Disney Genie, Genie+, and Individual Attraction Selection (IAS) service at Walt Disney World and Disneyland is still very much in it’s infancy. There are things about it that are working well and things that could be much improved. I have covered the announcement and the explanation of how the services work at great lengths over the last few months, including recently discussing what you should take into consideration whether to make Genie+ and/or IAS purchases at Walt Disney World.
Once you have decided to purchase, the next thing to do is to be prepared. While strategies may change as the Genie system evolves, there are some current conditions and expectations you should prepare yourself for. Please note is article is only based on Walt Disney World resort. The experience at Disneyland is much different as there are only two parks and booking process is a little different in terms of timing.
- Practice how to use your My Disney Experience App
This step is crucial. Not just for Genie but being able to navigate Walt Disney World and not spend precious time on your phone trying to figure out where to look. While you can’t see Genie+ or IAS options without being the day of use, you can learn your app features, filters and build your Tip Board.
2. Tip Board Building
I’ve seen a lot of different strategies to this topic but I think the best advice is to go into your Tip Board a day or so in advance and select an attraction or two that will be your most wanted to achieve. Why do this? Well, the app will make those rides your priority and show those booking windows as priority over others IF they are available.
3. Be Ready at 7am EST
Similar to attempting to book virtual queues, you will want (if possible) to be one best method of connection to the internet (that could be excellent cellular or Wi-FI but is just depends on where you are, etc.). Also, if possible, you should have more than one person in your travel party logged in and ready to book attractions. If you know you are looking to make a IAS purchase (Up to 2 per day and parks depend on ticket type) and book your first Genie+ Lightning Lane, then you can have more than one person working on this to help you get those booked.
4. The ART of Refreshing
It appears that time slots load in increments first thing in the morning. There is a drop at 7 and then sometimes guests notice more spots showing available at 7:05-7:07 and then at 7:10. By 7:10 nearly all first dibs are gone. This is a huge advantage for Walt Disney World Resort guests because you can purchase two IAS lanes and make your first Genie+ time at that time of booking. However, off property guests can only book Genie+ lanes and not making IAS purchases until posted park opening. Meaning most IAS options are sold out before off resort guests are eligible to make those purchases.
5. The time you selected may not be the time you get.
This is probably the worst piece of the puzzle. Similar to the virtual queue/boarding pass process, you don’t really know what you get until you hit go! In the case of Genie+/IAS, you may select a time, say 1pm for Jungle Cruise, but when it processes the time may show 3pm. You can cancel for a better option but you do take your chances at losing that Lightning Lane altogether as there is no “Modify” option like the old Fast Pass system.
6. You can stack Lightning Lanes
As a Walt Disney World Resort guests you can pay for two IAS Lightning Lanes and one Genie + at 7am EST. Two hours after the posted park open, you can continue to book one additional Genie+ Lightning Lane, and continue doing so every two hours. Some folks set alarms to remind themselves that they are able to book again. Unlike the old system, you can overlap plans. It will give you a warning notification of the overlap but will still allow it.
7. There is a grace period for checking in
To be honest, this seems to just depend on the day and attraction. During my February 2022 trip, cast members were not allowing guests to scan in until their exact return window opened up. We witnessed this many times in Hollywood Studios. However, some have said that there are times when the system and the cast members will allow for scanning up to 5 minutes before your window time opens. Similar to the old system, there also appears to be a 15 minutes grace period if you up to 15 minutes late for the attraction.
8. If you miss your window on a Lightning Lane
Unfortunately, the only way to remove a Lightning Lane from your plans if your window has expired and you didn’t scan in within the “grace period” is to go to a Customer Experience Team Cast Member and have it cleared. This is time consuming and tedious but could hinder your ability to book other attractions.
Overall, the message is clear, the tool can be very helpful when it works at full optimization but keep in mind the crowd level and product demands can take a toll on the system’s functionality. If you experience any trouble with the Genie system during your stay, you should reach out to a Guest Experience Team Cast Member. Assisting with these issues are one of the many reasons you will noticed so many “blue umbrellas” in the parks.
9. The attraction you booked for a IAS or Genie+ Lightning Lane is down and not operating.
This happened to my family on our last vacation. We booked a Lightning Lane for Toy Story Mania and received a notification during our dining reservation at Brown Derby that the ride was not currently operating during our scheduled return window. In return, the system pushed as “Multiple Experiences” Lightning Lane that was good for the entire day in Hollywood Studios but did include a list of exclude attractions (i.e. Slinky Dog, Tower of Terror, Mickey and Minnie’s and Rise of the Resistance). As a result we were able to use the Lightning Lane for Rock’n Roller Coaster in lieu of our originally planned Toy Story Mania. When Toy Story Mania came back on line, we just chose to do the standby line.
There are times when an IAS attraction goes down for a LONG time and paying guests aren’t able to leverage their paid Lightning Lane. In this instance, I HIGHLY ENCOURAGE you to go find a blue umbrella and/or blue collared Cast Member, aka a Guest Experience Team member, so that they can assist you with either a refund or alternative solution.
*Now through August 7, the following attractions will be included for booking within the Genie+ service, rather than being an Individual Attraction Selection purchase:
Frozen Ever After (EPCOT)
Expedition Everest (Animal Kingdom… currently closed for refurbishment)
Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway (Hollywood Studios)
Space Mountain (Magic Kingdom)