If you have been to the parks in the past year, then you know it is a good idea to come equipped with some Genie+ strategies for Disney World. It seems like there are more visitors than ever at Disney World, which can affect your vacation. The most concerning point when it comes to higher crowds are the lines at the attractions.
No one wants to spend a lot of time waiting in lines on their vacation, which is why it is REALLY important that you know the ins and outs of Genie+ and the Lightning Lanes. There are certain Genie+ strategies for Disney World that you can use for your vacation that will drastically reduce the amount of time you will spend in lines. Less time in lines means you are getting more done in a day – more FUN!
Let’s dive into some of the strategies I have found that work best:
Plan for Genie+
Genie+ is an extra tool in the My Disney Experience app that you will need to purchase while you are on vacation. If you were not aware that you were going to have to pay extra for it, the cost can be a bit shocking.
The cost varies based on the date. When crowds are expected to be higher, then the cost also reflects that, kinda like surge pricing. The range of pricing I have seen is from $15 to $35 per person, per day. I don’t think I have seen it for under $18 in awhile, so the $15 days may be gone 🙁
Make sure to plan for this cost in your budget! Calculate the high end of what it would cost for your family based on how many days you plan to spend in the parks. Have that money already set aside for Genie+. If you have already accounted for it, then you won’t have any hesitation getting it. You also won’t be shocked with any unexpected bills. Make sure you purchase it prior to 7AM EST each park day so you are ready to use it as soon as it becomes available.
Genie+ is definitely something you want to have for the parks, so if you plan in advance for it in your budget, then you will be prepared for it.
Know Your First Genie+ Selection Each Day
To set yourself up for success, you want to know which attraction will be your first pick every park day. As of 7AM EST, you will be able to make your first Lightning Lane selection for the day with Genie+. You want to aim for a ride that:
- Typically has long lines, so it is a good use of a Lightning Lane
- Sells out early in the day. Some rides sell out faster than others, so you want to aim to pick those first, otherwise their Lightning Lanes will not be an option later in the day.
Once you have that first ride picked and booked, then the rest of the day will kind of flow from there. Your subsequent picks will all depend on what time you can make the next pick and what the wait times are, so it can be hard to plan for the other ones in advance. But you can always plan for at least what your first pick will be. Generally, these are the rides that I recommend for your first pick at each park:
Purchase the Individual Lightning Lanes
In addition to the Lightning Lanes you can access through Genie+, there are a few select rides that are not included. These ride’s Lightning Lanes are available to purchase at an additional cost. These are often some of the most popular rides at the parks, so it is well worth it to buy the Lightning Lanes because stand-by wait times will be LONG.
These are the current rides whose Lightning Lane is available for an extra purchase:
These rides can range between $11 and $25 per person. Add these costs into your budget as well, you will be so thankful that you won’t have to wait an hour or two per ride.
These Lightning Lanes can also be purchased as of 7AM EST for on-site Disney Resort guests. For off-site guests, you can only purchase them as of park opening. Some of these rides are usually already sold out by park opening, so staying at a Disney Resort does offer an advantage here.
Take Advantage of Early Entry
If you are staying at a Disney Resort, you will have access to the early entry hours, which is 30 minutes before opening. You will be able to start going on the attractions 30 minutes before the park opens, so that gives you a good head start. Those 30 minutes are a good time to get 1 or 2 popular rides out of the way without using their Lightning Lane.
Only certain rides or areas of each park are open during the early hours, so make sure you check to see that the first ride you want to do will be available. Here is what I usually recommend making your first ride of the day during the early hours at each park:
- Peter Pan’s Flight
- Test Track
- Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway
- Navi River Journey
If you combine using the early entry hours with Genie+ and the Individual Lightning Lanes that you can purchase, you will be setting yourself up for a very successful day!
Stacking Lightning Lanes
If you are not a morning person, then you can still have a strategy for a late-day start. This strategy is called “stacking” your Lightning Lanes. What it essentially means is that you can schedule a bunch throughout the day so that when you show up later in the afternoon, you have a few Lightning Lanes scheduled and ready to use.
You may still have to get up early to make the first selection. Selections start at 7AM EST and if you are trying for a ride that sells out quickly (in minutes), then you will want to be up at 7AM to make your pick. A perfect example of this is Slinky Dog Dash. That ride can fill up in minutes, so when you are grabbing it at 7AM, you can sometimes only end up with a return time for later in the afternoon. That would be the perfect set up for a late day start strategy to stack your Lightning Lanes.
The idea is that you are only scheduling Lightning Lanes for later in the day. When you book a Genie+ attraction, it will always give you what the next available time is, so you don’t want to choose anything early in the morning that is currently giving you only morning return times.
Once you make your first selection, you will be able to make another selection 2 hours later (or 2 hours after park opening if you made your first selection before park opening time). You can continue to make selections every 2 hours. That strategy combined with purchasing Individual Lightning Lanes can set you up with a few Lightning Lanes ready to use when you show up later in the day. Let’s look at an example of how that could hypothetically work at Hollywood Studios:
- At 7AM EST, you select Slinky Dog Dash and get a return time of 2PM-3PM
- The parks opens at 8:30AM, so you can make your next selection as of 10:30AM, choose something that is giving out a return time for later in the day AFTER the time you plan to get to the park.
- As of 12:30PM, you can then make another selection
- As of 2:30PM, you can make another selection. You will probably either be at the park or on your way to the park by then.
With all the Genie+ selections you made, plus the Individual Lightning Lane you purchased, you could be showing up to the park with 4 Lightning Lanes scheduled. That strategy, combined with some lower wait times as you get closer to closing time, should set you up for a successful later half day at the park. You may not get as much done as if you started early in the day, but you can make a decent day out of it.
Book With An Expert
If you booked your Disney vacation with a travel agent that specializes in Disney vacations, such as myself, then you should receive some information from your travel agent to help you get prepared for how to use Genie+. I send out a detailed guide to each of my clients explaining how to use Genie+ and the Individual Lightning Lanes. I also include a spreadsheet for each park to help guide them as to what their picks should be early in the day. It helps to take the guessing out of which rides you should use with Genie+.
If you are interested in booking your Disney World vacation with me so that I can help you plan, then you can simply request a quote with the button at the bottom of this article!
Our preferred travel agency is Click the Mouse. They specialize in Disney destinations and will help you plan out all the little details. Best part is that their services are FREE when you book your vacation with them. Personalized service at no extra cost to you! To get a quote from a Click the Mouse travel agent, simply click on the quote button below and they will be back in touch with you:Get a Quote from CLICK THE MOUSE
Laura is a mom of one adorable girl with a love of all things Disney. She traveled to Disney World with her family in 2010 and was hooked. They have since been a total of over 15 times. With all her knowledge of planning Disney trips, she now wants to share that with others. She loves giving guidance, tips and advice to others planning their magical vacation!