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Hey there! If you’re reading this, you’re likely thinking about or have already booked a trip to the most magical place on earth – Disney!

And now you’re thinking “What the heck did I get myself into?!” Well, don’t worry you’re not alone. I’m from Florida so I’ve been going to Disney World a long time. I’ve done it with annual passes, without annual passes, with small groups and big groups.

There’s no doubt about it, a trip to Disney is not what is used to be. Since even before the pandemic, things have gotten a little complicated. There’s park reservations, dining reservations strategy, magic bands and ride virtual queues just to name a few.

With so many different options available, it can be hard to know where to start when trying to plan your next trip.

Perhaps one of the most confusing changes has been the Genie service. Or is it Genie Plus? Genie+? Disney+? No, Disney+ is something else entirely. 🙂

There’s a bunch of information out there. Blog posts (hi), Facebook groups, Youtube videos, you name it, it’s out there. I did my own research too and tried it out for myself – a few times.

I realized that I had my own list of things that I wish I had known before purchasing the Disney Genie+ service. So if you’re reading this before your trip, my goal is that you will have all that you need to make an informed decision.

Whether you choose to use the service or not, my hope is that you have the best time! Read on for 9 important things about Disney Genie+ including and most importantly is it worth it?

This post is specifically referencing Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, Florida. Genie+ at Disneyland in Anaheim, California is slightly different.

What’s the difference between Disney’s Genie and Genie Plus?

Bottom line is that Genie is a free planning service.

Disney Genie+ enhances this planning service by allowing you to pay an additional fee to essentially reserve return times for certain park attractions.

Yes, they are two different things but they are both designed to help you maximize your time in the parks. Disney has a page about the Genie service on their website including short videos trying to explain the services but it can still be overwhelming and confusing.

We’ll go into more detail below.

Is Disney Genie free?

Yes, Genie service is a free service that you can access via the My Disney Experience app.

It provides you with tips based on the preferences you’ve entered before you take your trip. Once you have booked your trip, navigate to “My Disney Genie Day” within the app.

Click on “Get Started Now”.

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When you select my Disney Genie Day from the app

Select “Start Now” to add your own preferred attractions and dining options.

Disney genie screenshot

Select the day that you will be visiting the parks. If you already have a park reservation then you will not need to select a park.

Keep in mind that selecting a park does not mean that you are making a park reservation. Choose your travel party, if guests do not have a park reservation you will not be able to select them.

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Select your top attractions, but not too many. The Genie at Disney World does not like it when you pick too many.

You only need to choose a few per category.

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Don’t pick too many, Genie doesn’t like that

You can select whether you want the service to show you height requirements and Accessibility considerations.

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Once you’ve made selections in each category, the service will provide you with recommendations.

It will also let you know which reservations you can make now. If there are times available, the best ones will display for you.

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If you cannot make a reservation for a recommendation, it will let you know when you can (if available).

I love that!

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Difference between Tip Board and My Day Disney

My Day – This tab will show you current reservations made, Disney Genie tips for the day and when to do them. You can update the date on this tab.

Tip Board – This tab will show the current day regardless of the park day you have chosen on the “My Day” tab. This is where you will see the attraction wait time for “today”.

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Tip Board Disney

When you click on each attraction, it will provide detailed information.

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Attraction details

Is the Genie service useful?

In my personal opinion, it’s a really good place to start. I like how it organizes reservations and recommendations. I do find that it makes planning my day a little easier because I have the information at my fingertips.

However, I wouldn’t follow the recommendations to a tee. It doesn’t take into account the weather or how everyone in your travel party is feeling. Think of it just as a guide to make things a little easier.

The best part is that the service is free. Yes, at this point you have not needed to pay to use this service. The paid part is coming up next!

What does Disney Genie Plus include?

Genie+ is a paid service that let’s you skip the standby line and use the lightning lanes.

If you’ve been going to Disney for a while, you may remember the Fastpass+ service. This service allowed you to reserve return times for attractions and essentially “skip the line”.

The Fastpass+ service was free.

During the pandemic, Disney discontinued the Fastpass+ service and then later debuted the Genie service and Genie+. Genie+ eliminates long wait times and allows you to make better use of your time while in the parks.

However, it is not free. That being said, you do not need it to take advantage of the Tip Board or My Day within the app. If you have purchased Genie+ then you will need to reserve return times via the My Disney Experience app. If you do not take action to reserve return times, you will not be able to use the lightning lanes.

Following me so far? We’ll go into more later in the post.

Keep reading!

How much does Disney Genie Plus cost?

Disney has updated pricing for Disney Genie+ to variable pricing. The price will vary between $15 to $22 per person, per day, plus tax at Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, Florida.

The pricing depends on how busy the day is expected to be and the park you’re visiting. You can purchase Disney Genie+ beginning at midnight on the day you have park reservations.

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

Disney Genie+ is the paid service that allows you access to use lightning lanes at certain park attractions.

Lightning lanes allow you to skip the standby lane for these attractions. If you have not purchased Genie+ and then used the app to reserve a return time, you cannot access the lightning lanes.

What are individual lightning lanes?

Individual lightning lanes are not included in Genie+.

They require their own individual fee and this fee only applies to that specific attraction and not multiple attractions like with Genie+.

The app will indicate for you which rides have individual lightning lanes.

You do not need Genie+ to use individual lightning lanes

A lot of people do not realize (myself included) that you do not need to have Genie+ to have access to purchase the individual lightning lane attractions.

These attractions are completely separate from Genie+.

For example: Rise of the Resistance is always an individual lightning lane ride at Hollywood Studios. If this is the only ride that you want then you only need to purchase the individual lightning lane for it.

You can skip Genie+ and save the money.

Purchasing an Individual lightning lane will cost you the same if not more than Genie+ and you will only have one attraction. But it beats paying the fee for Genie+ and the individual lightning lane when you only need one.

However, if you want to, it can be a good strategy to purchase both.

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Not All rides are included in Genie+

Disney has a list of rides that are included in Genie+ and which rides are Individual Lightning lanes for each theme park.

When I used Genie+ for the first time, I did not know that not all rides were included.

I think you should figure out which attractions are most important to you before deciding on Genie+ or Individual Lightning lanes.

This will take a little research on your part, but you can’t do anything until the day of your park visit so you have time! If you’re using Disney Genie Plus I recommend checking out this Ultimate Guide from All Ears.

But before you do that, read on! We’re getting to the good part.

How many rides are included with Disney Genie+?

The number of rides included in Genie+ can vary. I’ve seen them temporarily remove and add attractions so it’s important to keep an eye on this list via the Disney website.

Pro tip – you can keep an eye on wait times for the attractions on the My Disney experience app even if you’re not visiting the park that day.

If the rides you’re interested in consistently have really low wait times, you may want to save the cash and skip the paid service.

Just keep in mind, that wait times vary based on season. I’d recommend checking a few days before your trip and taking into account the day of the week, holidays, special park festivals and events.

WDW Prep School has a great crowd calendar that they keep up to date regularly.

You will spend a lot of time on your phone

If you’re one of those people that does not like to be on your phone while on vacation, then be prepared if you decide to purchase Genie+.

Even if you have Genie+, you cannot just book all the rides for the day at the same time.

You’re only allowed to reserve one ride at a time or after 120 mins have passed since your last selection. If 120 mins has not passed, you cannot book your next ride until you’ve scanned into your next reservation.

So it’s good to at least have a plan for what you want to do next before you tap in. Once you’re tapped in, get back on your phone to reserve your next attraction.

WARNING: You will be glued to your phone the entire day if you want to reserve the max amount of return times.

It’s possible that none of the return times available at the moment work for your plans, but if you’re vigilant at checking your phone the right time may pop up. 

At 9am I was trying to find an individual lightning lane time for Avatar’s Flight of Passage in Animal Kingdom, but the only return times were for 6pm or later.

I decided to wait and keep checking the app to see if an earlier time popped up. At 12pm I checked the app and there was a return time for 1:15pm! I quickly snatched it and headed over to Pandora.

The downside is that I was constantly checking my phone the entire morning to see if something was going to pop up.

So, depending on how much you want to utilize the paid services will determine how much time you will spend on your device.

The time you start booking matters

For Genie+ you can start booking return times starting at 7am regardless whether you are staying on property.

If you start booking this early, you’ll have a better chance of being able to plan your day the way you want to. If it’s a hot day (when is it not in Florida), I like to start planning my return times for later in the afternoon.

I start to check return times in the morning and just keep refreshing until I see a suitable time that will allow me to head over to the park when I want to.

We then don’t have to rush to the park and can take our time.

If you’re staying at an onsite Disney hotel you can purchase individual lightning lanes at 7am as well.

Depending on how much time you want to spend on your phone, there can be a lot of strategy that goes into when you can make your next Genie+ selection.

For a more in-depth analysis and strategy, read this article on When can I make my next Genie+ selection from WDW Prep School.

You can use it with Disney DAS

If you qualify for the Disney DAS program, you can also use it with Genie+.

This means that you can reserve return times with DAS and Genie+ at the same time.

How do you qualify for Disney DAS?

Per the DAS page on Disney’s website “As part of this commitment, Disability Access Service (DAS) is a program offered at Walt Disney World theme parks to assist Guests who have difficulty tolerating extended waits in a conventional queue environment due to a disability.”

We have several members of our group that utilize scooters while at the theme parks because walking for long periods of time can be exhausting.

You are allowed to bring your own scooter, rent them at the park or rent from a 3rd party and take them to the park.

The Disney DAS program is not intended for guests that are utilizing wheelchairs or scooters but are able to wait in the standby line.

Most attractions at Disney can accommodate wheelchairs and scooters and cast members are available to assist guests when getting on and off the attractions.

But we also have members of our group that are unable to wait in long standby lines regardless of whether they are sitting in a wheelchair or scooter.

So for this reason, these specific members of our party were able to sign up for Disney DAS.

We recommend that you visit the DAS page on Disney’s website if you feel that you may qualify for this service.

How do you register for DAS?

You can register for DAS in advance online and chat with a cast member between 30-2 days prior to your Disney visit or you can visit Guest Services at the park.

When registering online, you will have to wait until a cast member is available for a video chat. This could be a few mins or hours and you may need to try a few times before connecting with a cast member.

Although wait times may vary, the process of speaking to a cast member will only take a few mins.

Once registered, DAS is valid for 60 days.

You can reserve returns times through DAS via the My Disney Experience app, very similar to how you would for Genie+.

If you or a member of your party has registered for DAS, reservations can be made for up to 6 guests.

However, if you have more guests in your group just take a trip to Guest Relations and explain your situation. 🙂

Once you see an attraction in the app, click on more details and you will see an option for DAS.

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Is Disney Genie Plus worth it?

In my personal opinion – Yes, it’s worth it.

But it really depends on your goals for how you want to spend your time at the park.

If you just want to go with the flow and you’re not concerned about long wait times for certain attractions, save your money.

If you are someone that wants to maximize your time at the parks and fit in as much as possible, then Disney Genie+ and individual lightning lanes are definitely worth the extra cost.

I’m of the mind that time is money. I think that in most cases, time and convenience are worth the extra cost.

Remember that it’s important to do some planning up front.

If your plans do not align with what Genie+ has to offer – skip it.

Perhaps, the biggest advice I can give you is have fun!

Yes, Disney can be stressful but it’s also meant to be fun. If you have the right perspective, you can’t go wrong!

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