Standby and Lightning Lane Entrances of Na'vi River Journey ride at Animal Kingdom theme park in the Walt Disney World resort

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If you’re planning a trip to Disney World or thinking about visiting, you may have heard about Genie Plus.

You may also have wondered what it is exactly!

Genie Plus is a new service that you can get at Walt Disney World that gives you skip the line privileges. It’s basically the replacement of the old Fastpass systems. You might see it written as Genie Plus or Genie+, but both mean the same thing.

When you use Genie Plus, you have the opportunity to use the Lightning Lane queue (or line) on certain rides. Lightning Lane is the faster line – while you will probably still have to wait a little, that wait time should be significantly reduced (compared to using the regular, or Standby, line).

Today, we’re going to go over the ways Genie Plus is different from Fastpass, to give you a better idea of some of the features Genie Plus includes.

We will also break down what you need to know about Genie Plus, including:

  • How to get it
  • How to use it
  • What rides are included

Note: There is also a Disney Genie Plus service at the Disneyland Resort in Anaheim, California. However, we’re only going to focus on the Disney Genie Plus available at the Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, Florida.

Disney Genie Plus vs Fastpass

Genie Plus is a lot like FastPass. Both let you use a special, shorter line, all with the purpose of letting you avoid long lines for rides. You book your choices through the My Disney Experience App. And when you book a time, you get a one hour period for visiting that ride and using the special line.

However, there are some definite differences.

The most obvious one is the price. Fastpass was included in the price of park admission. If you bought a Disney World ticket, you got to use Fastpass.

Instead, with Genie Plus, you have to pay to use it. It costs $15 per person, per day (plus tax).

The cost isn’t the only difference, though.

For example, with Genie Plus, you can only start making selections starting at 7:00 AM that day. This is very different from Fastpass, where you could choose your Fastpasses 60 days in advance if you were staying at a Disney hotel.

If you love planning things well in advance, this is not a welcome change. On the other hand, if you enjoy last minute trips or some spontaneity, then you’ll enjoy this aspect of Genie Plus.

Also, with Fastpass, you could pick from any available time during the day. With Genie Plus, you have to take the next available time. The more popular the ride, the later those times tend to be.

Another difference is that you can only make one selection at a time with Genie Plus. You can’t schedule multiple Lightning Lane selections. With Fastpass, you could make 3 Fastpasses in advance for any given day.

One more thing – with Fastpass, you could ride the same attraction over and over. With Genie Plus, you can only ride each attraction once. (You can ride it more than that, but you’ll have to use the Standby line.)

We go into more detail about whether or not Genie Plus is worth it here. For now, though, we’re going to look into how you use it.

How do I get Genie Plus?

To access Genie Plus, you’ll need the My Disney Experience mobile app. If you used Fastpass+ at Disney World before it was discontinued in 2020, then you already have the app. The My Disney Experience, or MDE, app has a lot of features. You can make dining reservations at the Walt Disney Resort, use it as a key to your hotel room (if you’re staying at an onsite Disney hotel), and more.

Right now, we’re only going to focus on the Genie Plus part of the MDE app.

A quick note – you might need to update the app to make sure you have the most recent version. And if it starts acting strange or you’re getting a weird error, you may have to uninstall and reinstall it on your phone. (I had to do this last month for a reason unrelated to Genie Plus.)

So if you open up the app, you’ll see something at the top about the Genie.

Screenshot of My Disney Experience App with Options to use Disney Genie Plus

The Disney Genie (no “plus”) is a free service that gives recommendations on rides and other things to do at Disney World.

You want Disney Genie Plus, which is the paid option that lets you use Lightning Lane.

And you can access both Genie and Genie Plus together. However, you just won’t be able to use the features of Genie Plus unless you have paid for it.

How to Pay for Genie Plus

There are a few different ways to pay for Genie Plus.

Buy Genie Plus for Every Day

You can get Genie Plus for the length of your trip (i.e. for every day you have a park ticket).

The simplest way to do this is by purchasing tickets that already include Genie Plus. For example, if you buy your tickets through Undercover Tourist (which I highly recommend, because you can save up to $79 per person this way), you can choose either Base tickets or Park Hopper tickets that come with Disney Genie+.

Base tickets, by the way, mean that you visit 1 theme park (Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Animal Kingdom, or Hollywood Studios) per day. With Park Hopper tickets, you start at 1 park, and then after 2:00 PM you can visit any of the parks. You just have to make sure you visit that first park before you “hop” to any other parks.

Anyway, the easiest option for getting Disney Genie Plus is just to buy tickets that have it included for every day.

If you already bought tickets that don’t include it, then you can contact Disney World and add it to your tickets.

Buy Genie Plus Day by Day

Alternately, you can choose to buy it day by day. (If you have an Annual Pass, this is your only option.) If you know you only want to use it some days of your trip, this is the option you should use.

You’ll have to buy it on the same date you want to use it – you can’t purchase it in advance. You’ll be able to buy it starting at midnight that date.

Remember the screenshot of the MDE app from before, with the Genie lamp?

If you choose “Learn More” on that screen, you’ll start going through options to plan your day. I’ve found that this is the easiest way for me to purchase Genie Plus for the day. There are other ways, but they sometimes did not work (as the app can sadly be glitchy sometimes).

If you don’t see this option, then click on “My Day” instead. You’ll see a recommendation to get started with Disney Genie. Click on “Get Started Now”.

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

Either way, you first pick the date you want. If you are buying Genie Plus, will be the current date. You’ll then have an option to pick the members of your party. Your options will be people already included in your Friends & Family on the MDE app. You might have some people show up that were on previous trips with you that aren’t traveling with you currently – make sure they are unchecked.

Next, you’ll get a lot of options to customize your day. I recommend choosing your favorite rides, because then they will show up at the top of your Tip Board (more about that later).

My Top Picks Section of Disney Genie part of My Disney Experience app for Walt Disney WorldThis just makes it easier for you to see wait times and make Lightning Lane selections for your favorite attractions. You don’t have to do it, though. You can skip all the options if you want.

You’ll also see some things about Individual Lightning Lanes. That is a separate thing that is not included in Genie Plus. We’ll talk a bit more about it later, but for now, you can just skip all of that.

You will reach a screen that gives you the option to purchase Genie Plus. Choose the option “Get Disney Genie+ Service”.

How to Buy Disney Genie Plus Service on the My Disney Experience App

Now, you’ll see an option to confirm your party. Make sure that everyone you want to buy Genie Plus for has a check next to their name, and that any other names are unchecked.

Next, you’ll reach the part where you actually pay for the service. Make sure you go through all the steps until you reach a confirmation screen that looks something like this:

Disney Genie Plus Order Confirmation on the My Disney Experience app

How to Make Your Lightning Lane Selections

Now that you have Genie Plus, I’m sure you’re going to want to select your first Lightning Lane ride!

You can start doing that at 7:00 AM.

And you’ll want to use the MDE (My Disney Experience) app.

When you open up the app, press the words “My Day” at the very top. They are circled in red here:

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

You’ll be taken to a screen that has 2 tabs. You want to choose the tab that says “Tip Board.” As you can see, the Tip Board is the option on the left:

Screenshot of the Tip Board for Epcot theme park using the Disney Genie Service on the My Disney Experience app

The theme park should be the one for which you have a park reservation on that date. You can choose “Change Park” if you want to make a selection for a different theme park. (You’ll need Park Hopper tickets if you want to visit more than one park that day.)

All of the rides for a park are listed on the Tip Board, in alphabetical order. However, if you previously chose your top picks for the day, they will show up at the very top. Either way, you’ll need to scroll down to be able to see all attractions.

Now that you’re on the Tip Board, you can make your Lightning Lane selection.

For example, let’s look at the following screenshot.

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

First, do you see how Kilimanjaro Safaris and Na’vi River Journey have options for LL (Lightning Lane) Disney Genie+, but Maharajah Jungle Trek does not? This is because only some attractions at Disney World have Lightning Lane queues. (You can scroll down to the end of this blog entry to see a full list of eligible Disney Genie Plus Lightning Lane rides.)

Next, see how Kilimanjaro Safaris has a time of 1:45 PM, but Na’vi River Journey has a time of 4:30 PM? This is because you can only choose the earliest available time, and that time varies from ride to ride.

Now, let’s say you wanted to book a Lightning Lane for Na’vi River Journey. You’d click on the words “Book Experience.”

You’d be taken to a screen that looks like this.

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

So, you may have noticed that the return times do not match. The Tip Board said 4:30 PM and then the next screen said 12:30 PM – 1:30 PM. In this case, it’s because I took these screenshots at completely different times. However, the time could change from the Tip Board to the next step, so you do want to pay attention to the time listed.

Make sure you hit the blue “Continue” button. If you don’t and instead stop at this point, you won’t have booked a Lightning Lane selection (even though it feels like you already have!). After you press Continue, you’ll get a confirmation screen that looks like this:

Disney Genie Plus Lightning Lane Reservation Confirmation Screen for Na'vi River Journey

This is how you know that your Lightning Lane booking has indeed been confirmed.

So, now what?

How to Use Your Lightning Lane Selection

We’ll continue with the Na’vi River Journey example.

The return time is 12:30 PM – 1:30 PM, so you’ll want to show up to the ride during this time frame.

Now, some people have had success getting in as early as 5 minutes before and as late as 15 minutes after their time period. If you are running late and it’s unavoidable, you can certainly try. Explaining your situation to a Cast Member could also possibly help. But there are no guarantees, so it’s best to try to make it during your time frame.

Once you’re at the entrance to Na’vi River Journey, you’ll see that there are actually 2 different lines.

Standby and Lightning Lane Entrances of Na'vi River Journey ride at Animal Kingdom theme park in the Walt Disney World resort

You’ll get in the line that says Lightning Lane.

Once you get closer, you’ll hold up your ticket to scan it, to show that you have a Lightning Lane selection for that ride and time. And by ticket, I mean whatever it is you used to get into the park that day. This could be your Magicband, a Key to the World card, or the Disney MagicMobile Pass (which is part of the MDE app). Unlike when you entered the park, however, your fingerprint is not needed.

For some rides – and this includes Na’vi River Journey – you’ll have to scan your ticket one more time later in the queue. This is a measure in place to make sure people aren’t sneaking into the wrong line without using Disney Genie Plus. For some other rides, though, you only need to have your ticket ready when you first enter the line (instead of twice).

Making Your Next Lightning Lane Selection

So now you know how to book and ride one attraction using Disney Genie Plus.

But I’m sure you want to be able to enjoy more than one ride this way!

One of 2 things has to happen in order for you to be able to make your next Lightning Lane selection.

In the Na’vi River Journey example, once your ticket has been scanned the second time, you are now eligible to book another ride. And for rides that only scan your ticket once, you can book another Lightning Lane ride as soon as you have scanned that one time.

This means that you can be booking your next ride while you wait to board your current ride!

So that’s one way you can make another Lightning Lane booking.

The other way involves waiting 2 hours.

Using the Na’vi River Journey example, what if we had booked that ride in the morning? That actually is what our family did – you can see in the screenshot that it was booked at 9:14 (and that was AM).

But we didn’t have to wait until we rode the ride to book another. Instead, starting at 9:14 AM, we had to wait 2 hours to book another Lightning Lane attraction.

At 11:14 AM, since 2 hours had passed since we booked the ride but we hadn’t ridden it yet, we were able to make another selection.

So, if it’s been 2 hours since you booked your last Lightning Lane selection, and you haven’t ridden your last Lightning Lane selection yet, then you can book another.

It’s always about the last selection you’ve made. It can get a little confusing if, say, all day long, every 2 hours, you booked rides for later in the afternoon or evening. Once you start riding them that afternoon or night, you might wonder when you’re eligible to make another selection. But in terms of being eligible, all that you need to think about is the last selection you booked. If you’ve ridden it OR if 2 hours have passed, you can make another selection.

One quick note – if you make that first selection before the park opens, then in that one particular instance, the 2 hour rule changes. It’s 2 hours after the park opens instead of 2 hours after you made the selection. But that’s only if you booked that first ride before the park opened. (I’m not sure why it’s that way, other than maybe to confuse all of us more!)

Individual Lightning Lane Rides

So far, we’ve mostly been discussing the Lightning Lane selections using Disney Genie Plus.

But remember when we mentioned Individual Lightning Lane rides (also known as ILL)?

These ILL attractions are something separate from Disney Genie Plus. Using Genie Plus will not get you on these rides. With an ILL ride, you have to pay a separate fee just for that ride.

Those rides include Frozen Ever After and Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure in Epcot; Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance and Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway in Hollywood Studios; Space Mountain and Seven Dwarfs Mine Train in Magic Kingdom; and Avatar Flight of Passage and Expedition Everest in Animal Kingdom.

Here are videos of a couple of these rides:

You can pay for and ride up to 2 ILL attractions per day. They can both be in the same park, or you can choose ILL rides from a couple of different parks if you have park hopper tickets.

Again, this is a completely separate service from Disney Genie Plus. You can get Disney Genie Plus without paying for an ILL and vice versa. You can also do both if you’d prefer. But Disney Genie Plus will not get you access to the Lightning Lane queues for those ILL attractions.

Rides Included in Disney Genie Plus

Here are all of the rides included with Disney Genie Plus:

  • A Celebration of Festival of the Lion King (AK)
  • Alien Swirling Saucers (HS)
  • Beauty and the Beast Live on Stage (HS)
  • Big Thunder Mountain Railroad (MK)
  • Buzz Lightyear Space Ranger Spin (MK)
  • DINOSAUR (AK)
  • Disney and Pixar Short Film Festival (Epcot)
  • Disney Jr. Play and Dance! (HS)
  • Dumbo the Flying Elephant (MK)
  • Feathered Friends in Flight (AK)
  • Frozen Sing-Along Celebration (HS)
  • Haunted Mansion (MK)
  • Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular (HS)
  • It’s a Small World (MK)
  • It’s Tough to Be a Bug! (AK)
  • Journey into Imagination with Figment (Epcot)
  • Jungle Cruise (MK)
  • Kali River Rapids (AK)
  • Kilimanjaro Safaris (AK)
  • Living With the Land (Epcot)
  • Mad Tea Party (MK)
  • Magic Carpets of Aladdin (MK)
  • Mickey’s PhilharMagic (MK)
  • Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run (HS)
  • Mission Space (Green and Orange) (Epcot)
  • Monsters Inc. Laugh Floor (MK)
  • Muppet*Vision 3D (HS)
  • Na’vi River Journey (AK)
  • Peter Pan’s Flight (MK)
  • Pirates of the Caribbean (MK)
  • Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster (HS)
  • Slinky Dog Dash (HS)
  • Soarin’ Around the World (Epcot)
  • Spaceship Earth (Epcot)
  • Splash Mountain (MK)
  • Star Tours — The Adventures Continue (HS)
  • Test Track (Epcot)
  • The Animation Experience (AK)
  • The Barnstormer (MK)
  • The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh (MK)
  • The Seas Nemo & Friends (Epcot)
  • Tomorrowland Speedway (MK)
  • Toy Story Mania (HS)
  • Turtle Talk with Crush (Epcot)
  • Twilight Zone Tower of Terror (HS)
  • Under the Sea — Journey of the Little Mermaid (MK)