I’m pretty sure people have been commenting, emailing, and writing in to podcasts asking for this very content since … December at least. I’ve written so, so many articles about Genie at Walt Disney World, and have even started up a pretty popular YouTube series about much of the same information. But Disneyland data was slower to roll in (and Genie was slower to roll out there as well), so it hasn’t gotten the same attention or love. That all changes today! This post will cover all of the initial data we’ve collected and analyzed about the amount of time you can save with Genie+ and ILL on various attractions, and what reservation availability looks like too.
I have to start all of this with a caveat. We have much less data to support our Disneyland analyses, when compared to our Disney World data. The availability data is good and robust because that’s all based on information we can get ourselves. But we have fewer users timing waits at Disneyland, which means that it’s harder to get a good feel for time savings. So I’m including an initial look here, but just know that the time savings piece is subject to change as we get more data to help us quantify savings.
Explain the Math!
We’re covering a lot this week because I don’t want to keep people waiting around for data that they want or need.
The first part shows Disneyland Genie+ and ILL availability. Since attractions have moved between those two groups at Walt Disney World, and we don’t know when similar shifts might happen at Disneyland, it’s easier to just present it all together. For your reference, the current ILL options are Rise of the Resistance at Disneyland and Radiator Springs Racers and WEB SLINGERS (do you yell that in your brain too?) at California Adventure.
In the availability section, you’ll see three different tables for each park. Each table represents data from a certain set of crowd levels:
- LOW = crowd levels 1 through 3
- MED = crowd levels 4 through 7
- HIGH = crowd levels 8 through 10
In each box, you’ll see two pieces of information. The first is represented by the color of each box.
This means that you can pick an attraction (in the rows) and a time that you expect to be able to book a return time (this is the “booking time” and is in the columns). The color of the box where you land shows you the odds of you being able to get a return time. If it’s green, you’d always be able to get a return time. If it’s red, then that attraction is always sold out before that booking time. If it’s yellow, there’s a 50% chance of you being able to book it.
Each box also has a time listed in it. That time is the average earliest return time you should expect for that attraction at that booking time, given the appropriate crowd level. Since both ILL and Genie+ require you to select the earliest available return time at Disneyland Resort, this would be the time you could expect to have to select.
Later in the post I’ll also show average time savings by using the lightning lane compared to the standby queue based on the initial data we’ve collected. In order to get those numbers, I have to know how long the user waited in the Lightning Lane, and how long they would’ve waited in the standby queue if they had entered that instead, at the same time. We don’t actually have people entering both queues at the same time, so that means I had to make some assumptions about what standby time to use for comparison. In this case:
- If an actual standby time was entered within a short period of time (before or after) the LL user started their timer, I used that standby timed wait for comparison. The eligible window for “short period” changed throughout the day – if things were changing rapidly, short had to be 5 to 10 minutes. If things were really steady, it could be as much as 30 minutes.
- If there was no nearby actual standby time (which was the case 90% of the time at Disneyland where we have fewer timed waits), I used the TouringPlans estimated wait at the time the user entered the LL queue as the best estimate of what the standby time would have been.
Genie+ and Individual Lightning Lane Availability at Disneyland
I’m presenting all three tables for this park at once so that we can do easy comparisons across different crowd levels. That means the image gets shrunk a little to fit on your page, but you can always click to open it at full size in a new tab.
- If you’ve been following similar coverage of WDW data, the first thing that should jump out at you is that these graphs look incredibly different (and greener) than any of the WDW graphs. Even on the highest crowd level days, almost nothing is sold out by 6 pm. Compare that to 6 pm at Hollywood Studios, where all seven of the top time-saving attractions are sold out … Magic Kingdom, where the top six-ish top time-saving attractions are sold out … Animal Kingdom, where the top five (out of six) time-saving attractions are sold out … and even EPCOT, where the top 4 time-saving attractions are typically sold out.
- On low crowd level days, almost every single Disneyland attraction is book now/ride now all throughout the day. The exceptions are Rise of the Resistance, which books about an hour in advance, and Buzz Lightyear which only books out in advance first thing in the morning.
- On medium crowd level days, quite a few attractions maintain book now/ride now availability throughout the day. And those that don’t are typically only booking out about one hour in advance.
- On high crowd level days, things start booking up slightly more in advance. Some attractions are available within about 30 minutes, and others book out by about 2-3 hours.
I can’t stress enough that this is night-and-day compared to Walt Disney World. Selecting attractions at Disneyland based on what might sell out before you’re eligible to make your next reservation is almost a non-issue at Disneyland.
Genie+ and Individual Lightning Lane Availability at Disney California Adventure
Once again we’ve got all three crowd levels listed for easy comparison. Click to expand if you’re having trouble reading the text.
- Once again, the issue of most of the park selling out in the morning … or even by dinner time is totally gone. DCA sees more things sell out slightly quicker, but that’s just because it has fewer options to choose from anyway.
- On low crowd days, almost everything is within 30 minutes of being book now/ride now, with the exception of Soarin’, which books 2-3 hours in advance. Note: if you’re traveling while Soarin’ over California gets its encore, this will probably book up faster.
- On medium crowd days, things are barely any worse, with most attractions booking up to maybe an hour in advance. Still, there’s plenty of selection into the evening.
- On high crowd days, Soarin’ is sold out by 4 pm about half of the time. Not too shabby considering this still gives you 8 or 9 hours after park opening to book it. Unlike the popular rides over at Walt Disney World that sometimes book up before the park even opens. Toy Story Midway Mania, Radiator Springs Racers (ILL) and Guardians of the Galaxy: Mission Breakout follow behind, selling out somewhere between 6 and 7 pm most high-crowd nights.
Genie+ and Individual Lightning Lane Time Savings at Disneyland Resort
I’ve typed out this caveat several times in this article – but here it is again. The graph below shows average time savings, but it also has those confidence bars, and right now those bars are really wide. And in this case, wide is the opposite of what we want. Because really, statistically, the real average time savings could fall anywhere along that bar for any attraction, given our current sample sizes. So pay attention to the dot, but keep those bars in mind.
- Here we can see that, unlike Disney World, the top three attractions for time savings are all Individual Lightning Lane options. That’s based on overall averages, though, and that confidence bar for WEB SLINGERS (did you yell it again?) is really wide. That means you could save a lot more time or a lot less time and we wouldn’t really be surprised.
- We also see that average time savings at Rise of the Resistance is currently somewhere just above 50 minutes. That’s the best time savings at Disneyland Resort, but it’s nothing compared to the almost 90 minutes you can save at Walt Disney World. Interestingly, an ILL for Rise at Disneyland is more expensive than the one at Walt Disney World. Maybe it’s time to flip Derek’s “Be Fair to Florida” campaign on its head and demand that we “Be Fair to California”.
- The race for best time savings for non-ILL attractions is a really, really tight one between Guardians of the Galaxy: Mission Breakout and Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run. Both save almost 40 minutes compared to standby. Interesting, these are both very close to their equivalent or similar attraction at Disney World. But neither sell out nearly as quickly as their counterparts.
- Down at the bottom of the pack is poor old lonely Star Tours, with time savings under 10 minutes. Attractions at Disneyland actually make up the bottom 6 as far as time savings are concerned. But as soon as you get away from the “bottom three”, you’re still saving over 20 minutes per attraction compared to standby, on average.
What Does This Mean For You?
- Genie+ and ILL at Disneyland are much, much more user friendly than at Disney World. Night and day, really.
- You don’t have to plan months in advance or watch cleverly narrated YouTube tutorials about ways to click through quickly and arrange your day to save the most time (but I won’t discourage you from watching those videos). Almost everything will be available most of the day, and almost everything will save you significant amounts of time compared to standby.
- ILL, especially Rise of the Resistance, are actually a pretty poor value compared to Genie+ at Disneyland. You can spend $20 to save 50 minutes on Rise, or you can pay $20, just get Genie+ for Guardians and Toy Story, and you still come out ahead as far as time savings. Plus get cute photos of yourself or something.
Have you used ILL or Genie+ at Disneyland? Or are you planning a trip and considering purchasing them? Let me know in the comments!