Do you NEED Genie+?
Disney recently rolled out Genie+ as a way to eliminate the lines at the Disney World Parks. Similar to the old FastPass. Ready for the kicker? You have to pay extra for it.
Ugh. After the HUGE expense of park tickets, it just doesn’t feel right to have to pay MORE to ride the rides.
So, our question of course was, is it worth it? Do you NEED Genie+?
The answer is …
It depends. Don’t you hate that answer? I know, I know, but it’s true. It depends upon a few factors such as:
- Is it a busy time of the year? If you are visiting during a notoriously high season (like Christmas or Spring Break), you might want to add Genie+ to your budget.
- Which park are you visiting? We found it more useful for some parks versus others (more on that below).
- Can your family wait in lines patiently? If not, Genie+ might be the answer you need to cut down some of that waiting time.
👉 Need Disney World tickets? I’ve always had success with purchasing tickets through Undercover Tourist!
Our experience with Genie+
Our last trip to Disney was during Fall Break (busy, but not as busy as Christmas), and it was the week Genie+ rolled out. Although we considered it each day, the only day we tested it out was the day we went to the Magic Kingdom.
Now, remember, we are really good at touring the parks. After dozens of visits, we know how to best handle each park to minimize wait times and still enjoy the rides we want without stress. Plus, because we visit often, we don’t feel the need to ride every.single.ride on each trip.
So what did we think?
For which parks should you consider Genie+?
Based upon our experience on the Fall Break trip (and this has been updated after another half dozen visits at various times of the year), here are our thoughts on Genie+ per park.
There aren’t a lot of rides at Animal Kingdom that get long lines, so it’s pretty easy to get through the entire park in one day or even half a day. In my opinion, as long as you follow my park guide to Animal Kingdom, you don’t need to invest in Genie+.
If you want to sleep in or don’t want to risk waiting at all, give it a go, but I don’t think it’s necessary.
💥 Insider tip: download the My Disney Experience app BEFORE you get to the parks and get familiar with it. It will help you find rides with short wait times, dining, etc. AND you’ll need it for Genie+
Epcot is another park without a lot of rides that have long lines. One option would be to get up at 7:00 and get in the online queue for the new Guardians of the Galaxy ride and then hop on Test Track or Remy’s Ratatouille Adventures as your first ride of the day (get there as soon as the park opens).
Or, you could pay the extra money to ride Guardians as an individual Lightning Lane ride (see description of that below) and then again hop on Test Track as your first ride of the day.
You will spend some time waiting in line for Soarin, Remy, or Frozen Ever After but those will be the only long lines you should encounter.
Keep an eye on the wait times on your app or consider riding them just before the park closes when lines tend to be shorter. Therefore, probably not worth the extra money for Genie+.
💥 Insider tip: Genie+ covers most of the rides at the parks, but for a few of the newer ones, you’ll have to purchase an individual lightning lane pass. So even more money! The prices for those range from about $7 to $15. So, if you REALLY want to ride the latest rides, and can’t commit to getting to the park before it opens, you may want to consider a few of these.
Hollywood Studios has quite a few rides that end up with long wait times. So, if it’s important to you to ride them all, you might want to consider purchasing Genie+ and then getting in line for the Rise of the Resistance as soon as the park opens.
Although we didn’t purchase Genie+ for this park, we did get in line for Rise of the Resistance right away and waited for just a little over an hour to ride it. By this point, the lines for most of the other rides were quite long. We rode the ones with the shortest wait times and then left the park to go back to the pool.
We then returned to the park at about 6:00 and rode the rest of the rides while the lines were shorter. We didn’t ride everything, but we were able to ride everything WE wanted to ride (Toy Story Mania, Star Tours, Tower of Terror, and Rockin Roller Coaster).
In retrospect, I think the best way to handle this park would be to purchase the individual lightning lane pass for Rise of the Resistance and then as soon as the park opens ride 2 or 3 of the other rides that tend to have longer rides.
While everyone is waiting in line over in Galaxy’s Edge you can probably ride quite a few rides. Take a break midday and then head back at night to finish off anything you missed early morning.
UPDATE: On our last few visits, we did this strategy – we went straight to either Tower of Terror and Rockin Roller Coaster OR Slinky Dog Dash and Toy Story Mania, rode those as soon as the park opened, and saved Rise of the Resistance for an individual lightning lane, and this strategy worked perfectly!
The Magic Kingdom
This is the park we chose to test Genie+ at because there are so many rides available. It worked quite well and I think it was probably worth the extra cost. We were able to “fastpass” eight rides throughout the day, and for every one of those, we pretty much walked right on. The longest wait for us in a lightning lane was 10 minutes.
That was really nice, and we rode pretty much everything in the park as we’d hop on a ride with a short wait time posted whenever we were waiting for a lightning pass time.
There were a few periods of dead time when we had 25 or 30 minutes before our lightning pass time opened up, so we’d typically grab a snack, take pictures or browse the shops.
We also found it helpful to book a lightning pass that was further out (some of the bigger rides get that way) when we knew we had a natural break (like during lunch).
You can book your next ride as soon as you scan your band the second time for the ride you are currently riding. To get the most rides in, it is important to be continuously booking lighting lane rides throughout the day.
Overall, I think I’d definitely purchase Genie+ for the Magic Kingdom again.
UPDATE: we have continued to purchase Genie+ for the Magic Kingdom on subsequent trips with great success.
More info – check out the Genie description on the Walt Disney World website for all the specifics of the program.