How To Use Disney Genie – A Step By Step Guide

After initially being announced way back in August 2019, the free Disney Genie Service and its paid, line-skipping brethren – Disney Genie+ and Individual Attraction Selections by way of Lightning Lanes – were finally unveiled to guests at Walt Disney World on October 19, 2021. In other words, the (Disney) Genie is out of the lamp. 

The Genie app, Disney World’s new travel-planning service, is incorporated into the company’s existing My Disney Experience app, effectively turning your cell phone into an all-in-one pocket guidebook, reservations agent and theme park expert extraordinaire. In other words, expect to be looking at your phone A LOT during your next Walt Disney World vacation. 

With the Disney World Genie app and Lightning Lanes revolutionizing the way you visit the theme parks (or, at least, that’s Disney’s hope), you don’t want to go into things flying blind. So, to prevent you from having your nose in the display more than absolutely necessary, we decided to create this handy-dandy Disney Genie guide to help make getting the most out of the service as easy as possible. (Updated November 3, 2021)

Hoping for more of a brief overview? Click here to meet Disney Genie

But First, What Are Disney Genie, Genie+ and Lightning Lanes?

With both paid and unpaid services available and similar, overlapping names, the whole thing can feel more than a little confusing. So, before we get into the nitty-gritty, let’s quickly go over the different components so you can decide which is best for you and your family. 

Disney Genie

The Disney Genie Service is a complimentary virtual trip planner. That’s right, unlike what we’ll cover next, Disney Genie is completely free. This helpful tool uses your preferences – things like favorite Disney characters, must-do rides and desired dining experiences – along with current and forecasted wait times and your location inside the park to create a live, personalized itinerary. 

Pretty nifty, right? With just a glance, you’re able to get recommendations on where to go and what to do next, maximizing your precious time so you’re doing more of what’s on your to-do list and spending fewer minutes in lengthy queues. However, with just the basic Disney Genie Service, you are only able to experience attractions by utilizing the ride’s stand-by lines – no Lightning Lane access is included. 

Lightning Lanes

Lightning Lanes are basically the new FastPass line, although, unlike their predecessors, you need to pay money to use them. To access an attraction’s Lightning Lane and jump to the front of the line, you will need to buy either Disney Genie+ or an Individual Attraction Selection, also known as an Individual Lightning Lane Selection (more on those next).  

Click here for a comprehensive list of Lightning Lane attractions at Magic Kingdom, EPCOT, Hollywood Studios and Animal Kingdom. 

Disney Genie+

Priced at $15 (plus tax) per person per day, Disney Genie+ is one part of the new paid line-skipping service and covers the vast majority of Disney World’s most popular rides – more than 40 overall, in fact. Similar to FastPass+, Genie+ allows you to reserve a time window to use a specific attraction’s Lightning Lane. 

Unlike FastPass, however, you are only able to make one Genie+ reservation at a time. Once you have gone on that ride and fulfilled your reservation, you will then be able to make a new Lightning Lane reservation for a different attraction. You cannot use the Lightning Lane to go on the same ride more than once – this includes Individual Attraction Selections as well. Additionally, if you are planning to park hop later in the day, you can also reserve a Lightning Lane window for an attraction in that new park. 

Individual Lightning Lane Attraction Selections

Remember how we said that Genie+ covers the vast majority of the most popular attractions at Disney World? Well, Individual Lightning Lane Attraction Selections cover the rest. Individual Lightning Lane Selections are only offered for theme parks’ most in-demand rides – think Flight of Passage at Animal Kingdom or Seven Dwarfs Mine Train at Magic Kingdom

Rather than paying a blanket fee to access these rides like you do with Genie+, you must pay for each separate Individual Attraction Selection. How much exactly? Well, like Disney World’s theme park tickets, dynamic pricing is used for Individual Lightning Lane Selections. In other words, you can expect to pay more for rides with longer wait times and on busier theme park days, with line-skipping privileges costing from $7 up to $15 (plus tax) per person per ride.  

Only two Individual Lightning Lane Attractions are available at each park, and once you’ve paid for and used both of these, you are not able to make any more unless you plan on park hopping somewhere else. So, keep this in mind when planning out your day. 

How to Use Disney Genie

Before we even think about using Genie+ or making Individual Lightning Lane Selections, you’ll first want to know how to access and set up the Disney Genie Service. 

  1. Once the My Disney Experience app is pulled up, you have a few different choices for accessing Disney Genie. Click on any of them to open the service.
    • A banner Introducing Disney Genie at the top of your homepage before letting the Genie out of the bottle for the first time, so to speak. Click Learn More
    • Afterward, this turns into a banner for Today’s Plans. Click My Day
    • Click the menu at the bottom of the app, then tap View My Genie Day and Tip Board.
    • Click the menu at the bottom right of the app, then select My Genie Day to customize your preferences and view your recommended personalized itinerary. To see a ride’s current standby wait time and the next available Genie+ Lighting Lane reservation, click Tip Board.
  2. To get started, you must have a Disney World Park Pass Reservation for your chosen theme park. If you don’t, you will be prompted after clicking one of the above to make one by Disney Genie, and you won’t be able to continue on until you have.
  3. Disney Genie uses your preferences combined with your location and both current & forecasted wait times to suggest what you should see or do next in your virtual itinerary. To get going, Select a Date, then Select a Park based on your existing park pass reservation. You will need to do this for each park you intend on visiting with Disney Genie.Genie Service Screenshot
  4. Confirm your party members so everyone’s plans are in sync. 
  5. Select your Top Picks, or must-do experiences, including rides, restaurants and Enchanting Extras.
  6. Personalize your Interests like favorite Disney characters, kinds of attractions and dining styles (Character dining or signature restaurants, anyone?).
  7. Select any final display preferences like Height Requirements or Accessibility considerations.
  8. Before you get to your recommendations, you’ll first be prompted to make an Individual Lightning Lane Selection (if desired). While you can do this now, we recommend that you Skip for Now so you can scope out the wait time situation before making a decision.
  9. Next, if you haven’t already purchased Genie+ for the day, you’ll be invited to Get Disney Genie+ Service (if desired). If you did already buy Genie+, you will instead be prompted to Book an Experience from a list of wait times. Depending on how short the wait times are, it can be worth it to Skip for Now so you aren’t unnecessarily spending money when there are already reasonable standby lines. More on that later.
  10. Once you’ve made all of your selections (or wishes, if you will), the Disney Genie Service grants you your recommendations in the My Day tab. Each offers a Good Time to Go and is organized by time, with the earliest displayed at the top.

    • Like we mentioned, the suggested ride time is based on the current and anticipated wait times. Click View Forecasted Wait to see a simple bar graph with the expected standby wait for the full day.
    • From the My Day tab, you can also place mobile food orders, join restaurant waitlists and make dining reservations at your desired location.
    • To edit your preferences at any time, click Edit My Selections at the top of the page. To see where all your suggestions are in relation to each other, click View My Map.
  11. The Tip Board is a good place to see standby line and Lightning Lane information, along with available dining options, for all of your top picks and recommendations at once rather than just the immediate suggestions outlined in your itinerary.
    • From here, you can click Book Experience to make a Genie+ Lightning Lane reservation or opt to pay separately for an Individual Attraction Selection.
    • From the Dining section, you can also Order Food, Join List and Make a Reservation depending on which restaurant you’re interested in.
  12. As mentioned above, you can also arrange your dining plans through the Disney Genie Service, including Order Food, Join List and Make a Reservation. Once your plans are made, they will appear in your My Day tab with the rest of your recommendations.

How to Use Disney Genie+

Not content to wait it out in the standby line? For those that live life in the fast lane, then Disney Genie+ and the Lightning Lanes are for you. But first, it’s going to cost you.

Buy Disney Genie+

As much as it stings to skip the line for a previously free service, Disney Genie+ is easily the best investment of the two options, costing $15 per person per day for over 40 Disney World attractions. 

  1. To buy Disney Genie+ Service, you have a few different options:
    • Continuing on from Step 9 above, you can opt to Get Disney Genie+ Service after customizing your preferences.
    • From the My Genie Day or My Day page, scroll to the bottom of the screen and look for the Take Your Day to the Next Level banner. Tap Get Disney Genie+ Service.
    • From the Tip Board, tap Book Experience next to any desired attraction with a Genie+ Lightning Lane. 
  2. From there, you select any party members you’d like to buy Genie+ for as well and complete the transaction.

Set Up Disney Genie+

Once you’ve purchased Genie+, you’re able to tap into the service’s “phenomenal cosmic power” (yes, this is actually one of the service’s load screens) and start booking Lightning Lane reservations. Remember that you can only book one at a time, and the only available time slot for each attraction is the very next arrival window. There are a couple of ways to make a Disney Genie+ reservation.

Booking a Disney Genie Plus Reservation from the My Day Tab:

1a.   If you don’t already have an existing attraction reservation, the first recommendation for you on your virtual itinerary is to Book Lightning Lane Entry. Click Explore Options Now.

2a.   If desired, you can also purchase Individual Lightning Lane Selections at this point. However, given that you’ve already spent $15 a person on Genie+, you may not want to spend more money to go on just one ride. If so, select Skip for Now.

3a.   The next screen shows all of the available Genie+ Lightning Lane reservation times. Keep in mind that the list is organized alphabetically, not by the next available slot. So, you will need to scroll to check out all of your options. 

4a.   Select Book Experience next to your desired attraction, edit your party if necessary, then hit Continue to confirm your reservation.

5a.   From there, you’ll be taken to the reservation confirmation page. Click View My Day to see your arrival time in your virtual itinerary. 

Booking a Reservation from the Tip Board Tab: 

1b.   The Tip Board organizes rides based on your top picks and the other attractions that fit your preferences. Your must-dos are at the top, making it easy to find your main priorities. Click Book Experience next to your chosen attraction.

2b.   Edit your party as needed, then tap Continue to confirm your reservation.

3b.   From there, you’ll be taken to the reservation confirmation page. Click View My Day to see your arrival time in your virtual itinerary. 

What Are Audio Tales?

These little digital stories are one of the additional perks you get when you buy Genie+ and pop up from time to time in your virtual itinerary. Based on Disney’s Imagineering Field Guide book series, these fascinating tidbits provide some color and context as you explore the theme parks and let you on some design secrets. 

Another fun extra is the Disney PhotoPass Lenses. These are similar to what you’ll find on Snapchat or Facebook, but, you know, Disney-fied. We don’t know about you, but we can already imagine trying these on for size while trying to kill time in line for a ride. You can find these and the audio tales index at the bottom of the My Day screen. 

How to Make Individual Lightning Lane Attraction Selections

But if you want to go on one of those must-do rides that aren’t part of Disney Genie Plus? That’s where Individual Lightning Lane Attraction Selections come in. And once again, it’ll cost you. 

Buy Individual Lightning Lane Selections

Unlike Genie+, each Individual Lightning Lane Selection must be purchased separately, with each attraction costing from $7 to $15 per person. If you are also getting Genie+ or are a family needing to make individual selections for multiple people, you can see how this can add up quickly. Just remember that while you can purchase both Genie+ and Individual Lightning Lane Selections, you can also opt to buy just one service or the other. 

Make Individual Attraction Selections

Only two rides at each theme park are designated as Individual Attraction Selections. Unlike with Genie+, you’ll be able to choose from several arrival windows, making it easy to slot into your day. When setting your preferences, you will be prompted to make Individual Attraction Selections. However, if you opted to skip it until later, you can choose to make reservations by doing the following:

Booking an Individual Lightning Lane Reservation from the My Day Tab:

1a.   If you don’t already have an existing attraction reservation (for both Genie+ and Individual Lightning Lane attractions), the first recommendation for you on your virtual itinerary is to Book Lightning Lane Entry. Click Explore Options Now.

2a.   You’ll next be prompted to make an Individual Lightning Lane Attraction reservation. The price for each guest will be noted, as will the current standby wait time. Tap Purchase next to your desired ride.

3a.   Edit your party as needed, then tap Continue to confirm your reservation. 

4a.   From there, you’ll be taken to the reservation confirmation page. Click View My Day to see your arrival time in your virtual itinerary. 

Booking an Individual Lightning Lane Reservation from the Tip Board Tab:

1b.   If you already have an existing reservation and your virtual itinerary isn’t showing your desired Individual Lightning Lane attraction as an option, you’ll need to use the Tip Board to locate the ride and make a reservation. Rather than Book Experience, Individual Lightning Lane rides will prompt you to Purchase for $, with the current price listed. 

2b.   Edit your party as needed, then tap Continue to confirm your reservation. 

3b.   From there, you’ll be taken to the reservation confirmation page. Click View My Day to see your arrival time in your virtual itinerary. 

Tips & Tricks for Using Disney Genie

All set to use Disney Genie on your next Walt Disney World vacation? Follow these Disney Genie tips and tricks to get the most out of your experience. 

    • Bring a battery pack or charger – As you can probably imagine, with your nose stuck in your phone all day making reservations and looking at wait times, the Disney Genie service eats through your cell phone battery like nobody’s business. Bring a full battery back or charger to make sure you’ve got enough juice to use the app.
    • Don’t worry if you aren’t exactly on time – Trying to maximize your day even further? Cast members have been allowing guests to enter the Lightning Lane up to five minutes before your arrival window is scheduled to begin.
    • Those current standby line times aren’t set in stone – Disney notes in their terms and conditions that “we cannot guarantee the accuracy of these wait time estimates.” In other words, it’s possible that Disney could pad the wait times (“Unintentionally, of course! Lightning Lanes are all about helping people, not just turning an easy profit,” she said sarcastically.). Keep this in mind when deciding whether to pay for Genie+ or Individual Lightning Lane attractions. 
    • Don’t forget about free virtual queues – Individual Attraction Selections cover the most in-demand rides in the theme parks like Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure and Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance. However, a free Ratatouille ride reservation can also be obtained using the virtual queue – if a spot is still available anyway. Check to see if a place in the virtual queue is available first before spending cash unnecessarily. And while boarding groups are currently paused for Rise of the Resistance, a virtual queue may return to the ride sometime in the future. 
    • Don’t pay for Genie+ or an Individual Lightning Lane Selection if you don’t need to – Rather than paying for Genie+ or Individual Lightning Lane rides right away, wait to see what the standby line times look like first. If you get to the park early or if the park just isn’t that busy, you may be able to capitalize on the already short wait times. 
    • You can get a lot done by buying and using Genie+ early in the day – We know, we just said to not pay for anything unnecessarily. However, should you decide to arrive at the park early and want to get as much done as possible, buying Genie+ will allow you to conquer a ton of rides before it’s even lunchtime. 
    • Choose your Genie+ Lightning Lane arrival times wisely – When making a ride reservation, keep in mind how soon the arrival window is closing and how close you are to the attraction when deciding which ride to reserve first. Choose one of the soonest attractions to maximize your time in the park.  
    • Think ahead when park hopping – If you’re park hopping, you don’t need to be in your next park before you can start making Genie+ or Individual Lightning Lane reservations. Scroll to the bottom of the My Day screen until you see the Plan for Your Next Park banner, then tap Tell Disney Genie What You’d Like to Do to get started. 
    • Restart the app in the event of glitches – The Disney Genie Service is new, so it isn’t surprising that there are still some kinks to work out, especially when taking the terrible theme park Wi-Fi into account. If something stops working or seems wonky, try turning off your Wi-Fi and restarting the app. 
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Well, ya’ll, that concludes our how-to guide for using Disney Genie and the Lightning Lanes. Are you excited to use this brand-new service? Will you pay for Lightning Lane access? Let us know in the comments!

Rather take your chances with the standby line? Make the most of your time with our 1-day plans for Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Hollywood Studios, and Animal Kingdom. Ready to say “take my money” to Disney? Save some cash for your Lightning Lane reservations with our discounted Walt Disney World tickets

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