You have probably heard of Genie Plus while planning your vacation. But is it really necessary for your trip? In this article, we consider which parks to choose use the tool, when to avoid using it completely, and the overall pros and cons of enjoying Disney World without Genie+.
What is Genie Plus?
Genie Plus is the paid tool in the Genie service on the My Disney Experience smartphone app. Pricing starts at $15 per day, per person and lets you book windows of time to enter Lightning Lane for certain attractions. Lightning Lane is the former FastPass system, where you can hop on your desired ride more quickly than waiting in the Standby line.
What Parks Are Best for Genie Plus?
Ultimately, using Genie Plus depends on how you want to enjoy your next Disney World vacation. There are certain parks where Genie Plus is better to use than others. We think Magic Kingdom and Hollywood Studios are the best with Genie Plus. EPCOT and Animal Kingdom do not need Genie Plus.
Magic Kingdom: On our last trip, we conquered over 15 rides with the Genie service. Considering each standby queue was over 30 minutes long, this saved a lot of time and effort. In one day, some of the rides we were able to enjoy were:
- Space Mountain
- Splash Mountain
- Big Thunder Mountain Railroad
- Pirates of the Caribbean
- The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh
- It’s a small world
- Peter Pan’s Flight
- Little Mermaid’s Undersea Adventure
- Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin
- Haunted Mansion
Considering Magic Kingdom is the flagship theme park of Walt Disney World and that it has the most the most attractions, it’s a wise idea to use Genie+ for rides at Magic Kingdom.
Hollywood Studios: The park has expanded over recent years. With the introduction of Galaxy’s Edge (with the Rise of the Resistance attraction), Toy Story Land (with Toy Story Mania specifically), and Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway, there is much more to see and do than yesteryear.
What has been considered a half-day park at one point is now a full day (and then some). Some of the most popular attractions are in this park, and using Genie Plus for the rides at Hollywood Studios can get save you a lot of time.
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What Parks Are Worst for Genie Plus?
While Genie Plus might be a good idea for some locations, there are others where it is optional. This choice could be because of the small number of rides available or because there may be other events going on within the park that do not warrant Lightning Lanes.
Animal Kingdom: This nature-inspired theme park is beautiful and inspiring. It hosts the Avatar-themed land, Pandora, and has popular rides and shows like Dinosaur, Expedition Everest and Festival of the Lion King.
However, do you really need Genie+ for the rides at Animal Kingdom? Well, in my opinion, the answer is no.
The park only has 12 rides and shows, many of which can be walk-ons throughout the day. If there is one attraction you want to skip the line for, you can purchase a Lightning Lane for Avatar Flight of Passage. Otherwise, we suggest saving your money.
EPCOT: There are plenty of Genie+ rides at Epcot, like Test Track, Soarin’, Mission: SPACE and Frozen Ever After. However, this theme park is so versatile in what you can do throughout the day that we are at a toss-up between buying the Genie service. If you want to focus on rides, go for it. But if you want to eat food or participate in one of its many festivals, then you should save money.
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Disney World Without Genie+
There are times when Genie Plus is not an effective tool. And in fact, it can actually detract from your Disney World experience. So let’s discuss that in-depth here.
Genie Plus is a premium tool that should be budgeted out in advance. If you do not have it within your budget, then you do not have to buy the service. When it comes to cost, Genie Plus has been as high as $30 per person during peak season. If you purchase it for every day of your visit, the price can creep up quickly!
For example, say you want to visit EPCOT with your family of four in September. With an average Genie Plus price of $22 per person, you are paying an extra $88 to access this feature. If you visit every park and purchase the service every day, that is almost $400 added to your trip!
Below is a small gauge of how much to budget for Genie Plus on your next trip:
- January – March: $15 – $20 per person, per day
- April – September: $20 – $25 per person, per day
- September – early November: $15 – $20 per person, per day
- Mid-November – December: $25 – $30 per person, per day
There are exceptions to this estimate, like holidays. Holidays with higher crowds will likely have higher Genie Plus prices, even in a low-crowd season like early spring.
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Not Spending a Full Day in the Parks
Another reason not to use Genie Plus is if you plan on leaving the park halfway through the day. It does not make sense if you are going to a dinner reservation at your hotel or only want to hop on a few attractions before leaving for the airport. You want to factor in a whole day before buying any premium option to make the most of the cost.
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There are several festivals at EPCOT throughout the year. Each seasonal celebration has unique shows, experiences, and food options. If you want to experience the festival without wanting to ride Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure or Test Track, you can save money. That way, you can buy more snacks!
What is WDW Like Without Genie Plus?
Thankfully, you do not have to buy Genie Plus for every day of your trip. Consider purchasing for your Magic Kingdom Day or avoid it altogether. You CAN go through Walt Disney World without Genie Plus!
Ultimately, deciding whether to purchase Genie Plus is based on your trip needs. But there are some pros and cons to not using this tool.
Pros: Relying on Smartphones Less
A common complaint at visiting Disney World today is the reliance on smartphones to enjoy the park. Without Genie+, you will not need to access your phone as much as others. This lack of distraction can let you and your family take in the parks in unique ways, like appreciating the little details.
Pros: You Experience Ride Queue Magic
Some of the Standby queues have extra magic, which can lessen the burden of your wait time. For example, Peter Pan’s Flight at Magic Kingdom has an interactive line. With a Lightning Lane, you would miss out on this interaction. In a way, visiting a park without Genie Plus is a more authentic experience.
Con: You feel FOMO (“Fear of Missing Out”)
Admittedly, on trips where we did not have Genie Plus, we felt envious of those bypassing the long, winding lines. While we were saving money on our trip, it also left us feeling like we were wasting time in line when we could hop from one queue to the other easily.
Con: You Spend More Time in Standby (And Less Time on Rides)
There is no Lightning Lane return window you must plan your day around. Instead, your routine is to hop in line for one attraction, wait 30 to 60 minutes to ride, and go to another. While this is a more straightforward way to enjoy the parks, it can also be timely and eat into your park day.
If you visit a theme park with many rides, like Magic Kingdom, you will only ride some things in one day.
For example, you are visiting Hollywood Studios without Genie Plus. The park is open an average of 10 hours per day. Many rides at that park are 1.5-hour to 2-hour Standby wait times. You could ride between five to seven rides without stopping for meals or shows in a single day.
If riding as many attractions as possible is on your to-do list, you should consider Genie+. However, the Standby line is acceptable if you are okay with the wait and want to save your money for a souvenir.
It is possible to enjoy Disney World without Genie Plus. You should avoid the service if it is cost-prohibitive, or you do not ride attractions. But it is well worth the cost if you are a ride fiend or want to save time by avoiding standby queues.
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