Navigating the Ups and Downs of Disney Genie Plus

Navigating the Ups and Downs of Disney Genie Plus tower-of-terror-

If you’re someone who ever went to the Disney Parks any time before 2021, odds are, you probably remember the good ol’ FastPasses. Whether they were made in the My Disney Experience app or given in paper ticket form, these free, little beauties made for successful park days.

When the parks said goodbye to FastPasses in 2021, they were replaced with purchasable Lightning Lanes, which you can make through Disney Genie+. After paying nearly $100 for Disney Genie+ for me and my guest to enjoy Lightning Lanes (LL) for the very first time — over the course of only two days and three WDW parks, mind you — here’s how it went:

Worth It: We Skipped Some Waiting

The whole point of Lightning Lanes, of course, is to avoid waiting in the long Haunted Mansion line wrapping around Rivers of America or the line zig-zagging around Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway. Except, that’s exactly what we had to wait in for these must-rides.

While Lightning Lanes are available for both of these attractions, the issue we ran into was that either 1) no LL’s were available, or 2) the available times conflicted with our other plans. We were, however, able to book LL’s for rides with typically long waits like Frozen Ever After and Soarin’, plus snagged LL’s for rides like Buzz Lightyear Space Ranger Spin and Alien Swirling Saucers.

Not Worth It: The Number Of Times You Need To Check The App

Unlike the old FastPass system where you got to choose three FastPasses for three different rides at a time, you’re now only allowed to make one Lightning Lane for one ride at a time. That in itself makes things difficult when you want to get on several rides in one park, and LL’s either aren’t available or disappear as fast as, well, lightning.

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But when you have no LL’s booked and are hoping for a timeslot to open up for that super popular, always booked ride with the hours-long wait, you become captive to your phone as you constantly feel like you need to check to see if an LL has become available. I often felt torn between feeling guilty I wasn’t immersing myself in Fantasyland and worried I was going to be a second too late for a Peter Pan’s Flight LL if I wasn’t checking my Tip Board.

Worth It: Disney Genie+ Gave Us An Exclusive Opportunity

For anyone who had been avidly keeping up with the long-but-worth-the-wait EPCOT transformation that began back in 2019, you probably know that the highly-anticipated Moana-themed attraction Journey of Water had its official opening on October 16, 2023. But lucky for those who were at the park between October 6th and October 15th, we were granted with access to the attraction’s soft opening.

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Now, here’s how Disney Genie+ played the biggest role in my attending the soft opening. It all started when I checked my Tip Board before arriving at EPCOT and was surprised to learn that Journey of Water had a stand-by line available, as I knew nothing other than the fact my trip would end mere days before the attraction opened. Of course, by the time I got to the park, my Tip Board said the attraction was no longer accepting new guests, which meant the stand-by line was no longer open.

While we waited for our Lightning Lane time for Soarin’, we decided to hop on the always-a-walk-on The Seas with Nemo & Friends, which is just across from Journey of Water. Once we got off the ride, I checked my Tip Board and was once again surprised to find out that the stand-by line for Journey of Water had reopened! We hurried across and into the line and were thrilled to have a chance to work some magic with water, just like Moana. What can I say except- err, thank you, Disney Genie+!

Not Worth It: Disney Genie+ Cancelled Our Lightning Lane

It was certainly a “son of a building block!” moment while playing in Toy Story Land to find out that our Lightning Lane for Toy Story Mania had been canceled. It was just as we finished a delicious barbecue feast at Roundup Rodeo BBQ when Disney Genie+ decided to show up on my phone and alert me that our LL — which had a return time window beginning in just a few minutes — was canceled due to Toy Story Mania being temporarily closed.

It is understandable, of course, that if the ride is down, we would be unable to use our LL. Disney Genie+ offered us an LL for another attraction in return, but none of the options were rides we needed to go on. But here’s the kicker in this story: once we left the restaurant — mere minutes after our LL return time window would have begun — we immediately saw that the stand-by line for Toy Story Mania had reopened, meaning the ride was no longer down, yet we now had no LL and the ride already had a growing wait time. Because the return time window is an hour, it was completely unnecessary for Disney Genie+ to cancel our LL before our window even began, and caused us to have to wait in the standby line for the ride.

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Let us know in the comments section what’s worked well for you and what has not when it comes to Disney Genie+!

Ashley Amber is a former Disney cast member who rediscovered her love of writing when the 2020 pandemic ended her time making magic. When she's not bringing the magic to The DIS articles, Ashley works as a writer for Happy Productions and a live-blogger at MJ's Big Blog, and previously published over 300 articles with Collider. Ashley also authored a self-published fantasy/romance series of novelettes, and made her poetry debut in 2021's LGBTQIA+ anthology Deviant: Chronicles of Pride by InkFeathers Publishing. As a former pro ballroom dancer, when she's not writing, you can find Ashley on Youtube and TikTok where she posts dance videos featuring her own choreography and tutorials.


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