Disney Genie and Disney Genie+ have been around for about seven months and Walt Disney World guests seem to still be coming to terms with using this system.
I had my first experience navigating Genie+ for a group of six people during a time when parks were at capacity. Let’s break down some of the good, the bad, and the straight-up ugly sides of Disney Genie+ that not everyone is talking about so that you can be prepared when you utilize this system on your next trip.
First, we are going to go over some of the good parts of Disney Genie+. The focus of Genie+ is that it is meant to decrease wait times for those who purchase it, and it does just that. Of all the Lightning Lanes we joined, we did not wait for more than 10-15 in a single one. Even when a ride had a standby line of an hour or more, the waits in the Lightning Lane were minimal.
I found that the park that I had the best luck in scheduling back-to-back Lightning Lanes for was Magic Kingdom, and this is perhaps due to a large number of attractions at this park. We “rope-dropped” Tomorrowland and accomplished many rides with low waits within the first hour, and then we were able to schedule lightning lanes pretty consistently for the rest of the attractions we wanted to accomplish. We did purchase the Individual Lightning Lane for Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, and one benefit to the Individual Lightning Lanes rides is you are able to choose a specific return time, rather than the first available as with the other rides.
We finished up at Magic Kingdom and decided to hop to Epcot. I was easily able to switch from making Lightning Lane selections at Magic Kingdom to Epcot. However, I did need to watch the app for about 30-45 minutes to wait for Lightning Lane time that was appropriate for when we would be arriving at Epcot. By the time we got to Epcot we already had the Lightning Lane scheduled and were able to head straight to that attraction.
When it comes to the bad, these were issues we dealt with that did not necessarily have a major effect on our trip but are things that you may experience. First, many times when I was selecting a return time, I would click on the available time and by the time I completed the process, I had received a different time. For example, I saw a 9:05 time for an attraction, and once I clicked it and completed the process, our return time was 9:30. This happened several times and is something I have also seen others experience.
Next, if you are going to be trying to schedule back-to-back lightning lanes as quickly as possible, you are going to find yourself crisscrossing around the park. In order to get Lightning Lanes that are in quick succession, it may lead to trips from one end of the park to the other in order to get to the attraction that is available at the time you are looking for. This means much more walking, so if you are looking to minimize the amount of walking you do in the parks, it is going to probably mean you have longer times between Lightning Lane return times.
Finally, we had issues with rides being temporarily closed during our scheduled Lightning Lane times. This happened almost every day we were at the parks. When this happens you will receive a “Multiple Experience” pass that you can either use on the attraction you had the Lightning Lane time for, but after the ride reopens, or you can use it on another attraction. However, you will be limited on what attraction you can use it on. This makes sense as you shouldn’t be able to use it on attractions that require additional fees for Lightning Lane.
The issue comes when the available attractions do not match the “tier level” or popularity of the one that was missed. For instance, we were unable to ride Frozen Ever After because it was closed. The available attractions did not include Soarin’ or Test Track even though those rides are not Individual Lightning Lane attractions and are equal to or lesser in popularity than Frozen Ever After. In this situation, I had prioritized Frozen Ever After instead of Test Track and lost out on getting a Lightning Lane for Test Track as they sold out quickly. When Frozen Ever After closed, that left me with no Lightning Lane for either attraction. This is simply a reminder to be patient and flexible and understand that rides may close during your trip.
So you have read the good and the bad, now for the ugly...