What Does Genie+ Availability Look Like?

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One of the biggest planning questions people have regarding Genie+ is what attractions “sell out” the quickest. Especially during the week of Thanksgiving, a lot of guests were caught off-guard by popular attractions booking up for the day within the first hour of reservations being open. Knowing when attractions tend to sell out can help inform strategy regarding which reservations to make first, so that you don’t miss out on ones that save you the most time or make your party the happiest. And now that it’s been well over a month, we have a lot of data to tell us what Genie+ availability looks like on different days. Today I’ll walk you through the past month of reservation data, showing what Genie+ availability looks like at most attractions in each park under various crowd conditions.

The goal today is to answer questions like:

  • Which attraction “sells out” first at Magic Kingdom (and EPCOT … etc.)?
  • If I don’t wake up early and book Slinky Dog Dash at 7 a.m., am I out of luck?
  • What if I get to Magic Kingdom at 10 a.m., find out that it’s crowded, and only then decide to purchase Genie+? What will my options look like?
The secret is out – one of the best ways to save time is use Genie+ to skip Slinky Dog Dash standby. Which means you have to book it REALLY early.

There is more data about Genie+ availability that we won’t go over today, but will be included in a future post. Specifically, rather than just having information about which attractions are “sold out” and which aren’t, it’d be helpful to know something like “If I can’t book Peter Pan until 11 a.m., how late is my return window likely to be?” That deeper level of granularity will be our focus for next week.

Explain the Math!

Or in this case, the graphs. Today we’ll be looking at a sort of Genie+ availability heat map. It’ll show a list of the attractions in the park, and then a row of boxes. Each box will represent an hour of time. A nice dark green box means that you can get a return time for that attraction 100% of the time. It certainly won’t have “sold out” by then. A dark red box means that you can never ever get a return time for that attraction. Is has always sold out by then.

So if I look up Space Mountain, and scroll over to the 2 pm box and see a nice lovely bright yellow, I know that if I try to get a Genie+ return time for Space Mountain at 2 p.m., there’s a 50% chance I’ll be able to get one. The other 50% of the time, it will have already “sold out” for the day.

What Does Genie+ Availability Look Like at Magic Kingdom?

Percent of time that Genie+ reservations are available for each attraction during each hour of the day, under various crowd conditions.

Good news! The vast majority of attractions still have reservation Genie+ availability into the afternoon, even in more crowded conditions (up to crowd level 7). In all conditions, Jungle Cruise tends to “sell out” before any other attraction, followed by Peter Pan’s Flight. On low crowd days, you’ll have plenty of attractions to pick from even as late as 7 or 8 in the evening. On more crowded days, availability starts to get more sporadic by around 6 p.m.

The Jungle Cruise routinely has the longest standby waits of any Genie attraction in the Magic Kingdom. So it’s not surprising it books out first in the park.

In all cases, it’s apparent that Magic Kingdom benefits from having a large number of attractions that qualify for Genie+. Many attractions to pick from, many with a high hourly capacity, means that guests who have purchased Genie+ can spread out, leaving availability for many attractions for most of the day.

What Does Genie+ Availability Look Like at Hollywood Studios?

Percent of time that Genie+ reservations are available for each attraction during each hour of the day, under various crowd conditions.

From Magic Kingdom to Hollywood Studios, we see a tale of two very different parks when it comes to Genie+. At Hollywood Studios, there are many fewer attractions that guests can choose from (our graphs leave out shows/entertainment that you can use Genie+ for). And there are some very clear preferences that guests choose to book first.

The good news here is slightly less-good than at Magic Kingdom. On low crowd days, you can expect to have return times for about half of the eligible attraction left by 5 or 6 p.m. On higher crowd days, that number changes to about 1 p.m. – not ideal. If, midway through your day, almost half of the Genie+ attractions are already totally sold out for the day, that paints you into a corner very quickly.

If you strike out with Slinky Dog, aim for Millennium Falcon next.

Further not-so-great news: even on the lowest crowd days, Genie+ availability for Slinky Dog Dash totally books up by noon. On higher crowd days, that shifts to before 9 a.m. So even on crowd level 4 or 5 days, unless you make Slinky Dog Dash your very first Genie+ reservation, you won’t be able to use it. And once you get up to crowd levels 6 or 7, you have to book it within minutes of 7 a.m. or you’re out of luck. Millennium Falcon is the very obvious next choice of most Hollywood Studios guests, and tends to “sell out” within a couple hours of the park opening on those higher crowd days. On those same higher crowd days, by 4 p.m. you’re only ever going to be able to get Genie+ reservations for Star Tours or MuppetVision, which typically don’t result in much time savings anyway.

What Does Genie+ Availability Look Like at EPCOT?

Percent of time that Genie+ reservations are available for each attraction during each hour of the day, under various crowd conditions.

EPCOT has the same number of non-show Genie attractions as Hollywood Studios, but Genie behaviors at EPCOT are very different. While at Hollywood Studios, Slinky Dog Dash and Millennium Falcon tend to book out ahead of other attractions, almost everything else is pretty evenly utilized (except for maybe Star Tours and MuppetVision). There are lots of attractions where Genie makes a tangible impact on your wait. EPCOT is on the opposite end of that spectrum.

It’s very apparent, especially at high levels, that guests have figured out exactly which Genie+ reservations are going to save them time at EPCOT, and which ones they’re not going to bother with. Test Track, at all crowd levels, books up before any other attractions. And that makes sense because you’re always going to save the most time compared to standby at Test Track. Even on medium crowd days, Test Track is still pretty much the only attraction that sells out significantly before the end of the day.

 

Of the non-ILL attractions at EPCOT, Test Track is the one with the biggest avoidable standby wait, and is what everyone selects as their first Genie+ reservation

When we move to high crowd conditions, that’s where things get really interesting. Test Track books up for the day before the park opens. Somewhere between 2 and 3 hours after the park opens, Soarin’ also books up for the day. And then about 2 hours after that, Mission: SPACE books up too. What does this mean from a data perspective? It means that almost everyone that is using Genie+ at EPCOT is booking Test Track before the park opens, then Soarin’ when they become available for another reservation, and then Mission: SPACE when they become eligible again. Very few people are deviating from that strategy. And then once they use those three … nothing else sells out before the park closes really. Even on the highest crowd level days. It could be that it’s just not worth booking reservations for an attraction that you’re going to have to back-track to in the evening because standby times were manageable for it anyway. Big note here: We at TouringPlans recommend never purchasing Genie+ for EPCOT. ILL could be useful, but the only big wait you’re going to need to avoid is Test Track, and that’s easy to do with a plan and a strategy.

What Does Genie+ Availability Look Like at Animal Kingdom?

Percent of time that Genie+ reservations are available for each attraction during each hour of the day, under various crowd conditions.

Animal Kingdom is the toughest park for Genie+, as far as attractions to choose from. There are a few shows, but there are only five Genie-eligible non-ILL attractions. And one of them is Kali River Rapids, which is has been closed for its annual refurbishment since November 1st.

Let’s start with the good news again – on low crowd days, you can generally still pick from all four Genie+ attractions up until about 6 p.m. On higher crowd days, things get more interesting. Kilimanjaro Safaris tends to “sell out” for the day by noon. And then the other attractions follow with a lot of availability gone before 5 p.m. Similar to EPCOT, there seems to be a pretty telling flow of guest decisions. The Safari books up, and then ~2 hours later Na’vi River Journey books up, followed by DINOSAUR ~2 hours later, and finally It’s Tough to Be a Bug ~2 hours after that. Certainly if you don’t start making Genie+ reservations for Animal Kingdom until noon, your choices are going to be pretty limited on higher crowd days.

What Does This Mean For You?

  1. Don’t buy Genie+ at EPCOT. Just don’t do it. It’s more hassle than it’s worth.
  2. If you’re using Genie+ at Hollywood Studios, you need to be up early to nab that elusive Slinky Dog Dash return time. Don’t mess around – just make that reservation as close to 7 a.m. as you can. Then, try to book Millennium Falcon before noon. After that you should have some more flexibility.
  3. If you’re using Genie+ at Magic Kingdom, prioritize making reservations for Jungle Cruise and Peter Pan’s Flight sometime in the morning. After that you should have some more flexibility.

Have you already used Genie+ in the parks? What was your experience with popular attractions booking up for the day? What was your strategy for which attractions to book first? Let us know in the comments!

 

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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

28 thoughts on “What Does Genie+ Availability Look Like?

  • December 1, 2021 at 11:25 am
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    Excellent info! Thanks. I’ve been eagerly waiting for this! Rich

    Reply
  • December 1, 2021 at 12:18 pm
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    I am wondering about park hopping. If I’m planning to go to Hollywood Studios in the afternoon, can I make my first selection for Slinky Dog even if my park reservation is for another park like Epcot or AK? A strategy for parking hopping would be helpful. Thanks

    Reply
    • December 1, 2021 at 3:37 pm
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      Good news Tammra! You can make your first selection for Slinky even if your first park is another park. Genie will just make sure that your Slinky reservation isn’t before 2 pm.

      Reply
      • December 8, 2021 at 4:56 pm
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        If I’m planning on park hopping from AK to MK and want to make my first G+ at MK, say Jungle Cruise, will G+ automatically give me a time after 2pm, or do I have to wait to make the reservation until the LL return time hits 2pm or later?

        I know that wouldn’t be an issue with rides that develop long return times quickly (SDD in HS comes to mind), but is G+ smart enough to back off LL times for lower demand rides when park hopping?

        Thanks!
        RiK

      • December 8, 2021 at 5:35 pm
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        Hey RiK! This is the one thing that Genie does pretty smoothly – you can start making your reservations as early as 7 am. And no matter which ride you pick, and what its “current” return time is, if it’s not your first park, once you click into it, it will make sure that you get a return time that is after 2 pm.

  • December 1, 2021 at 12:23 pm
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    I appreciate all your efforts! Hoping to have even more guidance and strategies from TouringPlans by the time I go on my April and May trips.

    Reply
  • December 1, 2021 at 1:28 pm
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    Great information! I am interested in what these numbers might look like when the crowd level for every park is at 8, 9, or 10-like it will be for the weeks of Christmas and New Year’s Eve.

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    • December 1, 2021 at 3:39 pm
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      I think we get a small preview of it in the EPCOT data, since it did see some crowd level 8 and 9 days during the Thanksgiving holiday. I expect “popular” rides to sell out even sooner (by 4 or 5 hours, if possible), and for “non-popular” rides to start edging up earlier, but perhaps not by as much.

      Reply
  • December 1, 2021 at 3:28 pm
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    Any idea when Genie + comes to Disneyland? It has been saying it starts in the fall on the website for a long time. We will be there 12/18-20.

    Reply
    • December 1, 2021 at 3:40 pm
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      I haven’t heard any rumblings about that yet. It was originally supposed to be pretty soon after the WDW rollout, but obviously that hasn’t happened. I would be a little surprised if they roll it out before the end of the year at this point. That would be … rude.

      Reply
      • December 1, 2021 at 6:57 pm
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        Wow! So you think they are not going to do Genie+ at Disneyland before 2022? What do you make of the recent shift of RotR from virtual queue to standby? I just kind of assumed they would still try to roll it out before the full holiday crowds hit…

        Also, do you think Genie+ will “sell out” on super high crowd days? ie do you think they will stop letting people purchase Genie+ at some point during the day if there are no return times left except for a couple rides? Do they give you a heads up if you’re about to buy it which rides are already sold out?

      • December 1, 2021 at 9:21 pm
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        I will say that that is 100% just a Becky opinion because I think backlash would be violent if they roll it out just in time for big crowds. We also saw a lot of Genie+ issues at WDW with Thanksgiving crowds – not just reservations running low, but technological issues. That makes me hope that they realized they need to roll it out at Disneyland in less crowded conditions.

        As for selling out, we’ve heard that Disney says they won’t “sell out” of Genie+, despite individual attractions selling out. And we haven’t seen any warnings when purchasing later in the day.

    • December 6, 2021 at 4:12 pm
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      Just kidding y’all. Genie coming in hot to Disneyland on December 8th. I still maintain that it is rude and ill-advised … but apparently unavoidable.

      Reply
      • December 6, 2021 at 5:59 pm
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        Thought that, too! Suddenly DL visitors have one more thing to worry about and have less than 48 hours to prep for it!

  • December 1, 2021 at 3:32 pm
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    Love this type of content! Thanks for the great work as always. Will Lines start giving you recommendations as to when/what attractions to get Genie + and ILL for like it used to do with Fastpass+?

    Reply
    • December 1, 2021 at 3:41 pm
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      Lines will start doing that … eventually. It requires more data about actual time savings (which we get by comparing timed standby waits and time Genie waits), and more data about what we expect return times to be at every attraction at every point during the day. That last part is some of what I’ll be writing about next week.

      Reply
  • December 1, 2021 at 4:24 pm
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    My wife and I were watching the “FASTPASS: A Complicated History” documentary on Youtube last night (great documentary!) and at the end I had told her that it is starting to look like that Hollywood Studios is really the only park where Genie+ is necessary. This data pretty much shows that on both low crowd and medium crowd days. I was actually considering not getting Genie+ at HS because (knowing how fast the rides sell out, I may only get 2-3 rides using Genie+, costing an average of $5-$7.50 per ride per person (not including tax). However, it looks like that on a CL5 day (they predicted day we are going) I should expect to get no less than 4 of the top 5 rides on the Genie+ list even if I do not get Slinky Dog before 11:00 a.m. and have to wait until my 2 hour window ends.

    Another stellar article, Becky!

    Reply
  • December 1, 2021 at 4:36 pm
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    Is Genie+ going to end up having a Goldilocks zone? If crowd levels are too low, you do not save enough time to make Genie+ “worth it”. But if crowd levels are too high, Genie+ stocks are depleted before you can make enough rides for it to be “worth it”.

    I guess there is also a larger question of the balance between Disney’s ride capacity being back to pre-covid levels and the revenge-travel spiked crowds descending on the parks.

    Reply
    • December 1, 2021 at 9:25 pm
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      Yeah, it’s probably too early to say. There are so many moving parts right now with capacity and crowds and Genie+ still working out its bugs and closing its loopholes.

      Reply
  • December 1, 2021 at 5:11 pm
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    Back in the Fastpass era, you could cycle times over and over in the app to eventually get an earlier reservation time. Is that trick still possible with Genie+ or are you stuck with the time you are given?

    Reply
  • December 2, 2021 at 1:27 pm
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    Why did you provide the High Crowds graphs only for Epcot? I think it would have been useful to see them for the other parks, even if they would have been mostly red.

    Reply
  • December 2, 2021 at 2:02 pm
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    Only EPCOT has seen crowd levels 8 or 9 (no 10s yet) since Genie was rolled out, according to our calculation of actual wait times. The rest, even during Thanksgiving week topped out at CL 7. So I didn’t have data to build those graphs

    Reply
    • December 2, 2021 at 2:04 pm
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      Ooooo….that last week of the year is going to give you a plethora of new data, isn’t it?

      Reply
  • December 2, 2021 at 3:10 pm
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    How long after Genie starts at DLR do you think you will be able to give advice on order to book return times at the two parks? We are going on 12/23 and Im freaking out! LOL

    Reply
  • December 3, 2021 at 10:11 am
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    My question is how does this all look with park hopping. Even with park res in place my family of 4 love park hopping and will be going next April for 7.5 days and doing the rope drop in res park – nap at hotel – close at another park. With you not being able to pick your return times at all, does a Genie + at $60/day, make sense for us at all. From what I can tell with this, it might not make any sense….which feels weird. Thanks for nerding out on the data…it makes most decisions so so easy!

    Reply
  • December 29, 2021 at 10:07 am
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    How does Genie+ and ILL work for an afternoon arrival? For example if I am arriving at MK (not park hopping) at noon and the LL return times are before my park arrival? Do you get the option to choose LL return times or just the first available?

    thank you!

    Reply
    • December 29, 2021 at 10:16 am
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      For Genie+, you can’t select the return time, so you’d have to wait until you see a return time pop up that would work for you. Specifically for Magic Kingdom, Peter Pan’s Flight and Jungle Cruise book out the afternoon relatively quickly.
      ILL is a different story – for those you _can_ select the return time, so if you choose to purchase, you just pick a time that will work for you in the afternoon.

      Reply

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