1-Day Hollywood Studios Itinerary Using Genie+ & Lightning Lanes

Our 1-Day Hollywood Studios Itinerary using Genie+ and Lightning Lanes covers how those new paid line-skipping services will work in practice. This step-by-step Walt Disney World touring plan should answer questions, illustrate the process, and provide time-saving strategy for making the best ride reservations.

This is a theoretical day at DHS due to unknowns, but that’s true of literally any itinerary. Crowd levels and wait times vary, attractions experience downtime, and there are unique wrinkles to any day in Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Just like a normal touring plan, there’s a lot here that we can pull from past precedent, historical wait time data, and extensive experience with similar systems.

This is intended to supplement our Lightning Lane and Genie+ at Walt Disney World FAQ. A lot of you have had questions, and we’ve tried to answer most of the common ones there. However, many are about specific scenarios and that FAQ would be as long as a Tolstoy novel if we addressed each one there. Instead, we’re going to explain by showing via a day at DHS, which will hopefully address a lot of concerns/questions/etc. in the process.

If you have a Walt Disney World vacation coming up between now and December 2021 and are freaking out about Genie+ and Lightning Lanes, my salient recommendation would be to take a step back, don’t assume the worst, and take a wait & see approach. I know that’s easier said than done, especially among the type A planners.

Unfortunately, this new system will partially upend whatever itinerary building you’ve already done for Walt Disney World. Beyond that, there will likely be some fluidity as tweaks are made over the course of the coming months. That’s simply the reality of it–not everything will be known or knowable right away.

Finally, as discussed in the aforementioned FAQ, there will be up to 2 attractions per park that sell individual Lightning Lane access and are not part of Genie+. At Disney’s Hollywood Studios, those two attractions will be Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance and Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway.

Anyway, on with our 1-Day Disney’s Hollywood Studios Itinerary with Genie+…

7:01 am – Book Slinky Dog Dash via Genie+ with a Lightning Lane return window of 9:10 am to 10:10 am.

8:30 am – Rope drop Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway via standby.

9:05 am – Do Toy Story Mania via standby line.

9:11 am – Attempt to book Toy Story Mania via Genie+ with a Lightning Lane return window of 10:00 am to 11:00 am, but fail because it overlaps with unused SDD ride reservation.

Instead, book Millennium Falcon Smugglers Run via Genie+ with a Lightning Lane return window of 11:20 am to 12:20 pm.

9:30 am – Do Slinky Dog Dash via Lightning Lane (Genie+ ride reservation).

9:45 am – Do Alien Swirling Saucers via standby line.

10:25 am – Do Star Tours: the Adventures Continue via standby line.

11:11 am – Seeking vengeance after losing to an 8 year old, you book another ride on Toy Story Mania via Genie+ with a Lightning Lane return window of 12:30 pm to 1:30 pm. (Would’ve preferred to book Tower of Terror, but it conflicts with Hollywood Brown Derby lunch ADR.)

Note: 11:11 am is chosen because it’s 120 minutes after 9:11 am, which is consistent with the 120 minute rule. This means that you can select your next Genie+ ride reservation either immediately after the window opens for your previous one or after 120 minutes have passed, whichever is sooner. In this case, that’s 120 minutes.

11:20 am – Do Millennium Falcon Smugglers Run via Lightning Lane (Genie+ ride reservation).

12:00 pm – See MuppetVision 3D, marvel at its distinctly patriotic brilliance.

12:30 pm – Do Toy Story Mania via Lightning Lane (Genie+ ride reservation).

12:31 pm – Book Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster Starring Aerosmith via Genie+ with a Lightning Lane return window of 4:40 pm to 5:40 pm.

Note: Rule is either 120 minutes or ride reservation redemption–meaning you can book another reservation via Genie+ the minute you tap into your last active reservation, without regard to timing.

12:50 pm – Browse Walt Disney Presents for evidence to confirm suspicions of grave-rolling.

1:20 pm – Hollywood Brown Derby ADR

2:31 pm – While eating your Grapefruit Cake at Hollywood Brown Derby, book Frozen Sing-Along Celebration via Genie+ with a Lightning Lane showtime of 3:30 pm. (Note: this is objectively bad strategy, but the return time for Tower of Terror is 6:30 pm to 7:30 pm, and you want to Park Hop to Epcot before then.)

2:45 pm – Recover from aforementioned Grapefruit Cake and Brown Derby Signature Burger-induced food coma with Vacation Fun – An Original Animated Short with Mickey & Minnie.

3:05 pm – Inspired by Vacation Fun, head to the Trolley Car Cafe Starbucks for some coffee…and against your better judgment, a Carrot Cake Cookie. Mickey would say you’ve earned it, probably.

3:25 pm – Do Frozen Sing-Along Celebration via Lightning Lane. Realize this Genie+ reservation offered you no advantage whatsoever.

4:00 pm – Lightning McQueen’s Racing Academy via standby line.

4:31 pm – Book Mission: Space at Epcot via Genie+ with a Lightning Lane return window of 7 pm to 8 pm. (Alternatively, if staying until park closing, you could probably get Tower of Terror for the end of the night–this is more to illustrate that park hopping is possible with the Genie+ system.)

4:40 pm – Do Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster Starring Aerosmith via Lightning Lane (Genie+ ride reservation).

5:00 pm – Do the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror via the standby line. Can’t say we’re wild about waiting in standby for a headliner, but that’s bound to happen at DHS given the top-heavy nature of the lineup. At least it’s later in the day when wait times should be starting to decrease.

6 pm – Do Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance via standby line after noticing the posted wait time has dropped to 80 minutes. This is significantly shorter than the 120 to 180 minute posted wait times earlier in the day–you knew this would happen since Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance wait times tend to peak early. The actual wait ends up being under an hour, which you also knew would happen.

7 pm or so – Park Hop to Epcot via the Disney Skyliner gondolas and pick up your evening there…

Once again, this was a theoretical day with Genie+ at Disney’s Hollywood Studios based on assumptions about capacity allocation and demand. Some or all of these assumptions could be off and not reflect what you actually experience come October–but the same could be said of any itinerary. We think this is probably ~75% accurate, and at the very least, should illustrate how a day could look using Genie+ for those who never used paper FastPass or MaxPass.

To be sure, this is an efficient day at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, but not an overzealous one. There are some deliberate missteps so it doesn’t appear too perfect. In fact, it’s likely that you could accomplish all headliners at DHS before 6 pm, including Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance, with a bit better strategy.

Speaking of which, the Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge headliner is going to be the big wildcard. Nothing else here is unprecedented–we’ve seen how things work with paper FastPass and/or MaxPass. A lot can be surmised from that. By contrast, Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance has never allocated a significant part of its capacity to paid line-skipping, so we don’t know how much longer the standby line will become as a result.

Finally, none of this is to “sell” you on Genie+. As I wrote in commentary to the initial Genie+ and Lightning Lanes at Walt Disney World announcement, money talks and BS walks. FastPass+ was free and this is paid. For many Walt Disney World fans, that’s the bottom line. We’re not saying you shouldn’t be mad, disappointed, grieving–or whatever reaction you might have to the change. If you want to “vote with your wallet” and be done with Walt Disney World, that is certainly your prerogative–and the most effective way to voice your frustration and effect change.

Rather, the point here is to illustrate how Genie+ could prove advantageous for days you opt to purchase the add-on (I’d buy strategically rather than length-of-stay), put some doomsday assumptions to rest, and start making lemonade out of lemons. If you’re going to keep visiting Walt Disney World, you’ll need to come to terms with this at some point and learn to adapt. For what it’s worth, we loved MaxPass at Disneyland and found it to be better than FastPass+ for more laid back visitors. Although this is a diluted version of MaxPass that attempts to squeeze more money out of guests, it is still a version of that. In terms of putting our money where our mouths are, we’ll be buying the yearly Genie+ add-on for Annual Passes once it’s released.

Planning a Walt Disney World trip? Learn about hotels on our Walt Disney World Hotels Reviews page. For where to eat, read our Walt Disney World Restaurant Reviews. To save money on tickets or determine which type to buy, read our Tips for Saving Money on Walt Disney World Tickets post. Our What to Pack for Disney Trips post takes a unique look at clever items to take. For what to do and when to do it, our Walt Disney World Ride Guides will help. For comprehensive advice, the best place to start is our Walt Disney World Trip Planning Guide for everything you need to know!


Was this 1-Day Disney’s Hollywood Studios Itinerary w/ Genie+ helpful to illustrate how paid FastPass will work? Would you like to see sample step-by-step plans for the other theme parks at Walt Disney World? Have any questions we didn’t answer with the above? Still confused by how Genie+ or Lightning Lanes will work? Do you agree or disagree with our assessments? Other thoughts or concerns? Any questions we can help you answer? Hearing your feedback—even when you disagree with us—is both interesting to us and helpful to other readers, so please share your thoughts below in the comments!

155 Responses to “1-Day Hollywood Studios Itinerary Using Genie+ & Lightning Lanes”
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