Disney Has Replaced Its FastPass With Disney Genie

Goodbye, Fastpass. Hello, Genie

Sleeping Beauty Castle

Courtesy of Disney

When the theme parks at the Disneyland Resort in California and Walt Disney World in Florida reopened after having closed for the pandemic, they did not offer the line-skipping programs FastPass+ (at Disney World) or Fastpass and MaxPass (at Disneyland). Temporarily halting the programs was one of many changes the parks made amid the pandemic.

Started in 1999, the complimentary Fastpass program and its successors allowed guests to make reservations for rides, attractions, shows, and character greetings. For the rides and attractions, it enabled guests to bypass the standby lines and enter special queues that whisked them to the heads of the lines.

As of Dec. 8, Disney has permanently replaced all of its line-skipping programs with Disney Genie, a digital park planning service that includes paid options to bypass lines. Here's what you need to know.

What Is Disney Genie+?

Disney Genie+, one of the new line skipping options, resembles Disneyland’s MaxPass program. As with MaxPass, Disney Genie+ costs $20 per day per person at Disneyland. It costs $15 per day, per person at Disney World.

The service, which can be accessed through Disney World’s My Disney Experience and Disneyland’s apps, allows users to choose the next available times at participating attractions and experiences on the days of their visits. When it is time to return, guests can use special Lightning Lane entries to skip the standby lines.

With Disney Genie+, guests are able to listen to audio vignettes about the attractions, presumably while they are waiting to board rides. The snippets include expert commentary from Imagineers. At Disneyland, the extra-charge service includes unlimited Disney PhotoPass downloads as well. Disney World instead tosses in augmented reality PhotoPass “lenses” that allow visitors to take enhanced photos with their digital devices.

Disney Genie service

Disney Parks

Disney World visitors are no longer able to make reservations up to 60 days in advance as they could with FastPass+. Instead, the service allows them to make their first reservation at 7 a.m. on the day of their visit. Nor are they able to make more than one reservation at a time as they could with FastPass+. At Disneyland, guests are able to make their initial Disney Genie+ reservation when they enter one of the parks. According to Disney, popular attractions such as Haunted Mansion, Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run, and Big Thunder Mountain Railroad are included with Disney Genie+.

Can I Purchase Access to Individual Attractions?

In addition to Disney Genie+, Disney is giving visitors the option to purchase Individual Lightning Lane reservations at up to two especially high-demand attractions per day. Eligible rides include Radiator Springs Racers at Disney California Adventure and Seven Dwarfs Mine Train at Disney World’s Magic Kingdom.

The costs vary based on the popularity of the attractions and the time of the year. For example, at its introduction, prices range from $9 for Epcot's Remy's Ratatouille Adventure to $15 for Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance at Disney's Hollywood Studios. Note that these prices are above the cost to enter the parks.

What Else Does Disney Genie Offer?

Visitors can input their preferred attractions and other favorites and the Disney Genie service will provide complimentary suggested itineraries. The app also lets users know current and forecasted wait times to plan their days at the parks better.

The one-stop service allows guests to place mobile dining orders for quick-service eateries, make reservations at table-service restaurants, and join Virtual Queues for attractions. Disney says that it also includes a virtual assistant to respond to questions and provide access to live cast members for more personalized assistance.

The prospect of having to pay more money at the Disney parks, which are already pricey, is not appealing—especially for services that were previously included in the cost of admission. But the line management programs had become somewhat unwieldy at both resorts. The new service could make the park experience more enjoyable.

Among the potential upsides to the Disney Genie service is that it should remove a lot of the pre-planning hassle (especially at Disney World and its advance FastPass+ reservations system) and return some of the spontaneity to park visits. Inexperienced Disney Park-goers might find it less intimidating to plan a visit.

Also, by replacing the complimentary Fastpass and FastPass+ programs with the paid Disney Genie+ program, a lot fewer visitors will likely opt to participate. Therefore, fewer people will be sashaying past the folks in the regular queues and skipping the lines. That should reduce the wait times in the standby lines, thereby making them more tolerable. And Disneyland’s new Magic Key annual pass program should reduce the number of visitors crowding the California resort’s two parks, which would also reduce demand and lower wait times.