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Making Sense of Disney Genie and the Lightning Lane

The web has many excellent articles and videos covering Disney’s Genie service. I’ve learned a lot by reading and watching several. But the amount of information provided by those resources can be overwhelming, especially to people who are new to Disney parks. So this post is all about the basics of Disney Genie and the Lightning Lane. We’ll cover strategies another time.

Disney Genie terms

  • Genie
  • Genie+
  • Lightning Lane (LL)
  • Individual Lightning Lane (ILL)

First, Disney needs to do better with their terminology. It doesn’t need to be so confusing! But it is, and that’s why we’re here.

Ride queues

Let’s start with the ride queues and not Genie itself. I promise this is important.

Most attractions have a standby lane and a Lightning Lane. You can enter through either, but the Lightning Lane will get you there faster. Think of it as the Disney version of the TSA Pre-Check line at the airport. You have to pay to use that Lightning Lane. How? There are two ways.

Genie+

Genie+ is a Lighting Lane reservation system. Guests pay for the right to access the Lightning Lane for most attractions in the park. You can purchase for a single park or all of them (four in Disney World, two in Disneyland). Guests will need to make separate reservations for each ride throughout the day, subject to availability.

Genie+ pricing is variable based on crowd levels. I won’t add current prices as they’ve risen steadily since Genie+ was introduced.

Individual Lightning Lane

I mentioned that Genie+ lets you make reservations for most of the rides in the parks. Why not all? Well, Disney knows it can charge even more money for its most popular attractions. Accessing the Lightning Lane for those requires you to purchase an Individual Lightning Lane. Guests are allowed to make two ILL reservations per day.

An Individual Lightning Lane is the reservation that lets you enter a ride through the Lightning Lane queue. Yep. Not at all confusing.

Let’s see the two reservation types in the MDE app.

Screenshot of Genie in the My Disney Experience app showing Lightning Lanes

There has to be a better way.

Current Individual Lightning Lane attractions

  • Seven Dwarfs Mine Train (Magic Kingdom)
  • TRON Lightcycle / Run (Magic Kingdom)
  • Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind (EPCOT)
  • Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance (Hollywood Studios)
  • Avatar Flight of Passage (Animal Kingdom)
  • Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance (Disneyland)
  • Radiator Springs Racers (Disney California Adventure)

Genie

Now we can circle back and talk about Genie. This is the free service in the My Disney Experience app that helps you plan your park day. It’s also the area where you’ll make your Genie+ and Individual Lightning Lane reservations.

To summarize…

  • Genie is Disney’s free planning service.
  • A Genie+ reservation allows you to access the Lightning Lane on most rides. You pay once to use the service for an entire day. Genie+ rides are designated Lightning Lane Included with Genie+ in the MDE app.
  • An Individual Lightning Lane reservation allows you to access the Lightning Lane on Disney’s most popular rides. Each ride requires a separate payment, limited to two per day. It’s designated Lightning Lane in the MDE app.

Disney has hinted that changes are coming to the Genie service. I hope simplified feature names will be part of the update.

Pro tip! You might not need to use Genie+ if you’re willing to close the parks.