The Complete Guide to the Disney Genie, Disney Genie+ & Lightning Lane

Disney just announced new digital services for the Walt Disney World Resort called Disney Genie, Disney Genie+ and Lightning Lane which replaces FastPass and FastPass+.  The company’s goal for these new services is to help guests navigate their day at the theme parks to make the experience more fun, productive and enjoyable.

While the launch date for Disney Genie has yet to be announced, we would anticipate that with the Walt Disney World 50th Anniversary Celebration starting in October 2021, this new service will be rolling out soon.

Since Disney Genie is new to all of us, there are a number of questions on how it will be applied to the theme park guests and if this will be a useful service to replace FastPass+. While this new service may enhance the theme park experience for guests, Disney is operating a business so we would expect that this is another way for the company to increase its revenue through the use of these paid addons.

Read on to learn more about Disney Genie, Disney Genie+, Lightning Lanes, the additional costs and how the services will operate.

What is Disney Genie?

Disney Genie is a virtual assistant that is free to all guests and will be part of the existing My Disney Experience mobile app.  This new digital service will help with vacation planning advice, provide tips & recommendations, forecasts attraction wait times, sign up for virtual queues, indicate showtimes and assist with dining reservations / mobile food orders.

While using Disney Genie is not required for your visit to one of the Walt Disney World theme parks, it is anticipated it may become necessary to get on select rides (virtual queues), order meals (mobile food ordering) and check existing attraction wait times / showtimes.

What is Disney Genie+?

Disney Genie+ is a premium add on to the Disney Genie service where guests can choose the “next available time to arrive” for a number of different attractions, shows and experiences using the Lightning Lanes (see below for more details). 

This new service will cost $15 per guest per day at the Walt Disney World Resort and guests will only be allowed to select one attraction or experience at a time.  A complete list of participating attractions and experiences has not be released but Disney indicated the following would be included:

In addition to the selection attraction arrival times, Disney Genie+ will include “themed audio experiences and photo features to capture your memories”.  

What are the new Lightning Lanes?

The Lightning Lane entrance is a separate queue line from the standby queue and is a premium (separately paid) upgrade   We would expect Disney to repurpose the existing FastPass+ queues from these select attractions into the Lightning Lanes.

Disney did not provide a complete list of which attractions will offer Lightning Lanes but indicated that the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train will be among them.

Advance Attraction Selections

Guests will have the opportunity to schedule Lightning Lane selections on the same day of their visit which can be used across multiple theme parks for those with Park Hopper tickets. 

Up to two of these “highly demanded attractions” can be selected on a given day and pricing will be based on the individual date and selected attractions (sounds like demand or surge pricing that is popular with hotels and airlines).

Will there be an additional cost for Virtual Queues?

At this time it does not appear there will be any additional costs for virtual queues.  Currently there are only two attractions that offer virtual queues which include:

  • Rise of the Resistance (Disney’s Hollywood Studios)
  • Remy’s  Ratatouille Adventure (Epcot – opening October 2021)

However, it would be expected that the virtual queue capacity will be reduced to for availability of “paid” riders.   So if you are unable to get into the virtual queue through the normal process, the only other way to get on one of these attractions would be a paid option.

Is Disney Genie+ similar to Universal Express?

While Disney Genie+ and the Lightning Lanes have some similarity with Universal Express in that they both are premium (additional charge) add ons, there are some very significant differences.

First off, the cost of Universal Express (once per ride) starts at $69.99 per person per day and can go as high as $299.99 for Universal Express Unlimited (unlimited number of rides) while Disney Genie+ starts at $15 per person per day.   Advance attraction selections have yet to be priced so it will be interesting to see if that is comparable with Universal’s pricing structure. 

Additionally, Universal Express does not require advanced time reservations.  If a particular attraction is open for Universal Express, guests can just walk into the specific attraction pretty much any time during the entire day.  As a result, we see Universal Express is a more spontaneous option than a complete planning of your day.

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