Disney guests accustomed to using the free FastPass reservation system to ride popular rides are in for a big change: Beginning Oct. 19 at Walt Disney World, and at a later date at Disneyland, it will cost you money to secure those line-skipping privileges.
On Aug. 18, Disney announced Disney Genie, a new free itinerary planning tool designed to help guests minimize time spent waiting in lines. A paid component, Disney Genie+, will also be offered as a replacement for Disney’s well-known FastPass and MaxPass systems. On Oct. 8, Disney revealed that the Disney Genie program will officially launch first at Walt Disney World, on Oct. 19.
Since 1999, Disney FastPass+ at Walt Disney World and MaxPass at Disneyland served as a free ride reservation system for theme park guests at Disneyland and Disney World. Riders could secure a one-hour window for an attraction to avoid waiting in long lines and enjoy other areas of the park. This feature was included in every park ticket admission price.
However, since reopening in mid-2020, the Disney FastPass+ program has remained suspended for guests, and now it’s being replaced by the Disney Genie+ program, which will replace FastPass entrances with Lightning Lane entrances.
What Is Disney Genie?
Disney Genie is a free trip planning service within the official Disney parks apps known as “My Disney Experience” at Walt Disney World and the Disneyland app at Disneyland Resort. All guests can use the app for personalizing itineraries to Disney World or Disneyland at no additional cost.
According to the Disney Parks Blog, Disney Genie “brings existing planning features together in one place. Join a virtual queue at certain attractions, make dining and experience reservations, mobile order food at many locations, get help from a virtual assistant, and more.”
Within Disney Genie, guests have the option to purchase Disney Genie+, which gives them the ability reserve line-skipping Lightning Lane access to more than 40 attractions at Walt Disney World. (Disneyland attractions have yet to be revealed.) Disney Genie+ costs $15 per day, per person at Walt Disney World and $20 per day, per person at Disneyland. Guests at Walt Disney World who purchase Disney Genie+ will have the opportunity to reserve Lightning Lane access for the following attractions:
- Big Thunder Mountain Railroad
- Buzz Lightyear Space Ranger Spin
- Haunted Mansion
- it’s a small world
- Jungle Cruise
- Mad Tea Party
- Magic Carpets of Aladdin
- Mickey’s Philharmagic
- Monster’s Inc. Laugh Floor
- Peter Pan’s Flight
- Pirates of the Caribbean
- Splash Mountain
- The Barnstormer
- The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh
- Tomorrowland Speedway
- Under the Sea — Journey of the Little Mermaid
- Disney and Pixar Short Film Festival
- Journey into Imagination with Figment
- Living with the Land
- Mission Space — Green and Orange
- Soarin’ Around the World
- Spaceship Earth
- Test Track
- The Seas With Nemo & Friends
- Turtle Talk With Crush
Disney’s Hollywood Studios
- Alien Swirling Saucers
- Beauty and the Beast Live on Stage
- Disney Jr. Play and Dance!
- Frozen Sing-Along Celebration
- Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular
- Millennium Falcon: Smuggler’s Run
- Muppet*Vision 3D
- Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster
- Slinky Dog Dash
- Star Tours — The Adventure Continues
- The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror
- Toy Story Mania
Disney’s Animal Kingdom
- A Celebration of Festival of the Lion King
- It’s Tough to Be a Bug!
- Kali River Rapids
- Kilimanjaro Safaris
- Na’vi River Journey
- The Animation Experience
- Feathered Friends in Flight
Individual Lightning Lane Attractions
Some of the most popular Disney parks attractions — such as Seven Dwarfs Mine Train in Magic Kingdom and Radiator Springs Racers in Disney California Adventure — are not included in Disney Genie+. These high-demand attractions will have a separate cost per attraction for guests wanting to skip the standby queue, and each guest will only be allowed to choose two of these attractions to experience per day.
“Some attractions are in more demand than others, so what we wanted to do was create a mix within that ecosystem whether it be with Disney Genie+ or Lightning Lane individually,” said Disney Parks, Experiences and Products chairman Josh D’Amaro in an interview with D23.
Disney says pricing will vary depending on date, type of attraction, park and other factors, but sample pricing at launch ranges from $7-15 per person per attraction, with examples including $7 for Expedition Everest and $15 for Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance. The following attractions at Walt Disney World are available for a la carte Lightning Lane purchase:
- Space Mountain
- Seven Dwarfs Mine Train
- Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure
- Frozen Ever After
Disney’s Hollywood Studios
Disney’s Animal Kingdom
- Avatar Flight of Passage
- Expedition Everest
These Lightning Lane choices can be made across different parks, so if your family has Park Hopper tickets, you can reserve a time elsewhere later in the day.
Previously, Disney theme park guests could start making their advanced attraction reservations between 30 and 60 days before arriving at the parks, depending on whether they were staying at a Disney resort. However, Disney Genie+ reservations can only be made starting at 7 a.m. on the day of park visit. Individual Lightning Lane reservations can be made by Disney resort guests at 7a.m. and by all other guests at park opening. So, be prepared to be up early!
Both Disney Genie+ and Individual Lightning Lane access are optional upgrades, and the normal standby lines will be in use at all Disney parks for no extra cost.
What do you think of having to pay to skip the lines at Disney parks? Will this change your vacation plans?
Additional reporting by Marie Rossiter.