There have been so many changes to Disneyland since its post-COVID reopening. The Annual Passholder program as we once knew it is gone, Magic Mornings are gone, select attractions have yet to return, character meet-and-greets are different, and FASTPASS and Disney’s MaxPass have been retired.
Oh, and park reservations and the hard-to-get Magic Key passes have been introduced. At least the freaking tram is back up and running after two years.
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Today we’re going to look at the benefits of the new Disney Genie Service which includes Genie+ and Lightning Lane for an additional cost. We’ll break down the details of what’s included and answer the question: is Disney Genie Plus worth it on your next trip to Disneyland?
Megan and I recently spent an entire Saturday at Disneyland. It was our first time there together since a morning mom-date in 2019. We were really excited to ride on our favorite rides, eat our favorite Disneyland treats, and check out the brand new Avengers Campus at Disneyland California Adventure.
What is Disney’s New Genie Service?
Disneyland’s new Genie Service launched in early December 2021. We didn’t know much about what the service offered other than we thought it was similar to FASTPASS and the short-lived MaxPass.
The complimentary Genie Service is located within the Disneyland app – so no new apps to download, which is great. However, you must have a ticket and park reservation linked to your account before you summon your Disney Genie.
The “Learn More” section of the Disney Genie Service offers an excellent step-by-step tutorial on how to set up your day through Disney Genie.
I highly recommend exploring this area of the app. It includes videos on getting started, the features of the Tip Board and My Day tabs, what Lightning Lanes are, and the benefit of the Genie Plus (Genie+) service.
It can all be a little confusing if you’re trying to set up your Genie Service on the fly after getting through the park gates. So definitely set up your free Genie Service before your trip – as long as you have a park ticket and reservation linked to your account.
What is the Difference Between the Free Genie Service and Genie Plus?
Disney Genie Service is free. It’s basically like a digital map of your day. You can select all the attractions and experiences you want to have during your day.
It creates a check list of sorts in the My Day tab so that you don’t miss out on anything. This is where any additional paid services will be stored as well – like your Lightning Lane purchases or your Genie+ “FASTPASS.”
In addition, the Tip Board tab will display all current standby line wait times and dining options like mobile ordering and reservations.
In my opinion, the Tip Board tab is where it’s at if you are a person who thrives on a planned day.
Now, the Disney Genie+ Service is different because it costs $20 per ticket holder, per day. It’s mostly a new version of MaxPass.
Is Genie+ Service Worth the Extra $20?
Genie+ works exactly how MaxPass worked. For $20, you pick the attraction of choice and the window of time available for you to return to the ride. When it’s time, get in the “Lightning Lane,” scan your Genie+ upon arrival, and then do it all over again.
The Lightning Lane is the new FASTPASS line.
Also included with Genie+ is unlimited Disney PhotoPass photos from the day and something called Audio Tales which is like a field guide to Disneyland.
If you are trying to maximize your time at Disneyland and get on as many rides and attractions as possible, the Genie Plus Service is well worth the extra $20.
Click here to see the list of all rides at Disneyland and Disneyland California Adventure that are included in Genie Plus.
Lightning Lanes Can Cost Extra
Ok, so there is the Lightning Lane and that acts as the FASTPASS line.
There is also the Individual Lightning Lane and this will cost you anywhere between $7 – $20 per ticket holder to stand in a shorter, faster line for the park’s most popular rides. Genie+ is not required to buy Individual Lightning Lane entrance.
Essentially you are paying a la carte to skip the line. And by skip, it means you still stand in a line but not nearly as long as if you got into the regular standby line.
Disneyland also uses surge pricing for the Individual Lightning Lane passes. You can check the Disneyland app on the day of your visit to see what pricing is for that day. Also note, you can only purchase up to two Individual Lightning Lane passes per day.
Click here to see all rides that are available to purchase for Individual Lightning Lanes.
Is Paying for a Lightning Lane Pass Worth It?
Megan and I didn’t flinch throwing down $12 each for WEB SLINGERS – the new Spiderman ride in CA Adventure. The standby wait time was nearly a 2-hour wait and when you have limited hours in the park, Disneyland has you by the balls, you know?
WEB SLINGERS was 100% worth the $24 we spent to stand in line for about 10 minutes. It is such a fun, interactive ride.
So worth is relative. If you’re in the park with a family of 5, maybe an additional $60 isn’t in your Disneyland budget. But if you’re hanging with your bestie and you gotta leave by a certain time, maybe $24 isn’t that bad.
We’re Your New Best Friends
Hi, we’re Megan and Wendy! Join us every Thursday on Long Story Short: The Podcast as we rediscover the things that bring us joy! Podcast topics cover everyday life, parenting, fashion, beauty, pop culture and more!