Guests in ride car for GOTG - Guardians of the Galaxy; EPCOT
  • On Oct 25, 2023
    Trent from OH Asked Please note that experiences, policies, pricing and other offerings are subject to change and may have changed since the date of this answer.

    We are visiting between Christmas and New Year's is it possible to book rides in advance when staying at one of the resorts? do you have to purchase Genie+ or Lightning lane?


    Thanks for asking your question to planDisney!

    So no, you can no longer book attractions days or even weeks in advance. Everything now works based on the Genie+ and Individual Lightning Lanes programs, both of which work only on the day of use. There is also the Virtual Queue program, which does not have an added cost but runs similarly to those other two programs.  

    But which ones are right for you? Let's take a look at the three programs. 

    Disney Genie+: If you pay to add the Disney Genie+ option, you can use the Disney Genie+ Lightning Lane entrances for a reduced wait time. You can choose the next available boarding time at any of the more than 40 attractions currently listed across the four parks. You book that next magical experience and then get to enjoy some other activities in the park until your arrival time comes. After that ride, you can pick your next attraction, and so on for the rest of that day. All guests, whether they are Disney Resort Hotel guests or not, can purchase the Genie+ program through their My Disney Experience App and then book their first attraction at 7 a.m. that same day. There is no way to pre-purchase Genie+, and you cannot purchase a "duration of trip" version.

    Individual Lightning Lane: These are typically 1 or 2 of the more popular attractions at each of the given parks where you can pay for an arrival window time. The prices vary, based on demand, and this can help you lock in that "Must Do!" experience that was at the top of your bucket list. You can purchase these, even if you are not using Disney Genie+. These are also purchased via the My Disney Experience App. If you are staying at a Disney Resort Hotel you can make an Individual Lightning Lane purchase starting at 7 a.m. the day of your visit, while other guests can start ordering when the park opens. 

    Virtual Queue: The Virtual Queue program is typically in place for only one or maybe two attractions at Walt Disney World at a time. It is for the newest, and most popular attractions, like Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind. It is not an extra charge program, and at select times throughout the day, you try to get a reserved ride time for later that day. The first queue opportunity is at 7:00 a.m., and there will usually be a follow-up opportunity at 1:00 p.m. There is no preferential selection time for someone staying at a Disney Resort hotel, so 7 a.m. is the time for everyone. 

    But where do you buy and select Genie+, Individual Lightning Lane, and Virtual Queue reservations?
    Just open your My Disney Experience App on your smartphone that morning, and you will see a prominent link on the home page of the app to make the purchase. Once done, you can then make your first selection, as soon as the clock strikes 7:00 am!

    While it happens infrequently, Genie+ can sell out for a given date. If having the service is something you find to be crucial, consider staying up the night before to secure it right at 12:01 a.m., as you move over to the day in question. Based on your dates of travel during the holiday season when Walt Disney World is at its busiest, you might want to consider this. 

    Please feel free to write me back directly with any follow-up questions that you might have.

    Have a Magical Vacation!


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Meet the Panelist: Doug, Indiana

I am one of the Dads on the planDisney Panel, and I love to help parents plan their vacation, with a focus on showing them how it can be fun for them too. I am also here to help Dads plan some nice surprises for the Moms in their life (they deserve it!). Learn More About Doug

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