Let the debating in the comments commence! Up until now, there hasn’t been much pushback or arguing on our Genie+ priority lists for Animal Kingdom, EPCOT, or Hollywood Studios. But then again, the results there have all been pretty straight-forward. Magic Kingdom is a totally different beast. (Which, by the way, is part of the reason why it’s the only park where I pretty much universally recommend you use Genie+.) There are 21 different Genie+ attractions to choose from – I’m excluding the parade here since its time savings are difficult to quantify.
That leaves much more room for shuffling within the priority list. And it’s the only park where the clear time savings winners don’t have really great satisfaction. Is their lower satisfaction due to their high waits? Would you enjoy them more if you did prioritize those reservations and waited less for them? Hard to say objectively, but some analyses I did in the fall seem to refute that hypothesis. So I’m standing behind these results. Because time savings shouldn’t be the only thing that matter – you need to enjoy what you experience throughout the day too!
Explain the Math
We can rank the Genie+ attractions in each park in different ways. In this post, I am going to aggregate three of those different measures by averaging them. Easy peasy.
- Rank by average availability, ascending – the attraction in each park that usually sells out first will get rank 1, and the attraction in each park that has book now/ride now availability the most through the day will get the lowest rank.
- Rank by average time savings, descending – the attraction in each park where Genie+ usually saves the most time compared to standby will get rank 1, and the attraction in each park where Genie+ usually saves the least time compared to standby will get the lowest rank.
- Rank by attraction satisfaction, descending – the attraction in each park with the highest overall average satisfaction from the past two years will get rank 1, and the attraction in each park with the lowest overall average satisfaction from the past two years will get the lowest rank.
The rank by satisfaction is where I’m choosing to be a little tricky. At first, I used a straight rank from highest satisfaction through to lowest satisfaction (average of all satisfaction ratings from all demographics for the past two years). But after looking at the results, it didn’t really appropriately capture all of the complexity. It wasn’t fair to parks where several attractions had significantly higher satisfaction than all of the rest, or when one attraction has worse satisfaction by far than all the rest. So I created a linear regression where the top satisfaction score received a 1, and the lowest satisfaction score received the lowest possible rank (count of the Genie+ attractions in that park). Then I used the resulting equation to convert the rest of the scores to a relative number between 1 and the worst possible rank.
Once I calculated all three ranks, then I averaged the three results and sorted from score that was closest to one all the way to the highest number. I used those averages to come up with the following prioritized list!
Prioritized List of Genie+ Attractions at Magic Kingdom
1. Space Mountain
Availability Score = 3 out of 21
Time Savings Score = 3 out of 21
Satisfaction Score = 3.5 out of 21
Alriiiiiight, let’s start things off with a bang. Totally weird to see an attraction with 3’s across the board come in first place, right? That’s Magic Kingdom for you. The attractions with less availability and higher wait times have lower satisfaction, and vice versa. Space Mountain exhibits decently-high scores on all three fronts, and that’s enough for it to secure the data-drive first choice for Magic Kingdom.
One thing to keep in mind here, though, is that Space Mountain is very easily rope-droppable if you want to build a strategy for your day around that. Even if you don’t have early entry, Tomorrowland won’t be slammed with people by the time you get into the park, unlike Fantasyland. So you could rope-drop Tomorrowland and use your Genie+ reservations for attractions lower on the list.
2. Big Thunder Mountain Railroad
Availability Score = 4 out of 21
Time Savings Score = 5 out of 21
Satisfaction Score = 1 out of 21
We continue our prioritized tour of the Magic Kingdom mountain range with Big Thunder Mountain Railroad sneaking in to spot number two on the list! This thematic coaster ties for the top satisfaction score of any Genie+ attraction in the park (or any attraction/entertainment, for that matter, thanks to the replacement of Happily Ever After). It won’t sell out as quickly as some of the attractions lower in the list, but it does still provide good time savings. The standby queue can be cramped and hot when long lines form, so a Genie+ reservation is a good idea.
3. Splash Mountain
Availability Score = 6 out of 21
Time Savings Score = 4 out of 21
Satisfaction Score = 1 out of 21
Splash Mountain is caught in a tie with Big Thunder Mountain for top satisfaction (and time savings, too) in Magic Kingdom, but it has slightly better availability, so it gets nudged into third on our list. This ranking is the most likely to change in the coming months as demand for water rides increases thanks to those hot Orlando days. Standby waits should go up, and availability should get worse as more people become okay with a dousing of water in the middle of their park day. I’ll keep an eye on this one especially in the coming weeks.
4. Peter Pan’s Flight (tied: 4th)
Availability Score = 2 out of 21
Time Savings Score = 1 out of 21
Satisfaction Score = 8.2 out of 21
If we didn’t factor in satisfaction, Peter Pan’s Flight would be your big winner on the prioritized list for Magic Kingdom. In fact, it would probably be the 2nd-highest recommendation if we did WDW-wide rankings (behind Slinky Dog Dash). But its mediocre satisfaction score drags it down.
A few caveats here: notice that the top three suggestions all have height requirements. If you’re travelling with young kids and using Genie+, it’s better to start your prioritization here if you all want to stick together for the day. Additionally, while you can pretty easily rope drop any of the top three if you don’t have early entry (especially Big Thunder and Splash since they aren’t even open during early entry), Peter Pan’s Flight will already have a lengthy standby queue by the time “regular rope drop” happens. If you’re staying onsite with young kids, it’s an excellent first-attraction option. But otherwise you’ll have to find another time to wait for it, or use Genie+ instead.
5. Jungle Cruise (tied: 4th)
Availability Score = 1 out of 21
Time Savings Score = 2 out of 21
Satisfaction Score = 8.2 out of 21
Once again we have a case of low availability (Jungle Cruise sells out the fastest of any Magic Kingdom attraction – often around noon), high time savings (over 50 minutes, on average), but lower satisfaction. Not below-average satisfaction, but not spectacularly high. So Jungle Cruise ties for fourth place with Peter Pan’s Flight as a result. This is another solid selection for little kids. They won’t get the jokes, but they’ll enjoy the animals and won’t have to wait in a wildly long line.
6. Haunted Mansion
Availability Score = 5 out of 21
Time Savings Score = 7 out of 21
Satisfaction Score = 4.7 out of 21
Coming in right behind the real heavy hitters is Haunted Mansion. This fan favorite tends to book up relatively quickly each day, often by late afternoon each day. And a Genie+ reservation can save you over 20 minutes compared to standby. That’s a big dropoff from the attractions higher on the list, but it’s still good for a single reservation, especially compared to options at parks like Animal Kingdom and EPCOT. Satisfaction here is also significantly higher than Peter Pan’s Flight or Jungle Cruise … just beware of taking little kids on this one.
7. Pirates of the Caribbean
Availability Score = 9 out of 21
Time Savings Score = 9 out of 21
Satisfaction Score = 4.8 out of 21
Pirates of the Caribbean still has decent availability, typically selling out by early evening. And it can save you something like 20 minutes compared to standby, although this varies pretty widely based on time of day and crowd level. Satisfaction is high, but it’s an attraction that you could rope drop (regular rope drop only – not early entry) or save for later at night when it’s eerier anyway, freeing you up to make other Genie+ reservations.
8. Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin
Availability Score = 13 out of 21
Time Savings Score = 6 out of 21
Satisfaction Score = 8.5 out of 21
Since it’s a omnimover type of attraction, Buzz Lightyear tends to have high capacity and therefore higher availability for Genie+ reservations. But it also generates longer waits, presumably because families keep re-riding, attempting to best one another’s scores. (Or because of reliability issues. One of those things.) Buzz also maintains decent satisfaction. I assume those that score it poorly aren’t Galactic Heroes.
9. The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh
Availability Score = 7 out of 21
Time Savings Score = 8 out of 21
Satisfaction Score = 13.8 out of 21
Our satisfaction scores are starting to taper off a bit, with our first official below-average score for Magic Kingdom. Winnie the Pooh is a fun ride, but it’s short in duration and perhaps only really appealing via some form of nostalgia. I qualify for that nostalgia, so I enjoy it. It often sells out for the day before dinner, and can save you over 20 minutes. So I’ll definitely still count it as a worthwhile option, especially for any Pooh fans in your party.
10. it’s a small world
Availability Score = 10 out of 21
Time Savings Score = 10 out of 21
Satisfaction Score = 13.6 out of 21
It’s a world of laughter, a world of tear … no? Did I make it far enough to get it stuck in your head? I hope so. It’s a classic. Sherman brothers at their best. Coming in at 10th place is it’s a small world, with the 10th-worst availability and the 10th-best time savings, plus a slightly-below-average satisfaction score. Small world is typically a pretty easy ride to experience without a long wait if you time it right. Otherwise go ahead and book a Genie+ reservation if you have big fans that want to sail around the world.
11. Meet Cinderella at Fairytale Hall (tied: 11th)
Availability Score = 12 out of 21
Time Savings Score = 15 out of 21
Satisfaction Score = 8.8 out of 21
There are three character meet-and-greets that qualify for Genie+ at Magic Kingdom. Keep in mind that the data we have for these is based on the “Character Sightings” version of the experience, which has now converted back into a full meet and greet. As a sighting, Cinderella sold out the fastest of the three options. So she ends up tying for 11th place. Now that full character interaction is back, expect more demand and longer waits (since parties will be spending more time with the characters than before), which will likely bump things up the priority list if you like visiting characters and don’t want to wait for it.
12. Meet Mickey Mouse at Town Square Theater (tied: 11th)
Availability Score = 14 out of 21
Time Savings Score = 13 out of 21
Satisfaction Score = 8.8 out of 21
Another character meet that ties with Cinderella is Mickey Mouse himself. As a character sighting, Mickey commanded the highest wait times out of the three meet-and-greet options in the park. But Genie+ reservations for seeing him sold out later in the day than Cinderella’s reservations did. That, plus equal satisfaction scores means a tie for 11th place.
13. Monsters, Inc. Laugh Floor
Availability Score = 8 out of 21
Time Savings Score = 20 out of 21
Satisfaction Score = 9.1 out of 21
I dislike this placement. But … math. Monsters Inc. Laugh Floor is weird and sells out relatively early in the day. But that’s a weird quirk of the way its reservations work. That being said, if it’s something that’s important to you, you should probably prioritize it just so that the quirk doesn’t block you out. The laughs are generally pretty good, but you’re not actually going to save much (if any) time compared to standby if you use a reservation.
It’s also at this point that I start drawing the line of Genie+ being “worth it”, aka worth the hassle of pulling up your phone again to try to get yet another reservation, and potentially walk across the park to redeem it. Above this point? Sure. Below it, only with good reason, and/or without needing to walk.
14. Under the Sea ~ Journey of the Little Mermaid
Availability Score = 18 out of 21
Time Savings Score = 11 out of 21
Satisfaction Score = 12.1 out of 21
At Under the Sea, you’ve got almost all-day availability, below-average satisfaction (What?! Who ARE you red-headed princess haters? Make yourselves known), but potentially decent time savings – an average of about 15 minutes. Chances are that you won’t really need a Genie+ reservation here.
15. Mickey’s PhilharMagic
Availability Score = 16 out of 21
Time Savings Score = 21 out of 21
Satisfaction Score = 7.4 out of 21
If you get really really lucky, a Genie+ reservation might get you into a showing of PhilharMagic about one full show ahead of where you would’ve been with standby. I’ve heard of one good use case for this (use case: uhoh, my consultant speak is peeking out). And that was when a big afternoon downpour caused everyone to line up for PhilharMagic to get out of the rain. A savvy reader booked a Genie+ reservation with immediate availability and skipped right around the sudden crowd of drenched onlookers. So … if a sudden downpour creates unexpected demand and you also want to get out of the rain, then go for that Genie+ reservation. Otherwise … don’t.
16. Meet Tiana at Fairytale Hall
Availability Score = 19 out of 21
Time Savings Score = 18 out of 21
Satisfaction Score = 10.3 out of 21
For some reason, visiting with Tiana and Rapunzel has always required less waiting than Cinderella. Here’s your secret clue for the day: Tiana and Rapunzel are awesome. Go bond over beignets and frying pans. But regardless of sighting or actual meet and greet, Tiana will have more availability and less wait than her next-door neighbor. If you want to use Genie+ for meeting a character, make it Cinderella or Mickey instead of Tiana.
17. Dumbo the Flying Elephant
Availability Score = 20 out of 21
Time Savings Score = 12 out of 21
Satisfaction Score = 15.3 out of 21
Even on the highest crowd level days, you can get a Genie+ reservation for Dumbo almost until the park closes. And depending on when you get an use it, it could even save you something like 12 minutes compared to standby. 12 minutes is a lot better than a lot of the options at Animal Kingdom or EPCOT. But at Magic Kingdom it’s pretty meh. Satisfaction with the flying elephants also isn’t spectacular. This one is a pretty big “pass” from a Genie+ perspective.
18. Magic Carpets of Aladdin
Availability Score = 17 out of 21
Time Savings Score = 14 out of 21
Satisfaction Score = 16.8 out of 21
It’s pretty fitting that the two spinners wind up right next to each other on the list. Magic Carpets has slightly worse availability, and slightly worse time savings. That evens it out with Dumbo, but it has worse satisfaction, so it drops a spot. Ride Dumbo instead, unless you like spitting camels.
19. Tomorrowland Speedway
Availability Score = 11 out of 21
Time Savings Score = 16 out of 21
Satisfaction Score = 21 out of 21
Tomorrowland Speedway has the dubious distinction of having the lowest satisfaction of any attraction in Magic Kingdom. Yayyyyyy. Even still, it sells out pretty regularly by dinner time. But a Genie+ reservation here will only save you about 10-12 minutes compared to standby, on average. I highly suggest organizing your park day so that you never even walk past this attraction. Otherwise, the gas fumes somehow call to small children like the sirens of the sea. And you’ll be sucked in and waiting in the hot, mostly un-shaded line. Walking the long way around is totally worth it.
20. The Barnstormer
Availability Score = 15 out of 21
Time Savings Score = 17 out of 21
Satisfaction Score = 19.5 out of 21
There is a very, very short period of life where young kids can ride Barnstormer but not really any other “big kid” rides at Magic Kingdom. In this short window of time, the Barnstormer can potentially be a good choice. A bite-sized introduction to the world of roller coasters. It offers good views of TRON too. Other than that … I have no good things to say about it. It’s a hot, sunny line with a really short attraction at the end of it. A Genie+ reservation likely won’t save you much time either.
21. Mad Tea Party
Availability Score = 21 out of 21
Time Savings Score = 19 out of 21
Satisfaction Score = 13.5 out of 21
The good news here is that Mad Tea Party has the best availability of any Genie+ attraction at Magic Kingdom. You can basically pick up reservations at any point throughout the day and have a return time that isn’t very far away (often immediate). But you won’t save much time. And you’ll get really dizzy. My anecdotal experiences say that time savings will happen only if there needs to be a … tea cup cleanup and the standby line grows while that important work happens.
What Does This Mean For You?
- Keep in mind that any Genie+ prioritization should also be paired with a savvy park touring strategy. A lot of the attractions at the top of this list are also good rope drop (or late-night) candidates, which allows you to not use reservations for them unless you want to ride them more than once.
- Magic Kingdom is the easiest park for using and learning Genie+. There are plenty of options that will save you a decent amount of time, so you don’t have to go in with a crazy strategy. And you won’t get frustrated by everything booking up before noon. If you’re on the fence about whether your party would benefit from it or not, try it at Magic Kingdom first.
- Things that might change in the near future: higher demand for Splash Mountain could push it up the list. And character meet-and-greets should see more demand and longer wait times now that they’re “back to normal” rather than wave-and-run sightings. So they could potentially move up the list as well. I’ll check back and update this list if I see any significant changes.
Have you used Genie+ at Magic Kingdom? Do you agree with these rankings or would yours be different? Let me know in the comments!