If you’re hoping to skip the long lines at Disney World, you’ll need to know about Genius+. This is the replacement for FastPass+, and it’s pretty controversial for a number of reasons. first, Genie+ is not free. It costs $15 per person, per day, whereas FastPass+ was free. And the new system can also be pretty tricky to use, as guests have to reserve times to skip the line on certain rides throughout the day instead of making those reservations in advance.
For all its drawbacks, though, Genie+ can be useful in helping you avoid those long lines in the park. And with some BIG crowds at Disney World recently, many people are willing to fork over the cash in the hopes that they can save some time by getting on rides faster. But has Genie+ really solved the big wait time problem in Disney World? Or is it just causing MORE problems with increased standby wait times? We’re digging in now to get all the details.
Let’s start out with the basics in case you’re not already versed in all this Genie+ business.
What Is Genie+?
As we mentioned before, Genie+ is the new way to skip the lines at Disney World. It replaced FastPass+ last October.
Guests can buy Genie+ for $15 per person, per day. Using the My Disney Experience app, guests reserve times to skip the standby line (and use the Lightning Lane instead) at certain attractions throughout the day. You cannot make these reservations before your park day.
You can make the first selection at 7AM on the day of your tripand you can only make one reservation at a time. Once you scan into the Lightning Lane of the attraction you had reserved, you can make your next Genie+ selection.
The exception to this is the 120-minute rule. If you make a reservation to skip the line at a ride but your reservation time is more than 2 hours in the future, you can make another selection 2 hours after you made the first one. So you’ll make the first selection, wait exactly 2 hours, and then you can make the next selection.
If your second selection is also more than 2 hours away, you’ll wait 2 hours again and then make a third selection. But the second selection is closer than 2 hours away, you can make another selection as soon as you scan into the Lightning Lane of that ride.
Genie+ includes more than 50 attractions (including rides, character meet-and-greets, and shows) between all 4 Disney World theme parks, but the most popular rides in each park are part of a separate system that we call “Pay-Per- Ride.” (Disney usually calls these Individual Lightning Lanes or Individual Attraction Selection.)
For these popular attractions, you’ll have to pay a separate fee if you want to skip the line. You do NOT have to buy Genie+ in order to buy Pay-Per-Ride reservations. Right now, there is one Pay-Per-Ride attraction in each park — Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, Avatar: Flight of Passage, Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance, and Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure.
Previously there were 8 Pay-Per-Ride attractions, but Disney moved 4 of them to Genie+ for the summer. (Now Space Mountain, Frozen Ever After, Expedition Everest, and Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway are part of Genie+ temporarily.) We’ll have to wait and see what happens after the summer ends — whether they return to Pay-Per-Ride or remain on Genie+.
It’s also unclear how Disney may change the Pay-Per-Ride Attractions list when new attractions such as Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind and TRON: Lightcycle Run open.
Is it confusing enough for you yet? Luckily, we have all kinds of tips, tricks, and how-tos to help you out as you navigate this new system. Here are a few helpful links if you’re trying to learn all about Genie+:
How Has Genie+ It Affected Standby Times?
Most of the time, Cast Members loading the rides will prioritize guests in the Lightning Lane because those guests paid to skip the line. That means that when more people buy Genie+ and hop into those Lightning Lanes, the standby waiting time can increase as guests in the standby line need to wait for the Lightning Lane guests to board ahead of them.
We can confirm that a lot of people are buying Genie+ at Disney World. In fact, during their last Quarterly Earnings Call, Disney reported that more than a third of Disney World guests are buying Genie+, Pay-Per-Ride reservations, or both. This is an increase from the previous quarter. And over the holiday season in 2021, more than 50% of guests bought Genie+, Pay-Per-Ride reservations, or both.
With so many people using Genie+, we’ve seen wait times increase pretty significantly from before it was introduced. However, you also need to consider that FastPass+ drove up wait times as well, so this isn’t necessarily a new issue. For several months before Genie+ was introduced, there was no way to skip the lines at all in Disney World because FastPass+ was paused in May 2020.
In fact, Genie+ might actually be better for wait times than FastPass+ was. Because Genie+ isn’t free, not all guests will use it. When the option was open to everyone with a park ticket, more guests likely made use of the system, which means there were more people in the FastPass lanes.
Regardless of whether this is a new issue, the fact remains that Genie+ is causing standby wait times to increase. But the real question is by how much?
How Much Have Wait Times Increased?
We did some research to figure out exactly how Genie+ has affected wait times since it was introduced last year. We compared average standby wait times from July 2021 (before Genie+ debuted and after FastPass+ was suspended, which means there was no way to skip the lines during this month) to April 2022 (with Genie+ in full force).
Here are some charts showing our research! The first column has a few rides from each park (we chose 5 of the most popular attractions in each park), the next shows what the average standby wait times were in July 2021, and the next shows the average standby wait times in April 2022 In the final column, you’ll see the increase (or decrease) in average standby wait time between the two columns.
Note: Using the average wait times from these months, we found the best estimate for the wait time differences in the Disney World parks. We acknowledge that there are many other factors at work, including park capacity (which has apparently been increasing over time, although Disney hasn’t specified by how much), general crowd levels, potential ride closures, etc., that could impact the wait times listed here. Although these factors mean that we can’t get a perfect comparison, we can look at trends over time to see the big picture of changes in ride wait times.
In Magic Kingdom, all of the rides increased their average standby wait time by at least 10 minutes when Genie+ was introduced. The ride that was hit the hardest was Peter Pan’s Flight with an increase of over 30 minutes.
This makes sense because that ride is pretty long and moves slowly, meaning the turnaround for boarding guests takes longer.
Disney’s Hollywood Studios
In Hollywood Studios, all of the rides we looked at again had an increase in standby waiting times. The outlier here is Tower of Terror, which increased in time by 78 minutes.
It’s possible that Tower of Terror broke down a few times during the week we took average wait times from, or that it was simply a slow week for this ride because 33 minutes is a very low wait time for Tower of Terror, even on less crowded days or before Genie+ was introduced.
EPCOT was the only park where some average standby wait times actually decreased after Genie+ was introduced. This was the case for both Test Track and Gran Fiesta Tour. And 2 of the other rides — Mission: SPACE and Soarin’ — only increased by about 3 minutes once Genie+ debuted.
The difference could be due to there being so few rides in EPCOT compared with the other parks. From our experience, we’ve seen that fewer people tend to buy Genie+ in this park because there simply aren’t as many opportunities to use it.
Disney’s Animal Kingdom
In Animal Kingdom, most rides increased, although we saw fewer drastic increases than Magic Kingdom and Hollywood Studios had. In fact, DINOSAUR didn’t change average wait times at all.
Flight of Passage usually has a long wait time, and the average standby time stayed fairly consistent, with only a 10-minute increase once Genie+ arrived. The biggest difference was with Na’vi River Journey, which is another slow ride (like Peter Pan’s Flight) that can’t board many people quickly.
In general, almost all of the rides we compared saw an increase in average standby wait times. The attractions that were most affected were the slower rides that don’t board many people at once. Some attractions stayed close to the same time, but many saw increases by 10 minutes or more.
Can You Save Time by Buying Genie+?
If you’re hoping to avoid those longer standby wait times, you can buy Genie+ for $15 per person, per day. If you know how to use Genie+ well, you can make it absolutely worth that cost! Disney has said that most guests can skip the line on 2 to 3 rides each day using Genie+, but you can probably use it for even more Lightning Lanes if you do some research ahead of time and make smart choices in the parks.
Here are some tips to help you make the most of Genie+:
- Buy Genie+ before 7AM on the day you want to use it, and be ready to make your first Lightning Lane reservation right when 7AM hits.
- Only buy Genie+ when you need it. You probably don’t need it in every park! We recommend getting it for Magic Kingdom and Disney’s Hollywood Studios if you want to try it out in just a couple of parks. Those parks have the most rides and generally the longest wait times.
- Learn the 120-minute rule well and set timers so that you maximize the number of reservations available. Be ready to make your next Lightning Lane reservation right when the 2-hour mark hits!
- Don’t neglect rope drop. You probably won’t get on all the big rides with Genie+ because the Lightning Lane reservations can (and do) run out. Use Genie+ to get one big ride at 7AM, and then speed walk to a different big ride when the park opens. Then use Genie+ to get on medium and small rides throughout the day with no wait.
- Fiddle fiddle! If you’ve seen Molly’s Genie+ videos, you’re already familiar with this concept. Although Lightning Lane reservations do run out, Disney often replenishes them throughout the day. If you’re not seeing a time or ride that you want to book, keep refreshing the page. We’ve had a lot of success with new reservations popping up.
We hope the research and tips help you out as you plan your upcoming vacation! Keep following AllEars for more planning advice as you get ready to head to Disney World.
6 Disney World Genie Tips You Probably Haven’t Heard
Join the AllEars.net Newsletter to get the free list of the 14 best times to use Genie+ at Disney World! Click here to get started!
Click here to subscribe
Have you used Genie+ at Disney World? Tell us about your experience in the comments.