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    Stacking and Hacking: Disney Just Changed How Genie+ Lightning Lane Selections Operate, Closes Loopholes

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    Disney has just changed how Disney Genie+ Lightning Lane selections work, potentially closing a “loophole” that seasoned guests have been using to create rolling “stacks” of Lighting Lane return times. In this article, we’ll explain what was possible as recently as this week, and what has been changed.

    The “120-Minute Rule”

    We’ll start with a simple concept known as the 120-Minute Rule. This rule states that you can make a new Lightning Lane selection 120 minutes after you made your previous selection. If your previous selection was made before the official park hours (as is the case because Disney allows your first selection to be made at 7am), then the 120 minutes don’t begin counting down until the official park hours begin for the day. Here’s the rule:

    120-Minute Rule for Disney Genie+

    • Next Lighting Lane selection available 120 minutes after previous selection, OR
    • 120 minutes after park opening if initial selection made before park opening

    This was a pretty standard rule back when paper FastPass was a thing and what made paper FastPass easy to understand was that your next available booking window was printed on the ticket.

    With a basic understanding of the 120-Minute Rule, let’s take a look at another concept – redemption events.

    Disney Genie+ Redemption Events

    On the Walt Disney World website, Disney says that “You can make one [Genie+ Lightning Lane] selection at a time, starting at 7:00 AM on the day of your visit”. Furthermore, Disney says that there are redemption events that qualify you to make your next selection. Disney says that “Once you’ve redeemed your initial selection (or the arrival window has passed), you can use the app to check your My Day itinerary or Tip Board to see when you’re eligible to make another selection.” So, in that quote, two Genie+ Redemption events are outlined:

    Disney Genie+ Redemption Events

    • Once you’ve redeemed your initial selection, OR
    • The arrival window has passed

    That “OR” will play a pretty big part in the “Advanced Stacking” section of our article, but let’s start with the basic version of Disney Genie+ stacking first.

    Disney Genie+ “Stacking” (Basic)

    A term that gained traction back when Disney Genie+ debuted was “stacking”. So what is Disney Genie+ stacking? Stacking is the accumulation of Lightning Lane return windows throughout the day to load up on return windows towards the end of your day. In short, stacking was possible because of the 120-Minute Rule described above. Let’s take a look at an example at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, which is the park where stacking is likely to be found the most.

    • At 7:02am, you make a Slinky Dog Dash Lightning Lane reservation for 4:25pm to 5:25pm. We’ll call this Lightning Lane 1 (LL1)

    Disney’s Hollywood Studios opens at 9am, starting the clock for the 120-Minute Rule on LL1

    • At 11am, the LL1 120-Minute Rule expires and counts as a redemption event. You make a Tower of Terror Lightning Lane reservation for 5:30pm to 6:30pm (LL2). The clock immediately begins for the 120-Minute Rule on LL2
    • At 1pm, the LL2 120-Minute Rule expires and counts as a redemption event. You make a Toy Story Midway Mania Lightning Lane reservation for 7:30pm to 8:30pm (LL3). The clock immediately begins for the 120-Minute Rule on LL3
    • At 3pm, the LL3 120-Minute Rule expires and counts as a redemption event. You make an Alien Swirling Saucers Lightning Lane reservation for 5:45pm to 6:45pm (LL4). The clock immediately begins for the 120-Minute Rule on LL4
    • At 5pm, the LL4 120-Minute Rule expires and counts as a redemption event. You make a Frozen-Sing Along Lightning Lane reservation for the 6:30pm show (LL5). The clock immediately begins for the 120-Minute Rule on LL5

    This is an example of basic Genie+ stacking, and really a good technique if you either want to wait in standby lines at the beginning of the day or even if you want to spend most of the day relaxing at the resort and making new selections from the pool bar as redemption events occur and you qualify for new selections.

    The basic Genie+ stacking has not been affected and remains an option for guests. In this next section, we’re going to describe “Genie+ Advanced Stacking” – a concept that was likely a loophole that was exploited by guests.

    Disney Genie+ Stacking (Advanced – Loophole)

    Since the service launched in mid-October, Disney Genie+ has had an Advanced Stacking loophole that some of the most seasoned guests have been able to take advantage of. In our experience, that loophole has been closed this week and guests are no longer able to do Genie+ Advanced Stacking. Here’s what the Genie+ Advanced Stacking loophole was:

    For the Disney Genie+ Advanced Stacking loophole, let’s take a look at a morning spent at Disney’s Animal Kingdom.

    • At 7am, you make a Na’vi River Journey Lightning Lane reservation for 9:35am to 10:35am (LL1).

    Disney’s Animal Kingdom opens at 8am, starting the 120-Minute Rule for LL1

    Now, because you have a Lightning Lane reservation that covers the 120-Minute Rule redemption event (10am), you either have the option to enter Na’vi River Journey before or after the 120-Minute Rule redemption event. Remember Disney’s definition of a redemption event – “once you’ve redeemed your initial selection, OR the arrival window has passed“? It turns out that wasn’t entirely true. What it should have read (up until recently) was “once you’ve redeemed your initial selection, AND/OR the arrival window has passed“.

    With the Genie+ Advanced Stacking loophole, we’re NOT going to redeem our Na’vi River Journey Lightning Lane before 10am. Instead, we’re going to wait for the 120-Minute Rule redemption event.

    • At 10am, the LL1 120-Minute Rule expires and counts as a redemption event. You make a Kilimanjaro Safaris Lightning Lane reservation for 11:20am to 12:20pm (LL2). The clock immediately begins for the 120-Minute Rule on LL2
    • At 10:02am, you enter Na’vi River Journey using the LL1 reservation, triggering a redemption event using the Genie+ Advanced Stacking loophole. This redemption event opens an additional Lightning Lane eligibility, and you book the Festival of the Lion King show for 1pm (LL3). The clock immediately begins for the 120-Minute Rule on LL3

    At this point, you have two rolling Lightning Lane selections (different from stacked selections in the basic section) that you can manage or even split further if you get a Lightning Lane that overlaps a 120-Minute Rule redemption event period. This allowed guests to have multiple rolling selections, which could be quite a leg up if park hopping or at a park with plenty of availability going into the evening.

    What is the Genie+ Loophole?

    So, what “went wrong” in the Advanced Stacking example above? In short, we were able to leverage two redemption events out of a single Lighting Lane selection (Na’vi River Journey in the example above, labeled LL1). Tom Bricker over at the Disney Tourist Blog documented experiencing the same behavior that we saw weeks ago. The expected behavior, based on verbiage found on the Walt Disney World website, is that you should only expect to have one redemption event per Lightning Lane selection. That is, either:

    • Once you’ve redeemed your initial selection at the attraction entrance, OR
    • The arrival window has passed

    How Many Genie+ Loopholes Were There?

    We have read reports of another loophole that allowed for a third Lightning Lane availability opportunity to be leveraged. In this “1-for-3” loophole, which BlogMickey.com did not test before today, attractions that had two Lightning Lane tappoints would produce a second Lightning Lane availability after using Advanced Stacking and passing the first tappoint, and a third Lightning Lane availability after passing the second tappoint.

    Has the Genie+ Loophole Been Fixed?

    We went out to Disney’s Animal Kingdom this morning to put the loophole to the test and found that we were NOT able to use the Genie+ Advanced Stacking loophole. The “1-for-3” loophole has also been fixed, by extension. Basic stacking remains in play.

    We don’t necessarily think that the Advanced Stacking loophole was utilized by a lot of guests, at least on purpose. That said, it’s very possible and even quite likely that at least some guests were able to take advantage of the loophole unwittingly as the day went on and Lightning Lane return windows happened to overlap with 120-Minute Rule redemption events. This was especially likely at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, where selections early in the day wouldn’t have return windows until the afternoon or evening.

    In theory, this fix should open up some more Lightning Lane availability as guests are truly limited to one selection at a time. Even though you can hold more than one Lightning Lane at a time with Basic Stacking, you’re really only holding one redemption event at a time as you wait for your return window to arrive.

    For more on Disney Genie, Disney Genie+, and Individual Lightning Lane attraction selections, check out our articles below!

    How to Enroll in the Disney Genie Service
    Walt Disney World news, photos, and reviews! We provide you with daily news from the Walt Disney World theme parks and beyond
    blogmickey.com
    Disney Genie Guide: How to Purchase Disney Genie+
    In this Disney Genie guide article, we’re going to cover how to purchase Disney Genie+ with step-by-step photos for Walt Disney World
    blogmickey.com
    Genie FAQ: When Can You Make Disney Genie+ Attraction Selections?
    Walt Disney World news, photos, and reviews! We provide you with daily news from the Walt Disney World theme parks and beyond
    blogmickey.com
    How to Purchase Individual Lightning Lane Attractions with Disney Genie
    In this how-to guide for Disney Genie, we cover purchase Individual Lightning Lane selections for some of the most popular attractions
    blogmickey.com
    Disney: Don’t Purchase Genie+ Based On Our Posted Wait Times
    Walt Disney World news, photos, and reviews! We provide you with daily news from the Walt Disney World theme parks and beyond
    blogmickey.com
    Understanding Disney Lightning Lane: A Place, Not A Product
    We explain what a Lightning Lane is at Walt Disney World, and how you can pay to skip the line at your favorite attractions
    blogmickey.com
    No Re-Rides Allowed with Disney Genie+
    Walt Disney World news, photos, and reviews! We provide you with daily news from the Walt Disney World theme parks and beyond
    blogmickey.com
    Differences Between Disney Genie, Disney Genie+, and Lightning Lane Individual Attraction Selections
    Walt Disney World news, photos, and reviews! We provide you with daily news from the Walt Disney World theme parks and beyond
    blogmickey.com
    How to Get a Refund for Disney Genie Individual Lightning Purchases
    Walt Disney World news, photos, and reviews! We provide you with daily news from the Walt Disney World theme parks and beyond
    blogmickey.com
    Major Differences Between Genie+ and Individual Lightning Lane at Disneyland, Walt Disney World
    Walt Disney World news, photos, and reviews! We provide you with daily news from the Walt Disney World theme parks and beyond
    blogmickey.com

    As always, keep checking back with us here at BlogMickey.com as we continue to bring you the latest news and photos from around the Disney Parks!

    Mike
    Mike is the owner and writer for BlogMickey.com. Visiting the parks daily allows him to keep up with the latest Disney news, reviews, and photos from around the Disney Parks. You can reach him at [email protected]

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