Simple Guide to Disneyland Disney Genie and Lightning Lane

This is the Simple Guide to Disney Genie introduced at Disneyland Resort in 2021.

Learn how Disney Genie transforms the old MaxPass and FASTPASS system. See what has changed, including how you ride and plan out your favorite Disneyland Resort attractions.Disneyland Disney Genie

All the details on the upgraded Disneyland Disney Genie. This article is updated for 2021 Disneyland vacations. Learn the simple steps to buying Disney Genie, using it for the first time and getting the most out of this free and paid upgrade.

What is Disneyland Disney Genie?

Disney Genie is replacing Disney MaxPass as a free and paid FASTPASS system.

Disney Genie aims to give you more control of your Disneyland days. Genie makes recommendations for you in advance or in the moment. It can give estimated wait times and plan out basic itineraries.

The upgrade, Disney Genie Plus lets you skip longer waits for select attractions and enter a line set aside for Disney Genie users. This line is given priority access and you often wait in a much shorter line, with expedited boarding.

 

Disneyland Disney Genie Chart 1

 

If this sounds a lot like the old FASTPASS  and Disney MaxPass program, you’re right on the money.

Disney’s CEO Bob Chapek adds, “The goal of the user-friendly app is to create a better, more personalized, and customized experience for guests. Putting them in control and providing even greater flexibility and choice. They will be able to spend less time waiting in line and figuring out what attractions and dining options are available and more time having fun.”

Here we’ll dig into how you can use Disney Genie to take advantage of all the perks for a perfect Disneyland vacations. We’ll also learn how this app folds into services we’re already using. 

 

What is MaxPass

 

Looking back on Max Pass I’ve noted, “I use Disney MaxPass every time I go to Disneyland Resort. I purchased an Annual Pass that includes Disney MaxPass and have even been known to buy MaxPass for my friends and family when they’re with me so they can get hooked on this amazing tool too!”

But will Disney Genie Plus get the same reviews?

Or is this just a rebranding like Disneyland did with the Annual Pass program and turned the key to Magic Key? Let’s dive in.

Disney Genie Prices

These prices and offerings feel very similar to the old Disneyland FASTPASS and MaxPass program. Let’s go over them to help you decide which is right for you.

 

Disney Genie preview

Disneyland Genie Free

 

Disney Genie Estimated waits

 

  • Price: free to everyone
  • Itineraries on app: yes
  • Wait times app: yes
  • Lower wait times: no, no access to the separate line called Lightning Lane
  • Virtual queues: yes
  • Dining wait lists: yes
  • PhotoPass: no
  • Audio tours: no

Disneyland Genie Plus

 

Disney Genie Itinerary Builder

 

  • Price: $20 per day, per person
  • Itineraries: yes
  • Wait times on app: yes
  • Lower wait times: yes, via separate line called Lightning Lane
  • Virtual queues: yes
  • Dining wait lists: yes
  • PhotoPass: yes
  • Audio tours: yes
  • Expedited wait times: yes, via Lightning Lane

Lightning Lane Select

Disney Parks Blog says Lightning Lane Select allows guests to “schedule a time to arrive at up to two highly demanded attractions each day using the Lightning Lane entrance.” This means you choose your exact time to ride based on the list of times provided when you purchase (day of).

When this product launches it will only be available for three rides:

  1. Star Wars Rise of the Resistance at Disneyland Park (40 inches or taller, Rider Switch available)
  2. Web Slingers: Spider-Man Adventure at California Adventure Park
  3. Radiator Springs Racers at California Adventure Park (40 inches or taller, Rider Switch available, Single Rider available)

But now back to pricing for Lightning Lane Select:

  • Price: $7 to $25 per  day, per person, per attraction
  • Itineraries: yes
  • Wait times on app: yes
  • Lower wait times: yes, via separate line called Lightning Lane for the rides you purchased
  • Virtual queues: yes
  • Dining wait lists: yes
  • PhotoPass: yes
  • Audio tours: yes
  • Expedited wait times: yes, via Lightning Lane for the rides you purchased

Disneyland Rides with Disney Genie Plus 

A variety of attractions allow you to “skip the line” while using Disney Genie Plus. At Disneyland Park these attractions are:

 

Haunted Mansion holiday

 

  1. Autopia in Tomorrowland 
  2. Big Thunder Mountain Railroad (40 inches or taller, Rider Switch available)
  3. Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters (no minimum height requirement, Rider Switch available)
  4. Haunted Mansion (no minimum height requirement)
  5. Indiana Jones Adventure (46 inches or taller, Rider Switch available )
  6. “it’s a small world” (no minimum height requirement)
  7. Matterhorn Bobsleds (42 inches or taller, Rider Switch available)
  8. Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run (42 inches or taller, Rider Switch available, Single Rider available)
  9. Roger Rabbit’s Car Toon Spin (no minimum height requirement)
  10. Space Mountain (38 inches or taller, Rider Switch available, Single Rider available)
  11. Splash Mountain (40 inches or taller, Rider Switch available, Single Rider available)
  12. Star Tours-The Adventure Continues (40 inches or taller, Rider Switch available, Single Rider available)

Curious about the seating arrangements and who can sit by who at Disneyland? See seat photos and seating details here.

At California Adventure Park, Disney Genie Plus includes these attractions:

  1. Guardians of the Galaxy – Mission: BREAKOUT! (40 inches or taller, Rider Switch available)
  2. Goofy’s Sky School (42 inches or taller, Rider Switch available, Single Rider available)
  3. Grizzly River Run (42 inches or taller, Rider Switch available, Single Rider available)
  4. Incredicoaster (48 inches or taller, Rider Switch available, Single Rider available)
  5. Monsters, Inc. Mike and Sully to the Rescue! 
  6. Soarin’ Around the World (40 inches or taller, Rider Switch available, Single Rider available)
  7. Toy Story Midway Mania (no minimum height requirement)

Disney Genie preview

Disneyland Disney Genie Q&A

There’s so much to learn about the new Disney Genie program for Disneyland. If you have a question I haven’t addressed, please leave a comment below.

What is the Disney Genie?

The Disney Genie is a new personal planning tool introduced coming to Disneyland Resort in 2021. Genie makes recommendations for you in advance or in the moment. It can give estimated wait times and plan out detailed itineraries.

How is this different from the old MaxPass?

Disney Genie Plus is very similar to the paper FASTPASS we’ve been using for years. The paid version still allows you to return to select attractions at the Disneyland Resort for your appointed ride time, just like the old MaxPass.

 

Disneyland MaxPass

 

With the free Disney Genie, there is no “skip the line” option to lower wait times.

This is a huge convenience factor we’ve all come to enjoy over the last few years. You no longer need to walk from place to place to secure a FASTPASS, making your plans totally streamlined. But there’s so much more to it than saving your tired feet—keep reading for all the details.

How much is Disney Genie?

Disneyland Disney Genie offers both free and paid options, Disney Genie and Disney Genie Plus. The paid option starts at $20 per person, per day.

Mr Potato Head MaxPass

 

Compare this to other “front of the line” passes, like those offered at Universal Studios. 

Should I buy this upgrade?

Based on my experience with the old version, you should certainly purchase Disney Genie, but I suggest doing your research first. While you can add Disney Genie to your discount tickets,  selection and availability can vary.

Check to see if your kids will want to ride (or are tall enough to ride) all the attractions that offer Disney Genie Plus offers…more on that below. 

 

Star Wars ticket

 

Get your Disneyland discount tickets from our partner, before heading over to Disneyland Resort. Plus, enjoy an extra $10 off when booking a hotel stay of two nights or more along with your discount Disneyland tickets! Get my promo code delivered to your inbox now.

Who needs to buy Disney Genie Plus?

Anyone ages 3+ in your group who wishes to ride the attractions associated with Disney Genie Plus. Those attractions are listed below, along with height requirements.

 

Big Thunder RR

 

If you have riders who aren’t interested in these rides or tall enough, you can definitely get Disney Genie Plus for just some members of your group.

There are also a few occasions when the basic, free Disney Genie will be sufficient for your group on a particular day with low wait times or days when you don’t need to ride anything with Genie Plus. 

Can I still use the free version?

Yes, you can still use the free version of Disney Genie but it will NOT give you any skip the line benefits.

  • Price: free to everyone
  • Itineraries: yes
  • Wait times in app: yes
  • Access FP queue (now called Lightning Lane): no
  • Virtual queues: yes
  • Dining wait lists: yes
  • Photo pass: no
  • Audio tours: no

 

Incredicoaster

Can I make Disney Genie Plus reservations in advance of my visit?

Disneyland Resort guests may NOT make advance reservations. Disney Genie Plus reservations at Disneyland are only made on the day-of. You must walk in the park and have all tickets scanned at the gate to use Disney Genie Plus.

How many ride reservations can I have at one time?

Reservations work almost identically to the old MaxPass. You get one reservation at a time and can reserve another at the appointed time. 

Are Disney Genie Plus options linked at each park?

Yes! Disney Genie Plus in linked at both parks, you cannot double dip.

Can I use Disney Genie Plus for rides at the opposite park?

Yes.  You can secure Disney Genie+ return times from either park, and even from your hotel room, as long as you have previously entered one park that day and have valid theme park reservations. If you are park hopping at 1 pm, you can make reservations once you scan it at any park, but the return times will be for after hopping hours.

Is Disney Genie Plus included in my Disneyland Resort Hotel stay?

No, Disney Genie Plus is not included for guests of Disneyland Hotel, Grand Californian Hotel & Spa or Paradise Pier Hotel. 

Can I get reserved space for World of Color and Fantasmic with Disney Genie?

We’ll have more information about these entertainment options when they return to the resort at a later time.

Can I add Disney Genie to my Magic Key?

You can add Disney Genie Plus on a daily basis, there is no annual pricing at this time.

Is parking included?

No, see this Disneyland parking guide before you go. 

Do I get PhotoPass with Disney Genie?

Yes, when you upgrade to the paid Disney Genie Plus, you get PhotoPass. Here’s many of the places to get your photo taken at Disneyland Resort.   Disneyland App PhotoPass  

How soon can I use Disney Genie? 

Debuting late 2021 at Disneyland Resort.

Can I get a refund if I decide not to use it?

Usually not, just like Disney MaxPass.

Can I modify my itinerary?

Yes, Disney Genie planning sections are meant for flexibility. You can even use it as you’re in the parks to help you make a decision on where to go, what to see, what to ride and more.  

If you have a Disney Genie+ selection you’d like to modify, you need to cancel it and then rebook. There’s no edit option.

How do I optimize my itinerary in Disney Genie?

More about the planning aspect of Disney Genie coming soon.

Can I upgrade my current park ticket to include Disney Genie? 

Yes! You can upgrade your ticket to include Disney Genie.

When can I buy Disneyland Disney Genie Plus?

I suggest purchasing discount tickets here and buy it on the app as you enter the parks on the morning of your first visit. Discount Tickets

How do I buy Disney Genie Plus?

First, get discount tickets along with additional savings (get my promo code delivered to your inbox now.) and as soon as you walk in the parks each day, you can select your first Disney Genie Plus attraction via the Disneyland App.Minnie Ears

If you opt to buy on the day of your visit:

  1. Download the official Disneyland app. The icon looks like the image below, with blue surrounding a white castle. Create an account and enter credit card information for easier purchasing on the day of your arrival. Note you will need this credit card with you or the security code from the back to complete your purchase.
  2. Scan your park tickets into the Disneyland app. If you have e-tickets, simply scan the barcode from your e-ticket into the app. Assign each ticket a name for easier Disney Genie Plus selection during your trip.
  3. Enter Disneyland or Disney California Adventure park each morning and tap “Get Disney Genie Plus” and continue until you have purchased for everyone in your group. Children under 3 will not need to purchase Disney Genie Plus and can simply enter the line with parents (as long as they meet the height requirements).

How do I use Disney Genie Plus?

If you’ve followed the steps above, you now have the Disneyland app installed on your mobile device, loaded tickets into the app and have walked through the gates and purchased Disney Genie Plus.

Once your entire party enters the gates, you can select a Disney Genie Plus attraction to enjoy lower wait times and more.

This section is from the old Disney MaxPass, I will update with new instructions once they become available.

  1. Select “get Disney Genie.”
  2. Choose Disneyland or California Adventure.Disney MaxPass
  3. Choose which attraction you’d like to experience and note the appointed time. You’ll also see here when you can secure another return time. Return to this screen by tapping on “my plans” at any time. Disney MaxPass Indiana Jones Adventure
  4. Visit the attraction during your Disney Genie Plus window and enter the designated line.
  5. Scan your park ticket or mobile app for entry and repeat the process.

Bonus Disney Genie Plus tip. What happens if I see this “Replacement” where my original selection was?

The replacement means the attraction you originally selected went down temporarily during your redemption period. 

Disney Genie replacement

You can now use this to enter the designated line for select attractions. I suggest saving it to redeem later in the day when passes are harder to come by.

Plus, if your original ride is now up and running, you might be able to grab a new reservation window and still keep this replacement for another ride. 

More Simple Tips for Disney Genie

Use multiple mobile devices. Your tickets can be scanned into more than one Disney account. For example, if a couple is taking their children to Disneyland, both Mom and Dad can have the Disneyland app, sign into their (separate or shared) Disney account, scan tickets into their respective accounts and still access all the same information.

This means if Mom takes the toddler back to the hotel for a nap, Dad can stay with the older kids and utilize MaxPass too. This also works well for larger, extended family groups or friends.

Update your data plan before arrival. Disneyland wifi hotspots are listed here, but it’s even better if you have unlimited data and don’t need to rely on Disney’s wifi at all.

Keep your phone charged. Yes, this will drain your battery. Disneyland Fuel Rods are the perfect solution. You can also purchase an external power pack to bring with you on your vacation.

It’s ok if your plans change. Inside the Disney Genie section of the app you can cancel a return time if your plans change.

Want to take a break? You can secure Disney Genie Plus reservations from either park, and even from your hotel room, as long as you have previously entered one park that day. Making MaxPass reservations while your kids nap or swim is such a huge bonus! PS See all my Disneyland Hotel reviews here

What People Say About Disney Genie 

This section will be updated as we get real reviews when the system goes live.

I love MaxPass!! It saves so much time! It got busier later on, especially once we went over to Disneyland, but we still did so much and the lines weren’t as horrible as I expected. I will say we’ve never seen it that busy, but we’ve always gone during slow times. MaxPass made it so we could still do everything we wanted.-Whitney E.

Want even more Disney Genie resources? I’ll be collecting some of the best from trusted Disneyland focused travel writers:

Will you be using Disney Genie Plus when you go to Disneyland—continue the conversation below.

MORE TO COME SOON regarding the new Disney Genie program! Please chime in with your thoughts below.

40 thoughts on “Simple Guide to Disneyland Disney Genie and Lightning Lane

  • Valery

    Hi! I am from Argentina, it is my first time at Disney California, I love you blog and I am taking note of a lot of tips for my stay. I just wanted to confirm if I understood cororectly, If I book for Fantasmic or World of colours as soon as I enter into the park, I will be able to use other fastpasses during the day? Thanks in advance!

  • MandiAnn

    I was able to visit the parks twice this year and we used MP both times. We absolutely loved it. My husband (bless his soul) does not do crowds, or lines. So the MP was a life saver to cut our eating time and not have all the back and forth. Being able to schedule our next fastpass on our phones immediately after scanning the current FP was a miracle. Also, most of the time we could activate a 2nd pass an hour after we activated a FP. Say at noon we grabbed passes for cars that weren’t until 4pm, we were able to activate another pass at 1pm for splash mountain.
    Also within the app you can see the available FP times so we were able to decide which FP to select by soonest availability. We alleviated the run around by not going across the park to get a ticket and then finding out the return time was 4 hours later. The app puts all the information in front of me. It made the trip so much better for me (being a Disney fanatic) and my (taking one for the team) hubs. He may actually go back with me sometime because of MP

  • Elizabeth

    Hi Jessica!

    I plan on purchasing the city pass for our visit in early May so we can do Legoland, Sea World, and the 3 day park hopper at Disneyland. Can I purchase a max pass by itself separately?

    • Hi Elizabeth, thanks for asking. You purchase MaxPass once you walk in the park via the Disneyland app. Be sure to have an account set up in advance with a linked credit card. You’ll also need that security code on the back to make the purchase. Have a fabulous trip and let me know if I can help further.

      • Elizabeth

        Thank you for the info! I will definitely be using your for the custom itinerary. If we have a May1-5 trip, we can we begin planning?

        • Absolutely! What I do when it’s a bit farther out is take your first day’s payment to hold your spot. It goes toward your final payment so you’re not paying anything extra. Just head over to our VIP custom plan page and fill out all the fun details there and we’ll get started. So much fun!

  • Albert Trotter

    The only redeeming quality is they won’t do advance fast pass selection. it really takes the spontaneity out of your day. I plan out every day of my work schedule the last thing I want to do on vacation is plan out what rides I want to ride and when I need to be there. Hopefully they will work out all the bugs faster than they did at World!

    • Thanks for your comment, Albert. I agree and hope they keep it a day-of type of reservation. Disneyland has always been a unique place and I hope the executives and decision makers see that although it is a Disney Resort, it’s personality is a lot different that Walt Disney World’s and we need to honor that even in little things like MaxPass.

  • There was a recent change in Fastpass policy. The two parks are now “linked”, meaning that getting a Fastpass in one affects when you can get a Fastpass in the other park. Admittedly, many did not know they were “unlinked” previously, and given the back-and-forth required, relatively few took advantage of this quirk.

    I suppose Disney thought, that with Maxpass coming, FPs would run out “too soon” if the policy wasn’t changed. However, for some visitors, this linking makes parkhoppers a little less valuable.

    • This makes a lot of sense for the MaxPass roll out. I agree, it’s kinda a pain to do the back and forth. Many guests buy hoppers because it seems to add value, but they don’t use them the way they imagined. Many people just hop over to Disneyland when California Adventure closes for the night. Don’t you agree?

  • Kayla

    Good luck getting a fastpass for Rafiator Spring Racers. With the ability to book fastpasses from either park, those will be gone within hours of opening. I will not be very happy if they eventually phase out paper fastpasses and charge you to use digital.

    • What’s crazy is how quickly they run out even with paper FASTPASSES. Last week it was a pretty low crowd day and the passes ran out by noon (if not before, that’s just when I walked by). But opening it up to people in both parks will certainly have those things flying! I am hoping the charge is temporary as a way to beta-test without the masses being involved. But with Disney, we know if they can make a few bucks they’ll continue to do so. Time will tell! I am also concerned about bottle neck crowds at the entrance, because as soon as they enter the parks they can stop right there and get FPs. Thanks for the insight Kayla, keep the comments coming, would love to hear more of your opinion.

  • Brandy

    Nooooooo!! I frequent Disney World and Disneyland and I prefer the paper system with out a question. The only redeeming quality is they won’t do advance fast pass selection. it really takes the spontaneity out of your day. I plan out every day of my work schedule the last thing I want to do on vacation is plan out what rides I want to ride and when I need to be there. Hopefully they will work out all the bugs faster than they did at World!

    • Brandy, I hope my predictions are correct with not allowing advanced FP reservations but I certainly could see them offering it as an incentive to stay on site. We will see! It’s all about pleasing/working with the locals here. So many APs that drop by last minute or on their way home from work and school. It doesn’t make sense to schedule them and that’s something I love about Disneyland too. I plan out my days but always allow for flexibility so I prefer not to plan FP in advance too. I hope they take their time to make this right and it improves the overall experience.

  • Cetain sites (which shall remain unnamed) have been pushing the “FP+ is coming to Disneyland” idea for at least two years. There have been some rather small-scale tests (like the scanners at Space Mountain) that indicate that changes are coming at some point. Construction permit applications also point to upcoming work related to FPs – specifically “touch points”.

    I just can’t see how any kind of FP would work at Peter Pan’s Flight. It has the cramped indoor switchback queue, which is invariably packed within ten minutes of park opening. It has the “temporary” chains set up outside. It has a tight exit space, currently used as an entrance for DAS guests. Tinker Bell really deserves great credit if she can create a Fastpass entrance that somehow doesn’t interfere with people entering and exiting as they do now.

    • I like your thinking! Yes, rumors about this very thing have been circulating for years! We will see if they actually come to life this time. As for Peter Pan, it’s just one on the rumor list- maybe just wishful thinking? Thanks for your insights, I can’t wait to hear more official word from Disney and will certainly update when they do make any announcement.

        • I know right? I definitely think something is up at Peter Pan’s Flight. Very anxious to see how this all unfolds. Thanks for your comments, I always enjoy reading what you have to say. Have a magical day!

          • As of now, there is no sign that the space is being converted to become a Fastpass queue. For whatever reason, the door was open on April 12, and I had to look inside. There were a few remants of the old shop (like a crown), but more candles and similar things.

            BTW, I’ve seen the “touch points” installed on several rides now – BLAB and Haunted Mansion on Wednesday.

          • I love that you took a peek in there for me! I certainly hope Peter Pan gets a FP regardless if they use that space or not but thanks for being some eyes for me since I can’t be in the park as much as I’d like. You’re awesome!

          • A different rumor seems to have been on target.

            Another visitor has stated that it has become – as of today, April 20 – a store. It might be called “Castle Holiday Shop”.
            I can’t confirm this, as no new store is listed on disneyland.com

            I still have no idea what Disney thinks it is going to do with dozens of flameless candles.

  • Jennifer

    We’ll be at Disneyland for a week late January through early February. (1/29-2/3) What are the chances the new system will be up and running then?

    • Hey Jennifer, that’s such a fun time to go. I was there those dates earlier this year. My insider source says spring at the earliest. It will be interesting to see because I’m guessing there will be testing here and there before it is launched in its entirety. I’ll keep updating this article with new information and our 2017 planning guide will be out next month so stayed tuned!

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