How Much Wait Time Will I Save with Genie+?

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Is Genie+ actually going to save me any time? Which rides should I focus on in order to make the most of Genie+? These, and other similar questions continue to be very popular here at TouringPlans and throughout the Disney planning community. We last took a look at initial time saving data back in mid-December and updated it here in April. But a lot has changed since then – a lot of attractions have been added to Genie+, people have learned more about how the system works, and demand generally continues to increase – for now (more on that later).

Back when we updated the data in April, we still reported all cumulative wait times. People argued that wait times from the very beginning of Genie+ shouldn’t be considered because so much had already changed. And I say, power to the people. So that means I’ve taken the opposite approach with this update and included only the past two months of data. Thankfully, we generally have enough people timing waits that we can get by with this short timeframe. The one exception is character meets – we don’t have good enough data for any of those to include them in this analysis. That means if you have a WDW trip coming up and you plan on using Genie+, you’ll be my hero if you time some character LL waits. This post was last updated on June 8th, 2022.

I imagine that deciding which Genie+ reservations to make feels something like being a 1-year-old and staring at all of the stuffed friends and wanting to take all of them home with you.

Explain the Math!

In order for me to be able to tell you how much time you might save by using the Lightning Lane at any attraction, I need to know two pieces of data:

  1. How long you will wait in the Lightning Lane for the attraction
  2. How long you would have waited in the standby queue if you entered at the same time.

In an ideal world, you’d all tour the parks in pairs. And one of you would get in the Lightning Lane while the other got in Standby, and you’d start your timers in the Lines app at the exact same time. Turns out, families and other touring parties don’t actually split up like that in the real world. Shame on you for not giving us clean data!

But in reality, the data for how long the Lightning Lane waits are is easy enough to pull. I can get those directly from timed waits in Lines. It’s when I try to correlate that Lightning Lane wait with a corresponding Standby wait that things get tricky. Since we don’t actually have any nicely paired waits, we have to make some sort of calculation and/or assumption. What I chose to do was:

  1. If an actual standby time was entered within a short period of time (before or after) the Lightning Lane user started their timer, I used that standby time for comparison. The qualification window for “short” varied by time of day. If it was morning and wait times were rapidly changing, it had to be within 10 minutes. When things were steadier in the middle of the day, 30 minutes was fine.
  2. If there is no nearby actual standby time, I used the Touring Plans estimated wait at the time the user entered line as the best estimate of what the standby time would have been.

Once I’m confident in those two numbers, the all-important “Time Savings of DESTINY” will just be a simple subtraction: Time Savings = Standby Wait – Lightning Lane Wait

How Much Time Can I Save at Each Genie+ Attraction?

Just like the last time I presented this data, I’ve got some caveats. These are averages. That means that some savings are higher and some savings are lower, and these numbers can’t guarantee anything. Your experience might change based on time of day or crowd level (which we’ll explore a bit later). And this doesn’t include every Genie+ attraction – some just varied too wildly or we didn’t have enough data to be confident (cough – character meets – cough).

Back again for this article are the fancy-schmancy confidence intervals along with each average. You don’t have to know all of the details behind the calculations there, but just know that they mean that we can be 95% confident that the real average time savings falls somewhere along that little line for each attraction.

Average time saved at each Genie+ attraction by using the Lightning Lane, rather than the standby lane – data covers all submitted wait times from March 26th through June 3rd, 2022.
  • I won’t post the original graphs here, but there are a few noteworthy changes. Like last time, we have a clear top three attractions. But that top three is remarkably different from April. That old list was Slinky, Jungle Cruise and Peter Pan’s Flight. Jungle Cruise and Peter Pan are certainly not slouching now, but they’ve been usurped by new Genie+ additions and attractions with other “schtuff” going on. Namely, Remy now has the second-highest savings of any Genie+ attraction, and Tower of Terror, with its stealth refurbishment has seen huge standby waits, and therefore great Genie+ savings.
  • The next-most-obvious break points happens at over/under 30 minutes of standby wait saved. Test Track barely makes it above the list, and Big Thunder Mountain Railroad is the closest while still being under. An impressive total of 15 attractions save more than 30 minutes on average compared to standby.
  • EPCOT, which used to be the obvious loser, is suddenly making a strong case for itself. Two out of the top four time savings, and three attractions with more than 30 minutes of savings. That’s more than Animal Kingdom can claim. If you can actually reserve all three (a hard thing to do given availability), Genie+ at EPCOT may actually be “worth” the purchase.
  • Animal Kingdom is the new womp-womp park for Genie+. The good news is that demand has decreased there, and so you should be able to book both Kilimanjaro Safaris and Na’vi River Journey under pretty much any crowd conditions. That used to not be the case on high crowd level days. Later sunset times also mean more availability at the Safaris, which helps.
  • Hollywood Studios is a big winner, if you can catch it on a day where you can actually book and use multiple reservations before they all sell out for the day. Six different attractions average over 30 minutes of wait time savings. Not shabby at all. And Slinky Dog Dash leads the all other attractions with over an hour of time savings just by itself!
  • Magic Kingdom is a good choice, just because of the sheer number of options. Several of them will save you significant time, but your real win will come from getting and using as many reservations as possible in order to boost your overall time saving.

How Do Genie+ Time Savings Change with Crowds?

For this analysis, we’re going to use the following crowd level definitions:

  • Low = Crowd levels 1 through 3
  • Med = Crowd levels 4 through 7
  • High = Crowd levels 8 through 10

We’re also going to zoom in on just the 12 attractions with the highest average time savings. Why twelve? Because I felt like it.

Thankfully, all of this data makes a lot of sense. Increasing crowd levels equal increasing time savings at all of these attractions. But some increase more quickly than others. For example, on low crowd level days, Remy saves 50 minutes and is the top time saver, while Kilimanjaro Safaris saves 34 minutes and and is only the 7th biggest time saver. But on high crowd level days, both attractions will save you 63 minutes compared to standby, which puts them in a tie for 3rd place.

Interestingly, Slinky Dog Dash has the overall highest average time savings. But that’s really only thanks to its totally absurd time savings at high crowd levels. On low and medium crowd level days it has the 3rd-highest time savings, being beat out each time by Remy and Tower of Terror.

How Do Genie+ Time Savings Change with Time of Day?

A little more data definition for this part of the post! I split each day into three time “buckets”. The time associated with each wait is when the person entered the queue (and started their timer).

  • Morning = before 11 am
  • Peak = between 11 am and 5 pm
  • Evening = after 5 pm

This time I’m not going to give you any insight. Make inferences on your own!

Just kidding. I can’t help myself.

We almost always have time savings peaking during peak hours. Imagine that! But one attraction bucks the trend, and that is Jungle Cruise. At Jungle Cruise, the peak time savings happen before 11 am. Lots of people wanting morning cruises, apparently.

We also see several attractions that have their wait time savings just totally sink in the evening. Those include Kilimanjaro Safaris, Millennium Falcon, and to a slightly lesser extent Space Mountain. Millennium Falcon is an especially interesting case – its even wait time savings is less than half of the morning and peak wait time savings. And while we do usually see standby waits dropping in the evenings, it’s certainly not that remarkable of a difference. If anything, I would’ve expected to see Slinky drop off more than Falcon. But the data likes to prove my expectations wrong.

Now have some fun and put on your Disney data detective deerstalkers (that’s right, I looked up the name for a detective hat, and it was alliterative, so you’re welcome) and let me know what other things pop out at you from these results!

What Does This Mean For You?

  1. The top 3 attractions for saving time with Genie+ easily beat the rest of the options. Slinky Dog Dash, Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure and Tower of Terror are the obvious winners. They also book up really quickly (like, almost instantly for the first two), so keep that in mind when prioritizing.
  2. Genie+ at EPCOT is starting to make more sense. I still wouldn’t purchase it for my family (and am in fact, opting to not purchase when we visit in July), because Early Entry rope drop can save you even more time than Genie+ can, with the right touring strategy.
  3. We don’t have much data yet on character meet and greets, so we don’t have a good way to say whether those are “worth it” or not at this point. Help us out by recording those waits!

Now it’s your turn to participate! Want to earn your very own Disney data detective deerstalker? Let me know what jumped out at you from the results today. I can even send you a picture of one – I’m pretty sure that’s how NFTs work.

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Becky Gandillon

Becky Gandillon was trained in biomedical engineering, but is now a full-time data and analytics nerd. She loves problem solving and travelling. She and her husband, Jeff, live in St. Louis with their two daughters and they have Disney family movie night every Saturday. You can follow her on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/becky-gandillon/ or instagram @raisingminniemes

40 thoughts on “How Much Wait Time Will I Save with Genie+?

  • February 23, 2022 at 12:05 pm
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    I truly enjoy reading your articles. I had to take Statics twice during my MBA a program,but now it’s all firmly engrained in my brain. I love data! Thanks for making math fun

    Reply
    • February 23, 2022 at 3:03 pm
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      Not going to lie, making data (and math) fun is legit one of my personal goals. So you writing that made me very very happy 🙂 Thanks for the feedback!

      Reply
  • February 23, 2022 at 12:36 pm
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    This is a great article to update every few months until a full year’s worth of data with Genie+ is obtained.

    Even then, certain parks will need to be updated. For example, it looks like Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind is indeed going to open this summer. With the influx of guests that will head to EPCOT to actually ride something and not just eat, drink, and look at flowers, it may actually show a need for Genie+ at that park.

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    • February 23, 2022 at 1:26 pm
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      I can’t wait to ride Cosmic Rewind at @EpcotCenter!

      Reply
    • February 23, 2022 at 3:04 pm
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      This is definitely something that we have to keep a pulse on, you’re right. I assume that Disney will continue to make little tweaks, even beyond when they add giant new attractions. Park conditions will change, they might add parades or entertainment viewing to the options … etc. But never fear, we’ll keep collecting the data 🙂

      Reply
  • February 23, 2022 at 1:42 pm
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    Another fun to read, excellent analysis! Very helpful info to use with a park hopping strategy.
    Thank you!

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  • February 23, 2022 at 1:58 pm
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    One thing I noticed is the time savings for Safaris and Toy Story don’t vary much dependent on crowd levels (ranges are only 4 min and 3 min, respectively). Can we infer anything from that data?

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    • February 23, 2022 at 3:05 pm
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      Good noticing! My husband is also a Jeff G … are you just an audience plant trying to earn a Disney data detective deerstalker? Hmmmm ….

      I don’t know that we can infer anything _yet_. I noticed the same thing and will be keeping my eyes on it as more data rolls in.

      Reply
      • February 23, 2022 at 4:47 pm
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        Another great article. You really do have a gift communicating math and away that is non-threatening and informative. One of the issues I have with genie plus is being dragged through the nose walking all over the place in order to save time. I have issues with walking and I’m just not sure that unless you’re willing to put in the time walking you can save the time standing. Any thoughts about If there is a way to construct a plan for Magic Kingdom or Disney studios with minimizing walk but still using Genie plus

      • February 23, 2022 at 5:16 pm
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        If earning DDDD status helps in applying for a post-retirement job with TP, then yes. LOL. Only thing I can think of is they do a better job of adjusting capacity for KS and TSMM based on crowd levels. That makes sense for KS, but maybe not so much for TSMM.

      • February 23, 2022 at 9:38 pm
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        Thank you, Kathleen! That means a lot.

        You’re right – successfully using Genie+ while not causing yourself to walk all over everywhere is even _more_ difficult than strategizing just how to save time. I’ll play around with some ideas for how to keep yourself from walking all over. I’ll also follow up with the smart dev dudes to see if this is something that will be available with in-app suggestions.

  • February 23, 2022 at 2:34 pm
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    That is odd about NRJ. Is it just a small sample size issue? NRJ G+ sells out just about every day; I can’t imagine the answer is related to people choosing times for their G+ selections, since timing them is very difficult. And if they didn’t use it, then the time saved by people actually using theirs would be relatively higher, not lower (if there are fewer people in front of you in the LL queue). That might explain the higher times saved in the evenings–families leaving in the afternoons, before their NRJ G+ window opens, leaving to fewer NRJ G+ being used in late afternoons or evening.

    Another possible explanation would be differing percentages of NRJ capacity being allocated to G+ based on crowd level, though that wouldn’t explain why we see a different pattern at NRJ than at other attractions. I can see NRJ, not being a must-do for many and being kind out of the way in a big, hot park, as having a lower percentage of G+ reservations used compared to other attractions.

    Thanks for these articles! I’d be curious to see the data on NRJ G+ wait times (both how many times you have and how long they are).

    Reply
    • February 23, 2022 at 3:09 pm
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      Sample size could have been an issue – but we do have 33 different timed waits for this attraction, which is actually a decent number (for reference, that’s the 15th-highest count of any attraction). The attraction with the most timed waits is Big Thunder Mountain with 89. And their distribution throughout the day mimics a lot of the other attractions too, so I don’t know if it’s an abandonment issue (leaving before using, like you bring up).

      Maybe we just need to put some sort of bounty on timed LL waits for attractions that don’t get many to test out some of our theories. I could design some NFTs as rewards 😉

      Reply
  • February 23, 2022 at 3:00 pm
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    Confidence intervals! I am so happy!

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    • February 23, 2022 at 3:10 pm
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      Ha! You are part of that small population of humans who are happy about confidence intervals. Welcome – you belong here 🙂

      Reply
  • February 23, 2022 at 6:48 pm
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    Great info!!! Interesting that Genie + isn’t very useful at Epcot. Do you think it’s more justified on a high crowd level day if Test Track is a top priority to us???
    What about Genie + for 2 days at MK and HS??? I’m assuming doing a second day with Genie + at MK is recommended, but what about HS?

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    • February 23, 2022 at 9:44 pm
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      If Test Track is a high priority, and you’re going on a high crowd level day – then, sure. You should save quite a bit of time at Test Track, and if you can pick up a reservation at Soarin’ before it books up for the day, then you’ve at least saved yourself _some_ time. Alternatively, you could rope drop Test Track and purchase ILL for Remy if you want to ride that.

      I’d actually say Genie+ for 2 days at HS is a good idea. That way you have two chances at the Slinky Dog Dash “lottery”. And if you’re successful on the first day, you can change up your strategy on the second day and just aim for things you didn’t get reservations for the previous day. Things book up so quickly at HS, having a second day to focus on getting reservations for the things you missed out on the first day could be way less frustrating.

      MK … to a lesser extent. I really think you only need it one day at Magic Kingdom. Do your best to book the highest time savings on that day, and then fill your second day with lower-wait attractions. Unless you know you want to do headliners both days, then go for it.

      Reply
  • February 23, 2022 at 6:51 pm
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    When Cosmic Rewind opens, I imagine that one of the ILL attractions in Epcot will move over to Genie+, likely Frozen Ever After. Do you have any thoughts on whether that attraction would break the top 12 time-savers in the list?

    Reply
  • February 23, 2022 at 9:47 pm
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    Love that question, Peter! And, my friends will tell you – I always have thoughts 🙂
    According to last week’s article (https://touringplans.com/blog/best-individual-lightning-lanes-to-purchase/), the average time savings at Frozen Ever After is 51.2 minutes. That puts it squarely not just in the top 12, but in the top 4 of Genie+ attractions, should it convert over.

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    • February 25, 2022 at 9:00 am
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      Well, that changed faster than I thought it would!

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      • February 25, 2022 at 9:04 am
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        Riiiiiiiiiiiiiiight?! So rude of them to do that.
        Not to worry, next week’s article that will cover overall park-wide savings will include these new attractions, when applicable.

        But for anyone seeing this, Frozen Ever After easily becomes the most worthwhile Genie+ reservation at EPCOT, and will hopefully take some pressure off of Test Track. Space Mountain becomes the 3rd-best Genie+ selection at Magic Kingdom, and Runaway Railway should be about on par with Millennium Falcon for time savings.

  • February 24, 2022 at 1:16 am
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    Great article as always Becky 🙂 Love all the data. And confidence intervals! Always helpful 🙂

    Only thing missing is that I was hoping we might get an update to that mini “overall time saved per park” table that was in the original article:
    https://touringplans.com/blog/how-much-time-can-genie-save-me/

    I realize it’s a bit more of a handwavy/subjective number, but it would be interesting to see how it may have changed with more data.

    Reply
  • February 24, 2022 at 9:02 am
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    That was its own follow-up article – and don’t worry, totally in the plans 🙂

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  • February 24, 2022 at 10:27 am
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    With regards to the time of day table, I wonder if some of the numbers reflect the type of people who rope drop versus the type who are in the park later and stay later? I would assume that many families with younger children rope drop because they are up early anyway and will make those kid friendly (little to no height requirement) rides more popular. Also just assuming here that families with older children or no children are more likely to come in after park opening and are more likely to take on rides with height requirements. I am in no way shape or form a numbers brain person, so I appreciate the work here. I am curious and love all of this information!

    Reply
    • February 24, 2022 at 9:08 pm
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      I like the way you’re thinking, Laura! People that aren’t “numbers brain” people often have the best insights, because they think about these things in a different way 🙂 I like your idea about numbers reflecting touring style. I don’t think I have a way to prove it out with the data we currently collect, but it’s a good hypothesis!

      Reply
  • February 24, 2022 at 7:28 pm
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    Great info. Are we going to get this for Disneyland though? It will be the first time for my family of WDW veterans and we’re finding there is so much less solid info out there for Disneyland.

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    • February 24, 2022 at 9:10 pm
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      I’m in the same boat as you, Michelle – I want that Disneyland data! Unfortunately, the last time I tried to pull it, there were just way too few data points to be able to say anything with any sort of confidence. I’ll be checking again at the end of next week for a potential post on March 9th if we have enough data.

      Anecdotally, using Genie+ at Disneyland is much less difficult and confusing. Things typically don’t book up until late in the day, so you don’t have to play the game of figuring out what to book first and second and third to not get blocked out of everything else.

      Reply
      • February 24, 2022 at 9:33 pm
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        I would suspect the lack of G+ data it Disneyland is due to it being primarily a locals park who aren’t utilizing G+ or just not submitting wait times.

  • February 25, 2022 at 10:41 am
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    I cant think of any possible way Disney could be making a visit there less magical. All the necessary planning and up charging that is being added now is why we will no longer be going there. We can take a really really nice vacation almost anywhere else for the same amount and have a really nice time. I’ve been going to WDW since 1973. no more, I’m out

    Reply
  • February 25, 2022 at 1:34 pm
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    Great article and data presentation. BUT, it leaves me wondering what should I expect my actual wait times to be?

    Previously using a touring plan and FP I NEVER waited more than 15mins unless there was an issue with the ride.

    But what should my expectations be now? If I secure a coveted G+ time for say Slinky or MFalcon can I expect my wait will be <15 mins ? Or could standby be 90 mins and with my G+ I would be saving time but still waiting in excess of 30 mins?

    Thanks!

    Reply
  • February 25, 2022 at 8:39 pm
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    I have been here 9 days, been noting the wait time posted when I enter LL, and we are in the 10-12hrs saved zone with only 4-5 rides average. But this has been one off the charts insane week! When people mover has a true 30m wait first thing AM? It’s a busy day!

    Reply
  • March 1, 2022 at 12:58 pm
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    With Genie+, can you select the future time you want to return, meaning are their window options like (10:00am to 11:00am and Noon to 1:00pm, etc.) that you can choose from, or is your only option to select the current available window? I guess, as I think about it, I have the same question for the LL purchases too. Many thanks!

    Reply
    • March 1, 2022 at 2:36 pm
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      With Genie+, you cannot select future times. It’s only the “first available”. For Lightning Lane at Disney World, you _can_ select any available future times. But at Disneyland, ILL are also just “first available”.

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  • April 18, 2022 at 6:26 am
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    We’d love to minimize backtracking while using Genie+ so I’m looking forward to reading your ideas for how to keep from walking all over. I’m also trying to figure out whether to nab the Genie+ reservations that will book up earliest or to prioritize the nearest return times and trigger our ability to make another reservation. There is also the question of whether to stay in one park all day or to try to stack the evening at a different park.

    I have a specific question for you too. We tried to choose days that had the lowest predicted crowds but even the day that was predicted to be a 2 (May 3) is now sold out on the park reservation system. What kinds of crowds are expected on days when the park reservations are sold out?

    Reply
  • June 8, 2022 at 11:59 am
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    This is so helpful! We will be there in July and have one day at Epcot. I figured we would get it even though I know it isn’t always suggested but we have one day at Epcot to do as much as we can. We are staying on property and plan to rope drop early entry (likely from the international gateway). What would your strategy be for ideal genie+ attraction and rope drop ride? We also will be trying to get both the lightning lane and the virtual queue for Cosmic Rewind and hope we get at least one of them. Thanks for your help!

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    • June 8, 2022 at 12:56 pm
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      Excellent question! With Early Entry, I would rope drop Remy and immediately head to Frozen after that (assuming you want to experience those), and use Genie+ for Test Track (and then Soarin’).

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      • June 8, 2022 at 1:15 pm
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        Great suggestion! Thanks!

  • June 8, 2022 at 2:58 pm
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    Thanks for the update.

    Is the time savings for Remy based only on data since it converted from Individual Lightning Lane to Genie+, or did you include data from its days as an ILL attraction? Considering how few days it has been on Genie+, how confident are you with the statistical significance in each of the low, medium and high categories?

    Reply
    • June 8, 2022 at 9:02 pm
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      Combination. I paid attention to the data from when it converted to Genie+ and compared it to the ILL time savings. _So far_ the time savings aren’t significantly different, so I included all of the data we have, both ILL and Genie+. With all of that, very confident with the significance, but keeping my eyes on it to see if things change.

      Reply
  • June 18, 2022 at 7:21 pm
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    Becky,

    Love these articles! Will there be an updated article for which Genie+ attractions sell out when and what return times are typically available during each booking window of the day. I thought that data was also very insightful. Thanks!

    Reply

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