Hollywood Studios is the second-best park for buying Walt Disney World’s Genie+ service. Lightning Lane line-skipping access is available at 15 attractions in DHS, and many are headliners or popular thrill rides. This guide ranks all in terms of time-saved and how quickly they book up. (Updated December 9, 2022.)
The goal is to give you the tools and info you need to create your own DHS itinerary with Genie+, rather than relying on our recently-updated 1-Day Disney’s Hollywood Studios 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 stage showtimes, Fantasmic Dining Packages or standby, whether you want to minimize walking distances, etc.
It’s also probably a good idea to point out that crowds, weather, ride closures, stage showtimes, and much more can all heavily impact how an actual day at Walt Disney World plays out. As such, a sample itinerary cannot be replicated step-for-step with the exact same Lightning Lane time slots, etc. This equips you to put together your own dynamic plan of attack for using Genie+ in DHS.
Of course, this assumes that you want to ‘pay to play’ and will use the Genie+ paid FastPass option rather than simply doing standby lines. In Disney’s Hollywood Studios, that’s our recommendation. If you want to know the basis for that suggestion, see My Day at Disney’s Hollywood Studios Using Genie+ with Peak Season Crowds. That illustrates just how tough DHS can be even with strong strategy–it’s a brutal park no matter what your approach.
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.
Alternatively, if you’re thinking about skipping Genie+ at DHS, that’s possible, too. Our 1-Day Disney’s Hollywood Studios Itinerary 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.
If you are staying on-site, the one thing we highly recommend is Early Entry at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. If you can’t swing getting up and out the door before park opening, see Evening at DHS with Standby & Genie+ (scroll to the second half if you’re not doing Genie+). Lots of great strategy in those posts!
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 is Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance. Previously, Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway was also an Individual Lightning Lane ride, but that’s now a permanent part of Genie+ at DHS.
We are not keen on buying a la carte front of line access, so we recommend doing both of those attractions either first thing in the morning (if you’re eligible for Early Entry) or towards the end of the night. On busy days, Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance is potentially worth paying for ILL access–it’s the only ride at Walt Disney World we’d even consider paying for that, and even that depends upon crowd levels and wait times.
Now, on with the show & ride rankings for Genie+ at Disney’s Hollywood Studios…
The Best of Genie+ at DHS
1. Slinky Dog Dash – The obvious choice for your #1 Genie+ Lightning Lane selection and not just in DHS, but all of Walt Disney World. (It probably should’ve been the second Individual Lightning Lane, but we’re not complaining!)
Whether you’re starting at DHS or Park Hopping later, you’ll want to prioritize this early in the day, as this one books up fast–often within minutes of 7 am. For Slinky Dog Dash, we strongly recommend following our Speed Strategy for Genie+ Selections.
2. The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror – It has been an up-and-down year for the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror’s ranking. It shot up in the spring, then plummeted towards the end of summer and was in figurative freefall up until December 2022. Earlier this year, the spike was attributable to a lengthy “stealth” refurbishment that took one elevator shaft down. That meant that the attraction was effectively operating at half-capacity for about 4 months.
When that was finished, the other side did not go down for refurbishment during the late summer or fall off-season. However, one elevator shaft has been down since around Thanksgiving. We have not heard any indication that this is a deliberate refurbishment (it would be an inopportune time for that, to say the least), but it has been ongoing for a few weeks now.
As a result, Tower of Terror has the third highest wait time (98 minutes) at Disney’s Hollywood Studios in December 2022 after Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance (109 minutes) and Slinky Dog Dash (103 minutes). Suffice to say, when Tower of Terror has one elevator shaft down, it’s the #2 Genie+ Lightning Lane priority. When operating at full-capacity, it’s #4 or #5.
Note that this could change at any time, and Tower of Terror could drop again (in the rankings). We’d thus encourage you to keep an eye on wait times while you’re at Walt Disney World. If Tower of Terror is in the top 3 rides at DHS, it’s probably experiencing technical difficulties and you should prioritize booking its Lightning Lane. If not, you can save it for your fourth or fifth selection.
3. Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway – This one might be a bit unexpected. Earlier this year, it appeared the “new ride smell” was wearing off Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway. The average wait time was dropping, and the attraction was typically not in the top 5. That has changed as of Late 2022, with Runaway Railway once again being in high demand. Its family-friendly and all ages (and heights) nature makes it more appealing for a lot of Genie+ guests, so it tends to be the #2 or #3 Lightning Lane of the day at DHS.
4. Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run – This is the secondary attraction in Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge, but it still averages a top 5 wait time in Disney’s Hollywood Studios and is the third-fastest booking Lightning Lane ride reservation via Genie+. 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. Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster Starring Aerosmith – Those of you who booked FastPass+ reservations in the past should be unsurprised by the top picks thus far. Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster extends that, thanks to wait times regularly exceeding an hour. Its Lightning Lane reservations have yet to book up early in the day, but it’s still a savvy third selection.
6. Toy Story Mania – Every park has one attraction that “soaks up” Genie+ ride reservations, allocating a significant portion of its capacity to line-skipping. Toy Story Mania is definitely that for Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Its standby wait time has spiked since Genie+ launched (making this a good use of the Lightning Lane), but there’s typically easy availability via Genie+ for Toy Story Mania throughout the day.
7. Alien Swirling Saucers – Based on average standby wait times alone, this is a smart seventh pick. Subjectively, most people are probably good to skip the Toy Story Land flat ride.
The Rest of Genie+ at Disney’s Hollywood Studios
Star Tours — The Adventures Continue – This excellent Star Wars simulator can have decently long waits on the busiest days of the year, but most normal days, we’ve found Genie+ to offer almost no advantage here. Get it if you can, but don’t sweat standby.
Meet Olaf at Celebrity Spotlight – There are a few deceptively popular meet & greets at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. This isn’t one of them. Unfortunately, Olaf at Celebrity Spotlight is the only one that offers a Lightning Lane. (Accordingly, we recommend doing Red Carpet Dreams and the Monsters, Inc. meet & greet earlier in the day or later in the evening.)
Stage Shows – Everything else at Disney’s Hollywood Studios–Beauty and the Beast: Live on Stage, Disney Jr. Play & Dance, Frozen Sing-Along Celebration, Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular, MuppetVision 3D–is a show of some sort, or at least not a ride.
While Genie+ offers priority seating, which can amount to a better view, it’s typically not all that advantageous for shows. If you’re not going to Park Hop, you might consider using it for these shows, but there’s not a good way to put Lightning Lane reservations for these into your itinerary during the middle of the day. The opportunity cost of not booking one of the top 6 rides is too high. 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 a good day in Disney’s Hollywood Studios. The biggest obstacle might be your first pick, as Slinky Dog Dash goes fast every single morning, especially during peak season.
You will miss out entirely on it if you’re not up and ready to make your first selection at 7 am. Other than that, you shouldn’t have much of a problem scoring slots for the remaining top 5 picks (except maybe Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run), so long as you’re willing to stay all day and don’t mind reservations in the afternoon.
On a bad day, you might not only miss out on Slinky Dog Dash, but also on another headliner or two in the top 5. 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 staying late when crowds tend to die down at Disney’s Hollywood Studios.
Regardless of when you’re visiting, Genie+ will save you the second-most time at DHS, behind only Magic Kingdom, which earns that distinction because of its higher eligible attraction count. This is what makes buying Genie+ our recommendation for most people and on most days of the year at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. 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 Disney’s Hollywood Studios? Surprised by any of the rankings in our top 5, or that Slinky Dog Dash takes the #1 spot? 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!