How to Navigate the New Lightning Lane System at Walt Disney World

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Have you heard about Disney’s new Lightning Lane system?

It seems like just yesterday that the Disney FastPass system was born.

Arriving in 1999 at Animal Kingdom Park, FastPasses were the wave of the future. You’d insert your park ticket in the kiosk at the front of the ride, and one glossy paper FastPass would spit back out at you. A guaranteed return time was printed at the bottom, and anytime in that hour you could skip past everyone else standing in line and head straight to the front. Good times.

In our family, we had a time-honored tradition. Mom would take the kids and strollers and head towards a ride, Dad would take everyone’s park tickets, speed walk to the first FastPass ride, get four FastPasses, and return back to mom waiting patiently in line at the other ride.

If you remember those days, or it’s been awhile since you’ve been, you’re in for a shock, as paper FastPasses (and even its later variations of My Disney Experience and FastPasses by the Disney app) have been replaced by Lightning Lane. With a little help from your friends at Firefly Travel, you’ll be ears ahead of everyone else on your next trip.

Lightning Lane needs two things

Several rides and attractions at each park have two queue lines. One that is shorter/faster called the Lightning Lane, and one that is a standard line.

Every Lightning Lane rider needs two things:

  1. A guest with a MyDisneyExperience.com account
  2. A reservation for THIS line at THIS time, that is reserved within your My Disney Experience account.

We witnessed several travelers who thought that by adding Genie+ to their reservation, that gave them automatic entry into every Lightning Lane, and were pretty upset when they were turned away at the queue entrance. If you can remember you need a reservation for each ride, you’ll be ahead of the game.

In a nutshell, Genie+ gives you the ability to make a reservation but you still have to make the reservations,

What’s the difference between Lightning Lane and Genie+?

You can make a ride or attraction reservation in one of two ways, Genie+ or Individual Lightning Lane Passes. You may also hear guests or castmembers talking about Genie, which is different than Genie+. Here’s the difference:

  • Genie: Think of Genie as your daily itinerary dashboard. You can make dining reservations, order food, view what park reservation you have, current ride wait times, ride closures, and any reservations you’ve made via Lightning Lane Individual Passes, or Genie+ reservations. You can also “favorite” the rides that are on your must-do list, and that’ll help you find them later so you aren’t scrolling for days past every attraction available.

 

  • Lightning Lane Individual Reservations: An individual lightning lane pass is for ONE ride only, and usually offered at the hottest options at each of the parks. For instance, at EPCOT, you could choose the newest ride, Ratatouille, and at Animal Kingdom, you could choose Avatar Flight of Passage.

 

  • Genie+:  Genie+ is an add-on package that allows you to purchase several Lightning Lane passes in the same day, and is offered for several different rides  and attractions. You start with one reservation, and as soon as you scan your ticket or MagicBand at arrival or two hours after making your last reservation, you can begin making the next Genie+ reservation. For example, you can make a reservation for Peter Pan while still standing in the “Look mom, I see a boat” area of It’s a Small World.

Lightning Lane

  • Availability: Available to any guest, whether staying onsite or not.
  • When to Book: Same day only. 7 AM, if staying onsite. When the park opens that morning if not staying onsite
  • Total Costs: Cost is per ride, and varies from $6-15 per person per ride.
  • How many do you get?: You can purchase up to two different rides/attractions per day. Each will have their own fee and they can be at two different parks.
    • These will have a limited amount, so purchasing early will give you the best chance of having an earlier arrival. Once they sell out, they will not offer more.
  • How to Book: Log into your MyDisneyExperience account. 
  • How many times can you ride?: Each ride/attraction is one time only, per day.
  • Additional Tips: You can purchase a Lightning Lane for as few or as many people in your account as you like. If only Grandma and Grandpa want to ride Ratatouille, they only have to purchase two reservations.

Genie+

  • Availability: Available to any guest, but accessibility depends on when you’ve added it to your Genie.**
  • When to Book: Whether staying off- or onsite, you can add one day at a time each day at 7 AM.
  • Total Costs: Cost is $15 per person per day plus tax at Disney World and $20 per person plus tax at Disneyland.
  • How many do you get?: As many as you can fit in a day! You must wait until you’ve checked in to your current reservation before you can make the next, UNLESS your reservation is more than two hours away, then you can make a second reservation as well.
  • How to Book: Log into your MyDisneyExperience account. 
  • How many times can you ride?: Each ride/attraction is one time only, per day.

So how do I book a ride reservation?

The easiest way is to download the My Disney Experience app.

My Disney Experience app
Disney Genie app

Frequently asked questions

Do Lightning Lane and Genie+ reservations share the same queue line?

  • Yes, you would get in the Lightning Lane whether you reserved through Genie+ or through Individual purchase. There is no separate (third) line for Genie+ vs LL. For example, at EPCOT, Frozen Ever After reservations made through either Genie+ or Individual purchase would both use the Lightning Lane line.

Can I use both?

  • Absolutely! You can purchase up to two Individual Lightning Lane passes, and the Genie+ add-on and use them all in the same day.

I’m traveling with another family. Can they join me in the queue line?

  • If they’ve also made Individual reservations OR they’ve made a Genie+ reservation and any portion of their return windows is the same as yours, they can join you in the queue line at your mutual return times. It is important that each room has their own individual My Disney Experience account.

Have more questions? We are experts in Genie+ and your agent will be happy to help!

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