How It Works and What To Expect

Nichole S. Gehr

After over a year of braving the queues and keeping our fingers crossed that Disney would be bringing back FastPass, FastPass+, and MaxPass in no time, we finally know what’s happening to these popular Disney perks. They’re flying off to Never Never Land for good – and we don’t just mean on Peter Pan’s Flight. 

So, what’s taking the place of this Disney skip-the-line pass? Meet Disney Genie. 

No, not the big, blue lug who grants three wishes in Disney’s Aladdin, although he is the mascot for this cool new tech. We’re talking about the new Disney Genie service coming this fall to a mobile device near you.

There’s a New Disney FastPass & MaxPass in Town. Meet Disney Genie.

The Disney FastPass system has been helping savvy guests to skip the lines, avoid the crowds, and maximize their vacation time since 1999. In short, it’s one benefit that’s been sorely missed since being suspended in 2020 due to the pandemic. 

FastPass has seen some changes over the years, from simple slips of paper spit out of a machine with return timeframes on them to the digital ride reservations of Disney FastPass Plus and MaxPass at Disney World and Disneyland, respectively. The forthcoming Disney Genie service will do much the same thing, along with a few other special features. 

Of course, this is all great news for those planning jampacked Disney vacations and pampered annual passholders who aren’t used to spending hours waiting around to go on a ride. This new take on FastPasses, however, will take some getting used to for guests of the Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando. You see, unlike past iterations which were completely complimentary, this new way to skip the lines at Disney World isn’t exactly free. 

What We Know So Far About Disney Genie & Genie+

Although it was originally announced back in 2019, with the official unveiling of the Disney Genie app yesterday, we’re finally getting a glimpse of everything this revolutionary digital service will have to offer. And we have to say, we’re pretty impressed. You know, minus the whole paid Disney FastPass thing. 

How will the Genie Disney trip-planning service stack up to FastPass, FastPass Plus, and MaxPass? Let’s rub the lamp and find out.

What is Disney Genie?

So, what is Disney Genie Service? As anyone who has ever been to one of the Disney Parks can attest, a trip to The Place Where Dreams Come True isn’t easy. In fact, with all the rides to conquer, wait times to keep track of, and reservations to juggle, it can be downright stressful. Enter, Disney Genie. 

Just like how My Disney Experience is basically an interactive, pocket-sized guidebook, the Disney Genie Service puts the magic of an experienced vacation planner and VIP tour guide in the palm of your hand. This handy-dandy app will be able to tell you which ride you should go on next, fast-track your spot in line, make advance dining reservations, place mobile food orders, and so much more.

While we don’t have an official launch date yet, the Genie app is set to make its Disney debut during fall this year, just in time for the start of Disney World’s 50th-anniversary celebration

Virtual Disney Vacation Planner Concierge Extraordinaire 

For someone who’s never been to Disney World or Disneyland before, the whole experience can be very overwhelming. Heck, it can even be a lot for Disney pros like annual passholders or Disney Vacation Club members. With all the guests swirling around and ridiculously long lines, it can be hard to tell which rides you should go on when – not to mention needing to keep track of all the preferences, interests, and must-dos for everyone in your party. 

Disney Genie Service makes all of that easy. Rather than spending hours planning out daily itineraries and researching the perfect rides and restaurants, simply tell the app what you and your crew are interested in doing – from the general, like Star Wars and thrill rides, to the specific, like attractions you’d like to avoid and food-centric experiences – and let Genie do the rest. 

Once you’re done, Disney Genie will plot out a personalized itinerary with all of your favorites. The My Day tab will let guests know which attractions they should see next and when and where they should eat based on their preferences and current wait times. Suggestions will update throughout the day based on current traffic patterns, leaving space for heavy crowds and letting the Disney magic happen. You’ll even be able to check how long the wait times are forecasted to be later on in the day. 

Rather design your own Disney day? The My Tip Board tab will collect all your preferences and make it easy to see at a glance everything you need to plan the next step of your day like how long the standby line is and what reservation times are available for those with Genie+ (more on that in a bit).  

That’s not all. The Disney Genie Service will also become a one-stop shop for some of the most-used features already on the Disney app, making it easy to join virtual queues, make dining and ride reservations, join restaurant waitlists, and place mobile orders all from one convenient location.

Oh, and did we mention that all of this is free? That’s right, basic Disney Genie vacation planning is completely complimentary. 

In short, your wish is Genie’s command. And best of all, you get way more than three wishes.

Skip the Lines With Disney Genie+ Service

Of course, Genie wouldn’t be a proper Disney FastPass Plus or MaxPass replacement without a little line-skipping. Only available to guests who have purchased either Disney Genie+ or Individual Attraction Selections (more on those next), the Lightning Lane will basically be the new Disney paid FastPass line. Guests that pay for Disney Genie Plus will be able to use the Lightning Lane to bypass the crowds at some – but not all – of the park’s more popular attractions. 

This paid option will include some of the more popular rides like Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, Haunted Mansion, and Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run. In total, more than 40 Disney World attractions and 15 Disneyland attractions will be covered under Disney Genie+. Similar to previous versions of FastPass, Disney guests will only be able to choose one attraction at a time, selecting the next available window to go on their desired ride. Once they’ve gone on that ride, however, they’ll be free to reserve a Lightning Lane reservation for another attraction, with the process repeating for the entire day. 

Now, here’s the part that’s going to take some getting used to, at least for those traveling to Walt Disney World. Disney Genie+ is priced at $15 per ticket per day for guests traveling to Walt Disney World and $20 per ticket per day for the Disneyland Resort. As the Disneyland MaxPass was previously available to guests for $15 a day, this will feel quite familiar for California guests. However, with this being the first time on the east coast for a paid FastPass, Disney World guests will certainly need to adjust and budget accordingly. 

Another big difference – aside from the price tag, of course – is the window for when you can book your Genie+ reservations. In the past, guests were able to book either 60 or 90 days in advance depending on if they had a valid Disney hotel reservation. This is no longer the case for either Genie+ or Individual Attraction Selections, as reservations can’t be made until the actual park day. 

Individual Attraction Selections

Guests looking for front-of-the-line privileges to Disney’s most in-demand rides, like Seven Dwarfs Mine Train in Magic Kingdom and Radiator Springs Racers in Disney California Adventure, will need to spring for Individual Attraction Selections. This optional offering will allow guests to reserve a time to use the Lightning Lane entrance at 2 of the resort’s most popular attractions, and those with park hopping tickets can even split their Individual Attraction Selections between two parks. 

We still don’t have too much information for this option yet like which rides are included and what pricing will look like. Unlike Genie+, prices for Lighting Lane access for Individual Attraction Selections will depend on which dates you’re traveling and the rides you’d like to go on. In other words, we imagine that prices will increase for the most popular rides and/or during the busy season and decrease over the slow season or for less in-demand rides similar to dynamic pricing for Disney theme park tickets

Like with Genie+, you won’t be able to book your ride reservations prior to your trip. Although, guests staying at one of the Disney resorts (or Shades of Green or the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin will be able to book their spot starting at 7am on the day of their theme park reservation, giving them a head start on the rest of the crowds. 

Audio & Photo Features

But wait, that’s not all! Guests paying for Disney Genie+ Service will also have access to a couple of unique perks depending on which park they’re visiting. While those at Disneyland Resort will be able to download as many Disney PhotoPass photos as they’d like from their day in the parks, guests of the Walt Disney World Resort will be able to use augmented reality photo lenses. Similar to the Play Disney Parks app, guests will also be able to enjoy unique audio experiences themed after the Disney Parks. 

Disability Access Service Program

The Disability Access Service Program, or DAS, has been offered by Disney for quite some time. Designed for guests who have difficulties using the traditional ride queues, the program allows the guest and their family to bypass selected traditional queues. 

In the past, guests were only able to enroll in DAS in person upon their arrival at the parks. With the upcoming changes, guests will soon be able to register for the program using the app up to 30 days before their trip. Rather than talking to some from Guest Services at the park, enrollment is conducted online with a Cast Member during a live video chat. As long as it’s more than two days before the start of their trip, the guest will be able to arrange disability assistance for 2 different attractions per day. 

How much does Disney Genie cost?

Ok, let’s recap. Once Disney Genie drops, guests will be able to choose from both free and paid options. While the digital vacation planning and virtual queues of Disney Genie are complimentary, visitors can choose to pay for skip-the-line privileges for select attractions. Disney Genie+ will allow guests to skip the standby line for slightly less popular rides and is set to cost $15 per day per ticket at Disney World and $20 per day per ticket at Disneyland. 

Guests will also be able to make Individual Attraction Selections to jump the lines for Disney’s most in-demand rides, with prices varying for each ride and date of travel; although, rates have yet to be released for this option. 

Is Disney Genie replacing My Disney Experience?

Not at all! With so many similar features, you might think that My Disney Experience was going the way of the DINOSAURs. In fact, the Disney Genie Service will actually be integrated into the original app, becoming the source of all knowledge for your next Disney vacation. 

Our Take on the Genie App, Disney’s New Virtual Trip Planner

That wraps up everything we know so far about the Disney Genie Service and its offshoots Genie+ and Lightning Lanes. Overall, you can tell that Disney put a lot of work into this kind of technology and it definitely holds a lot of promise. 

The complimentary Genie service is robust, and guests are sure to love how easy it will make planning out their Disney day. The app’s ability to make personalized, up-to-the-minute itineraries is impressive and should help to decrease people’s time spent in lines even if they don’t want to pay extra for access to the Lightning Lanes. 

The service is also incredibly flexible and easy to adjust to fit your interests and budget. You won’t need to buy Genie+ first in order to have access to additional Individual Attraction Selections. And since virtual boarding passes will be included for Disney’s newest attractions like Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance and Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure once it opens, you’ll still get to experience these incredible attractions without having to wait in a massive line. Of course, if the virtual queues are full and you still want to ride, you will need to pony up the cash for Individual Attraction Selections.  

That being said, with the cost of a Disney World vacation already as expensive as it is, even with all that flexibility people are bound to have some strong feelings about forking out more cash for something that was previously free – especially considering the shrinking number of benefits for guests staying at one of the Walt Disney World hotels. 

We can’t say that we’re super enthused about the whole thing, but we aren’t that surprised either. Universal and SeaWorld have already been charging guests to skip the lines for some time now with their Universal Express Pass and SeaWorld Quick Queue, as has the Disneyland Resort and its MaxPass option. And when Disneyland Paris announced its own Disney Premier Access service earlier this year, we knew it was only a matter of time. 

All things considered, we are very excited to get our hot little hands on Disney Genie once it’s available to guests later this year. What are your thoughts on the new Disney Genie, Genie+, and Lightning Lanes? Do you think it will be worth the money? Let us know in the comments!

If you’re traveling to Disney World or Disneyland before Disney Genie makes its appearance, don’t miss our one-day plans for Disneyland, Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Hollywood Studios, and Animal Kingdom. Or for those planning to visit after the app has launched, save some cash for Genie+ and those Individual Attraction Selections with our discounted tickets to Walt Disney World and Disneyland

FAQ’s (Answered by Disney)

What is Disney Genie?

Coming this fall to Walt Disney World Resort and Disneyland Resort, Disney Genie is a complimentary and convenient new digital service in the My Disney Experience and Disneyland apps designed to create your best Disney day. Disney Genie service will maximize your park time, so you can have more fun. It includes a personalized itinerary feature that will quickly and seamlessly map out an entire day. From specific attractions, foodie experiences and entertainment, to general interests like Disney princesses, villains, Pixar, Star Wars, thrill rides and more – just tell Disney Genie what you want to do and it will do the planning for you.

What other new options are you introducing as part of the rollout of Disney Genie?

For even more convenience and flexibility, there are two other options for enjoying our theme parks, through a queue we are introducing called the Lightning Lane entrance that also saves you time in line:

  • Disney Genie+ service (available for purchase): For the price of $15 per ticket per day at Walt Disney World Resort and $20 per ticket per day at Disneyland Resort, choose the next available time to arrive at a variety of attractions and experiences using the Lightning Lane entrance. You can make one selection at a time, throughout the day – from classics like Haunted Mansion to thrill rides like Big Thunder Mountain Railroad and newer favorites like Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run (attractions subject to limited availability). This convenient option is the next evolution of the fan-favorite Disney MaxPass service from Disneyland Resort. Disney Genie+ will also include Disney parks-themed audio experiences and photo features to capture your memories – augmented reality lenses for those visiting Walt Disney World Resort and unlimited Disney PhotoPass downloads from your day if you are visiting Disneyland Resort.
  • Individual attraction selections (available for purchase): Schedule a time to arrive at up to two highly demanded attractions each day using the Lightning Lane entrance – like Seven Dwarfs Mine Train at Magic Kingdom Park and Radiator Springs Racers at Disney California Adventure Park (subject to limited availability; attractions not included with Disney Genie+). Pricing will vary by date, attraction and park.

When will you launch Disney Genie?

Disney Genie will launch this fall at Walt Disney World Resort and Disneyland Resort. No specific date has been set though we anticipate it will be implemented by Oct. 1st, 2021.

What is the difference between Disney Genie and Disney Genie+?

Disney Genie is a complimentary digital planning service with personalized itineraries, tips that can help reduce time in lines and other features to help you plan your best Disney day. The Disney Genie+ service is an add-on option available for purchase that will let Guests choose the next available arrival time for the Lightning Lane entrance – one at a time, throughout the day – at a variety of attractions (attractions subject to limited availability). The service also includes photo features and audio experiences. Arrival times for the Lightning Lane entrance will be an hour-long window.

Can all Guests use Disney Genie, or do they have to pay for it?

Disney Genie service is complimentary for all Guests visiting Walt Disney World Resort and Disneyland Resort via the My Disney Experience and Disneyland apps. Additional options to select arrival times for the Lightning Lane entrance will be available for purchase, including the Disney Genie+ service and individual attraction selections, subject to limited availability.

Do Guests need a separate app to access Disney Genie?

No. Disney Genie service is complimentary for all Guests visiting Walt Disney World Resort and Disneyland Resort via the My Disney Experience and Disneyland apps.

When will Guests be able to add Disney Genie+ to their vacation package/ticket?

Disney Genie itinerary planning service will launch this fall at Walt Disney World Resort and Disneyland Resort. After launch, Guests will be able to purchase the Disney Genie+ service ahead of their visit if they wish as a ticket add-on, or on the day of their visit.

What is the Lightning Lane entrance?

The Lightning Lane entrance is a queue we are introducing, available through options Guests can purchase to save time in line. Lightning Lane selections will be made on the same day of your visit and can be used across multiple theme parks, great for those who love the Park Hopper option. Guests may select an arrival time, one at a time, for Lightning Lane entry for a variety of attractions and experiences with the purchase of Disney Genie+ service (attractions subject to limited availability), or schedule a time to arrive at up to two highly demanded attractions each day (subject to limited availability; attractions not included with Disney Genie+). Pricing for the individual attraction selections will vary by date, attraction and park. 

Can Guests purchase and choose their attraction selections before their visit?

Guests will choose selections for the Lightning Lane entrance on the day of their visit.

What attractions can be booked with Genie+?

Examples include Big Thunder Mountain, Haunted Mansion and Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run. Most attractions that previously offered FastPass+ at Walt Disney World and FASTPASS/Disney MaxPass at Disneyland Resort will offer a Lightning Lane entrance available through Disney Genie+. Attractions including Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, Flight of Passage and Radiator Springs Racers will require a Lightning Lane purchase or standby queues only.

What attractions can be booked with individual Lightning Lane selections?

Examples include Seven Dwarfs Mine Train and Radiator Springs Racers. We’ll be sharing more details soon for each resort.

Can Guests purchase Disney Genie+ service for just one day of their multi-day visit?

When purchased with a Guests’ ticket or vacation package ahead of their visit, Disney Genie+ service is purchased for the length of stay (all days of a multi-day visit). When purchased on the day of visit, Guests will purchase Disney Genie+ for a single day.

Do Guests have to purchase Disney Genie+ to have access to attractions?

No. Attractions will continue to have a traditional standby queue, or a virtual queue at certain attractions.

Is there still a no-cost option for expedited access to attractions?

Attractions will have a traditional standby queue, or certain attractions will have a virtual queue. To access the new Lightning Lane entrance, Guests can either purchase Disney Genie+ service for a variety of attractions (subject to limited availability) or purchase and schedule an individual arrival time at up to two highly demanded attractions each day (subject to limited availability; attractions not included with Disney Genie+). [FastPass, FastPass+ and Disney MaxPass services will be retired.]

Do all Guests need to pay to ride Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance, Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure, Radiator Springs Racers or WEB SLINGERS: A Spider-Man Adventure?

No. Guests can join attractions offering a virtual queue via Disney Genie in the My Disney Experience and Disneyland apps. If Guests are unable to secure a place in the virtual queue, purchase of the Lightning Lane entrance may be an additional option to experience the attraction, subject to limited availability. There is no traditional standby queue for these attractions at this time.

How does this impact Disability Access Service? 

We are also making some enhancements our Disability Access Service (DAS) program, including a new option to enroll in the program pre-arrival and select return times for attractions directly in the app. This option will be available in addition to our existing, in-person DAS program. Visit our Services for Guests with Disabilities page on DisneyWorld.com and Disneyland.com for more details.

What is the price of Disney Genie+ service?

At launch, Disney Genie+ will be priced at $15 per ticket, per day at Walt Disney World Resort and $20 per ticket, per day at Disneyland Resort.

Can Walt Disney World Resort Annual Passholders or Disneyland Resort Magic Key holders purchase Disney Genie+?

At launch, Passholders at Walt Disney World and Magic Key holders at Disneyland Resort will be able to purchase Disney Genie+ on the day of their visit. As always, we will continue to explore other enhancements as well and of course will appreciate their feedback when we launch the service. 

Will Annual Passholders or Magic Key holders receive discounts on Disney Genie+ service and individual attraction Lightning Lane purchases?

At this time, there are no discounts available for Disney Genie+ or individual attraction Lightning Lane purchases. As always, we will continue to explore new offerings for Annual Passholders and Magic Key holders in the future and value their feedback.

Without the advanced FastPass+ booking window, are there any benefits for Guests staying at Disney Resort hotels?

Each day at 7 a.m., Guests staying at Disney Resort hotels will have the first opportunity to purchase up to two individual attraction selections for the Lightning Lane entrance (subject to limited availability), before other Guests who will be able to do so upon park opening. Guests staying at Walt Disney World hotels will also have more time in the parks during the 50th anniversary, with new early theme park entry and extended evening hours benefits.

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