A Disney World Lightning Pass, formerly known as FastPass+, is part of the newest technological service being offered at Disney parks. The service, known as Genie, helps you plan your day, and more importantly, offers the opportunity to take advantage of the Lightning Lane, an expedited queue available through Genie+.
So, what’s the difference between, Genie, Genie+ and a Disney World Lightning pass? First, Disney Genie is an all-encompassing service. Available through the My Disney Experience app, Genie is an interactive way to plan your day in the parks.
To start, you’ll be asked a series of questions about your interests and what you plan to do each day. When you visit the park, simply open the My Disney Experience app, click on “My Genie Day” and then on your tip board. You’ll find an itinerary to guide you through the parks and suggestions on things that might interest you, as well as ride wait times.
If you find that all of the attractions you want to experience have very long queues (wait times), you might want to sign up for Genie+. Genie+ is an extension of the Genie service that will allow you to skip the regular queue on rides by booking an hour-long return window.
Simply show up at the ride during that time, and you’ll be granted access via an expedited queue called a Lightning Lane, hence the nickname, Disney World Lightning Pass.
A Disney World Lightning Pass (Genie+ reservation) starts at $15 per guest per day, which has a tendency to set some guests back on their heels. However, you can us this pass all day, for any Lightning Lane enabled ride, until the Lightning passes run out for the day. As an added perk, the cost is far cheaper than a similar offering at Universal Studios and does provide a number of additional benefits.
1. Save Time in Line with Your Disney World Lightning Pass
By using the Genie+ service to gain a Lightning Pass, you’ll naturally save time in line. You can book a Lightning Lane reservation every two hours or as soon as your earliest pass expires.
What this means in a nutshell is easily explained by an example. By accessing My Tip Board via the My Disney Experience app, I can see that the current wait for Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin is 40 minutes. Reference the screenshot of the tip board below.
I could easily wait the 40 minutes in line, or I can book a pass to the Disney World Lightning Lane, go experience other attractions with shorter waits, and come back any time between 5:20 and 6:20 to ride with little to no wait. Remember, a Disney Genie+ reservation provides you with a one-hour window to return to the ride and enter through the faster Lightning Lane (expedited queue).
Another important thing to note is the rule on booking a Genie+ reservation (Lightning Lane pass). You may book one ride at a time until that pass expires. Lightning Lane passes expire once you enter the queue or when your current booking window ends. In the example above, the booking window ends at 6:20.
However, there is a trick to Genie+ reservations, affectionately called the 120-minute rule. Genie+ reservations to the Lightning Lane can be booked every two hours, even if you still hold a pass to experience a ride later in the day. That means that an individual booking the above pass to Buzz Lightyear at 2:37 in the afternoon does not need to wait until they’ve ridden the ride at 5:20 to book another Genie+ reservation. They are eligible to book another pass at 4:37, two hours after booking the Buzz Lightyear ride.
By opting out of the regular queue for rides with long lines, in favor of a Lightning Lane pass, you’ll be spending less time overall queueing to experience the fun.
2. Get More Done in a Day with a Disney World Lightning Pass
One of the most difficult things about a trip to Disney World, is finding time to experience all of the attractions in a single day. Even if you take a longer trip and give yourself a couple days at each park, you may not find time for everything.
Part of the reason for missing out is the time you spend in line. Some peak attractions, such as Flight of Passage in Animal Kingdom, can rack up standby lines with waits up to two hours or more.
With a Disney World Lightning Pass via Genie+, you’ll be skipping that regular queue and spending less time in line, allowing you to experience more attractions in a single day, including parades, shows and impromptu character or cast member interactions, without feeling like you’re missing out.
One of our favorite things to do is to experience a few rides and then take some time to just wander around the park, soaking in the magic and making note of all the rich thematic details. Many of the most awesome elements of your time in the parks can be easily overlooked if you’re rushing from one attraction to another. A Disney World Lightning Lane pass will save you time in line and let you soak up more of the magic.
3. Do More with Your Time Outside the Parks
I remember our first trip to Disney World with 3 young children in tow. We had planned a three-night visit which gave us just enough time to tour all of the parks but little else, including our resort pool.
Before our arrival, we had told the kids that they wouldn’t be visiting the pools. They could, after all, swim at home.
Unfortunately, they took one look at the elaborately themed swimming arcade at our resort, complete with twisty, winding waterslide, and the vacation in their minds would not be complete without taking a dip.
And therein lies the magic of a Disney World Lighting Pass. By using FastPass, the precursor to Lightning Lane, we whizzed through line queues, saw the parades and other attractions we wanted to experience, and still had time to make a visit to the resort pool.
By using the Lightning Lane, you’re buying yourself the same extra time to experience all of the magical moments that occur outside the parks. You may even have time to visit a water park, take in a round of golf or even a horseback ride.
4. Add Disney Characters and Special Effects to Your Photos
Disney World’s PhotoPass service provides you with the chance to have your picture taken by a professional photographer at many iconic locations around the parks. On the backend, Disney has been known to add special characters and effects to your photos, giving you a unique surprise when you log into your My Disney Experience app and view your pictures from the day.
Purchasing these images, however, can be costly. For example, the Disney World Memory Maker is a program that gives you access to all pictures taken by PhotoPass photographers, as well as ride photos, starting at $69 for a single day or $169 for length of stay.
Now, you can access special effects in your photos without the Cost of Memory Maker. Simply by purchasing the Genie+ service with access to the Lightning Lane, you’ll have access to special lenses to make magical photos of your own. Just open the My Disney Experience app and turn yourself into your favorite Disney character or photograph yourself in league with Disney stars.
Since you’ll take the photos with your own camera, there is no need to make an additional purchase outside of buying Genie+.
5. Gain Access to the Audio Tales
If you’re a Disneyphile (yes, it’s a term), you’re going to love the last advantage of Genie+. In addition to saving time, experiencing more of the magic and cool photo lenses, you’ll also have access to insider Disney World secrets through special audio tales made a available through the My Disney Experience app.
You’ll also find a map within the app alerting you to audio tale locations. Once you arrive at the spot, click the audio tale button and listen to the recording. Just remember, if you plan to use this feature of Genie+, you might want to bring headphones. It’s loud inside the parks, making it difficult to hear the audio through your phone speaker. Alternatively, you can click the CC icon in the upper right corner to turn captions on.
If you think you might like spending less time in line and making more of the magic during your Disney vacation, be sure to plan for the cost of the Disney World Lightning Lane in your Disney World planning budget. You may also want to learn how to purchase the Disney World Lightning pass and other essential information contained in our guide to Genie+.
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