Last month, I finally tried out Genie+ and MagicBand+ for the first time at Walt Disney World! (And I have some thoughts…)
You might be surprised to hear this, but…I think I like Genie+? Let me rephrase that, I like Genie+ as a “childless millennial” who only needed to pay for Genie+ for myself and Josh.
As far as the pricing for Genie+ goes, it was $22/day throughout our last trip. (It could be anywhere from $15-35, depending on the day.) Of course, the lower the price, the less likely you are to “need” Genie+ and vice versa.
This was noticeable during our trip, as I never felt like we needed to use Genie+ to have a good day in the parks. Some of this was offset by the fact that Josh doesn’t like thrill rides, so we never had to try using Genie+ for some of the most popular rides, like Twilight Zone Tower of Terror or Space Mountain, for instance.
Our trip was also short. While I (finally) re-purchased the same Annual Pass I had before the pandemic, Josh only had a three-day/one-park-per-day ticket. With only one day for each of the three parks we visited, Genie+ really helped us experience a lot without spending a lot of time waiting in line. If this were a longer trip, I might have skipped it, at least for Disney’s Animal Kingdom, where there were even fewer attractions where you’d “need” Genie+. But, for a short trip, I do think it helped free up some of our time and make the most of each day.
As for Individual Lightning Lanes, I’m mixed. We purchased Individual Lightning Lanes twice, once for Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance at Disney’s Hollywood Studios and once for TRON Lightcycle / Run. Again, if we had more time, I think I would have done the virtual queue for TRON instead of paying extra for it. But on a short trip, it was worth spending a little extra to know that I’d be able to ride it without a long wait.
The virtual queue does take longer than Lightning Lane, at least for TRON, so especially with Josh waiting by the exit, the Lightning Lane made more sense so we’d have more time for the rides we both go on.
For Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance, I think the Lightning Lane was worth it for a couple of reasons. One, there is no virtual queue option at this attraction anymore, and I was not interested in waiting in that standby line. The other is that this ride tends to go down a lot, and especially on such a short trip, a Lightning Lane just made sense there. It’d save us time waiting in line, and if the ride went down we’d be able to come back later.
Really, I was pleasantly surprised by how much I liked Genie+. The system on the My Disney Experience app sounds like it’s going to be more complicated than it is, but once you start using it I found it surprisingly user-friendly. And while this trip wasn’t the best test with a low crowd level in the parks and a boyfriend who doesn’t do thrill rides, my overall first impression was that it was a good value for two people on a short trip, and under that circumstance I wouldn’t hesitate to purchase it again.
If I were at Disney World with a couple of kids, however, I’m not so sure. In that case, I think the better value might be planning for a longer trip with less Genie+ but more time in the Parks. Adding up that cost for more members of your party could be a lot, and planning with it if you have a larger group with different interests might be a challenge.
My one complaint, if you can even call it that? You can’t modify Individual Lightning Lanes or get refunds on the app. Technically the whole thing is non-refundable, but in the case of Rise of the Resistance, I bought Lightning Lanes for both of us and only I ended up going. The Cast Members working at the ride said that while not guaranteed, Guest Relations would likely refund it. I think kids especially can be unsure if they’re actually going to go on a ride until they get up to the entrance, so in that case I’d be hesitant to buy them Individual Lightning Lanes if they can’t be modified or canceled.
And while it’s nice to know that Guest Relations likely would have helped, I didn’t go just because this only happened once over the course of our trip and I felt like the $18 I spent on Josh’s Rise Lightning Lane was not worth the time I’d spend waiting at Guest Relations, again, especially during a short trip. If that were $18 x several family members though or multiple incidents like this, I’d probably wait for that refund, and that could be a pain.
In short, for two adults, Genie+ gets a thumbs up from me as the unfortunately paid replacement for FastPass+, but with a larger group I may need to reconsider.