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Disney Genie vs. Disney FastPass+ — What’s the Difference? [2023]

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Chris Hassan
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Chris Hassan

Social Media & Brand Manager

220 Published Articles

Countries Visited: 27U.S. States Visited: 26

Chris holds a B.S. in Hospitality and Tourism Management and managed social media for all Marriott properties in South America, making him a perfect fit for UP and its social media channels. He has a ...
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Jessica Merritt

Editor & Content Contributor

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A long-time points and miles student, Jessica is the former Personal Finance Managing Editor at U.S. News and World Report and is passionate about helping consumers fund their travels for as little ca...
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Keri Stooksbury

Editor-in-Chief

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With years of experience in corporate marketing and as the executive director of the American Chamber of Commerce in Qatar, Keri is now editor-in-chief at UP, overseeing daily content operations and r...

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In 2020 we saw the pause, and then eventual retirement, of the Walt Disney World FastPass+ and Disneyland FASTPASS and MaxPass line-skipping programs.

In October 2021, the replacement, Disney Genie, was launched — with mixed reviews.

What is Disney Genie? Is it a new FastPass+? Does it cost extra money? What are Lightning Lanes? Don’t worry, we will cover all of that and more below.

Let’s jump in…

Disney FastPass+

Walt Disney World Fast Pass
My daughter using her FastPass+ in 2019. Image Credit: Chris Hassan

Before getting into the whole new world of Disney Genie, let’s take a look at what it is replacing — FastPass+, FASTPASS, and MaxPass.

Launched in 1999, the FASTPASS program was introduced at Disneyland and helped guests skip lines by giving them tickets to come back at certain times and get on the ride through a special entrance.

In 2014, FastPass+ was rolled out at Walt Disney World and was a big hit. FastPass+ allowed guests to make ride reservations online and via the mobile app up to 60 days in advance. Although arguably a lot of work before even entering the park, at least families could guarantee a ride on their favorite attraction.

In 2017, Disneyland introduced MaxPass, which was very similar to FastPass+, but was a paid add-on and had more limitations.

Up until 2020, these options were well-liked (but not perfect) and gave guests plenty of chances to skip the lines at their favorite rides — even for free at Walt Disney World.

However, the pandemic brought many changes to Disneyland and Walt Disney World, including capacity limits, reservation requirements, and also the opportunity to roll out a new ride reservation system.

Disney Genie

Disney Genie My Disney Experience Park App
Image Credit: Disney

Disney Genie is a brand new planning tool that is free to all guests and can be found inside the My Disney Experience and Disneyland apps.

The tool is designed to help guests plan out their visits to the parks. With the help of the Genie algorithm, guests can enter their preferred rides, attractions, meals, and experiences, and the Genie will lay out a suggested itinerary to help maximize your time in the park and minimize waiting in lines.

However, anyone that has used FastPass+ or MaxPass in the past is likely to skip this function and look for the part where you can skip the line completely.

Hot Tip: Single rider lines are still available on some rides, which is a good way to shorten your wait time without paying extra to skip the line. 

Disney Genie+

Disney Genie+
Image Credit: Disney

The closest thing to a FastPass+ replacement is Disney Genie+.

Like FastPass+, Disney Genie+ gives guests the option to reserve a time to skip the line at select attractions. But, like MaxPass, there is a paid component to Disney Genie+.

Disney Genie+ costs up$22 per person, per day at Walt Disney World and $25 per person, per day at Disneyland. That is in addition to your park ticket.

This service allows guests to select the next available time at select attractions, and then use the Lightning Lane to skip the standby lines.

However, instead of being able to book these times up to 60 days in advance (like with FastPass+), guests can only book their first reservation starting at 7 a.m. on the day of their Disney World reservation. And if you have a specific ride in mind, be ready at 6:59 a.m. because they go quickly. At Disneyland, your first reservation can be made after physically entering the park.

To top it off, guests can only book 1 Disney Genie+ reservation at a time whereas FastPass+ allowed up to 3.

Below are the rides that are currently participating in Disney Genie+.

Disney Genie+ at Walt Disney World

Magic Kingdom

  • The Barnstormer
  • Big Thunder Mountain Railroad
  • Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin
  • Dumbo the Flying Elephant
  • Haunted Mansion
  • “it’s a small world”
  • Jungle Cruise
  • Mad Tea Party
  • Meet Mickey at Town Square Theater
  • Meet Princess Tiana and a Visiting Princess at Princess Fairytale Hall
  • Meet Cinderella and a Visiting Princess at Princess Fairytale Hall
  • The Magic Carpets of Aladdin
  • The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh
  • Mickey’s PhilharMagic
  • Monsters Inc. Laugh Floor
  • Peter Pan’s Flight
  • Pirates of the Caribbean
  • Splash Mountain
  • Tomorrowland Speedway
  • Under the Sea ~ Journey of The Little Mermaid

EPCOT

  • Disney and Pixar Short Film Festival
  • Journey into Imagination with Figment
  • Living with the Land
  • Mission: SPACE – Green
  • Mission: SPACE – Orange
  • Soarin’ Around the World
  • Spaceship Earth
  • Test Track
  • The Seas with Nemo & Friends
  • Turtle Talk with Crush

Hollywood Studios

  • Alien Swirling Saucers
  • Beauty and the Beast Live on Stage
  • Disney Junior Play & Dance!
  • For the First Time in Forever: A Frozen Sing-Along
  • Celebration Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular
  • Meet Disney Stars at Red Carpet Dreams
  • Meet Olaf at Celebrity Spotlight
  • Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run
  • Muppet*Vision 3D
  • Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster Starring Aerosmith
  • Slinky Dog Dash
  • Star Tours – The Adventures Continue
  • Toy Story Mania!
  • The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror

Animal Kingdom

  • The Animation Experience at Conservation Station
  • Celebration of the Festival of the Lion King
  • DINOSAUR Feathered Friends in Flight!
  • It’s Tough to Be a Bug!
  • Kali River Rapids
  • Kilimanjaro Safaris
  • Naʻvi River Journey

Disney Genie+ also includes unique audio experiences while inside Walt Disney World parks and access to augmented reality lenses while using the app.

Disney Genie+ at Disneyland

Disneyland Park

  • Autopia
  • Big Thunder Mountain Railroad
  • Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters
  • Haunted Mansion
  • Indiana Jones Adventure
  • “it’s a small world”
  • Matterhorn Bobsleds
  • Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run
  • Roger Rabbit’s Car Toon Spin
  • Space Mountain
  • Splash Mountain
  • Star Tours – The Adventures Continue

Disney California Adventure Park

  • Goofy’s Sky School
  • Grizzly River Run
  • Guardians of the Galaxy – Mission: BREAKOUT!
  • Incredicoaster
  • Monsters, Inc. Mike & Sulley to the Rescue!
  • Soarin’ Around the World
  • Toy Story Midway Mania!

In addition to the audio and augmented reality experiences with Disney Genie+ at Walt Disney World, guests at Disneyland Resort also have unlimited Disney PhotoPass downloads from their day at the park, which is a valuable perk.

Lightning Lane

Once a Disney Genie+ reservation is secured, guests can use the Lighting Lanes at their assigned times to skip the line at each attraction. These are the same lines that were previously reserved for FastPass+, so the physical aspect should feel familiar.

Disney Lightning Lane
Lightning Lane. Image Credit: Disney

However, there is a new addition…

With the arrival of extremely high-demand rides paired with record attendance numbers, certain attractions now have a Virtual Queue option as a way to allow guests to guarantee a ride without having to wait in hours-long lines.

To score a (hard-to-get) Virtual Queue “Boarding Group,” you have 2 options:

  • Try to get one via a “virtual rope drop” at 7 a.m. the day of your park visit, or again at 1 p.m.
  • Purchase an Individual Lightning Lane

If you noticed that your favorite ride wasn’t part of the Disney Genie+ list, that is because it is part of the Individual Lightning Lane group. If you aren’t lucky enough to score a free Boarding Group during the virtual rope drop, you will have the option to pay your way on.

Each ride has its own price, and there is a maximum of 2 individual Lightning Lane attractions per person, per day. You can’t book the same attraction twice.

Below are the rides that currently have an Individual Lightning Lane:

Individual Lightning Lane at Walt Disney World

Magic Kingdom

  • Seven Dwarfs Mine Train
  • Space Mountain

EPCOT

  • Frozen Ever After
  • Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind
  • Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure

Hollywood Studios

  • Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway
  • Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance

Animal Kingdom

  • Avatar Flight of Passage
  • Expedition Everest – Legend of the Forbidden Mountain

Individual Lightning Lane at Disneyland

Disneyland Park

  • Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance

Disney California Adventure Park

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

Prices vary between $7 and $29 for Individual Lightning Lane access depending on demand.

Hot Tip: If you are staying on-site, you can get Early Theme Park Entry. Check out our review of Disney’s All-Star Movie Resort at Walt Disney World

Which Is Better?

Which is better, FastPass+ or Disney Genie+? That’s a good question and one that will certainly spark debate.

On one hand, FastPass+ allowed guests to secure their favorite rides up to 60 days in advance, which was great for some, but not for all. It was stressful and created extra work months in advance of a Disney vacation, with many checking ride availability daily up until arrival.

However, being able to book 3 rides at a time and having a less complicated system worked well for many.

Disney Genie+ is no doubt more complicated, but with so many new, travel-worthy attractions, we’re not sure that the old FastPass+ system would be able to keep up with demand. The Virtual Queue is a good idea on paper (because nobody likes waiting for 5 hours in line), but having to be ready at 6:59 a.m. on your park day or having to pay even more money on top of your admission ticket rubs a lot of people the wrong way.

Disney Genie+ has already been tweaked a few times since its launch, and it will surely be adjusted some more to improve the park experience for guests, but for anyone visiting the parks for the first time since the new system debuted, it will likely be a confusing experience.

Final Thoughts

Pixar Pier entrance family
Image Credit: Disney

Disney Genie+ is the new FastPass+, whether we like it or not.

At its core, Disney Genie+ provides the same service as FastPass+, it gives guests the opportunity to skip the lines, and maximize their time in the parks. However, this new service now comes at a cost.

Now, if guests want to skip the line, they will need to pay up to $25 for the Disney Genie+ service. If they want to add on an Individual Lightning Lane, that could be an additional $29 per day. So some guests are looking at a potential $50+ cost per person, per day in addition to their admission ticket.

It is no secret that Disney knows how to make money, and with these add-ons proving to be popular (despite the grumblings), it looks like they will be around for a while. R.I.P. FastPass+.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is Disney Genie+ the same as FastPass+?

Disney Genie+ is the paid version of the free Disney Genie planning service. It is very similar to FastPass+ in that you can skip the line at select attractions.

What does Disney Genie do?

Disney Genie is a free service inside the Disney app. It can help plan your day at the park and there are audio and VR features, as well as a paid Disney Genie+ feature that can help you skip lines.

Is Disney Genie+ worth it?

In most cases, yes, it is worth it. An extra $25 can potentially save you hours of waiting in line so you can enjoy more of the park during your visit.

Are single rider lines still available?

Yes, single rider lines are still available at Disney.

Chris Hassan's image

About Chris Hassan

Chris holds a B.S. in Hospitality and Tourism Management and managed social media for all Marriott properties in South America, making him a perfect fit for UP and its social media channels. He has a passion for making content catered toward family travelers.

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