Back in early December, with a whole month and a half of Genie+ data, we took an initial look at Genie+ availability and what you could expect if you choose to purchase Genie+. That post continues to get many, many reads every day, which makes me think, “huh, maybe we should get you some updated data!” Because a lot has changed since December 1st. We saw really high crowd levels, we had many more users reporting Genie+ experiences and wait times … and I thought of a better way to visualize a bunch of data all at once!
So today we’ll look at a whole lot of information all in one set of tables. That way you’ll have a spot for trying to plan ahead for a day using Genie+, no matter the crowd level. I’ll give you all of the results, some commentary, and an example of how to think through what a day with Genie+ might look like for each park. Today we’ll be looking at Animal Kingdom and EPCOT, and tomorrow we’ll come back for Hollywood Studios and Magic Kingdom – the big Genie+ heavy-hitters.
Explain the Math!
In this post, each park will have a set of three tables. Each table represents data from a range of observed crowd levels:
- LOW = Crowd Levels 1 through 3
- MED = Crowd Levels 4 through 7
- HIGH = Crowd Levels 8 through 10
In each box, you’ll be able to see two different pieces of information. The first is represented by the color of the box.
Pick an attraction (row) and a time that you think you’ll be able to book a Genie+ return time (we’ll call this the booking time, and those are in columns). The color of the box where you land will show you what the odds of you being able to get a return time are. If it’s green, that means you can absolutely always successfully get a return time. If it’s red, that means the attraction is sold out at the time, always. If it’s yellow, you’ve got a 50/50 chance of it being sold out.
And, in a new addition since the December article, you’ll also see a time represented in the box. That’s the average return time you should expect for that attraction at that booking time, given the appropriate crowd level. So if you look at Test Track on a low crowd day, and you think you’ll book it at 11 am, you can expect a return time of 5:45 pm. These average return times are rounded to the nearest 15 minutes so that they’re easier to read.
The time in the boxes also represent the average return time for that entire hour. So if a 1 pm booking time box shows an average return time of 1:30 pm, that means that there is immediate availability, because the 1 pm return time you see at 1 pm averages out with the 1:30 pm return time you see at 1:30 pm and the 1:55 pm return time you see at 1:55 pm, etc.
One final note – since the data we’re showing here also covers the holiday period, there were some Individual Lightning Lane attractions that were temporarily available on Genie+. Where applicable, I’ve noted those with an asterisk.
Animal Kingdom Genie+ Availability
Genie+ Availability on Low Crowd Days
- Almost everything is available until the park (or specific attraction) closes. Keep in mind that these data points are mostly from winter, when Kilimanjaro Safaris closes earlier due to sunset.
- Na’vi River Journey books out furthest ahead, with 4:15 pm return times at noon. Kilimanjaro Safaris stays about 2 or 3 hours ahead in the morning. All other attractions have either immediate availability or book within about an hour.
Genie+ Availability on Medium Crowd Days
- Once again, Safaris sells out first, but that’s because it closes first. Na’vi River Journey is once again the attraction that books out the furthest. And it is regularly sold out by the time that Kilimanjaro Safaris closes for the day.
- All other attractions are available for almost the whole day. When available, Expedition Everest booked out the furthest in advance of the remaining attractions, but still had solid availability. All others either had immediate availability or were only booked out by an hour or two.
Genie+ Availability on High Crowd Days
- Here’s where things get tricky. Thanks to popularity and early closures, Kilimanjaro Safaris is sold out before noon about 50% of the time.
- Na’vi River Journey also books out by about 6 hours in advance. So that means it sells out for the day frequently around 1 or 2 pm.
- You’ll notice in the red that return times sort of stall out – that’s because if something happens to be available, it means that you’ve gotten lucky and it hasn’t quite sold out for the day, but it’s probably about to. So the times are near closing.
- By 4 pm you run the risk of also not being able to book DINOSAUR, Expedition Everest (if available in Genie) or Kali River Rapids.
Sample Medium Crowd Day at Animal Kingdom
If I wasn’t park hopping, and was spending the whole day at Animal Kingdom on a medium crowd day in winter, here’s what my day could look like:
- At 7 am, I open the app and immediately book Kilimanjaro Safaris. I get a 9:15 return time. If I chose Na’vi River Journey, I’d have to wait until 10:30 to redeem, and I’d rather burn quicker.
- I have early entry, so I get there really early since I’m awake anyway and rope drop Flight of Passage. I could probably also get in a ride with low wait on Na’vi River Journey, but I’ll wait to use Genie+
- After wandering Pandora, I make my way to the Safaris and tap in at 9:10. I pick up It’s Tough To Be a Bug at 9:45, and by the time my Safari is over and I make my way to Discovery Island, it’s time to tap in for that too. I scroll Genie+ while waiting for the show to start and since it’s almost 10 am, I see a 4:30 pm return time for Na’vi River Journey. I don’t want to miss out on it, so I grab it.
- Between 10 am and noon, I head out to Conservation Station and do some animation, pet animals, watch a vet procedure – it’s all pretty awesome. On the train ride back, by 2 hour wait time has passed. It’s almost noon, so I see a 12:30 return time for Kali River Rapids. Great. I can eat a quick lunch and then head over.
- I tap into Kali River Rapids at 12:30 and there’s a 2 pm return time for DINOSAUR. That’s the last available Genie+ attraction (excluding shows), so I’ve already booked everything I can by just after noon.
- The rest of the day is spent redeeming my reservations at DINOSAUR and Na’vi River Journey, potentially using more reservations for shows if I feel like it, or wandering the various trails. A pretty good day.
EPCOT Genie+ Availability
Genie+ Availability on Low Crowd Days
- Test Track is the only big time-saving option, and everyone knows it. Of course, on low crowd days, “big time-saving” is relative – with something like 20 minutes of savings if you’re lucky. But even on the low crowd days, Test Track sells out for the day before 2 pm 50% of the time.
- Everything else is available pretty much all day long. Soarin’ will book out an hour or two in advance, but everything else retains immediate availability for the whole day.
Genie+ Availability on Medium Crowd Days
- Test Track sells out even earlier! If you book before 8 am, your average return time is still not until after 4 pm. And 50% of the time, it’s sold out for the day before 11 am. You’ll virtually never find a return time for it after noon.
- Soarin’ now books out about 3 hours in advance instead of one or two, but it’s still available most of the day. And everything else might not have immediate availability, but it’ll most likely be within 15 or 30 minutes.
Genie+ Availability on High Crowd Days
- If you don’t book Test Track before the park opens, you’re likely out of luck. And even if you do book it before the park opens, your return time is probably in the evening. Ouch.
- Soarin’ now sells out for the day before 5 pm about half of the time. Still gives you a long time to book it, but it books about 5-5.5 hours in advance on high crowd days. So you’ll have to book and wait for 2 hours.
- Mission: SPACE also becomes slightly popular on high crowd days and books out 3-4 hours in advance, especially in the afternoon.
- Everything else either has semi-immediate availability, or books out up to about an hour in advance. Still lots of options pretty late into the evening.
Sample Medium Crowd Day at EPCOT
Side note: I wouldn’t actually bother with Genie+ on a medium crowd day at EPCOT, but we’ll roll with it.
- If I want a reservation for Test Track, I have to make it before the park opens. So I’ll do that right at 7 am. I get lucky and land a 2 pm reservation. A couple of minutes later and it would’ve been closer to 4 pm.
- The park opens at 10 today, so I can’t make another reservation until noon. That stinks. I probably start my day rope dropping either Remy or Frozen Ever After. If I’m feeling bold, I also try to ride the other one before I head to Future World (I refuse to call it by any other name). But more realistically … I probably just chill at Les Halles and eat too many pastries.
- At noon, I decide it’s time to head to Future World. I don’t book Soarin’ because its return time is already out at 3:30. Instead I book Spaceship Earth, which has immediate availability. Good thing I anticipated that and already started walking that way. I tap in and book Mission: SPACE, which has a return time 15 minutes from now.
- By the time I’m to Mission: SPACE, I’m well within my return window. I tap in, book Soarin’ for 4:15 pm, and journey to Mars.
- After my mission, it’s probably close to 2 pm. If not, I just kill some time eating at whatever festival booths are open (because there are almost always festival booths open). Then at 2 pm I tap into Test Track.
- After Test Track, I walk over to the Seas. That takes a while. The Seas rarely has any wait, so I ride, watch Turtle Talk, and explore the aquariums for a little over an hour. It’s a leisurely mid-afternoon while wait times are peaking at the popular attractions.
- I head over to the Land in order to tap into Soarin’ just before my 4:15 return time. While I’m in the pre-show, I book Living with the Land which has immediate availability.
- After tapping into Living with the Land, I book Journey into Imagination, which – you guess it, has immediately availability. When I go and redeem that, I book the Disney and Pixar Short Film Festival, which has …. immediate availability.
- From this point on, I can redeem Journey into Imagination and the Short Film Festival, I can meet Mickey (no Genie needed!), and then meander over to World Showcase for an evening of eating, drinking, and Harmonious. Pretty great day, and not too much Genie-induced backtracking.
What Does This Mean For You?
- High crowd days with Genie+ are tricky. But if you’re travelling in heavy crowds, EPCOT is actually the only park where your time savings increase even at the high crowd levels. That’s because it’s the only park where availability stays decent, even at crowd level 9 or 10. You’re not going to get stuck with only one or two reservations before everything books up.
- At lower crowd level days, it’s difficult to recommend purchasing Genie+ for Animal Kingdom or EPCOT. I’d personally use an Animal Kingdom morning with a touring plan to stack Genie+ reservations for a Hollywood Studios afternoon/evening.
- Look ahead for your upcoming vacation days, or even come back to this info the night before a park day to get an idea for what strategy you might want to employ. It’s helpful to understand the balance of using a lot of book now/ride now attractions with immediate availability with the headliners that book out several hours in advance and require a little more savvy.
What have your Genie+ experiences been like at Animal Kingdom and EPCOT? Are these tables helpful to you for planning purposes? And do you have any predictions for what we’ll see at Hollywood Studios and Magic Kingdom? Let me know in the comments!