How Much Time Can I Save with Genie+ at WDW?
If you’ve been following along here …. at any point since October 2021, 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.
The last time I updated this article was in October 2022, and as we’ve seen over the past couple of weeks while I’ve been updating the detailed Genie+ data and posts, a lot has changed. Demand has gone back up slightly for Genie+ … I assume because people are reading these articles and realize how much time they can save. And wait time savings have gone way, way up at individual attractions. So how does this all add up? How much time can you expect to save during a full day in each park? Let’s take a look! (Last updated March 13th, 2023)
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 March 2023. This includes the closure of Splash Mountain, the addition of a few options compared to our last update, and the lengthy refurbishment of Rock’n’Roller Coaster. If things change significantly in the future, we’ll do new calculations.
How Much Time Can Genie+ Save Me at Animal Kingdom?
The average amount of time you could save by using Genie+ at Animal Kingdom under various crowd conditions, based on reservation availability and estimated wait time savings at each attractionAnimal Kingdom used to have the least variability in time savings across different crowd levels – right when Genie+ was first released, no matter what the crowd conditions were, you were going to be able to save somewhere right around 100 minutes. This has changed over time, and as of our last update, you could save 94, 129, and 218 minutes at Animal Kingdom on Low, Medium, and High crowd level days. Now time savings at Animal Kingdom are even better!
- 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 at the rest of the attractions. That means average time savings for these days of “just” 119 minutes. This is the lowest time savings of any park at any crowd level. Really, you can avoid wait times just by savvy touring at Animal Kingdom on low crowd days. But even still, an absolute lowest savings of 120 minutes across any park and crowd condition is pretty crazy.
- 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 170 minutes. Almost three hours of savings on a medium crowd day! At Animal Kingdom! I’m as shocked as you are.
- 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 of 236 minutes, on average. At almost 4 hours, that’s the 4th-best time savings of any park under any crowd conditions. I remember when “almost 4 hours” was the best time savings you could expect at any park any time, but the times they are a-changing. For now.
How Much Time Can Genie+ Save Me at EPCOT?
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 addition of Frozen Ever After, and especially of Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure, to EPCOT’s lineup has made all of the difference. In spite of that, average time savings on a low crowd day is still a not-quite-impressive 133 minutes on average. This increased since our last update thanks to better time savings at those headliners, but it’s still hard to do solely because of the walking factor.
- 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 (180 minutes, on average – more than double what it was before the addition of Frozen and Remy).
- On high crowd level days, availability stays good throughout the day and evening at all of the non-headliner attractions, and time savings at those attractions goes way up. As a result, time savings are way better than what they were the last time we ran the analysis (266 minutes of time savings, on average, compared to 167 in our last update).
How Much Time Can Genie+ Save Me at Hollywood Studios?
Hollywood Studios is the only park that doesn’t fair well in our updates. In fact, it got all green bars last time around. Time savings decreased on low and high crowd days for Hollywood Studios, and just barely increased on medium crowd days. Ouch.
- 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 almost 3 hours of waiting (178 minutes, on average). This is almost 20 minutes lower than our last update, mostly thanks to Rock’n’Roller Coaster currently not being available.
- At medium crowd levels, attractions start to sell out more quickly, which means more evening return times – which save less time than middle-of-day return times. Standby waits do go up, but only just barely 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 (210 minutes, on average).
- High crowd level days at Hollywood Studios are where things really start to break down. On average, users should now be able to make 4 or 5 reservations before all attractions are booked up for the day. The average time savings for those 4 or 5 attractions is a decent 217 minutes, down slightly from 220 minutes in our last update.
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.
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. Bonus! Time savings are way up at Magic Kingdom compared to our last update.
- 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 (217 minutes, on average). This is an increase of more than an hour of time savings compared to our last update. Wow.
- Medium crowd level days at Magic Kingdom are and incredibly good use of Genie+, should you ever choose to pay for it. The average Genie+ user can save 259 minutes of wait time on a medium crowd day. That’s over 4 hours! I’m not a fan of upcharging what used to be FastPass … but it’s hard to argue against the value of 4 hours of time savings.
- On high crowd level days, things get even nicer. 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 334 minutes of time savings. Compare that to “just” 250 minutes in our last update. It’s over 5.5 hours. FIVE AND A HALF 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 average amount of time you could save by using Genie+ at each park under various crowd conditions, based on reservation availability and estimated wait time savings at each attraction
- Since our last update, I had to update the maximum value on that y-axis to be 100 minutes bigger than it was before. Overall time savings that are possible with Genie+ are way up.
- The three best times to use Genie+ for most time savings are high crowd days at Magic Kingdom, high crowd days at EPCOT, and medium 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 Animal Kingdom, low crowd days at EPCOT, and medium crowd days at Animal Kingdom, in that order. This is unchanged from the last update
- Thanks to Hollywood Studios “breaking” at high crowd levels, you can now save just as much time at Magic Kingdom on a low crowd day as you can at Hollywood Studios on a high crowd day. And thanks to variable pricing, the low crowd price will almost certainly be lower. Plus, on a high crowd day, Hollywood Studios is now the worst park for using Genie+. You’ll get the least time savings there. Crazy.
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!
22 thoughts on “How Much Time Can I Save with Genie+ at WDW?”
Thanks so much! Excellent analysis (just like all your write ups!). When you are considering average time saved, do these numbers presume you are using a touringplan/following a schedule or is this based on just hitting things up in no particular order? Essentially, if I plan to use a touring plan, will I still save an average of 159 minutes on a low day at MK using Genie +? Sorry if I missed this in the article. Thanks!
It isn’t in no particular order – that would require something like a bunch of random attempts and averaging them all out. It’s about following what we see most people doing – following the crowd and booking headliners first, and then moving on to the next-most-popular that is still available, etc.
We have not done head-to-head tests of “Genie+ on its own” vs “TouringPlan on its own” vs “Genie+ with a TouringPlan” to see how the time savings compare in between.
Thanks for all your insight!
Nice article, as usual. I did notice one typo you may want to correct. In 2 under “What does this mean for you?” you say: “The only two situations where EPCOT averages less than an hour and a half of savings are at EPCOT on those low and medium crowd level days.” I assume that first EPCOT should read Genie+.
Answering Erica’s question about the order in which you assumed people would be booking their Genie+ reservations would be helpful in understanding how we should proceed with our planning.
Thanks for the quick editing tip, Tom – it’s difficult to self-edit over 2000 words 🙂
See above, but know that there should eventually be some posts about strategies that tend to save more time than the average.
What’s the best way for a family 4 adults to get from MCO Airport to Universal Endless Summer resort?
Becky, your analysis is wonderful! I’ve been researching WDW for months in prep for our first trip there in April. Your article is the most valuable research I have seen regarding Genie+. I will buy a TouringPlan membership just for this article!
My questions go to your reply above, where you wrote: “We have not done head-to-head tests of “Genie+ on its own” vs “TouringPlan on its own” vs “Genie+ with a TouringPlan” to see how the time savings compare in between.” I’d love to see these comparisons.
Specifically, I’m trying to understand your third scenario of using Genie+ with a TouringPlan. I understand why TouringPlan is better than free Genie to minimize wait times (I watched your comparison video), but how would I use TouringPlan with Genie+ when each time I scored a Genie+ reservation it would drop a random bomb on my TouringPlan?
Love all the data and conclusions. Big and over riding question – How much time was spent on a device – refreshing and trying to get a reservation? Our family is still a big NO on Genie +. We think the expense and being constantly on a device to try and get your moneys worth is not something we will participate in. Very disappointed in Disney. Use to be able to justify costs with Magic Express and Fast Pass. Disney is very foolish. Use to be that guests would come and stay in the bubble and spend only at Disney. Those days are gone. We think Disney will lose more that it could possibly save. Genie + is not worth the cost, effort and attention.
So much to chew on! Thanks for the insight. I’m wondering how Park Hopping would play into this too. Makes sense why Magic Kingdom would be so valuable since it has so many rides too.
Thanks for the update Becky! Wow, that is quite an increase. On high crowd level days at Magic Kingdom, time savings predictions went from 183 minutes (March 2 blog) to 310 minutes. What are the reasons for this? Are longer spring/summer park hours a factor? Anything else?
Specifically at Magic Kingdom, increased capacity/supply has outpaced demand. Additions like the parade and the new big increase in popularity of character meets have helps give more capacity and redistribute some folks away from attractions that used to sell out very quickly. So that increased availability helps people be able to use _more_ reservations. On top of that, LL waits have been decreasing slightly/steadily over time. In the winter, they were still regularly in the 10-15 minute range on high days, but that’s been changing over to single-digit waits for most attractions even on crowded days. That makes those time savings bigger at each reservation you’re able to get and use.
Would it be possible for Touring Plans to put these “estimated times saved by Genie+” on the Touring Plans calendar? I’d like to be able to see which days I want to get Genie+ for or not based on these calculations. Thanks!
Is Disney capping Genie+ sales yet? If so, that could be another reason for the increased time savings as buyers are getting more use due to more reservation availability.
I don’t believe we’ve yet seen any day or time when anyone was unable to purchase if they wanted to.
Thanks for the update. I see that you now explain “the most savvy strategy” for using Genie+. I believe that was missing from the March article. Nice addition.
Thanks Becky – super helpful. Certainly the decision to move the ILL attractions to Genie+ has helped increase the supply and improve the value proposition. Are you expecting that to be a permanent change or do you see those moving back to ILL, and if so, what’s your best guess when that would happen?
I’m _hoping_ it’s a permanent change. But I wouldn’t make any promises. If they convert back, it certainly wouldn’t be before the end of the summer “peak” (even though we’re not really seeing things peak in the summer).
Hi Becky – I have watched your touring plans teaches videos as well. I think you do a great job! Just so happens we are doing are family trip during your favorite week ar Disney World. I added the Genie plus to our package while you still were able to have it for an add on for four day theme park pass. The plan is to do Epcot, Sunday, Hollywood on Tuesday, Magic Kingdom Wednesday and Animal Kingdom on Friday. The duration of the trip is 9/3 to 9/10. I have have watched your videos on best times to go. All of the genie plus ones and somehow I’m still confused if I should have it or it will be a waste of money with the crowd levels of 1? Im wondering if most rides will be walk on. We won’t be rope dropping and getting the to the parks between 10-11 at the latest. Then just spending the day at the park so no afternoon breaks. I appreciate your feedback even if it’s not a definite yes or no.
If you’re not rope-dropping, then I think you’ll find Genie+ useful, even with the low crowds. There will still be lines, and you’ll be able to pick and choose when/where to skip the longest ones.
Hi Becky, Really interesting analysis. I have my first trip back to WDW since Aug 2018, in July and I was at odds whether Genie+ will make much of a difference over a good plan. Your article has made me re-think this, so thank you!
One quick question, in your opening notes, is this correct or should it be Splash Mountain that has closed?
“One last note: This article accounts for all current Genie+ offerings as of March 2023. This includes the closure of Space Mountain”
Hi Mark – oops. Becky’s on vacation this week, but I fixed it for her. 🙂 Thanks for the proofreading!