Should You Buy Disney Genie+ Or Lightning Lane?
In recent days, I’ve been asked one question more than any other. Disney fans want to know how they should approach paid FastPasses.
Of course, Disney doesn’t call its virtual queuing system by that name anymore, which only adds to the confusion.
Still, we’ll want to talk this one through. Should you buy Disney Genie Plus and/or Lightning Lane? I have opinions…
About Disney Genie Plus
You may feel a bit perplexed about Disney Genie vs. Disney Genie+. That’s understandable as Disney hasn’t named these new things clearly.
Disney Genie is a free virtual assistant that will be your best friend at Disney, no matter what you tell your traveling BFF(s).
Disney Genie+ works differently. Disneyland fans recognize it as the old MaxPass system. Ergo, it’s a paid FastPass system that’s totally optional.
For this reason, you’ll gain a massive competitive advantage when you purchase Disney Genie+.
You’ll have access to those old FastPass line queues, the shorter ones that allow you to board an attraction in a matter of minutes.
We don’t know how different these lines will look now that FastPass is no more.
Many/most guests won’t pay for Disney Genie+. Thus, the lines should be shorter, but that’s speculation.
Disney could feasibly offer more virtual queue passes, somewhat negating that aspect. Unfortunately, we’re still flying a bit blind for a few more weeks.
Pros of Disney Genie Plus
Okay, if you’ve visited Walt Disney World during the FastPass era, you know how the system works.
You get to enter the shorter line whenever you have a FastPass.
Cast members employ a ratio to allow a set number of FastPass line guests to move in line for every standard line guest.
Sometimes, the ratio is so extreme that the people in the standard line grumble with irritation.
However, nobody got that upset in the past because they knew that the system worked for them as well.
Now, that’s no longer the case. When you pay for Disney Genie+, you will gain a massive advantage over guests who don’t use the system.
Those shorter lines, the one Disney has renamed as Lightning Lane queues, are available to guests like you.
As such, less than half of Walt Disney World guests will compete for what we used to call FastPasses.
So, you’ll receive more of them than you ever have in your life. Thanks to Disney Genie+, you will experience substantially more attractions per park visit.
Cons of Disney Genie Plus
Look, there’s one unavoidable negative here. You must pay for Disney Genie+. It’s not free.
Disney charges $15 per guest per day for Disney Genie+. So even if you’re traveling by yourself, that adds $75 to your vacation budget for a five-day trip.
For large families, the price to use the service isn’t cheap. For example, let’s say you’re in a traveling party of five for that same five-day trip.
Now, you’re paying $375 extra just to keep using the old FastPass system.
If you choose not to do that, you must utilize the standby line queues the whole day. Ergo, you’ll spend more time waiting in lines.
Now, you’ll still enjoy an efficient trip thanks to the addition of Disney Genie, the free virtual assistant. It’ll optimize your park visit.
Even so, nobody wants to spend more time in standby line queues than they absolutely must. Jealousy will be a thing in the Disney Genie+ era.
About Lightning Lane
The poorly named Lightning Lane isn’t just the shorter line queue for each attraction.
Instead, Disney has also used this term to signify attractions that are now “pay to play.”
In other words, you can ride these E-ticket attractions by skipping the line. You must pay for the privilege, though.
Disney still hasn’t confirmed pricing yet, but we know from Disneyland Paris that these rides will cost $9-$18 each for one-time use.
Also, Disney has limited the number of Lightning Lane experiences to two per day, presumably to keep the wait times tolerable for everyone else.
Pros of Lightning Lane
I think of my wife’s friend whenever I discuss Lightning Lane. Even though he lives in Florida, he doesn’t visit Walt Disney World often.
This parent took his wife and two daughters to Disney’s Hollywood Studios a few months ago.
My wife provided them with plenty of information and pro tips about booking a Boarding Group for the attraction that mattered to him.
Still, when the fateful morning arrived, they couldn’t secure a ride on Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance. He later confided that it legitimately ruined their trip.
With Lightning Lane, his family could have avoided this disappointment. For a price of $36-$72, they could have purchased Lightning Lane.
With Lightning Lane, you gain more control over what you do during your vacation.
Cons of Lightning Lane
If you could ride your favorite Disney attraction for $20 right now, would you?
The answer likely depends on your budget and mood at the moment. Realistically, that’s another expense you must factor into a Disney visit, though.
Sure, purchasing a Lightning Lane ride allows you to experience Disney’s newest and best rides. It adds 10 percent to the price of a park visit, though.
You obviously don’t have to pay that money. However, others will. As such, you’ll discover less availability for Boarding Groups and other virtual queues.
Also, you’ll spend more time in the standby line as Disney caters to the higher-paying guests.
So, you’ll experience the cons of Lightning Lane whether you ever think to use it or not.
The other con is a weird one, but it’s still problematic. If you can afford Lightning Lane and want to use it regularly, the limit of two is annoying.
You cannot buy your way to a better Disney experience to the degree that you may desire.
I don’t know you or your vacation budget. As such, I cannot state with confidence what you can or should do.
However, I do have strong opinions on this subject. In recent years, I considered the old FastPass system to be kind of busted.
Disney never allowed the My Disney Experience/My Magic+ version of FastPass to match the heights of the old paper FastPass system.
Park officials took more control and thereby removed it from guests. I strongly suspect that Disney Genie exists to restore that imbalance.
I’m grateful that Disney Genie+ will also address the matter. By purchasing this kind of digital queuing system, I’ll receive the equivalent of something I like.
I believe that these smaller lines will feel like the equivalent of an after-hours event. I’ll get to do more during a single visit.
To me, that’s worth $15 per day. My family spends a lot of Disney during our trips anyway. If anything, by being more efficient, I can do more in less time.
I actually envision saving money by leaving the parks earlier and thereby spending less on overpriced water and Coke.
If you feel differently, I fully understand. It’s a personal subject, and there’s no one right or wrong perspective here.
As for Lightning Lane, it’s probably not something I’ll do every time. However, I DO like knowing that I have the option.
To wit, if I were visiting in October, I’d view my trip as a failure if I didn’t ride Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure.
I’d happily pay up to $20 to guarantee at least one ride.