Unless you’re a Magic Key holder who can return to the parks multiple times, planning a visit at Disneyland Resort or Walt Disney World Resort can be hours in the making. With the relatively high cost of admission, infamous long lines, and so much to see and do at the parks, meticulously mapping out an itinerary to maximize your visit is inevitable for some guests and families.
Disney’s Genie+ service is designed to enhance your itinerary in real time so you get the most out of your visit all day long.
Here’s how Disney Genie+ works and how to get it.
Genie+ is a paid add-on to the free Genie service and is available for use at Disneyland and Disney World. It gives more guests front-of-the-line access to experience high-traffic attractions and shows, like Big Thunder Mountain Railroad and the Disney Festival of Fantasy Parade.
The price for Genie+ varies between parks, days and how busy the parks are on your reservation date.
If you value getting to the most popular attractions or want to save all those special photo-ops throughout the day, Genie+ can help you make the most of your visit.
Access Lightning Lane entrances
Lightning Lane access lets guests reduce their time waiting in lines. Although Lightning Lane access can be purchased individually for up to two attractions during your visit, Genie+ lets you reserve the next available arrival slot for Lightning Lane entrances all day long.
With this feature, you can reserve your place at the front of the line for one major attraction at a time. However, not all top attractions are accessible through Genie+ Lightning Lane entrances.
For example, Lightning Lanes aren’t available through Genie+ for Disney World’s Seven Dwarfs Mine Train attraction, and they’re not available for Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance at Disneyland Park. If you want to purchase Lightning Lanes for all attractions that have it available, you’ll need to purchase both Genie+ and individual Lightning Lane access for your desired excluded attraction.
Unlimited Disney PhotoPass downloads
Although PhotoPass opportunities are available around the park to capture your memories, downloading Disney PhotoPass images is not free. With Genie+, you have unlimited PhotoPass downloads.
Once downloaded, you can share your favorite shots with family and friends at no additional charge. This is a helpful feature if there’s a seasonal PhotoPass opportunity that you want to keep without Disney’s watermark emblazoned on the photo, or if you want a physical reminder of a first park visit.
Disney leverages augmented reality technology within its app with Disney PhotoPass Lenses. These effects add fun characters and backdrops to your photos in select locations to enhance your pictures.
Some examples of AR-enhanced PhotoPass Lens effects include adding the characters Groot or Grogu onto your shoulder, which interacts with you through the lens.
Genie+ gives you another way to experience the park with Audio Tales. You can listen to behind-the-scenes stories about attractions and park features at select areas of the park. For example, you can hear tales about Cinderella’s Castle at the Magic Kingdom.
Genie+ integrates Audio Tales into your Genie itinerary, and you can also find them marked on the park map.
If you plan on purchasing the Genie+ service at Disneyland, we recommend buying it before your visit as an add-on to your ticket booking or vacation package. If you already have your ticket, you might be able to purchase it on the day of your park visit — after park entry — through the Disney app.
For Disney World, however, it appears Genie+ can only be purchased on the day of your park visit.
Log into your account on the park app. Once you’ve purchased the service, launch the Disney park app and log in. If multiple people in your party have the Genie+ service, make sure each person is linked to your account for your reservation date. This ensures you can book Lightning Lane experiences for the same attraction and time for your entire party.
Book your first Lightning Lane. Each ticket holder with Genie+ can reserve the next available Lightning Lane entrance window at a participating attraction once per visit. The service only allows you to reserve a Lightning Lane entrance one at a time, so you must fulfill your Lightning Lane reservation spot, or it must have expired before you can make another reservation at a different attraction. However, you may book another ride if you are holding on to a selection that has an arrival window that’s more than two hours from when the selection was made. To book an attraction using Lightning Lane, go to your Disney Genie service while logged into the app and tap on your Tip Board to find your attraction and the next available window. Select the members of your party for the booking and confirm your reservation.
Scan your pass on the park app or tap your MagicBand. When arriving at the Lightning Lane entrance, make sure your pass through the Disney app is scanned so Genie+ knows you attended your booking during the window. This avoids unnecessary delays when booking your next Lightning Lane reservation. If you’ve decided to purchase a MagicBand — wristbands for hands-free access to park entry and other park experiences — you can scan it here. You can also use your admission card, if you don’t want to access Lightning Lane with a device.
To use the remaining Genie+ features, launch your Disney park app.
Genie+ starts at $25 per ticket per day, and our sample searches could not find examples of days where it exceeded this starting price. If you have a family of three and want all members of your party to have access to Genie+ perks, Genie+ will run you at least $75 total for a one-day visit.
We were not able to find the Genie+ add-on available for Disney World ticket bookings in Orlando, Florida.
The Genie+ service has limited availability, and the use restrictions might feel prohibitive for some guests — not to mention it’s an added cost for each ticket holder in your group. Additionally, there’s no guarantee that you’ll be able to ride your favorite attraction, even with the Genie+ add-on.
However, if you’re willing to stay on top of Lightning Lane availability, Genie+ can be an effective way to maximize your time at the parks when time is limited and crowds are high.
How to maximize your rewards
You want a travel credit card that prioritizes what’s important to you. Here are our picks for the best travel credit cards of 2023, including those best for: