Disneyland: How to Get the Most Out of Genie+

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Disneyland Castle
Julie & Erynn at Disneyland Castle

Miles with McConkey visited Disneyland in early January, 2022.  We tested out the new Genie+ for you.  

Is it worth it?  We will tell you everything you need to know.

TWO GENIES & A LIGHTNING BOLT

Land of Confusion

There has been a lot of confusion around the new system.  There is Genie, Genie+ and Lightning Lane.  What does it all mean?

We need to clear out the fog.

First, it is important to note that Disneyland rides have two lines:

  • Regular line
  • Fast line

The latter has been cleverly dubbed the Lightning Lane.  As the name suggests, this line moves much quicker.  Shorter waits mean more rides for you.

Your ticket purchase to the park puts you in the regular line.  There is nothing wrong with this.  However, you can expect longer wait times.

So, how do you get in the Lightning Lane?

It depends on the ride.  I know.  Can we make this any more complicated? 

We need to clarify the terminology so we can crack the code to get into the Lightning Lane.

Disneyland California Adventure Park
Disneyland California Adventure Park

Genie

Genie is Disney’s new app.  By the way, it is free.  It allows you to plan each day of your visit from rides to food to entertainment.  

Just tell Genie which park(s), your arrival and departure times, and answer a couple questions.  The app will then help you map out your day.

There is also a tip board where you can see wait times for each ride.  It is a pretty slick tool.

Having just the Genie app itself does not get you into the Lightning Lane.  You need a powerful genie that grants wishes for that…

Genie+

Genie+ grants you access to the Lightning Lane for most rides.  The cost is currently $20 a person for the day.

Genie+ allows you to schedule rides with a 1 hour booking window.  

You cannot schedule your next Genie+ attraction until you ride the previous one.  If 2 hours pass first, you can then schedule your next Genie+ ride.  

Note that each attraction can only be booked once per day with Genie+.

Lightning Lane

Disneyland’s most popular attractions require an individual Lightning Lane purchase.  Genie+ is not available for those rides.  

Three attractions fall into this category.  However, you may only utilize two of these per day.

Stormtroopers Interrogation Room
Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance

Which rides require an individual Lightning Lane purchase?

Disneyland Park:

  • Star Wars:  Rise of the Resistance

Disneyland California Adventure Park:

  • Radiator Springs Racers
  • WEB SLINGERS:  A Spider-Man Adventure

What is the cost for an individual Lightning Lane purchase?

The cost varies per ride and date.  Currently, the range is anywhere from $7 to $20.  That fee is per person and just for the one ride.

As you can see, the money really starts to add up with park tickets, food, drinks, souvenirs, Genie+ and Lightning Lane.  

The message is clear.  If you spend more money, you will receive preferential treatment.

Note that there are a few attractions that do not have a Lightning Lane.  For those rides, everyone waits in the same queue.

Cars Land at Night
Cozy Cone Motel – Cars Land at Night

TESTING GENIE+

We attended Disneyland for three days.  During our visit, crowd levels were rated 8 out of 10.  Yes, it was packed.

Day 1

We did not purchase Genie+.  Somebody (me) was stubborn and refused to bend.  We consistently had long wait times (1 hour +) and rode very few rides. 

How did this feel?  

It was soul crushing.  I can’t lie.  It was devastating to see the other line move so quickly. We may as well have been stuck in drying cement.

We counted how many people were cleared to move into the final queue from each line.  Typically, 20 to 25 from the Lightning Lane moved ahead for every 1 person in the regular line.  

On some rides, the ratio was 40 to 1.  Soul crushing!  No wonder the people in the Lightning Lane all had smiles on their faces.  

Those of us in the regular line were not smiling.  We were defeated.  I guess Disney’s “magic” had worn off.

Day 2

I broke down.  We purchased Genie+.  

What happened?  

Well, we moved through the lines quickly (5 to 20 minutes) and we rode a ton of rides (everything).  Suddenly, we were smiling.  The magic had returned.

Day 3

Since this was our last day, of course I paid for Genie+ again.  We had to end the trip on a high note.  

It put another dent in my wallet, but we had a fun and productive day.

Pooh Bear
Pooh Bear

CONCLUSIONS

Is Genie+ worth it?

I hate this answer, but it is the one I must give you.  It depends on your circumstances.  More on that in a moment.  

For us, it was definitely worth it.  We do not live anywhere near California.  We approached this trip as if we may never be back.  

We wanted to do and see as much as possible.  So, Genie+ made the experience more fulfilling.

Is an Individual Lightning Lane purchase worth it?

Once again, the answer depends on your situation.  I will give guidance on that shortly as well.

We never did spring for the individual Lightning Lane.  I refused to pay the extra funds for just those rides.  I drew a line in the sand just after Genie+. 

I will admit the wait for Radiator Springs Racers (90 minutes) was challenging.  Seeing the 40 to 1 ratio before your very eyes is maddening.  

We rode WEB SLINGERS:  A Spider-Man Adventure first thing in the morning.  The wait was not bad (20 minutes). 

We got lucky with Star Wars:  Rise of the Resistance.  The ride had broken down earlier in the day.  We happened to walk by just as it re-opened and only waited 5 minutes.

Having good fortune with two out of the three rides, I am happy with our decision not to spring for the Lightning Lane.

The best advice I can give here is to hit those rides first thing in the morning as soon as the park opens.  You need to be near the front when they drop the rope to let everyone in.  It will be a mad dash, but it will save you loads of time later.

When you are in Disney California Adventure Park, you will have a choice to make.  You should go immediately to either Radiator Springs Racers or WEB SLINGERS:  A Spider-Man Adventure.

Again, and I cannot stress this enough, you need to be there for the rope drop.  Then, you will have to put on your patience pants and wait in the regular line for the other ride.  

I lost my pair of patience pants.  Can’t seem to find them anywhere.

Now, let’s look at general guidance on when Genie+ and an individual Lightning Lane purchase may or may not make sense for your family.

SHAWARMA
SHAWARMA Stand in Avengers Campus

Genie+ makes sense when:

  • Budget allows
  • Short visit
  • Small family
  • May not visit again
  • Want to ride everything
  • Crowd levels are high

Genie+ may not make sense when:

  • You enjoy meeting strangers
  • You like to practice statue poses
  • Tight budget
  • Long visit
  • Large family
  • Have annual pass
  • Live close and will visit multiple times
  • Do not care about rides (go for characters, parades, food)
  • Crowd levels are low

Individual Lightning Lane purchase makes sense when:

  • Budget allows
  • Short visit
  • Small family
  • May not visit again
  • These rides are top priority
  • Crowd levels are high
  • Want peace of mind

Individual Lightning Lane purchase may not make sense when:

  • You happen to love standing
  • Paying per ride nauseates you
  • Tight budget
  • Long visit
  • Large family
  • Have annual pass
  • Live close and will visit multiple times
  • Do not care about these rides
  • Crowd levels are low

Fable with Two Morals

This tale leaves us with two lessons:

  • Not all genies are created equal
  • Not everyone wants to catch lightning in a bottle

Before we wrap up, I want to give you additional tips on Genie+ so you can maximize your time at Disneyland.

Pixar Pier
Erynn at Pixar Pier

TIPS TO GET THE MOST OUT OF GENIE+

Arrive early

You must be inside the park before you can start utilizing Genie+.

Start using Genie+ right away 

Set your first Genie + ride time as soon as you can.

Crowd levels are a bit lower early in the morning.  So, booking windows close at a slower pace.

Later in the day, as crowd levels pick up, those windows close more quickly.

Take advantage of a technicality

Technically, you can schedule your next Genie+ attraction as soon as you enter the Lightning Lane.  So, do not wait until you get off the ride.  

Schedule as soon as you get in line.  This could save you 5 to 20 minutes on average.

Monitor the Genie app

Time slots for some attractions may fill up quickly.  Don’t panic.  

It is common for people to change plans and cancel their Genie+ reservations for a ride.  Monitor the app and be prepared to scoop up the open time slot for Genie+.

Two for one

If you love a particular attraction, ride it early without Genie+ when crowds are smaller.  Then use Genie+ to ride again later in the day.  

Or, after riding with Genie+ the first time, monitor the Genie app to see when wait times go down to ride again without Genie+.

Alternate strategy

The regular line wait times are normally shorter early in the morning.  Some prefer to use the regular line for the first hour or so and then start utilizing Genie+ after that.

We did not feel restricted by using Genie+ early in the morning.  We moved through the lines quickly and were able to easily book the next ride without any delays.

Prioritize

If a particular attraction is important to your family, make sure you monitor Genie+ scheduling times.  Time slots for some rides fill up more quickly than others.  

Do not risk waiting until the last couple hours of the day to book it with Genie+.   It is best to lock in that ride early.

Park hop

You can use Genie+ in both parks on the same day if you have park hopper tickets.  This would allow you to potentially squeeze in a bunch of rides.  

Note that you may not enter the second park until 1:00 pm.

Ride Breakdowns Are Not All Bad

Waiting in line only to have a ride breakdown can be disappointing to say the least.  If this happens during your Genie+ booking window, don’t fret.  

Disneyland will give you a Multiple Experiences pass.  When fixed, you can then ride the attraction later.  Or, you can use the pass on another Genie+ ride.

PLAN YOUR DISNEYLAND ADVENTURE

I hope you find this information helpful.  Admittedly, the redundant terminology is confusing with how the new system works.

In planning your trip, be sure to monitor the Disneyland website for possible changes to the ride system.  Genie+ is new and evolving.  It is very possible that things could change.

Planning a trip to Disneyland can be overwhelming with so many things to consider.  I recommend going through a travel agent even if you are somewhat familiar with the parks.

We booked our trip through Janet Wells with A Time To Treasure Travel.  She helps people with trips to both Disneyland and Disney World.

Janet is excellent.  She goes above and beyond the call of duty to ensure your Disney trip is magical.

If you would like assistance planning your Disney adventures, please contact her at janet@atimetotreasuretravel.com.

Travel and live your best life now!

Check out our other theme park guides:

About the author

We are Scott and Julie at Miles with McConkey. After nearly 30 years, we took a leap of faith out of the corporate world to enjoy a life of travel and adventure. We hope to inspire you to find ways to travel more and enjoy life now.

2 thoughts on “Disneyland: How to Get the Most Out of Genie+”

    • Thanks Ryan. Sorry for the delayed response. We were off the grid for a few days on a Disney cruise.

      We are actually headed back to Disney World in mid to late May ourselves. We will provide current updates via videos and blog posts after that trip.

      Thanks,
      Scott

      Reply

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