You may or may not have heard, but Walt Disney World has axed their beloved FastPass lanes and have converted them to Lightning Lanes.
Disney introduced Disney Genie Service; this is built into the My Disney Experience app on your phone as a complimentary digital service to create your “Best Disney Day!” The short of it is, the app can personalize an itinerary for you based off selections you make as to what you enjoy most. When to ride what ride (predictive wait times), where to eat, see characters, etc. You tell the app what you want to do, and it plans the day for you. Cool right? Maybe…
Then, Disney announced Genie+ which offers you access to the new Lightning Lane. For a small price of just $15 a day per person (on top of the already $100 plus dollars to enter the park, per person, per day), you can access these rides through the Lightning Lane. You can only use the Lightning Lane once per ride. So, if you want to go on Splash Mountain, you can use the Lightning Lane once, then you will have to go Standby if you want to ride it again. If you pay for this service, you will be able to see the next available time for the various Lightning Lane rides. Yes, you still have to book a timeframe for whichever ride you chose. Once you have scanned your magic band at your ride/time, you can then reserve another ride/time. You can only have one Lightening Lane ride booked at a time.
Disney is also offering two Individual Lightning Lane rides at each park, which are not included in the $15 a day Genie+ plan. Prices will vary based on the time of year and the popularity of the attraction. This is also a one and done ride/purchase.
These options to purchase are not accessible until 7:00am on the day of your specific park visit for resort guests and when the park opens for other guests staying elsewhere.
Here is a list of the rides that have Lightning Lanes & Individual Lightning Lanes which are subject to change at any time.
Here is my experience so far:
My family and I discuss the day before what rides we absolutely want to do and if we feel it is worth purchasing the Genie+ or Individual Lightning Lane rides. One person who has the app (and all of the guests that are with you on it) should be the one to get up at 7:00am and purchase either the Genie+ or the Individual Lightning Lane rides. You do not have to purchase the Genie+ in order to buy the Individual Lightning Lane rides.
Is it worth it? In my opinion, kind of. We loved Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure in Epcot, which is an Individual Lightning Lane ride. That is one worth it to me. We did Genie+ at Magic Kingdom since some of the kids in our group either have never been or missed out on a ride when they came last time. One huge issue is the app crashing, which Disney is aware of and Guest Services tries to assist if they are able. For example, I had purchased Individual Lightning Lane and was at the checkout page when the app crashed, and the ride was no longer available. After an hour on hold, the cast member was able to get us booked. Another trick is to check back on the times and options for the rides. Remy was completely booked when I logged on at 7:02am. When I checked back at 8:02am, there were several more times available for purchase.