Disney World Changes the Rules on Genie Plus Upgrades

May 18, 2022, 11:58 AM · If you were thinking about buying the Disney Genie+ line-skipping upgrade at the Walt Disney World Resort, you now can put off that decision until your visit. In fact, you will have to.

Disney announced today that it will stop selling Genie+ as a pre-visit ticket add-on, effective June 8. Starting that day, Walt Disney World guests will be able to buy Genie+ only for same-day use.

Guests who already have pre-purchased Genie+ for their upcoming Disney vacations after June 8 will continue to get the upgrade as purchased. This change affects only future sales of the upgrade and only at Walt Disney World. Genie+ will continue to be available as a pre-visit upgrade on tickets at the Disneyland Resort.

Disney Genie+ at the Walt Disney World Resort is a $15 per person per day upgrade that allows you entry to the Lightning Lane at select attractions. The Lightning Lane is just the old Fastpass queue, and you select a return time for the attraction you wish to visit through the Disney Genie section on the official My Disney Experience app. Disney has said that "on average, guests who purchase Disney Genie+ service will... enter 2-3 attractions or experiences each day using the Lightning Lane entrance when the first selection is made early in the day."

That "made early in the day" caveat is key. If you bought Genie+ in advance only to roll into the parks at mid-day or later, you likely found limited availability for Genie+ return times, making you question why you spent that $15 per person per day. By restricting sales of Genie+ to the same day, Disney should help ensure that everyone who buys the upgrade becomes an immediate, active user of Genie+. That should result in an increase in guest satisfaction among those who buy the upgrade.

In addition, waiting until the day of your visit to buy should allow guests a better idea whether they will get good value out of buying Genie+. If crowds and wait times are relatively low, you can skip the upcharge and still hit everything you wanted in the park. (See our any of our Walt Disney World park guides for advice on when crowd levels are highest and lowest throughout the year.)

Walt Disney World also said that same-day sales of Genie+ will be "subject to availability," implying that Disney might start limiting the number of upgrades it sells each day. In the past, Disney World has used notifications on its app to warn guests about limited availability of return times before buying the upgrade, but it did not cut off sales.

The upcoming changes with Disney Genie+ do not affect the sale of Individual Lightning Lane, the one-time upcharge to access the Lightning Lane on a smaller number of Disney attractions. Those always have been available only on the date of use.

For more on these upcharge services, please see our "How to" guides:

Replies (33)

May 18, 2022 at 12:57 PM

This sounds more like Disney has become tired of dealing with complaints by those who bought Genie+ for the entirety of their trip only to find out purchasers were limited to using the Lightning Lane to 2 or 3 times per day (if they still got up at 7 a.m.) and not necessarily for the rides they wanted.

May 18, 2022 at 1:17 PM

I am at Disneyland as we speak. The difference between using Genie+ between the coasts is night and day. The park has only been open for 3 hours and I’ve already gone through my 3rd Lightning Lane.

Works great in a park full of locals who don’t bother with it. Not so much at a world class destination where everyone is in the same mindset.

May 18, 2022 at 1:37 PM

Something tells me this won't stop the barrage of complaints about Genie+. The problem with the system is that it's simply not worth the $15 upcharge in most cases. Even if you're a savvy "power user", it's difficult to get more than 4-5 attractions a day (many of which are bottom tier rides anyway), which in the end saves you about 60-90 minutes of line waiting over an average guest. Someone visiting with a strategic touring plan can probably come close to matching what a typical Genie+ user can experience in a single day.

Even though Disney is limiting Genie+ to same day sales, I doubt they will prohibit someone from buying it when they walk into a park at noon when only d-ticket ride reservations are left in the system. This is the new Disney now, they're not about to cut of their nose to spite their face anymore. It all about these new sources of revenue that Chapek has created, guest satisfaction be damned.

If Disney truly cared about all those guest complaints, they would scrap Genie+ for a true paid FOTL system (like most theme parks) or modify Genie+ to work like MaxPass used to operate at Disneyland.

The bottom line is that Genie+ makes you a slave to the system. While guests were also a slave to the FP/FP+/MaxPass systems, those could actually be leveraged for significant benefit. Genie+ is just a cash grab disguised as a mediocre line skipping service.

May 18, 2022 at 1:33 PM

You know a true FOTL system is coming at some point, and I expect the price of it at Disney will dwarf (no pun intended) the priced charged at other parks.

May 18, 2022 at 1:44 PM

@TwoBits - I'm not so sure they can make it too expensive. Universal charges over $100/day for Unlimited Express right now (varies depending upon the day purchased), which is about equal to the cost of a single day admission (essentially doubling the cost if you want to visit with no lines).

Disney is approaching $150/day for admission, so could they really charge someone $300 to visit with no lines? I suppose, and if you think about it, a guest is paying an extra $45+ per day if they're buying Genie+ and 2 ILLs each day that comes with all the hassle of scheduling return times and the limitations of Genie+. The ability to skip all the big lines as many times as you want would be totally worth a $150 upcharge, but then you'd have to consider that you could get a VIP tour for just a bit more (assuming you have a larger party). That's where Disney would run into issues, because the demand is there to price a true FOTL system into the stratosphere, but it would undercut their existing (and rather exclusive) VIP services.

May 18, 2022 at 3:19 PM

Twobits: "... and I expect the price of it at Disney will dwarf (no pun intended) the priced charged at other parks."

Me: OH PLEASE! That pun was TOTALLY intended!

May 18, 2022 at 10:08 PM

You never see CFO Dwarf in the movie, but he’s pulling the strings all through the thing.

May 18, 2022 at 11:00 PM

I dont understand the obssesion with the " custom guest experience ". It is Just a false pretense. Cut attendance in half and charge 250 usd per visitor. No FOTL gimmick. Dvc and deluxe hotel guests gets into the parks 2 hours before opening and 2 hours after. Moderate and value guests goes in one hour before opening and one after closing. That should distribute People in the parks a lot more evenly and give time to go to the hotel for a nap and the pool.

May 18, 2022 at 11:08 PM

Get rid of virtual queque and use the Cleverly designed lines that can soak 1,000's of People off the walkway so you can actually walk. Get rid off the Disney genie plus Bull and use the genie for navigation, reservations managment, wait times and such,

May 18, 2022 at 11:16 PM

Disney is an amazing destinación and well worth the time and invesment. I Would gladly pay that rather than 125 usd per Day, Figth with half the western hemisphere ( and their uncles) Just to ride the People mover or to get a good damn Hot dog. It is getting out of hand. Just see the fist figths at the ferry almost every Day to realize this.

May 18, 2022 at 11:19 PM

And go to a Disney vacation every 3-4 years so you can value those memories even more.

May 18, 2022 at 11:23 PM

A vacation that demands more planning and logistics than your average NASA launch mission it's not a vacation. Its a psychotic breakdown in the making.

May 19, 2022 at 1:30 AM

The biggest problem I have with Disney is that they have always tried to industrial engineer their way out of the fact that they don't have enough big attractions. Of course its going to work better at DL than MK, DL has lower attendance and more big attractions. While WDW has built a lot of attractions in the past decade they have almost always been replacing something else so there hasn't been much of a capacity add. If you want proof of my theory look at how much the additional track helped on TSMM and the extra theater helped at Soarin, those attractions were virtually impossible to get on before but now they are relatively easy to get on.

Sadly I can't see Disney getting rid of Genie+ because it makes too much money, but I can see the price going up in order to have better control of it as well as make more money.

May 19, 2022 at 2:41 AM

5 posts later and I'm starting to think Pablo doesn't like Genie+.

May 19, 2022 at 8:21 AM

@TH: Believe it or not, I didn't realize the pun until I typed "dwarf"! I supposed it could have been my subconscious that picked that particular word, though.

@Russell: I think the current Disney management would definitely push a FOTL pass to the highest level seen. There is an audience that would be willing to pay for it. Look at Pablo's posts saying that Disney should charge double the price they do now to limit the number of guests in the park, so I do think there are guests that would pay $250-$300 per person per day for FOTL passes, or do what Universal does and make FOTL passes a perk for staying in their deluxe resorts.

May 19, 2022 at 9:30 AM

Just get rid of any form of passes, get rid of the rides, shows and attractions and just have food and merch. Problem solved.

May 19, 2022 at 11:32 AM

Expand public spaces and live entertainment.

May 19, 2022 at 11:34 AM

Can someone explain why Genie+ only gets you 2-3 rides in Disneyworld? At Disneyland Genie+ means you can ride ALL the LL rides, assuming you're working it.

May 19, 2022 at 12:00 PM

Because Disneyland parks have lower attendance and more big rides than the Disney World parks.

May 19, 2022 at 12:26 PM

@thecolonel - The 2-3 rides is an estimate from Disney to temper expectations. Genie+ gets you LL access to almost all the rides/attractions that used to have FP+ (save for the most popular ones that have the ILL upcharge), but because of the way the system works, most guests are finding that they can only get somewhere between 3-5 in a day (and that includes bottom tier attractions that rarely have long lines anyway). The reasons for this is because the system does not allow you to repeat rides, and the number of LL reservations available each day appears to be static (the old FP+ system would add extra reservations based on standby line lengths and attraction performance) so once all the spots are taken for the day, that's pretty much it. What ends up happening is that if you book your first LL reservation first thing in the morning, you can usually get one of the top rides (i.e. MFSR, ToT, RnR, and SDD in DHS; Frozen, Soarin', and TestTrack in EPCOT; BTMRR, Splash, Pirates, Peter Pan, and HM in MK; and Everest, Kilimanjaro Safari, and NRJ in DAK), but if you're unable to schedule the return time for that ride early in the day, you will be waiting 2 hours until you can schedule your next attraction, which usually means all of the reservations for the top attractions are gone or have return times very late in the day and you're waiting another 2 hours before you can make your next reservation. By the time you reach that 3rd or 4th reservation it becomes very slim pickings, and you'll be forced to grab whatever lower tier attractions are left for near term arrival or pick another mid-tier attraction that has a return time at the very end of the day - at which point 2 hours later there won't be ANYTHING left in the system.

The system tends to work better at DL because not as many guests are paying for Genie+ and there are a lot more attractions in general to spread out the crowds. Also, at WDW, more guests were conditioned to use FP+ (unlike at DL where only a small percentage used MaxPass and the paper FP system), and are subsequently paying the Genie+ upcharge thinking it works the same as FP+ when it's a very different system. Additionally, a lot more lower tier attractions are available on Genie+ at WDW, meaning guests cycle through the inventory of the few good attractions in each park, leaving the dregs for later in the day. At DL - only the top attractions are available through Genie+, so there's not as much attraction tiering as there is at the WDW parks in terms of popularity.

As noted in the original article, if you're walking into a WDW park and buying Genie+ at noon, you're probably going to be pretty dissatisfied with the service from a value perspective, because most of the best attractions in each park are gone well before noon, leaving middle and bottom tier attractions to choose from. Disney has steadily lowered the expectations for Genie+ since it launched (originally touting 4-5 attractions per day, which insinuated a savvy user could get 5-8, a nearly impossible feat), because they refuse to put a cap on the number of guests who buy the service each day. It's essentially a bait and switch (promising saved time on a long list of attractions in each park though unless you know how to work the system, you'll never get a LL reservation for a top ride), though I suppose not allowing guests to buy ahead of time is a slight improvement to reduce frustrated guests paying for the service when they book their trip and then showing up in the park at noon thinking they'll be able to immediately get a LL for a top attraction only to find nothing by flat rides and shows available.

May 19, 2022 at 12:44 PM

My biggest issue with Genie+ is that it is a downgrade from FP+ which was a downgrade from FP. If Disney had gone from no FOTL system at all to Genie+ then it might have been less painful and invoked less guest dissatisfaction. Instead they've taken a neat perk that didn't really require any huge effort from the guest (FP), to something similar that now required more planning and effort (FP+), to something with more limited benefits but similar effort and now they're charging for it (Genie+). In terms of guest satisfaction its a trend in the wrong direction but I'm sure Disney is making money so it probably won't reverse any time soon.

May 19, 2022 at 1:31 PM

James trexen...you Just migth be rigth...ha ha ha yes i do dislike the concept of the genie plus. It does over complicate something as simple as a Park Day. Kinda takes the fun out of things

May 19, 2022 at 1:39 PM

Fast pass ( and all consecutive fotl systems ) were a good idea gone horribly wrong. Límited space and rides cannot take unlimited amounts of guests. You have to curtail number of guests into the Park, or ( seems to be the case ), convince the guest to enjoy less rides per Day While paying more money to enter the same Park. How is that a good deal??

May 19, 2022 at 2:31 PM

Perfectly explained, Russell.

If Disney is really going to limit the number of G+ users, I can’t imagine the cost will stay at $15 per day per person for very long.

May 19, 2022 at 6:37 PM

@russell absolutely fantastic analysis, thank you for taking the time to type that out.

That said, it's still baffling why they couldn't have just stuck with MaxPass, which got them the $15 Chapek so desperately desires but still _worked_. I never heard anyone complaining during the Fast/Maxpass days, and if you were a pro you could work that thing like a rib. However much money they're making off of G+ isn't worth the non-stop bad vibes it creates.

May 19, 2022 at 7:54 PM

Had Disney just monetized FP+ and still allowed reservations 30-60 days in advance, there still would have been grumbling for making guests pay for something that was once free, but it would not be near as bad as the complaints now.

May 20, 2022 at 8:59 AM

@Russell - really appreciate the DL vs WDW explanation having used Genie+ at DL and the only Genie ride we almost missed due to reservation times running out was Soarin’. Although I understand the “why” in the big picture, I was frustrated that it was only good for 1x use per attraction for the day. I thought we were going to get some Genie+ re-rides in but…nope.

May 20, 2022 at 12:57 PM

@Scottland - That's probably my biggest complaint regarding Genie+. All of the early publicity for Genie+ made it sound very much like MaxPass, which I felt was a natural extension of FP/FP+ that was well worth the upcharge (especially since it also included PhotoPass, granted PhotoPass in California is not nearly as valuable as it is in WDW). However, as news started to trickle out about Genie+, it became clear that the 1 LL per attraction policy was not being limited to just the upcharge ILL attractions, but would be extended for all LLs offered through Genie+. For me, that's a HUGE deal killer, as we typically used FP/FP+/MaxPass as a way to get rerides on our favorite attractions, not as a way to cut lines on rides we cared little about, which seems to be the value of Genie+.

The fundamental issue with Genie+ is that the longer you spend in the parks, the less valuable the system becomes. Between the LLs you're able to secure along with the other popular attractions that run out of reservations, if you spend more than 6-8 hours in the park using Genie+, you reach a point where there's nothing left worth riding, and you're now relegated to standby lines during the part of the day when those lines are at their worst (between lunch and dinner). If you use a smart, well thought out touring plan and arrive at rope drop, you can come close to the same waits and number of attractions by riding through standby lines as many guests have been able to experience through Genie+.

Now, I will say that my limited observations of the system and reading of detailed reviews and analyses of the service, Disney has certainly hit on some aspects that are improved.

1. Park pathways are generally more open. It's possible this observation is due to Disney still limiting capacity in the parks, but empirical evidence would suggest that since more guests are physically waiting in standby lines (and not wandering the park while waiting for their FP/FP+ return times), it is leading to less crowded walkways and gathering areas.

2. Genie+ is fairer to noobs. You don't need to wake up early 30 or 60 days ahead of your visit to book reservations in Genie+ like you did with FP+, and the way Genie+ is set up limits how much savvy users can take advantage of the system. You don't need to read tons of plans and guides to use Genie+, because there just aren't very many ways to exploit the system to any discernable advantage. While that's great for those who choose to pony up $15/person/day for the service knowing that seasoned guests and power users won't be running circles around them and limiting what they can do as a result, those of us who were FP/FP+ savants can't get Genie+ to come anywhere close to what FP/FP+/MaxPass offered, and certainly not for the additional cost.

3. Standby lines move more predictable. Because Genie+ does not add extra reservations to the system based on attraction performance like FP/FP+ did (Disney did this to try to balance crowd levels within the parks), you don't get the same surge of guests through the FP/LL queues that brings the flow of the standby line to a crawl. By maintaining a set number of LLs for each attraction each day, it means standby waits are not only more predictable, but also shorter compared to the FP/FP+ era.

However, those minor advantages don't offset that guests are now being forced to pay for a service that is inferior to the free one that it replaced. It's like a restaurant charging customers for tepid tap water when they used to receive bottled ice water for free with their meal.

May 20, 2022 at 1:09 PM

@rusell comments are rigth on. It shows why i am angry with the so called "enhanced custom guest experience". They are selling People a tool that for New guests sounds like the only way to have a good Day in the Park, but it is límited in scope and adds a cost to the trip that only benefits the company and shows total lack of respect for New and old ( and very loyal) fans.

May 20, 2022 at 6:39 PM

Russell, to further your point, at Disneyland if you don't book your dinner food early, you may not be able to eat at dinner either, as all the mobile ordering reservations get booked. So now late afternoon, which was previously one of my favorite times at the park, becomes a friggen dead zone because everything is pre-booked.

Bob Chapek, truly I dislike you.

May 20, 2022 at 10:23 PM

Russell, it didn’t take long for power users to figure out how to get the most out of G+, particularly at MK. Granted, it can’t be used to the extent of FP or FP+, but the power users are getting 8-10 attractions in MK with Peter Pan and Jungle Cruise among those where a noob strolling in after rope drop and trying their first LL at that moment may only get 2-3 A to C ticket rides.

May 21, 2022 at 8:25 AM

Knowing this will never happen, but, can't we just go back to waiting in a regular line for a ride or show without the nonsense of trying to get ahead of everyone else or having to plan your entire day or stay by having to make reservations to get on a ride? It seems this whole pay for a ride is just a way that Disney has found a way of trying to avoid raising park admission prices because so many will fork over $$ for a benefit that really isn't that beneficial. Wait in line for a ride if you want to or not, your choice.
Personally, I have no interest in visiting Disney anymore because it's become way to complicated.

May 21, 2022 at 7:41 PM

/\ We had that for a year after the parks opened from the pandemic closure and it was great...but sadly that was always a short-term thing as paid Fastpass had been in the works for years as their long term goal of making more money.

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