Effective use of Genie+ at Walt Disney World is a total moving target. Availability keeps changing, attractions get added or removed, people tend to use it differently … and all of this makes it really hard to plan. Bonus: if you don’t plan, you’re probably only going to get to make and use 2 or 3 Genie+ reservations in a day. And Disney knows it, which is why they recently added language to lower your expectations.
All of this constant changing means that you need updated information to make decisions with. And I last posted Genie+ availability charts back in April. Since then there have been some new additions to available attractions, and we saw spring and summer crowds impact the parks, potentially stressing the availability load. That means it’s time for new availability and return time charts. Hooray! All of this data includes the last 6 months of return time and availability data, but weights the past 2 months most heavily. (Last updated July 6th, 2022)
Explain the Math
If you read the original articles from February, you already know all of this stuff. You can “test out” of reading this section if you can interpret the color chart below!
Each park below will have a set of three tables. Each table shows you data from a certain range of crowd levels:
- LOW = Crowd Levels 1 through 3
- MED = Crowd Levels 4 through 7
- HIGH = Crowd Levels 8 through 10
You can look at any attraction (which are shown in the rows) and a booking time (which are shown in columns, and represent the time you’ll be able to make a reservation). The color of the box where you land will show you the chance that you’ll be able to get a return time. A green box means the attraction is never sold out at that time. A red box means it’s always sold out by that time – you’ll be out of luck. And if the box is yellow, you’ve got a 50% chance of it being sold out already. Brand new for this series – I’ve also got accessible versions of the charts in each section for those with color blindness. For those charts, blue = 100% availability and orange = 0% availability.
In addition to the color, you’ll see a time in each box. That is the average return time you can expect for that attraction at that booking time, given a certain crowd level. So, for example, if you look at Millennium Falcon on a low crowd day, and you think you’ll book it at 11 am, you can expect a return time of 5:15 pm. The times in each box are rounded to the nearest 15 minutes so that your brain interprets them more easily. Don’t want to tire out those brains in the middle of important Disney planning.
One important note is that the time in the box is an average return time for that entire hour. So if a 2 pm booking time box shows an average return time of 2:30 pm, that means that attraction has immediate availability. That’s because the 2 pm return time you’d get at 2 pm averages out with the 2:55 pm return time you’d get at 2:55 pm, etc.
If an attraction doesn’t appear on a list, it means that we have no return time data for that attraction at that crowd level. If it does appear but is blank/colorless, that means that we did have some return time data at that crowd level, but not enough to make statistically significant inferences.
- On low crowd days, availability looks really nice. You can get and redeem Genie+ reservations for a lot of rides almost immediately throughout the day, and nothing really sells out until 4 or 5 pm, when a lot of people tend to have finished up their day at Animal Kingdom anyway.
- On medium and high crowd days, availability looks remarkably better than it did when I last ran the numbers a couple of months ago. Part of this can be attributed to Safaris staying open later and therefore contributing more reservation capacity. But the changes I’m seeing have to be more than just that. For example, on high crowd days, Na’vi River Journey used to sell out by 1, the Safaris would sell out by noon, and DINOSAUR would sell out by 3. Now, those same sell-outs are at 2ish, 4-6ish, and 5ish. That’s a lot of additional availability. My guess is that demand for Genie+ has significantly dropped at Animal Kingdom. Folks are using those days to stack or just not purchase Genie+.
- EPCOT is our most-changed park since we last analyzed the data, thanks to the addition of Remy to the Genie+ lineup there. So how has that changed things?
- First and foremost, according to the data, Remy sells out incredibly quickly. Statistically, more quickly than Slinky Dog Dash. This is wild. And to the non-statistical eye, the difference doesn’t really matter because they both sell out almost instantaneously on most days. But color me shocked that Remy reservations continue to be this popular.
- My original hypothesis upon the introduction of Remy would be that it would relieve some of the demand for Frozen Ever After first thing in the morning. Families with young kids would have to choose between the two, while other party types would probably be more tempted to opt for Test Track instead. And that the overall additional reservation capacity from the addition of Remy would help availability throughout the park, at least a little. But that’s not what is happening AT ALL.
- Instead, the immediate crush of demand for Remy has totally cancelled out its additional supply. Return times and average sell-out times for Frozen Ever After and Test Track on medium and high crowd level days are completely unchanged. If anything, Frozen sells out earlier on high crowd days than it did Pre-Remy. And on low crowd days, instead of everything being available almost all day (Test Track was selling out around 2 pm), now Test Track and Frozen are both sold out by 11 am most days.
- The addition of Remy to the Genie+ line-up has changed the math on the value of its purchase at Genie+ at EPCOT, and enough people recognize that to very much increase demand.
- Hollywood Studios may be our most-unchanged park since our last update. Slinky Dog Dash still sells out quickly, availability is still ugly on medium and high crowd level days, etc.
- The one thing that has changed, though, is the quicker sell-out for Tower of Terror at all crowd levels. This barely showed up on our radar in April when the “stealth refurbishment” there was already happening. But its impact is now really obvious. Tower of Terror used to hang out in the middle of the pack as far as availability was concerned, but now is the very obvious second choice right behind Slinky Dog. And as of the last 2 months, you can actually save more time with a Tower of Terror Genie+ reservation than you can with one for Slinky Dog Dash, so it might not even be worth the hassle of the morning rush for Slinky … but you didn’t hear that from me.
- Low crowd days at Magic Kingdom continue to be a really lovely time to use Genie+. The abundance of options mean that you have plenty of attractions to choose from throughout the day, and you can still save a lot of cumulative time compared to standby just because you can get and use so many reservations.
- Interestingly, the character meet and greets are selling out MUCH more quickly than they were back in April when they were still mostly distanced sightings. They’re now the earliest sell-outs on low crowd days, and stay near the top of the pack no matter the crowd conditions. Jury is still out on time savings for them, though – so do us a favor and time some LL waits for those meet and greets!
- I removed the Festival of Fantasy parade from these charts. It reliably has availability until almost-go-time every day, no matter the crowd conditions. So if you want it, you’ll be able to get it.
- Otherwise, not much has changed with return times, other than availability looking slightly better (by an hour or two at most attractions) on medium crowd level days. That seems to be the sweet spot where demand isn’t so crazy as to overwhelm supply, but the additional demand for back-to-normal meet-and-greets helps availability everywhere else by a little.
What Does This Mean For You?
- Advance planning is not shockingly still required if you want to get more than your “2 or 3” reservations in a day with Genie+.
- Hollywood Studios remains the most frustrating park with big potential time savings at each attraction, but availability that will slip through your fingers as you’re attempting to book.
- Magic Kingdom on low and medium crowd level days is still a sweet spot – there’s good availability everywhere, and availability at the big headliners is slightly better than it used to be. But the high crowd level days at MK are seeing slightly worse availability.
Did you use Genie+ during this summer at WDW? Have your opinions changed about whether you’d use it on a future trip? What are your successes or frustrations? Let me know in the comments!