Attraction Reviews

The Value of Individual Attraction Lightning Lanes at Walt Disney World

Genie+ and Lightning Lane debuted at Walt Disney World today and we got a taste of what the pricing will be like for individual attractions. While we’ll tackle the Genie+ package as a whole in the future, each park’s two most popular attractions will be offered a la carte. Essentially, if you want to skip the line on these attraction via Lightning Lane then you will need to pay extra just for that singular experience. In this post, we’ll take a look at the attractions offered, the cost of what it is to use Lightning Lane for those attractions and whether it’s worth it.

A prominent place to start is that if money isn’t much of an object then paying to skip lines is probably a good move. It is objectively more fun to ride attractions than stand in line for them. As usual, we’re trying to use this post as a way to balance the amount of fun you can have with saving money. What we’re not saying is that if you choose to splurge for Lightning Lane when we don’t recommend it then it was a waste of money. On the contrary, it’s probably a nice way to treat yo’ self!

Space Mountain blue planets TDL

For those unaware, Lightning Lane basically took over for FastPass. Without having much experience with it, I’d hazard a guess that Lightning Lane is faster than FastPass. Lightning strikes really quick while fast is a relative term, you know? (I’m just spitballing here.) Guests will pay inside of the app for the option to use Lightning Lane, receive a return window and then, ka-chow(!), they’ll get to the front of the line once it’s time for that return window. Resort guests can start paying for these at 7 AM while others wait until park opening. You will want to have your tickets linked to the account and a park reservation already made. That’s the bare bones of this particular system, if you have more questions then please let us know.

On opening day of Genie+, here were the prices for each individual attraction offered, sorted by park:

  • Seven Dwarfs Mine Train – $10
  • Space Mountain – $7
  • Frozen Ever After – $9
  • Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure – $9
  • Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway – $8
  • Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance – $15
  • Avatar Flight of Passage – $11
  • Expedition Everest – $7
RotR SWGE Lt Bek preshow

These attractions are all individually priced, so if you’re in a group of 4 then you will pay 4 times that amount for your group. The price doesn’t include sales tax. We should also note that the price is dynamic and will change depending on the demand for each day. For example, prices during holidays will be higher. All other Lightning Lane attractions are included with the purchase of Genie+, which we will cover at a different time.

Looking at each attraction and if they’re worth the price is the easiest way to do this. We’ll include some strategy on when to do each attraction if you choose not to pay. A general note would be that, since there’s only two attractions at each park, doing one at park opening and the other at park closing would lead to the least amount of wait times without paying. That said, we know that’s not a viable option for everyone.

Sven Frozen Ever After

In Magic Kingdom, we have Mine Train and Space Mountain as the two options. Rightfully so, Space is one of the cheapest among any of the individual options. That matches the demand for standby lines. Frankly, I don’t think spending $7 (or whatever it is on that certain day) for Space Mountain is worth it. The wait times here die down quite a bit late at night and they aren’t ever too bad in the first hour or two of operation. Like we say in our itinerary, start your day with Space Mountain and you should avoid paying or waiting in a long line.

Mine Train is a different story and I’m slightly surprised that it’s only the third most expensive attraction on the list. No, it’s not as good as any other non-Epcot attraction on the list but it is the most popular ride at the most popular park. Knocking out this ride midday by spending a few extra dollar makes some sense and I think might be the best value out of the entire list. That said, I don’t think I’ll ever personally pay extra to go on Mine Train. If this is a once in a lifetime trip then consider it or make this the very last ride of the night, right before closing.

SDMT hill MK

Moving to Epcot, we have two dark rides in World Showcase. Frozen Ever After, at $9, falls into the same boat (pun intended) as Mine Train. I don’t personally enjoy the ride and wouldn’t pay for it but if you don’t want to stand in a long hot line with screaming kids in the middle of the day then spending some money for it is a good option. It does calm down at night like other rides, but if you aren’t staying late then consider paying.

Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure is priced the same but should not be paid for. Even though it’s the park’s latest attraction the reason for not paying for Lightning Lane is simple – there’s already a virtual queue. In our experience, that’s going to keep your wait, once the return window is called, under 30 minutes. I think the only reason to pay for Lightning Lane here at this point is if you miss out on joining the virtual queue. Otherwise, I would stay away from paying.

Remy's Ratatouille Adventure spitting fountain Epcot France

Hollywood Studios has two interesting options as their individual Lightning Lanes. Rise of the Resistance will be one of the most popular rides to pay for as it’s one of the best and newest attractions in Walt Disney World. Unfortunately, it is priced accordingly. Paying $15 each for a family of four adds up to about half the cost of a 1-day ticket. It’s also a decent meal somewhere. This is ultimately the issue with Lightning Lane. You can do the attraction either way, so balancing whether it’s worth your time or worth your money is hard. If the ride is a 2 hour wait then that price tag is probably worth your money. But, we prefer to ride Rise of the Resistance late at night, right before close and have encountered low wait times because of that.

Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway is less complicated as the attraction has a high capacity and less of a crowd. In our experience, the wait times here can fluctuate dramatically to the point where I’m pretty surprised that this attraction was picked as one of the two. I don’t think I’d pay for this one even if it’s a fun ride. Just find a time where the standby wait is pretty low, because it drops under an hour (and even lower) all of the time.

MMRW sign DHS

Finally, we arrive at Animal Kingdom and maybe the hardest choice out of all of these. Avatar Flight of Passage is very similar to Seven Dwarfs Mine Train. It’s slightly more expensive but the wait times here can be drastic throughout the day. Again, we recommend staying until park close and doing this right before instead of paying. If that’s not an option though then I think paying here is a tempting option.

On the other hand, Expedition Everest is the easiest choice in the park. Do not pay for Lightning Lane here. Even when crowded, I’ve seen waits here at under half an hour. The attraction loads fast and has a single rider line. If there’s a long wait, avoid shelling out some extra cash and just come back to it in a few hours. Or ride the single-rider.

Face statue Everest AK

Ultimately, this all comes down to how you value your time. After paying so much for park tickets, it’s hard for me to fathom paying extra for all of these rides but there is a time and place for it. If you only have a select few days, then your time becomes more valuable meaning you should pay more for attractions. Likewise, if you’re going over a holiday or a busy season then paying should be a consideration. Otherwise, we recommend that you stick to the itineraries and try to avoid having to pay extra!

What do you think of paying extra to skip the line at individual attractions? Let us know, along with any questions you might have, in the comments below! Planning at trip to Disney World? Check out our Disney World Trip Planning Guide. If you enjoy what you’re reading here on Wandering in Disney, please subscribe to the blog on the right side of this page. That’s where you can find links to our social media accounts, as well. Thank you for reading!

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