Simple Guide to Disneyland Disney Genie and Lightning Lane

This is the Simple Guide to Disney Genie now at Disneyland Resort.

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. 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 replaced BOTH Disney MaxPass the old FASTPASS system.

 

Lightning Lane small world

 

Let’s first start with the free Disney Genie.

Prepare to be disappointed. It’s nothing like the old free FASTPASS system. It’s basically the Disneyland App, with new recommendations that do nothing but mess up your day. 

Several people have documented their hilarious free Disney Genie suggestions on Twitter. My favorite Disney Genie fail is by far is this one

 

Disney Genie fail

 

Is this a sales tactic? Maybe it’s so bad it forces you to upgrade to the paid version? I don’t know but I do enjoy the laughs.

Basically you don’t need to worry or even bother with the free version. In fact, I wouldn’t even recommend selecting favorites because it does nothing for you.

I’d say so far it has failed its objective to “give you more control of your Disneyland days. Genie makes recommendations for you in advance or in the moment.”

While it does still provide estimated wait times, this is nothing new. The Disneyland App has been pretty consistent on that for a while now. 

The upgrade, Disney Genie Plus.

This selection 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 for less time, with expedited boarding.

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

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. 

 

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 are very similar to the old Disney MaxPass program. Let’s review to help you decide which is right for you (free/stand by lines only, or paid/skip the wait).

 

Star Tours Genie Plus

Disneyland Genie Free

In 2021 Disney Genie and Disney Genie+ was integrated into the existing Disneyland App. You can see a preview of how it works by installing the Disneyland App before your trip.

 

Disney Genie Estimated waits

 

Disneyland Genie Plus

This is the Genie you’re likely looking for. Technically called Disney Genie PLUS, like everything else these days. 

 

Disney Genie Itinerary Builder

 

Individual Lightning Lanes

While Disney Parks Blog said Individual Lightning Lane allows guests to “schedule a time to arrive at up to two highly demanded attractions each day using the Lightning Lane entrance”, the reality of this is different.

At Disneyland Resort you will NOT choose your exact time to ride. This is different from Walt Disney World, and helps keep these individual attractions “in stock” for most of the morning. You’ll be assigned the next available time, even if it overlaps with existing reservations. 

Individual Lightning Lanes are currently 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 Individual Lightning Lane:

  • 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: no
  • 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 Disney Genie program for Disneyland. If you have a question I haven’t addressed, please leave a comment below.

What is the Disney Genie?

Disney Genie is touted as a new personal planning for Disneyland Resort. The free version of Disney Genie is akin to spinning a game spinner and makes completely random suggestions.

The service claims to makes recommendations for you in advance or in the moment. It can give estimated wait times and plan out detailed itineraries. But will they actually reflect your group and goals? Not likely. Instead, I recommend one of my Disneyland Plans which does all of what Disney Genie promises, yet actually delivers.

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.

The DIFFERENCE though is key! You can only redeem your Lightning Lane for each Lightning Lane attraction ONCE per day. Yes, you can ride it again but you must choose the standby option at that point.

That being said, Disney Genie+ doesn’t work the exact same as at Walt Disney World. Some things run much better at Disneyland Resort due to a number of factors like:

  • ease and proximity of park hopping
  • more attractions on Disney Genie+ in each park
  • many guests familiar with the basics of Genie+ via MaxPass

 

Disney Genie Lightning Lane selection

 

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

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. You can buy it within the Disneyland App with any credit, debit or Disney Gift Card.

Mr Potato Head MaxPass

 

Compare this to other “front of the line” passes, like those offered at Universal Studios and you’re still “saving” a ton.

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.

Here are some things to consider:

  1. Will your kids will want to ride (or are tall enough to ride) all the attractions that offer Disney Genie Plus? 
  2. Are you going for multiple days? 
  3. Could you buy it one day, hit those rides and skip it the next day?
  4. Do you want all your park photos included? It’s free with Disney Genie+.
  5. If you’re not sure, wait to buy your Genie+ when you walk through the gates. 

 

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
  • PhotoPass: 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. At times this may mean you’ll be holding onto more than one return time at once.

This method, dubbed “stacking” by the Disney community is a popular method to getting the most out of your Disney day.

Are Disney Genie Plus options linked at each park?

Yes! Disney Genie Plus in linked at both parks, you cannot double dip. But you can “stack” by getting new return times as soon as you’re eligible. 

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. Designer Parks Co Promo Code Happiest

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 in 2022.

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? 

As soon as your ticket is scanned into the parks for the day.

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.

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. The video attached to this article shows each step. I’ll also outline it here for you.

This is just one of the ways you can access Disney Genie+ in the Disneyland App.

  1. Download and log into the Disneyland App. 
  2. Tap the map icon on the bottom of the Home Screen.
  3. Tap show list to view attractions alphabetically. 
  4. Scroll and tap your desired attraction.
  5. Tap Lightning Lane for your attraction.
  6. Book attraction.
  7. Confirm your party and tap continue.

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

Redeem Lightning Lane

You now have a replacement. It may look like the screenshot above or below. This means the attraction you originally selected went down temporarily during your redemption period. 

Stacking Lightning Lanes

You can now redeem this pass to “skip the wait” at select attractions. I suggest saving it to redeem later in the day when passes are harder to come by.

For example, I had several of these replacement passes on one day. When I tapped for more information, it let me know I could choose from several different attractions, Snow White included.

 

Multi experience

 

Snow White doesn’t have Lightning Lane so we were able to skip the line entirely and hop right on. 

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 Disney Genie+ 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.

 

Lightning Lane access

 

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

More Disney Genie 

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.

Related Posts

42 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!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.