Farewell, Fastpass. The virtual queueing system had its ups and downs since it debuted in 1999 at Walt Disney World, but it was one of our favorite tools for skipping lines and experiencing the most in-demand attractions with a drastically shorter wait time. If you knew the intricacies of each system, you could use it to your advantage at Disney World and Disneyland and get on way more rides than most guests. If you put in a little bit of research and preparation, you could use Fastpass to your advantage and get the most out of your Disney trip. 

Best of all, it was free.

Well, all that is changing.

Fastpass is gone… kinda.

Disney stopped offering Fastpass at Disney World and Disneyland lanes upon reopening after the COVID-19 closure. Before March 2020, Disney World and Disneyland had very different Fastpass systems. Disney World offered FastPass+, which let you book up to 3 Fastpasses per day up to 60 days in advance, plus get more Fastpasses on the day of once you used your initial 3 passes. Disneyland offered Fastpass, where you would go to a kiosk, scan your ticket, and get a return time for the attraction. Disneyland also offered a paid option called MaxPass, which let you do this from your phone, which made getting new Fastpasses very convenient. 

Starting this fall, Disney will be offering the same “line-skipping” system in both Disneyland and Disney World: Genie, Genie+, and Lightning Lane. There are a lot of similarities that this new system has to Fastpass, but there’s a big difference. There is no free option to have a shorter wait. If you want something like Fastpass, you will have to pay.

Disney Genie

There is a free component to the new system: Disney Genie. This is a digital virtual guide that will give you personalized recommendations on your day at Disney World or Disneyland. If you tell it you like thrill rides and there’s a short wait for Big Thunder Mountain, it will alert you that you should do that ride next. It will also let you see forecasted future wait times, make dining reservations and mobile orders, and join virtual queues. Think of it as a virtual tip board and vacation assistant. It looks like a more intelligent and helpful version of the Disney World MyDisneyExperience app or Disneyland app, which Disney Genie will be integrated into. Disney Genie is complimentary, and looks pretty useful from the preview. However, it does not let you join a line with a shorter wait, like Fastpass. For that, you’ll want Genie+.

Disney Genie+ service

For $15/day at Disney World and $20/day at Disneyland, you can purchase Disney Genie+. The big difference between Disney Genie and Genie+ is that Genie+ gives you access to Lightning Lane. What is Lightning Lane? It’s Fastpass: With Lightning Lane, you get a shorter wait time. This new system works most similarly to how MaxPass worked at Disneyland: you pay a price per day to make one-at-a-time same day Lightning Lane reservations from your phone. Using Genie+ on the app, you can choose the next available time to arrive at popular attractions like Big Thunder Mountain or Millennium Falcon: Smuggler’s Run. At Disneyland, you will also get access to PhotoPass downloads with Genie+ (hence the price difference). 

However, there’s one big wrinkle. Genie+ doesn’t offer access to every Lightning Lane in each park. 

Lightning Lane Individual Attraction Selections (Available for Purchase)

For Disney World and Disneyland’s most popular attractions, you will have to purchase Lightning Lane access on a per attraction basis. Guests can schedule a time to arrive at 2 of these attractions per day. Pricing will vary by date and attraction. So far, we only know that Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance, Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, and Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure will be included in this Lightning Lane individual attraction selection system (whew, they really need a new name for this top tier… Lightning Lane+? Super Lightning Lane?). I think it’s reasonable to expect that the two most popular attractions in each park will be part of this pay-per-ride system.  

A couple of notes: Rise of the Resistance will still offer its virtual queue for free, so this will be a way to get on the ride if you strike out. You do not need to pay for Genie+ in order to purchase an individual Lightning Lane reservation. Disney Resort guests will get access to purchasing individual Lightning Lane selections at 7 am each morning, while all other guests will get access to them at park opening. 

To put it lightly, this new announcement has been controversial. Stay tuned to a full analysis on what this will mean for your Disney World or Disneyland vacation, plus tips on how to get the most out of these new systems once more information is available.