Everything you need to know about how Disney Genie+ works at Disneyland. Here’s your guide with tips to save you time and skip the line. FastPasses are a thing of the past. The new digital option is similar to the old MaxPass system. But don’t worry I’m here to help you understand it and how to use it. I’ve had a chance to use Disney Genie+ and want to share with you my tips. Plus discuss the #1 question, is Disney Genie+ worth it? And of course I have a FREE printable cheat sheet to help you at the end of this post! Before we get started if you’d like an overview and explanation of Disney Genie+ head over to this post. This post contains affiliate links which means I make a little something when you purchase through the link with no extra cost to you.
There are two new options available for purchase with the new digital tool on the Disneyland app. Think of them as 2 SEPARATE options. You can purchase Disney Genie+ and/or Individual Lightning Lane. What is the difference between the two well let me explain more below. To purchase these options you must be scanned into the park. But you can purchase tickets with Disney Genie+ ahead of time.
Purchase Disney Genie+ (DG+) starting at $25 per ticket per day. Prices vary by date. This grants you access to 20 attractions using the Lightning Lane in both Disneyland and Disney California Adventure. Think of the new Lightning Lane like the old FastPass line, skip the stand by line and get on attractions faster. Each person in your party must have DG+ to get on these rides. Disney Genie+ allows you access to the following attractions in Disneyland …
- Big Thunder Mountain Railroad
- Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters
- Haunted Mansion
- Indiana Jones Adventure
- “it’s a small world”
- Matterhorn Bobsleds
- Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run
- Roger Rabbit’s Car Toon Spin
- Space Mountain
- Splash Mountain
- Star Tours – The Adventures Continue
AND these attractions in Disney California Adventure …
- Goofy’s Sky School
- Grizzly River Run
- Guardians of the Galaxy – Mission: BREAKOUT!
- Monsters, Inc. Mike & Sulley to the Rescue!
- Soarin’ Around the World
- Toy Story Midway Mania
- WEB Slingers
If you don’t have a park hopper that means you can only use Disney Genie+ to get on 12 rides in Disneyland and 8 rides in Disney California Adventure. So keep that in mind as you’re deciding if it’s worth the cost and you’re doing one park per day.
How Disney Genie+ works using the Lightning Lane
You will make one selection at a time and use the Lightning Lane (LL) entrance. After you’ve made your first selection you can’t choose another until you either a) go on your selected attraction or b) wait 2 hours. If you try to make another selection too soon you’ll receive the error message as shown below. Make note of the time you can make another selection and set a timer on your phone to remind you!You can only use LL once per day per attraction. If you want to ride again you have to wait in the stand by line. So for example you purchase Disney Genie+ for $20 for the day. You pick your first attraction, say Big Thunder Mountain. You go on that attraction. Later in the afternoon you decide you want to do it again, you can’t do it again using Genie+ you’ll have to stand in line. So there’s a limit. You will get the following error message if you try to book the same attraction. Each attraction on the Genie+ list can only be ridden once. I’d recommend for the rides you’d like to do more than once, take advantage of early mornings and arrive at rope drop. Do rides in the morning and then use DG+ in the afternoon to ride again when the wait time is usually longer.
Tips for selecting Lightning Lane
-You must be scanned into the park before you can even make your first Lightning Lane selection. Unlike over at Walt Disney World where guests can start making selections at 7 a.m. Don’t be confused by this difference in parks. Read here for more Disneyland vs. Walt Disney World differences.
-Select your next LL as soon as you redeem your current attraction. While you’re in line go and choose your next ride. This will maximize your time and help you get the most out of your day.
-To find your next LL ride option and time go to your “Tip Board” then choose your next attraction. It will show you how long the current wait time is and when you can go on it using LL.-Then to see what you have booked and return times you will use the “My Day” tab in the app to see your scheduled plans. It shows you the return times for your Lightning Lane selections.
–Rope drop in the morning and use the stand by lines with short wait times. And save your DG+ selections for later in the day to ride an attraction again when the stand by line is long.
– The return time window is one hour. When you book your attraction it will give you the time. You can arrive 5 minutes before the window or be 15 minutes late.
– If you miss your return time window you can’t rebook. Cancel it before the return window expires and pick a new time so you don’t loose it.
-If you plan to park hop you can book an attraction using DG+ for the park you’re not in. Just go into your Tip Board and click change park at the top of the page. Then you can make a return time reservation for an attraction in the other park. You don’t have to be in that park in order to book an attraction in that park. It can be tricky to find this for first time users, so I’ve included a photo below to help. -Play around in the app before your trip. Get familiar with how to locate things. You can look at each attraction and see forecasted wait times as shown below. Become familiar with how to look up information so when you’re there you’re not wasting time trying to figure out how to use the app. Use the app to help you plan your trip. -Bring a battery charger. All of this on and off the app for DG+ drains your battery. Here’s the one I recommend.
Disney Genie+ also includes PhotoPass so take advantage of that! Find PhotoPass photographers at iconic locations and capture those memories. It’s also good for photos taken while you’re on certain attractions. You could even just purchase DG+ for one person in your group and only use it for the photos.
Individual Lightning Lane
The other option (remember I said there were 2 SEPARATE paid options in the app) available for purchase is an Individual Lightning Lane for 2 attractions. This is like an “a la carte” option offered ONLY at the following attractions in each park.
- Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance
Disney California Adventure
- Radiator Springs Racers
How Individual Lightning Lane works
Guests can make selections for up to 2 different attractions from the list of three attractions above each day. The individual attractions are rides not included with Disney Genie+. Pricing for this option will vary by date, attraction and park. I’ve seen them range from $7 up to $25 per person per ride. You don’t have to purchase Disney Genie+ in order to purchase Individual Lightning Lane attractions it’s a completely separate purchase. This is all done in the app as shown below.
What happens when an attraction breaks down?
If a ride breaks down while you have a current Lightning Lane selection booked then it turns into a Multi Experience pass. This is what it looks like in the app.The Multi Experience pass is like a freebie good for another attraction. You will see the list of available attractions to choose from when you go to book it. You can use the multiple experience pass to ride one of the LL attractions you have already used since it’s your choice. The other nice thing is you can immediately make another selection plus you get to ride that attraction that went down at another time if it comes back up. You didn’t loose the chance to book it again. I used my Multi Experience pass for a ride that is not even included in Disney Genie+.Alice in Wonderland usually has a long wait time so I chose to redeem my pass for that attraction. I entered through the exit and the cast member let me on right away. You could also use it for rides like Pirates, Jungle Cruise, Finding Nemo, Snow White’s Enchanted Wish and more. Just click on redeem to see a list of what you can use it for and a list or what you can NOT use it for.
Is Disney Genie+ worth it? Pros and cons
#1 question I’m asked is Disney Genie+ worth it? There is no one size fits all answer for this question! Every group situation is different it’s hard to say if Genie+ is worth it. Here are some thoughts. Yes it’s worth it if you’re there for only one day and don’t want to waste time in lines. I don’t think it’s necessary if you go often, arrive at rope drop and have a plan like one of the ones I’ve created found here. You don’t have to spend the extra money to have fun. But if you’re going for the first time or you only go every couple years then yes splurge, put it into your budget and buy tickets with Disney Genie+ ahead of time. For some people dropping $25 per person per day is no big deal. The decision is easy so yes get it.
For those that are budgeting and adding another expense to your day is hard then decide on the day you arrive if you want to purchase Genie+. If the park is busy and you’re wasting lots of time in line then it’s worth it to skip the lines. And it might only make sense to use it on one of the days you’re there like a holiday or the weekend. Check the wait times in the app. If the wait time is longer than you’re willing to wait then utilize DG+ to skip the line like for this one below.
Another option is use it on an as needed basis. You may just splurge on one ride of Radiator Racers because it’s the end of our trip. Or because you only go to Disney every 5 years and it’s better than waiting 2 plus hours in line. And for some it’s worth it to spend the extra money to skip the long Radiator Springs Racers line with a toddler.
On a busy day Genie+ is worth it to get on all the rides on your list. On a slower day it may not be worth it because the regular lines move fast enough! By only allowing guests one time on the attraction the Lightning Lane is not as busy as it was when the line was used for FastPass. So the stand by lines are moving faster than before. Keep that in mind if you’re on the fence about buying it or not.
To help you decide if you should purchase and use DG+ I created a comparison list of rides. You can see all the rides in each park and which ones have Lightning Lane and which ones are stand by only. Use this FREE printable to see all the rides in one place and decide which rides you plan to go on during your trip. Compare the number of rides that require the added cost of LL to the ones that don’t. Decide if you’ll benefit from purchasing DG+ to help you skip lines and get more done! To print this helpful planning guide click here.
Tips for shortest wait time in lines if you’re NOT using DG+
-Don’t want to pay extra for top attractions you can still arrive at rope drop and hit those big ticket rides with minimal wait times. Take advantage of those prime early morning hours when less people are in the parks.
-Hop in line for an attraction during the fireworks when the lines typically are shorter.
-Check the app with the new Disney Genie free planning tool and see when the Pirates line is forecasted to be the shortest wait time of the day.
-Plan a trip in the middle of the week when it’s not as busy. Check the crowd calendar!
-Utilize single rider, for list check here.
Differences between Disney Genie+ at Walt Disney World and Disneyland
There are two big differences between DG+ at WDW and Disneyland. Over in Walt Disney World the cost fluctuates depending on the date and starts at $15 up to ? per person per day for DG+. And over in Disneyland the price starts at $25 per person per day and goest up depending on the day. Then over in Walt Disney World you can log into select the My Disney Experience app and select you first DG+ attraction at 7 a.m. from anywhere. And on site guests can book Individual Lightning Lane attractions as 7 a.m. as well. But over in Disneyland you must scan into park before you can select a DG+ attraction.
Can you book more than one LL at a time? Yes and no. If you book an attraction and the time to redeem is more than two hours away then yes. You would be holding onto the one you booked and be eligible to book another one in two hours. So set your alarm on your phone if that’s the case so you don’t forget. But no you can’t book another attraction if you’re holding onto a return time until you either redeem that ride or wait the 2 hour period to book your next one. You can see in the photo below I have 2 LL scheduled.
Can you you use DG+ with Rider Switch? Yes you can use Rider Switch. You use DG+ to select an attraction. When you go to redeem that ride you let the cast member know you want to use Rider Switch. The cast member will take care of you. Read more here about Rider Switch with little ones who can’t go on the ride.
That was a lot of information and I hope that I made it clear enough for you to understand. If you choose to use DG+ it will make even more sense. It really is easy to figure out once you use it a few times. And if you choose not to use it at least you have some others strategies to help you make the most out of your trip too. If you have any questions please comment below. In addition I was on a Podcast with my friend Melissa from Mix In Some Magic. We talked all about Disney Genie+ and our testing day in the parks. I had DG+ and she did not. We shared about our experience on her podcast here!