The awesome folks behind our TouringPlans Instagram account posted a poll over the weekend that asked followers to submit their questions about Genie, Genie+, and Lightning Lane. And they were flooded with questions. This post is going to kick off a week of daily posts that attempt to help you all in the lead-up to the Genie launch on Tuesday, October 19, 2021.
Today we’ll take all of the submitted questions (hundreds of them) and answer the ones that came up most frequently as best we can. If you have questions that aren’t answered in this post, go ahead and leave them in the comments and we’ll do our best to address them.
Questions about Basics and Logistics
Which rides are only available via Individual Lightning Lane?
- Magic Kingdom – Seven Dwarfs Mine Train; Space Mountain
- EPCOT – Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure; Frozen Ever After
- Hollywood Studios – Rise of the Resistance; Runaway Railway
- Animal Kingdom – Flight of Passage; Expedition Everest
Which rides will be available on Genie+?
Magic Kingdom – “it’s a small world”; Big Thunder Mountain Railroad; Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin; Dumbo the Flying Elephant; Haunted Mansion; Jungle Cruise; Mad Tea Party; Mickey’s PhilharMagic; Monsters, Inc. Laugh Floor; Peter Pan’s Flight; Pirates of the Caribbean; 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
EPCOT – Disney & Pixar Short Film Festival; Journey Into Imagination with Figment; Living With the Land; Mission: SPACE; Soarin’; Spaceship Earth; Test Track; The Seas with Nemo and Friends; Turtle Talk with Crush
Hollywood Studios – Alien Swirling Saucers; Beauty and the Beast — Live on Stage; Disney Junior — Live on Stage; Frozen Sing-Along Celebration; Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular; Millennium Falcon: Smuggler’s Run; Muppet*Vision 3D; Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster Starring Aerosmith; Slinky Dog Dash; Star Tours; Tower of Terror; Toy Story Mania
How much will it cost?
Access to Genie+ will cost $15 per person in your party, per day. It will give you access to reserve return times for the attractions listed above, as well as some augmented reality interactions and audio tours.
Individual access Lightning Lane return times will have varied cost, depending on the attraction and demand. These will start at $7 per person, per attraction.
Can I purchase in advance? Or only day-of?
As of now, if you would like to add Genie+ to every day of your ticket package, you will be able to add it in advance to your vacation. Purchases for individual days will open at midnight the day that you would like to use it.
Can I purchase it for just certain members of my party? Or do I have to purchase it for all of them?
For Individual Lightning Lane Access, you will definitely be able to purchase it for just specific members of your party. It’s still unknown how this will work for Genie+, but you should be able to purchase it for specific party members as well.
Can I purchase Genie+ in the middle of the day if I decide that I need it?
We assume that you’ll be able to do this – it will still cost $15 per person, and you won’t get full use of it since other guests will start making Genie+ reservations beginning at 7 am.
Do Annual Passholders or on-site guests get any perks related to Genie+ or Lightning Lane?
As of now, Annual Passholders do not receive any special pricing or perks. On-site guests will have the ability to make Individual Lightning Lane Access purchases beginning at 7 am, and other guests will have to wait for these purchases until park opening. There is no Genie+ perk for on-site guests.
Questions about Repeats, Return Times, and Availability
Can I repeat attractions? Like if my kid LOVES Peter Pan, can I just get Genie+ reservations for that all day?
As of now, it looks like you will not be able to repeat attractions with Genie+. Once you get and use a return time for an attraction, you will not be able to obtain another one for that attraction during that park day. Same for Individual Lightning Lane Access: you can only purchase access once per attraction per day.
Can I pick my return times (like I did with FastPass+) with Genie+, or is the next available time my only option?
With Genie+ it looks like the next available time will be your only option. This simplifies things on the backend, but does make it more difficult for you to plan in advance.
With Individual Lightning Lane purchases, you may be able to choose from several available time slots.
How many Genie+ reservations are realistic for one day in the park?
For some parks this is easy. At Animal Kingdom, definitely no more than 8, because that’s how many attractions (and shows) offer it. Other than that, we don’t really know. We’ll be testing it out as soon as Genie+ is available on the October 19. However, a “worst-case” scenario, assuming that availability doesn’t run out, is that you can get one reservation at 7 am, and another reservation every 120 minutes after that, until the park closes. So for a 9 pm close at Magic Kingdom, you could get reservations at 7 am, 9 am, 11 am, 1 pm, 3 pm, 5 pm, and 7 pm. That’s 7 reservations. If you’re savvy about picking up and using reservations quickly, you could do more than that because you can make your next Genie+ reservation after 120 minutes OR when you tap into and use the first one, whichever comes first.
What does Genie+ reservation availability look like throughout the day?
Good question. We’re curious about this, too. We would hope that it would have at least as much availability as FastPass+ did (they did “sell out” for popular attractions). And ideally it should have even more availability since it’s a paid service that will therefore likely have less demand than the free FastPass+ system. This is on our list of things to collect data about during the week of the October 19.
Questions about Interactions with Other Programs
What if my Genie+ or Individual Lightning Lane Access reservations conflict with my dining reservations?
Well… don’t let them. It might happen, since your only option is the next available time. But we have no information about late arrivals for your return time. We do know that Genie+ and Individual Lightning Lane reservations are non-modifiable. So just do your best to not let that happen, but we’ll still be testing out what does happen once Genie+ becomes available.
Does Genie+ work with park hopping? What if I get a return time at my second park before I’m allowed to hop at 2 pm?
Genie+ does work with park hopping! And it may actually be a savvy move to purchase Genie+ for a day when you choose to hop between two parks so that you can do headliners at both and only pay the Genie on one day. We believe that you won’t be able to get a Genie+ reservation or purchase an Individual Lightning Lane Access for your second park with a return time before 2 pm, but this is something that we will be testing when Genie+ is available.
How will Individual Lightning Lane Access work with Virtual Queue for Remy?
As of now, it sounds like if you purchase Individual Lightning Lane Access, that means you don’t need to try to get a boarding pass at 7 am. It will likely mean that it will be more difficult to score a boarding pass at 7 am as some capacity is reserved for Lightning Lane purchases. If you do get a Boarding Group, but then later decide to purchase Individual Lightning Lane Access, we don’t know exactly how that will work yet. It’s something that we will be testing when Genie+ is available.
How will Genie+ or Individual Lightning Lane Access work with Disability Access Service (DAS)?
DAS now has a new feature – if you qualify for Disability Access Service, you will be able to register with a Cast Member during a video chat up to 30 days before your visit. During that chat, you will be able to reserve 2 experiences for each day of your visit. You must select these experiences at least 2 days before you visit each park. You will also be able to register for additional experiences the day that you are in the park via a new module in the My Disney Experience app, or continue with the in-person option currently in use in the parks. There is no further information, however, about whether or how you will be able to make Lightning Lane purchases in addition to these advance and in-park selections.
How will Genie+ or Individual Lightning Lane Access work with Rider Switch?
Rider Switch recently underwent some significant changes regarding how many people could ride on the “switch” after the initial wait. Pre-pandemic, families could utilize FastPass+ queues when using Rider Switch, and we assume that this will remain the same in the era of Genie+.
Questions about Wait Times, whether Genie is “Worth It”, and Comparisons to Touring Plans
How will Genie+ impact standby wait times?
Well, they certainly won’t get shorter. The answer is a big “it depends”. If Genie+ has the same demand and capacity as FastPass, then 80% of ride capacity will go toward Genie riders and 20% of capacity will go to standby. That equals much longer standby lines. However, it’s very unrealistic that Genie+ demand will match that of (free) FastPass+, so standby wait times shouldn’t be as impacted. And at least in the near-term, overall consumer demand is low and wait times haven’t gone back to their pre-pandemic normal. They’ll increase, but we won’t know by how much until we can collect some data. You can help with this by entering your standby and Genie+ wait times in the Lines App when you next visit Disney World.
Will Disney manipulate wait times to make me think that I need to purchase Genie+ or Individual Lightning Lane Access?
We already know that Disney inflates posted wait times. It stands to reason that the wait times displayed in your Genie plan will be those same inflated times, and any time savings quoted back to you will also likely be compared to those inflated numbers. It’s unlikely that Disney would attempt to artificially push these posted times even higher, because that could just get them in trouble. They have legitimate reasons for inflating their wait times, but that does put the burden on the consumer to really think critically before trusting any “purchase now” recommendations, if any exist.
Will there be premium or personalized Touring Plans that incorporate the use of Genie+ and Individual Lightning Lane Access?
Pre-pandemic, premium and personalized Touring Plans included recommendations about which FastPasses to attempt to get and use to save the most time. Once we collect enough data about Genie+ and Lightning Lanes, you can expect to see similar functionality. This will require a little patience, so if you’re travelling in the near future, see the question below regarding that specific situation.
If I can only afford Genie+ for one day of my trip, which park should I use it at?
Excellent question and critical thinking! You can review our analysis of “worth” of Genie+ (pre-data-collection) at each park in this series: MK, HS, EP, AK. Moral of the story is, Magic Kingdom and Hollywood Studios both make strong cases for being your choice. Magic Kingdom has many attractions that offer Genie+ reservations, making it easy to potentially get many reservations and save time that way. But Hollywood Studios has overall higher average waits, making each reservation that you can get potentially worth a lot. So it’s up to you whether you would rather skip many medium-length lines or a few really-lengthy lines.
Will Genie+ or Individual Lightning Lane Access even be necessary on lower crowd level days?
Will it ever be necessary? No, not on any day. You can tour without it. People have done it for years. Ha! Refer to the articles above to see the numbers about low crowd level days specifically. It depends on how you define necessary, but you could certainly make use of it at Magic Kingdom or Hollywood Studios on a low crowd level day. But you could also just tour efficiently with a touring plan and avoid it if you want.
How do the free Genie plans compare with Touring Plans?
We won’t know for sure until we can test them out, but we’ve been perfecting the art and science of a touring plan for many years. We allow you to repeat attractions and include as many (or few) attractions as you want. You can build in breaks, choose to minimize walking or waiting, switch things up in the middle of the day, and refer to information about the rides and how other users rate them. In examples and write-ups that we’ve seen so far, it seems that Genie may be limited to about 8 steps. And if you’ve experienced any reservation drop day or been on the Disney website more than… twice, you know that Stitch tends to eat a lot of pages. We certainly don’t trust that the Genie plan will be some magic cure that helps the masses.
What will be the most efficient way to tour? Touring Plan with no Genie+? Genie plan with no Genie+? Having a Touring Plan and Genie+?
This remains to be seen. We certainly have our educated guesses and firm-held beliefs. And we will be doing lots of testing when Genie+ becomes available.
Question About the Week of Launch
Well, this is all great and helpful, but you have a lot of “we’ll be testing it.” The problem is, I’m going to be there the week that Genie launches. What the heck do I do?!
Never fear, we’ve got you covered. We can’t predict the future with certainty, but we can give you whatever guidance we can. Each day this week, we’ll be posting potential touring strategies for each of the four WDW parks, based on predicted crowd levels for the week of October 19. One strategy will assume that you want to avoid being a guinea pig for Genie+, and the other will assume that you want to try it out. Magic Kingdom will post tomorrow (Tuesday, October 12), with the rest of the parks following throughout the week.
Do you have any other questions that you would like us to try to answer? Let us know in the comments!