What's The Difference Between Disney's FastPass+ And Genie+?

Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World was the world's most visited amusement park in 2021, according to Statista, with 12.69 million visitors. Seven other Disney parks around the world are also in the top ten for most visitors. Suffice it to say, people love going to Disney. With all those people, you'll have lots to think about, from where to stand during the fireworks show to figuring out which rides and attractions you are prepared to wait in line for.

Line wait times can range from 5 minutes to over 2 hours depending on the time of year and the popularity of the ride. Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance and Avatar: Flight of Passage usually have some of the longest lines in the park, per Guide2WDW. Disney has implemented a series of ways to help make sure that you can maximize your time at the parks by cutting down line wait times. They started with FastPass, then FastPass+, and now there are Lightning Lanes and Genie+ passes. Here's what you need to know about what's different between FastPass+ and Genie+, and what may have changed since you were last at Disney.

FastPass helped you skip the lines for free at Disney

In 2003, three years after it was first introduced, over 100 million people had used a FastPass ticket at Walt Disney World Resort, which meant they could avoid waiting in line for a ride, per WDW Magic. Then in 2014, Disney came out with the FastPass+, which gave people the option to book times for three rides per day. This could be done online or via an app up to 60 days before the actual visit to the park, via Upgrade Points. Both of these options were free for park guests. To use the FastPass+, you'd show up within the hour time frame to get on the ride with little to no waiting. Disney guests used these features to help plan out their day, while ensuring they'd get a seat on their  favorite rides and attractions.

But a lot has changed since 2014. Now, guests visiting Disney parks won't see any more FastPass lines, per TripSavvy, nor will they be able to get a FastPass+ account. FastPass was replaced by Lightning Lanes, and the line-skipping feature that was free with FastPass now comes at a cost. There are also no more options for booking up to 60 days in advance, like some of the FastPass+ options offered. Genie+, the new version of FastPass+, rolled out in 2021.

Cost for Genie+ may change based on how busy the parks are

The way you get access to the lovely Lightning Lane lines is by purchasing an individual ride Lightning Lane pass, you're allowed up to two a day. Or, if you are going to want to get in as many rides as you can in a day, spring for Genie+, the new version of FastPass+. 

What you get with your Genie+ purchase is the ability to make an advanced reservation for a one-hour window to get on certain rides, bypassing the standby line. The cost per guest per day for Genie+ at Disney World parks is $15 to $22 (not applicable for either water park) and $25 at Disneyland and Disney California Adventure, per USA Today. Since the service is relatively new, those prices may change, especially on busier days. You can currently buy Genie+ ahead of time when you buy your Disney tickets if you're going to Disneyland. But for Disney World, you can't book it ahead and will have to buy Genie+ on the day you're going to the park.

Get to Genie+ via the Disney Genie service on the applicable Disney park app — Disney World and Disneyland have unique apps. The basic Disney Genie service section is free. The app gives you tips on wait times and can even be used to make a custom itinerary. The real power of the genie, however, is only unlocked with a Genie+ purchase.

Wake up early to make your first Genie+ reservation

You can make your first Genie+ Lightning Lane reservation at 7 a.m. on the day you're headed to the park, according to the Disney World website. When you book a Lightning Lane reservation with Genie+, you'll see the next available time slot on a ride, and there's no guarantee for when that will be — it could be in five minutes or five hours. Even with Genie+, popular rides may fill up. People may cancel their reservations throughout the day, so you can check the app occasionally for changes. You can only reserve a spot on a specific ride one time per day with Lightning Lanes.

Unlike FastPass+, guests can make only one Genie+ reservation at a time. You need to have used your current Genie+ Lighting Lane option or have waited two hours from when you made your first reservation, whichever comes first. The two-hour timer starts when the park opens, even if you booked at 7 a.m., per Disney Tourist Blog

One handy feature is that reservations can be made for more than one person at a time, so if you're traveling with a group, one person can book for everyone at the same time (maximum 12 per device), per Plan Disney. All guests still need to have paid for Genie+, and whoever is going to be making the Genie+ reservations should add all applicable people as their family and friends on the app.

Genie+ gives you more than just fast access to rides

Keep in mind that not every ride at the parks is a part of the Genie+ option, per Upgraded Points. Some of the most popular rides aren't currently linked to Genie+, and you'll have to buy an individual Lightning Lane pass for them, like Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind and Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance. What rides are included with Genie+ has changed since its inception, so check the Disney website for your park to find out whether your favorite ride is included or not, via Disney Food Blog.

There are some other fun aspects to a Genie+ purchase, like Disney PhotoPass Lenses, which are unique, Snapchat-like augmented reality filters available throughout the parks — how else can you get a picture with Baby Yoda on your shoulder or recreate the iconic Lady and the Tramp meatball scene? You can keep the Disney magic alive with the exclusive photo filters for up to 45 days after your visit.

For history buffs, Genie+ also gets you access to Audio Tales, which are behind-the-scenes recordings from Imagineers, with history lessons that correspond to the park's map, WDW News Today reported. You don't have to spend your entire Disney day with headphones in, either. The podcast-like tales will remain available on the app for a limited time after purchasing the Genie+ service.