Learn all the top tips and tricks for using Genie+ and Individual Lightning Lane in Disney world to skip the line for rides.
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Top 10 tips on how to use Genie+ and Individual Lightning Lane at Disney World

My top 10 tips for properly planning your next visit to Walt Disney World using Genie+ and Individual Lightning Lane to maximize your visit. Take advantage of the Lightning Lane entrance (previously known as FastPass+) to skip the line. This guide will help you decide if and when you need to purchase Genie+ and Individual Lightning Lane to make the most of your day in Disney World. As a Disney World part-time resident, I spend a lot of time at the parks and have used this system well over 20 times. You can see more of my Disney adventures and life in Disney’s Golden Oak on my Instagram and TikTok.

So you’re going to Disney World and you want to enjoy all of the amazing rides, but you heard wait times are crazy? That is true! During Thanksgiving week 2022, I saw the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train had a standby wait time of 240 minutes – that is 4 hours in line for 1 ride! But amazingly enough people continued to get in the line. You’ve also heard that you can buy something that’ll help you skip the lines? That’s also true. There’s 2 options called Genie+ and Individual Lightning Lane (they’re not the same thing). I’m sure you’re intrigued, but is it really worth the added expense? Maybe. On the flip side, you’ve already spent a small fortune on this trip, it would be a shame to not get to ride much, right? Good point. As a person that is very familiar with the system, let me share with you how it works (the pros and cons) so you can make a decision that best suits your family.

240 minute wait for seven dwarfs mine train at magic kingdom. Learn all the tips and tricks for using Genie+ and Individual Lightning Lane in Disney world to skip the line for rides.
Seven Dwarfs Mine Train at Magic Kingdom with a 240 minute (4 hour) standby wait time

Genie+ and Individual Lightning Lane are great options for maximizing your day at the park, but fair warning, they’re not cheap. Just to give you an idea… if you bought Genie+ and 2 Individual Lightning Lane for the best 2 rides on a super busy day, it could be an additional $79 PER PERSON just for the 1 day. Imagine if you’re a family of 5 doing 4 park days. That’s a huge added expense. Don’t get scared, you don’t have to buy all of it. You can spend a fraction of that and still avoid some long lines, but you really have to understand how the system works to use it to your advantage.

Both Genie+ and Individual Lightning Lane are amazing if used properly, unfortunately you cannot “practice” with the system until you need to start booking rides. You don’t want to make any mistakes the first time you use it because it could mean missing out on a ride you were most excited about. The best rides become unavailable FAST, like sometimes in under 1 minute. Literally the best ride will be sold out for the entire day within 1 minute of the system opening up. There’s huge value in understanding how the system works and being prepared before you use it for the first time. 

Disney World's most popular ride, Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance at Disney's Hollywood Studios is always the first Individual Lightning Lane to sell out. Learn all the tips and tricks for using Genie+ and Individual Lightning Lane in Disney world to skip the line for rides.
Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance at Disney’s Hollywood Studios is usually the first ride to become unavailable for Individual Lightning Lane purchases, often in under 1 minute.

There’s 10 things you must know before your Disney trip to maximize your experience using Genie+ and Individual Lightning Lane. 

#1 DIFFERENCE BETWEEN GENIE+ AND INDIVIDUAL LIGHTNING LANE

Understanding the difference between Genie+ and Individual Lightning Lane is crucial. They are not the same thing, but the wording is super confusing. Buying Genie+ gives you access to the Lightning Lane for the rides on Genie+, however INDIVIDUAL Lightning Lane gives you access to the Lightning Lane for only the 1 ride you selected that is not part of Genie+. Confusing, right? Let me explain further. By purchasing Genie+ you are given access to make ride reservations (upon availability) that will allow you to skip the lines for MOST rides in the parks (full list below, but it’s basically all the rides except for the 1 best ride in each park and some random rides that tend to have minimal wait times). The line that you will enter to wait for these rides is called the Lightning Lane. The best ride in each park is not included in Genie+, rather you can pay for a return time just for that 1 ride. That is called Individual Lightning Lane and it is a separate pay per ride system that’ll give you access to the Lightning Lane for those specific rides only. When this system was first introduced it was for the best 2 rides in each park, but now it’s only 1 ride per park and the second one became part of Genie+. The current list of Individual Lightning Lane rides is also below. For both Genie+ and Individual Lightning Lane you’re only allowed to ride each ride once. You cannot use the system to go on anything twice, but you can wait in the standby line to ride it again if you would like.

Magic Kingdom (22 Attractions Total)

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

Epcot (11 Attractions Total)

  • Disney & Pixar Short Film Festival
  • Journey into Imagination with Figment
  • Living with the Land
  • Frozen Ever After
  • Mission Space
  • Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure
  • Soarin’ Around the World
  • Spaceship Earth
  • Test Track
  • The Seas with Nemo & Friends
  • Turtle Talk with Crush

Hollywood Studios (14 Attractions Total)

  • Alien Swirling Saucers
  • Beauty and the Beast: Live on Stage
  • Disney Jr. Play & Dance
  • For the First Time in Forever: A Frozen Sing-Along
  • Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular
  • Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway
  • Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run
  • MuppetVision 3D
  • Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster Starring Aerosmith
  • Meet Olaf at Celebrity Spotlight
  • Slinky Dog Dash
  • Star Tours — The Adventures Continue
  • The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror
  • Toy Story Mania

Animal Kingdom (11 Attractions Total)

  • A Celebration of Festival of the Lion King
  • Dinosaur
  • Expedition Everest
  • Feathered Friends in Flight
  • Finding Nemo: The Big Blue and Beyond
  • It’s Tough to Be a Bug
  • Kali River Rapids
  • Kilimanjaro Safaris
  • Meet Favorite Disney Pals at Adventurers Outpost
  • Na’vi River Journey
  • The Animation Experience at Conservation Station

Individual Lightning Lane:

  • Magic Kingdom: Seven Dwarfs Mine Train 
  • EPCOT: Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind
  • Hollywood Studios: Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance
  • Animal Kingdom: Avatar Flight of Passage
Disney World's most popular ride, Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance at Disney's Hollywood Studios is always the first Individual Lightning Lane to sell out. Learn all the tips and tricks for using Genie+ and Individual Lightning Lane in Disney world to skip the line for rides.
Star Wars at Disney’s Hollywood Studios

#2 MAKE YOUR FIRST RIDE RESERVATION AT 7 AM

It is important to make your first reservation right at 7 AM. Even if you don’t plan on going to the park early, set your alarm. By starting at 7 AM, you increase your odds of getting good rides throughout the day. At 7 AM anyone can make their first Genie+ reservation. Also, you can make your Individual Lightning Lane reservations at 7 AM if you’re staying in a Disney Resort (more on this later). 

#3 PURCHASE GENIE+ BEFORE 7AM

Add some time before 7 AM to purchase Genie+. You have to purchase the Genie+ system the same day now, so allocate time (before 7 AM) to actually purchase Genie+ so you can start using the system right at 7 AM when it opens. You can do it any time after midnight if you rather stay up late. Otherwise wake up like 10 minutes before to get this accomplished. It’s fairly simple but you need to input your credit card information and go through the steps. 

The price of Genie+ for that day will show when you open the Genie section of the My Disney Experience app. Learn all the tips and tricks for using Genie+ and Individual Lightning Lane in Disney world to skip the line for rides.
The price of Genie+ for that day will show when you open the Genie section of the My Disney Experience app.

#4 USE THE 120 MINUTE RULE

Use the 120 Minute Rule to your advantage. Set an alarm for every 2 hours (120 minutes) to make your next reservation. You can stack your rides, meaning you don’t have to actually go on any rides before you can book more. I’ve arrived at the park in the afternoon with 5 rides already lined up. You’re allowed to add another ride reservation after 120 minutes have passed since you made your previous reservation. If you allow more time to pass between reservations you’re ultimately ending up with less reservations during the day and possibly losing the opportunity to get some of the good rides before they fill up. They recently added the option to modify your return time (upon availability), which helps a lot. The 120 minute rule does not apply if you have nothing else booked for that day, then you can add a new one even if 120 minutes have not passed. This tends to be useful towards the end of the day when you’re done riding the main rides and can just add more as you go. It’s hard to use this method early in the day because return times can be many hours later, especially for the popular rides, so using the 120 minute rule to stack rides at the beginning of the day helps you maximize the number of rides you’ll get on.

#5 RESERVE THE MOST POPULAR RIDES FIRST

When making your ride reservations, start with the most popular rides because they fill up first and save the less popular rides for later in the day. The less popular rides remain available much longer or you could always just wait for those in the standby line as they’re the shorter lines. Generally speaking, the rides that tend to have the longest wait times become unavailable on Genie+ first. If you’re not sure, go on the My Disney Experience app and check out the current wait times to guide you. 

Reserve the most popular rides on Genie Plus, like Slinky Dog at Disney's Hollywood Studios when planning your Disney World day. Learn all the tips and tricks for using Genie+ and Individual Lightning Lane in Disney world to skip the line for rides.
Reserve popular rides first, like Slinky Dog in Disney’s Hollywood Studio

#6 THE PRICE OF GENIE+ AND INDIVIDUAL LIGHTNING LANE

Genie+ costs $15 to $29 per person per day and Individual Lightning Lane costs $7 to $25 per person per ride. Is it worth the expense? Only you can decide what’s best for your family. Unfortunately, the prices of Genie+ and Individual Lightning Lane tickets are not consistent and you won’t know the cost until the day of. It’s based on demand, so if you’re going a long weekend or holiday expect it to be on the higher end. If you’re going mid-week during a slow week then you can expect it to be on the lower end. Ticket prices also vary based on demand so that could be a good indicator of what you can expect. If ticket prices were on the high end then the add-ons will likely be priced on the high end as well. Genie+ is a one-time fee for all of the rides available on Genie+, whereas Individual Lightning Lane is the price of only 1 single ride, but it’s the best ride in the park. You can purchase a maximum of 2 Individual Lightning Lane’s per day but not for the same ride twice. This works if you’re visiting 2 parks in the same day, since there’s only 1 Individual Lightning Lane per park at this time. These tickets can add up quickly, especially during peak season. If you’re a family of 4 during one of the busy days of the year, you’re looking at an additional $100 to ride the best ride without waiting in a long line. 

Where you'll find Genie Plus return times and Individual Lightning Lane prices on the My Disney Experience app. Learn all the tips and tricks for using Genie+ and Individual Lightning Lane in Disney world to skip the line for rides.
Notice that there’s 3 rides visible on the app here. One doesn’t have Genie+ available, the second allows you to buy Individual Lightning Lane for it (and provides the price), and the third shows the Genie+ return time available.

#7 YOU CAN BUY INDIVIDUAL LIGHTNING LANE WITHOUT BUYING GENIE+

You do NOT have to buy Genie+ to purchase Individual Lightning Lane tickets. If you don’t mind waiting in line for most things but want to ensure that you get on the best ride then you can buy Individual Lightning Lane for that 1 ride only and skip Genie+ completely. Currently, Individual Lightning Lane is only for Seven Dwarfs Mine Train at Magic Kingdom, Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind at EPCOT, Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance at Disney’s Hollywood Studios and Avatar Flight of Passage at Animal Kingdom.

#8 DISNEY RESORT GUESTS GET EARLY ACCESS TO PURCHASE INDIVIDUAL LIGHTNING LANE

You can only buy Individual Lightning Lane at 7 AM if you’re staying at a Disney Resort. If you’re staying off-site then you cannot purchase Individual Lightning Lane until normal park opening hours. It is unlikely that a ride like Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance at Disney’s Hollywood Studios will be available at opening hour, at least I’ve never seen it happen. It is often sold out within the first minute of opening (as in 7:01 AM) on busy days. If the Individual Lightning Lane rides are a priority for you, make sure you’re staying in a Disney resort.

#9 WHAT PARKS GENIE+ IS THE MOST VALUABLE AT

Genie+ is better for some parks than others. If you don’t want to make the expense for all of your park days, then I would make Magic Kingdom the priority and Hollywood Studios the second choice. You can probably do without it at EPCOT and Animal Kingdom. There’s so many rides with long wait times at Magic Kingdom that it is a huge time saver if you have Genie+ and use it properly. Notice that Magic Kingdom has double the amount of rides on Genie+ compared to EPCOT and Animal Kingdom. Hollywood Studios rides can have crazy wait times too. If Slinky Dog, Tower of Terror and the Runaway Train are priorities, it’ll save your hours of waiting in line. In the other parks, many rides have short wait times so it’s not such a huge advantage having it. It’ll still save you some time, but it’s not nearly as crucial. In EPCOT and Animal Kingdom it might make more sense to buy the Individual Lightning Lane for the best ride if you really want to do it and just wait standby for the other rides as there’s not nearly as many rides.

Magic Kingdom is the park you most need Genie Plus for. If you're visiting Disney World, this is the one day I would prioritize. Learn all the tips and tricks for using Genie+ and Individual Lightning Lane in Disney world to skip the line for rides.
Magic Kingdom is the park that you’ll get the most use out of your Genie+

#10 USING GENIE+ FOR 2 PARKS IN THE SAME DAY

You can use Genie+ for 2 different parks on the same day if you have a park hopper, but the rules remain the same. You can select 1 ride every 120 minutes but now you choose between 2 parks. It’s not 1 ride per park, rather 1 ride total every 120 minutes. It’s basically the same thing except your options of rides to book are from 2 parks instead of 1. 

WHAT YOU CAN EXPECT

The most important thing is to make sure you have reasonable expectations so you’re not disappointed. It is very unlikely (if not impossible) to use Genie+ for ALL of the rides that day. You will have to prioritize based on your preferences and what’s available. The most I’ve ever been able to do was 8 rides using Genie+ in Magic Kingdom (and I stood in the standby line for some more rides). Take into account that it was a slow day. I arrived midday after stacking Genie+ reservations all morning and I stayed until closing, even riding during the fireworks (lines tend to be much shorter during the fireworks).

Disney World as a whole, especially Magic Kingdom, are always super full. Every day will be different so you need to have reasonable expectations. Learn all the tips and tricks for using Genie+ and Individual Lightning Lane in Disney world to skip the line for rides.
You can expect the parks, especially Magic Kingdom, to be really crowded. Genie+ helps a ton, but it doesn’t mean you’ll ride everything and never wait in line. Be reasonable with your expectations.

There’s no perfect answer or right way to use Genie+ and Individual Lightning Lane, but understanding how they work will help you make the most of it. Remember that every day is different at the parks. You might opt to get to the park early and just book Genie+ ride with a quick return time, then continuously book another Genie+ ride as soon as you ride the previous one. This definitely works and you’ll get to ride way more this way, but odds are that you’ll miss out on most of the popular rides. Ultimately, the quick return time means that the line is shorter, so you could have just waited standby while using your Genie+ to get you a return time for a more popular ride with a much longer line. It comes down to a matter of preference at that point. You can choose quantity of rides or quality of rides. I always choose to book the better rides on Genie+ and wait standby in the shorter lines while I wait for my next Genie+ return time, all while booking a new ride every 120 minutes. 

Disney is magical and although this sounds overwhelming, please don’t let it ruin your experience. You absolutely DO NOT have to buy any of this to have an enjoyable Disney vacation. You will just have to wait in normal lines like most people do. This is an add-on that’ll allow you to ride more, but you can do any ride for free if you’re willing to wait. A lot of rides have reasonable wait times, especially the little kid rides. Assume you’ll wait 15 minutes to 1 hour for most things. It’s the popular rides (usually thrill rides like rollercoasters) that have wait times that are hours long. Also, the wait times vary greatly depending on when you’re there. Going mid-week on a slow week will likely have much shorter wait times than the week of New Years. Without buying any of these it’ll also be much more leisurely. Genie+ and Individual Lightning Lane are time consuming and you end up spending a lot of time glued to your phone if you’re managing the reservations for your family. It’s also likely that you’ll be zig zagging across the park to make it to your reservations. Buying these options are not necessary. It’s important that you truly understand how it works before you decide if it’s the best option for your family.

Have an amazing Disney vacation and make memories that’ll last a lifetime! Feel free to leave me any additional questions in the comments and I’ll get back to you there. 

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