Universal’s High Priced Express Pass Makes Disney Guests Accept Disney Genie+ Cost

in Walt Disney World

genie disney phone mobile

Credit: Disney

If you are not a fan of waiting in line at theme parks, there are options to get around those lengthy queues; however, they will come at a cost. In Orlando, both Disney World Resort and Universal Orlando Resort have options that will let you skip in line. Universal’s Express Pass and Disney’s Disney Genie+ are very different in how they are used, as well as overall cost.

Genie from 'Aladdin'
Credit: Disney

Disney Genie

Disney Genie was recently added to the My Disney Experience app, which is a new way for Guests to plan their day. Disney Genie is meant for those who are unsure on what they should do while at Magic Kingdom, EPCOT, Disney’s Animal Kingdom, and Disney’s Hollywood Studios and gives them a variety of specifically catered options. On top of that, Disney Genie also has a Disney Genie+ feature. For $15.00 per day per Guest, you can skip the long standby queue by making a Lightning Lane reservation (new FastPass) and returning at that time.

Disneyland Disney Genie
Credit: Disney

At each Park, however, there are two attractions that Guests would need to purchase a separate Lightning Lane ticket for if they wanted to skip those lines. Those attractions are: 

  • Seven Dwarfs Mine Train
  • Space Mountain
  • Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure
  • Frozen Ever After
  • Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance
  • Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway
  • Avatar Flight of Passage
  • Expedition Everest
disney genie plus
Credit: Screenshot via Disney Parks Blog

Disney Parks describes Genie+ like this:

 For the price of $15 per ticket per day at Walt Disney World Resort and $20 per ticket per day at Disneyland Resort, choose the next available time to arrive at a variety of attractions and experiences using the Lightning Lane entrance. You can make one selection at a time, throughout the day – from classics like Haunted Mansion to thrill rides like Big Thunder Mountain Railroad and newer favorites like Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run (attractions subject to limited availability). This convenient option is the next evolution of the fan-favorite Disney MaxPass service from Disneyland Resort. Disney Genie+ will also include Disney parks-themed audio experiences and photo features to capture your memories – augmented reality lenses for those visiting Walt Disney World Resort and unlimited Disney PhotoPass downloads from your day if you are visiting Disneyland Resort.

So, you will pay $15.00 per Guest at Disney World to use Disney Genie+, which Disney says will guarantee 2-3 attractions for the day, which is not a high number. If you want to skip the line of the rides listed above, that will be a separate cost.

Express Pass

The reason any Guest should want to buy the Universal Express Pass would be to skip the lines. The Universal Express Pass allows Guests to skip through the queue of many popular attractions that typically experience high wait times. Its purpose is quite simple in the fact that it is a time saver. So, if you are a Disney World fan who tries to optimize FastPass+ to skip as many lines as possible, this pass lets you do just that with none of the work.
Universal Express
All photos credit Universal
The Universal Express Pass is highly convenient, but it is not free. There are ways you can get an Express Pass included in your Universal purchases, but we will discuss those down below. For now, let’s take a look at what it would cost to enjoy a wait-free day at Universal Orlando Resort.
  • Universal Express for $69.99 per person on top of regular theme park admission
  • Universal Express Unlimited for $89.99 per person on top of regular theme park admission
  • Volcano Bay Express for $19.99 per person on top of regular water park admission
Universal Express and Universal Express Unlimited can be used at both Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure, however, if Guests also plan to visit Volcano Bay on the same day, a separate Express Pass would need to be purchased. These prices are the starting costs, and during busy seasons can climb to over $200.00 per person!
Transformers the ride at Universal Studios Florida
Credit: Universal

Can You Compare?

It is tough to compare the two passes as they vary greatly in cost, but one pass guarantees you line-skips for every ride that offers it while the other only does for 2-3 rides in a day. On Reddit, one Guest recently posted a trip report and noted that the only negative thing about their vacation was Disney Genie+, but the fact that Universal’s option was so much more costly made it bearable.

The bad: genie plus. Hated it. However it was so much cheaper than the equivalent express pass. $179 vs $15?? So much more a no brainer. Would love just one free lighting lane to let budget guests experience a high demand attraction. However the rules are already so complicated.

Storm Force Accelatron
Credit: Universal Orlando

One Guest also chimed in noting that the two are tough to compare:

Not really a fair comparison to express pass, lol it’s express I’m guaranteed to be able to do every single ride in one day unless things are broken.

LL and Genie+ is much much much harder to make that happen.

The whole purpose of us keeping our Disney passes was fast pass was such a great free perk. We’ll be going back to universal(not buying express passes anyways) since we live here.

Universal Orlando welcom sign
Credit: ITM

In the end, though, it seems no one is a major fan of having to dish out additional money to skip lines, especially at Disney where it used to be a free perk with the old FastPass system.

What do you think about Disney Genie+ and the Express Pass? 

Let the expert team at Academy Travel help you plan your next magical vacation to Walt Disney World Resort’s four theme parks — Magic Kingdom, EPCOT, Disney’s Animal Kingdom, and Disney’s Hollywood Studios — and the Disney Springs shopping and dining district!

If you want to visit Universal Orlando Resort, you can today! Click here to get your vacation started! You can go to Universal Studios Florida, Islands of Adventure, then eat some dinner and grab a drink at CityWalk. Want to take a splash? Volcano Bay is ready for you. With so many fun events like Mardi Gras, Halloween Horror Nights, and more, Universal will give you an action-packed adventure like you are in the movies! 

At Universal Studios Hollywood Guests can enjoy WaterWorld, The Secret Life of Pets: Off the Leash, Despicable Me Minion Mayhem, Super Silly Fun Land, Silly Swirly Fun Ride, Kung Fu Panda Adventure, Universal’s Animal Actors, Special Effects Show, Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey, Flight of the Hippogriff, The Simpsons Ride, Studio Tour, Jurassic World — The Ride, Revenge of the Mummy — The Ride, Transformers: The Ride-3D, and more!


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