You know what they say about the best-established plans of mice and men. Except this time it’s the mouse that’s tricking your plans. Have a nice, relaxing October trip to Disney World. They stopped you when they announced they were ending the Rise of the Resistance boarding groups because that meant you could plan your day as normal person who plans every step of their vacation. (Do you use spreadsheets? Because I use spreadsheets in full.)
But then Disney went and announced that Genie + would launch right in the middle of your vacation. And now you are heading for the unknown (sorry, no forgiveness). But here at TouringPlans, we don’t want you to feel like you’re lost in the woods (I’ll eventually stop, I promise). So while we don’t have Genie + data to help you do The Next Right Thing (really, it’s written in itself), we want to give you as much guidance as possible. As a result, we spent this week offering you two sets of strategies on how to plan trips to each park the week Genie + launches. One strategy will be that you want to avoid paying the Genie and the other will help you take advantage of it if you decide it’s worth the extra expense. Neither strategy will force you to pay for individual access to Lightning Lane. If you do, skip these steps.
Note: Does this whole nomenclature seem like a foreign language to you? Keep up to date with our most frequently asked questions about Genie before you continue reading.
Second note: Hollywood Studios is the park hardest hit by unexpected downtime. And when something big falls, it severely affects waiting times anywhere else. So in this park, more than any other, be flexible.
How can I go through Hollywood studios without Genie +?
Fortunately, Rise of the Resistance has been in the queue for a long time, so let’s not introduce this unknown in the midst of the other changes. But this strategy will be difficult because Hollywood studios can (and should) be traversed a lot depending on the type of party. My family’s strategy, as we have young children who can’t ride many attractions with height restrictions and who avoid indoor shows thanks to the same unvaccinated children, would be very different from my strategy if it were a adult soloist who loved shows and could go on every walk. This strategy will try to be a midpoint and achieve everything. But if you have young children, drop the Toy Story Land rope instead of the morning suggested below.
If you have early entry, continue and drop off Runaway Railway. It’s been pretty reliable and is able to sweep crowds, but you might as well protect it and be able to. If you do not have early entry, save it for later. Either way, your next step should be down Sunset Boulevard and ending with Rock’n’Roller Coaster and the Tower of Terror. Everyone will be in Batuu or Toy Story Land, so you can get it really low waiting times before they all run out and decide to experience them later.
At this point, it should still be around 10 h. Head to Toy Story Land and line up for Slinky Dog Dash. A lot of people will still get stuck in the tail of Rise of the Resistance, which you’re cleverly avoiding. Ride Slinky, Alien Swirling Saucers and Toy Story Mania until it’s time for lunch. This is a great day for lunch at the table service, if you can get a reservation.
Try spending the afternoon doing shows to avoid the crowds of queues. The Frozen Sing-Along should work 1:30, followed by Beauty and the Beast a 14.00 h. If you go in between the two, you can catch them both in a row.
After the shows, head to Muppet * Vision 3D (or head over here 3 p.m. if you skipped the programs and opted for more attractions). After celebrating the Muppets, the rest of the afternoon and night is devoted to all things Star Wars.
After Muppet * Vision, go back slightly to mount Star Tours and then head to Batuu.
Once in Batuu, look at the waiting times and order windows available for mobile to experience all of the following, in any order that makes sense:
How can I tour Hollywood studios with Genie +?
You will get up clearly and early 7 h to make your first reservation. Slinky Dog Dash is the first obvious priority, with the greatest potential for time-saving savings in most people. Hopefully, you’ll be able to grab a return window around 10am.
Then, when the park opens, you can let go of Runaway Railway with rope. Then head straight to Toy Story Land. A 9 h (or 120 minutes after getting your first Genie + booking), get your second hour return. Your second top priority should be Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run. But if you want to save all of Batuu for the night, you can choose to get one for a Sunset Boulevard attraction (Rock’n’Roller Coaster). Experience the following in any order that makes sense with the Slinky Dog Dash return window:
- Extraterrestrial swirling dishes
- Toy Story Mania
- Slinky Dog Dash (via Genie + reservation)
Most of the crowds should be stuck in the Rise of the Resistance line, so the lines should be manageable and you’ll be able to move quickly to other activities. At 11 a.m., grab another Genie + reservation, once again from the Millennium Falcon, Rock’n’Roller Coaster or Tower of Terror ensemble. If you have time, go see MuppetVision 3D before taking the 11:30 projection of the Frozen Sing-Along.
Now is a good time for a quiet lunch, if you still don’t need to make your second booking. If it is open, use it before lunch. The Hollywood Brown Derby has received increasingly positive reviews recently and is the park’s most prominent table service restaurant in the Fall 2021 Power Rankings.
Per 1 p.m. you should be able to pick up another return time. If you haven’t gotten a Millennium Falcon yet, go for it. If you have one, try Star Tours or a Toy Story Land attraction. In the early afternoon, use the Genie + reservations you can meet and try the following if you haven’t got reservations for them:
- Rock’n’Roller Coaster
- Tower of Terror
- Beauty and the Beast: live on stage
Your tours for the rest of the day will be largely determined by your Genie + bookings; it is much more difficult to plan. But you’ll still have to experience Star Tours and anything that hasn’t happened. With the use of Genie +, you should have time in the afternoon to reassemble some of your favorites. You will want to save Rise of the Resistance as late as possible. So maybe go back for a higher score on Toy Story Mania, eat some dinner, check out the exciting new Walt Disney Presents exhibits, and then join the Resistance to end the day.
Are you planning to be at Hollywood Studios the week of October 19th? Do you have any idea whether or not to try Genie +? Let us know in the comments.