Giving Lightning Lane and Genie+ a Try

Woohoo! We are back in Disney for our weeklong trip (if you haven’t come in mid-November, do it. Perfect weather, Christmas decorations up, moderate crowds). This is my first experience with the new paid Genie+ system and the paid individual lightning lanes as well, so I figure throughout the week I’ll write up some feedback/reviews.

Yesterday we grabbed the individual paid lightning lane option for Ratatouille in Epcot. We booked it while driving to the airport in NJ. No issues. It cost $11 per person on a Friday. We picked a return window of 6:40-7:40. For the individual paid LL selections, you can pick your preferred window from the available options (you cannot do this with the Genie+ LLs which is lame).

We rode ratatouille at about 7pm. The standby queue was quite long for those who had done a virtual boarding group. Quite quite long. I’ve been hearing it’s 30-45 minutes if you do a boarding group. Our wait for LL was maybe 2 minutes. Totally worth it. Great little ride too. I’ll write up a review about my motion sickness, but I’d do it again. Lots of screens, but lots of different rooms and scenes. It was really fun. My 4 year old got startled once or twice, but no tears.

So this morning we opted to do Genie+ and a paid individual selection for Rise of the Resistance in HS. A Saturday in HS deserves as much line skipping as possible. At 7am I logged on and so did exfiance/baby daddy at the same time so that we could try for Slinky Dog and ROTR at the same time. I purchased Genie + last night at midnight so that was all set up already (you can opt in each day starting at midnight).

At 7 I was on Slinky Dog duty since it is kiddo’s absolute favorite (aside from Toy Story Mania which I figured didn’t need a LL since we’d do it first thing in the morning). I logged in right at 6:59, then debated the best place to look in the app for LLs. I wasn’t sure if I should do the Tip Board or search the ride itself, but I went with the Tip Board. I have Slinky Dog as a favorite, so it was right at the top. Due to my hesitation, I refreshed maybe 30 seconds after 7am, and the first available time was 12:55, which I grabbed. I didn’t even think to check if there were other times. Later in the day I learned that you actually CANT check for other times and can only take the first available. Not a fan of that at all. I plan around my sons afternoon nap so I could see wanting to schedule a LL for the evening.

Anyway, at the same time, non husband was looking at ROTR. He was able to pick from all available times because it’s an individual paid attraction. He picked 9:20. It was $15 per person, so $47 after tax for the 3 of us. We took a gamble that we’d convince our kiddo to ride it, since he’s been hesitant.

So we headed to HS with RotR scheduled for 9:20, breakfast at Hollywood and Vine at 10, and Slinky Dog at 12:55. I took 0 screenshots because I’m an idiot, but I remembered the times quite well and continued to see them all in the app.

We are staying on site so we were able to enter the park at 8:30 instead of 9. We were late, as is the story of my life, so we got there at 8:45. Someone scanned our bands outside of the park entrance to verify we were resort guests, then we were allowed to go to the normal entrance to scan our bands again. There was a MASSIVE crowd of people waiting to enter at 9. Massive.

We scooted right over to Toy Story Mania because my experience for the past year and a half has been that TSM has a nonexistent line for the first 30 minutes of the day. I figured all the early folks would do Slinky, RotR, or MMRR. Interestingly though, TSM showed a 20 minute wait, which jumped up to 40 the minute we got on line. It was pretty nearly 40 minutes, which shocked me. It seemed to be related to technical difficulties and I’m not sure all the tracks were even running. We had “hold” time after each screen of the ride so it seemed to be a fluke situation. The wait for TSM was over an hour all day.

Then we headed to ROTR in a bit if a rush now since our breakfast was so soon. Fortunately, the ride was down, so our LL pass was extended for the whole day, specifically for ROTR. We were told explicitly that if an individual paid LL ride goes down, you will be given an extended pass for THAT ride, while if a genie+ lightning lane ride goes down when you have a LL pass, you’ll be given a multi experience pass to use on any ride with genie+ lightning lanes. Makes sense.

Note our LL updated to reflect it was good all day due to downtime during our return window.

So we ate our breakfast and then went back to ROTR, which was back up and running pretty quickly. We were afraid that due to the downtime the LL line might be longer than usual, but we had 0 wait. We literally walked into the first pre show room. Absolutely flawless experience. Kiddo got spooked in the first room and said he changed his mind, but we made it about keeping a secret from the bad guys and he had a lot of fun with that. He said he liked it more than Slinky Dog at the end.

Somewhere along the way, it was 11am and I was able to book our second genie+ LL. If your return window for you initial selection is later in the day, instead of waiting to use that selection in order to book another, you can book another two hours after park opening time, and again two hours after that, etc. So at 12 I grabbed a 12:40 LL for Alien Swirling Saucers.

So then after doing the Muppets, we headed to Toy Story Land to use our two LLs.

We did Swirling Saucers with no issue. It was about a 10 minute wait with LL (more technical issues with the ride).

When we got to Slinky Dog an issue arose. We scanned our bands and they said we were very early. When we checked the app, our 12:55 LL had turned into a 2:40 LL. It was 1 o’clock! I was furious because the cast member didn’t believe me at all! I didn’t take a screenshot! Cmon! I post screenshots of the app all the time on here, how did I not have a screenshot?! So they called over a guest experiences rep and she told me a lot of helpful info. She asked me how exactly I booked the LL and to walk her through it step by step. Then she said basically they are having a lot of weird issues with Slinky Dog LL windows changing unexpectedly either during the booking process (and the guest not knowing), or afterwards. She asked if I hesitated at all, which I don’t think I did. I swear it showed 12:55 for a good portion of the morning. The only thing I can think of is that maybe when I booked the Swirling Saucers LL with an overlapping window, it messed up my Slinky Dog return time. No idea at all though. The nice cast member said honestly she is seeing it a lot, especially with Slinky Dog, and she apologized and got us on the ride. She said in the future to take a screenshot of every selection we make, because technical issues are rampant right now (it’s a new system, I get it).

In the meantime, after using our swirling saucers pass, I booked another LL for TSM this evening when we head back. As I write this in the evening, I’m entitled to another LL as two more hours have passed, but I don’t see any rides worth getting one for. I’d get star tours for everyone but me, but it only shows the next available, not far enough ahead in the evening where we’d be able to use it when we go back later.

So I’d say we love the experience of skipping the lines for sure, and ROTR went absolutely flawlessly, but I have some features, or lack there of, that I’m not thrilled with.

Astronomical wait times today. Glad we did Genie+ for sure. We will knock out some more rides this evening when wait times are lower and we use another LL or two!

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