Beginning October 19, 2021, the complimentary Walt Disney World Fastpass system will be replaced with the new Genie+ Service. According to Disney, it’s a way to reimagine the guest experience at the 4 theme parks. For many, participation in the new vacation experience will require an added fee on top of the current Disney World theme park Ticket price.
Be prepared for Genie+ with this handy primer. Keep reading for all you need to know about the Disney Genie+ system and be sure to bookmark the page to keep abreast of changes as they are announced.
Table of contents
- What Was Walt Disney World FastPass?
- What Is the New Genie Service?
- Stay informed about changes to FastPass and Genie+
- Attractions Available through Genie+
- Lightning Lane Attractions Available for Individual Purchase
- FastPass Versus Genie+, the Biggest Differences
- More information to help you plan your vacation
What Was Walt Disney World FastPass?
Suspended during the COVID-19 capacity restrictions, the Walt Disney World FastPass+ system allowed you to skip the regular queue on many rides by scheduling a ride time in advance at any of the 4 main Disney World parks. Ride times were scheduled in 60-minute increments.
To redeem your Disney FastPass reservation, all you needed to do was show up at the ride entrance at any time during that designated booking window. For example, if you booked a Disney FastPass reservation to ride Space Mountain at 1:25 pm, you could return to ride any time between 1:25 and 2:25 pm.
However, you didn’t go to the regular queue line. Instead, you entered the line marked FastPass+ and scanned your Magic Band or Walt Disney World ticket. This extra security measure ensured that only guests with an active Disney FastPass reservation entered the line and kept the number of riders at a pre-capped level, ensuring a minimum wait.
In most cases, this line was significantly shorter than the average standby line. Even if it was not shorter in length, the wait time was less as cast members prioritized riders in the FastPass line.
Beginning this fall, Disney Genie will take a new approach to the Walt Disney World FastPass, incorporating all of the benefits into a new service called Disney Genie+.
What Is the New Genie Service?
Disney describes Disney Genie as a complimentary technology tool designed to making planning easier and more flexible. Available through the current My Disney Experience app, the “cool new technology” has the capacity to guide guests through the theme parks while reducing time spent in line.
With the Genie service, Disney hints at a higher level of interactivity than is currently provided through the My Disney Experience app. Guests will still be able to view wait times, make Advanced Dining Reservations and order food, but Genie will also provide recommendations on where to go and what to do in order to reduce the time spent in line. Disney Genie will even be able to predict future wait times to help guests make better decisions about where to spend their time.
One of the biggest advancements for Disney World vacation planning is an itinerary tool that will “quickly and seamlessly map out an entire day”. The fact that itineraries will be updated dynamically throughout the day hints at the fact that Disney may be trying to better disburse guests throughout the parks and attractions by scheduling guests via their custom itineraries.
Of course, guests will always be able to change their itineraries on the fly, but if this new approach works, the current experience at Disney World theme parks could be drastically improved through lower waits for attractions and fewer bottlenecks at crowded locations.
It all sounds new and exciting, but wait a minute. What happens to Walt Disney World FastPass?
Disney Genie+ Replaces Walt Disney World FastPass
If Disney Genie is able to reduce time in line via personalized itineraries, it will be a big boon to guests who are trying to do Disney World on a budget, as the move to the new Genie service will replace the currently included Walt Disney World FastPass service with a fee based option called Disney Genie+.
By purchasing Disney Genie+, guests will be able to book a ride time window as they would with FastPass, using what is called a new Lightning Lane. While the Disney Genie+ Lightning Lane may sound similar to FastPass, there are some critical differences.
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First is the fact that while the Disney Genie tool is free to use, Disney Genie+ is a fee based service. In order to access the Lightning Lane, guests will need to purchase Genie+. The charge begins at $15 per person, per day plus tax, but can go higher, depending on crowd levels and demand. In addition, you’ll find that you can purchase a single park or multi-park Genie+ pass. If you’ve purchased a park hopper ticket, you’ll likely want the latter, so you can use the Lightning Lane across multiple parks in a single day.
By paying this fee on top of the current ticket price, guests will be able to use Disney Genie+ to choose the next available ride time at over 40 attractions and then access that ride through the Lightning Lane. In essence, the former FastPass queues have been renamed Lightning Lane, so you’ll have all of the benefits of FastPass, mainly the ability to enter via a limited entry queue, but at a cost.
This approach does add a degree of flexibility by allowing guests to visualize the situation in the parks before committing to making a Lightning Lane reservation. However, reservations cannot be made before your trip as is currently done with the Walt Disney World FastPass. Instead, guests make their Lightning Lane reservations day by day beginning at 7:00 am or after entering the park. You are only be able to make and hold one Lightning Lane reservation at a time.
This approach is really not new. The earliest iteration of FastPass+ required guests to visit the ride entrance to obtain a FastPass for a future ride time. Guests were then not allowed to obtain other FastPasses until the current one was used or expired.
The Genie+ service can be purchased each day via the My Disney Experience app. Genie+ reservations are also made via the My Disney Experience app. If you have a park hopper ticket, you can even make a reservation for a park you plan to visit later in the day. That means, if you’re visiting Magic Kingdom in the morning, and don’t plan to use Genie+ here, you can secure your Lightning Lane reservation for Test Track for later in the day.
Attractions Available through Genie+
If you had a sense above that the forty or so attractions included in Genie+ is a little shy of the total number of rides available across the 4 theme parks, you’d be right. It seems that Genie+ will not include entry to some of the most popular attractions, such as Rise of the Resistance, Seven Dwarfs Mine Train and Flight of Passage. However, guests may separately purchase Lightning Pass access to experiences not included in Genie+. More on this below.
Attractions covered in the Base Genie+ service include:
ANIMAL KINGDOM GENIE+ LIGHTNING LANE ATTRACTIONS
- Celebration of the Festival of the Lion King
- Expedition Everest
- Feathered Friends in Flight!
- It’s Tough to Be a Bug!
- Kali River Rapids
- Kilimanjaro Safaris
- Naʻvi River Journey
- The Animation Experience
DISNEY HOLLYWOOD STUDIOS GENIE+ LIGHTNING LANE ATTRACTIONS
- Alien Swirling Saucers
- Beauty and the Beast Sing-Along
- Disney Jr. Dance Party
- For the First Time in Forever: A Frozen Sing-Along Celebration
- Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular – Returning Dec. 19, 2021
- Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run
- Muppet*Vision 3D
- Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster
- Slinky Dog Dash
- Star Tours
- The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror
- Toy Story Mania!
EPCOT DISNEY GENIE+ LIGHTNING LANE ATTRACTIONS
- Disney and Pixar Short Film Festival
- Frozen Ever After
- Journey into Imagination with Figment
- Living with the Land
- Mission: SPACE – Green
- Mission: SPACE – Orange
- Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure
- Spaceship Earth
- Test Track
- The Seas with Nemo & Friends
- Turtle Talk with Crush
MAGIC KINGDOM DISNEY GENIE+ LIGHTNING LANE ATTRACTIONS
- Big Thunder Mountain Railroad
- Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin
- Dumbo the Flying Elephant
- Haunted Mansion
- “it’s a small world”
- Jungle Cruise
- Mad Tea Party
- Mickey’s PhilharMagic
- Monsters Inc. Laugh Floor
- Peter Pan’s Flight
- Pirates of the Caribbean
- Space Mountain
- Splash Mountain
- The Barnstormer
- The Magic Carpets of Aladdin
- The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh
- Tomorrowland Speedway
- Under the Sea ~ Journey of The Little Mermaid
Lightning Lane Attractions Available for Individual Purchase
There are a limited number of attractions where access to the Lightning Lane will not be available by purchasing the base Genie+ service. These include the most popular attractions as well as those with a virutal queue, such as Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind.
However, you will be able to access an expedited lane at these attractions by purchasing Lightning Lane admittance on a daily basis. There is a limit of two purchases per day and the cost will vary based on date and time. Costs in October begin at $9 per person. Guests can also pre-purchase Lightning Lane access to these attractions while attending a different park.
If you, like many Disney guests, are bristling at the thought of purchasing a perk that once was free, there is good news. You will also have the option to try for a position in the virtual queue – FREE of CHARGE – for those attractions that already offer them. At present, this includes Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind in EPCOT.
Virtual queues typically open through the My Disney Experience app at 7:00 am and fill up quickly as guests vie for position in their hotel rooms. Guests who don’t succeed at securing entry into the virtual queue will now have an option to purchase entry later in the day.
The option to purchase Lightning Lane access to rides like these is great news for all park hopping enthusiasts, as you’ll be able to purchase quick access to an afternoon virtual queue while visiting another park in the morning, provided that you don’t exceed your two Lightning Lane purchases per day.
Attractions offering individual Lightning Lane admission include:
- Seven Dwarfs Mine Train
- TRON Lightcycle / Run – Soft Opening March 20 to April 2; Opening April 4
- Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance
- Avatar Flight of Passage
- Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind
FastPass Versus Genie+, the Biggest Differences
Genie+ is similar to the Walt Disney World FastPass in many ways. Both allow you to schedule a ride time in advance and to skip the regular queue in favor of a shorter line.
Also similar to FastPass+, only select attractions will be included in the Genie+ service.
This, however, is where the similarities end.
While FastPass was included in the cost of a regular theme park admission ticket, Genie+ will require an additional fee to use. Guests will also only be able to book one Genie+ Lightning Lane reservation at a time, once they have entered the park. FastPass included up to 3 pre-booked reservations.
Another big change is the exclusion of some of the most popular rides. With FastPass+, guests could schedule headliner attractions, such as Seven Dwarfs Mine Train in advance.
Early indications are that the most popular rides will be excluded from Genie+. Instead, guests will be encouraged to use the Disney Genie itinerary tool as well as the current and predicted wait times, to decide when to ride via the regular queue. Alternatively, guests can purchase a Lightning Lane entry for separate fee.