Genie+ is a service park guests can pay for to skip the line at different Disney Parks. Select attractions use the system for guests to get past most of the standby line once Genie+ is purchased. The process of skipping the line is called Lightning Lane, replacing FastPasses. In this post, we’ll rank which attractions are the best and worst to use Genie+ on in Disneyland.
In case you missed it, we’re on the fence about Genie+. Without a doubt, you can complete an entire park without utilizing the system but it does make things go faster. Not being able to repeat rides and the cost per person ultimately have us not recommend paying to skip lines. There is a time and a place for it though, especially if you’re on an abbreviated trip and want to hit the headline rides. It’s like a steak dinner – you’d like to have it all of the time but if you do that then you’ll eventually end up broke and maybe a little larger than you want to be. The metaphor might break down after the broke part so please do not look into it too deeply. For those of you that do (ahem) partake in Lightning Lanes, you’ll want to know which attractions are the best to get first and that’s where this post comes in. To see other posts in this series, click here.
A quick rundown on how to use Genie+: After purchasing, you can select one of the attractions available at whatever park you’re in. All of the attractions will have a return window, essentially acting as a time that guests can go the ride and use the Lightning Lane. This process is repeated throughout the day, as guests can get access to another Lightning Lane either once they’ve scanned their pass inside of the previous attractions or 120 minutes after reserving a return window, whichever comes first. Typically, this will be once you tap into the attraction unless it’s a very busy day. All of this is done within the resort app.
These rankings, which don’t include the individual Lightning Lanes that you have to pay extra for, take into account the quality of the attraction, how much of the queue the Lightning Lane skips and how popular each ride is. The attraction that ranks at number one would be the one that we recommend getting a return window for first, second would be the one to get second and so on and so on.
When all of the attractions are open, Disneyland has 12 available via Genie+. Now that Toontown, and Roger Rabbit’s Car Toon Spin, has entered a renovation phase that number drops down to 11. Rise of the Resistance currently uses the individual Lightning Lane but there are ways to avoid a long line and paying extra there. Disneyland has 36 attractions in total, by far the most of any American theme park, and there is so much to do in a day. That number alone makes Genie+ tempting. If you have a park hopper ticket, you can use Genie+ in both parks on the same day. Let’s get to the rankings!
We were at Disneyland late the other night, it was a crowded first day of spring break. Lines were long all over the park and we were doing a train loop to visit some dinos and let the wait times die down. As the train scooted to a stop in Tomorrowland, we looked across the beautiful concrete track and gassy go karts like Mufasa and Simba did with the savanna. In the midst of the crowds rested a short line for Autopia. Is that short line worth waiting in? That’s a different blog post but this should be last on your list of things to use on Lightning Lane.
11. Star Tours – The Adventure Continues
Star Tours can build up a slight line during the day and the merge point for the Lightning Lane and standby is deep into the queue. But the morning and nighttime offer little resistance (insert Star Wars Rebel joke here) in way of wait times. You could probably walk on to this attraction in the first or last hours of operation thanks to the large capacity of the ride and other headliners. That makes this last place on the list, because Autopia doesn’t really count for much unless you’re under 10 years old. If you’re 10 years or younger, go do something fun instead of reading a website!
10. it’s a small world
That Star Tours reasoning stretches to the next few attractions, as well. It’s a small world does rank a spot higher because waiting in the outdoor queue when the sun’s out isn’t pleasant. But the attraction doesn’t usually have long waits. If you are consulting this list during the holidays then bump this selection up to 8th place as it is more popular and better overall.
9. Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters
Buzz usually is a walk on attraction in the last hour of park operation but overlooking that, the queue can get backed up outside quite a bit in the afternoon. I love the attraction but it’s not one I’d want to wait around for often and if you have gotten through all of the 1-8 attractions by mid-afternoon then using a Lightning Lane here is a no-brainer.
8. Millennium Falcon: Smuggler’s Run
A couple of caveats on this one. Smuggler’s Run does offer a single rider line that hardly ever has any wait time at all. You likely won’t get a pilot position if you do that, which is our preferred spot on the Falcon, but you won’t have to wait. Along with that, Galaxy’s Edge is usually very quiet in the last couple hours of park operation. That puts it pretty low on this list. With that out of the way, the attraction is busy from the morning hours until nighttime and is more fun to ride as a group.
7. Matterhorn Bobsleds
There’s a clear top 7 in these rankings and Matterhorn finishes last among those simply because of the single rider line. This is an ideal attraction to have a single rider line because you aren’t sitting beside anyone, instead the six seat sled is single file. If riding behind or in front of your friends or family is a big deal then I’d move this up to 4th or 5th on the list. Even being in 7th, you’ll have an opportunity to get the Lightning Lane in the afternoon or evening on most days and can do single rider earlier in the day as you wait for other windows to open!
6. Haunted Mansion
This Disneyland classic has two things working in favor of the standby line here. The first being that there isn’t typically a Cast Member at the merge point of the two lines so the standby isn’t held back, rather the merge happens naturally. Another benefit for the standby line is that the attraction has a huge capacity so it won’t slow you down as much. While the Lightning Lane will certainly speed things up for your group, it won’t have you shaving time off of waiting like the top five. Like Small World, move this one up a spot or two during the holiday overlay.
5. Roger Rabbit’s Car Toon Spin
Maybe a strange choice as this attraction isn’t seen as classic as the previous two but the Lightning Lane here goes straight to the ride vehicles and the standby line suffers dramatically because of that. On top of that, Toontown closes down earlier than the rest of the park so it’s hard to get in a late night ride here. All of that leads to Roger Rabbit ranking this high. This is kind of moot though as the attraction will be down for the next year as Toontown gets a facelift.
4. Indiana Jones Adventure
These next three are real wildcards. If it’s an especially busy day, Indy’s standby line will stretch through the entire outside queue and that will result in a long wait. It could possibly be worse than the top three when it comes to standby. The reason it ranks fourth though is that the Lightning Lane actually skips less of the line than just about everything else on this list. It ranking this high is a testament to just how popular Indiana Jones Adventure still is. I do think the Lightning Lane windows go faster here than some places so it could move up a spot or two in the next update.
3. Big Thunder Mountain Railroad
For now, I’m going by actual results from Big Thunder Mountain for the last few months rather than what my brain is telling me. Since Genie+ started, Big Thunder has posted long waits that last nearly all day long. This is a swift change from pre-Genie when Big Thunder would regularly have the lowest waits of the ‘Disneyland Classics’. I do think that some of this was thanks to staffing and COVID issues but it’s something to monitor going forward. Either way, getting a Lightning Lane early and then riding this after dark via standby is a good way to go.
2. Splash Mountain
During the cooler months, drop this a ways down the list. For some strange reason, people don’t like a wave of water engulfing them when it’s under 70 degrees. Even during the hot months, this line can get low in the last hour or two of operation. I have it ranked second because ‘normal people’ (read as: people who aren’t me) enjoy riding this more when it’s hot outside. When it’s hot outside this line is long and insufferable so get an early Lightning Lane or keep monitoring until the window is in a time you want.
1. Space Mountain
The obvious choice for number one, especially after the single rider line has been shut down since adding Lightning Lane. Having a late merge point that surpasses a constantly long standby line is the biggest point in Space’s favor. The return windows here do shoot up pretty fast, as well. Space Mountain is never to be missed and the best use of Lightning Lane at Disneyland Resort right now.
What do you think of our Genie+ Rankings for Disneyland attractions? Let us know, along with any questions you might have, in the comments below. Planning a trip to Disneyland Resort? Check out our Disneyland Trip Planning Guide to help you out. If you enjoy what you are reading here on Wandering in Disney please share this post with your friends and like our social media pages. You can also subscribe to the blog via WordPress or email. All of those links are on the right side of this page. Thank you for reading, we really appreciate it!
Categories: Genie+ Attraction Rankings