Disney has announced that they will not be bringing back the FastPass, FastPass+, or MaxPass systems, and will replace them with the brand new Disney Genie systems. Disney Genie launched at Walt Disney World on October 19, 2021!
Disney’s FastPass and its iterations have been around for decades now, and Disney Parks announced last week that it will not be coming back. This is actually not a surprise, as Disneyland Paris announced a pay-per ride policy a few weeks ago (we even did a podcast episode on that topic at that time). The Disney Genie service is also not a surprise, as Disney announced it would be coming to the parks back at the 2019 D23 Expo.
Let’s get something clear- Disney is NOT charging for FastPass! This is a completely new system. While it might be semantics, it’s important to note that this will not be the same as FastPass so you should not expect it to work in the same way! And while I love the idea of shorter wait times, I have been a proponent that Disney Parks needs to update their FastPass system for quite a while now.
That being said, the new Disney Genie is a little confusing at first glance. One of the best ways to learn about the Disney Genie system is to watch the official Disney video on it, you can do so here. In this blog I will overview the Genie system and give my take on how it will work and what I think.
Disney Genie – What is It?
The Disney Genie is a no-cost planning service, providing personalized itineraries based on what you select. It’s based on your individual preferences, and will help guide you through the theme parks in a way that makes sense so you don’t miss your favorite attractions and/or shows. It’s also designed to maximize your time and give you a personalized touring plan so you can minimize wait times.
It will also be on-the-fly, sending you real time updates and tips, and can help steer you away from a parade or toward a particular restaurant or less crowded area. It will also send you forecasted wait times so you will know if you want to ride a particular attraction now or later. When using this app, you’ll definitely want an extra battery pack charger until we know how much it will drain your battery!
Disney Genie will be available at BOTH Disneyland and Walt Disney World. (Though some things may vary.)
The Disney Genie+ is the extra service, more akin to the former Disneyland MaxPass.
From the official Disney announcement: “For the price of $15 per ticket per day at Walt Disney World Resort and $20 per ticket per day at Disneyland Resort, Guests can choose the next available time to arrive at a variety of attractions and experiences using the Lightning Lane entrance. Guests can make one selection at a time, throughout the day – from classics like Haunted Mansion to thrill rides like Big Thunder Mountain Railroad and newer favorites like Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run (attractions subject to limited availability). This convenient option is the next evolution of the fan-favorite Disney MaxPass service from Disneyland Resort. Disney Genie+ will also include Disney parks-themed audio experiences and photo features to capture your memories – augmented reality lenses for those visiting Walt Disney World Resort and unlimited Disney PhotoPass downloads from your day if you are visiting Disneyland Resort.” (from Disney Destinations)
Did you catch the part about photos? “augmented reality lenses for those visiting Walt Disney World Resort and unlimited Disney PhotoPass downloads from your day if you are visiting Disneyland Resort.” PhotoPass photos are ONLY included at Disneyland! At Walt Disney World, it is just the augmented reality lenses. What does this mean for Memory Maker? We don’t know yet!
Lightning Lane is the new name for the FastPass entrance! Select attractions are included in Genie+ – but not all of them! Certain popular attractions will have a separate a la carte option for access to Lightning Lane. (See below.) Rides that use virtual queues such as Rise of the Resistance at both Walt Disney World and Disneyland, and Web Slingers in Disneyland will continue to use the Virtual Queue system AND will be part of the a la carte paid option.
À La Carte Attractions
Certain attractions will be able to be purchased a la carte to get you access to Lightning Lane. These are known as “A la carte” or “Individual” Lightning Lane selections. These are different from those in the Disney Genie+ service. You can purchase up to 2 per day, per guest. Prices will be different based on theme park, attraction and seasonality. You can purchase individual attractions even if you don’t do the Genie+ service, so that might be a more favorable option if you can’t afford or don’t want to use the Genie+ service for everyone.
This is the service that I’m least excited about, because I feel like all attractions that have Genie+ should have the front-of-line access. And because we don’t know the cost yet (the pricing is dynamic and will fluctuate depending on demand), it makes it a harder pill to swallow. Maybe once we know the price and which attractions are included I might change my mind, but for now I think I’ll stick with the Genie+.
From the Walt Disney World FAQ:
“Prices will vary by date, attraction and park. For example, the Lightning Lane entrance to Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure will be $9 per person on October 19 and $11 per person on October 23. As another example, on both those dates, Lightning Lane entrance to Expedition Everest – Legend of the Forbidden Mountain will be $7 per person, while Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance will be $15 per person. Throughout the year, prices may be lower on some days and higher on other days. This option may be purchased at up to 2 different attractions each day.”
Which Attractions Are Included in Disney Genie+ and the Individual Lightning Lane Selections
- Seven Dwarfs Mine Train
- Space Mountain
Disney Genie+ Lightning Lane Selections
- Big Thunder Mountain Railroad
- Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin
- Dumbo the Flying Elephant
- Haunted Mansion
- “it’s a small world”
- Jungle Cruise
- Mad Tea Party
- Mickey’s PhilharMagic
- Monsters Inc. Laugh Floor
- Peter Pan’s Flight
- Pirates of the Caribbean
- Splash Mountain
- The Barnstormer
- The Magic Carpets of Aladdin
- The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh
- Tomorrowland Speedway
- Under the Sea ~ Journey of The Little Mermaid
- Frozen Ever After
- Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure
Disney Genie+ Lightning Lane Selections
- Disney and Pixar Short Film Festival
- Journey into Imagination with Figment
- Living with the Land
- Mission: SPACE – Green
- Mission: SPACE – Orange
- Spaceship Earth
- Test Track
- The Seas with Nemo & Friends
- Turtle Talk with Crush
Disney’s Hollywood Studios
- Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway
- Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance
Disney Genie+ Lightning Lane Selections
- Alien Swirling Saucers
- Beauty and the Beast Sing-Along
- Disney Jr. Dance Party
- For the First Time in Forever: A Frozen Sing-Along Celebration
- Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular – Returning December 19, 2021
- Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run
- Muppet*Vision 3D
- Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster
- Slinky Dog Dash
- Star Tours
- The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror
- Toy Story Mania!
Disney’s Animal Kingdom Park
- Avatar Flight of Passage
- Expedition Everest – Legend of the Forbidden Mountain
Disney Genie+ Lightning Lane Selections
- Celebration of the Festival of the Lion King
- Feathered Friends in Flight!
- It’s Tough to Be a Bug!
- Kali River Rapids
- Kilimanjaro Safaris
- Naʻvi River Journey
- The Animation Experience
A few more things to highlight! Unlike FastPass+ when guests could book up to three FastPass+ reservations in advance, Genie+ Lightning Lane reservations can only be made one at a time, on the day of your visit. Staying on-site? You can make your first Disney Genie+ reservation at 7:00 am. (Hope you didn’t want to sleep in on your vacation!) Staying off-site? You must wait until official park opening time AND you are in the park to make your Disney Genie+ reservation. No more having to decide what attractions you want to experience months in advance! This will hopefully allow for more spontaneity in your day.
Also, guests can only use the Genie+ Lightning Lane access once per attraction, per day. So no using all three on Flights of Passage! For the “a la carte” Lightning Lane selections, guests can purchase up to 2 per person, per day.
Disney Genie+ will work with the Park Hopper option.
Comparison with Universal Express Pass
Universal Orlando and Universal Hollywood have always charged for their front-of-the-line passes. And, it works much better than the FastPass systems did! However, one interesting thing is that Universal includes Unlimited Express Pass in the cost of their Deluxe Resorts, and Disney has not announced any plans to include the Genie+ attractions in their Deluxe Resorts at this time. That’s a mistake in my opinion, as the perks of staying on-site are dwindling.
Here’s where a little bit of math comes in. For a family of three vs. a family of four, five, or six, there will be a difference. For my family of three on a 4-day Disney trip, we’ll have to pay $180 extra for the Genie+ service. This does not include the a la carte rides, but let’s just say that will be an additional $100 to make it easy. That’s $280 total for Genie+ and Lightning and a 4-day trip.
The price of Universal’s Express Pass varies seasonally, but the cost is between $110 and $230 PER PERSON for two parks, PER DAY! That is for staying off-site or in one of Universal’s non-Deluxe hotels where it’s included. That is a huge amount of money for the Unlimited Express Pass, and would cost my family almost $700 per day.
With that math in mind, Disney Genie+ is a no-brainer! But, Universal’s Express Pass is included at three of their hotels, and at this time we don’t think Disney will include the Genie+ in their Deluxe hotels.
I’m honestly excited about the Genie and the Genie+ services. I am ok with paying more for the Genie+ and I really think it will work out much better than FastPass or FastPass+ did. I’m on the fence about the pay-per-ride a la carte option, and how this will all work with Disney’s technology systems. But I’m excited to see what happens, and for the most part, I think this is a great change to the theme parks!
I’m very excited for this! If this is out by my trip in October. My family and I have decided we will try it, but only at MK probably. Cause we feel like it won’t be able to get our money out of it at Epcot or AK. Now I still may try to buy a lighting lane pass for Flights of Passage (I know they haven’t released what they have on LL but one can guess.) I definitely like this better than FastPass+. I do agree this needs to be a benefit for Deluxe guest. Cause with the Extra Magic Hours and then add on to this. More people will stay deluxe.
Thanks for your thoughts, Kyle! I will be excited to see what you think after using it.
You did a great job explaining the new system! “New” can sometimes be scary, but I think this is a good change. Don’t want to pay extra, don’t pay extra and just wait in line. Want to make the most of your time and have a few extra dollars, then use the line skipping services. Seems great to me!
Yes, I agree, I think it will be a good system overall!
So many are saying Genie+ is a lot like the DL Maxpass, which was supposedly popular with the DL crowd. Can you explain how Genie+ compares to the old Maxpass? Thx!
Hi Ken, that’s a good question. It’s more about how it’s used- MaxPass allowed guests to get Fastpasses digitally every 90 minutes but paper Fastpasses WERE available at ride kiosks every two hours. You could get more Fastpasses than a guest without MaxPass and you could get them faster. Now that Fastpass is discontinued, there are NO paper Fastpasses available in the park. The only way to access the Lightning Lane (like a Fastpass queue) is to purchase Genie+ or one of the individual Lightning Lane attractions for an additional fee.
Thank you so much for the breakdown. I have conversations with my best friend all the time about the “nickel and diming” of Disney. She thinks it is taking away the magic. I think it only takes away the magic if you let it. I will say that I think the new rollout, semantics or not, is confusing. When it comes down to it…we WILL be paying for what we USED to know as the FastPass. Yeah, it will be booked differently (thank goodness it isn’t all that planning 3 months ahead of time!) and maybe the increased cost will change the amount of people who use it (I doubt this will have a significant impact), and hopefully the app and interface are better (yes it needed an overhaul), but what it comes down to as it matters to me is that I now need to pay to have the chance to wait in a shorter line hopefully at least three times during the day.
Will I do it? ABSOLUTELY! Do I see why people are upset? Yeah…but like I said at the beginning…we are the only ones who get in the way of allowing the magic to happen there!
Thanks again for the details!
Yes I love this way of looking at it!
I’m not happy about this at all. Disney is turning into an elitist vacation spot. So the people like me that have to scrimp and save for a Disney vacation now have to come up with more money in order to not have to wait in a long line. I’ll be curious to see what the regular lines will look like.
I hear you but guests have had the option to pay for front of line access for a long time now. VIP Tours have always included this option. And from what I understand, in theory this new system is meant to decrease your wait time in the stand by queues. Hopefully that is how it works out! Another thing to keep in mind is that prior to FastPass, waiting in the long line was your only option. Not to mention that even Walt himself once charged different amounts for more popular rides! (When Disneyland opened attractions were divided into categories A-E. E-ticket attractions cost more!)