How to Approach Disney Genie+ and Lightning Lane
A frequent Disney vacation friend of ours asked me two straightforward questions the other day.
Because I’m a total headcase, I sent her back a reply that probably took 20 minutes to read. Folks, it’s really exhausting being my friend.
However, her questions made me realize that we’ll all face the same problems in October.
How should we approach Disney Genie and its offshoots, Disney Genie+ and Lightning Lane?
When to Buy?
Okay, this answer is easy but nuanced.
Disney won’t allow guests to purchase Disney Genie+ until the day of the visit UNLESS you book a ticket package ahead of time.
An authorized Disney travel planner like the geniuses at MickeyTravels can hook you up with tickets.
These packages CAN include Disney Genie+, thereby guaranteeing you don’t get sold out.
Will Disney Genie+ experience frequent sellouts? There’s just no way to know right now.
So, your choices are to book a package now or wait until the day of your visit.
The latter option comes with a hidden advantage. When you buy a package, you must order Disney Genie+ for every night of your stay.
If you wait until you’re at the park, you can buy Disney Genie+ for just that day.
As such, I’m currently telling people to wait until the morning that they’re going to the park.
However, I’ve asked them not to angry-text me if sellouts happen. I’m not expecting sellouts, but it’s a complete guess, especially for October.
Those of you who want security should book a package, though.
What to Do First
Okay, I’ll presume that you’re waking up early enough to book a virtual queue for either Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure or Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance.
Those systems open at 7 a.m., which means that you should clean out the cache on your phone and be ready to go at 6:58 a.m.
Presuming nothing changes, all the virtual passes should book within five minutes.
So, we’ll fast forward to 7:05 a.m. Now what?
Once you know whether you’re getting a virtual pass, you can schedule your first Disney Genie+ ride.
Part of your decision should involve whether you’re staying at an official Disney resort, which is always best.
Presuming that you are, you’ll receive the new amenity, Early Theme Park Entry. This benefit allows you to enter the park half an hour early.
Disney operates 40+ attractions during this timeframe, which matches well with the 40+ attractions available on Disney Genie+.
Theoretically, you can book what we used to call a FastPass for one ride the moment the park opens.
BEFORE THAT (!!!), you can also ride something else thanks to Early Theme Park Entry.
Plan your visit accordingly. And yes, MickeyBlog will offer some detailed suggestions in the coming weeks.
The point is that you should pick something for Disney Genie+ almost immediately after the booking window opens at 7 a.m.
Also, remember that people who aren’t staying at Disney resorts cannot schedule a Disney Genie+ attraction until they’re in the parks.
Use this amenity to your advantage! Aim higher for your first attraction of the day.
With Early Theme Park Entry, Disney Genie+, and Rope Drop, you could feasibly knock out three of your park favorites within the first hour of your visit!
After you’ve scheduled a Disney Genie+ selection, you’ll face another decision. Should you buy one or two Lightning Lane passes?
Obviously, you don’t have to decide first thing in the morning. These attractions will operate all day. However, sellouts are possible here, too.
For this reason, you may decide to book your Lightning Lane options immediately. This is probably the approach I’ll take.
In life, I’m not much of a planner. At Disney theme parks, I take a vastly different approach with an ironclad itinerary.
So, I’d rather pick a time for my Lightning Lane attractions and then plan my morning accordingly.
I cannot suggest specifics until Disney clarifies which attractions will participate in Lightning Lane. We only know about three so far.
However, Rise of the Resistance is one of them. On Disney’s Hollywood Studios days, you should pivot to Lightning Lane if you don’t get a Boarding Group.
In truth, I wouldn’t be surprised if Disney ended Boarding Groups at some point after Lightning Lane debuts. That’s pure speculation, though.
The point here is that you should have a solid idea of your entire morning based on what happens from 7 a.m. to 7:15 a.m.
After that, get dressed and then head to the park. You should aim to be on a Disney bus at 8 a.m. to take maximum advantage of Early Theme Park Entry.
How Should You Approach Rope Drop?
We’re getting into the theoretical more now. My response depends on what you’ve chosen to do with your first Disney Genie+ attraction.
What I’ll suggest is that I don’t expect much to change in October. Yes, crowds will increase due to Walt Disney World’s 50th birthday party.
However, the same attractions will still earn the most traffic at the start of the day.
At Disney’s Animal Kingdom, you can follow the crowd by heading to Pandora – The World of Avatar.
Thanks to Disney Genie+ and Early Theme Park Entry, you could feasibly ride Na’vi River Journey and Avatar Flight of Passage almost immediately.
Ordinarily, I’m a fan of going against convention. I don’t see much point here, though. Just follow the modest pre-opening crowds on this one.
At EPCOT, you’ll pick between Test Track, Frozen Ever After, and Soarin’. Remember that Ratatouille will employ a virtual queue at first. So, that’s out.
I’d suggest Test Track, as that one claims the longest lines at the park. Similarly, Seven Dwarfs Mine Train still makes the most sense at Magic Kingdom.
Disney’s Hollywood Studios provides the most intrigue.
You could take several approaches here, including a start at Slinky Dog Dash or Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run.
Personally, I’m lazy and stop at Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway since it’s right in the middle of the park. Slinky Dog Dash is probably the smartest play, though.
I promise that I’ll update with more detailed instructions once we have a few days’ worth of data for Early Theme Park Entry and Disney Genie+.
What Should You Do While at the Parks?
Okay, this one’s simple. You should approach Disney Genie+ the same way that you have with FastPass the past few years.
Once you enter the line queue, which is now called Lightning Lane, you should take out your phone and pick your next attraction.
You’ll get more than $15 in value from Disney Genie+ when you’re an active, aggressive user.
In this way, the new system should remind you of the olden days of paper FastPasses, back when some people could effectively break the system.
Your goal here is to keep a FastPass in your pocket, which was the old vernacular.
Now, you want a Disney Genie+ pass scheduled the instant you use your last one. That happens when you check in at the Lightning Lane.
So, the worst mistake you can make is to schedule a Disney Genie+ pass for several hours later.
Always look for the soonest time possible for the next (acceptable) attraction.
I fully expect to have at least one Disney Genie+ pass for each hour I’m inside the park, thereby ensuring an unforgettable Disney day!