Kali River Rapids Lightning Lane Queue Sign with Orange Arrow at Animal Kingdom in Disney World

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Looking for some helpful Disney Genie Plus tips and tricks for your next Disney World vacation?

Disney Genie Plus is a paid service at Walt Disney World that premiered in October 2021. Our family has used it on multiple trips since then, and we’ve found that it allowed us to accomplish a lot more in a smaller period of time. The idea behind it is that it gives you access to shorter lines for rides, much like the Fastpass+ system that was discontinued in 2020.

For more information on the basics of Genie Plus, click here.

And if you’re not sure whether or not Genie Plus is worth it, we go over that here.

Right now, though, we’re going to share some tips we’ve learned from our experiences with Disney Genie Plus. We’ll go into more detail about the following pieces of advice – and then we’ll share a couple of examples of how the timing works.

Disney Genie+ Tips & Tricks

  1. Remember The 2 Hour Rule
  2. Use Rolling and/or Stacking
  3. Use a Timer on Your Phone
  4. You Can Have Overlapping Time Periods
  5. Popular Rides Get Booked Quickly
  6. Check the Tip Board Leading Up To Your Vacation
  7. Make Your Next Reservation While Still In Line
  8. Don’t Settle… But Don’t Be Too Choosy, Either
  9. Restaurant Reservations Can Be Tricky
  10. How to Refresh to Find the Best Time
  11. Pin Your Favorite Rides to the Top of the Tip Board
  12. Remove Top Picks After You Book Them
  13. Cancel Lightning Lane Selections You Can’t Use
  14. Cancel for Anyone Not Riding
  15. Look for the Correct Queue
  16. Don’t Panic

The 2 Hour Rule

With Genie Plus, you can only schedule one Lightning Lane ride at a time. But you could end up with multiple Lightning Lane reservations. This is because of the 2 hour rule.

You see, one of two things has to happen before you can make another Lightning Lane selection:

  1. 2 hours passes since you made your last Lightning Lane* -OR-
  2. You have already used your Lightning Lane selection

*To make things more confusing (well, I’m pretty sure that wasn’t the intent), at the beginning of the day, 2 hours must pass since the park opened. After that, it’s if 2 hours pass since you made your last Lightning Lane.

If you end up with multiple Lightning Lane selections booked, it can get a little confusing to know if you’re eligible to make another selection.

The most important thing to do is think about the MOST RECENT Lightning Lane you booked. It’s all about the most recent selection. If you use it, or if 2 hours have passed since you made it, you can make another.

We’ll include some examples at the end so you can see how the scheduling works in action.

Rolling vs Stacking

Because of the 2 hour rule, there are a couple different ways you can use Genie Plus.

You can book a Lightning Lane reservation, ride it, then book your next one, ride it, and so on. We’re going to call this “rolling.” This is the simplest way to do it.

You can also book a Lightning Lane ride for later that day, wait 2 hours, book another Lightning Lane ride for later in the day, wait 2 hours, then book another Lightning Lane for later in the day. We’ll use “stacking” to refer to the process of booking several ones for later in the day.

For us, stacking worked great for the days when we were checking into the hotel. We’d start stacking in the morning so that we’d have multiple rides scheduled for later in the day. Note: You don’t have to be on Disney property to purchase Genie Plus or book selections. The first time I ever bought it, I was still inside my hotel room at Dockside Inn at Universal Orlando.

Other days, in the morning, we’d make our first Lightning Lane selection for an evening time. (This would be stacking.) Two hours after park opened, we’d pick a morning time. We’d use it, then get a new time, then use it, and so on. This would be rolling. At some point, we’d take a break for lunch and start stacking more evening rides.

Now, I will say that the rolling process worked best for us in Magic Kingdom, because that is the park that has the most rides we enjoy. Luckily, though, if you have Park Hopper tickets, you can go to one park in the morning and use rolling, while stacking rides for another park at night.

If you’ll be stacking rides, you definitely want to use our next tip.

Use a Timer on Your Phone

As soon as you book a Lightning Lane ride, set a timer on your phone for 2 hours.

Actually, I set a timer for 1 hour and 59 minutes, so I’d have a minute to stop what I was doing and dig my phone out of my purse. But 2 hours is easier to remember and probably makes more sense, honestly.

This is the best way to remember to book another Lightning Lane selection.

If you are rolling your selections (i.e. just making a selection, then riding it, then making another selection, then riding it), then you don’t need to worry about setting a timer.

But if you’re making a Lightning Lane selection for a time that’s more than 2 hours in the future, set your timer. This will let you make another selection as early as possible. And you have the added bonus of not having to think about Genie Plus at all for a couple of hours!

You Can Have Overlapping Time Periods

With Fastpass, you weren’t allowed to have time periods that overlapped.

But with Genie Plus, you can schedule rides for similar time periods. This can really help you get a lot done quickly.

For example, we stacked these Lightning Lane selections with overlapping periods:

Screenshot of Magic Kingdom Rides with Lightning Lane Selections and overlapping time periods booked with DIsney Genie Plus

You can even book rides for the exact same time period, like we did on a different day:

Haunted Mansion and Pirates of the Caribbean Genie Plus Lightning Lane Selections with Same Time

Popular Rides Get Booked Quickly

This probably seems obvious, but it’s still worth mentioning. The more popular the ride, the quicker it gets booked.

The prime example of this is Slinky Dog Dash in Hollywood Studios.

For example, on December 20, 2021, all of the times had been booked in less than one minute. It was still 7:00 AM, and there were no longer any times available!

Luckily, more times for Slinky Dog Dash did show up at 7:08 AM – not exactly at 7:08 AM on the dot, but before 7:09 AM. And they were available for approximately 2 more minutes.

So what does that tell you (other than that I spent a lot of time constantly refreshing the app that morning)?

Well, the times for certain rides go VERY quickly. But that doesn’t mean you should lose all hope. Check back in 8-10 minutes and you may have better luck.

And keep in mind that December 20 is pretty close to Christmas and therefore a very busy time at Disney World. You most likely will have even better luck if you go during a more off peak time – but it’s absolutely doable either way.

The other ride that might go quickly – though not quite as fast as Slinky Dog Dash – is Test Track in Epcot. But if you keep checking during the day, more times will most likely pop up for that attraction.

Another thing to consider is that, in general, more popular rides will have evening times available earlier than other rides.

For example, on our last trip, I was wanting to make my first Lightning Lane selection for early evening, say, around 5:30 PM or 6:00 PM.

It took until 8:00 AM or sometimes a little later for any Magic Kingdom ride to have that late of a time available for Lightning Lane. I did this three days in a row, and each day, that ride was Jungle Cruise.

This brings us to our next tip.

Check the Tip Board Leading Up To Your Vacation

Now, you don’t have to obsessively refresh it all day long (unless you really want to, of course).

But I recommend checking the Tip Board on your My Disney Experience app a few times a day, during the days immediately before your trip.

This will help you get an idea of how quickly rides are getting booked. And you can get a better idea of what you should try to book first, which rides would work better for stacking versus rolling, etc.

The reason I say do it during the days immediately before your trip is because it’s more likely that the crowds will be similar in size. For example, if your trip is during spring break, while immediately prior to spring break may not be the exact same size crowds, it will probably be closer than if you checked in the middle of January.

And don’t worry – you don’t need to buy Genie Plus to see what’s available and what’s not. Anyone can access the Tip Board, as long as they have the My Disney Experience app. Just click on “My Day” near the top of the app, then choose the Tip Board tab.

How to Access Plans for My Day on the My Disney Experience mobile app

 

Tip Board for Animal Kingdom attractions (Kilimanjaro Safaris, Maharajah Jungle Trek, Na'vi River Journey) in the Disney Genie service on the My Disney Experience app

You’ll be able to see the available times (or if no Lightning Lane times are available). You just won’t be able to book them without paying for Disney Genie Plus, obviously.

Make Your Next Reservation While Still In Line

Let’s get back to talking about tricks you can use while you’re actually in the park.

We’ve talked about how to determine if you’re eligible to make another Lightning Lane selection.

It all has to do with the Lightning Lane selection you most recently booked. If two hours has passed, or if you’ve already used it, then you can book another selection.

Technically, you don’t have to wait until you finish riding the ride. You have used your Lightning Lane selection once you’ve “tapped in”.

What does “tapped in” mean? Well, like with Fastpass, you have to hold your Magicband (or Key to the World Card, or Disney MagicMobile Pass in the My Disney Experience app) up to a reader to show that you have a Lightning Lane for that time period. That’s what we mean by tapping in.

Some rides, like the Jungle Cruise, only require you to do that one time. Other rides, like It’s A Small World, make you do it twice – once when you enter the ride, and then later in the queue. So for the attractions that make you do it twice, “tapping in” would mean you’ve passed through both checkpoints.

Either way, once you’ve fully “tapped in,” if that was your most recently made Lightning Lane selection, then you’re eligible to make another.

So you can make it in line as you wait to board the ride. Of course, since it’s the Lightning Lane line, it should be fairly short. But you’ll often have time to book your next ride.

Speaking of picking out that next ride…

Don’t Settle… But Don’t Be Too Choosy, Either

One of the drawbacks of Disney Genie Plus is that you cannot modify your Lightning Lane selection.

If you want to change it, you have to cancel it and make a new one.

This is a little risky, because during the time it took you to cancel, someone might take the time you want. And then you’ll end up with no ride.

In my opinion, I don’t think you should “settle” on a Lightning Lane ride you don’t really want to do, or a time you don’t really like. I recommend holding out and checking again to see if the time/ride you want pops back up. And by not settling, you can jump on that time instead of having to take the time to cancel anything.

However, I think it’s best to have a general idea of what you want, with a little flexibility.

If something is almost exactly what you want, but it’s about 10 or 20 minutes off the time you want, go for it anyway. If you have to wait 10-20 minutes for your time frame to open up, it could be a great opportunity for a bathroom break, snack break, or just regular old break. And sometimes there’s something to see – a 50th anniversary statue, a photo opportunity, etc – that’s near the attraction you’ll be riding.

Restaurant Reservations Can Be Tricky

It really does help to have a little flexibility when you’re making your Genie Plus selections.

But flexibility and advanced dining reservations don’t always go hand in hand.

We actually never made any restaurant reservations on the same day that we used Disney Genie Plus. Instead, we used mobile order a lot, even sometimes while waiting in line for another ride.

If you do have a dining reservation, I would recommend trying to stack for times well before or after, so you can give yourself a nice cushion of time to make your reservation time and not feel rushed.

Side note: if you want to learn more about making restaurant reservations at Disney World, check out our guide on the subject.

How to Refresh to Find the Best Time

So we’ve talked a lot about finding the best times. But we haven’t really been over exactly how to look for it.

There are a couple of different ways you can find the most updated times available for booking.

One way is to go to the Tip Board and then just refresh the Tip Board itself. On my Android phone, I do this by dragging down on the page, so that the words “Checking Availability…” appear at the top.

Refreshing the Disney Genie Service Tip Board so it is Checking Availability for Animal Kingdom Park

Refreshing the Tip Board is the only way to check for the most updated times available if you do not have Disney Genie Plus that day. (This would be if you’re just checking from home before your trip, or if you haven’t bought it yet that day.)

If you have Genie Plus, though, then I found it faster to press where it said Book Experience, check the time, and then immediately back out of it. On my phone, I can go back by swiping from the right or left edge toward the middle.  I would keep doing this over and over until I would get a time I liked.

This can get monotonous, but it’s not too bad if you’re doing something else at the same time (like waiting in line, watching TV in your hotel room that morning or during a break, on a bus, etc). I also didn’t do it more than maybe a few minutes at a time. I do think it’s important not to let it distract you too much from your vacation – i.e., don’t do it during a ride, a conversation with a family member, etc.

The benefit of checking this way is because the times on the Tip Board can actually change when you press Book Experience. And it’s the time you see on the Review Details page after you press Book Experience that matters, not what was originally on the Tip Board.

Screenshot for making a Lightning Lane selection for Na'vi River Journey at Animal Kingdom in Walt Disney World

And as long as you don’t press the Continue button at the bottom of the screen, you haven’t actually booked the Lightning Lane selection. So you can keep doing this to check the most up to date available time.

Pin Your Favorite Rides to the Top of the Tip Board

Another way to make it easier to check on Lightning Lane times is to pin your favorite rides to the top of the Tip Board.

The way to do this is to use the Disney Genie service to set your preferences.

There are a few different ways to do this. I usually choose the “My Day” tab, which is next to the “Tip Board” tab. Then I press “Get Started Now” under where it says Get Stared With Disney Genie!

Disney Genie Service section of My Disney Experience app, where you can select Get Disney Genie+ for Today

From there, you’ll go through various steps. The important one, in terms of getting your favorite rides at the top of your Tip Board, is choosing your top picks by checking the boxes next to them. (Note: if you go a little crazy and check most of them, it’ll make you uncheck some. But that’s probably for the best, since it’s really supposed to be to highlight your top favorite choices.)

My Top Picks Section of Disney Genie part of My Disney Experience app for Walt Disney World

And then you can see them at the top of your Tip Board:

Big Thunder Mountain Railroad and Pirates of the Caribbean rides listed as My Top Picks on the Tip Board with the Disney Genie Service

Otherwise, you’ll just see all the attractions in alphabetical order.

After you’ve made your top picks, you can edit them by pressing the words Edit Selections (to the right of the words My Top Picks).

Remove Top Picks After You Book Them

With Genie Plus, you can only book a ride one time a day. Once you’ve booked it, you cannot schedule a Lightning Lane for that ride again (unless you cancelled it before its time period was up).

So what I did was, after I had scheduled a Genie Plus ride, I edited my selections and unchecked them as one of my top picks.

That way, all of my top picks at the top of my Tip Board were rides that were potential Genie Plus selections for me.

Sometimes, I would include in my top picks an attraction that I was interested in riding but isn’t included in the Genie Plus Lightning Lane service, like the Tomorrowland Transit Authority PeopleMover. Ultimately, though, I found that distracting. I really liked just sticking with all of the rides I might choose for my next Lightning Lane selection at the top and nothing else.

Cancel Lightning Lane Selections You Can’t Use

As we just mentioned, you can only book a Lightning Lane once a day per ride.

This means that if you won’t be able to make your Lightning Lane time for any reason, you should definitely cancel the selection before your one hour time period is over.

Otherwise, you won’t be able to schedule another time, and you won’t be able to ride it that day using the Lightning Lane queue.

Cancel for Anyone Not Riding

On our last trip, not every person rode every ride we booked with Genie Plus.

There are a lot of reasons why this might happen. Maybe someone is joining you later in the day, and they haven’t arrived yet. Or maybe someone doesn’t like wild rides.

If you are splitting your party into two groups and riding multiple attractions at the same time, that’s a more complicated issue.

But if it’s as simple as one or some people are sitting out a ride, ooI recommend booking your whole party, then going back and canceling the selection just for the people who won’t be riding.

You can cancel one person without losing the whole Lightning Lane selection. I did this several times on our last vacation.

The reason for doing it that way is twofold:

  1. Taking the time to remove people from your party when you’re trying to book the ride can result in someone else booking the time you wanted. At least, when I tried it, I got a different return time after I had removed the person from the selection.
  2. If someone doesn’t ride the selection but they were included in the booking, then they won’t have “tapped in.” And that can mess things up if you are doing the rolling method of booking and you want to book a new Lightning Lane selection for the whole group.

Look for the Correct Queue

With a Lightning Lane selection, you’ll want to get into the Lightning Lane queue (aka line).

There should be signs on the attractions themselves. But sometimes, the lines can get a little long, even for the Lightning Lane queue.

Don’t let this scare you. In our experience, it’s generally because there’s a problem at the place where you tap in. Sometimes a family got into the wrong line and is understandably confused. (I say understandably because other than the words “Lightning Lane,” there’s not a lot of communication in the parks about it. And it’s a pretty new system.) Other times, someone is trying to ride long before their scheduled time. Or they bought Disney Genie Plus but didn’t realize you had to book a certain time. Also, there are usually at least two places to tap in, but sometimes people only use one, thus holding up the line.

At any rate, once you get past the place to tap in, the line generally moves pretty quickly.

Anyway, I mention this because when the Lightning Lane gets long, it can be a little confusing to figure out where you should get in line.

Look for a cast member holding a sign for the Lightning Lane. And if you don’t see one, then you might want to ask. Otherwise, there is a chance you could accidentally waste time in the Standby line.

Where to enter the Lightning Lane queue at Peter Pan's Flight ride at the Magic Kingdom in Walt Disney World

Don’t Panic

Okay, so that tip seems pretty obvious. But if you’re like me and stress a lot, it’s good to keep this advice in mind.

The app is glitchy, and times DO reappear.

No matter what happens, don’t panic. You may feel as if you’ve just missed your shot at getting a Lightning Lane time for a certain ride, but you probably haven’t.

Use the method we talked about before, where you click on Book Experience and then go back if it’s not the time you want.

And if it looks like all the times are gone, keep refreshing. There’s a good chance something may pop back up.

And if it’s a glitch that’s bothering you, there are sometimes multiple ways to access screens (such as the Tip Board or even the screen to purchase Genie Plus). Keep calm and try a different way. If nothing works, then check with the hotel front desk (if you are currently at a Disney hotel) or the Guest Experience Team (if you’re inside a theme park). Look for a big blue tent that says, as you may have guessed, Guest Experience Team. There are usually a few GET tents located throughout each park.

Lightning Lane Examples

So earlier, we mentioned providing some “real life” examples of using Disney Genie Plus, to see how rolling and stacking actually work.

Please note that these are just meant to be hypothetical situations to show when you can and cannot book a new Lightning Lane selection. They are not meant to be touring plans or suggestions of which rides to choose.

That being said, let’s look at an example.

Magic Kingdom Example

A little after 7:00 AM, you book Big Thunder Mountain Railroad for 11:30 AM-12:30 PM.

Then, the Magic Kingdom opens at 9:00 AM.

At 11:00 AM, it’s 2 hours after the park opened, and you booked your first Lightning Lane before the park opened. So, you’re eligible again to book another. You decide to book Peter Pan for 6:45 PM-7:45 PM.

At 11:30 AM, you tap into Big Thunder Mountain Railroad. But that is NOT the most recent Lightning Lane you booked. So it doesn’t matter that you tapped into it. All that matters is the most recent Lightning Lane selection that you booked, which is Peter Pan.

At 1:00 PM, it’s been 2 hours since you made your most recent selection, so you can book another Lightning Lane. You choose The Barnstormer for 1:45 PM-2:45 PM.

At 2:00 PM, you tap into The Barnstormer. Since it IS the most recent Lightning Lane you booked, and you’ve already tapped in, you are eligible to book another. You book Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin for 3:15 PM – 4:15 PM.

At 3:20 PM, you tap into Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin. Since it is the most recent Lightning Lane selection you booked, and you’ve already tapped in, you can book another. You book Pirates of the Caribbean for 5:00 PM-6:00 PM.

At 5:00 PM, you tap into Pirates of the Caribbean. Since it’s the most recent Lightning Lane selection you’ve booked, and you’ve already tapped in, you can make another selection. You decide to book Haunted Mansion for 7:30 PM-8:30 PM.

At 6:45 PM, you tap into Peter Pan. Since it is NOT the most recent Lightning Lane selection that you booked, it doesn’t affect your eligibility either way. You still cannot book another because it hasn’t been 2 hours since you booked Haunted Mansion (your most recently made selection) and you haven’t tapped into Haunted Mansion yet.

At 7:00 PM, it has now been 2 hours since you made your most recent selection (Haunted Mansion). So you can go ahead and book another ride.

In conclusion, when it comes to booking another Lightning Lane ride, the only thing that matters is the MOST RECENT Lightning Lane selection you’ve made. Lightning Lane rides you booked earlier will not matter when it comes to being able to book another. It’s all about the one you most recently booked.

Park Hopper Example

For good measure, let’s include one more example. This is for a day where you start at Epcot, then hop to Magic Kingdom at 2:00 PM, and end your day at Hollywood Studios. You decide not to use Genie Plus at Epcot and instead do attractions that don’t have Lightning Lane (like the Gran Fiesta Tour Starring the Three Caballeros) or just use the Standby line.

7:09 AM: Book a 7:30 PM – 8:30 PM Slinky Dog Dash at Hollywood Studios

9:00 AM: Hollywood Studios Opens (this matters because the 2 hour rule applies to the park for which you’ve made your first Lightning Lane selection – if you make that selection before the park opens)

11:00 AM: Book a 4:15 PM – 5:15 PM Rock ‘N’ Roller Coaster at Hollywood Studios

1:00 PM: Book a 2:00 PM – 3:00 PM Under The Sea ~ Journey of the Little Mermaid at Magic Kingdom

2:15 PM: Tap into Under The Sea ~ Journey of the Little Mermaid

2:16 PM: Book a 2:30 PM – 3:30 PM Mad Tea Party at Magic Kingdom

2:40 PM: Tap into Mad Tea Party

2:42 PM: Book a 6:45 PM – 7:45 PM Alien Swirling Saucers at Hollywood Studios

4:20 PM: Tap into Rock ‘N’ Roller Coaster (this doesn’t change your eligibility for making a new selection because this isn’t your most recent selection made)

4:42 PM: Book a 4:55 PM – 5:55 PM Star Tours – The Adventure Continues at Hollywood Studios (you can book it because of the 2 hour rule)

5:00 PM: Tap into Star Tours – The Adventure Continues

5:02 PM: Book a 7:55 – 8:55 PM Toy Story Mania! at Hollywood Studios

6:45 PM: Tap into Alien Swirling Saucers (this doesn’t change your eligibility for making a new selection because this isn’t your most recent selection made)

7:02 PM: Book a Twilight Zone Tower of Terror for 7:45 – 8:45 PM

7:55 PM: Tap into Slinky Dog Dash (this doesn’t change your eligibility for making a new selection because this isn’t your most recent selection made)

8:20 PM: Tap into Toy Store Mania! (this doesn’t change your eligibility for making a new selection because this isn’t your most recent selection made)

8:43 PM: Tap into Twilight Zone Tower of Terror

Conclusion

Using these Disney Genie Plus tips and tricks will help you make the most of the service. You’ll be able to choose a strategy that works for you, and book new Lightning Lane selections as soon as you are eligible. And this will help you get to ride the attractions you want on your next Walt Disney World vacation.