October 19th was the official launch of Disney Genie, the program built inside the My Disney Experience app that is designed to aid guests in maximizing their park days and customizing their experience to their interests. I previously provided a detailed overview about Disney Genie, Genie+ and Individual Attraction Selections here. Now that Genie is live, I have a few tips that will help you make your most informed decision about whether using these new services is right for your next vacation.
Let’s first breakdown which each service provides:
Disney Genie is the free planning tool that is now a part of My Disney Experience App.
Disney Genie + is the paid service that you can purchase prior to your park arrival (either on your Walt Disney World Travel Company package or individually each day beginning at Midnight. The service is $15 per day, per person.
Individual Attraction Selections (IAS) are 2 rides in each of the four WDW theme parks that are not included in Genie+ but can be purchased on the day of your park day, subject to availability (they can and will sell out as we have learned).
IAS Rides Include:
Seven Dwarfs Mine Train
Flight of Passage
Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure (available as a IAS and Virtual Queue)
Frozen Ever After
Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway
Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance
When are you planning to visit Walt Disney World?
If you are planning to attend during peak times, such as holiday (including long weekend holidays: President’s Day, Memorial Day, etc.) you will want to consider purchasing Genie+ and IAS if you want to maximize your time in the parks as the crowds will be heavier than say an average Tuesday.
What ages are traveling and what are your park goals?
If you are traveling with small children, you may be better off only purchasing Genie+ in parks where there are the most general audience attractions such Magic Kingdom or Hollywood Studios. Some parks, like Animal Kingdom, you may decide that skipping Genie+ and only purchasing the IAS attractions (i.e. Purchase Flight of Passage for those who want to ride, leverage rider swap, etc.) as not many other rides and attractions at Animal Kingdom would really need a Lightning Lane pass (waits already manageable) or the height requirements may be too tall for the children in your travel party. There are so many walk through attractions (animal exhibits and petting zoo) and shows, that Lightning Lanes probably won’t help you any more than just waiting in standby queues for those things that require queuing (Festival of the Lion King is a good example).
Considering the volume of attractions, Magic Kingdom would be the best park to get the most value from your Genie+ and IAS purchases. Many of the rides are for all heights and you can get so much done having those Lightning Lane passes.
How often do you go to Walt Disney World?
Are you a regular, or is your vacation a once in a lifetime or every 5 years type of vacation? Depending on how frequently you plan to visit the parks should greatly influence your decision whether Genie+ and IAS purchases are “worth it.” If this trip is your chance to do everything you can possibly do, as many times/as many attractions possible, then yes, Genie+ and IAS purchases will be necessary to maximize your time, regardless of time of year you visit.
Advantage goes to the Disney Resort Hotel Guest
One of the biggest advantages about Disney Genie+ goes to the Disney Resort hotel guest. Beginning at 7AM the morning of your Park Pass Reservation, Disney Resort Hotel Guests can go on their My Disney Experience app and book their first lightning lane, book a virtual queue for Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure AND purchase Individual Attraction Selections (IAS).
Guests who are not staying at a Walt Disney World Resort but have a park reservation, can begin to book their first lightning lanes and IAS beginning at the posted park open time. Guests not staying on property can still attempt the virtual queue for Remy at 7AM EST but cannot obtain their Lightning Lane passes until the scheduled park opening time. Thus, WDW Hotel guests can already have up to 4 rides booked before the park even opens (one virtual queue, two IAS and one Lightning Lane) and can book an additional Lightning Lane pass every 120 minutes.
Lightning Lanes can be stacked or you can perform a “switcheroo” but you must cancel and re-book any lanes you book. Modifying is currently not an option.