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EPCOT Genie+ & Lightning Lanes Guide | Rides & FAQs

The Disney Genie+ service has become a huge part of touring the theme parks including when visiting EPCOT.  Figuring out how to use it is a must since it affects wait times and your ride priorities, even if you are not planning on using it.

EPCOT Genie+ & Lightning Lane Guide

In this post, we are going to share with you everything you need to know about using Disney Genie+ at EPCOT, and how to use it to skip the lines at your favorite attractions while visiting.

We’ll explain which attractions use Genie+ at EPCOT and rank them in order of priority from best to worst.  After all, if you are going to shell out the extra money it costs to use Genie+, you need to get the best value possible for each Lightning Lane selection.

Even though we’ve included some EPCOT Genie+ itineraries in this article, they are just ideas you can use to plan your day.  Things won’t work out exactly as we have them in our itineraries since other factors like weather, crowd levels that day, and down attractions will all affect which Lightning Lanes you will be able to book.

EPCOT Genie Plus Guide

We want to give you the tools you need to make your own Genie Plus plan which will help you create your perfect day at EPCOT.

We’ve used Genie+ at all the Walt Disney World theme parks dozens of times for research and what we include here are our experiences using it.  You may decide it’s not worth the extra cost for you and your family (more on that later), but we’ll explain the best strategies if you do decide to use it.

There have been some big changes with Genie+ at EPCOT in recent months and the good news is that those changes have added more value to the service.  Frozen Ever After and Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure have both moved over from Individual Lightning Lane selections to Genie+ which has given guests some greatly needed additional reservations.

EPCOT Genie+ attractions

This was essential after Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind opened since the crowds at EPCOT have increased and in turn, made wait times longer than before at all the attractions.

Before we get started, we have other guides to the Disney Genie+ service and Lightning Lanes you definitely will need to check out if you haven’t already.  They will give you all the basics you need to know about the service:

Also, don’t forget to sign up for our FREE Weekly E-Mail Newsletter. There we bring you the latest changes to Disney Genie Plus and other Disney vacation planning tips. You can sign up here: You can sign up here: Join our E-Mail Newsletter!

Genie+ & Lightning Lane Basics

Before we can put together a logical plan for using Genie+ in EPCOT, you need to understand the basics about how Lightning Lanes works.  The links we provided above will give you more details, but here is some info to get you started.

Lightning Lane at Spaceship Earth EPCOT Genie+

What Are Lightning Lanes?

Lightning Lanes is the new name for the old FastPass+ queues that run alongside the standby queues at Disney theme park attractions.  The point of using them is that they let you skip the standby queue so you don’t have to waste all that time waiting in line.

Disney doesn’t let you do this for free however, you have to pay for it, and that’s how Genie+ was born.

What is Genie+?

List of Genie Plus rides at EPCOT

Disney Genie+ is a service that lets you skip the lines at your favorite Disney World attractions.  It works the same way as the old FastPass+ system did, except you have to pay for it.

To use Genie Plus you pay a flat fee per guest, per day which gives you access to the Lightning Lanes we just talked about.  Once you purchase it you can make reservations for each attraction throughout the day.

In most cases, Genie+ reduces your time in the queues and saves you time, making more room for shopping, dining, or riding more attractions.

At EPCOT, Lightning Lanes are available for the vast majority of rides, but not 100% of them so make sure to check the list below to plan out your day.

Individual Lightning Lanes

Besides the Genie+ attractions, there are 2 in EPCOT that are not part of the service but are available for purchase a la carte via Individual Lightning Lanes.  This is a pay-per-ride service that lets guests skip the lines at select attractions, one ride at a time.

Remember, ILL are different than the regular Genie+ service and are one attraction at a time and not access to a bunch of attractions for one price.

How Much Do Genie+ and Lightning Lanes Cost?

Genie+ Cost EPCOT

Now that we know what they are, how much do Genie+ and Lightning Lanes cost?

Disney Genie+ – This costs between $15-$29 per person, per day at Walt Disney World (plus tax).  Disney has introduced a date-based pricing system, so the cost can change according to demand on a day-to-day basis.

Individual Lightning Lanes – The price here is different for each ride.  Prices for Individual Lightning Lane selections at EPCOT range from $9 to $17 per ride, per person.  These prices can vary depending on the season and how crowded the parks are.  Always expect the most popular attractions to cost more.

Disney World vacations are already extremely expensive, and you will want to think hard about adding Genie+ or Individual Lightning Lanes on top of the normal cost when planning your trip.

What Time Can I Buy Genie+ at EPCOT?

You can buy Genie Plus for your visit to EPCOT starting at 12:00 am on the day you plan on visiting.  For example, if you are going to EPCOT on July 1, Genie+ is available for purchase at 12:00 midnight on July 1.

What Time Can I Make Genie+ Reservations?

Genie+ booking times at EPCOT

All reservations for the Genie+ service are made through the My Disney Experience app.  

  • Genie+ ride selections begin at 7:00 am on the morning you are visiting the theme park.  This is the case whether you are staying at a Walt Disney World Resort hotel or not.

One of the main differences from the old FastPass+ service is that you cannot choose a specific return time with Genie+.  Instead, guests must take whatever the next available time for that attraction.  Reservations are assigned to guests in order.  For example, the 9:00 am slots go first, then 9:30 am, etc.  

Once reservations for that ride are sold out for that day, they are completely gone unless someone who is holding a reservation cancels it.

We highly recommend that you make your first Genie Plus selection immediately at 7:00 am.  At times, the best attractions in EPCOT sell out even before the official park opening, and if you don’t book them early enough in the morning, you will miss your chance and will need to wait in the standby line.

Again, check out our post on How to Purchase Disney Genie+ for more tips and answers to all your FAQs.

What Time Can I Purchase Individual Lightning Lanes?

China World Showcase in the morning EPCOT Genie+

Individual Lightning Lane reservations are a little bit different from Genie+ and the time you can make reservations at EPCOT depends on if you are staying at a Walt Disney World Resort hotel or not.

Purchases for Individual Lightning Lane attractions at EPCOT start each day at:

  1. 7:00 am if you are a Walt Disney World Resort hotel guest.
  2. Park opening if you are not staying at a Disney World Resort hotel.

On-site visitors have a big booking advantage by having early access each morning, and this is one reason why you should consider staying at a Disney World Resort hotel.

For a full step-by-step guide, read our post on How to Purchase Individual Lightning Lane Attractions.

EPCOT Genie+ Attractions List

EPCOT Genie+ Attractions

Before we get a strategy for Genie Plus at EPCOT, you need to know which attractions are included and which ones are Individual Lightning Lane selections.

Genie+ Attractions

Right now, there are 12 attractions using Disney Genie+ at EPCOT.  Here is the updated list:

  • Disney and Pixar Short Film Festival
  • Frozen Ever After
  • Journey into Imagination with Figment
  • Living with the Land
  • Mission: SPACE – Green
  • Mission: SPACE – Orange
  • Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure
  • Soarin’ Around the World
  • Spaceship Earth
  • Test Track
  • The Seas with Nemo & Friends
  • Turtle Talk with Crush

All the above-listed attractions are part of the Genie+ package and are available for $15-$29 (plus tax) per person, per day at EPCOT.  You are not guaranteed to be able to book every one of these rides, but they are the ones available to choose from.

Some of the rides on this are only temporary such as Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure and Frozen Ever After which could potentially move back to being Individual Lightning Lane selections in the future.  What’s most likely is that one of them will become an ILL once again and the other will remain a Genie Plus attraction.

Individual Lightning Lane Attractions

EPCOT Genie+ Lightning Lane attractions

There are 3 attractions that have been part of the Individual Lightning Lane lineup in EPCOT at one time or another, even though currently two of them belong to the Genie+ lineup of attractions.

Remember, under normal circumstances, these rides are not included in the Genie+ package and are a separate pay-per-ride service.  Instead of paying for access to a group of rides, you are paying for each one individually.

A big difference from Genie+ is that you do get to choose your return time for Individual Lightning Lane attractions instead of just having to take the next available one.  This gives you more flexibility when planning your day.

It’s important to know that you aren’t required to purchase Genie+ to use the Individual Lightning Lane.  Both services are independent from each other and you can use either one or even both if you like.

Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind backward launch at EPCOT Genie+

Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind

Cost: $14-$17

Is it Worth It?: We really hate spending the extra money for Individual Lightning Lane attractions, but this is one case where we recommend buying it.  As of this writing, riding Cosmic Rewind is only possible by using the Virtual Queue or by purchasing an Individual Lightning Lane selection.

Our first recommendation is to try getting into the Virtual Queue.  It’s free and therefore our number 1 option.  However, if you are not able to get into the Virtual Queue, buying an ILL is always another option.  You will have to make this decision at 7:00 am when the Virtual Queue opens up.

Even though the afternoon distribution has more availability and it’s easier to get a boarding group at that time, we think buying a Lightning Lane pass for it is the best thing to do, especially if Cosmic Rewind is a big priority for you.  Yeah, you could get in for free in the afternoon, but if you only have one day to visit, we wouldn’t risk it.

Besides Rise of the Resistance, Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind is the only attraction we recommend buying an Individual Lightning Lane selection for.

Once it goes to a standby line, at that point we’d probably recommend just getting in line early and not spending the extra money unless extremely pressed for time.

Frozen Ever After Entrance EPCOT Genie+

Frozen Ever After

*(Not currently an Individual Lightning Lane attraction)

Cost: $9-$11

Is it Worth It?: No way. When Frozen Ever After is listed as an Individual Lightning Lane selection, we don’t recommend paying for it.  Instead, it’s just better to make it one of your first or last rides of the day and do the standby queue.

On most days you can ride for less than 60 minutes, more like 45 if you go early enough.  You can make this your second ride of the day after rope dropping either Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure or Test Track.

We think Genie+ is a better use of your money since it gives you access to many more attractions instead of spending money for one.  Thankfully, right now you don’t have to pay specifically for this attraction to skip the lines, it’s part of the Genie+ service so it’s included in the $15-$29 flat fee.

Remy's Ratatouille Adventure EPCOT Genie+

Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure

*(Not currently an Individual Lightning Lane attraction)

Cost: $9-$11

Is it Worth It?: We give a little more value here than Frozen Ever After, but we still don’t think it’s worth paying the extra money for Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure as an ILL.  Instead of paying for Individual Lightning Lane access to this ride, purchasing Genie+ is a better option, or not paying extra at all and instead of formulating a good touring plan.

On most days the wait will be around an hour or slightly more, but you can reduce that by rope dropping it at the beginning of the day.

To rope drop Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure, we recommend entering EPCOT from the International Gateway entrance.  Ideally, you are staying at one of the Crescent Lake Resorts which makes it a quick walk to EPCOT, or from one of the Disney Skyliner resorts.  

We don’t recommend rope dropping it from the front of the park since the queue will already be long by the time you walk all the way there.

As of this writing, Remy’s is already included in the Genie+ package, but we anticipate it returning to ILL at some point in the future.

Best Genie+ Attractions

EPCOT Genie+ Frozen Ever After Olaf and Sven

Since you are paying all that extra money for Genie+, it’s important to know which rides at EPCOT are going to be the smartest choices when making your reservations.

Since most attractions sell out each day, ride reservations are limited.  That means careful planning when deciding which rides to choose, and in which order is best to book them.  It may not be advantageous to book your personal favorite right away, and instead, book another ride that will save you more time.

Below we’ve ranked all the Genie+ rides at EPCOT in order of priority and given a brief explanation behind our choices.  These should be the priorities throughout the day.

Thankfully, we have two additional attractions at the moment that are part of the Genie+ lineup (Frozen Ever After and Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure) at least for the time being.

Remember, this is not our list of the Best EPCOT Rides and Attractions, that is a totally different topic, but it’s only how the attractions here rank when considering Genie+ reservations.

Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure

Remy's Ratatouille Adventure entrance EPCOT Genie+

Up until Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind opened, Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure was the newest and most popular attraction in EPCOT.  Wait times here are also the longest in EPCOT at the moment and they can get up to 120 minutes or more on busy days.

All of those things make this a no-brainer choice to use a Genie+ reservation.  The only question is if it’s better to book one here or on Frozen Ever After.  Both of them are really close.  They are both equally as popular with families and guests overall and both are attached to popular Disney IP.

You really can’t go wrong with making either ride your highest priority Genie+ attraction, we give a slight nod to Remy’s.  Our only exception would be if you are rope dropping EPCOT from the International Gateway.  In that case, you can rope drop Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure via the standby queue and use your first Genie+ on Frozen Ever After.

Frozen Ever After

The drop on Frozen Ever After EPCOT Genie+

As we said, we wouldn’t argue too much if you wanted to make Frozen Ever After your highest priority Lightning Lane attraction.   These are the two attractions with the highest wait times in EPCOT and they are neck and neck and usually more than 70-80 minutes each.

We like to make the popular Frozen Ever After our second-highest priority with Genie+.  It makes a really great choice no matter if you are rope dropping Test Track or Remy’s first thing in the morning.  The combination of popularity and long wait times make this a good choice for #2 or even #1.

After Frozen Ever After there is a clear drop-off to the next tier of attractions.

Test Track

Test Track EPCOT Genie+

After Remy’s and Frozen Ever After, Test Track should be your third-highest Lightning Lane priority.  Again, we want to prioritize attractions with long wait times, and you routinely will have to wait 60 minutes or more in the standby queue here.

If you are coming from the front of the park, we would book a Lightning Lane for Frozen Ever After or Remy’s at 7:00 am, and then rope drop Test Track.  With Early Entry, you will knock this out before other guests are even allowed into the park, and you might even be able to score a Genie+ as your second choice of the day for another ride here later (preferably at night).

If coming from the EPCOT Resorts, you want to hit the other two more popular attractions first and make this your second Genie+ selection, which hopefully still has availability left by that time.

Soarin’ Around the World

Soarin Around the World sign EPCOT

This used to be the best ride in EPCOT, (Cosmic Rewind has taken over its spot) and it also was the most popular before Frozen Ever After.  Times have changed, but it’s still our 4th-highest Genie+ priority attraction.

Unless it’s an extremely busy day, wait times here shouldn’t get over 50 minutes, and it will likely be less than that.  Lightning Lane passes will probably still be around into the afternoon, so if you can get it as your 3rd or 4th choice that would be ideal.

Mission: SPACE

Mission: SPACE at EPCOT for Genie+

From this ride down, Genie+ selections will save you less time as the wait times just aren’t as bad as the top 4 rides.  Even during the busy times of the year, it’s rare to see lines more than 40 minutes long and most days it will fluctuate between 20-30 minutes.

Save a Mission: SPACE Genie+ selection for later in the day after the previous rides are all taken.

Spaceship Earth

Spaceship Earth Sleeping Monk EPCOT Genie+

We love Spaceship Earth and this is a solid use of a Lightning Lane selection once further in the day.  Wait times here fluctuate a lot.  In the morning and early afternoon, the wait time will be twice as long as if you come here after 6:00 pm when they are almost always under 20 minutes.

If you must ride Spaceship Earth earlier in the day or don’t like Mission: SPACE we would bump this up one position higher in priority.

Living with the Land

Entering the greenhouse Living with the Land EPCOT Genie+

Since most of the foot traffic in The Land pavilion goes straight for Soarin’, Living with the Land never seems to have long wait times except at Easter or Christmas when crowds are the highest.  

If for some reason there are still Lightning Lanes available late in the day, grab one, but it probably won’t save much time with an evening return.

Journey into Imagination with Figment

Journey into the Imagination with Figment EPCOT Genie+

Again, a Genie+ selection here is only helpful during the holiday season as wait times rarely exceed 20 minutes, and most days it’s more like 15 minutes.  Do this via standby and don’t book a Lightning Lane here unless you have no other choice.

Worst Genie+ Attractions

The Seas with Nemo & Friends EPCOT Genie+

Below is a list of the remaining Genie Plus attractions at EPCOT.  While you may want to ride them during your visit, they should be low on your priority list when it comes to making Genie+ reservations.  99% of the time they will not have long waits when compared to the previously mentioned attractions and you can do them in the standby queue with no problem.

The time you should make Genie Plus reservations here is when all the other attractions are already sold out for the day and you don’t have any other choices.

The Seas with Nemo & Friends

The Seas with Nemo & Friends EPCOT Genie+

Wait times here are really close to Journey into Imagination with Figment and it would be a waste to use a Lightning Lane selection here unless there was basically nothing left.  Reservations are always available until the end of the day which should tell you all you need to know.

Turtle Talk with Crush

You won’t get any time savings by using a Genie Plus selection here, but you do have access to priority seating.  The view is mildly better, but not enough to make us want to use a selection here.

Disney and Pixar Short Film Festival

The same that was true for Turtle Talk with Crush is also true here.  You get priority seating but you should under no circumstances use a Genie+ selection here.

Genie+ Rides in Order of Priority

Remy's Ratatouille Adventure queue sign EPCOT Genie+

Below we’ve ranked all the EPCOT attractions in a list in order of priority for Genie+ selections.  The list will change slightly depending on which attractions you plan on riding, but it will give you a good baseline to go by when making your own reservations.

  1. Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure
  2. Frozen Ever After
  3. Test Track
  4. Soarin’ Around the World
  5. Mission: SPACE (Green or Orange)
  6. Spaceship Earth
  7. Living with the Land
  8. Journey into Imagination with Figment
  9. The Seas with Nemo & Friends
  10. Turtle Talk with Crush
  11. Disney and Pixar Short Film Festival

Tips & Strategy

tips for Genie+ at EPCOT

Here are a few of the most important strategies when using Disney Genie+ at EPCOT.  If you use them, it will give you an advantage over other guests you are competing against for ride reservations.

Be Ready at 7:00 AM

If you had any wild ideas of sleeping in before your visit to EPCOT, think again.  This has been a recurring theme at Walt Disney World in recent years, and in order to have an advantage when touring the parks, you need to get up early.

With Genie+, reservations open up for the day at 7:00 am.  That means you need to be in the My Disney Experience app before that and ready to go.  Thousands of guests like yourself will all be trying to book the most popular rides at that time so you don’t want to wait.

Test Track pre show EPCOT Genie+

If you wait too long after 7:00 am, rides like Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure, Frozen Ever After, and Test Track can all start filling up for the day, giving you a bad return time, or worse, missing out on those attractions altogether.  You’ll be forced to do them via the standby queue, which will waste a ton of time (sometimes up to 2 hours each during the busy season).

The only caveat to this is while Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind is using the Virtual Queue, which also opens at 7:00 am.  If you plan on riding it, we would make that the priority over any Genie+ rides, then once you secure a boarding pass (or fail to secure one), then move on to making your Genie+ reservations.

Make sure to purchase Genie+ well before 7:00 am.  If you wait until 7:00 am other people will already be booking rides while you are trying to buy the service.

Refresh Often

One of the best ways to get the Genie+ attraction you are looking for is to use the “Refresh Strategy.”  This comes in handy when you are in My Disney Experience looking for a specific attraction, but it looks like it is sold out.  Don’t despair yet, there may still be hope.

Book Genie+ at EPCOT

If that happens, keep refreshing the app on the Tip Board page every couple of minutes as sometimes a specific attraction will eventually become available.  This has happened to us many times when it looked like the ride we wanted wasn’t there, but after a bit it became available.

This happens because, at certain times of the day, many guests are all in the app at the same time trying to book a ride and sometimes people change their minds and let go of reservations they made only minutes earlier.  When that happens they go back into the common pool for other guests to choose from.

To do this, keep refreshing the app periodically when you are trying to land one of the more popular rides.  To refresh, drag your finger down the screen and it will show you all available Genie+ attractions.

The best time to refresh the app is just after 7:00 am (up until about 7:15 am) and at 2-hour intervals throughout the day.  If EPCOT opens at 9:00 am, you may have some luck refreshing around 11:00 am when people are trying to make their next selection.

Don’t Waste Time

Journey into Imagination with Figment EPCOT Genie+

Time is of the essence when making Genie+ reservations throughout the day and you need to act quickly from one reservation to the next.  

For example, once you get in the queue for your Genie+ reservation you can start booking your next reservation.  Don’t wait to ride the attraction to do this, book your next reservation while you are still in line.

Also, keep track of when you can book your next ride.  If your current attraction return time is more than 120 minutes after the park opening or later in the day if it’s more than 120 from when you booked it, you will be able to book a second ride before you ever get to ride the first one.  

To make sure you don’t forget, set an alarm on your phone to remind you when the 120 minutes are up so you book the next ride right away.

Best Times for Genie+ Reservations

Living with the Lane Rainforest EPCOT Genie+

There isn’t too much to worry about here since guests can’t choose their own Genie+ return times and are forced to choose the next available.

If possible, try to get early return times for the most popular attractions in EPCOT like Test Track and Frozen Ever After.  If you get morning return times for them, you aren’t subject to waiting 120 minutes to make your next selection as you can make it once you tap into the queue.  Doing this should help you make more Genie+ in the long run throughout the day.

Even though this is ideal, don’t go crazy over the return times.  Concentrate on booking these rides as quickly as possible and take whatever times you are given.

Try for Virtual Queue First with Cosmic Rewind

Virtual Queue for Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind

Right now you have a choice of buying an Individual Lightning Lane pass for Cosmic Rewind or booking a free reservation by using the Virtual Queue system.  I don’t know about you but if there is a way to do something for free instead of paying for it, that is going to always be our preference.

Our suggestion is to try for the virtual queue right at 7:00 am.  If you aren’t able to get a boarding group, quickly go to the Tip Board and buy an Individual Lighting Lane selection for Cosmic Rewind.  You will know within seconds if you got into the virtual queue or not, so it’s not too difficult to pull off.

Another option is to try your luck with the afternoon distribution time, but there is no guarantee they will call your boarding group.  If riding Cosmic Rewind is a huge priority, it might just be better to pay for an ILL instead of risking it. It is in fact one of the best roller coasters in Disney World and you don’t want to miss it!

Read our guide to riding Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind with Boarding Groups for more details and strategies.

Use Early Theme Park Entry

Early Entry at EPCOT

Guests staying at a Walt Disney World Resort hotel have a big advantage over guests staying off-site due to the Early Theme Park Entry perk.  This lets you get into EPCOT 30 minutes earlier than other guests which is a big help when trying to do the popular rides.

Getting there for park opening is called rope dropping, and we always recommend doing this if you are serious about doing all the rides and saving time.  That 30 minutes may not seem like much, but it will make a huge difference if done the right way.

For example, if EPCOT opens at 9:00 am, Early Theme Park Entry starts at 8:30 am that day.  However, guests can start entering EPCOT earlier than that, even as early as 7:45 am.

When using Early Theme Park Entry, we recommend showing up 90 minutes before the official park opening time, which is really 60 minutes before Early Entry starts.

When the gates open guests will line up near the new Creations Shop (for rope dropping Test Track or Frozen Ever After).

Read our guide to Early Theme Park Entry for more details on how it works and why you should use it.

Try Stacking Reservations

stacking Genie+ reservations at EPCOT

If you can’t get early Genie+ reservations, another strategy you can try is called stacking.  This is when you book reservations with return times later in the day and then can do 2-3 rides all in a row.  This isn’t always the best strategy, and sometimes just getting early reservations lets you do more than stacking later in the day.

However, if you do not rope drop the park and/or show up later in the day, stacking is your best option.  This is especially true if you are going to another park in the morning and then park hopping to EPCOT as your second park of the day.

Having multiple Genie+ reservations lined up in the afternoon means you will be able to skip the lines for those attractions right when wait times are the longest.

Since you can’t really choose your own attraction return time, the most popular rides in EPCOT tend to fill up early, leaving you with more availability later in the day.  Stacking may become your default strategy and you won’t even have a choice.

Spaceship Earth is Best at Night

Phoenicians scene Spaceship Earth EPCOT

Since Spaceship Earth is located right at the entrance to EPCOT, it’s the first attraction you see and many people ride it in the first half of the day.  This is natural with many doing the attractions in the front half of the park before moving on to World Showcase later in the day.

So with World Showcase full during the evening, Spaceship Earth wait times drop drastically at that time.  Instead of a 30 or 40-minute wait, you will probably be able to ride in less than 20 from 7:00 pm and later.

Ride Attractions During the Fireworks

fireworks outside Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind EPCOT

Going on the popular EPCOT attractions during the fireworks gives you a decisive advantage over other guests.  Since people are worried about a good viewing area for Disney Harmonious, many start lining up around World Showcase Lagoon at least one hour before showtime.

And with people waiting for or watching the fireworks, guess where they are not?  That’s right, riding attractions.  From 8:00 pm and beyond is when EPCOT has its lowest wait times and instead of an hour or more for rides like Test Track, you can probably ride it in half the time or less.

This comes in really handy if for some reason you missed something during the day you really wanted to ride.  Of course, it means you will miss the fireworks, but if you’ve already seen them a few times, it becomes less of a problem.  We usually plan a dinner in EPCOT another night and watch the fireworks then.

EPCOT Touring Examples with Genie+

Touring Plans for Genie+ at EPCOT

Ok now that we’ve shared a detailed explanation of all the attractions at EPCOT and what Genie+ priority you should give them, let’s take a look at some actual touring plans at EPCOT using Genie+ and Lightning Lanes.

Remember, these are only examples of how your day might play out when you visit EPCOT.  Your own experience will vary due to factors such as crowds, weather, and ride maintenance.

Since there aren’t as many attractions here as in other parks like the Magic Kingdom, the total number of Genie+ rides you will be able to get through in a day will probably be between 3-6.  There just aren’t enough rides to fill the demand for much more than that.

We are going to give you 2 sample 1-Day EPCOT Genie+ Itineraries.  Both are only using Genie+, the first one is entering the park through the front entrance, and the second is coming in through the International Gateway. Once Cosmic Rewind stops using the virtual queue we will include one with Individual Lightning Lane selections into the mix.  Some of these can be switched around according to your personal preference.

With Only Genie+

In this touring plan, we are assuming EPCOT is opening at 9:00 am (8:30 am for Early Entry), and the Disney Harmonious fireworks show starts at 9:00 pm.  Also, in this scenario, we are entering the park through the front entrance.

6:45 AM – Purchase the Disney Genie+ service ($15-$29 + tax) and select ride and experience preferences in Tip Board on My Disney Experience.

7:00 AM – Join a Boarding Group for Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind.  This needs to be your #1 priority over all Genie+ reservations.  If you can’t get into the Virtual Queue, there is another opportunity later in the day.

7:01 AM – Book a Genie+ for Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure with a Lightning Lane return window of 10:00 am to 11:00 am.

Rope Drop EPCOT for Genie+

7:45 AM – Get in line outside EPCOT for Rope Drop.  Our strategy is going to be a straight run for Test Track once the park opens.  Since we are doing Early Entry, we will then go directly to Frozen Ever After where we could even arrive before the park officially opens to the rest of the public.

8:30 AM – Rope Drop Test Track.

9:00 AM – Get in line for Frozen Ever After and do it via the standby queue.

9:45 AM – Head toward the France pavilion to redeem your Lightning Lane for Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure.

Remy's Ratatouille Adventure at EPCOT Genie+

10:00 AM – Ride Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure via Lightning Lane.  Upon tapping into the ride book Soarin’ Around the World as your next Genie+ with a return time of 12:35 pm – 1:35 pm.

10:40 AM – Do the American Adventure, the best show in EPCOT.

11:15 AM – Eat an early lunch at Regal Eagle Smokehouse: Craft Drafts & Barbecue.  This is one of our favorite quick service restaurants in EPCOT and a must if you are a BBQ fan.

Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind at EPCOT Lightning Lane

11:50 AM – Ride Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind via the Virtual Queue.  This schedule will have to be altered depending on what boarding group you end up in, but in our case, we were called from 11:45 am to 12:45 pm.

12:00 PM – While in the queue for Cosmic Rewind, make your 3rd Genie+ reservation of the day, this time get a Lightning Lane for Mission: SPACE with a return time from 4:15 pm – 5:15 pm

12:20 PM – Once you are done raving about how fun Cosmic Rewind was, head over to The Land pavilion where there are 3 attractions.

Living with the Land Genie+ EPCOT

12:30 PM – Ride Living with the Land via standby queue.

1:00 PM – Redeem your Lightning Lane selection and ride Soarin’ Around the World.

REMEMBER – If for some reason you weren’t able to get into a boarding group during the 7:00 am distribution for Cosmic Rewind, 1:00 pm is when the second distribution time starts so make this a priority.

1:30 PM – Watch Awesome Planet, a very underrated show also located in The Land pavilion.  Since it’s so hot outside, spending time indoors here is ideal.

2:00 PM – Make your 4th Genie+ selection of the day for Spaceship Earth with a return from 6:20 pm – 7:20 pm.  This is not as useful at this point because the line won’t be very long for Spaceship Earth at that point, but it is the best ride available.

Entrance to The Seas with Nemo and Friends EPCOT Genie+

2:05 PM – Ride The Seas with Nemo & Friends via standby queue

2:30 PM – Watch Turtle Talk with Crush and explore the rest of the fish, dolphins, sharks, and manatees in the aquarium.

3:10 PM – Ride Journey into Imagination with Figment

3:35 PM – Stop at the Connections Eatery and get a Liege Waffle, one of the absolute best EPCOT snacks.

Club Cool EPCOT Viva Raspberry

3:55 PM – Stop by Club Cool and try some international versions of your favorite Coca-Cola products.

4:00 PM – At this point, all worthwhile Genie+ attractions are filled up for the day.  You might find one for The Seas with Nemo & Friends (which we already rode) or for the Disney and Pixar Short Film Festival (but neither interest us enough to get them.

4:15 PM – Ride Mission: SPACE via Lightning Lane selection.

4:45 PM – Shopping time!  Spend a little while in the new Creations Shop which is full of cool EPCOT merchandise.

Space 220 at EPCOT Genie+ Plan

5:15 PM – Dinner at Space 220.  This is our new favorite table service restaurant in EPCOT and is perfect for families.  One of the coolest dining experiences you will have anywhere in Disney World.

6:45 PM – Redeem Genie+ reservation and ride Spaceship Earth via the Lightning Lane.

7:20 PM – Head to Mexico in World Showcase and ride the Gran Fiesta Tour

7:45 PM – Grab a spot along the World Showcase Promenade and get ready for the fireworks show Disney Harmonious.  Read our Disney Harmonious Guide for tips about the best places to watch the show so you can see all the special effects.

Disney Harmonious at EPCOT Genie+

In this sample day, we didn’t do the Disney and Pixar Short Film Festival, Canada Far and Wide in Circle-Vision 360, Impressions de France, Reflections of China, or any of the Character meets.  If any of those are important to you, then you can easily substitute them for some of our other plans.

You also could use Genie+ better than we did and for more popular rides if you wanted to ride some of them twice.  For example, we booked Soarin’ Around the World as our second choice of the day but other rides like Test Track or Frozen Ever After likely will still have availability at that time in the morning, so if you wanted to ride them twice it’s easy to do.

  • TIP: If for some reason you didn’t get a chance to ride any of the Big 3 attractions during the day due to long wait times, or if you want to ride them a second time, you can get in line for them at 8:55 pm or 5 minutes before park closing.  You should get a walk-on for any of them or at least no more than a 20-minute wait.

Now, let’s look at another Genie+ touring plan for EPCOT, this time entering the park through the International Gateway.

With Genie+ Entering Through the International Gateway

International Gateway entrance in EPCOT

Normally, we would have a second Genie+ itinerary if you decided to use Individual Lightning Lanes and Genie+, but since Cosmic Rewind is the only ILL in EPCOT at the moment and you can ride it for free with the Virtual Queue, there is no need to pay extra at this point in time.  

That will change once it goes to a standby queue or a second ILL attraction is added back in EPCOT.

Like in the previous itinerary, in this touring plan, we are assuming that EPCOT is opening at 9:00 am (8:30 am for Early Entry), and the Disney Harmonious fireworks show starts at 9:00 pm.

6:45 AM – Purchase the Disney Genie+ service ($15-$29 + tax) and select ride and experience preferences in Tip Board on My Disney Experience.

7:00 AM – Join a Boarding Group for Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind.  Again, make this your #1 priority of the day.  If you can’t get into the Virtual Queue, try again later in the afternoon.  For this plan, we didn’t get a boarding group at 7:00 am.

7:01 AM – Book a Genie+ for Frozen Ever After with a Lightning Lane return window of 9:00 am to 10:00 am.

Rope Drop Remy's Ratatouille Adventure EPCOT

7:45 AM – Get in line outside EPCOT at the International Gateway for Rope Drop.  Our strategy is going to be a straight run for Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure once the park opens.  Since we are doing Early Entry, we will then go directly to Frozen Ever After where we can use our Lightning Lane and get another one immediately after that before the park officially opens to the rest of the public.

8:30 AM – Rope Drop Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure.

9:00 AM – Ride Frozen Ever After via the Lightning Lane.  Upon tapping into the ride book Test Track as your next Genie+ with a return time of 3:20 pm – 4:20 pm.

9:30 AM – Head toward the front of the park and ride Mission: SPACE via the standby queue.

Journey Into Imagination with Figment EPCOT Genie+

10:05 AM – Ride Journey into Imagination with Figment via the standby queue.

10:30 AM – Ride The Seas with Nemo & Friends vis the standby queue.

10:50 AM – Walk around the aquarium at The Seas and look at all the fish.

11:00 AM – Book your next Genie+ reservation for Soarin’ Around the World with a Lightning Lane return time of 4:25 pm – 5:25 pm.

11:10 AM – Watch Turtle Talk with Crush via the standby queue.

11:25 AM – Start walking to World Showcase and head to the right side.

Cheddar Cheese Soup Le Cellier EPCOT

11:40 AM – Have lunch in the Canada pavilion at Le Cellier, one of the best steakhouses in Disney World.  Don’t forget to get the cheddar cheese soup and dip those pretzel breadsticks in there to soak it all up!

1:00 PM – Make your second attempt to get a boarding group for Cosmic Rewind.  This time you are successful and you end up with a boarding group with a return time from 7:25 pm to 8:25 pm.

1:01 PM – Book your next Genie+ reservation for Spaceship Earth with a return time of 6:55 pm to 7:55 pm.

Impressions de France EPCOT

1:10 PM – Start walking to the France pavilion.  When you get there watch Beauty and the Beast Sing-Along/Impressions de France.

1:45 PM – Take your time and enjoy World Showcase.  Look in some of the shops and take in the incredible atmosphere.

Karamell Küche snacks EPCOT

2:10 PM – Once you get to Germany, stop in at the Karamell Küche where they have some of the best sweet treats anywhere in the park.

2:40 PM – Watch Reflections of China

3:01 PM – There isn’t much available for Genie+ reservations at this point, but you manage to book Living with the Land with a return time of 8:00 pm to 9:00 pm.

Gran Fiesta Tour EPCOT

3:10 PM – Ride the Gran Fiesta Tour in Mexico via the standby queue.

3:45 PM – Grab a life-changing margarita at the walk-up stand Choza de Margarita in Mexico. What would a trip to EPCOT be without Drinking Around the World Showcase?

4:10 PM – Ride Test Track via the Lightning Lane.

4:40 PM – Ride Soarin’ Around the World via the Lightning Lane.

5:05 PM – Since the wait time isn’t very long, you decide to do Living with the Land now instead of coming all the way back here later this evening.

The Land pavilion EPCOT

5:30 PM – Watch Awesome Planet in The Land pavilion.

5:55 PM – Go to Club Cool and try some of the International sodas.

6:15 PM – Have dinner at Connections Café, the best variety of burgers and pizza at a quick service restaurant in Disney World.

Spaceship Earth renaissance EPCOT Genie+

6:55 PM – Ride Spaceship Earth via the Lightning Lane.

7:25 PM – Ride Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind via the Virtual Queue.

8:00 PM – Grab a spot in World Showcase to watch the Disney Harmonious fireworks show.

In this sample day, we didn’t do the Disney and Pixar Short Film Festival, Canada Far and Wide in Circle-Vision 360, American Adventure, or any of the Character meets.  Again, if any of those are important to you, feel free to substitute them in instead of our other plans.

Again, both of these itineraries are just samples, and the wait times for the attractions we did via standby queue could vary during your visit, as well as the availability of the Genie+ attractions or return times.  They should give you a pretty good idea of what to expect, however, and work as nice baseline touring plans with Genie+.

FAQs

Spaceship Earth computer scene EPCOT Genie+

Here are some of the most common FAQs for using Genie Plus at EPCOT:

Which Genie+ Should I Book First at EPCOT?

As of this writing, your number one priority Genie+ attraction is Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure.  It almost always has wait times of more than an hour and sometimes up to 2 hours.  While it’s not our personal favorite ride, it is the second-most popular one in EPCOT so we can’t ignore it.

If you can’t get one for Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure, our second Genie+ priority would be Frozen Ever After.  At that point, you can rope drop Test Track if coming from the park’s main entrance, or Remy’s if you are coming from the International Gateway entrance (Skyliner or EPCOT-area resorts).

These three attractions are in a tier above all the others.  Book one of those 3 attractions as your first Genie+ priority, ideally, the one furthest from the entrance you are using to enter the park.

Remy's Ratatouille Adventure Lightning Lane tap point EPCOT Genie+

The ideal situation is you can book one of these three attractions right at 7:00 am with a return time between 9:00 am and 10:00 am.  If you are able to do that, you also will likely be able to book a Genie+ reservation for one of the other attractions with a return time later in the day.

As long as you get a morning return time, whichever one of the three you book, you should plan a rope drop strategy around other attractions on that side of the park.  This will save lots of time and help you get the most done possible.

  • REMEMBER: As long as Cosmic Rewind is using the Virtual Queue, that must be your top priority when making reservations at 7:00 am.  Once you get or fail to get a boarding pass for Cosmic Rewind, then make your first Genie+ reservation.  You’ll need to be quick and jump from one to the other as fast as you possibly can.

Is Gran Fiesta Tour Included in Genie+?

No, it isn’t.  The Gran Fiesta Tour was not built with a Lightning Lane/FastPass+ queue, it only has a standby queue, so there is no place to send guests if it were included in Genie+.  It’s not a big deal though since wait times here are rarely higher than 20-30 minutes on most days.

Park Hopping with Genie+?

Goofy Character Meet at EPCOT entrance

Combining Genie+ with park hopping can give you a big advantage, and a way to see the most possible, while still being able to skip some of the lines.  

When you purchase Genie+, you are buying it for the entire day, not just one park.  You can make reservations at the first park of the day, the last park, or even at both.

Our best strategy when combining Genie+ and park hopping is to rope drop the first park of the day and get as many of the big attractions done as soon as possible while wait times are low.

In the meantime, start booking Genie+ reservations at the second park as quickly as you can for later in the day.  Remember, park hopping doesn’t start until 2:00 pm, so you are going to need afternoon return times.  

Even though you technically can’t choose your return times, you can strategically wait until return times are at 2 or after and then make your reservation.  This can be risky so make sure to keep a close eye on it after 7:00 am to see how quickly the time slots are being filled.

If done right, you can start making reservations for the second park at 7:00 am and stack up reservations for 3 or more attractions at the same time.  Again, this is perfect because you will have multiple rides at the time of day when EPCOT is busiest.

Read our Guide to Park Hopping in Disney World for more info.

What About EPCOT Special Events?

Spaceship Earth at night with lights EPCOT Genie+

The Genie Plus service does not work with special events at EPCOT, it’s only available during normal park hours.  That means Genie+ is not available during early morning events such as Early Theme Park Entry or after hours events like Extended Evening Hours.

This isn’t nearly as big of a deal at EPCOT as it is at another park like the Magic Kingdom.

Do Ride Reservations Run Out at EPCOT?

Yes, they do.  Genie+ selections are “first come, first served,” and almost all attractions at EPCOT end up selling out every day.  The most popular ones can sell out only an hour or two after park opening, and sometimes even before it opens.

At EPCOT the attractions that sell out first each day are Frozen Ever After, Test Track, and Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure.

When an attraction has sold out of Genie Plus reservations for the day, they are gone and no extra inventory is released later on.  You will see “Not Currently Offered” displayed on the Tip Board for attractions that have sold out that day.

Again, that’s why we highly recommend prioritizing which attractions are most important to you at EPCOT and make reservations for those first.  If you have a list, then if one of your choices is sold out, you can quickly go to the next most important one on your list.

Is Genie+ Worth It at EPCOT?

In standby queue for Remy's Ratatouille Adventure EPCOT Genie+

While Disney’s Magic Kingdom and Hollywood Studios offer some tangible value and we can justify spending the extra $15 or more per person, there just isn’t as much value for Genie+ at EPCOT as those other parks.

From our experience using Genie+ in EPCOT, we just don’t think you get a ton of value for your money on most days of the year.  While it helps you save some time, it’s probably only 1 hour or 2 at the most.

You can do most, if not all the attractions in EPCOT without Genie+ if you plan your day out well.  The only thing I would recommend spending the extra money on is an Individual Lightning Lane is Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind if you can’t get a boarding group from the Virtual Queue.  When it switches to standby queue, it also might be worth it to avoid a 2-3 hour wait there.

Yes, there have been improvements to the Genie+ attraction lineup recently by adding Frozen Ever After and Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure, but there still aren’t THAT many attractions where you end up saving a ton of time.

There are some weeks where the extra money is worth it, but those are the exception and not the rule.  Plus when using Genie+, we find ourselves backtracking across the park just to get to our Lightning Lane reservation where we saved 20 minutes in line, but it took us 15 minutes to get there.

So, is Disney Genie+ worth it at EPCOT?  No, probably not.  It may be worth it on the days that crowds are at their peak like during Spring Break, Thanksgiving, or Christmas, but that’s probably it.

If You Don’t Purchase Genie Plus at EPCOT

Test Track entrtance EPCOT

Using the Disney Genie+ service is not necessary to have a good time in EPCOT.  In fact, the vast majority of the time we don’t recommend buying it at all.

Even though there are benefits to using it, what should you do if you decide not to purchase it?  Here are some alternatives that will help you tour EPCOT as efficiently as possible without Genie Plus.

Rope Drop and Use Early Theme Park Entrance

Rope dropping the Disney World parks and taking advantage of Early Theme Park Entry always give you a big advantage over other guests not using them, but even more so if you decide not to use Genie+.

Being there before EPCOT opens will help you get on an extra attraction or two before the majority of guests even arrive.  The first 2 hours of the day are when you will experience the shortest wait times so make sure you are there and ready to roll.

Extended Evening Hours

Frozen Ever After queue EPCOT Genie+

If you don’t like the idea of waking up early in the morning for rope drop and prefer visiting EPCOT at night, Extended Evening Hours are a big help to getting rides done without long waits.  

This extra perk allows guests staying at one of the Disney Deluxe or Deluxe Villa Resort hotels extended access to EPCOT on select nights. Currently, that is mostly on Mondays and it runs for 2 hours past the normal closing of the park.

In EPCOT, Extended Evening Hours also includes a third opportunity to enter the Virtual Queue for Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind.

Read our Guide to Extended Evening Hours for more details.

Do World Showcase in the Morning

World Showcase Promenade in the morning EPCOT Genie+

World Showcase is located in the back of the park, so naturally, it tends to be a place where people go later in the day.  It’s also where all the best restaurants are located, as well as most of the festival marketplaces.  All of this means that the attractions in World Showcase often have longer wait times in the second half of the day.

On the other hand, the front half of the park is significantly more full in the morning and afternoon which means wait times are longer during that time.

So to combat these tendencies, you can do the opposite and do World Showcase in the morning and the front of the park at the end of the day when wait times are lower.  This should save you a lot of time.

Plan 2 Days

Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind Nova ship EPCOT

EPCOT has so much to offer besides traditional rides that it’s better to plan to visit here for 2 days during your trip instead of just one.  Yes, if you only want to do attractions, 1 day is enough, but there is so much to explore here, and so much to eat as well!

Visiting here for 2 days will give you way more time to enjoy all the cultural beauty and not have to be in a big rush the entire time.  We like to spend one day focusing on the rides and then the other day exploring all the pavilions in World Showcase and trying all the unique food whenever there is a festival going on.

If you do this, you absolutely don’t need to spend the extra money for Genie+.  You can get all the major rides done one day, and then re-hit your favorites on the second day.

Future of Genie+ in EPCOT

Lightning Lane entrance Journey Into Imagination with Figment EPCOT Genie+

There have been a ton of changes to the EPCOT Genie Plus attraction lineup in recent months, but that should calm down greatly once the summer is over.

For example, when Genie+ first launched, Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure and Frozen Ever After were both Individual Lightning Lane attractions.  Since then, they have both become Genie+ rides, while Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind has opened and become the only Individual Lighting Lane in the park for the time being.

These changes are in place at least for now.  Disney hasn’t commented on how the Genie+ lineup will be changing in the future.

Our best guess is that Frozen Ever After will remain a Genie+ attraction, while Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure will eventually go back to the Individual Lightning Lane.  Even though both are really popular, Remy’s is the newer of the two and tends to have slightly longer wait times.

Frozen Ever After ride loading area EPCOT

We know Disney likes to keep two Individual Lightning Lanes in each park, but there is also a chance they only keep 1 going forward.  A lot depends on the Genie+ demand and how much capacity it needs at the other attractions.

As for new rides coming to Disney World, nothing has been announced at this point in time.  EPCOT will eventually build another new ride, but for now, nothing is imminent.  Even if Disney announces a new project at the next D23 Expo, it will be years until it’s built so the Genie+ lineup is safe for now.

If anything, more attractions will be added to Genie+ in the future as new rides are built.  We’ll keep you posted as soon as we hear of any more changes.

That wraps up this step-by-step on how to buy Genie+ and use it at EPCOT.  We hope that it gives you some good strategies to use and that our itineraries make it easier when planning your next trip here. Feel free to ask any unanswered questions below and we will add them to the article.

If you are thinking about using Genie+ at any of the other Walt Disney World theme parks check out our other guides:

If you are thinking about going to Walt Disney World in the coming future, here are some other popular articles where you will find all the info and tips you need to plan your trip.

Your Thoughts

I want to know what you think about buying and using Genie+ at EPCOT…

  • Do you think it’s worth it?
  • What are your favorite attractions to use a Lightning Lane selection on?

Let us know in the comments section below!

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