Genie Plus Advantage for Resort Guests: Is it Worth the Cost?
So does the Genie Plus advantage for Disney Resort Guests tip the scale? It’s not a 30-day head start like Disney resort guests used to have with Fastpass Plus, but there are some unique perks.
Disney has systematically removed incentives for staying on property at any of their three tiers of resorts. The value resorts, moderate resorts, and deluxe resorts at Walt Disney World have built-in value. However, incentives such as extra magic hours have been lacking (we are super hopeful they will return though!).
Magic Bands will soon no longer be complementary to resort guests. We also know that the Fastpass+ advantage no longer exists, because Fastpass+ no longer exists. So is there a Genie Plus advantage for Disney resort guests?
Also check out Lightning Lane at WDW: The Difference Between Genie+ and ILL for more Genie Plus details!
Vanishing Perks and The Value of Disney Resorts
In addition, Disney is doing away with the free transportation service Disney’s Magical Express. The service which takes guests from the Orlando International Airport to their booked Disney hotel will cease to operate in 2022 when Disney ends their partnership with Mears. Already, Disney has altered the service so that you have to manage your own luggage.
One of the key selling points for using the complimentary service was that your bags would get magically whisked away to your room. With the loss of this key advantage and the rest of the service disappearing completely in the near future, one has to wonder whether staying at a well respected, but far less expensive non-Disney hotel could be a better value overall.
Why stay at a Disney Resort then?
It’s in considering this alternative that the possibility of a Genie Plus advantage becomes crucial to your plans. As I mentioned there is intrinsic value to staying at a more expensive Disney branded resort.
First of all, Disney resorts typically have fun themes. There’s also the proximity to the parks and the complimentary transportation within the greater resort area. While these alone may not generate enough interest, they are valid arguments.
Even the paradoxical amenities of the deluxe resorts, which you enjoy only at the expense of sacrificing theme park time (do the math on the per diem for such luxuries) have their place and relative value.
The Genie Plus Advantage
So does the Genie Plus advantage tip the scale? It’s not a 30-day head start like Disney resort guests used to have with Fastpass Plus. However, there is an advantage you could enjoy if you planned to stay at a Disney resort anyway.
Currently, Genie Plus reservations open for the first selection at 7am, regardless of whether or not you are staying at a resort hotel. Meaning you can make your reservations whether you are in the park, standing at the gate, or still waiting for an Uber.
On busy days when Lightning Lane availability closes fast or could push you far behind schedule, even the slightest advantage could make or break your entire vacation. That’s where Disney resorts do offer a benefit you can use when it comes to Genie Plus.
Early Individual Lightning Lane Reservations
Early Reservations are a pivotal feature that Disney resorts offer to guests who purchase the Genie Plus add-on. If you are staying at a Disney resort, you can make your individual lightning lane reservations (not the same as the regular Genie+ reservations) a full hour earlier than other guests. Most of the time, resort guests can book popular rides like Rise of the Resistance and Flight of Passage at 7am; whereas non-resort guests have to wait until the park opens to reserve a time slot.
That’s like a virtual extra magic hour! In a time where benefits and perks are scarce, this one-hour window packs a lot of punch for anybody who makes the upgrade from the complimentary Disney Genie service to Genie Plus for the Individual Lightning Lane access. Disney resort guests who purchase Individual Lightning Lanes also enjoy the head start on securing the most premium Disney theme park experiences.
Since rolling out, the reservations for some of the Individual Lightning Lane (ILL) rides do sell out before park opening. Once the park opens, non-resort guests can purchase them. In my opinion, this is the biggest advantage of staying on a resort for the overall Genie+ system.
The rides that seem to sell out fastest are Rise of the Resistance, Flight of Passage, and Seven Dwarfs Mine Train. If these rides are important to you, you will see a definite advantage to purchasing a pass by staying at a resort. Note: Once Tron and Guardians of the Galaxy open up, they will also be prime rides to snag with the early ILL reservations!