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Visiting a Walt Disney theme park can be a magical experience at any age, but long lines at attractions can quickly take some of the magic away.
To ease increased wait times over recent years, Disney implemented a service called Genie+. Whether Genie+ is worth it, however, depends on your preferences.
With a maximum daily visitor capacity of 85,000 at Disneyland Park and 90,000 at Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom, guests generally expect to wait in line for an attraction at some point during their visit.
Shortening your time spent in standby lines is always ideal, but doing so with the help of Genie+ comes at a cost. Here’s what to know about this feature and how to decide if Disney Genie+ is worth it for you.
Overview of Disney’s Genie+
Guests who are visiting Disneyland or Disney World can add on the Genie+ service either before their visit or upon entering the park. Genie+ includes all the features you’ll find through the free Disney Genie service, such as a customized itinerary and a convenient tip board to help you track your preferred experiences throughout day.
The biggest perk that Genie+ gives you is front-of-the-line access to some of the park’s most popular attractions via Lightning Lanes.
This is done by giving you the option to select the next available arrival window for the Lightning Lane at the attraction. However, keep in mind this benefit is only for select attractions, and you can only use the Lightning Lane once per day per eligible attraction.
» Learn more: Lightning lanes vs. Genie+
Disney estimates that the average guest can ride two or three Lightning Lane attractions per day using Genie+.
In addition to skipping a few high-traffic standby lines — some of which can take as long as two hours for just one attraction — Genie+ includes the following benefits:
Unlimited PhotoPass downloads. No need to worry about photo watermarks on your cherished memories. You can download as many digital photos from your park visit as you want and share those photos with family and friends, too.
Disney PhotoPass Lenses. These immersive lenses add an extra touch of magic to your park photos, like overlaying a digital Disneyland banner above your shots, adding in augmented reality character cameos, and more.
Audio Tales access. This perk provides you with behind-the-scenes tidbits and fun facts as you visit the parks.
» Learn more: Ways to save on your Disney vacation
How much Genie+ costs
Genie+ starts at $25 per person per day, but pricing is dynamic and depends on various factors, like the time of year, whether high traffic is anticipated that day or other factors that affect demand for the service.
Each person in your party who wants access to the service’s benefits, including front-of-the-line access, must purchase their own Genie+ add-on.
When is Genie+ worth it?
Since Genie+ is an extra expense for each person in your group, the added cost could have you second-guessing whether Genie+ is worth it. To help you answer this question, here are a few scenarios that might make the paid Genie pass worth it.
You want to avoid wasting time in line, as much as possible
If your goal is to maximize the number of attractions you ride on, purchasing Genie+ might be worth it. Although guests typically get to access front-of-the-line privileges about two or three times with Genie+, the total time saved could be significant.
For example, if you’re visiting Magic Kingdom and really want to ride Peter Pan’s Flight, Space Mountain and Jungle Cruise, historical average wait times are 55 minutes, 49 minutes and 49 minutes, respectively.
If you can use Genie+ to cut the line for all three rides, that’s more than two hours of your visit saved, which can be spent at other attractions or catching a show.
» Learn more: How to plan a trip to Walt Disney World
You’re visiting a park with many, or popular, attractions
Guests who are visiting a Disney park with a significant number of attractions might benefit from Genie+. For instance, Genie+ might be worth it at Disney World’s Magic Kingdom since the park offers a sizable 25 attractions.
If this is what convinces you to purchase Genie+, make sure to check the list of eligible Lightning Lane attractions under Genie+, since not all are eligible.
Furthermore, if you have a reservation for a park that might not have a lot of attractions, but the ones there are high-traffic rides, a Genie+ pass can be worth it.
Genie+ can save you time if you’re visiting Hollywood Studios at Walt Disney World and want to ride Slinky Dog Dash, which has a historical average wait time of 77 minutes, and Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway, which can take an average of 53 minutes in the standby line.
Similarly, a visit to Disney’s California Adventure might also merit a Genie+ add-on with rides like WEB SLINGERS: A Spider-Man Adventure taking an average of 71 minutes to get on, and Guardians of the Galaxy — Mission: BREAKOUT! averaging about 48 minutes.
You don’t have multiple existing reservations in your day
The key to getting the most out of Genie+ in terms of Lightning Lane attractions is keeping your schedule flexible during your visit. With Genie+, you can’t reserve a specific return window; instead, you’re offered the next available window.
If you have multiple reservations at Disneyland, for example — such as a character breakfast at Plaza Inn, building a lightsaber at Savi’s Workshop and a dinner reservation at Blue Bayou — taking advantage of an offered Genie+ Lightning Lane return window can be difficult to schedule around.
» Learn more: The best ways to buy Disney tickets
Disney’s Genie+ recapped
Although the Genie+ service provides greater front-of-the-line access, it has significant limitations.
Only select attractions are eligible, you can only reserve one return window at a time and Disney doesn’t guarantee you’ll successfully board an attraction through the service. Not to mention that for some guests, the cost can be prohibitive.
However, every guest has their own unique idea of what a perfect day at the parks looks like. If the chance to ride more attractions and access PhotoPass perks is a top priority — and your budget allows it — Genie+ might be worth it for your next visit.
(Top photo courtesy of Walt Disney World)
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