So, you are planning to get up at 7am and make your first Disney Genie+ Lightning Lane selection, but what should you book first? Well, there are many different strategies. It ultimately depends on what your family’s “must do” list is, but it is important to realize that some attractions will run out of Genie+ selection availability before others do. You will want to consider that when making your plans.
Also, as you are looking over these, keep in mind that this article is only discussing Disney Genie+ attractions. There are another set of attractions that also have Lightning Lanes, but they are called Individual Lightning Lanes. Occasionally Disney will move some of those into Genie+.
I do my best to keep this post updated, but you can visit Disney World’s website to verify that you have an up-to-date list of attractions that use Lightning Lanes and which purchase they require — Genie+ or Individual Lightning Lane.
https://disneyworld.disney.go.com/genie/lightning-lane/(Just click "Read More" under each park to see the list.)
Here’s a look at which Disney Genie+ experiences book up the fastest. Keep in mind that if you book one of these experiences at 7AM, you might receive a return time that is more than 2 hours past the time the park opens. That means that you will end up exercising the 120 Minute Rule.
Also, when I talk about availability “running out”, and I say that it runs out around a particular time, realize that if you book at that time you will be getting some of the last reservations for the day… so you could be looking at very late return times.
Genie+ is extremely useful at the Magic Kingdom. I actually enjoy using it at this park, as opposed to Hollywood Studios where it is also useful, but more like a necessary evil! LOL! Here at the Magic Kingdom, there are many attractions to spread out the demand, so Genie+ return times have greater availability in general.
It’s worth noting that although character greetings aren’t on this list (because they don't usually run out of reservations), I still like to book them early in the day - mostly because these are photo opportunities. Get in there and get those photos before they day takes a toll! Hair gets messy and clothes get stained with Mickey Bars before you know it!
- Jungle Cruise goes the fastest with availability usually disappearing around 2-4 PM. If you make a selection at 7AM, on average, the return time will be around 2PM, unless you get lucky.
- Peter Pan is close behind with availability running out around 4-6PM.
- Third is a toss up between Space Mountain, Thunder Mountain Railroad, Haunted Mansion, and Splash Mountain. Even still, these will usually will not run out of options until around 5-7pm on a high crowd day and late into the night on low or medium crowd days. Book them in order of preference for your family, or based upon which one is giving the best return times.All other Genie+ attractions a the Magic Kingdom will generally still have return times available until around 10pm.
This is the most challenging park for Genie+ users — well for everybody. It’s for good reason though. This is a very popular park with very fun rides. On a heavy crowd day, it’s hard to get more than 3-4 Genie+ selections at Hollywood Studios. Even still, those selections can easily save you 4-5 hours of waiting in line. Expect to utilize the 120 Minute Rule repeatedly. Fill your “downtime” with shows (Beauty and the Beast, Indiana Jones, Muppet Vision, Frozen Sing-a-long), meals, characters, cavalcades, Star Tours and whatever you don’t book from the list below. It’s worth noting that Hollywood Studios is a good park to visit twice - particularly if you have the flexibility of a park hopper ticket. Having the ability to visit twice will take the pressure off.
- Slinky Dog Dash - Get it at 7am or you are likely to not get it at all. Actually to be exact, book it at 7 hours 0 minutes and 0 seconds on the dot! Don’t be picky. Take whatever time you can get. If you do not get a return time, it doesn’t hurt to look for one throughout the day. Sometimes availability changes, and you can get lucky. If you are staying at a Disney Hotel and plan to use your early booking perk to purchase an Individual Lightning Lane for Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance at 7am, you will need two people, with one booking Slinky Dog Dash and the other booking Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance. They both sell out very quickly.
- Tower of Terror —Availability for this one starts disappearing around 11AM. If you are booking it as your second selection of the day, make sure to set an alarm on your phone and be ready!
- Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster Starring Aerosmith and Millennium Falcon Smugglers Run will be the next priorities — Availability starts depleting around 1-3PM depending on how busy the park is that day.
- Lastly, it’s a toss up between Runaway Railway, Toy Story Mania, Alien Swirling Saucers, and see Olaf. These usually run out of selections around 4 pm, unless it’s a heavy crowd day. They start disappearing as early as 1 pm on those days. * Muppet Vision and Star Tours are not Genie+ priorities.
Remy’s, Test Track and Frozen are always the clear choices here, BUT which one runs out of selections the fastest can vary a lot depending on what the crowd level is on your visit. This is what you can usually anticipate on a high crowd day.
- Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure runs out of availability and it runs out FAST! Get it a 7:00 AM, on the nose!
- Test Track and Frozen tie for second highest priority. They both run out of availability around 11:00 AM. I lean towards choosing Test Track over Frozen because it has more breakdowns that any other ride in Disney World. If you have a Lightning Lane for it and the ride breaks down, they will let you return later in the day. If you are waiting in the standby line when it breaks down, you are just out of luck.
- Soarin’ is technically the 4th highest priority, but it usually doesn’t ever run out of availability. It’s return times just start getting pretty late.
This is a pretty relaxed day for Genie+ users. You can really just book in any order. While these first two are the highest priorities, they usually don’t even run out of availability until around 3-4 pm. Animal Kingdom is a park where the Individual Lightning Lane, Avatar Flight of Passage, will definitely go faster than any of the Genie+ selections, but usually not before the park opens which means that even off property guests usually get a chance to buy it.
- Navi River Journey
- Kilimanjaro Safaris
- Dinosaur (or Kali River Rapids during the summer.)
I hope this helps you to start making a game plan for your family now that you have an idea of which rides are the highest priority. You may also be able to weed some of these out entirely based upon your family’s likes and dislikes.
Additional Pre-Trip Preparation
Before your vacation, go ahead and set up Disney Genie by clicking the “Get Started Now” button on the “My Day” tab. Disney Genie will ask questions about your interests so that it can give you recommendations throughout the day, BUT most importantly - you can tell Genie who is in your party and what rides are most important to you.
Once, Genie knows who is in your party, it will pre-select your party for you each time you book an experience. Also, once Genie knows which ride is your highest priority, it will put those at the tip of your Tip Board. Edit your selections throughout the day to keep whatever you are trying to get next on the top of the list. This can be pretty helpful in time sensitive situations.
Prior to 7am, make sure you have purchased Genie+, are logged into your app and have good internet speed. Have the ride you want to book already pulled up on the app and click “Book Experience” immediately.
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Dannielle has been a lover of travel her whole life. From family ski trips in Canada and the US, to adventurous deep sea fishing and lobstering in the Florida Keys, her love for travel never stops. Since having children of her own, she has fallen in love with the magic and wonder that Walt Disney World Resort vacations bring her family. She is always planning trips for herself, family, and friends and now is excited to help YOU plan your next Disney or Universal Vacation.
Attention to detail is her specialty, and she loves finding magical moments everywhere in her trips.
Dannielle is a blessed wife and mother to four amazing children.