Genie+ is a service guests can pay for to skip the line at different Disney Parks. Select attractions use the system, allowing 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 Disney’s Hollywood Studios.
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 purchasing Genie+, although it’s far more tempting at Hollywood Studios than some other parks. There is certainly a time and place for it, especially if you’re on an abbreviated trip and want to hit the headline rides. I think Genie+ could be a nice treat that everyday park guests should consider splurging on every now and then. But there are other and, in my opinion, more interesting things to splurge on. For those of you that do 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 to the ride and use the Lightning Lane. This process is repeated throughout the day, as guests can get access to another Lightning Lane once they’ve scanned their pass inside of the previous attraction 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 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.
The individual Lightning Lane at Hollywood Studios is Rise of the Resistance and there are ways around paying for that upcharge while minimizing standby waits. We prefer to save it as the last ride of the night, getting in line just before the park (or attraction) closes. Wait times are always much shorter than posted at that time in the evening.
When every attraction is open, Hollywood Studios currently has 15 available via Genie+. Now, I know what you’re thinking – there aren’t even 15 attractions in Hollywood Studios. You’re absolutely right and that’s part of the issue with this new system. But that’s a topic for an entirely different post so I digress. Suffice to say, some of these you absolutely don’t need Lightning Lanes for and may be better served park hopping on a day when you’ve purchased Genie+ after finishing the headliners here, as you can use the system in multiple parks. That said, Hollywood Studios is one of the best parks to use Genie+ in at Disney World thanks to the high number of thrill rides. Let’s get to the rankings, from worst to first!
15. Disney Junior Play & Dance
I’m caught between a Baby Geniuses joke and playing this one straight… Ah, whatever! Once the toddlers start to know how to use the Disney World App better than us, which probably won’t be long, then this will shoot up the list. Until then, I imagine you can just walk into whatever Disney Junior Play & Dance is. Maybe don’t walk in if you’re a childless adult though.
14. Muppet*Vision 3D
I love the Muppets more than most humans on the planet. I go watch Muppet*Vision anytime I’m at Hollywood Studios, even if it doesn’t measure up to the highest of Muppet heights like the original show, Muppet Movie, Great Muppet Caper and a number of other Muppet entities. After all of those years of seeing it, I think there’s been one instance where it had a full theater. You don’t need Lightning Lane to see this.
13. For the First Time in Forever: A Frozen Sing-Along Celebration
I despise this show but am admittedly not who the target audience is. Getting in via standby and not taking away one window of the valuable afternoon Genie+ selections is advisable here.
12. Beauty and the Beast Live on Stage
The longest running stage show in theme park history (please don’t fact check this, I’m just assuming it’s true) barrels on. Like everything else on this list so far, walking in via standby is probably easier than combing through the app to find a selection window. Not to mention, it won’t take away from your other Lightning Lane selections.
11. See Disney Stars at Red Carpet Dreams
It will be interesting to monitor how meet & greets come back over the next year as COVID protocols are phased out. If you are big into character meets then this could actually make some sense late in the day but exhaust all of the options ranked higher than this one first. Standby times will likely be low here at some point or another.
10. Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular
One last show on the list and the only reason it ranks slightly above the others is that there are fewer showtimes. I still would encourage guests to go via the standby line instead of getting a Lightning Lane as the selections here in the afternoon are valuable and using one on Indy is not necessary and just takes up space.
9. Star Tours – The Adventure Continues
Finally, an actual ride! Star Tours likely won’t run out of Lightning Lanes until late in the day and the portion of the queue it skips is minimal to all the other rides offered so it ranks low. Plus, the queue here is pretty enjoyable! For that reason it isn’t necessary. Star Tours generally has pretty short standby waits, especially later in the day.
8. See Olaf at Celebrity Spotlight
I’m taking a bit of a guess here as seeing Olaf and getting up close with a character could see a big boost in popularity as we enter the spring and summer. Another thing to factor in is that Hollywood Studios lacks things for kids to do and most young ones will want to see Olaf. Maybe this is something a parent and kid could book while the rest of the group is on a big thrill ride. Either way, this ranks above the other non-rides thanks to the popularity of the character among little ones.
7. Alien Swirling Saucers
This flat ride is the most forgettable in the park. If there’s a window once you hit the evening and have gotten everything else done then that is far more preferable than waiting in the standby line. Going to a different park and riding something else might be better than that though.
6. Toy Story Mania
There’s a clear top 6 in the park, as they are the main attractions Hollywood Studios has to offer. Toy Story Mania does have a shorter standby line at rope drop and park close but the lines get very long in the middle of the day. If you get the first five done and then grab a Lightning Lane here in the late afternoon then you’ve done very well.
5. Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run
There’s a little bit of leeway for Smugglers Run. Some of that is thanks to the attraction having shorter waits later at night. There’s also a single rider line if you’re simply looking to experience the attraction. That’s why it ranks 5th. But if you’re looking to go with a group, which is good fun, or be a pilot then getting a Lightning Lane is the best bet. This attraction will run out of available windows at the same rate as our choice at number four, so if it’s a priority then keep an eye on that.
4. Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster Starring Aerosmith
I’m not a huge Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster fan but I really loathe the standby line here and that’s why it ultimately goes ahead of Smugglers Run. The wait times are fairly comparable and Smugglers Run may even run out of Lightning Lanes first but I’d much prefer to skip the line here and then have to wait standby late at night in Galaxy’s Edge.
3. Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway
Much like there’s an easy top 6, there’s also an easy top 3. Runaway Railway was an individual Lightning Lane but has switched to Genie+ for the foreseeable future. There’s a good argument to place this at number two, especially if you’re traveling with younger kids. I ultimately have it at 3 because the standby line, in the case of you missing the windows, isn’t all that bad at night. Also, the second place attraction is incredible.
2. The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror
One of the best attractions in Walt Disney World, Tower of Terror has seen wait times skyrocket in the last few weeks. Part of this is due to an ongoing refurbishment and that makes a Lightning Lane here essential. Thankfully, you should be able to grab one quickly after getting to the first choice of the day. The available windows to book here will probably outlast Runaway Railway but grabbing one right after you’re done with Slinky Dog Dash would make for an ideal touring plan.
1. Slinky Dog Dash
While nowhere near my favorite attraction at Disney World, this is the most crucial one to get Genie+ for. You’ll want to be on your phone at 7 AM (or a few minutes before) to book your Lightning Lane window for this as it will fill up very quickly. Booking a window as close to rope drop as possible will make for a much easier touring day at Hollywood Studios. Grab the earliest one possible because this is clearly the top choice for the park!
What do you think of our Genie+ rankings for Hollywood Studios? Let us know, along with any questions you might have, in the comments below. Planning a trip to Walt Disney World? Check out our WDW 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