When we went to Disney in November of 2021, Genie+ was relatively new. It had only been around about 3 weeks before our trip, so there wasn’t a ton of information available about how it worked or people’s real life vacation reports using it. We immediately booked it for every day of our trip, figuring even though it was $60 a day for our family of four, if it saved us hours on lines with two kids under ten, we’d consider it money well spent.
Looking back on this trip now, I can say Genie+ was money spent… but money WELL spent is another story. Overall, I felt that we found value in the service, but no value that we hadn’t received for free from the previous FastPass system. Since FastPass is not an option anymore, your choices are basically to shell over the cash, or hop in line and utilize tricks like going at rope drop, doing main attractions during fireworks, etc. However, if you choose to use the Genie+ system, learn from my mistakes.
Mistake #1: You don’t need Genie+ in Animal Kingdom
There. I said it. It just… wasn’t necessary. Since Flight of Passage and Expedition Everest were Individual Lighting Lanes (meaning you needed to pay ANOTHER fee if you wanted to skip the line at those rides) at the time of our trip, Genie+ didn’t have many big ticket items that it covered. Using Genie+ at Animal Kingdom basically got us the safari and Na’vi River Journey since Kali River Rapids was down for refurbishment. Overall, this did not feel like a good use of $60, and when I go next time I will not get Genie+ in Animal Kingdom.
Mistake #2: Be strategic with your Lighting Lane reservations
What I mean by this is really try to utilize a strategy that works for your family. I’ve seen people who book their rides every 2 hours once booking begins at 7am (so they book at 7, 9, 11, etc.), but use no Lightning Lanes until late afternoon. Then, when the time rolls around, they have back-to-back options of all the big hits. I’ve seen other people really carefully plan their ride selections by what sells out first (think, Jungle Cruise in Magic Kingdom, or Test Track in Epcot). What you shouldn’t do, which is exactly what I DID do, is book your Lighting Lanes haphazardly with no consideration for the layout of the park. I did this… and boy, did our feet pay for it.
Basically, what I did when booking Lighting Lanes was I grabbed a ride we wanted, then when we scanned in I immediately grabbed the next “big ticket ride” that our family wanted. I didn’t use any strategy or forethought for location. For example, on our Epcot day, I had my family running from World Showcase, back to World Discovery, back to World Showcase, back to the entrance, and back.. and back… and back. I put no thought into the locations, and instead just focused on getting the rides we wanted, which really exhausted us and led to a stressful experience.
Lesson Learned: I have a few
I’ve already paid for two days of Genie+ tickets for when we return to Walt Disney World in the fall for a quick weekend trip. We will be going to just Magic Kingdom and Epcot, which were two parks where I did feel we got value from our Genie+ service. Beyond that, my next strategy is to sit down with my family and map out which rides we absolutely feel we cannot miss. Once I have those, I will start with the hardest to get ride available. After we scan our MagicBands in, I will grab our next must-do in that area of the park, and NOT just our next “big” must do. While I know this may result in us not necessarily getting every big ticket item, I know we can do standby, or go during fireworks and parades. Nonetheless, no matter what, I will not have us shuffling miles in circles just because the Genie in my phone told me to.
I’m glad I made these mistakes, because I learned what worked for us. Hopefully, your family can learn from mine and avoid some major park circling, and instead slow down and enjoy their vacation!