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Op-Ed: Why APs Should Never Use Genie+ at Hollywood Studios on a Busy Day

annual passholder hollywood studios genie+
Credit: Disney/ Canva

Maybe it was just a bad day, or maybe it was the norm, but our latest Genie+ experience at Disney’s Hollywood Studios was, for lack of better words, a waste of time and money.

Spring Break Crowds are Here

It’s officially March, which means two things: the temps are starting to heat up in Orlando, and Walt Disney World is currently in the middle of one of its busiest seasons. As schools nationwide provide a much-needed break for students and teachers, Spring Break has created shoulder-to-shoulder traffic at the most magical place on Earth.

Disney World spring break crowds

Credit: My Disney Experience/Michael A. Disney Dining

Although there are several tips and tricks to manage the guest influx at Walt Disney World, from taking advantage of Disney’s Individual Lightning Lane system, to choosing to rope drop, sometimes due to the nature of the beast, things just don’t go as planned, and I’m here to tell you about our latest experience, specifically with Genie+.

Genie+: a Hectic System for a Hectic Place

Genie+ at Walt Disney World stands as a valuable service designed to enhance the theme park experience, particularly at parks like Magic Kingdom and Disney’s Hollywood Studios. This paid feature empowers guests to make Lightning Lane selections, permitting them to access expedited queues from their cell phones for popular attractions within the park.

Offering what was promised to be a seamless and efficient way to navigate through the bustling entertainment hub, Genie+ was to enable visitors to minimize wait times and optimize their time spent enjoying the various offerings at Hollywood Studios.

Related: Genie+ Good , Bad, and the Ugly

Genie+ subscription idea dinsey fee

Credit: Disney

At the heart of Genie+ is the opportunity for guests to secure reservations for sought-after rides such as the exhilarating Slinky Dog Dash, the interactive Toy Story Mania, and the whimsical Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway. As well, guests can use Genie+ to purchase an Individual Lightning Lane for attractions like The Hollywood Tower of Terror and Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance.

By utilizing this service, visitors can avoid the frustration of long lines and make the most of their day exploring the immersive world of Disney. Genie+ is a strategic tool that empowers guests to create a well-rounded itinerary, ensuring they get the most out of their Hollywood Studios adventure.

The same goes for parks like Magic Kingdom, which is home to many fan-favorite shows, rides, and attractions. Guests to Magic Kingdom, Animal Kingdom, and EPCOT can also use Genie+ to manage Lightning Lanes for rides like Expedition Everest, Avatar Flight of Passage, and Frozen Ever After.

Hollywood Studios annual passholder genie+

Credit: mckenzie-sobieski, Unsplash

With Genie+ as their guide, guests were promised a convenient way to navigate through the park with ease, knowing that they have access to lightning lane selections for a variety of attractions. However, this service doesn’t always streamline the guest experience.

Although seemingly convenient and flexible, allowing visitors to tailor their day based on their preferences and desired pace, Genie+ can be a headache to navigate through the My Disney Experience app.

In essence, Genie+ at Walt Disney World, especially when utilized at popular ride locations, like Hollywood Studios, serves as a valuable asset for guests seeking to make the most of their theme park visit.

By offering an efficient way to access popular attractions and reduce wait times, Genie+ contributes to an overall seamless and enjoyable Disney experience for visitors of all ages. However, not everything is as it seems.

A Horrible Day to Use Genie+ at Hollywood Studios 

Admittedly, I don’t typically use Genie+. As an Annual Passholder, I’m often not in a Disney Park long enough to justify its sometimes steep price tag.  However, on a recent trip, right when Spring Break crowds started to arrive, as other party guests were in with me to Disney’s Hollywood Studios, I thought it necessary to purchase.

mickey and minnie's runaway railway

Credit: Disney

Related: Disney Announces MAJOR Change to Genie+ Service That Will Drastically Improve Guest Experience

So, on Monday, after visiting Magic Kingdom for a couple of hours, we secured our Genie+ service for four people, at $32 each. However, when attempting to book an Individual Lightning Lane for Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway, it became quickly apparent that this was a waste of money.

Not all of the following is the fault of Disney World. Visiting at the start of Spring Break is usually a big “no-no” for me. However, as my daughter was visiting from college, this was the only time that she could go, so we braved the crowds.

Also, it was ultimately our decision to park hop. Surely, if we had arrived at Hollywood Studios earlier in the day, as opposed to hopping over, our Genie+ experience wouldn’t have been so poor.

Genie+ and Anger from Pixar Inside Out

Credit: Disney / Canva

Still, from around lunch, onward, while struggling through massive crowds of sun-burnt guests, Toy Story Mania, Smuggler’s Run, Slinky Dog Dash, Twilight Zone Tower of Terror, Alien Swirling Saucers, Rise of the Resistance, and Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway all remained unavailable.

It didn’t matter how often we refreshed; everything from the Millennium Falcon to Toy Story Land, all the way to Sunset Boulevard, remained booked up with no Disney Genie Lighting Lane available.

What We Could Do at Hollywood Studios

After paying the ridiculous Genie prices, we were shocked to realize that we could only get a Lightning Lane selection for Star Tours and seating at two of the offered stage shows. As for an Individual Lightning Lane Selection, which requires you to pay extra for certain attractions, those were off the table as well.

genie looking shocked, genie plus error, cinderella castle in the background

Credit: Disney / Canva

The parks were simply too full. Sadly, it wasn’t just Hollywood Studios either. Walt Disney World (I’m guessing here) likely experienced one of its busiest days in a while, with wait times soaring incredibly high on Monday, poor timing on our part.

Related: The BEST Quiet Places to Escape Crowds at Disney World

Sadly, there would be no Slinky Dog Dash, no Toy Story Mania, or Alien Swirling Saucers without lengthy wait times. Although we took advantage of the Star Tours availability, with four people, we paid $128 and could only book one Lightning Lane selection; tragic.

So, as an Annual Passholder who doesn’t typically use Genie+, I can say with extreme confidence that purchasing the service at Hollywood Studios on a busy day probably isn’t worth the money.

Genie+ hollywood studios

Credit: Disney

Unless you’re willing to wait over an hour for Alien Swirling Saucers or wait an hour to be an engineer on the Millennium Falcon via Smuggler’s Run’s single-rider line, a trip to Walt Disney World Resort is probably better saved for later in the Spring once the out-of-school crowds have settled down.

Better yet, just grab a room at a Disney Resort and enjoy a nice and relaxing resort excursion instead.

About Michael Arnold

Michael is a father, husband, and an Army Veteran. Michael spends his weekends at Walt Disney World and Universal Orlando checking out new merchandise and food. Michael is a graduate of the University of Alabama and has an education background in Public Health. You can find Michael riding Pirates of the Caribbean over and over again or binge watching new Marvel and Star Wars content. Han shot first. Thor is the strongest Avenger. Roll Tide and Wash Your Hands!

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