00. Disney releases some of the higher numbered groups at12:00 PM, so you will have a second chance if you didn’t get a group on the first attempt. So far, Disney has only used Virtual Queues for newly opened attractions, and are free to guests. That means there’s a high demand, so it is common for all Boarding Groups to be out within a few seconds of the distribution time.