When Can I Book My Next Genie+ Lightning Lane?

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If you forked over your hard-earned cash for Genie+, you want to make the most of it, right? That usually means making another Lightning Lane reservation as soon as you can. So just how long will you need to wait between making reservations? We’ve got the answers right here.

If you’ve been reading guides on how to use Genie+ at Disney World (including, perchance, our own walkthrough), you might know that the Tip Board will tell you when you can book another Lightning Lane. You might wonder why you should keep reading. Two reasons:

  1. Knowing how long you’ll be blocked from making a new Lightning Lane reservation helps you choose the right one when it’s time to pick.
  2.  If people in your group have different Lightning Lane reservations, and the “you can book again” times are different, Genie will only show you a single person’s time on the Tip Board.
screenshot of the Tip Board with banner from Genie showing that the guest can book again at 10 a.m.
Genie will tell you when you can book again, but knowing the rules is very useful.

When Can You Make a New Lightning Lane Reservation?

Let’s start with when you can make your first Lightning Lane reservation. All guests, no matter where they are staying, can make their first Genie+ Lightning Lane reservation at 7 a.m. (Rules for Individual Lightning reservations are different.)

After that, you can make a new Genie+ Lightning Lane reservation when either of the following two things is true:

The last Genie+ Lightning Lane reservation that you made is “gone” – either because you tapped in for it, canceled it, or because it expired.

OR

It’s been 2 hours since you made your last Genie+ Lightning Lane reservation.

Take note! For that last one — the famous “Genie 120-minute rule” — it’s important to start timing from the right minute. If you make a Lightning Lane reservation before the park opens, it behaves as if you booked it right at the instant the park opened. So if the park opens at 9 a.m. and you made the reservation at 7:15 a.m., your two-hour blackout doesn’t start at 7:15 — instead your timer starts at 9 and you’ll be eligible two hours after park opening. Which park opening is the one that matters if they have different opening times? It’s always the one with the attraction you booked.

What about if you modify a Lightning Lane reservation? The key word here is modify – it’s still the same reservation, even if you’ve changed it so that the time or attraction is different. It doesn’t reset the “when can I book” time if you were waiting for 2 hours to pass. And if it wasn’t the last reservation that you made or it wasn’t blocking you from a new one before you modified it, then it still isn’t afterward. The only case where modifying a Lightning Lane reservation could change when you can book a new one is if the pre- or post-modification return window begins less than two hours after you made the original reservation.

Example to Show How Lightning Lane Reservation Rules Work

I always grok better with an example, so I’ve set one up here. I’d like you to keep a couple of things in mind as you read it. First, I’ve tried to pick Lightning Lane times that are sort of realistic, but the patterns change over time. Don’t assume that just because you see it in this example you’ll be able to get these times. (For the latest data, see How has Genie+ Availability Changed?)

Second, I’ve purposely constructed this example to cover as many confusing Lightning Lane blackout window questions as I could think of, so it might feel like a terribly confusing system! The reality is that you’re unlikely to run into all these situations on the same day when you visit the parks. This is a worst-case scenario and it should not feel this crazy when you are actually using it.

Ready? Let’s go!

You’ve got a park reservation for Animal Kingdom and a park hopper ticket. Animal Kingdom opens at 8 a.m., and all the other parks open at 9 a.m. Anyone can start booking Genie+ Lightning Lanes at 7 a.m., whether they’re staying onsite or not.

• 7:00 a.m.: Book a 6:45 p.m. Lightning Lane for Slinky Dog Dash at Hollywood Studios

• 8 a.m.: Arrive at Animal Kingdom and start touring.

• 10 a.m.: Two hours since Animal Kingdom opened. But you still can’t book!

When can you make your second Lightning Lane reservation? Remember, for reservations that you make before the parks are open, the 120-minute rule counts as though you made the reservation right when the park opened. But not when Animal Kingdom opened – the ride you booked is in Hollywood Studios, which didn’t open until 9 a.m. That’s when you need to count from.

• 11 a.m.: Finally! You can book! You make an 11:20 a.m. reservation for DINOSAUR.

11:15 a.m.: You tap in for DINOSAUR. You can book again. You make an 11:45 a.m. reservation for Kali River Rapids.

OK, you can book again because you used your most recently booked reservation, but wasn’t it for 11:20? It turns out there’s a 5-minute “arrival slosh” and you can tap in for your Lightning Lanes up to 5 minutes early. Disney doesn’t advertise this, and to be honest I don’t race across the parks trying to get in there at the earliest possible moment because I don’t find that pleasant or necessary. But it does work and is occasionally very useful.

•11:20 a.m.: While you’re waiting in line for lunch, you see a 5:45 p.m. return time for Slinky Dog Dash. That’s earlier than your current 6:45 p.m. return, so you modify the reservation. How does this modification affect when you can book your next Lightning Lane? Answer: it doesn’t affect it at all — since this wasn’t the last reservation that you made, it wasn’t controlling your eligibility before you modified and it still isn’t.

12:45 p.m.: After DINOSAUR you decided to get lunch before riding Kali River Rapids because you didn’t want to eat soaking wet. Unfortunately the line at Restaurantosaurus was simply beyond belief, and you’re just now clearing your table as your Kali River Rapids Lightning Lane expires. Well, at least you’re eligible to book again; you pick Tower of Terror at Hollywood Studios at 6:15 p.m.

12:55 p.m.: You tap into the Lightning Lane at Kali River Rapids

Wait, what? It turns out that the five-minute “arrival slosh” for Lightning Lanes has a matching 15-minute grace period at the end of your window. Even though you’re a teensy bit late, you can still use your reservation. Good thing too, because once you miss your Lightning Lane window you can’t make a new reservation for that same attraction. BUT, tapping in here doesn’t make you eligible for a new booking because this is not the last Lightning Lane reservation you made.

Note that Disney doesn’t advertise this grace period either, and has a history of removing niceties that give grace for “things that happen” when people start to view them as loopholes to exploit.

2:45 p.m.: Two hours have passed since you booked Tower of Terror, and you’re eligible again. You choose Na’vi River Journey at 5:15 p.m. Since that’s more than two hours away, the next time you can make a reservation will be 4:45 p.m.

2:50 p.m.: You see an option to grab an earlier return time of 5 p.m. for Na’vi River Journey and you modify your reservation. Your new Lightning Lane window is still more than two hours away, so the next time you can reserve is still 4:45 p.m. It didn’t change to 4:50 p.m. to line up with the time you modified; your original booking timeline is preserved.

•3:10 p.m.: A downpour has come and gone and apparently lots of people have canceled their reservations for Na’vi River Journey because now you see one at 4 p.m. You modify your reservation to grab that puppy and head on over to Pandora. How soon will you be able to book a new Lightning Lane? Well, in this case, it could move up your book again time because both rules are in play here. Your return window runs from 4 to 5 p.m. and the 120-minute rule will still kick in at 4:45 p.m. So if you tap in before 4:45, you’ll be eligible as soon as you do — but you’ll be eligible at 4:45 p.m. no matter what.

A few notes:

One question that a lot of people have is whether you can have more than one Lightning Lane reservation at a time. The answer is yes. Notice that at 2:45 p.m. you’re holding 3 reservations at the same time – two in Hollywood Studios, plus the one for Na’vi River Journey.

The strategy of booking Lightning Lanes for a much later time in a different park (or in the same park) is called stacking. You can read about it here: Genie+: All About Stacking. Although it’s not always the right approach, it’s very useful to know about – in this case you’ll arrive in Hollywood Studios and be able to ride both Tower of Terror and Slinky Dog Dash in under an hour. Not bad!

Keeping Track of Your Lightning Lane Eligibility

If everyone in your party is making the same Lightning Lane reservations, you’ll be able to rely on Genie to tell you when you can book. You still might want to set a reminder or timer on your phone, just so you don’t keep forgetting the time and checking it again.

If people in your group are using their Lightning Lane picks for different experiences, then you won’t be able to rely on the time Genie shows at the top of the Tip Board. If you’re logged into My Disney Experience under your own profile, then the time when Genie says you can book will always be the time that you can book. If you want to see the time that somebody else in your party can book, you’ll need to try to reserve a Lightning Lane for them – then you’ll see if they can book or when they will become eligible. In this situation, many people find it helpful to set reminders or alarms on their phone so that they know when each person can make a new Genie+ reservation.

Do you still have questions? Let us know in the comments!

 

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Jennifer Heymont

Jennifer Heymont has a background in math and biology, but since she couldn't pick between the two she ended up in Data Science where she gets to do both. She lives just north of Boston with her husband, kids, and assorted animal members of the family. Although it took three visits for the Disney bug to "take", she now really wishes she lived a lot closer to the Parks.

14 thoughts on “When Can I Book My Next Genie+ Lightning Lane?

  • December 13, 2022 at 7:48 pm
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    I’m surprised that you posted this just a few days after Disney changed the Genie+ rules to allow them to be modified, yet you didn’t even mention that they can be modified, let alone how modifying a G+ reservation affects when you can next book. Will you or someone else be posting about how the new modification rule works?

    Reply
    • December 17, 2022 at 3:07 pm
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      Hi Tom, Disney announced in advance that they would be making changes to allow modifying Lightning Lane reservations, but unfortunately they didn’t say exactly when those changes would be available. The article was already written and scheduled when modification became available on December 9.

      We’ve spent a week testing the new functionality and have now updated the article with information that we can be confident is correct.

      Reply
      • December 20, 2022 at 6:09 pm
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        Thanks for the reply.

        You now state: “The only case where modifying a Lightning Lane reservation could change when you can book a new one is if the new window begins less than two hours after you made the original reservation.” I think I’ve come up with another exception. Assuming you can park hop, you can modify a Genie+ reservation for an attraction in one park to another attraction in another park. Assuming the 2-hour rule applies to both reservations, and that you’re making the modification before park opening, your next booking time would also change if the two parks open at different times.

      • December 20, 2022 at 6:20 pm
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        Hi Tom, when modifying a Genie+ reservation, you can only change the time or modify the reservation to another attraction within the same park. So there wouldn’t be an effect based on the park opening time as in your example because your new reservation is required to be in the same park.

        Still, thanks for calling out that line – it should say “if the new or *old* window begins less than 2 hours after you made the original reservation.” If you make a reservation at 1 p.m. for 1:30, and later modify it to a window beginning at 4 p.m. (unusual, but maybe you needed to leave the park for some reason), then your change would actually make your reservation subject to the 120-minute rule. I’ll edit now.

      • December 20, 2022 at 7:20 pm
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        Thanks for the correction.

  • January 25, 2023 at 5:25 pm
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    This is probably one of the best narratives I’ve seen about how the system works. Thanks very much for posting it. Though I’ve been using it from the start, and have been the one making the reservations from the start, it can still be difficult to keep track of everything. You laid out the examples in a cool, chronological way. Much appreciated!

    Reply
    • January 26, 2023 at 12:38 am
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      Thanks for the kind words. We try!

      Reply
  • February 16, 2023 at 7:52 pm
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    Hi – can you stack rides all day that you’re traveling to DW, before entering a park at all? For example: I wake up on travel day and book Space Mountain as soon as I can, at 6:45 or 7a, for an afternoon return time. Can I then continue to stack rides as I travel, without having ever entered the MK? Thanks for your help!!

    Reply
    • February 16, 2023 at 8:52 pm
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      Yes. There is no requirement to enter the park to book Lightning Lanes; sometimes if we need to do research we book them from our sofas all day in another state!

      Note that this is only true for Disney World; at Disneyland you can’t book Lightning Lanes until you’ve entered the park.

      Reply
  • March 12, 2023 at 10:35 am
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    Hi, I’m planning on going to AK which (park opening at 8am) and park hopping to HS in the afternoon (park opening at 8:30am). My first Genie+ reservation is in AK, but the remaining ones will be in HS. What time can I make my second Genie+ reservation? 10am or 10:30am? A half hour can make a big difference at HS!

    Thanks,
    Linie

    Reply
    • March 12, 2023 at 10:43 am
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      Hi Linie, if your first reservation is in AK, then you can make your next one two hours after AK opens – in this case at 10 a.m. Have a great trip!

      Reply
      • March 12, 2023 at 11:19 am
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        Even though I’m booking in HS? Thanks!

      • March 12, 2023 at 11:56 am
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        If your first reservation is in AK, then (assuming it opens at 8 a.m.), you will be able to make your second reservation at 10 a.m. By that time, both parks will be open. Keep in mind that you won’t be able to reserve anything in HS unless the return time is after 2 p.m.

  • March 13, 2023 at 11:10 pm
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    Got it! Thanks!!

    Reply

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