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Are you planning a trip to a Disney park, but the thought of spending a big chunk of your precious time waiting in line makes you second guess going altogether?
Happily, there’s a tool to add a little magic to your Disney vacation and help you bypass those long queues for attractions. Disney’s Lightning Lane and Genie+ tools are designed to help take your day at the park to infinity and beyond — but they’ll cost you extra.
So, let’s take a look at how you can skip the lines with Disney’s "new FastPass" (which isn't actually called FastPass) and how much it’s going to add to your Disney vacation budget.
Disney’s new FastPass system
In the past, Disney offered a free FastPass option to skip the line at select rides by making an advance reservation with your park ticket. However, that option has been retired and replaced with paid Lightning Lane and Genie+ add-ons that work through a phone app.
Here’s how Disney's "new FastPass" system works.
Individual Lightning Lane passes are available for purchase by all Disney guests. Each pass lets you bypass the standby line for a popular attraction, and you’re allowed to purchase up to two passes per day.
These passes can’t be purchased in advance — you’ll need to select your attractions after arriving in the park.
The service lets you pick an arrival window for the Lightning Lane on select rides and go about your day in the park until it’s time to go to the attraction you’ve chosen.
When it’s time to head for your selected attraction, you’ll receive an app notification. Once that arrival window has started — or if your next arrival window is more than two hours away — you can make a new selection for another ride.
Unlike the individual Lightning Lane passes, Genie+ lets you make as many selections throughout the day as you can fit into your schedule.
The only caveat is that you can make just one selection at a time, so you’re not able to reserve a whole day’s worth of rides when you wake up in the morning. Additionally, you can select each attraction only once per day — no repeat rides unless you want to wait in the standby line.
Disney Genie+ also comes with augmented-reality Disney PhotoPass Lenses and unlimited photo downloads from your time at the park.
It’s possible to hold Genie+ and make individual Lightning Lane selections at the same time — the attractions don’t overlap between Genie+ and Lightning Lane. It’s also possible to select Lightning Lane arrival windows for multiple parks, which is convenient if you have a Park Hopper ticket.
Unlike Lightning Lane passes, Genie+ can be purchased in advance by upgrading your ticket in the My Disney Experience app. You can also add this service on day-of.
» Learn more: Lightning Lane vs. Genie+
Lightning Lane Pass
Here’s a closer look at the Lightning Lane Pass, including how much it costs, where you can use one and if it’s worth it.
How much does a Disney Lightning Pass cost?
The cost of individual Lightning Lane access varies by date and attraction, but it typically costs from $12 to $22 per person per ride. The more popular the attraction, the more you’ll have to pay for the opportunity to wait in a shorter line.
Attractions eligible for individual Lightning Lane passes
Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway.
Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance.
Disney California Adventure
Radiator Springs Racers.
Seven Dwarfs Mine Train.
Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind.
Disney’s Hollywood Studios
Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance.
Disney’s Animal Kingdom
Avatar Flight of Passage.
» Learn more: How to go to Disney World for cheap
Is Lightning Lane worth it?
The wait times for popular rides like Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance and Seven Dwarfs Mine Train can be well over an hour. Weigh the cost of Lightning Lane against the estimated wait time to decide if it's worth it for you.
What makes your decision even more complicated is the fact that Disney's "new FastPass" cost isn’t fixed, so it might be higher or lower based on when you’re at a park.
On the one hand, paying $12 to save an hour (or more) of your time is likely worth it. On the other hand, when the prices are closer to $20 per person, spending $100 for a family of five to experience a five-minute ride might not be your idea of fun, especially when park tickets are already expensive.
If you’re spending multiple days at the parks, you don’t have to cram your schedule with back-to-back attractions from open to close. With a multi-day ticket, you can spread out your to-do list and increase your chances of getting on the popular rides.
So, consider purchasing individual Lightning Lane access when you don’t have much time at the parks, the wait times are longer than 60 minutes and the cost is closer to $12. Otherwise, just keep swimming.
» Learn more: How single-rider lines at Disney World work
Now let’s examine how much Genie+ costs and find which rides it can help you to skip the line for.
How much does Disney Genie+ cost?
Genie+ starts at $25 per ticket per day. Prices vary based on availability and date of visit. You can purchase it ahead of time with your Disney ticket or vacation package.
You can also buy it through the My Disney Experience app after you enter the park, but keep in mind that it’s subject to availability, so it’s best to buy it in advance if you think you want it — there’s a possibility it might sell out on busy days.
Attractions eligible for Genie+
Is Genie+ worth it?
Genie+ includes dozens of rides across multiple parks and charges a flat fee, so the more rides you’re able to enjoy in one day, the more value you can get out of it. Generally, Genie+ is worth the cost because you can plan your day better and maximize your time.
Keep in mind that you likely won’t be able to ride every ride on your list in a day, so you’ll have to prioritize your options, whether you have Genie+ or not.
» Learn more: How to find cheap flights to Disney World
Disney’s new FastPass, recapped
The option to save time at Disney parks is supercalifragilisticexpialidocious, especially with kids in tow.
However, both Lightning Lane and Genie+ come at an extra cost. In many cases, that cost may be worth it if the alternative is spending more than an hour in line for one ride.
(Top photo courtesy of Disneyland Resort)
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