As a fan of Disneyland, you know that your time is precious, and the absolute worth thing to have to deal with in the parks and wasting time in line. So in this article, I’m going to provide you with he best Genie Plus strategy for Disneyland, as my tips aim to maximize your time on your rides and minimize your time wasting away in line.
Best Genie+ Strategy for Disneyland
In the morning, you don’t want to make a reservation straight away. Wait till you see a ride that has a reservation window from 9:00AM – 10:00AM, as typically that’s when lines begin to form. Any time prior to that window, you won’t be waiting more than 10-15 minutes and should be able to jump on a few rides within the first hour without any Lightning Lane reservations! The exception is if you want to purchase one of the Individual Lightning Lanes.
Pro Tip: When choosing what ride I want to reserve, I always take into account the current standby line and where I’m currently located. If I’ve just survived Space Mountain and see Star Tours has a 30-minute wait, Buzz Light Year is at 20-minutes, and Indiana Jones is 30-minutes, I will reserve Indiana Jones, wait in the Buzz Light Year line, and then get a snack and chow down while waiting for Star Tours.
By the time we’re done with those two rides (and our delicious snack), I’d make my way over to Adventureland. If your reservation window still hasn’t come up yet, then check out the wait times for Haunted Mansion, Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway, Pirates of the Caribbean, or the Jungle Cruise! Check out these other Genie+ Tips and Strategies for more assistance.
When your reservation window is open, and you have made the trek over to your highly anticipated ride, have your phone out with your Lightning Lane barcode at the ready and scan it at the designated area. Once you scan your Lightning Lane ticket, be ready with your next ride to maximize your options with the quickest turnaround availability. As soon as you scan your barcode you will be eligible to make your next Lightning Lane reservation even if this is within the advertised “two-hour limit.”
Genie Plus Tips for Disneyland
1) The number one tip I can provide is super simple: make sure you plan out your day. I cannot say this enough. If you’re more of a “go-with-the-flow” kind of Disney adventurer, don’t be put off by this newfangled technology. Genie+ is not a villain, or the end of your spontaneity. It’s simply a tool you can use to enhance your experience at the parks.
2) To book your first Lightning Lane reservation, you have to have entered the Park. This is why I always recommend getting to the Parks when they open. If you’re getting to the Parks at open, chances are your first few rides of the day won’t be too long a wait (unless you’re going to Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance, Radiator Springs, or Web Slingers: A Spider-Man Adventure) and you can save your Lightning Lane reservations for later in the day.
3) If you get to the Parks at open, monitor the Disneyland App and wait till the reservation windows get to around 9:00AM – 10:00AM (when the lines start getting longer). The reason I suggest waiting and not making reservations right as you enter the Park is because of the one Lightning Lane per day per ride.
If you enter the Park and immediately get a Lightning Lane for Splash Mountain, you actually won’t be skipping much of a line because it hasn’t had time to develop. Save your only Lightning Lane for that ride for later in the day when you actually will be skipping a line!
4) When looking to make a reservation, I find it easier to use the map in the Disneyland App. How do you do this?
a) Select the map within the App.
b) Click on the bubble over the ride you’re interested in reserving.
c) Click on the “LL” for Lightning Lane, and you will be sent through the reservation process.
5) Disney claims you can only make one selection at a time, but this is not actually the case! If you’re sitting for lunch and one of the rides you want to go on has a reservation window of 6:00PM you can make the reservation and then make another after your two-hour waiting period. Then you have two Lightning Lane reservations waiting!
6) Be aware that Lightning Lanes can run out later in the day! Toy Story Midway Mania will sell out at some point since the ride is so sought after. If there are enough cancelations you still might have some success in the evening, but you’ll have to keep an eye on your Genie app. This is the case for the individual Lightning Lane rides.
7) If you’re dying to go on a specific ride, but the reservation window doesn’t work for you, try refreshing the page! If someone cancels their Lightning Lane, you can sometimes snag their spot. This is very rare, and I haven’t had much success with it, but worth a shot when you’re just waiting!
8) You can make reservations across parks if you have a Park Hopper ticket! If you’re sitting down for lunch at Café Orleans in Disneyland, but you know at 3:00PM you will be heading to California Adventure, check the Lightning Lane availability over there and make your reservation to plan accordingly.
9) If you notice all of the return times are super far out or know you aren’t going to use your Lightning Lane reservation. You could get a pass for a ride that tends to break down a lot. I know—this sounds like a strange strategy, but hear me out!
If a ride breaks down during your reservation window, you get a Multiple Experiences pass. This is like the Golden Ticket, as they allow you to enter almost any Lightning Lane that you desire! You can redeem this at nearly every ride in Disneyland and California Adventure.
List of Genie+ Rides
When purchasing Genie+ you should consider the rides actually included in the service, so we’ve included a list for your convenience below:
- Big Thunder Mountain Railroad
- Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters
- Haunted Mansion
- Indiana Jones Adventure
- “it’s a small world”
- Matterhorn Bobsleds
- Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run
- Roger Rabbit’s Car Toon Spin
- Space Mountain
- Splash Mountain
- Star Tours – The Adventures Continue
- Goofy’s Sky School
- Grizzly River Run
- Guardians of the Galaxy – Mission: BREAKOUT!
- Monsters, Inc. Mike & Sulley to the Rescue!
- Soarin’ Around the World
- Toy Story Midway Mania
Rides Not on Genie+
The biggest rides in the Parks are not included in your Genie+ service. For the Big Three, as I like to call them, you will need to purchase the Individual Lightning Lane access separately. This can cost a decent penny ranging from $15-$20 for a single ride.
If you have the extra money to spend, I would HIGHLY recommend purchasing as you can sometimes save up to three hours of your day by not having to wait in the extremely long line for Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance.
Individual Lightning Lane
- Radiator Springs
- Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance
- Web Slingers: A Spider-Man Adventure.
Why Use Genie Plus?
Disney Genie+ replaced what was formally known as “FastPasses” and is now the most efficient way to skip to the front of the most popular rides by using the Lightning Lane entrance. While this sounds as awesome as Aladdin’s fez, there is one downside that is a wide source of Disney-lover’s frustration.
While “FastPasses” were free and really depended on how fast you could run between stations, Genie+ is a paid service you access and manage on your phone. The cost rings up at $25/per ticket per day, but kids under 3 are free.
For 23 attractions across Disneyland and California Adventure, you have the ability to skip the majority of the line! When you purchase the pass, you enjoy an almost VIP experience where you get to reserve a specified window of time to jump on the ride once without having to wait in the Standby lane.
Also included with Genie+, you have the awesome NEW addition of Disney PhotoPass Lenses which allow you to add cool photo and video-enhancing effects on your Disney memories!
Now that you know what the Genie+ system is, you should be aware of your options to purchase. The most straightforward way is going through the Disneyland Resort website and adding Genie+ to your tickets.
I have found that typically you can save at least a few dollars purchasing your tickets here as opposed to straight off Disney’s website. They’re super easy to use, customer service is great, and you can still add the tickets to your Disneyland App, for easy use!
You can also purchase Genie+ in your Disneyland App, prior to your trip or same day. However, if purchasing same day, be aware that it is subject to availability so if not purchased in advance, you may miss out!
Pro Tip: Your Genie+ Ticket can be used in California Adventure or Disneyland and is especially great if you have a Park Hopper ticket. You can make reservations across Parks if you’ve got the leg speed to book it over in time!
Reasons to Skip Genie Plus
For some Disney lovers, Genie+ is just not something you need. If you plan on just enjoying the atmosphere, and food while only going on a few rides a day, I recommend saving your money for a delicious treat!
As much as we love Fantasyland and all the awesome rides, many of them are not going to be included in your Genie+ selections so if you will be spending most of your time there, you might want to skip this service. The same goes for Pirates of the Caribbean and Jungle Cruise as they are not included in Genie+.
You will need to be on your phone a lot. If you don’t want to have your phone out and monitor the reservation times, I would highly suggest not getting Genie+.
We loved sharing out best genie plus strategy for Disneyland and hope you agree that Genie+ really is a useful tool to not only plan out your day, but also make the most of your vacation! The amount of time you save waiting in lines is unmatched by even the “FastPasses” system of old.
As much as I love the pass, it really isn’t for everybody. If you’ve reached the end of this article and Genie+ sounds too time-consuming, or just not beneficial to how you envision your vacation, definitely pass on this service! Genie+ isn’t needed to enjoy the Disneyland magic, but rather to try and enhance your awesome Disney vacation!
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