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Using Disney Genie Plus with Kids at Disney World? Here Are Our Top Tips!

by Leap on February 5, 2024 16 Orlando   Video

Walt Disney World is one of our favorite places to vacation as a family. With so many different things to see and experience, everyone in the Frog Family leaves hoppy. Mommy Frog loves relaxing at the resorts, Tad and Lily can’t get enough of the attractions and I enjoy eating my way through the parks. We have our different preferences, but one thing we can all agree on is that waiting in line is everyone’s least favorite part of our vacation.

For families like ours, Disney has rolled out Disney Genie+ and introduced the revamped Lightning Lane (formerly FastPass+) queues. Genie+ (and Lightning Lane access for select individual attractions) has saved our family precious park time and helped us maximize our time in the parks. For newbies, this system can be a little tricky to understand. But with a little bit of research and using our expertise as a guide, you’ll be a Genie+ expert before we can say, “Ribbit!”

We're hoppy to answer your questions about the Genie+ system, plus show you how to get the most out of these services, especially with the tadpoles in mind. We believe that you can avoid a lot of waiting with the Genie+ tools, but ya gotta know how to use 'em!

Our Top Tips for Using Disney Genie Plus with Kids

Know the Lingo

So, what exactly are the Disney Genie, Genie+ and individual Lightning Lane services, you ask? Disney Genie+ service is Disney’s replacement for the FastPass+ systems that essentially allowed you to skip the line using the FastPass queue. For a fee, the new Genie+ service also lets you skip the standby line and provides shorter wait times. This purchase allows you to hop ahead in line at over 40 Lightning Lane attractions spread across the four parks. These are referred to as the Genie+ Lightning Lane attractions, and you will use the Lightning Lane queues to ride them and get priority seating at a show.

Genie+ prices vary by date. Since Genie+ can only be purchased the day of, guests should double-check the My Disney Experience app for the current price. Starting back in 2023, prices now vary by park. With this update, prices may now be lower at some theme parks compared to others. You'll be able to select either a single-park option or a multiple-parks option, subject to availability.

Different from Genie+, the Disney Genie service is free. It’s available to all guests to use within the My Disney Experience app. It's essentially a planning tool that helps you decide what to do in the parks based on your interests and input. Genie will give you an itinerary to follow in the "My Day" section of the app, with both current and projected wait times. You can also place a Mobile Order or find helpful suggestions in the section called "Tip Board." If you don’t like what Genie suggests, you can switch out the suggestions using a swaparoo. The big difference is that Genie doesn’t allow you to book any attraction times or give you access to skip the lines.

Individual Lightning Lane attractions, not to be confused with the Lightning Lane queues, are made up of the five most popular rides at Walt Disney World (there's one in each park, except for Magic Kingdom which now has two; Seven Dwarfs Mine Train and TRON Lightcycle / Run). You can pay an additional fee to skip the line at these attractions.

The purchase of Genie+ does not include these attractions. However, you do not need to purchase Genie+ in order to buy an individual Lightning Lane attraction. You can think of these as à la carte options. The average cost of individual Lightning Lane attractions is typically between $7 to $22 per person. These prices vary depending on the day or season. You can expect these prices to rise during weekends and busy seasons. Scrolling the "My Day" and the "Tip Board" is where you’ll find the option of purchasing the individual Lightning Lane attractions.

Get to Know the Genie+ Features Before Your Trip

Using Disney Genie+ with Kids at Disney World - My PlansLearning how to use Genie Plus, with kids or without, can be a little overwhelming. There's a lot to learn and there are several moving parts that make up the whole process. We recommend setting aside a little bit of time before your trip to download the My Disney Experience app to your phone, link your theme park tickets and play around with the features. The last thing you’ll want to do is try to figure out how it works while navigating the parks with your whole family in tow.

When you first log into the app, you will see a section titled "My Plans." If you haven’t already purchased Genie+, you can click the Get Started button and pay for the service right within the app on the day of your visit. Next, click the My Day option to the right. Here, you will find the main functions of the Genie+ system. In the Tip Board, you can toggle between Experiences and Dining. In the Experiences section, you’ll be able to see the current wait time for each attraction as well as the next Lightning Lane availability. Individual Lightning Lane availability and prices are located there too.

The My Day section of the app will give you a scrolling view of your park itinerary for that day which includes your Genie+ selections and your individual Lightning Lane purchases if you’ve made them. If you’re looking to find your itinerary for other days in your trip, you can find that by clicking on the three lines down on the bottom right and then clicking the Future Plans button.

Understand the Genie+ Rules

In order to unlock the full time-saving potential of using Genie Plus with kids, you have to understand the rules of the system. We won’t bore you with a ton of jargon, but it’s important to understand the basics so you don’t end up feeling frustrated. I’ll keep it short and sweet here, but you can also learn more with our Genie+ Overview and FAQs.

  • Using one selection at a time, you can theoretically use unlimited Genie+ passes throughout your day. However, you can only use one Lightning Lane once per attraction for any given day. So if your little frogs love Big Thunder Mountain Railroad and want to ride it again after using a Genie+ pass, you would have to hop in the standby line for your repeat ride.
  • You may only purchase two individual Lightning Lane passes each day. If you're park hopping, you can split these up between two parks.
  • You can make your first Genie+ selection at 7 a.m. Walt Disney World Resort guests can also make their individual Lightning Lane selections at 7 a.m. Guests staying off-property can make their individual Lightning Lane selections once the park opens.

Know When to Purchase Genie+

Currently, Genie+ service is only available to purchase within the My Disney Experience app on each day of your visit. If you only want to use Genie+ on certain days, you'll want to purchase on those select days before 7 a.m. so you're ready to make your first Genie+ selection at 7 a.m. If you want to purchase Genie+ every day during your trip, you'll need to purchase it each day (again, before you make your first selection at 7 a.m.).

Know When to Book Your Genie+ Passes and Individual Lightning Lanes

Using Disney Genie+ with Kids at Disney World - Pandora

Before arriving at the parks each day, you’ll want to wake up early and be ready at 7 a.m. to make your first Genie+ selection. If you’re staying at any of the Walt Disney World Resorts, you can also book your two individual Lightning Lane selections at 7 a.m. All other guests can make their individual Lightning Lane purchases at the time of park opening (this time can vary, depending on the park).

Genie+ selections can be booked as they become available throughout the day, while individual Lightning Lane passes can be secured for a specific time (though due to the popularity of a ride, you might only be able to snag what's available). This can give you some control over how you’d like your day to flow. You know your little frogs best and will want to schedule your first Genie+ selection and your two individual Lightning Lane selections around breaks, naps and meals. You don’t want to find yourself missing out on a favorite attraction because you booked your Lightning Lane in the afternoon when your family will be heading back to the resort for a pool break.

Know How to “Stack” Genie+ Passes Throughout Your Day

Even though I just explained the rules and said that you can only have one Genie+ selection at a time, there’s an exception to this rule. This exception is the 120-minute rule. Disney states that you can book an additional Genie+ attraction after you have used your most recently booked reservation OR after 120 minutes, whichever comes first.

For this reason, we recommend selecting your first Genie+ selection that has a return time for later in the day when wait times are expected to be higher. Because the 120-minute rule applies, you can book a second Genie+ selection two hours after park opening. If the park opens at 8 a.m., you can book your second Genie+ attraction at 10 a.m. Now you have two Genie+ selections, or have “stacked” passes to use throughout your day. Once you go on your most recently booked ride, you're able to book an additional pass, one at a time, while your afternoon pass will remain in place until you use it.

If it ever gets confusing, you can always double-check the exact time when you can make your next selection at the top of the Tip Board.

Use Genie+ for More than Just Rides

Characters at Disney World — Young girl meeting Tiana

Not only can you use Genie+ to skip lines, but you can also use it for character greetings, close-up priority seating at shows and special parade viewing areas! If Mommy Frog and I were alone, we wouldn't really need to use Genie+ for the character greetings since we like hopping on as many rides as we can, but if we have Lily with us, she always has to say hello to Mickey.

You can also take advantage of priority seating and special viewing areas when using Disney Genie Plus with kids. You never really know if someone tall will end up right in front of your tadpoles. That way, you don't have to hear, "I can't see anything!"

Have a Plan, Plus a Backup Plan

Before selecting your first Lightning Lane, decide in advance which attractions are must-dos versus fun-dos. (That’s our word for rides that are fun but not necessarily a priority.) In our family, Space Mountain is definitely a must-do, while Under the Sea - Journey of the Little Mermaid is a fun-do. This list will help you narrow down which attractions to try and get a pass for both in the morning and throughout the day.

We’ve noticed on weekends or during the holidays, the Genie+ selections for some of the more popular attractions may fill up and become unavailable. If you find yourself in this situation, there are some things you can do, and that’s where your backup plan comes into play. If you’re a Walt Disney World Resort guest, you’ll certainly want to take advantage of the 30-minute Early Theme Park Entry. By arriving early, you’ll most likely be able to knock out at least one attraction, if not more, off of your must-do list.

If you’re not staying on property, we still recommend arriving at the parks at least half an hour early and rope-dropping the attractions that you were not able to get Lightning Lane passes. The wait times are usually much shorter in the morning, and you will spend less time waiting for these in the morning, versus the afternoon and evening.

Another plan is to stay late and jump in the attraction's standby line right before the park closes. If you’re flexible with meal times, wait times will shorten during the peak meal times such as 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. and 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. Wait times will also dwindle during the nighttime shows, and we have to admit, you can catch amazing firework views from some of the attractions. (Although that does take a little coordination!)

Maximize Your Day by Purchasing both Genie+ and Individual Lightning Lanes

Even though they're technically two separate systems, the Genie+ and the individual Lightning Lanes services are made to work together. You can really maximize your time if you decide to purchase both.

Here’s a step-by-step guide on how we made it work for us on our Magic Kingdom day.

Using Disney Genie+ with Kids at Disney World - Splash Mountain

  • 7 a.m. - I book the first Genie+ reservation. I select Big Thunder Mountain Railroad because Tad and Lily love this attraction and it's on their must-do list. This attraction can have significant wait times, so reservations may go more quickly and the next available reservation might be hours away. I'm able to select the next available time at 1 p.m.!
  • As Walt Disney World Resort guests, I also purchase one individual Lightning Lane pass for the day: Seven Dwarfs Mine Train at 6:15 p.m. This actually works out perfectly for us because we like to go back to the resort for a little pool time before returning to the park later in the evening. (While Genie+ will only offer you the next available timeframe to select, individual Lightning Lane selections often have a few options for you to choose from, if available, giving you some flexibility.)
  • Early Park Entry - We're able to hop on Peter Pan's Flight and Buzz Lightyear Space Ranger Spin before other park guests begin to enter the park.
  • Snack time - Grab a snack and snap family photos in front of Cinderella Castle.
  • 10 a.m. - We book our second Genie+ reservation because the park has now been open for 120 minutes (Hop Tip: Set an alarm to remind you of your next eligible booking time once you make another res!)
  • 10:30 a.m. - Ride several more attractions using Genie+ reservations that are closer to the actual time as they become available in the app. We were able to ride Haunted Mansion, The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh, Pirates of the Caribbean and the Tomorrowland Speedway.
  • Lunchtime - We use Mobile Order at Columbia Harbour House and finish with just enough time to make our 1 p.m. Big Thunder Mountain Railroad Genie+ reservation we made first thing.
  • Break time - Head back to the resort to cool off and relax at the pool, but not without meeting Mickey in the Town Square Theater on the way out!
  • 5 p.m. - Return to the park, and have dinner at Jungle Navigation Co. LTD Skipper Canteen.
  • 6:15 p.m. - Use our individual Lightning Lane selection and ride Seven Dwarfs Mine Train.
  • Continue to “stack” the Genie+ selections as they become available and ride several more attractions, completing all of the must-do attractions on our family’s list.
  • End the evening with the nighttime spectacular, Happily Ever After.

What a toadally amazing day, right? Be sure to use our strategies to help you create your own perfect itinerary when using Genie Plus with kids.

Use the Additional Genie+ Features

If you've purchased Genie+, then you have also purchased a couple of interactive features that most kids will really enjoy. The first is the interactive PhotoPass lenses. Your kids can take fun selfies with filters that look as though a Disney character is in the shot. This is a great way to pass the time while waiting in line and the photos will become some of your cherished Disney memories for years to come. Lily has a ton of fun with these and loves sharing them with family and friends.

Audio Tales is an interactive feature that is available in all four parks. In the app, you can find the Audio Tales icon pop-up on the map. When you click on it, you can hear informative snippets about the park's attractions, Imagineering, buildings and more. Tad discovered these during our last trip and has made it his mission to find and listen to them all.

Disney PhotoPass attraction photos are also included with your Genie+ purchase. You'll have access to digital downloads of your photos in the My Disney Experience mobile app.

Don’t Froget to Have Fun!

While there is a lot of information to digest here, Disney Genie is truly at your service! We like to think of it as just another tool in your Disney planning tool belt, but one that has super time-saving benefits and helps you get the most out of your Disney vacation.

In the comments below, let us know what questions you still have about using Disney Genie Plus with kids, or your experience if you’ve already had the opportunity to try out Genie Plus with kids! What other tips do you have to share?

Related: Our Complete Guide to Disney Genie at Disney World

Related: Answering Your FAQs About Disney Genie and Genie+ Services at Disney World

Keep hopping!

Keep hopping, Leap!
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Feb 18, 2023 at 2:48 p.m. Delia S Says...

Hi, we’re going with a 3 year old, when buying individual lightning lanes, will he be made ineligible for purchase automatically and i can quickly proceed for everyone else? Or do i need to remove him from the party? Thanks

Mar 1, 2023 at 1:12 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Delia!

You'll need to select the people in the party that you want to purchase individual Lightning Lanes for. Anyone with general admission and a park reservation will pop up as eligible, and no one is automatically selected.

Hoppy planning!

Mommy Frog

Dec 20, 2022 at 12:32 p.m. Erica Says...

Thank you for all the information! I'm confused by the 120 minute rule. Is that for Genie+ or Lightning Lane? We are only going to the Magic Kingdom for two days, and I see you can only buy Lightning Lane for the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, which we plan to do. If the 120 minute rule is for Lightning Lane, my understanding is we can only use it ONCE each day for this particular ride, is that right? In which case, the 120 minute rule doesn't apply since there aren't any other rides we can book with LL? Or is the 120 minute rule for Genie+? Sorry for the confusion! Thanks for clarifying!

Dec 20, 2022 at 8:28 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Erica!

You're correct! The 120-minute rule only applies to the rides that are included with Genie+ (not the individual Lightning Lane selections such as Mine Train, which can only be purchased once each day).

Hoppy planning!

Mommy Frog

Dec 1, 2022 at 10:12 p.m. James Says...

Hi - we are coming as a family of 4. One of children is under 3 and the other is 5. Do you think we can get away with just purchasing 2 Genie+ for us adults and take our children in the Genie+ line with us?

Dec 2, 2022 at 10:14 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi James!

Children under 3 (those who do not need park admission or park reservations) also do not need to purchase Genie+. However, the child who's older than 3 would need Genie+ (as well as park admission and park reservations).

Keep hopping!


May 29, 2022 at 6:35 p.m. Brian Says...

Thanks so much! Super helpful. Does everyone need magic bands to make this work?

May 31, 2022 at 2:56 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Brian!

Thanks for hopping by! MagicBands are not required — you could use your MagicMobile passes on your phone to scan in at Lightning Lanes. Some families may find it easier for the kids to have MagicBands so you're not swiping through all of the MagicMobile passes at once (depending on how many you have in your party), but it's toadally up to your preference!

Keep hopping!


Mar 22, 2022 at 11:31 a.m. Chris Allen Says...

Hi. We (9 of us ranging from 8 to 75) are visiting from the UK 19th May to 11th June. Trying hard to understand Genie + and whether or not it will be a benefit for us. If we decide Genie + is for us (the two "kids" will not have smart-phones) how would we best configure it on the app... all 9 on one phone (if that is possible) or split it up between 2 or 3 adult "leads"....

Your guides are very helpful...thank you


Chris Allen

Mar 22, 2022 at 10:09 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Chris!

It likely depends on how many days of those three weeks you'll be spending at Disney. If it's the entire time, then you'd have plenty of time to get to everything and wouldn't need Genie+. If it's only a portion of your trip, then you may want to consider Genie+ if you're spending less than 4 days there — maybe for more days if you'll be there on a weekend, especially Memorial Day weekend (May 28-30). You would need to create a profile in My Disney Experience for anyone under 13. The person who creates these profiles will be the one who makes & manages the plans for the kids (can't transfer the ability to someone else). But definitely make sure that everyone is linked together in your Family & Friends list so that everyone automatically shows up in your party. And if some people don't want to ride (or don't want Genie+), then you can edit the list and remove people. We have additional Genie posts (a general guide and FAQs) as well as a guide to using My Disney Experience. Hope this helps, and let us know if you have any more questions!

Hoppy planning!

Mommy Frog

Mar 8, 2022 at 7:47 p.m. Helen UK Says...

Can we visit the parks and do rides without purchasing Genie+? Or is it money well spent and an essential cost. This will be our once in a lifetime holiday which is already expensive so I'm weighing up time v money v enjoyment. Advise please, thanks

Mar 8, 2022 at 2:27 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Helen!

I have a couple of questions for you! When are you traveling and how long is your trip? We would likely recommend Genie+ and/or individual Lightning Lane selections if you're traveling during a peak time or if your trip is short. But if you're visiting during a slower time of year or your trip is long enough that it can accommodate multiple visits to each park, then we think you'd be OK without Genie+. Something else to consider is whether you'll be able to park hop. We've found Genie+ to be useful at some parks more than others and when we park hop. For instance, Magic Kingdom is our favorite park to use Genie+ in because there are so many Genie+ options, but we can usually get by without it in Animal Kingdom (especially if we're there all day long and aren't hopping).

Hoppy planning!

Mommy Frog

Feb 23, 2022 at 11:58 a.m. Arlene Says...

Wondering how you did Splash and Thunder Mountain when that section is not open for early entry.

Feb 24, 2022 at 8:37 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Arlene!

You are toadally correct - only Fantasyland is open at this time for Early Theme Park Entry. We've updated our post for clarity.

Hoppy planning!

Mommy Frog

Feb 22, 2022 at 4:36 p.m. Pamela Ittner Says...

I REALLY Don't like having to pay for an Annual Pass (and I hear that ticket prices are going up) AND have to pay to go on the Rides, too, or wait in long lines. The Fast Passes were free and totally worth planning my day(s) ahead of going to the Park(s) and Not being glued to my phone to find out which attraction to visit next.

I tried to go early to the Magic Kingdom on my last visit, but so did everyone else. I used Genie to tell me that an attraction had only a 5 min wait, but it was obvious when I arrived that it would be more. I waited for 10 min and the line did move, but I don't do lines well, started having a panic attack and left the line. Genie said I could pay $15 to wait 90 minutes to get on the Buzz Lightyear ride, but no thanks. I just got very upset and left The Magic Kingdom vowing never to return.

I don't have high hopes for The Animal Kingdom either, but will visit there one last time as there is a restaurant there I really like.

Thank you for explaining Genie+ better. But I am still not waking up at 6:45am to book an attraction.

No longer fun for me.

Jan 19, 2023 at 2:44 a.m. Fggg Says...

I totally agree with you! I feel that Disney ‘s core customer experience is no longer what it was.

Not only do I want to be glued to my phone to bid for a ride i find it distasteful to divide the customers to the one that can pay to ride or the one that don’t, because let us face it no one likes to wait in line for 1-3 hrs over and over again. So I also walked out of the park unhappy and vouching to not come back

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