Disney World’s new Genie feature was launched last month and since then we’ve been learning and sharing all the tips and tricks on how to use it.
The new system includes the free Genie tool in the My Disney Experience app, the paid Genie + (FastPass + replacement), and the Pay-Per-Ride feature (AKA Fancy Rides). In this article, we will look at Genie +, which is probably the most talked about (and controversial) part of the system.
Let’s see how Disney’s Genie + compares to Universal Orlando’s Express Pass.
FastPass + used to be free at Disney World, but this program was suspended for more than a year before it was recently replaced by paid Genie +. The more expensive replacement has caused some controversy and many Disney World guests are not happy with this change. Universal Orlando also charges for a FastPass-type service (the Express Pass), so we’ll compare the two and see what the best deal really is.
Let’s start with an overview of Disney’s Genie +.
The genius of Disney +
If you want to buy the Genie + early, you will need to purchase it for each day of your trip as part of a vacation package.
You can buy Genie + for individual days (if you don’t want it for each day of the trip) from 12:00 each day.
Genie + costs $ 15 per ticket per day, meaning it would cost $ 60 a day for a family of four and a total of $ 240 for a family of four on a four-day trip.
Click here for more information on the cost of Genie +
Whether you buy Genie + in advance or on the same day, you can only start booking to skip the queue at the attractions from 7 AM the day of the visit to each park.
Genie + does not allow guests to climb only Lightning Lane (FastPass line) for attractions at any time: you must have a reservation for this attraction before you can queue. We’ve noticed that reservations for some attractions (such as Slinky Dog Dash and Jungle Cruise) are starting to fill up pretty quickly at the beginning of the day.
Sometimes the only reservations available for these attractions are much later in the day. From you can only make reservations one at a time (except in some circumstances), you may be stuck waiting for a late booking, without being able to make further bookings in the meantime.
Click here for information on the exception to the rule of one reservation at a time
Generally, you will need to make a reservation for a trip at a certain time, and then, once you’ve been on the trip (or time has passed), you can make your next reservation.
These reservations are unlimited, so you can make as many as you can in your day.
Despite this, you can’t reassemble the same attraction with Genie +.
Therefore, if you book Splash Mountain with Genie + and then use Lightning Lane to make the trip, you will need to use the normal waiting line if you want to make it a second (or third … or fourth ..). .) day.
What is included
Most Disney World attractions are included in Genie +. 46 walks total of the four Disney World parks are eligible for Genie + bookings.
Click here to see the full list of Genie + Rides
The two most popular attractions at each Disney World park are part of the pay-per-trip system.
You cannot book Lightning Lanes for these attractions with Genie +. Instead, you’ll have to pay a separate fee if you want to skip the line.
Click here to see the full list of paid travel attractions
You can park with Genie +. So if you’re in the Magic Kingdom in the morning, you can still make a Genie + reservation for an attraction at EPCOT for later in the day.
We’ve done a lot of experiments with Genie + to see how many walks you can take in each park with Genie +. You can go through a lot of attractions if you plan well and know how to work the system a bit.
- $ 15 / day per person
- Unlimited lightning lanes
- Requires reservations for each attraction
- Attractions can only be booked one at a time (unless the reservation is more than 2 hours away)
- Guests begin making reservations at 7 a.m. on the day of the visit
- It includes most attractions, not all (and not the most popular): 46 in total
- Can’t be booked again (one Genie + trip to each attraction)
Now let’s take a look at Universal’s Express Pass.
Universal Express Pass
We’ll compare Genie + to the Basic Express Pass, as it’s most similar to the Genie +, but there are other options as well, such as the Unlimited Pass for $ 110 a day.
The basic Express Pass at Universal Orlando costs $ 80 per person per day.
The exception is that the Express Pass is free for guests of first-class Universal Orlando hotels. This includes Loews Royal Pacific Resort, Loews Portofino Bay and the Hard Rock Hotel.
Guests who have purchased the Express Pass do not need reservations to skip the queue on trips.
Instead, they can board any trip that is fit and just scan their pass to enter the express lane and skip the waiting queue.
With Genie +, you cannot reassemble the attractions with the Express Pass.
The pass is good for a trip to each eligible attraction and you will need to use the waiting line if you want to make a trip multiple times.
What is included
If you have the Express Pass, you can access any and all eligible attractions. There are no limits on how many times you can use the pass, except you can’t go on the same trip twice.
27 trips in total are included with the Express Pass at Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure. Some more trips to Universal Volcano Bay (Universal Water Park) also accept the Express Pass.
Click here to see which attractions are included with the express pass
Like the Genie +, some of the most popular attractions do not accept the Express Pass. For example, you can’t use the pass on the Velocicoaster or the motorcycle adventure of Hagrid’s magical creatures.
We tested the value of the Express Pass at Universal and were able to do many attractions in one day. It is especially useful as there are only two parks in Universal, which makes it easier to do more attractions in a single day.
- $ 80 / day per person
- Unlimited attractions per day
- No reservations required
- Good for one trip each (the trip is not repeated)
- Good for most trips: includes 27 in total
- Not available for popular attractions
So how do attractions stack up against each other?
What is the cost more?
In terms of cost, the Express Pass is a bit more expensive at $ 80 per person per day. It also includes fewer trips in total. at 27 compared to Genie + ‘s 46.
However, you can get the Express Pass for free if you stay in a top-notch hotel in Universal Orlando, and so far there is no way to get Disney World’s Genie + for free.
Universal also has only two parks, and it’s not hard to go from one park to another on the same day. Therefore, you are likely to use the Express Pass more, as you have access to more attractions in one day. You can probably do more with the Express Pass.
You can use Genie + with Park Hopper at Disney World, but you’ll probably only get to two parks in one day. This means you will actually have to buy the Genie + for at least two days to get to the four parks, at a cost of up to $ 30 (both days).
Overall, while the Express Pass will probably help guests do more things in one day, the Genie + is significantly cheaper per day. Even buying Genie + for four days (one day for each theme park) is still less expensive than the one-day Express Pass ($ 60 for Genie +, $ 80 for Express Pass).
Winner: Genie +
Which is easier to use?
Disney’s Genie + is also harder to use, as you have to get up early to make reservations (at 7am on the day of your trip), and then you have to keep booking throughout the day. Since the Express Pass does not require a reservation, it is a much easier situation to “grab it and go”.
You may need to get up even before 7am for the Genie +, as you have to buy the feature on the day of your visit if you only want it for certain days of the trip. Genie + is available from 12:00, so you must purchase it before making your reservations at 7:00.
Winner: Universal Express Pass
Both systems exclude the park’s most popular attractions, and both only allow guests to board each attraction once. Universal has an unlimited express pass that allows you to ride several times at each attraction, but it costs $ 110 a day instead of $ 80.
Both systems are too technically unlimited, this means you can book or go to as many attractions as you want (no repetitions, of course) throughout the day.
As a side note of this comparison, tickets for these parks cost the same right now, about $ 109 a day.
With everything in mind, we decided Genie + is the cheapest option, but the Express Pass is much easier to use. If you’re trying to save money, we recommend that you learn as much as you can about using Genie + before your vacation so you can get the best performance.
Click here to learn all about Genie +
Keep following AllEars for more tips and tricks to get you ready for your Disney World or Universal Orlando vacation.
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