Magic Kingdom Genie+ Priorities & Lightning Lane Ride Ranks
Magic Kingdom is the best park for buying Walt Disney World’s Genie+ service. This paid FastPass replacement offers Lightning Lane line-skipping access to 23 attractions and character sightings in Magic Kingdom, and our guide ranks the rides and entertainment in terms of time-saved and how quickly reservations fill up. (Updated March 2, 2023.)
The goal of this post is giving you the tools and info to build your own Magic Kingdom itinerary with Genie+, rather than relying on our 1-Day Magic Kingdom Genie+ and Lightning Lanes Plan. We’d recommend a best of both worlds approach, consulting that pre-made plan and the rankings here so you understand the why of it, and can make your own itinerary.
Since crowds, weather, attraction downtime, and more can all heavily impact how an actual day at Walt Disney World plays out, it’s almost certain that a sample itinerary cannot be replicated step-for-step with the exact same Lightning Lane time slots, etc. As such, this equips you to put together your own dynamic plan of attack for using Genie+ in Magic Kingdom…
Of course, this assumes that you want to ‘pay to play’ and will use Genie+ rather than simply doing standby lines. In Magic Kingdom, that’s typically our recommendation. Basically, it boils down to the ride count. With 23 attractions offering Genie+ at Magic Kingdom, it has almost double the number of attractions as other parks at Walt Disney World.
However, using Genie+ is not always necessary. This is especially true during the off-season, such as many dates prior to spring break season, as well as after that ends and summer starts. It’s also true from mid-August through December on days when Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party or Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party is held. Basically, whenever crowd levels drop below 4/10, you don’t need to pay extra for Lightning Lane access. It still can be nice to have, but it’s hardly essential.
Additionally, see our Guide to Genie+ at Walt Disney World & Lightning Lane FAQ for all of the foundational need-to-know info about this paid FastPass+ replacement. This whole system is confusing and convoluted, so you might have a question or 17. That answers all of the most common ones we’ve been receiving from readers.
Before we get started, we should note that 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 in Magic Kingdom is Seven Dwarfs Mine Train. We are not keen on buying a la carte front of line access, so we recommend doing Seven Dwarfs Mine Train right before Magic Kingdom closes (or in the early evening, if you can’t stay until park closing).
TRON Lightcycle Run will be Magic Kingdom’s other Individual Lightning Lane ride when it opens on April 4, 2023. What’s unknown as of right now is whether Seven Dwarfs Mine Train will be ‘downgraded’ to Genie+ when TRON Lightcycle Run debuts. We could see it going either way. Seven Dwarfs Mine Train is still incredibly popular, but with an entirely different demographic than TRON Lightcycle Run. On top of that, Magic Kingdom already has 23 Genie+ Lightning Lane attractions, which is more than any other park. So Disney might maintain its ILL status in order to capture more revenue.
Now, on with the show & ride rankings for Genie+ at Magic Kingdom…
The Best of Genie+ at Magic Kingdom
T1. Jungle Cruise – This one might come as a huge surprise, but Jungle Cruise has seen a huge resurgence in popularity since it’s recent reimagining. Through the first two months of 2023 it has, on average, the third-longest wait time in Magic Kingdom, behind only Peter Pan’s Flight and Seven Dwarfs Mine Train. Despite being behind Peter Pan’s Flight in average wait, Lightning Lane inventory goes faster for this. Hence the tie.
T1. Peter Pan’s Flight – Not a huge shock for those who booked FastPass+ reservations in the past! Peter Pan’s Flight is far and away the most popular of Magic Kingdom’s iconic Fantasyland dark rides, with wait times regularly exceeding 90 minutes. Its Lightning Lane reservations usually last until midday or later, but it’s still a savvy second (or even first) pick.
3. Meet Ariel at Her Grotto – The first of two recently-returning attractions, the Little Mermaid meet & greet has had extremely limited Lightning Lane availability on some dates in 2023. If going solely by how quickly reservations book up, this would be the #1 Genie+ Lightning Lane at Magic Kingdom, easily. However, the average wait time for the Princess Ariel meet & greet doesn’t even begin to justify giving it the top slot, and barely justifies ranking it #3.
Fair warning: if you pick something else first, you probably won’t be able to score an Ariel’s Grotto Lightning Lane. It goes that fast most days. Conversely, if you pick this first, there’s a good chance you won’t be able to score ride reservations for both Jungle Cruise and Peter Pan’s Flight. In our view, the opportunity cost of having to do those via standby is too high. As such, our strong recommendation is to do this meet & greet relatively early in the day and via the standby line. Reserve your Lightning Lanes for the attractions that’ll save you the most time.
4. Space Mountain – The first of two consecutive Magic Kingdom Mountain Range rides, it should be unsurprising to see Space Mountain crack the top 5. If thrill rides are important to you, a strong case can be made for also moving this above the Ariel’s Grotto meet & greet. Once TRON Lightcycle Run opens, Space Mountain will likely be in even higher demand, as its next-door neighbor will draw crowds to this side of the park.
5. Big Thunder Mountain Railroad – Another Magic Kingdom Mountain Range entry, so this one probably doesn’t need much explanation. If anything, you might wonder why Big Thunder Mountain Railroad ranks this low. It’s all a matter of average wait times–which have been moderate–and Genie+ availability–which has been abundant. Both of those things could change, but for now, there’s no need to prioritize BTMRR any earlier.
6. Meet Cinderella and a Visiting Princess at Princess Fairytale Hall – Both of the next two princess meet & greets at Princess Fairytale Hall in Fantasyland rank higher for Halloween and Christmas due to staffing shortages. We won’t go too deep into how the sausage is made, so to speak, but more characters during the hard ticket parties means fewer for other shifts. Consequently, there are longer lines during normal hours.
7. Meet Princess Tiana and a Visiting Princess at Princess Fairytale Hall – Cinderella’s meet & greet has the slight edge on Tiana, with slightly higher wait time on average. In reality, prioritize whichever of these matters more to you. This really holds true for picks #6 through #9. All of these are character-centric entertainment that aren’t that far apart from one another in terms of priority.
8. Enchanted Tales with Belle – The newest attraction to reopen at Walt Disney World, we’ve thus far seen limited Lightning Lane availability for Enchanted Tales with Belle. If this list were ranked solely on the basis of how quickly reservations fill up, Enchanted Tales with Belle would be much higher. What prevents that is the average posted wait time here, which is in the middle of the pack for all Magic Kingdom attractions. We’ll be watching this closely to see whether it should move up, but for now, it is not a high priority.
9. Meet Mickey & Minnie at Town Square Theater – Late last year, this climbed to #1 on our rankings. That was due to party season, which pulled meet & greet “resources” away from the Mickey Mouse meet & greet. With party season over, this Lightning Lane ranking has plummeted. If you see it highly recommended elsewhere, that’s because it was a top pick from last August through December. As of March 2023, Magic Kingdom’s Mickey & Minnie Mouse meet & greet is only moderate priority.
10. Festival of Fantasy Parade – While all of these are obviously optional, this is even more situation dependent, for lack of a better term. You can easily watch Festival of Fantasy Parade without a Cinderella Castle-facing view. This doesn’t necessarily save any time, it offers a reserved viewing area that’s arguably better than alternatives.
Moreover, if you make all of the above selections, there’s a good chance Festival of Fantasy Parade will be gone. Basically, this option is for families with small children who won’t be able to do the Magic Kingdom Mountain Range, and perhaps won’t want to do some other attractions. (Personally, we never book the reserved parade viewing–it’s not worth it to us.)
11. Haunted Mansion – This one might come as a surprise, but Haunted Mansion’s average wait time since the launch of Genie+ has ranked it pretty highly! (And it’s even more popular during Halloween season.) We’ve moved it down a couple of spots since Haunted Mansion tends to have better Genie+ availability, but it should be a high priority.
12. Pirates of the Caribbean – Similar story to Haunted Mansion with Pirates of the Caribbean. Standby waits have been long, so you’re potentially bypassing a lengthy line when using the Lightning Lane for PotC. On the plus side, it seldom runs out of reservation availability in Genie+, except during the busier seasons.
13. Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin – Lines can fluctuate dramatically for Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin, with waits some days exceeding 60 minutes and it being a near walk-on other days. If you’re visiting when it’s busier, scoring a Lightning Lane reservation here will be important–especially since the overflow queue is outdoors and offers minimal shade. Most days thus far, Genie+ has had instant return times. We’ll revisit and re-rank Space Ranger Spin if that changes.
14. The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh – The argument could be made that Winnie the Pooh’s Fantasyland dark ride should be in the top 5. Its average wait time puts it there and, subjectively, the wait in the standby line is excruciating (I speak from experience). However, Genie+ availability has been abundant, and the Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh is more skippable due to its quality (or lack thereof) than the attractions above it.
15. “it’s a small world” – This famous–or infamous, depending upon your perspective–Fantasyland boat ride has not had long wait times historically, but they’ve spiked in recent months. Some days, using the Lightning Lane entrance will bypass a 45 minute (or more) wait, making this a potentially strong Genie+ ride reservation. (Other days, it’ll save you no time at all.)
16. Under the Sea ~ Journey of the Little Mermaid – It’s a very similar story here. If the standby line for the Little Mermaid dark ride spills out into the walkway, this can be a 45 to 60 minute wait. Most of the time, this ‘people-eater’ attraction will have pretty short waits, though. Still, it’s easy to grab a nearly-immediate return time via Genie+, and the potential savings make it a recommended pick for late afternoon.
17. Dumbo the Flying Elephant – Another iconic Magic Kingdom rite-of-passage attraction that’s a real wildcard. Standby waits here can be long, but so too can Lightning Lane waits if you get unlucky. Nevertheless, we’d recommend using Genie+ for it on busier days, as there’s solid time-savings potential.
The Rest of Genie+ at Magic Kingdom
Barnstormer – This kiddie coaster can have long waits on the busiest days of the year, but so far, we’ve found Genie+ to offer almost no advantage here. Get it if you can, but don’t sweat standby.
Mad Tea Party – The iconic spinning teacup is fun, but averages wait times under 15 minutes. Again, use Genie+ if you can (because why not), but it’s not a huge deal otherwise.
Magic Carpets of Aladdin – This is like a knock-off county fair version of Dumbo. We don’t recommend doing it at all–we’d wait in a longer standby line for Astro Orbiter if truly needing our spinner fix.
Monsters Inc. Laugh Floor – Using Genie+ here on busier days might get you in one show earlier than you otherwise would’ve making this a potential ‘sleeper pick’ for the Lightning Lane.
Tomorrowland Speedway – Unless vehicle exhaust-induced cognitive impairment and the loud putter of engines is your thing, you’ll want to be in and out of line as quickly as possible here. That also makes it a good sleeper pick for use of Genie+ and the Lightning Lane. Right now, that’s not necessary, but on a busier day, this could sneak into the top 10.
Ultimately, you should be able to knock out all 22 attractions via Genie+ using Lightning Lanes on a good day in Magic Kingdom. On a bad day, you might only be able to do the top 10. On an awful day, it might be the top 5. So plan accordingly based on the crowds when you’ll be visiting, and also give yourself as many other advantages as possible–like Early Entry, rope drop, or Extended Evening Hours.
Regardless of when you’re visiting, Genie+ will save you more time at Magic Kingdom–and allow you to have a more leisurely day–than at any other Walt Disney World park. This is what makes buying it our recommendation for most people and on most days of the year. Even if it requires a bit of a splurge, cut the cost out of your Walt Disney World vacation budget somewhere else.
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 Magic Kingdom? Surprised to see Jungle Cruise at #1? Are you planning on buying Genie+ or skipping it? 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!
I just have to say – our family thinks Magic Carpets is way better than any other spinner ride at MK, including the iconic dumbo. There’s something about it that makes the up and down feature far more fun on that ride than any other. And the atmosphere at night above Adventureland is wonderful!
Great seeing some love for spinner rides! When I dreamed of someday visiting Disneyland, back in the 50’s ,it was with images of riding dumbo that fueling my fantasies.
It’s the spitting camels that make it better than Dumbo. But we still like Dumbo and the Astro Orbiter!
no LL can beat out a wet evening at MK, after the fireworks get cancelled especially, you got that window to walk on to most everything. Did back to back Peter Pan and SDMT walk ons right before park close! All of Fantasy land was near empty. The best thing you can do is PRAY FOR RAIN for your MK day and be happy to be soaked!
We are making our first trip in a while on 7/2 and 7/3 this year as I have always wanted to see 4th of July fireworks at Disney. It’s also my first time braving a major holiday weekend in the parks. Assuming it will be worth it to get GP on our day at Magic Kingdom on 7/3, in addition to the ILL for TRON? We are no longer APs and want to make the most of the day.
On an unrelated note, I have been following your blog since our first anniversary trip to Disney World in 2019 and I want to thank you for the work you put into it. I have consistently followed since that time and have told others about it on numerous occasions. You have a great style of writing and sense of humor while not taking yourself too seriously. Cheers.
Used Genie+ yesterday and disappointed. something not mentioned often is how much more walking it causes. Zig-zagging back and forth across the park to rides you got a LL time slot for (because it was all you could get). I estimate we saved 2 hours of lines, but spent an extra hour walking.
Worst of all, instead of enjoying the stroll through the park, all day was a rush between events with face buried in the app.
Tom, three things, please? Any thoughts on how much of an impact the “No re-rides” rule is having? In the FP+ days stand by lines on the most popular rides were pretty slow moving. Now there’s no SDMT, limited (supposedly) volumes of Genie+ sales and the no re-rides rule, have we seen stand by waits dropping over the year compared to the FP+ days?
Please explain (again) your reasoning for party size not mattering for G+(or FP+) as I just don’t get it. Often one could get a FP+ for 1 or 2 but not 4 within the same window. Are you saying it was always just a simple matter of capacity/hour against the number of places not yet taken?
And finally, do we see the current Deluxe Evenings staying into ’23 and/or expanding?
It’s impossible to say how much of an impact the no re-rides rule is having, because it’s also occurring at a time of reduced capacity and scaled back operations. Those things may not seem meaningful at this point, but they are.
Party size did not matter for FP+ and does not matter for Genie+ with the exception for both being cancelled ride reservations. So if you’re talking about playing the refresh game and hoping to score something, it does matter–you have to match up party size (or have a smaller party) to take advantage of the cancelled reservation. Otherwise, it does not and did not with FastPass+, either.
You take the best Disney Parks photos ever.
Personally I can’t stand the Big Thunder MRR line , especially in August. It’s really hotter than a lot of other lines and the exhaust smell bugs me…line moves pretty slowly. It might not be a top genie plus priority for all, but other followers who find this line difficult might keep this in mind while prioritizing.
I thought in a previous post you mentioned Space Mountain and Mickey & Minnies Runaway train were being added to the Genie + lightning Lane List and not Al la Carte purchase anymore? Is that correct?
I think the fact you can only LL each ride once a day is a factor in the standby times. Many of those rides are ones we like to do 2 or 3 times, so we have to standby to do that.
It would be very useful to see two day trips at MK and HS, using Genie+. I tried making my own plan using your trip planner but I did not understand how to get Genie+ option to work. I did not understand how to add Genie+ options for rides.
Renewed Jungle Cruise popularity is largely due to the popular movie that came out last summer exposing several generations to it for the first time.
Travelling to WDW in May with an almost 5-year-old. I have been planning and preparing, and I really appreciate your posts! We are staying on property in a “deluxe” resort, so we are able to take advantage of early and late hours. I have read that the “late hours” cause a more crowded day in the park. With a young child, I am confident that we won’t be able to make it until midnight, which is the extended time at MK for the week we will be there. Does it make sense to avoid MK on the day with extended hours, since we likely won’t be able to use it anyway? Are the crowds during the day more significant on days with extended hours? Or should we risk it, just in case the kiddo is in the mood to party the night away? I would appreciate any thoughts you are able to provide!
Where does ASTRO Orbiter fit in here?
For some reason Astro orbiter doesn’t have a genie+ line so fit it in like country bears, tiki birds etc when you have big gap between your genie+ choices
We just came home from 8 days at Disney World. Worst trip!!! The lines for Its a Small World was a 75 min wait on Monday January 24, 2022. So when we went back to Magic Kingdom on January 26, we decided to get the Genie Plus. We got Pirates of the Caribbean for 9:30 as soon as we got on I was able to get Buzz Light Year (not my first choice but nothing else available). After we got on Buzz the next available time to get anything was around 4:30!!!! I really found the Lighting Lane a joke!!! It’s a shame that you have to make reservations to get in the park. I mean WDW know how many people are in the park each day and then you have to buy a place in line unless you want to spend your entire day waiting in line to ride maybe a total of three rides. Crowds are crazy even during the “slow week” of the year. It’s a shame when some middle class families get to go maybe once and just get to walk around the parks. It was was just my husband and I on this trip so even getting in the lighting lane for two people was crazy. I miss the days when going to Disney was magical now it’s like a marathon running around at each park. Maybe Disney needs to get back to the basics and not be so money hungry. The wait times are crazy, parks are packed and Disney World continues to add more hotels (Star Wars) to add more people!! I really don’t think this is what Walt had in mind. I know people are probably going to read this and say…. go somewhere else but I really believe I’m not and can’t be the only person thinking this way………..Heather Nelson
You are not the only one! We are planning a trip for first time with our kids this April and I am already dreading it. We have been wanting to take our kids before the pandemic, then of course our plans were delayed. We are biting the bullet and going now because or kids want the experience so bad. I have invested so much time in planning and trying to figure out how to get the most out of our time in the parks and I feel like everything at Disney is a money grab these days. I already know we won’t be back because of the expense and lack of magical experience. I have appreciated the advice and tips provided from these blogs.
Nope nope nope. But until dopes on a rope stop spending $20,000 for their extended family to go every three months, the mania will continue. Go to Europe!
Agree 100% same on Disney. Some people save for years or life to come once
You pay outrageous park pass and then have to pay per ride,pay to go to multiple parks in a day and now pay per ride what is admission for Disney get real we love Disney but we shouldn’t be priced out to make up for pandemic losses and everywhere else on earth not fair go back to old school just because other parks are so greedy set the standard Disney show them how to make happy visitors and you all already make a fortune definitely need to reevaluate your position be the big brother that does the right thing show us Walts vision without taking out a second mortgage show us you are living up to the magic and vision and quite degrading merchandise and excessive fees once you pay to get in it should be a level playing field Disney you can easily hire more ride attendance and move people 10x faster and you know it please stop making it about your money and taking ours just give us back the happiest place on earth. Bought into dvc while under construction site unseen 1991 annual pass holder dg3 member owner in a second dvc property everything we have and do is Disney give us back our fair shake Disney credit cards too
I totally agree Heather. The Genie + and Lightning Lane need to go away. The old Fastpass system worked much better. Very disappointing that Disney has become so greedy and is alienating so many of its once loyal followers. We will choose in the future to spend our time and vacation dollars at Universal instead.
HiTom, I enjoy your writhing style and look forward to reading your articles. I dont have time to read everyone so I will just ask. Back when you could buy a 10 day park pass with hopper plus it was a great deal . . So on our yearly trips to Florida we would stop at disney . . .stay a couple days . . .pick the day that had the longest open to close time and hit out favorites in 1 long day. Then it started . . . What, I have to pay to park at a resort! Now you pay for everything . The lastest being genie +, grrrrrr.seems like you need to pay to even ride a ride. So here is my comment. You should do a artical comparing costs when disney world opened to now. When disney had the A-E ride tickets did you have to pay to get into the park? Then when they made it 1 price that gets you in and you can ride all the rides you want . . To now when you still pay the high price to get in and now have to buy a genie + to ride a E ticket ride. I would love to see that story.
We will arrive later in the day on Sunday and going to MK about 2:00. It is open until 10. We will have a second day on Wed. Is it worth getting Genie + for that first day? My thoughts were to let the 5 year old take in the magic. Use our photo pass a lot and jump on all the shorter lines. Input?
I’m really interested in a post like this for the Disneyland parks 🙂
We will have ones for DL and DCA before the end of January! 🙂
In response to Amanda: Based on only my intuition, we’re doing Genie+ the first day at MK but probably not the second and we’re going in January. I’ve gone to WDW many times but have never used Genie+, so it’s just a guess.