The days of free FastPass+ are long gone. In its place is Disney’s Genie+, a paid program that offers a lot of flexibility to help your family navigate the parks… for a price. Is it right for you? Here are some hacks to max out Genie Plus at Disney World.
Hacks To Max Out Genie+ At Disney World
Is it true that we’ve never had a friend like Genie+?
True or not, this one-of-a-kind park planning system is here for the foreseeable future.
And if your family is heading to Disney World, using these hacks will be the key to maxing out Genie+ potential at the parks.
Here are our tips for using Genie Plus on your next trip.
But first, check out the Disney Genie 101 post for definitions and the basic rundown of how the program works.
1. Park Hopping Hacks For Genie+
If you are not using Park Hoppers or an Annual Pass, then this section won’t apply to you.
But if you do plan to park hop while at Disney World, these Genie Plus tips and hacks can help you decide what rides need Lightning Lane and which ones are worth spending the extra money on.
- We suggest starting in Epcot or Animal Kingdom for hopper days.
- In the morning, don’t book any Lightning Lane (LL) selections in Epcot or Animal Kingdom; start booking LL at 7am for the park you are hopping to. Genie will ask you what other parks you plan to visit and then you can use the “change park” feature to select LL options in that park.
- Genie will only offer you LL options that start after 2pm, which is perfect for “stacking” rides up for your next park.
What If I’m Not Park Hopping? Any Hacks For Me?
You can save some money in a big way if you do not park hop beyond the obvious ticket price savings.
We think Genie+ is not needed AT ALL if you are only visiting Epcot or Animal Kingdom.
The rides that tend to have the longest lines offer Individual Lightning Lane options if you really do not want to standby.
But your biggest hack for these two parks: you can get by with the Disney Early Entry tip found in section 3.
2. The Stacking Hack: What Is Stacking In Genie+?
Stacking rides is one of the best ways to hack Genie+ to your benefit. But what is “stacking” in Genie Plus?
It’s when you hold more than one Lightning Lane selection (LL) at a time, preferably with overlapping times to maximize your day.
While officially the Genie+ program says you can only have 1 LL ride at a time, there is a way around this. That’s where the stack hack comes in.
Here’s how it works:
Guests are eligible for a new LL every 120 minutes OR when they use the one they currently hold.
If you pay attention to the clock and book your first LL for 2 pm or later, you will be eligible for another LL 120 minutes later. Set an alarm on your phone to remind you to go back and check for your next LL.
You can even book LL returns that overlap.
Stacking Example in Hollywood Studios:
- 9 am: we booked a Slinky Dog LL at 3:25 pm when the park opened.
- 11 am: exactly 120 minutes later, we booked a Rock n Roll Roller Coaster LL for 3:50 pm.
- 1 pm: another 120 minutes we had a LL booked for Tower of Terror at 8:05 pm.
- 3 pm: booked our last LL for 5 pm on Smuggler’s Run
That gave us four rides with shorter waits for us when we hopped over from Epcot later that day.
We could have added to the attractions by purchasing Individual Lightning Lanes for both Mickey and Minnie’s Railway and Rise of the Resistance, which would have given us 6 of the top attractions lined up for the evening.
Both were available to purchase at 7 am for us as Disney Hotel Resort guests, but we decided not to spend the money on those rides at this time.
We have another hack for riding both of these attractions without paying a dime!
3. Early Entry/Genie Plus Combo Hack
One of the greatest benefits of staying at a Disney World Resort hotel these days is the 30-minute early entry perk.
It doesn’t sound like much, and to be honest, we were naysayers ourselves.
But the truth is: that 30-minute early entry may actually be longer than you think- and worth getting up for!
Hotel resort guests on all Disney properties may enter each park each day up 30 minutes before the official opening.
This Genie+ hack is a great tip for any type of park goer: if you are hopping or not, this can maximize the day in a BIG way.
It will only cost you a little sleep, but it may end up saving you some money.
How This Hack Worked For Us At Hollywood Studios
- Check the park opening time before you purchase any LL or Individual Lightning Lanes (ILL). You may be able to save the money on those ILL and could even pass over Genie+ if you don’t mind standing in a few lines and moving at a swift touring pace. It really depends on how much you want to try to fit into your day.
- If you are set on buying Genie+, add it to your account and grab Slinky Dog as your first LL option at 7 am. This is the longest standby line after Rise of the Resistance and the only LL that tends to “sell out” by mid afternoon.
- Disney transportation starts running 1 hour before the early entry time, so get to the bus stop or Skyliner or Monorail station for that first trip to your park.
- If the early entry hour is listed as 8:30 am, chances are you will be allowed into the park even earlier.
- We were let into the park at 7:45 am vs 8:30 am both times we tried an early entry during our trip. And you want to be in that group!
- Be prepared to enter the park and GO with purpose. The crowd that shows up this early does not play around! They’re guests on a mission.
Which Ride To Rope Drop At Early Entry? Hollywood Studios
At Hollywood Studios, the two most popular rides are Rise of the Resistance and Slinky Dog Dash.
Either one is a great rope drop (park opening) option, but if you want to save your money, head directly to Rise.
While Slinky Dog Dash is on the regular LL program, Rise is not.
It is available as an additional charge item ($15 per person) as an Individual Lightning Lane purchase. But if you want to save a little bit of money, make this attraction your very first stop.
As we left the ride around 8:20, we noticed the very long line of early resort guests waiting.
This line went all the way back to Muppets 3-D Vision and snaked through the entire very long queue of Rise of the Resistance.
We loved that getting up a little earlier paid off with a walk-on experience vs a 45-60 minute wait.
Sleeping in does NOT pay off, friends!
By 8:30 we were in line for Minnie and Mickey’s Railway with all intentions of riding both of the paid ILL before the crowds of the day arrived.
In our case, M&M Railway was having a delayed opening, so we didn’t ride it. WhompWhomp
But in theory, we should have walked on this one as well.
The bottom line for this hack when using the Genie+ system:
If you are able to get up early and arrive at the real rope drop time of 7:45 am, you can save $23 per person by doing Standby for both these attractions.
4. Genie Plus Tips and Hacks: Keep An Eye On Standby Lines!
While you’re in standby with early entry, don’t forget to go ahead and make that decision about Genie+ if you hadn’t already.
If you do decide to use it, book Slinky right at 7 am and then consider Millennium Falcon or Tower of Terror as your next priority. Those are the three attractions that are likely to sell out on most days.
Don’t forget to check out the standby lines, however, for these rides. Especially if you took advantage of early entry hours.
After Minnie and Mickey were a bust, we walked on Rock N Roll Roller Coaster and Tower of Terror with very little wait first thing in the morning. Posted times were 10 minutes and 13 minutes (if you know, you know!).
At this point, we had already purchased Genie+ but we had also pretty much covered the big rides that were important for us at Hollywood Studios.
We rode Rise, Tower, Rock N Roll, and held a Slinky Dog Dash LL for later in the morning.
Standing in line for a 30 minute posted (20 minutes actual) wait on Millennium Falcon was not a hardship!
In the end, we only used 2 LL at Hollywood Studios due to combining the Stack Hack, Early Entry, and keeping an eye on the standby lines.
We covered the attractions we wanted to do at Hollywood Studios, had a lovely lunch at The ABC Commissary, and used our park hopper to stack and hack our way through Magic Kingdom that evening.
We left the park just as the thick of the crowds started flowing in.
5. Special Time Magic: This Hack Won’t Last!
At the time of this writing, you can take advantage of something that usually would be a big bummer: a closed attraction.
If an attraction is down, there’s a window of opportunity for you to still grab a LL for it.
If the ride does not look like it’s coming back up soon, Disney will add a voucher to your account for ANY ride at that same park. This usually happens within 20-30 minutes.
Those vouchers will be good for any LL ride at ANY time during the day.
It won’t work for an Individual Lightning Lane attraction (one that costs additional money) but it will work for the others.
It’s a sneaky way to stack additional attractions that as of this writing has not been revoked. Shhh… don’t tell the others!
If it doesn’t work for you, welp, Disney read this post. (Waves to Bob & Josh!)
Sounds Like Genie+ Is A Winner! There Must Be Some Problem With It… Welp, There Is
Besides the obvious that you are 1) paying for it and 2) you are always tied to your phone looking for the next short line, there was one additional issue we found with using the Genie system.
We ran all over the park! There was definitely not a good, smart flow to finding the short line to go to next.
If you are in town for a runDisney race and wanted to save your legs for the Magical Miles, welp, following the Genie+ system may not be a great option for you!
We felt we did more crisscrossing than we typically would trying to chase down the shortest standby line we could find.
But if you are up for it, you can legit get through most of the attractions at each park in one day by using these hacks to max out Genie Plus.
As always: May the Force Be With You!