Last Updated on August 25, 2023 by Happily Ever Park Hoppers
On my family’s recent trip to the Disneyland Resort in Anaheim California, we purchased the new paid add-on feature called Disney Genie+.
If you are unfamiliar with what Disney Genie & Disney Genie+ and want a full explanation on these new features are, click the button below.
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Using Disney Genie+ at the Disneyland Resort
Even if you have already read my previous post on Disney Genie+ or have a pretty good idea of what it is, I still want to quickly go over a couple things.
Disney Genie+ Cost
- The add-on cost for the “package” Disney Genie+ is $25/person each park day
- Individual / “á la carte” Lightning Lane purchase prices vary depending on the time of year & the day of the week
- For Example: WEB Slingers is $7 on a Wednesday but $10 on Thursday. And Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance is $15 on Wednesday and $20 on Friday.
- Individual Lightning Lane prices will be listed day of on the Disneyland app on the “Tip Board” .
Paying for Disney Genie+
- If you bought your theme park tickets before Disney Genie+ was available or chose to purchase your tickets without Disney Genie+, know that you wont be able to pay for Disney Genie+ until the day of once you’ve entered the park.
- If you purchase your tickets with Disney Genie+ added, all you will have to do is make your Lightning Lane selections once you’ve entered the park.
Making Lightning Lane Selections
Once you’ve entered either Disneyland Park or Disney California Adventure Park you can begin making Lightning Lane selections. You will have a 1-hour return window, where you will scan in and redeem your Lightning Lane selection. Additional selections can be made after you redeemed your initial Lighting Lane OR 2 hours later. It IS possible to have multiple Lightning Lane selections at once AND/OR have a Lightning Lane selection along with one of the Individual attraction selections. (I will explain this below)
Using Disney Genie+
Once we scanned into Disneyland Park on our first day (which was a Wednesday) we first had to purchase Disney Genie+ for our family of four $$$$! This day was our most successful day out of the three days that we purchased Disney Genie+.
Here’s how our first day went:
Our first Lightning Lane selection was for Indiana Jones Adventure with a 9:10am – 10:10am window. If you look at the park hours and upper left-hand corner, you will see that it was 8:42am and the park hadn’t even “technically” opened. When making Lightning Lane selections you don’t get to pick a time, you either select the window that is currently available or wait until your preferred timeframe is available for selection.
Since our first selection wasn’t until 9:10am we decided to rope drop Big Thunder Mountain Railroad. Once we finished riding Big Thunder Mountain Railroad our Lightning Lane window was open and we walked over to get in line for Indiana Jones Adventure. At 9:16am we scanned into our first Lightning Lane.
Immediately after redeeming that initial Lightning Lane, get another one!
Immediately after scanning into our first Lightning Lane selection I got on the app and made our next selection for Space Mountain at 9:20am – 10:20am. By the time we got off of Indiana Jones Adventure it was already 9:40am and time to walk over to Space Mountain; which already had a 35-minute wait. We took our time walking over to Space Mountain, so by the time we scanned in and simultaneously made our next Lightning Lane selection it was 9:50am. We waited a total of 9 minutes in line for Space Mountain (again, which had a 35-minute standby wait). Within the first hour the park was open we had already ridden three rides!
As the morning went on we continued to redeem our current Lightning Lane selection and making a new selection immediately after scanning in. We were able to successfully make our selections fairly close to the current time. This allowed us to ride five attractions in an hour and a half of the park opening. That’s a ride every 18 minutes and we zig-zagged all over Disneyland Park. After scanning in to Roger Rabbit’s Car Toon Spin, we headed to our dining reservation so we didn’t immediately make another selection because the available timeslots were during our lunch reservation. *This goes back to what I said earlier about how you can’t pick a timeframe that you want. You have to wait until the available windows fit the time you are looking for; which means constantly checking the app.
While having lunch I checked the Disneyland Mobile app a few times to see what windows were available. At 11:45am I decided to select a window for Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run at 12:15pm – 1:15pm. Looking at the screenshot you can see that it had a posted wait time of 45 minutes and I made our selection 30 minutes prior. We hadn’t even left the restaurant yet and our “waiting” time had already begun. By the time we made it into Galaxy’s Edge and scanned into the ride it was 12:17pm. The posted wait time was still 45 minutes and we boarded our Millennium Falcon at 12:27pm; so we ended up only waiting a total of 10 minutes.
Again, the key to accomplishing as much as you can (and getting your money’s worth!) is to immediately start looking for your next Lightning Lane selection after redeeming/scanning in to your current selection. Under the “My Day” tab on the Disneyland Mobile app, you will see your current Lightning Lane selection. You will tap “Redeem” once you reach the entrance of that ride’s Lightning Lane. You’ll then have a barcode like the one above that you will scan at the touch points.
Stacking Lightning Lanes
Stacking your Lightning Lane selections is incredibly important if you’re really trying to maximize your day. Whether you’re in the parks on a super busy park day or a certain ride just happens to have a window that is really far out, it’s important to understand how to stack your Lightning Lane selections. As I said before, you can make a new Lightning Lane selection immediately after scanning into your current selection OR 2 hours after the last selection was made.
When it was getting close to Park Hopping hours (1pm) we decided we wanted to take a short break, go back to the hotel and then go to Disney California Adventure Park. At 12:46pm I made a new Lightning Lane selection for Toy Story Midway Mania. The original window that was available was adjusted “due to park hopping” so our return window wasn’t until 2:10pm. With the 2 hour rule in mind, we could make a new Lightning Lane selection at 2:46pm.
Because of the adjusted return window, we took our time at the hotel. Changed clothes because by the middle of the day it had warmed up significantly. And gave our feet a little rest because by 1:40pm we had already walked almost 6 miles!
At exactly 2:46pm I went on the app (set an alarm on your phone) and selected another Lightning Lane for Incredicoaster for 2:50pm – 3:50pm. At this point in time we then had two selections at the same time. *I also want to point out the time difference between these two rides of when I made the selection and the return time. When I made the selection for Incredicoaster the return time was only THREE minutes from the current time; whereas when I made my selection for Toy Story Midway Mania it was EIGHTY-THREE minutes from the current time. When the return time is further out from the time it is when you’re making your selection, it can definitely hinder your maximization; especially on a busy weekend when all of the rides have later return times – which we experienced on a Saturday.
Stacking an Individual Lightning Lane & a Genie+ Lightning Lane
Yes, you can stack an Individual Lightning Lane selection AND a Genie+ Lightning Lane selection. Since the Individual Lightning Lane isn’t included in the “package” of Genie+, there is no restriction on how long you have to wait to book a Genie+ Lightning Lane and an Individual Lightning Lane.
For us, stacking these Lightning Lanes allowed us to get on Toy Story Mania, Incredicoaster, Guardians of the Galaxy – Mission: BREAKOUT and WEB Slingers: A Spider-Man Adventure in 2 Hours and 10 minutes (and this includes us walking between rides and stopping for a drink and looking around Avenger’s Campus). Had we waited in all of these rides standby lines we would have waited a total of 290 minutes = 4 hours and 50 minutes!! A little more than DOUBLE the time it took us.
Would I buy Disney Genie+ again?
After paying and using Disney Genie+ for all three of our park days and 2 of the 3 Individual Lightning Lane attractions; I hands down would pay for them again. We are all about maximizing our time while in the parks and would rather pay to wait in any standby line over 30 minutes (Disney Snobs remember 😉 ). Spending less time in standby lines allows us to not only ride more rides, but allows us to walk around at a slower pace and really take in all the fun and unique detail each section of the parks.
A couple suggestions I have are, if you can help it. Go during the middle of the week. The weekend was significantly busier than it was during the week and the return times were a lot further out than what we had seen on Wednesday versus Saturday. If you wanting to limit your spending or just don’t want to drop $20 a person for multiple days, purchase Disney Genie+ for one park day. Opting to purchase Disney Genie+ on a weekday can potentially mean the return times will be a lot closer to the time of selection. And you will be able to ride more rides than on the weekend. Or only purchase Disney Genie+ on a weekend day knowing that the standby waits are going to be very long; and use your weekday park visit to wait in the standby lines when the waits during the week are typically shorter than on the weekend.
That first park day we were able to ride a total of 13 rides! Despite the fact that we had a table service reservation that took about an hours and a half out of our morning AND we took a mid-day break. We rode Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, Indiana Jones Adventure, Space Mountain, Matterhorn Bobsleds, Roger Rabbit’s Car Toon Spin, Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run, Star Tours – The Adventure Continued, Toy Story Midway Mania, Incredicoaster, Guardians of the Galaxy – Mission: BREAKOUT, WEB Slingers: A Spider-man Adventure, Goofy’s Sky School, Incredicoaster (again), and Soarin’ Around the World. We were able to stack our Lightning Lanes twice with Genie+ Lightning Lanes and once with Genie+ Lightning Lane and an Individual Lightning Lane.
Despite the other two days that we went into the parks (Friday & Saturday) were a LOT busier than our first park day, we were still able to ride just as many rides. Partly because the parks were open later on those days, but also because we kept scanning in and immediately booking a new selection. Again, if you want to try and limit how much extra money you’re spending on the Lightning Lanes, go during the week and pay for it on a mid-week day. The Individual Lightning Lanes will be cheaper and you could be a lot more efficient during the week than on the weekend.
If you have a specific question regarding Disney Genie+ and Lightning Lanes that I didn’t address in this post, please drop a comment below and I will get back to you.
Spreading magic one post a timeKristin