Genie Plus at Disneyland was introduced in 2021, taking the place of the popular Fastpass and MaxPass systems. Within the Disneyland app, guests can access Disney Genie for free. For an additional fee, they can upgrade to Disney Genie+ and enjoy added benefits. Moreover, select top-tiered attractions offer Individual Lighting Lane purchases, further enhancing the guest experience. This new system aims to streamline the process of planning and enjoying attractions at Disneyland, giving visitors the opportunity to maximize their time and create unforgettable memories.
While navigating the new system can be a bit overwhelming at first for some, the two most common questions most have are… How does Disney Genie+ work? And is it worth the price?
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Planning a Disneyland vacation in 2024? Be sure to check out our guide to all that the Disneyland Resort has to offer this year including the return of the Disneyland Half Marathon, the grand opening of Tiana’s Bayou Adventure, and more! (You can also find our 2023 guide here!)
What is Disney Genie Service?
The basic Disney Genie service is complimentary to all park guests. (Disney Genie+ is a paid add-on, but more on that below…)
It is described by Disney as a way to help you “create your best Disney day.” You are able to “tell Disney Genie what you want to do and it will do the planning for you.” In other words, guests are able to personalize an itinerary to help map out their day in the park. This includes attractions, dining, entertainment, and more.
You simply input all of your wishes for a perfect day at Disney in the Disney Genie app, and the app “helps” to guide your day in the park. Also included with Disney Genie is the ability to use existing planning features such as joining virtual queues, dining reservations, mobile ordering, and more.
What is Disney Genie+?
Disney Genie+ is a paid add-on to your park ticket. Guests can purchase it before their visit (as an add-on with new ticket or vacation package purchases) or it can be purchased by existing ticket holders through the Disneyland app on the day of their park visit after park entry.
This add-on allows you to skip the standby line on select attractions for a daily fee. This fee will vary depending on the season and day. Peak days will cost more than non-peak days. Disneyland’s cost starts at $25 per day per person (plus tax).
In Disneyland, you make your selections inside the park on the day of your visit. This isn’t much different than the old MaxPass system.
When making selections, you simply choose the next available time to arrive at a variety of attractions and experiences. Only one selection can be made at a time, and selections can be modified or canceled if needed. And instead of entering a FastPass lane at your chosen attraction, you enter what is now referred to as a “Lightning Lane” (which is basically the same thing with an updated name!) And if you’re one who loves to park hop, Lightning Lane selections can be used across multiple theme parks.
Additional features for those purchasing Disney Genie+ include Disney parks-themed audio experiences and photo features, such as augmented reality lenses for those visiting the Disneyland Resort. Disneyland also offers unlimited digital downloads of photos taken while on select attractions, and this includes unlimited downloads of a Guest’s Disney PhotoPass photos or videos that were captured by Disney PhotoPass photographers!
It is also worth noting that select top-tier attractions will not be available for those purchasing Disney Genie+. They will only be available as an “Individual Attraction Selection.” See below for more details!
So to recap…
- In Disneyland, guests will need to be in the park to make their first Genie+ selection.
- Only one Genie+ selection can be made at a time.
- Genie+ selections can be modified or canceled if needed.
- Disneyland Genie+ includes park-themed audio experiences, photo features, and unlimited PhotoPass downloads.
Individual Attraction Selections
This à la carte option is completely separate from Disney Genie+.
Each park currently has one or two top-tier attractions available for this à la carte option, and these rides are not available to those with Disney Genie+. (Note: You do not have to purchase Disney Genie+ to purchase Individual Attractions. It is completely separate, and guests are free to purchase one or the other… or both.)
Pricing for this option will vary. But based on example pricing from Disney, it appears to be somewhere between $7-$20 per person depending on the date, the attraction, and the park. It is also worth noting that Individual Attraction Selections are non-refundable and cannot be modified or canceled.
Like Genie+, Disneyland requires you to be in the park to make your first selection.
So to recap…
- Guests can purchase access to the Lightning Lane of certain top-tier main attractions. This is separate from Disney Genie+ and will be available à la carte.
- In Disneyland, all guests will need to be in the park in order to purchase their individual selection reservations.
- Unlike Genie+ Selections, Individual Attraction Selections are non-refundable and cannot be modified or canceled.
Disneyland Lightning Lane Attractions
For those purchasing Genie+ (starting at $25 per day per ticket), Lightning Lane reservations can be made for these attractions once inside the park. Only one reservation can be held at a time.
- Big Thunder Mountain Railroad
- Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters
- Haunted Mansion
- Indiana JonesTM Adventure
- “it’s a small world”
- Matterhorn Bobsleds
- Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run
- Roger Rabbit’s Car Toon Spin
- Space Mountain
- Star Tours – The Adventures Continue
- Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway (Individual Attraction – prices will vary)
- Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance (Individual Attraction – prices will vary)
Disney California Adventure Park
- Goofy’s Sky School
- Grizzly River Run
- Guardians of the Galaxy – Mission: BREAKOUT!
- Monsters, Inc. Mike & Sulley to the Rescue!
- Soarin’ Over California
- Toy Story Midway Mania!
- WEB SLINGERS: A Spider-Man Adventure
- Radiator Springs Racers (Individual Attraction – prices will vary)
Standby Lines & Virtual Queues
Standby lines are not going anywhere. If you decide that you’d rather not purchase your way into a Lightning Lane, you will still be able to wait in line just as you always have in both Disneyland and Disney World.
In other words… purchasing a place in line will not be required. Guests are free to enjoy the complimentary Disney Genie service and wait in traditional standby lines, or you can choose to take advantage of the paid add-on options.
Virtual queues are sometimes utilized for the most popular, brand-new attractions. In Disneyland, only World of Color (the nighttime spectacular in California Adventure) is offering a virtual queue. But that doesn’t mean a virtual queue won’t be utilized in the future as needed.
When the virtual queue is in place, a standby line will not be available. This means that guests are required to use the Disneyland app to enter the attraction. Visit our virtual queue guide for more information on how to snag a place in line for Disney’s most popular attractions!
Is Disney Genie Plus at Disneyland Worth the Cost?
Many certainly have mixed emotions on this topic. After all, Disney’s FastPass service used to be complimentary to park guests, and Disneyland Park guests did not have to purchase MaxPass in order to take advantage of the FastPass paper system in place at both Disneyland Park and Disney’s California Adventure. And if that wasn’t enough… not every attraction is available on the Disney Genie Plus service. Top-tier attractions come at an extra cost if you want to skip the standby line.
Disney Genie Plus Pros:
- You no longer have to walk to your favorite attraction just to get a FastPass. While the paper FastPass option was free in Disneyland and California Adventure, it did require a lot of walking. Walking to an attraction to get a ticket to get in line later certainly wasn’t my family’s idea of fun. It is part of what made MaxPass an attractive purchase as it allowed you to get your FastPasses on the app.
- Fewer people using Genie Plus means Lightning Lanes will be shorter than FastPass lanes once were. Let’s face it. Many will take one look at the added $25+ per day per ticket and opt out. Time will tell how this will affect the Lightning Lanes in general, but common sense tells us that fewer people means shorter Lightning Lane lines. FastPass lines were always faster than standby, but I remember still having to wait.
- On a typical day in the parks, the Disney Genie Plus service could save you a lot of time. Time is money when it comes to a day at Disney, so saving an hour of waiting in line could make all the difference… especially if you can manage to save that kind of time on multiple attractions.
Disney Genie Plus Cons:
- It isn’t free. Disney Genie Plus will cost $25+ a day per ticket. This could add up quickly on a family vacation!
- There will be days that Disney Genie Plus simply isn’t worth it. There is most definitely a “sweet spot” when it comes to utilizing this new service. If the parks are really quiet and lines are short, paying for Disney Genie Plus to skip a 15-20 minute wait won’t be worth it. And if the parks are slammed, many of the selections will book up so quickly that you will be left with nothing to choose from.
- Be prepared to spend some time on your phone. This was my biggest complaint when I purchased MaxPass for my 2019 Disneyland vacation. While we could be a bit more spontaneous not having to book FastPasses weeks ahead of the trip, it did mean that I was booking FastPasses all day on my phone. Personally… I like to be a bit more present on my vacations with my family.
Things to Consider Before Purchasing Disney Genie Plus:
- Weigh the pros and cons for your family on your specific vacation. What will the crowds be like during your visit? Are there a lot of attractions on the Disney Genie Plus service list that you don’t want to miss?
- Consider adding the Disney Genie Plus service on specific days rather than your entire vacation. Looking at the list, it is noticeable how many more attractions are available at Magic Kingdom and Hollywood Studios than at Animal Kingdom or Epcot. Disneyland Park also offers quite a bit more than Disney’s California Adventure. You don’t have to purchase Disney Genie Plus for your entire vacation. Purchasing Disney Genie Plus for specific days allows you to pick and choose based on which park you are in and how busy the parks are.
- Don’t be afraid to mix and match. Disney does not require you to purchase Disney Genie Plus to take advantage of the Individual Lightning Lane purchases for top-tiered attractions. You may choose to opt out of both, purchase one or the other, or take advantage of both. The choice is yours on each day of your vacation.
Planning your first Disneyland vacation? Be sure to visit my step-by-step guide to get started!
*To learn more about Disney Genie and Disney Genie+, be sure to visit Disneyland’s official website for more info.