Disneyland to Launch Disney Genie, Lightning Lane This Week

December 6, 2021, 3:00 PM · The Disney Genie service will launch at the Disneyland Resort on Wednesday, December 8, Disney announced today. That means that the upcharge Disney Genie+ and Individual Lightning Lane ride-reservation services also will make their west coast debut on Wednesday.

Disney Genie+ is basically a rebranded Maxpass, and the Lightning Lane is Disney's new term for its old Fastpass queues. Fastpass is gone, so there will be no free access to Lightning Lane. You can use those queues only by purchasing Disney Genie+ for $20 per person per day, or Individual Lightning Lane access for $7-20 per ride.

The regular Disney Genie service is free, however, and promises customized itineraries for Disneyland theme park guests, using real-time and historic wait-time data from the parks. Reaction to those suggested itineraries from Walt Disney World visitors has been mixed in the time that the service has been available in Florida, but we have some tips for getting the most from Disney Genie, below.

"We want to make sure that we are optimizing the guests' time and maximize the guests' fun," Disney Parks Vice President of Digital Experience Gary Daniels said of the new services.

Disneyland visitors should download the latest version of the official Disneyland app and log in with their Disney account to use Disney Genie and to buy Disney Genie+ or Individual Lightning Lane access. If you want some in-depth reporting on these services, please read our stories from their Walt Disney World launch, which also include information about their use at Disneyland:

Disney Genie builds its suggested itineraries by asking you for some information about what you want to experience on your visit. You can start providing that information via the Disneyland app as soon as you secure a park reservation. But Disney Genie will not return a suggested itinerary until 7am on the day of your visit. And you will not be able to buy Individual Lightning Lane access or make a Disney Genie+ ride reservation at the Disneyland Resort until you enter the park on that day.

That means that Disneyland visitors had better plan to be at the gates ready to enter the parks at opening, in order to get the best options for their day. You can't plan to roll up later in the morning because you already made ride reservations earlier, as some Disney World fans got used to doing.

Disney Genie builds its recommendations by asking you to select which park attractions you want to experience, then on the next screen to select topics - such as "Disney Princesses" - that interest you and your family. That second screen is meant for people with no experience visiting a Disney park. Unless that's you, I would recommend skipping that question and just selecting your "must see" attractions on the first screen. Since Disney Genie does not ask you to rank your interests, I would suggest telling it only your top priorities.

The most useful feature of Disney Genie may be its "Tip Board" screen, where you can find current and projected wait times for all attractions, as well as availability windows for Mobile Order and table-service dining. You can start your food order or join a standby dining time queue from that screen, as well. See our How to Use Disney Genie post for specific tips on using those features.

"We are listening and learning and adjusting, based on feedback on how our guests are using the itineraries," Disney Parks Director of Digital Experience Nicole Bond said. Disney has implemented a one-touch purchase for Individual Lightning Lane and made other adjustments to the Genie user interface based on its experience at Disney World, Bond said.

Disney spokespersons also said that park operations are learning from the reintroduction of multiple queues for attractions at Walt Disney World and are working on fine-tuning Lightning Lane callback times to help keep standby queues from overflowing, as they have at times after the Disney Genie+ launch in Florida.

Disney has no plans to limit the number of Disney Genie+ passes sold at Disneyland, based on the resort's experience with Maxpass, a spokesperson said. However, that option could be considered if demand far exceeds Maxpass levels.

Another change from the Walt Disney World launch will be that Disneyland Resort hotel guests will get no special treatment in the use of Disney Genie+ or Individual Lightning Lane. Nor will Magic Key holders. Everyone's in the same boat when it comes to making ride reservations, increasing the pressure to get into the park early to maximize your options.

Individual Lightning Lane access will be sold for Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance at Disneyland and Radiator Springs Racers and Web Slingers: A Spider-Man Adventure at Disney California Adventure. The prices will vary by attraction and by day, but will range from $7-20 per ride. Lightning Lane access to other attractions at Disneyland and Disney California Adventure will be available to Disney Genie+ users. You can find the list of eligible attractions in our How to Use Disney Genie Plus post. Again the one-time cost for that service is $20 per person per day and will include unlimited Disney PhotoPass downloads, as Maxpass did.

As Disneyland introduces Disney Genie, it also is introducing changes to its Disability Access Service program. Eligible guests planning to visit the parks on or after December 20 may pre-register for DAS using live video chat. Advance reservation should be made between two and 30 days before your visit. See Disneyland's website for more details and to begin the advance registration process. Guests using DAS soon also will be able to use the Disneyland app to select attraction return times in the park, instead of having to visit each attraction in person.

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Replies (9)

December 6, 2021 at 4:32 PM

And as you Disneyland regulars experience the joys of Genie+ and Lightning Lane just as we Disney World visitors have, you can practice positive thinking techniques like repeating to yourself, "I like Genie+ and Lightning Lane. I like Genie+ and Lightning Lane...."

Good things will happen. At least that's what the psychologists say.

December 6, 2021 at 5:28 PM

Hopefully magic morning hours won't be too far behind, which begs the question: will hotel guests who enter early for MMH be able to book Genie+ reservations for later in the day?

Also: if people must be in the park to start booking Genie and, ahem, individual lightning lane passes (aka the "extortion fee"), doesn't that mean the area just inside the gates is now going to be clogged with people busy with their phones?

A great many things about Disney's new cruelty suck, but them forcing us to spend MORE time looking at our phones is the most obnoxious. Parents take their kids to Disneyland to get them to look away from screens, not the other way around.

Bob Chapek, a pox on your house!!!

December 7, 2021 at 12:35 AM

In-your-face greed will be the downfall of those in charge of this company. I will never pay extra to ride attractions after I've already paid a **** load of cash to already ride. You're on a downward spiral now.
People! Don';t go to these parks. Let's teach them a lesson.

December 7, 2021 at 2:57 PM

I think we need to be careful in describing Genie+ as more or less a re-branded MaxPass, because there are critical differences between the two services despite their similarities.

First, MaxPass gave guests access to every FP attraction at the two California parks. While Genie+ will cost the same $20/person/day that Disney charged for MaxPass, those who pay the upcharge for Genie+ do not get expedited access to RSR, Spiderman, and RotR. Before MaxPass was eliminated, you couldn't use it for RotR (because of boarding groups) or Spiderman (because it hadn't opened yet), but the expectation would have been that once those attractions shifted to standby queue, MaxPass (and FP) would have been available. That means guests will be paying the same $20 it cost 20+ months ago, but are getting fewer rides.

The second, and more important aspect of this change is that just like in Florida, Genie+ will only allow guests a single ride through the Lightning Lane for each eligible attraction. MaxPass allowed guests to grab as many FPs as they could for the same attraction so long as they didn't break any of the time rules (which are the same for Genie+). If you picked up a 9:30 AM FP for RSR through MaxPass, you could pick up another RSR FP for 11:00 AM (or later in the day) if it was available. I you wanted to ride GotG:MB a bunch of times in order to get all 6 of the experiences, you could keep picking up FPs through MaxPass (or the paper kiosks) to expedite your goal. With Genie+, once you've picked up a Lightning Lane reservation for a ride, that's it. If you want to ride that attraction again, you're relegated to the standby (or single rider) line. For me, that's a HUGE downgrade in the service, because while I like to experience all of the attractions in the parks when I visit, there are always favorites that I want to experience multiple times.

I was on board with paying the upcharge for MaxPass (was only $15/person/day when we were there in July 2019), because it gave us the chance to get re-rides on our favorites without having to wait 30+ minutes. Also, there are some attractions where FP just wasn't needed even though it was available. Genie+ essentially forces you to get Lightning Lane for everything once, because the available choices will shrink throughout the day as you use it and popular attractions sell out. If you're efficient in using the service, you'll probably end up out of options by 4 PM, making it a far inferior product to MaxPass.

I don't want to give Disney any ideas, but if they're going to condition guests to pay for queue avoidance, they should give them the option to pay more for truly unlimited access. I would probably pay an extra $5-10 so I could ride GotG:MB, Space Mountain, Matterhorn, or Indy multiple times instead of being forced to get a LL for Autopia, Small World, or Roger Rabbit.

December 7, 2021 at 7:12 PM

Russell, I’m sure a Genie+ “With unlimited wishes!” (call me, Disney marketing execs…I’m available) in which one can retire all their favorites will be available sometime in the next few years. But don’t expect to get it for an extra $5-$10. I would expect it to at least double the admission price much like the price increase seen at other parks across the country.

December 8, 2021 at 7:46 AM

@Twobits - "Unlimited" queue avoidance products at other theme parks are typically not that much more than the base-level versions. They're typically somewhere between 25-50% more expensive, so that's why I think Disney could charge another $5-$10 to make Genie+ unlimited. In the end, guests are not saving more time or getting on more rides with an unlimited system, they just get the flexibility to use the service on their favorite rides over and over. Such a benefit is not worth double or triple the cost of the base service, but I'm pretty certain that Disney could charge a little bit extra for a Genie+ that gives veteran park-goers a service that better caters to their needs.

December 8, 2021 at 2:35 PM

SF Gate came out and said, don't get G+. I agree. I said in a post a few months ago that I had friends that had been abstaining from Disney because the crowds were overwhelming. To them, this was a bargain because it allowed them to have a shorter trip and skip lines and go easy on the knees. G+ did exactly that for them however, by their own admission they had a ride experience where a specific group of people that entered the "stand by" at the same time ended up way ahead of them. This made them question how did this happen? Now, it only happened once however, if standby queues at specific times are lower than the G+ lines it sure presents an argument that Disney does not have a grip on the ebbs and flows of park traffic. Add to this that there Stand-by experiences were all shorter waits than the expected. SO if you were satisfied without using G+...why buy it???

Disney's originator of the fast pass system always believed that this type of system should have been free and accessible to all. To me, it's not about the money, it's about Disney strategically rebranding a product and creating "in-equity" in the process. People are not expressing their outrage enough. I think if you limit this operation (lighting lane) to deluxe resort guests, this is now a "perk" and not a paid add-on and therefore you can't point the finger and accuse Disney of monetizing. Disney does nothing to motivate me to ever stay in a deluxe resort (and yes, I am aware of the EMH) But when you are charging all that money...? Disney needs needs to re-think G+ accessibility.

December 9, 2021 at 6:24 PM

Wow, Russell, until your post I had never realized G+ only lets you ride each ride once per day. Unbelievable! As you say, I could care less about Autopia or RR--I'm getting a Maxpass so I can game the system and ride my favorites several times.

I guess the upside is that less people will purchase G+, and if they're limited to only one LL per day per ride it will greatly reduce the delay on the standby line. But man, that's really a bummer, the best thing about Maxpass was what educated park goer could do with it, it really allowed you to cut through the regular folk and be a master of the park.

December 10, 2021 at 7:55 AM

Absolutely thecolonel. When Disney initially rolled out Genie+ at WDW, it was not clear that the system was limiting guests to one LL per attraction. There was language on the FAQs that clearly stated that guests would be limited to one Individual Lightning Lane reservation per attraction and a total of two ILLs per day, but the language did not appear to extend to Lightning Lanes reserved through Genie+. The comparisons of Genie+ to MaxPass made it seem like the system would allow guests to continue to grab Lightning Lane reservations for the same attraction over and over again like you could for MaxPass (and FP+), but that is not the case. It took a while for guests to figure this out, because the system was simply not presenting LL return times for attractions already experienced through LL on the reservation page, so to the guest it appeared that those attractions were just sold out. However, after some digging and investigation, it became clear that the system was not showing LL reservations for those attractions because guests were no longer allowed access to LL reservations because they had already ridden then.

So, not only has Disney established this new and annoying policy, which significantly devalues the service, but they are not completely transparent as to how this rule impacts your planning. IMHO, while Genie+ eliminates the intense planning requirements needed to efficiently visit the parks, particularly WDW when you needed to book FP+ months in advance, it makes touring the parks far more complicated. If you arrive at rope drop, instead of grabbing LL reservations for the most popular attractions first, should you get reservations for mid-level attractions, leaving those popular attractions until later in the day since the chances of the reservations selling it is much lower because of the single LL per person restriction?

Based on what I'm seeing from most of the planning sites and bloggers, so-called "experts" are all over the place in terms of advice and less than 50% of the sites are recommending guests purchase Genie+, when nearly 100% were recommending guests buy MaxPass.

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