If you’ve been following along here …. at any point since October, you know that we’ve covered a lot of Genie+ data. And we’ve been helping you see how to use that data to make the best decisions possible about whether or not to purchase Genie+, and how to use it wisely if you do decide to purchase. This post is a big important summary of all of that detailed information. We’re gathering everything together to figure out how much time you can expect to save at each park under various crowd conditions on any given day.
I originally posted a very similar analysis and article at the very end of December last year. But that was only using about 6 weeks of data, and it didn’t include very many timed waits from medium or high crowd level days. It also didn’t account for the addition of options for character meets, or the big switch of three previously-ILL attractions to the Genie+ lineup. Then I created this updated version of the analysis back in March. And _still_ things continue to change. I want to make sure that you have the most up-to-date data to make the best decisions, so we’re back with Spring/early Summer 2022 data about overall Genie+ savings. (Updated July 5, 2022)
Explain the Math!
Today is all about combining the data from two different sources:
- Reservation availability (how many reservations I can make in a day, and for which attractions)
- Time Savings (how much time I would save at each reservation I can successfully make)
The central question is this – how can we take what we know about time savings at each attraction and make it more realistic by contextualizing it with information about return time availability and how it shifts throughout the day.
We know things like on high crowd days, while Genie+ will allow you to skip those really long standby waits, the reservations will book out more quickly. Compare that with low crowd days, when you might be able to get every Genie+ reservation that you could ever possibly want … but wait times are also low anyway.
In the real world, we know that there will be a “sweet spot” where you find the ideal balance between Disney’s constrained supply of Genie+ reservations and the standby wait times that you’re going to try to avoid. But what does that look like when it plays out during a day in the parks? That’s where we have to start making some assumptions.
Every human is going to have different preferences on how (or whether) they use Genie+. Some like to go for the stacking strategy (book all of your reservations as late in the day as possible and live your best life in the afternoon and evening walking past everyone), while others want to just churn through as many book now/ride now opportunities as possible. Some will use Genie+ on their favorite rides, regardless of actual time savings, and others will stick strictly to what will help them avoid the largest standby waits.
This post tries to replicate the most savvy strategy for using Genie+. That doesn’t mean it will exactly replicate how you would behave. But it means that we assume the theoretical Genie+ user will be going after the attractions with biggest time savings first, and then proceeding with their day based on the Genie+ rules and what is still available when they check to get their next reservation. It also means that they won’t have super-speed hacks for booking that allow them to check back every 2 minutes for cancelled reservations. Normal behavior.
One last note: This article accounts for all current Genie+ offerings as of June 8th, 2022. If things change significantly in the future, we’ll do new calculations.
How Much Time Can Genie+ Save Me at EPCOT?
We’re going to start at the park where Genie+ has generally had the least usefulness, and work our way up.
EPCOT is a tricky park for using Genie+ because there are relatively few rides (cough-three-cough) where it will save you a lot of time, unless the park is insanely crowded. It’s also the park with the biggest distance between most attractions. So a lot of Genie+ users bail out of making reservations, unless something nearby has real-time availability, or something in the future lines up geographically well with another existing reservation.
- The good news is that EPCOT is looking much better than it did a couple of months ago. The addition of Frozen Ever After, and especially of Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure, to the lineup means much improved time-savings. In spite of that, average time savings on a low crowd day is still the worst of any condition at any park, at 83 minutes on average. This is mostly due to only being able to get two out of the three big attractions, even on low crowd days, due to sell-outs.
- On medium crowd days, you’ll still probably only be able to score reservations for two out of the big three (including Test Track), but standby waits increase by enough to yield even bigger time savings (165 minutes, on average – again, almost double what it was before the addition of Frozen and Remy).
- On high crowd level days, EPCOT starts to break under the pressure of increased demand with savings slightly less than what they were on medium crowd level days (142 minutes of time savings, on average). That’s because you can really only count on getting one of the big three before the others book up for the day.
How Much Time Can Genie+ Save Me at Animal Kingdom?
Animal Kingdom used to have the least variability in time savings across different crowd levels – no matter what the crowd conditions were, you were going to be able to save somewhere right around 100 minutes. This has changed as demand for Genie+ at Animal Kingdom has actually decreased, and availability has gotten better – especially at Kilimanjaro Safaris, which can stay open later with the later sunset.
- On low crowd level days, most time savings comes from Kilimanjaro Safaris and Navi River Journey. Thankfully, both are easy to reserve and to use. But standby wait times are generally low throughout the park. That means disappointing average time savings for these days of 112 minutes. There just aren’t many reasons to use Genie+ to avoid the already low-ish waits at the few attractions in the park.
- On medium crowd level days, wait time savings increase at the second-tier attractions, as well as at the headliners on Genie+. Availability stays good throughout the day, so that all results in an average time savings of 152 minutes.
- On high crowd level days, standby waits go way up, and availability does eventually book up, but slow enough that you can still get and use a reservation to almost every eligible attraction. That means you see an even better time savings increase to 168 minutes, on average. That’s almost a tie for the best time savings at any park other than Magic Kingdom under any conditions.
How Much Time Can Genie+ Save Me at Hollywood Studios?
Hollywood Studios is the park that suffers the most from too much demand for available capacity, and it’s easy to see the results. Within increasing crowds, you’ll likely have decreasing time savings with Genie+. And this problem has gotten even worse since the last time we looked at the overall data.
- At low crowd levels, there are still decent standby waits at the many popular attractions throughout Hollywood Studios. And lower Genie+ demand at lower crowd levels means that things won’t sell out too quickly, so you can save over 2.5 hours of waiting (153 minutes, on average). This isn’t as good as it was before this last update, mostly due to increased demand on low crowd level days.
- At medium crowd levels, Slinky Dog Dash already books up almost immediately, and then other attractions start filling up midday, making it more difficult to use very many. Standby waits do also go up, but not enough to make up for the decreased availability. Because all of that demand means that you’re not able to make as many reservations, average time savings only go up slightly (172 minutes, on average).
- High crowd level days at Hollywood Studios are miserable. And on average, users are only able to make 2 or 3 Genie+ reservations before all attractions are booked up for the day. Keep in mind that this is the average. It’s possible to use 4 or more if you use savvy strategy, have quick booking reflexes on your 7 am reservation, or constantly hunt for cancellations. But we’re not interested in those absolute maximum savings. We’re interested in the savvy but realistic savings. And the average time savings for those 2-3 attractions is a disappointing 148 minutes, a little more than it was before our latest update, but still frustrating to achieve.
How Much Time Can Genie+ Save Me at Magic Kingdom?
Magic Kingdom is the most approachable park for Genie+ because the large number of eligible attractions means less strategy and savvy timing are needed to unlock big savings than at other parks. It turns out that all top three scenarios for time savings happen at Magic Kingdom! And double super-secret bonus, all of these time savings have gone up since we last analyzed!
Since Magic Kingdom has more attractions, it doesn’t feel the pain of high demand as quickly as Hollywood Studios does. And, in fact, decreased availability doesn’t eat up the bigger time savings at the highest crowd levels.
- On low crowd level days you could go totally crazy and use almost every one of the many, many Genie+ options at Magic Kingdom. Even without using all of them, and acknowledging that quite a few won’t be saving you huge amounts of time, you can still save a lot when you add it all together (213 minutes, on average). That’s the lowest time savings at Magic Kingdom, but still better time savings than any other park under any other crowd conditions.
- Medium crowd level days at Magic Kingdom are and incredibly good use of Genie+, should you ever choose to pay for it. It’s the perfect example of that “sweet spot” where wait times are high enough that skipping them is a significant advantage, but also not having so much demand that things book up quicker than you can use them. The average Genie+ user can save 271 minutes of wait time on a medium crowd day. That’s over 4.5 hours! I’m not a fan of upcharging what used to be FastPass … but it’s hard to argue against the value of 4.5 hours of time savings.
- On high crowd level days, things get even crazier. You can’t do quite as much as you would be able to do on a medium crowd day, but the wait savings skyrocket. The popular attractions do book up earlier in the day, so you have to pick and choose between some different time-saving queues. Still, high-crowd days at Magic Kingdom are THE BEST USE of Genie+, with an average of 310 minutes of time savings. That’s over 5 hours. FIVE HOURS! We’re getting into silly you-wouldn’t-do-that-without-Genie+ territory. It makes Magic Kingdom the easy chose for using Genie+ under any circumstance.
What Does This Mean For You?
- The three best times to use Genie+ for most time savings are high, medium, and low crowd days at Magic Kingdom – in that order. Remember, savvy strategy and planning can get you up above the average. Average users benefit from the large number of eligible attractions at Magic Kingdom specifically because they don’t have to do as much research or have lightning-fast clicks through the Tip Board.
- The three worst times to use Genie+ (for time savings) are low crowd days at EPCOT, low crowd days at Animal Kingdom, and high crowd days at EPCOT, in that order. The only situation where Genie+ averages less than an hour and a half of savings is at EPCOT on low crowd days.
- In general, time savings have increased in almost every scenario compared to our original analysis. This is due to two things: lower Lightning Lane wait times (perhaps Disney is streamlining that process or prioritizing that line more) and higher availability thanks to new Genie+ options that weren’t in the overall “pool” of reservations back in February.
- Hollywood Studios is a park that could have really excellent Genie+ time savings, but really suffers from constrained capacity. That means as crowd levels go up, Genie+ users are more likely to get increasingly frustrated as reservations disappear from under their fingertips. If you purchase it on those high crowd level days, expect to only use 2 or 3 reservations, and the rest is bonus.
Want all of this data explained to you? Check out Episode 102 of TouringPlans Teaches on our YouTube channel. Do you have experiences using Genie+ on high crowd level days? What was your strategy? Let me know in the comments!