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 22 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 September 3, 2022.)

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 22 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 September or many dates in January and February. Basically, whenever crowd levels drop below 5/10, you don’t really need to pay extra for Lightning Lane access. Check out My Day at Magic Kingdom Using Genie+ on a Party Night, which demonstrates why it’s not necessary on days prior to the start of Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party or Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party.

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). When it opens, TRON Lightcycle Run will be Magic Kingdom’s other Individual Lightning Lane ride.

Now, on with the show & ride rankings for Genie+ at Magic Kingdom…

The Best of Genie+ at Magic Kingdom

1. Meet Mickey & Minnie at Town Square Theater – Leapfrogging every other attraction is the Mickey & Minnie Mouse meet & greet, which is expected to stay in the top 3 through Christmas 2022 due to staffing shortages. Even prior to the start of Halloween season, this had been growing in popularity thanks to the return of hugs, autographs, and Minnie joining Mickey Mouse. For now, this is far and away the fastest Lightning Lane to book up.

2. 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 pick.

3. 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. It is now, on average, the fourth-longest wait time in Magic Kingdom and one of the more popular Genie+ selections. We anticipate this newfound popularity being sustained during Walt Disney World’s 50th Anniversary.

4. Splash Mountain – Easily is the most popular ride in the Magic Kingdom Mountain Range, and that’s even truer now that the weather is warming and this attraction will soon close to be reimagined into Tiana’s Bayou Adventure. On most days, doing it third should put your Lightning Lane ride reservation midday, when the weather is hottest. That should be about perfect.

5. Space Mountain – Another Magic Kingdom Mountain Range ride, it should be unsurprising to see Space Mountain crack the top 5.

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 a 1 minute higher wait time on average for the #6 pick. In reality, prioritize whichever of these matters more to you.

8. 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.

9. 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.

10. 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.

11. 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.

12. 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.

13. 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.

14. “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.)

15. 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.

16. 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!

YOUR THOUGHTS

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!

43 Responses to “Magic Kingdom Genie+ Priorities & Lightning Lane Ride Ranks”
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