This week we’re refreshing our Genie+ availability information, so that you have the most up-to-date and accurate planning tools available to you! Yesterday we went over Genie+ availability at Animal Kingdom and EPCOT. That leaves the two parks where Genie+ is most useful, Hollywood Studios and Magic Kingdom, for today. Genie+ is a program that has already seen some pretty major changes – from adding and removing various attractions/entertainment, to loophole closures and rule clarifications. So know in advance that things could always change. But these visualizations should give you a pretty good head start on your Genie+ planning and decision making.
Explain the Math!
If you read yesterday’s article, you already know all of this stuff. Advance to the next section, and if you pass Go, collect $200. If not, here are the details you need to know.
Each park below will have a set of three tables. Each table shows you data from a certain range of crowd levels:
- LOW = Crowd Levels 1 through 3
- MED = Crowd Levels 4 through 7
- HIGH = Crowd Levels 8 through 10
You can look at any attraction (which are shown in the rows) and a booking time (which are shown in columns, and represent the time you’ll be able to make a reservation). The color of the box where you land will show you the change that you’ll be able to get a return time. A green box means the attraction is never sold out at that time. A red box means it’s always sold out by that time – you’ll be out of luck. And if the box is yellow, you’ve got a 50% chance of it being sold out already.
The December article that I’m revisiting this week only had colors. For this series, we’re adding in MOAR DATUMS!!!!1! Now, in addition to the color, you’ll see a time in each box. That is the average return time you can expect for that attraction at that booking time, given a certain crowd level. So, for example, if you look at Millennium Falcon on a low crowd day, and you think you’ll book it at 11 am, you can expect a return time of 6 pm. The times in each box are rounded to the nearest 15 minutes so that your brain interprets them more easily. You’re welcome.
Note that the time in the box is an average return time for that entire hour. So if a 2 pm booking time box shows an average return time of 2:30 pm, that means that attraction has immediate availability. That’s because the 2 pm return time you’d get at 2 pm averages out with the 2:55 pm return time you’d get at 2:55 pm, etc.
One last thing – since the results that I’m showing you here cover the holiday period, there were some Individual Lightning Lane attractions that were temporarily available on Genie+. When that’s the case, I’ve noted those attractions with an asterisk.
Hollywood Studios Genie+ Availability
Genie+ Availability on Low Crowd Days
- Slinky Dog Dash is the clear favorite here. As it should be, because as we’ve discussed previously, it’s the attraction that will save you the most time of any Genie+ option in any park. Even on the lowest crowd days, it’s regularly sold out before the park opens. 50% of the time it’s sold out before 8 am.
- Millennium Falcon books up next. In the morning, it’s already booking out 6 or 7 hours in advance, and is often sold out before 2 pm. On low crowd days! If you’re able to make your first two Genie+ reservations for these two attractions, then that’s what you’ll need to do.
- Tower of Terror, Rock’n’Roller Coaster, Alien Swirling Saucers and Toy Story Mania make up what I call the “Tier 2” of Genie+ options at Hollywood Studios. They seem some really variable availability throughout low crowd days, booking anywhere from 1 to 3 hours in advance, and generally selling out a couple of hours before park closing.
- MuppetVision and Star Tours generally have immediate availability for most of the day, so pick those up and use them whenever.
Genie+ Availability on Medium Crowd Days
- At medium crowd levels, Genie+ availability at Hollywood Studios is already ugly. This is why, as we’ve discovered before, you’ll actually save less time by using Genie+ here on a medium crowd day than you would on a low crowd day.
- Slinky sometimes sells out almost instantly. And by two hours after typical park opening, when a wave of people that booked Slinky is eligible for their second choice, Millennium Falcon starts booking up almost immediately too.
- By the time you get to after noon, Tier 2 is booking up. Rock’n’Rollercoaster is often gone by 3 pm, followed by Tower of Terror by 4 pm and Toy Story Mania and Alien Swirling Saucers by 5 pm. Not great.
Genie+ Availability on High Crowd Days
- High crowd days with Genie+ at Hollywood Studios are just no fun. Pick two or three rides that you want to use Genie+ for, because that’s really all you’re going to get.
- Slinky Dog Dash is pretty much always sold out before 8 am. Get it at 7 or don’t get it at all. And take whatever time you can get – it’s basically a lottery.
- Two hours after the park opens, then Millennium Falcon mysteriously sells out too! And even if it’s your backup because you didn’t get lucky in the Slinky lottery, your return time will still likely be in the afternoon by a little after 7 am.
- Tier 2 books up even quicker on these days, with all of them solidly gone before 4 pm. And most of them are booking 5 to 6 hours in advance throughout the day.
- Even MuppetVision and Star Tours are gone before the park closes. Star Tours even books out up to 3 hours in advance in the afternoon! Desperate times.
Sample Medium Crowd Day at Hollywood Studios
- At 7 am I wake up and I’ve got my Genie+ booking reflexes warmed up and ready to go. I speed through the process and nab a very lucky 2 pm return time. Ah well.
- The park opens at 9 am. I have to wait until 11 to get my next reservation, so I quickly jet over to Rock’n’Rollercoaster and Tower of Terror to ride them via standby before their lines snarl up too much. If I have more time, I probably meander through Walt Disney Presents or go enjoy the atmosphere of Batuu.
- At 11 am on the dot, I grab a reservation for Millennium Falcon at 6:45 pm. Thus begins my next 2 hour waiting game. I probably go watch some shows or cavalcades and enjoy lunch at Docking Bay 7. That mac is … out of this world.
- At 1 pm, I’m eligible for another reservation! I’ve already ridden two of the Tier 2 attractions, so I make my reservation for Toy Story Mania at 6 pm. Now I just have an hour to kill until I can ride Slinky. Wahoo.
- At 1:55 pm, I finally get in line for Slinky Dog Dash. Hooray! After that, I watch some shows to bide my time during a busy afternoon in the park. Indiana Jones, Beauty and the Beat, and Frozen Sing-Along if I’ve got the kids with me.
- At 3:55 pm, I’m once again eligible for another reservation thanks to my 2 hour wait. I go ahead and get one for Star Tours at 5 pm. Maybe I catch another show to kill some time in between. Or I fuel up with a Ronto Wrap.
- At 5 pm, the fun begins. I tap in Star Tours. Just for fun, I grab a reservation for MuppetVision. It has immediate availability anyway. So I become the rebel spy, and then head over for some fun with the Muppets.
- By this time, it’s close to my Toy Story Mania return time. If it’s not quite 6, I might ride Alien Swirling Saucers on standby since wait times drop in the evening anyway.
- Last on my list is my Millennium Falcon reservation that I picked up way long ago (in a galaxy far, far away?) at 6:45. Hopefully after all of that nonsense, I have a reservation at Oga’s Cantina to unwind.
Magic Kingdom Genie+ Availability
Genie+ Availability on Low Crowd Days
Eye chart time! Seriously, though – click on this to view it in full size and zoom in when/where you need to.
- On low crowd days, Genie+ availability at Magic Kingdom is pretty great – mostly because there are SO many options, so people have a lot to choose from.
- Jungle Cruise and Peter Pan’s Flight are the only two major attractions that sell out significantly before the park closes, often right before or around 5-6 pm.
- Two other attractions look like they sell out relatively quickly here – Mickey’s Philharmagic and Monsters Inc. Laugh Floor. What?! It’s actually just an artifact. Return times for both of these attractions are wonky. Philharmagic has immediate availability almost every day until return times hit 5 pm. Then they always jump to 8:30 pm. Then when that one 8:30 pm timeslot fills up, they’re gone for good. It’s weird. Monsters Inc. Laugh Floor just seems to close early some days, and therefore stops giving out return times earlier.
- A lot of other attractions have return times within an hour of booking all throughout the day. One exception is Splash Mountain, which books up more quickly in the afternoon (aka – when it gets warm enough to get wet). Expect this attraction to get more popular and book out quicker in the summer months.
Genie+ Availability on Medium Crowd Days
Great news: This is the biggest table. It’s all downhill from here!
- On medium crowd days, availability isn’t quite as rosy, but it still isn’t awful. 11 attraction still have close to immediate availability for the vast majority of the day. That’s a lot of burning through reservations that you can do.
- Jungle Cruise and Peter Pan’s Flight are still the most obviously popular reservations. Jungle Cruise almost immediately books out into the afternoon, and it sells out before 2 pm about half of the time. Peter Pan’s Flight is right behind, usually selling out sometime between 3 and 4 pm.
- Now we start to see a “Tier 2” of Magic Kingdom attractions that are behind the two leaders, but don’t have that immediate availability of the rest of the pack. Tier 2 would include Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, Haunted Mansion, Splash Mountain, and Winnie the Pooh. I would guess in the summer, Splash Mountain will be leaving the rest in the dust and joining the big leagues in popularity. But for now, all of these Tier 2 attractions sell out for the day around 5-6 pm.
Genie+ Availability on High Crowd Days
- At the highest “tier” in Magic Kingdom, high crowd levels don’t look that different from medium crowds. Jungle Cruise still sells out around 2, and Peter Pan still sells out around 4 pm.
- And even as we progress through that group of “Tier 2” attractions that we mentioned earlier, sell-out times are still around the 5 – 6 pm time.
- But in the rest of the pack is where we see the real difference. There’s not nearly as much (or any) buy now/ride now availability. Everything is generally booking at least an hour in advance. So you can’t just burn through a lot of rides all at once, or pick up reservations when you happen to be near an attraction anyway. You have to do more planning, and won’t be able to do everything.
Sample Medium Crowd Day at Magic Kingdom
Stick with me … things are about to get crazy. Deep breaths, we can do this.
- At 7 am, I’m up bright and early and I’m going to zig when a lot of people zag, and pick up a return time for Peter Pan’s Flight at noon.
- The park opens at 9. If I have early entry, and I’m already awake, I’m booking it to the park as early as I can and trying to hit Seven Dwarfs Mine Train and Space Mountain before things get too wild, along with whatever other rides I feel like hitting before peak crowds.
- At 11 am (2 hours after park opening), I’m eligible to make another reservation. This time I have to go with Jungle Cruise if I want to avoid the standby wait there. I book the return time and get 7:30 pm. Wowee.
- I decide to eat an early lunch since I’ve been up since before 7. A waffle sandwich from Sleepy Hollow is a great choice, and it puts me close to get to my Peter Pan’s Flight reservation at 11:55.
- I ride Peter Pan’s Flight, then take a few spins on the Carrousel and maybe meet a few princesses. Or eat a cinnamon roll at Gaston’s. Genie downtime = lots of eating.
- At 1 pm, I’m eligible for another reservation, so I book Mad Tea Party with immediate availability and head that way.
- I tap in at Mad Tea Party around 1 pm and book Big Thunder Mountain at 5:15 pm.
- That gives me some time to kill, so I opportunistically take in some shows and lower-wait attractions until my 2 hours of waiting is done at 3-ish pm. I nab a reservation for Pirates of the Caribbean at 7:00 pm.
- While I wait, I do some Tomorrowland attractions. Doing Carousel of Progress and the PeopleMover in the middle of afternoon crowds is a welcome relaxing pastime.
- At 5 pm, I’m eligible to make another reservation, and I grab Haunted Mansion at 8:15.
- Starting at 5:15, I’m going to be cashing in lots of my stacked up reservations. So at 5:15 I tap in to Big Thunder Mountain.
- After that wild ride in the west, I could eat a slow-paced dinner at Skipper Canteen, or watch Country Bear Jamboree and/or Enchanted Tiki Room.
- At 6:55 pm, I check in to Pirates of the Caribbean, and at 7 pm as I’m cruising along, my two hours have passed, so I make a reservation for Under the Sea at 8 pm
- At 7:25 pm, I can finally ride my long-awaited Jungle Cruise. Hooray!
- After my cruise, I make it to Under the Sea just before my window opens. This late at night, almost everything is immediate availability, and I’m only limited by the park closing. When I tap into Under the Sea, I make a reservation for 15 minutes from now at Winnie the Pooh.
- After I tap in at Winnie the Pooh, I pick up an immediate availability for it’s a small world.
- I tap into small world and I can get one final reservation for Buzz Lightyear at 9:30.
- After small world, my return window for Haunted Mansion hasn’t closed yet, so I use that.
- One last long walk across the park, and I end the day by becoming a Galactic Hero.
All in all, I got and used 10 different Genie+ reservations, and I experienced a LOT of other attractions and entertainment and dining as well. I’d call that a good (and exhausting) day.
What Does This Mean For You?
- Using Genie+ effectively at Hollywood Studios on high crowd days is difficult. You’ll save more time by using it on low or medium crowd days. Even still, you need to prioritize what you want to ride above all else, and you might not get to experience everything with Genie+.
- Slinky Dog Dash is crazy-popular. On high crowd days, getting on it is almost a lottery. Millennium Falcon is a good backup.
- At Magic Kingdom, balance getting popular rides that book out well in advance with booking rides with immediate availability so that you can experience a lot. Just pay attention when they’re stacking up so that you’re not rushing across the entire park to hit a reservation that you forgot about!
If you’ve already used Genie+, which parks are your favorite and least favorite with Genie+? And if you haven’t, what do you think your strategy might be for a future trip? Let me know in the comments!