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Disney Genie Plus Lightning Lane

Disney Genie Plus Updates Its Selections

December 18, 2021

We’ve just entered the busiest two-week period on the annual theme park calendar. 

Crowds at Disneyland and Walt Disney World may hit capacity due to the influx of vacationers. 

For this reason, Disney just made some helpful adjustments. Here’s what you need to know.

Disney Genie+ Just Became a Buy

How does Disney handle its impending numbers crunch? Management will alter its virtual queuing system to provide more options to some guests.

While fans have loudly and frequently complained about the new paid FastPass system, Disney Genie+ serves a purpose.

Under this system, Disney earns more revenue while having fewer customers using the former FastPass line queues, the ones we call Lightning Lanes now. 

While the lexicon is admittedly confusing, the highest tier of the new virtual queue system is also named Lightning Lane. 

As you know, guests must pay a set fee for a single ride on these Lightning Lane attractions. 

One of the hidden benefits of the system from Disney’s perspective is flexibility.

Disney can switch some of those rides to Disney Genie+ on high-traffic dates instead. 

For you as a park guest, the changes will entitle you to a better visit. Here’s how. 

Starting on Sunday, four current Lightning Lane attractions at Walt Disney World will switch sides. 

On that date, December 19th, these current Lightning Lane rides will temporarily change to Disney Genie+ options:

  • Expedition Everest at Disney’s Animal Kingdom
  • Frozen Ever After at EPCOT
  • Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway at Disney’s Hollywood Studios
  • Space Mountain at Magic Kingdom

How This Helps You

I think it’s fair to call these Lightning Lane options the B-team in that tier. 

None of them is the top Lightning Lane selection at their park, and only Runaway Railway is even a new ride. 

Still, for the holiday period through January 3rd, you don’t need to pay extra for them, which is huge for you.

Instead, one Disney Genie+ purchase will entitle you to these attractions as well. 

You’ll still face a hard limit of eight attractions under the Disney Genie+ program, but each park features one more option now…and it’s a really good one. 

For $15, your Disney Genie+ selections over the next two weeks will improve, giving you more value with your purchase. 

I also suspect that if this move proves popular, Walt Disney World might stick with it. 

We all knew that attractions like Expedition Everest and Space Mountain didn’t make much sense in the Lightning Lane tier. 

Disney might be toying with the notion of dropping to one Lightning Lane attraction per park, at least for the time being. 

If management did make that move, it would likely stick until Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind debuts.

However, such a move would also be a tacit acknowledgment that Lightning Lane has underachieved. I’m not sure Disney’s ready to admit that yet.

So, we should appreciate the change over the next two weeks and not expect anything more. 

In the interim, this change should help with wait times. More guests will take advantage of the shorter Lightning Lane queues this way. 

Disney’s sacrificing revenue in favor of efficiency and crowd control. That’s the kind of move it hasn’t done enough in 2021. 

Mickey and Minnie

Other Holiday Park News

You should know about other park changes during the 12 Days of Christmas.

Disney wants to provide its most loyal guests with a better customer experience over the holidays.

So, Early Theme Park Entry will expand to 60 minutes from December 19th through January 3rd

That’s just 30 minutes, but it helps you establish a beachhead at the parks before other guests arrive. 

You should feasibly get to ride one or two attractions before the park opens for regular guests.

Also, several Walt Disney World parks have extended their operating hours during Christmas week. It varies by theme park and date, but you’ll get an hour more on several dates.

You should take this opportunity to check Disney’s park calendar for operating hours on each date of your visit. It’ll help you plan your days.  

The most important thing to know is that you can potentially do a lot by taking advantage of some combination Early Theme Park Entry, Disney Genie+, and these longer park hours. 

Ordinarily, I warn people that Christmas Week visits are more about family, friends, and holiday decorations than rides. 

The added wrinkles of Disney Genie, Disney Genie+, and Early Theme Park Entry may prove that philosophy is outdated, though. 

There is still plenty of time to plan a Walt Disney World getaway and experience the holiday season at the most magical place on earth!  Head over to the DVC Rental Store Confirmed Reservations page and view available reservations that can save you up to 65% off regular Disney room rates!

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