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 of 2021 and updated it here in late 2022 and early 2023. But a lot has changed since then – people have learned more about how the system works, and demand has started to decrease with the inability to pre-purchase and increasing, variable cost.
In this update, I’ve included data from the past 12 months so that we get as much information as possible. This post was last updated on March 2nd, 2024.
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:
- How long you will wait in the Lightning Lane for the attraction
- 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:
- 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.
- 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 every other time I present 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.
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.
- This chart looks very very different than it did last February. First, the scale is wildly different. And not in a great way. We went from multiple attractions that saved an hour or more to … none. A lot of the error bars have seemed to disappear. This is because we’re using 12 months of data, so we’ve got really big sample sizes and much less error.
- Why is the scale smaller? Significantly less time savings! Last February, we had SEVEN attractions that saved more than 50 minutes, and THREE that saved more than an hour. Now we’ve got one that saves over 50 minutes when we look at a full year of data, and none that save more than an hour.
- The decreased savings aren’t just happening at the headliners, either. Last February there were 16 attractions that saved an average of over 30 minutes compared to standby. That number is down to three. Three attractions where a Genie+ reservation will save you at least half an hour. Ouch.
- EPCOT, which used to be the obvious loser, still makes a strong case for itself. Two out of the top three time savings. If you can actually reserve EPCOT’s top three (a hard thing to do given availability on medium and high crowd days), Genie+ at EPCOT may actually be “worth” the purchase. It will likely require more walking though.
- 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. Five attractions save over 20 minutes each, which is more than you’ll find at any other park.
- 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.
We can see some very predictable and sensible behavior here. Time savings increase with increasing crowds. Interestingly, the difference between low and medium crowds is generally lower than the difference between medium and high crowds. Both ranges are lower than what we saw last February, but it does point toward some sort of understanding that Genie+ lines will get even more priority on high crowd days so that waits in the Lightning Lane don’t get too long.
What Does This Mean For You?
- The top attractions for saving time with Genie+ easily beat the rest of the options. Slinky Dog Dash, Remy, and Frozen Ever After are the obvious winners. They it also books up really quickly (but not immediately), so keep that in mind when prioritizing.
- Those are now also the only three attractions that will save you more than 30 minutes compared to standby on average. This points toward the importance of effectively using as many reservations in your park day as possible to make your purchase “worth it” since you’re not going to be saving an astounding amount of time in any single line.
- Genie+ at EPCOT is an interesting case. I still wouldn’t purchase it for my family (and in fact, have never purchased it for this park), because Early Entry rope drop can save you even more time than Genie+ can, with the right touring strategy. It’s also much more difficult to walk back and forth between the attractions that save you time at EPCOT than it is at the other parks.
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.