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The Best Time-Saving Strategy for Genie+ at The Magic Kingdom

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This is our second post on the Best Time-Saving Strategy for Genie+. The Animal Kingdom post is here.  We looked at every way you could’ve obtained Genie+ reservations for each of the last 485+ days at The Magic Kingdom –  more than 1 sextillion (1,000,000,000,000,000,000,000) possibilities. Here’s a cheat sheet with the best Genie+ strategies we found for every crowd level. 

One of our 2024 goals is to improve the Genie+ recommendations made by our touring plan software. And the first couple of tasks in that project are to:

  1. Benchmark where we’re at now
  2. Identify the “best” set of Genie+ recommendations so we know when we’re done.

That second task requires a lot of historical data on Genie+ return times and a lot of computer time to crunch the numbers. The result of doing all that ended up being a really simple “Genie+ Cheat Sheet” that showed the best sequence of Genie+ reservations to get at any time of year.

This post describes how we created those cheat sheets for the Magic Kingdom theme park. The cheat sheet is below.

Analyzing Historical Genie+ Return Times for The Magic Kingdom

Since Genie+ rolled out, we’ve collected just under 15,000,000 Genie+ return times from My Disney Experience from every attraction, every few minutes, every day of every year. Based on this data, we know how often Genie+ reservations sell out and when they run out. A Genie+ reservation can sell out if all reservations are claimed or an attraction closes before the park closes. The Magic Kingdom has more attractions available than any of the parks. It also does not have any attractions that sell out extremely fast. This table shows the percentage of days Genie+ reservations sold out, and if they sell out the earliest, you can expect them to sell out. 

We can also use the data to create “what if” scenarios. For example, if you booked a Genie+ reservation for Space Mountain at 10:14 a.m. on March 15, 2024, your return time would have started at 3:30 p.m. Since the return time is more than two hours after obtaining the Genie+ reservation, you can get another Genie+ reservation at 12:14 p.m. The table below shows what Genie+ reservations were available for at 12:15 pm.

With the Genie+ date, we can see what would’ve happened for any sequence of Genie+ reservations for any day since Genie+ started. So that’s what we did.

Simulation Design

The Magic Kingdom typically has 22 Genie+ attractions. When 22 attractions are operating, there are 1,124,000,727,777,607,680,000 different ways to obtain Genie+ reservations. Each of those different ways is called a permutation. To make the data more manageable, we took some shortcuts. We iterated over the permutations; we stopped building the combinations when the return times reached the end of the day or a Genie+ reservation was unavailable. Say it is only possible to get 10 Genie+ reservations in a day; that would reduce the number of permutations to 2,346,549,004,800. After crunching the data, we found that acquiring 22 Genie+ reservations in a single day is impossible. We found three days where it was theoretically possible to get 21 Genie+ reservations. Those days had low crowds and long park hours. Here is one permutation from August 26, 2023.

Our design helped us answer two questions:

  1. What are the best attractions for using Genie+ at the Magic Kingdom?
  2. In what order should I get those Genie+ reservations to save the most time in line?

Simulation and Analysis

Our analysis considered all Genie+ attractions for every day since January 1, 2023. We adhered to Disney’s rules for obtaining the next Genie+ reservation for each permutation, and we simulated what would’ve happened for every permutation for each of the last 485+ days.

The simulation starts at 7:00 a.m. with the first attraction. We then select the next attraction two hours after the park opens or 15 minutes after the return time, whichever is sooner. This process is repeated for each step, waiting two hours or 15 minutes after the return time.

To calculate how much time we saved using Genie+, we added up the posted wait time at the attractions at the Genie+ return time we got.  That gives us a “time saved” score.

That “time saved” score is an estimate. We know you’ll still have to spend a few minutes in Lightning Lane before experiencing the attraction, and we know Disney’s posted wait times are often wrong. Our approach allows us to compare the relative “time saved” scores for every Genie+ permutation for every day.

A higher “time saved” score indicates a better sequence of attractions. To compare multiple days, we normalize the “time saved” score by dividing all scores by the maximum value for all permutations on that day.

Results: The Best Genie+ Picks at the Magic Kingdom for Any Crowd Level

After simulating all possible Genie+ permutations for the Magic Kingdom, here is how many minutes in line a Genie+ reservation could save at various crowd levels:

The chart shows Peter Pan’s Flight is the most useful Genie+ option at the park.

The next question we had to answer was, “If these are the most useful Genie+ attractions, which order should we select them?” To answer this question, we looked at all the permutations and computed the average normalized “time saved” score to rank the best first and second attractions.

Pick Your Magic Kingdom Genie+ Attractions in This Order

Below are the best first steps when selecting Gene+ attractions. The list includes the top three attractions. A higher-ranked attraction will save more time overall. Skip any attraction that:

  • Isn’t available
  • Has a return time that doesn’t fit into your day
  • Or that you’re not interested in experiencing

The Best First Genie+ Selection at the Magic Kingdom

The Best Second Genie+ Selection at The Magic Kingdom

Both Peter Pan’s Flight and Jungle Cruise have high “time-saved” scores and sell out early, so it is not surprising they are good attractions to get to early.

The Best Remaining Genie+ Selection at The Magic Kingdom

Once you’ve picked your first two attractions, use the Magic Kingdom Genie+ cheat sheet to select your remaining attractions for the rest of the day. This Cheat Sheet ranks the Genie+ choices that consistently lead to the least time waiting in line on a typical day at the crowd levels shown.

Next Up: EPCOT

The next park we looked at was EPCOT. There are only 11 Genie+ attractions at EPCOT, but two of those attractions, Frozen Ever After and Remy’s Adventure, sell out early. Getting Genie+ reservations for both attractions is challenging.

In the meantime, let us know if you use the Magic Kingdom Genie+ cheat sheet!



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Steve Bloom

By helping continue to reach the most accurate crowd level predictions, Steve finally found a way to meld his training in statistical analysis with a lifelong passion for Disney. He first visited the Magic Kingdom in 1972, just a few months after it opened. Now he enjoys frequent trips with his two kids. At age four his son insisted on wearing cowboy boots to reach the height requirement for Test Track, and his daughter believes that a smoked turkey leg and Dole Whip make a perfectly balanced meal. Even though she doesn't quite get it, Steve's wife is supportive of his Disney activities.

9 thoughts on “The Best Time-Saving Strategy for Genie+ at The Magic Kingdom

  • Thanks for the write-up Fred, there posts are fun to read.

    You said that Epcot is up next, but with Test Track on the verge of a multi-month (yearlong?) closure, that could render historical sellout data somewhat moot. Once Test Track is off the menu, you’d have to expect Remy/Frozen/Soarin to sell out for the day much earlier than “normal”.

    Also, I’m interested in why you excluded mentioning Tiana’s Bayou Adventure from this analysis. We know that Tiana will be on Genie+, and can safely assume that demand for it will be *at least* as high as it was for Splash Mountain, so I’d be curious to know if/where Splash’s historical data places it among the other top-tier MK rides.

    • STEVE! Steve. Mixed up my TouringPlans data dudes.

    • When Test Track goes into refurbishment, it will likely affect Sorin’ the most, Remy and Frozen already sell out quickly. Maybe Disney will switch Guardian’s to Genie+. (Very unlikely, Disney won’t want to lose the revenue from Individual Lightning Lane.) The new meet-and-greet will add to Genie+ inventory.

      At the beginning Tiana’s Bayou Adventure will likely be a very popular Genie+ attraction. Without a standby line, it will be interesting to see how Disney allocates the ride capacity to the virtual queue and lightning lane. After the newness wears off, Tiana’s Bayou Adventure will likely follow the same pattern as Splash Mountain.

  • This is great. Thanks for all the effort that went into this. Looking forward to Hollywood Studios

  • This is so interesting—thanks! Can’t wait to see it for the other parks!

  • This is really interesting, thank you for sharing the “why” behind the suggestions! Strange that philharmagic is more likely to sell out on the lowest crowd days than on the highest crowd days, but that the sellout time was nearly identical at all crowd levels. Is there something about the attraction that changes on higher crowd days?

    • I too am curious about this

    • Philharmagic probably sells out more often on low crowd days just because the park closes earlier. I’m 99% sure that Philharmagic closes for the fireworks. On low crowd days they may not re-open the attraction after the fireworks. An early closure looks like a sell out day in the data.

      • Ah, that makes sense. Thanks for providing clarity. Looking forward to seeing the other parks’ data. Keep up the great work!

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