EPCOT started as the worst park for buying Walt Disney World’s Genie+ service, but has improved big time thanks to additions to the ride roster. There’s Lightning Lane line-skipping access to 11 attractions, several of which will save you considerable time waiting. This guide ranks them all in terms of wait times and how quickly selections run out. (Updated March 9, 2023.)
There are two big changes at EPCOT that have resulted in this shift. The first is higher crowd levels that have come with Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind. That new family-friendly Marvel roller coaster is not part of Genie+, but it has increased demand for EPCOT, increasing wait times across the board.
More significantly, there have been changes to the Lightning Lane lineup–and two huge additions–that make buying Genie+ more advantageous at EPCOT, especially for families with small children. (Or really anyone who enjoys classic dark rides.) This post breaks that down, and how you can take full advantage of Lightning Lanes at EPCOT.
EPCOT is great at absorbing crowds…it’s just light on headliner attractions. That’s the problem with Genie+ on a low to moderately busy day–you won’t save enough time at the vast majority of eligible attractions to make the purchase worth the money unless you’re Park Hopping. It’s also arguably not worth the time, as Genie+ will force you to criss-cross the park rather than doing things as you naturally arrive to them while navigating normally.
During peak season, it’s a different story as ~6 of the 10 Genie+ Lightning Lane attractions can have significant wait times throughout the day that are worth skipping. This isn’t to say you should buy Genie+ on those days, but rather, that you should only buy it, if at all, on days with peak crowds. That literally means only 9/10 or 10/10 days. This includes the entirety of Spring Break, Easter, Summer, Veterans Day, Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year’s Eve, MLK Day, Presidents’ Day, Mardi Gras, and other peak travel times.
If you want to skip Genie+ entirely, consult our 1-Day EPCOT Itinerary, which covers how you can accomplish everything even if you’re staying off-site and don’t want to spend anything extra on Genie+ or Individual Lightning Lanes. It also offers great “zig when they zag” advice to flip the script on World Showcase and Future World.
Also, if you’re staying on-site, the one thing we highly recommend is Early Entry. Check out our recent Early Entry at EPCOT: Better Than Genie+ post–the title says it all. Significantly earlier opening times provide a huge advantage to early risers, as does being able to hit headliners in linear order without backtracking, which is often required when using Genie+ and Lightning Lanes. That can mean a lot of walking when using the line-skipping service, which means the time saved not waiting in line can be more than offset about the extra time spent walking around the parks.
To that end, we (once again) recommend checking out Best Time-Saving Strategies for Walt Disney World, which is the result of extensive ‘testing’ to determine the best and worst ways to beat the crowds.
If you can’t swing getting up and out the door before park opening, Extended Evening Theme Park Hours at EPCOT is great for eligible guests. That’s usually on Monday nights and goes until 11 pm or midnight, depending upon normal hours. Almost all open attractions are walk-ons during Extended Evening Hours. Those extra hours also offer access to a third virtual queue entry time for Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind.
But back to the original point of this post. The goal is to give you the tools and info you need to create your own itinerary with Genie+, rather than relying on our 1-Day EPCOT Genie+ and Lightning Lanes Plan. Or, you can utilize “a best of both worlds” approach, consulting that pre-made plan and the rankings here so you understand the why of it, and can adjust the itinerary to account for your Advance Dining Reservations, preferred showtimes, whether you want to minimize walking distances, etc.
Additionally, see our Guide to Genie+ at Walt Disney World & Lightning Lane FAQ for all of the foundational need-to-know info about this replacement for free FastPass+. This whole system is confusing and convoluted, so you might have a question or two-dozen. That answers all of the most common ones we’ve been receiving from readers.
Also, this offers ride priorities for Lightning Lanes via Genie+ and not Individual Lightning Lanes (ILL), which are pay-per-ride. At present, the only ILL attraction for EPCOT is Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind. Previously, both Frozen Ever After and Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure were also an ILL attractions. Those have both moved down to the Genie+ lineup (permanently), improving that ride roster.
We are not keen on buying a la carte front of line access, so we recommend doing ILL attractions first thing in the morning or towards the end of the night. See our Virtual Queue Strategy Guide for Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind for the secrets to success with that. For the last several months (since literally last August), we’ve been expecting the virtual queue to be retired “very soon.” Well, that should finally happen by April 2023, due to the debut of TRON Lightcycle Run at Magic Kingdom. It seems unlikely that Walt Disney World will utilize two virtual queues at once, even if they are in different parks.
Now, on with the show & ride rankings for Genie+ at EPCOT…
The Best of Genie+ at EPCOT
1. Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure – The newest Genie+ attraction at EPCOT, and second-newest ride in all of Walt Disney World. That would seemingly make this the obvious #1 Genie+ Lightning Lane selection at EPCOT, but this has actually bounced around a bit. In the last several months, Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure has emerged as the most common #1 priority, and the Lightning Lane you won’t have a chance to book if you choose something else with your first pick.
2. Test Track – This older attraction has gained ground with Genie+ in the last few months, and what appears to be happening is that the two all ages attractions are “splitting the #1 selections,” so to speak. Meaning that families are choosing either the Rat Ride or Frozen Ever After, diluting the popularity of each as a first selection. Meanwhile, Test Track is the only high-profile thrill ride, so it’s prioritized by almost all guests wanting that type of attraction.
3. Frozen Ever After – Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure is now the clear #1 at EPCOT, with Test Track and Frozen Ever After pretty much tied for #2. There’s barely any difference between them, but there is a slight one. In short, your best shot at obtaining Lightning Lanes for the entire trio is booking Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure #1, Test Track #2, and Frozen Ever After #3.
Even that requires a lot of luck and crowd levels to be in your favor. If skipping the line for Frozen Ever After is essential, you should move this up to #2, as there’s a strong chance you will not get this Lightning Lane if you choose Test Track at #2. You probably will not get all 3 in a single day (we’d put the chances of success at under 50%), but all of the rest should be doable in a single day.
4. Soarin’ Around the World – Once the longest wait time in EPCOT, it’s become less popular in recent years and had another theater added to help absorb crowds. It shouldn’t be too difficult to secure this into the afternoon, so you have a little flexibility in booking this strategically depending upon your preferred return time and personal priorities.
5. Mission: Space – Here’s where we enter “only necessary in high crowds” country. On a low or moderately crowded day, Mission: Space will have a short or nonexistent wait and Genie+ won’t be necessary. On busier days, having a Lightning Lane time reserved could save you 30-60 minutes here.
6. Spaceship Earth – This is always a tricky one, as Spaceship Earth’s wait time fluctuates dramatically even on busier days. Due to its prominence as guests enter the park, it almost always has a much longer wait time in the first half of the day, and a short wait in afternoon and evening. Again, still a worthwhile Lightning Lane selection when crowds are high.
7. Living with the Land – By the time you get to make this Lightning Lane selection, return times will hopefully be in the early evening hours. The only time this is going to be a useful ride reservation is during the holiday season, when the Merry & Bright overlay keeps it popular at night. If you’re going any other time of year, this Lightning Lane is not necessary. Living with the Land will likely be a walk-on since its wait time is shortest at night–even with peak season crowds.
8. Journey Into Imagination – Approximately 300 days of the year, you’ll wait 10 minutes or less to ride Journey into Imagination with Figment. About 40 days per year, it’ll be a 15 minute or shorter wait. It’s those other 25 days, when the wait time exceeds 30 minutes, when Lightning Lane will come in handy here.
The Rest of Genie+ at EPCOT
The Seas with Nemo & Friends – We have yet to see a day when this attraction has run out of Genie+ Lightning Lane reservations.
Stage Shows – At EPCOT, this means Turtle Talk with Crush and the Disney & Pixar Short Film Festival. While Genie+ offers priority seating, which can amount to a better view, it’s typically not all that advantageous for shows.
To the contrary, booking a Lightning Lane for this is just going to amount to needless backtracking or clicking in the app, and the opportunity cost of not booking something else. The vast majority of guests should simply do shows via the standby lines.
Ultimately, you should be able to knock out most attractions via Genie+ using Lightning Lanes on normal days in EPCOT. This is actually a significant shift, and due to the additions of Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure and Frozen Ever After in the Genie+ lineup, which were previously Individual Lightning Lanes. This are game-changers, and scoring both of those family friendly rides plus Test Track or Soarin’ Around the World can save you a ton of time.
Prior to that, the majority of guests wouldn’t save much time with Genie Plus–certainly nothing like Magic Kingdom or Hollywood Studios–but some will. Now, the circumstances are very different, especially on days that have high crowds, which is more common now that Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind has opened. Accordingly, we now recommend many guests purchase Genie+ at EPCOT, as the time-savings justify the cost. With that said, you can still accomplish pretty much just as much via Early Entry or Extended Evening Hours.
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!
How would you rank your ride priorities using Genie+ and Lightning Lanes in EPCOT? Surprised by any of the rankings in our top 5, that Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure takes the #1 spot, or is this all pretty obvious? Are you planning on buying Genie+ or skipping it? Will you use it on an EPCOT-only day, or exclusively when Park Hopping? Do you agree or disagree with our rankings? 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!