Many or all of the products featured here are from our partners who compensate us. This influences which products we write about and where and how the product appears on a page. However, this does not influence our evaluations. Our opinions are our own. Here is a list of our partners and here's how we make money.
Looking to visit a Disney theme park in the near future? You’ve probably come across mention of Disney FastPass, a virtual queue that allows you "skip the line" by picking a return time for a ride. Considering the number of attractions available, spending less time waiting in line sounds like a pretty nice perk.
But what is it, how does it work — and most importantly — is the new version of the Disney FastPass worth it? Let’s take a look.
1. Disney FastPass has been replaced
In the past, Disney gave every guest the ability to use FastPass. This complimentary program allowed visitors to make reservations for various rides and attractions and then skip the line.
However, when Disney’s parks reopened following its pandemic closure, the FastPass was eliminated and everyone had to wait in the standby line.
Although many hoped FastPass would make a speedy return, guests instead waited more than a year for the newest iteration of FastPass to launch. Dubbed Genie+, the service officially went live on Oct. 19, 2021, at Walt Disney World. It’s now available to guests at both Disney World and Disneyland.
» Learn more: Lightning Lane vs. Genie+
2. Genie+ costs money
How much are Disney's new FastPasses? Unlike its predecessor, Genie+ costs money. The price for a single day will vary based on demand and the park that you’re visiting.
At Disney World, Genie+ starts at a cost of $15 per person, per day. At Disneyland, Genie+ will cost a minimum of $25 per person, per day.
Genie+ is different from Genie — the complimentary artificial intelligence tool available on Disney’s app. Genie uses information like predicted crowd levels and your desired rides to give you a breakdown of how to spend your day. Genie+ takes it one step further and acts like the old FastPass system, allowing you to make ride reservations for later in the day.
If you’re planning on purchasing Genie+, use a card that’ll maximize your spend. The Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card, for example, will earn you 2 miles per dollar spent on all of your purchases.
If you’re traveling with multiple guests, the costs of Genie+ can really add up. A family of five traveling to Disney World will need to budget for an additional $75 per day (at a minimum) if they plan to use this service.
» Learn more: How to go to Disney World for cheap
3. It gets you toward the front of the line
So does Disney have FastPasses? In a way, yes. Genie+ at Disney World and Disneyland allows you to use a separate lane for rides, called the Lightning Lane. This doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll get to the very front of the line, but it does mean you’ll bypass the entirety of the standby line.
While you’ll still need to wait behind other Lightning Lane guests, this can overall save you hours on wait times and allow you to squeeze more attractions into a single day.
Be aware that Disney may also use a virtual queue for some of its more popular rides. Acting in much the same way as a Lightning Lane, a virtual queue is free and allows guests to return at a set time to experience the attraction. Standby lines are not available for rides using a virtual queue service.
» Learn more: The best ways to buy Disney tickets
4. Genie+ doesn’t include all rides
Although Genie+ has fairly robust Lightning Lane offerings — including rides, shows and even character meetings — it doesn’t provide access to every ride. Each theme park at Disneyland and Disney World has some rides that will use the Individual Lightning Lane system. These are often the largest, newest or most popular rides.
In order to gain access to these rides with Lightning Lane, you’ll need to pay an additional fee. The price for this will vary and may surpass $20 per ride. That’s quite a hefty cost, especially if you’ve already paid to access Genie+ for the day.
However, note that you don’t need to buy Genie+ in order to secure Individual Lightning Lane passes. These two items are distinct and can be purchased separately.
All guests can purchase up to two Individual Lightning Lane passes per day, which means you won’t be able to skip the line on your favorite ride over and over again.
» Learn more: Ways to save on your first — or next — Disney vacation
5. Genie+ is available at multiple parks
Want to know how to get a FastPass at Disney World? Luckily, it’s the same process no matter which Disney park you’re visiting.
Genie+ is available at all of its theme parks in the United States, including Disneyland, California Adventure and all four of its parks in Florida. While the process may initially seem confusing, once you’re familiar with Genie+, you’ll be able to use it anywhere.
6. Genie+ can sell out
If you’re wondering how to add FastPass to Disney tickets, you’re not alone. In the past, FastPasses were automatically available to you after you had purchased your ticket. With Genie+, it only becomes available to guests on the day they’re planning to visit the park. Lightning Lane reservations open at 7 a.m.
Individual Lightning Lanes do not follow this same process. Those staying at a Disney resort are able to purchase Individual Lightning Lane access for rides beginning at 7 a.m. on the day of their visit. Other guests can purchase Individual Lightning Lane for rides once the theme parks open on the day they’re visiting.
» Learn more: How to stay at Disney hotels for cheap (or free)
Disney FastPass recapped
Although Disney’s old FastPass is gone, its legacy remains today in the form of Genie+. This service provides priority access to a wide variety of rides and attractions throughout Disney’s theme parks. However, unlike FastPass, Genie+ costs money. It also doesn’t provide access to all rides within the park; instead these Individual Lightning Lane rides charge a separate, additional fee.
Still, if you’re looking to save time and maximize your day, Disney’s Genie+ can help you avoid the worst of the lines at crowded theme parks. Just be sure to budget for the added expense.
Featured image courtesy of Walt Disney World Resort.
How to maximize your rewards
You want a travel credit card that prioritizes what’s important to you. Here are our picks for the best travel credit cards of 2023, including those best for:
Flexibility, point transfers and a large bonus: Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
No annual fee: Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card
Flat-rate travel rewards: Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card
Bonus travel rewards and high-end perks: Chase Sapphire Reserve®
Luxury perks: The Platinum Card® from American Express
Business travelers: Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card