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The Real Reason Why You Shouldn’t Just Use Disney Genie+ or Lightning Lane at Walt Disney World

It’s no secret that Disney Genie+ has received mixed reviews across the Disney community. Since the removal of the complimentary FastPass system in the Walt Disney World Resort, Guests have been required to wait in line or pay for Disney Genie+ to allow them use of the Lightning Lane at attractions in the Disney Parks. Additionally, Guests have been able to purchase single use Lightning Lane reservation should they wish to skip just one attraction’s line during their day in a Disney theme park.

Disney Genie+ is available to Guests at an additional $15 per person per day, on top of regular theme park admission. Individual Lightning Lane selection purchases are available for select attractions in each Disney Park, at a cost of between $8 and $18 per person, per attraction. Prices vary according to crowd levels and availability. Guests can only purchase Genie+ and Lightning Lane passes on the day of their visit to a Disney theme park.

Disney Genie+ has received several updates since being introduced to Guests, which are likely to be a reflection of usage and Guest reviews. The most recent update outlines when Guests will be eligible to make their next Lightning Lane selection, making it easier for Guests to maximise the attractions that they get to experience using the Genie+ service.

The Downside to Disney Genie+ and Lightning Lane

Whilst the use of Disney Genie+ and Lightning Lane can allow Guests to experience attractions without extensive wait times, in most cases Guests miss out on the full Disney experience that an attraction offers. To provide a shorter line time, the Lightning Lane will run alongside the regular line route, giving a more direct route to the loading area for an attraction. As expected from The Walt Disney Company, the Lightning Lane will be themed to tie in with the attraction , however will not pass through sections of the line that help to tell the story to the point where Guests board the ride.

For this reason, we highly recommend that Guests who have never experienced a Disney attraction before, should experience the attraction in full, by making their way through the main line. Alternatively, use Lightning Lane initially, to ensure that they get to experience attraction throughout Walt Disney World. Once they have done so, they should re-ride those attractions where the Lightning Lane skips most of the attraction story, by waiting in the general line.

Of course, there are some attractions where Guests don’t miss out on the Disney experience by using Lightning Lane. These include:

  • Space Mountain
  • Slinky Dog Dash
  • The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror
  • Spaceship Earth
  • Big Thunder Mountain Railroad

Want to know which rides you miss out on by only using the Lightning Lane? We have all the information you need!

Peter Pan’s Flight

Located in Fantasyland at Magic Kingdom Park, it’s no secret that Peter Pan’s Flight always has a long line! I mean, who doesn’t want to take a flight over London, to Neverland with Peter Pan and Tinker Bell? While Lightning Lane access can reduce your wait time significantly on this attraction, you will also miss out on a whole lot of magic!

The main line of Peter Pan’s Flight takes Guests through the Darling household and into Wendy, John and Michael’s bedroom, where you’ll see Tinker Bell for the first time. There are several interactive experiences that help to make your wait time pass quickly before bringing you out to the attraction loading area. It sets the scenes perfectly, for when you exit the nursery to fly over London on the ride.

Peter Pan's Flight

Credit: Disney

Seven Dwarf’s Mine Train

Across Fantasyland from Peter Pan’s Flight, is another popular Magic Kingdom attraction that attracts long lines throughout the day. Seven Dwarf’s Mine Train is definitely a ride to rope drop during Early Theme Park Entry or experience during Extended Evening Theme Park Hours if you are staying in a Deluxe Walt Disney World Resort hotel. Whilst use of the Lightning Lane will save you time, you will miss the interactive line experiences that are offered as you venture from Snow White’s cottage to the Seven Dwarf’s mine. 

seven-dwarfs-mine-train

Credit: Disney

Haunted Mansion

Liberty Square in Magic Kingdom is the place to find the 999 happy haunts! Whilst Lightning Lane takes Guests right to the entrance to the Haunted Mansion, it cuts out the interactive line that provides Guests with a pre-show before entering. Generally, the Haunted Mansion doesn’t have an excessive wait time, so you should definitely pass through it some time to see these haunted extras!

haunted-mansion

Credit: V Mills

Expedition Everest

Over in Asia at Disney’s Animal Kingdom, Expedition Everest offers the perfect queue line to learn more about the Yeti. While Lightning Lane access allows Guests to experience a short part of the line, the main line guides Guests through a quaint little village, a general store, around a monastery and shrines, before entering a muesum, that prepares Guests to face the Yeti themselves. The Expedition Everest queue line is a beautiful experience, before boarding the high-speed attraction.

Expedition-everest

Credit: Disney

Avatar Flight of Passage

Across Disney’s Animal Kingdom in Pandora is quite possibly the most popular attraction in the Disney Park. Avatar Flight of Passage is another line to rope drop, otherwise you can expect to see a long line throughout the day. The Lightning Lane unfortunately cuts out a significant amount of the story from the attraction. Making your way through the main line allows you to see interior caves, RDA bunkers and a lab that offers a unique and cool effect that you won’t see anywhere else in Pandora.

flight-of-passage

Credit: Disney Tips

Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind

Whilst the newest attraction to open at EPCOT is still operating as a Virtual Queue or Individual Lightning Lane attraction, there is a considerable difference in Guest experience when entering the different lines. Guests using Lightning Lane won’t get to see the full models of Xandaria, as well as the insights into costumes of residents of Xandaria, that Guests using the regular line see. This is definitely something to consider even when Cosmic Rewind stops the use of Virtual Queue.

Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind

Credit: Zach Riddley

Frozen Ever After

Located in World Showcase, the Norway Pavilion is home to Frozen Ever After. While the attraction often has a lengthy wait time, Guests using the general line will meander through the town square of Arendelle and even stop by Wandering Oaken’s Trading Post before boarding their boat. Guests using Lightning Lane will, instead, pass by the side of both locations, and miss out on the fun in Wandering Oaken’s!

Frozen Ever After

Credit: Disney

Test Track

This high-speed attraction can be found in World Discovery. This is another EPCOT attraction that generally has a long wait time, and so use of Lightning Lane can be beneficial. However, if you’re hoping to design your own vehicle to test out during your ride experience, then you’ll have to enter the general line; Lightning Lane Guests don’t enter the room, and instead pass round the outside of it.

test-track

Credit: Disney

So next time you’re going to purchase Disney Genie+ or an Individual Lightning Lane selection at the Walt Disney World Resort, think about the line experience that you may be missing out on. Sometimes it pays to wait a little longer…

About Victoria Mills

Victoria is a Disney-loving, tea-drinking, Math teacher from Liverpool, England. Her motto is 'work hard, Disney harder'! Having taken part in the Disney College Program back in 2010, Victoria's love and appreciation for Walt Disney World only grew, and it's the place where she feels most herself - it's home!