In August 2019, at D23 Expo 2019, details were unveiled by Disney Parks, Experiences, and Products Chairman Bob Chapek for “Disney Genie,” a new digital offering that promises to enhance the way you plan for and experience a trip to Walt Disney World Resort. Originally set to debut in late 2020, the service is coming a year later in “fall 2021.” Unfortunately, there is a lot of confusion on what the new service offers, so we’ve compiled answers to many of your most asked questions. Learn more below.
1 – Is the My Disney Experience App Being Retired?
No. The Disney Genie planning tools will be built into the My Disney Experience App.
2 – What is Disney Genie?
Disney Genie is a new digital planning service that will be available to guests at Walt Disney World and Disneyland Resort within the My Disney Experience and Disneyland apps. Disney Genie is complimentary and is designed to give guests more “flexibility” and give guests tools to “help you make the most of your visit.” Tools include giving guests customized itineraries and suggestions based on interests and top picks. Other features include forecasted wait times, experience tip board, dining tip board, and guests can ask the app questions to get information.
3 – What is Disney Genie+?
Disney Genie+ is a paid upgrade that includes everything in Disney Genie along with additional services and benefits. The biggest benefit of Disney Gennie+ is access to Lightning Lane (formerly the Fast Pass line, more on this later) on select attractions, allowing guests to save time by skipping the standby line. Please note, not all attractions will be available for this service. Other benefits of Genie+ include Disney parks-themed audio experiences and photo features to capture your memories – augmented reality lenses for those visiting Walt Disney World Resort. Pricing at Walt Disney World is $15 per ticket per day.
4 – Can I Purchase Genie+ on Only Certain Days of My Trip?
If your tickets or passes are not included in a vacation package, Genie+ can be added on a day-by-day basis. When purchased with tickets or a vacation package ahead of time, Disney Genie+ is purchased for the length of stay (all days of a multi-day visit). However, you can wait and purchase on the day of the visit, which would be for a single day.
5 – I’m An Annual Passholder. Is Genie+ included in my pass? Will I Receive a Discount on Genie+?
Unfortunately, no. Disney has confirmed Genie+ will not be included as an annual pass benefit. Disney has also confirmed that annual passholders will not receive any discount on the Genie+. Passholders can choose to pay for Genie+ at $15 a day per person.
6 – Lightning Lane? That Sounds Like a Paid FastPass. So What’s Happening with FastPass+?
Yes, it sounds a lot like paid FastPass because it is. Disney has confirmed that FastPass+ is being retired and will not come back. Lightning Lane is replacing FastPass+ and, in many ways, will function just like FastPass+ with guests being given a specific one-hour time window to experience the attraction. Please note guests that purchase Lighting Lane access will not have unlimited access to Lightning Lane lines. Guests must book specific return windows, one attraction at a time, within the app.
Access to Lightning Lane for the majority of available attractions is included in Genie+. Lightning Lane access at Disney’s most popular top-tier attractions (such as Flight of Passage, Seven Dwarves Mine Train, etc.) are NOT included in Genie+. Lightning Lane access for Disney’s most popular attractions can be purchased on a per-ride basis for an additional fee by guests using either Disney Genie or Genie+ (more on this later).
In the past, FastPass was a fantastic benefit that allowed guests to choose three attractions each day to skip the line. This option was free to all guests and a huge selling point for Disney on how they differentiated themselves from other parks. Guests wanting to skip the line no longer have the option to do so without paying an extra fee.
7 – When Can I Make My Lightning Lane Selections?
Guests will no longer be able to plan out their vacations 30-60 days in advance as they did with FastPass+. With the new system, all guests can make their first Lightning Lane selection (for non-top-tier attractions, more on this later) at 7 am on the day of their visit within the My Disney Experience App. After that, guests can make one selection at a time, based on availability. With FastPass, guests staying at Disney World hotels got early access to FastPass selections. It was a major benefit to staying on property.
8 – How Many Genie+ Selections Will I Receive a Day?
After you enjoy your first Lightning Lane experience, you can make another selection. In this way, it is similar to the original FastPass system when guests would receive one ticket at a time at the entrance to an attraction and get another after that FastPass was used. After using a Lighting Lane pass for an attraction, guests can check available boarding times for other attractions in the app and make their next selection.
There is no word on how many attractions guests can expect to visit using the Lightning Lane option, as this will be based on crowd levels and availability. There is no guarantee of a certain number of attractions, such as three with the old FastPass+ system. Like FastPass and FastPass+, the number of Lightning Lane attractions guests can fit into a day will vary wildly depending on crowd levels and the number of guests purchasing the service. We’ll have to wait and see how it all works when it is available.
9 – What Lightning Lane Attractions Are Included with Genie+?
Disney has not given an official list of what attractions are included with Genie+. However, Disney has confirmed that “more than 40 attractions” will be included. With the information given, the following attractions should be included:
- Astro Orbiter
- Big Thunder Mountain Railroad
- Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin
- Dumbo the Flying Elephant
- Enchanted Tales with Belle
- The Haunted Mansion
- it’s a small world
- Jungle Cruise
- Mad Tea Party
- Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run
- The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh
- Peter Pan’s Flight
Once confirmed, we will update this list.
10 – So Genie+ Doesn’t Include Everything? What are Individual Attraction Selections?
For top-tier (most popular) attractions such as Star War: Rise of the Resistance, Flight of Passage, Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, etc., guests can schedule a time to arrive at up to two attractions each day using the Lightning Lane entrance for an additional fee. These attractions are subject to limited availability and are NOT included with Disney Genie+. Pricing will vary by date and attraction and will be announced closer to launch. Rumors suggest pricing anywhere from $4-$24 per person per attraction.
11 – When Do I Purchase Individual Attractions for Lightning Lane Access?
Lightning Lane selections for the top-tier individual attractions will also be made on the same day of your visit and can be made across multiple theme parks (great for those who have the Park Hopper Option). Access to purchase Lightning Lane for the individual top-tier attractions will be available to all guests when the park that attraction is at opens. Guests staying on Disney World property will receive the benefit of early access to top-tier reservations and can make their purchases at 7:00 am on the day of their visit. Again, guests not staying on property will be able to purchase access when the park opens.
12 – What Are the Attractions Included in the Individual Attraction Selections Option?
Again, Disney has not given a complete listing of the top-tier attractions that will be available with this option. However, Disney has confirmed Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance, Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure, and Seven Dwarfs Mine Train will be on the list. Once a final list of top-tier individual attractions is confirmed, we will update this article.
13 – Do I Have to Purchase Genie+ to Purchase a Lightning Lane Pass for the Top-Tier Attractions?
No. To offer guests “flexibility” (Disney’s words, not ours), these two services are separate. Lightning Lane passes for the top-tier individual attractions can be purchased by any guest using either Disney Genie or Genie+.
14 – What If I Don’t Want to Pay to Ride?
Disney is still offering the standby queue for most attractions, and you do not need to pay extra. Simply get in line and wait. Do note that there are attractions that do not have traditional standby queues. Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance and Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure offer only virtual queue access (still free) and Lightning Lane access (paid).
15 – When Does Disney Genie Launch at Walt Disney World?
The service is coming in “fall 2021.” No specific date has been given at this time.
16 – Is it Just Me or Does This All Sound Really Complicated?
Yeah, it sounds that way because it is. In our opinion, Disney has made this way more complicated than it needs to be. Charging extra for FastPass was always going to be a very controversial change that will enrage the majority of Disney guests. Making the system complicated and charging extra on top of charging extra for the popular attractions will make the situation exponentially worse. Our hearts go out to the cast members that are going to have to explain a thousand times a day to angry guests, “Yes, you paid $15 extra per person for Lightning Lane but not for the popular rides. That’s only for the low to medium popularity rides that usually don’t have that bad of a wait anyway. You have to pay even more if you want to use the Lightning Lane for rides where it’s really important.”
PSA: Please, please, please be kind to the cast members. They don’t make these decisions. If you disagree with the Disney company’s decisions, there are appropriate channels to make your feelings heard. Mistreating cast members that are doing their best to make your visit as magical as possible is not the way to do it.
Just like you, we’re huge Disney fans, and we’re trying to make sense out of the changes. We’ll continue to learn more about the new services that are coming and pass our tips on to you. Be sure to sign up for our newsletter for continued news and updates!
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