Is Disney Genie+ worth it at EPCOT? This question used to be an easy “no”, but there might be some value to purchasing the service this summer. We recently visited EPCOT to put Disney Genie+ to the test and had a lot of success when paired with a basic touring plan. In this article, we’ll share our experience and try to answer the question: is Disney Genie+ worth it at EPCOT?
Genie+ EPCOT Review (Summer 2022)
List of Disney Genie+ Attractions at EPCOT
Here’s a list of attractions that are offered in the Disney Genie+ service. Keep in mind that while all of the attractions below are offered through the Disney Genie+ service, they are not guaranteed. For that, we have an article where we list our Disney Genie+ priorities at EPCOT.
Lightning Lane Entrances Offered Through Disney Genie+ Service
Experiences offered (subject to change without notice*):
- Disney and Pixar Short Film Festival
- Frozen Ever After**
- Journey into Imagination with Figment
- Living with the Land
- Mission: SPACE – Green
- Mission: SPACE – Orange
- Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure**
- Soarin’ Around the World
- Spaceship Earth
- Test Track
- The Seas with Nemo & Friends
- Turtle Talk with Crush
Lightning Lane Entrances for Individual Purchase (Not Offered Through Disney Genie+ Service)
Experiences offered (subject to change without notice*):
- Frozen Ever After**
- Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind
- Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure**
**Until August 7, 2022, Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure will be offered through Disney Genie+ service and will not be available as individual (à la carte) purchases.
When Can You Purchase Disney Genie+?
Disney has recently changed the rules on when you can purchase Disney Genie+. Prior to June 8th, guests could pre-purchase Disney Genie+ as part of a ticket add-on. Now, Disney Genie+ is only available as a same-day purchase. Disney Genie+ can also sell out on any given day based on demand.
You can purchase Disney Genie+ beginning at 12am of the day of your visit. In the vast majority of cases, you will not need to purchase Disney Genie+ right at 12am. We were awake anyway, so we decided to purchase shortly after midnight on the day of our visit, but we don’t recommend that you stay up to purchase Disney Genie+. Instead, set an alarm for 6:30am and give yourself some time to ensure that you are able to purchase Disney Genie+ with plenty of time before the all-important 7am selection time.
Remy or Rewind?
Right at 7am, two important things will happen – the Virtual Queue will open for Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind and Disney Genie+ selections will open up. So, the question then becomes what do you do first? Do you try for a Virtual Queue right at 7am or do you make your first Disney Genie+ selection?
Well, here’s what we did and why. We skipped trying for a Cosmic Rewind Virtual Queue at 7am and instead prioritized getting as early of a Lightning Lane return time as possible for Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure. It probably goes without saying, but Lightning Lane return times for Remy go quickly. It is typically a ride that you have to pay for, so it’s extremely popular as a Disney Genie+ eligible attraction. It’s possible to try for a Virtual Queue and get a Lightning Lane for Remy before 7:05am, but we didn’t want to risk it.
Eligibility Events and the Invisible Wave
The primary reason we secured a Lightning Lane for Remy first is that we wanted to get ahead of the 120-minute Rule crowd. Essentially, there is an invisible wave of availability disappearing every two hours throughout the day. This is because guests are using (or being forced to use) the 120-minute rule. A quick example would be securing a 3:30pm return time for Slinky Dog Dash at Hollywood Studios first thing in the morning. That would mean that you wouldn’t be eligible until you redeem the Lighting Lane at 3:30pm, or at 10:30am, which is 120-minutes after park open. There are two things that trigger an eligibility event:
- You redeem your Lightning Lane (or the redemption window passes)
- 120 minutes passes since you made your last selection (or 120 minutes passes after the park opens if you made your first selection before park open)
Continuing our example, your second selection of the day is a 7:00pm return time for Smugglers Run and your next eligibility event is the 120-minute Rule, which takes place two hours after you make your Smugglers Run selection. That invisible wave of thousands of guests occurs throughout the day in a pretty predictable pattern. However, if you can get ahead of this wave by securing an early redemption time, you will find better selections throughout the day and especially for the first three or four selections.
To that end, we went for Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure right at 7am and secured an 8:40am to 9:40am return window. With an 8:30am opening time for EPCOT on the day of our visit, we were in a wonderful position to make the most of our day with Disney Genie+.
Rope Drop Strategy
We were not staying at a Disney World Resort Hotel on the day of our visit, so we were not eligible for Early Entry which allows resort guests to get into the theme parks 30 minutes early. Because of that, we didn’t really have a high amount of pressure to create a rope drop strategy. There would be 30 minutes of guests already in line ahead of us no matter where we went, so we thought back to the invisible wave and decided to do everything we could to stay ahead of the wave. In this case, that meant heading to Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure first to redeem our Lightning Lane and create an eligibility event.
Here’s a look at the crowds at the official park open rope drop.
We had a relatively leisurely stroll back to the France Pavilion knowing that we weren’t headed for the standby line. We’ve previously tried to rope drop Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure during Early Entry and found it difficult. To read more about that experience, check out our article below.
We’ll pause briefly here and acknowledge that we’re using Genie+ in a more advanced manner than the average guest. The average guest will make one or two selections per day if they’re lucky. Then again, if you’re reading this, you’re not the average guest. Even so, we will attempt to illustrate the ideal day or at least a very successful day with Disney Genie+, and your mileage may vary.
We also experienced some things that required us to adjust on the fly. One such adjustment that needed to be made was monitoring Test Track. As we said in our EPCOT Genie+ priority article, Test Track is prone to some mechanical downtime and weather downtime. This uncertainty led us to put Test Track ahead of Frozen Ever After on our priority list. Right on cue, Test Track was experiencing unexpected downtime during Early Entry. This meant that wait times would likely be elevated from the jump and Lightning Lane return windows could follow that trend and go quicker than normal. Something to monitor.
Ok, back to our day. We took a leisurely, but a purposeful walk back to Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure knowing that we would be able to make our following selection when we created an eligibility event when we physically tapped into Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure to redeem our Lightning Lane.
We tapped in right at 8:40am and immediately made our next selection before taking more than a few steps into the Lightning Lane queue. Going back to the Test Track downtime, we saw that Lightning Lane return times were going a lot quicker than Frozen Ever After return times. At 8:40am, Frozen Ever After was offering a 12:35am return window and Test Track was offering a 3:40pm return time. Knowing that our next selection would utilize the 120-minute Rule, and knowing that Test Track could be problematic, we secured our Lighting Lane for Test Track. Also included in our reasoning for Test Track as a second choice is that Florida can be plagued by afternoon thunderstorms. With downtime in the morning and storms in the afternoon, Test Track experiences quite a bit of closure on any given day. If you have a Lightning Lane and the attraction is closed, you’ll be able to come back at a later time when it reopens and still use Lightning Lane, or you’ll be able to use Lightning Lane at another attraction.
At this point, we had used our first Lightning Lane of the day for Remy and our second Lightning Lane window wouldn’t open until 3:40pm which meant that the 120-minute Rule was in play and our next eligibility event would be at 10:40am – 2 hours after we secured our Lightning Lane for Test Track.
Here’s a look at a portion of the Lightning Lane queue. Perhaps unsurprisingly, there was nobody else here.
Ok, time to ride Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure.
When we left Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure, we still weren’t off the clock just yet. Knowing that we likely would either have late Lightning Lane return times for Frozen Ever After or no return times at all, we decided to make the hike from the back of the France Pavilion over to Norway and do standby for Frozen. The posted wait time was 30 minutes and we knew that wait times would only go up from there. In fact, the highest wait time recorded on the day of our visit was 105 minutes in the early evening!
After a leisurely 15-minute walk, we found ourselves in Norway and a beautiful sight of no outdoor queue. We found the end of the line just a few steps inside but experienced parkgoers know that this isn’t a terrible wait. Without Lightning Lane guests, it would probably be a 10-15 minute wait, however, we saw waves of guests using the Lightning Lane queue shortly after we got in line, and our actual wait to board clocked in at 26 minutes. Not bad in the grand scheme of things and we were off to what felt like a great start. We skipped a 40+ minute rope drop wait at Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure using our top Lightning Lane priority, secured our second-highest Lightning Lane priority attraction with an early afternoon return time for Test Track, and had a 30-minute standby wait for Frozen Ever After. Now, finally, we could breathe a little and relax.
Slowing Things Down
Now that we could slow down a bit, we decided to go right next door and knock out a non-Lightning Lane attraction right next to Frozen Ever After at the Mexico Pavilion – The Gran Fiesta Tour.
This is a non-Lightning Lane attraction and it typically doesn’t get much more than a 15-20 minute wait. At 9:50am, it was a walk-on and a relaxing change of pace from the start of our day.
With our 120-minute Rule eligibility event not scheduled for another 45 minutes, and knowing the Soarin’ Around the World would be next on our Genie+ priority list, we decided to head over to World Nature to start knocking out rides before lunch.
We made our way over to The Seas with Nemo and Friends to enjoy another slow, indoor ride as the day started to heat up. We spent some time wandering around the space before our 10:40am eligibility event was triggered.
As 10:40am rolled around, we kind of had a fork in the road. We could either double back and get a Lightning Lane for Frozen Ever After because we did standby earlier, or we could continue down our priority list. Because we already rode it, we decided to pass on a Frozen Ever After Lightning Lane, which was showing a 7:10pm return window. If we had decided to get a Frozen Ever After Lightning Lane, we would have invoked the 120-minute Rule again and our next eligibility event wouldn’t be until 12:40pm. This isn’t a bad option and wouldn’t have affected our ability to complete our remaining Lightning Lane selections below beyond shifting our day later by a couple of hours.
We were able to secure an 11:15am return window for Soarin’ Around the World and had a little bit of time to kill before we’d be allowed to ride. We figured a ride on Living with the Land would be a good way to kill time, but the line was starting to grow, and we decided to relax with Awesome Planet until our Genie+ return window opened for Soarin’ Around the World.
Soarin’ Around the World had a posted wait of 50 minutes and the queue actually extended outside of the entrance. This was shaping up to be another great selection.
A quick note that some attractions have two tap points for Lightning Lane. In the case where there are two tap points, your Lightning Lane is not considered “redeemed” until you reach the second tap point. That means that you eligibility event is triggered at the second tap point. Once we reached the second tap point, we took a look at the remaining Disney Genie+ attractions and return windows. At 11:14am, here’s what we saw:
- Living with the Land – 11:15am
- Journey into Imagination with Figment – 11:15am
- Mission: SPACE – 11:20am
- Spaceship Earth – 11:15am
- Frozen Ever After – 8:30pm
Because our next highest priority attractions were all instant return times, we decided to go with the one physically closest to us, which meant Living with the Land. From here on out it was smooth sailing essentially with Lightning Lane. We did the hard work up front by choosing to get Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure and skipping the Cosmic Rewind Virtual Queue right at 7am. From there, smart selections like Test Track over Frozen Ever After and choosing to utilize standby for the latter made for a quick start, but a relaxing rest of the day.
Here’s how the rest of our selections shook out after we tapped into Living with the Land at 11:35am:
- Journey Into Imagination with Figment – 11:40am to 12:40pm (redeemed at 12:04pm)
- Spaceship Earth – 12:05pm to 1:05pm (redeemed at 1:10pm)
- Mission: SPACE – 1:10pm to 2:10pm (redeemed at 1:50pm)
How Does Cosmic Rewind Fit In?
If you take a closer look at the times above, you’ll see that we redeemed our Spaceship Earth Lightning Lane slightly past the eligibility window (you’re allowed to be up to 15 minutes late). That’s because we decided to stop at Connections Eatery after our ride on Journey Into Imagination with Figment for lunch. As we were finishing our lunch, the 1pm distribution window opened up and we were able to snag Boarding Group 122 with ease before heading over to Spaceship Earth.
Our Boarding Group was called at 3:30pm and we were able to knock out our 3:40pm Test Track Lightning Lane and redeem our Cosmic Rewind Boarding Group back-to-back.
Is Genie+ Worth It at EPCOT?
Roughly 2,500 words later, we’re ready to try to answer the question: is Disney Genie+ worth it at EPCOT?
To start, Genie+ is pretty reasonably priced at basically the price of a quick service meal That said, it can add up so you want to see if there is some value to be found. The calculation of value might look a little different for everyone, but most will come down to time saved versus money spent.
In our calculations, here’s how much time we saved versus the posted wait. Keep in mind that the posted wait is not always to be trusted.
|Attraction||Posted Wait||Lightning Lane Wait|
|Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure||40 minutes||3 minutes|
|Soarin’ Around the World||50 minutes||4 minutes|
|Living with the Land||20 minutes||2 minutes|
|Journey Into Imagination with Figment||10 minutes||2 minutes|
|Spaceship Earth||15 minutes||3 minutes|
|Mission: SPACE||20 minutes||2 minutes|
|Test Track||65 minutes||10 minutes|
We basically skipped over 3.5 hours of posted wait times with Disney Genie+ Lightning Lane on what is essentially an average crowd day at EPCOT. Even if the actual wait times were half of what the posted wait was, that’s more than an hour of saved time for $15 per person.
If we would’ve decided to double up on Frozen Ever After and get a late-night Lightning Lane, we probably would’ve skipped another 45-60 minute posted wait time. At best, we skipped 4.5 hours of waiting for $15 per person.
Is that worth it? Yes (with an asterisk).
If you have a single day at EPCOT and follow the model outlined in our day above, you might find some real value in essentially skipping the line at every attraction. We were effectively done with our day by 4pm, which would allow for some evening strolling around World Showcase before grabbing a spot for Harmonious. Not a bad way to spend your day.
The HUGE asterisk on our “yes” is that both Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure and Frozen Ever After are included with Genie+ through August 7th. This is really the only way that you could find value in Disney Genie+ right now. At their cheapest, Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure and Frozen Ever After are $9 each as an Individual Lightning Lane selections. You’re already ahead of the “value” curve with those included as Disney Genie+ attractions. Even if Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure remains as a Genie+ selection after August 7th, there might be some hesitation in saying that Genie+ is worth a purchase. Without both of those attractions, it’s really really tough to recommend Genie+ at EPCOT unless you have $15 per person to blow.
Right now, we’d recommend giving Disney Genie+ a try at EPCOT only if you’re committed to following the outline above. Skip Cosmic Rewind virtual queue at 7am and get the earliest possible time for Remy. From there, your day should be pretty easy going and you will find some value with Genie+.
As always, keep checking back with us here at BlogMickey.com as we continue to bring you the latest news, photos, and info from around the Disney Parks!