FastPass+ More Money
Updated: Oct 25
Paid FastPasses have arrived at WDW.
When I first heard the rumors that paid FastPasses were coming to Walt Disney World, I didn’t want to believe it. Sure, paid FastPasses have existed in some form in Disneyland in California, Shanghai Disneyland, and Disneyland Paris, but another complimentary service couldn’t be going by the wayside (I’m looking at you Extra Magic Hours, Magical Express, and MagicBands). Well, I was wrong. On October 19th, Lightning Lane will debut at WDW. What’s known is confusing, as with most new things at Disney, so here’s a breakdown of the new, paid FastPass service.
“Lightning Lane” (sadly, no correlation to Lightning McQueen) coincides with the release of the new virtual assistant, Genie Service. The base plan is available to everyone as a feature on the My Disney Experience App and can help you plan out your day based on machine learning. The premium version, Genie+, costs $15 per person per day and gives you access to the next available Lightning Lane pass, one attraction at a time. You can purchase Genie+ beginning at 12 a.m. the first day of your visit, which means no more booking months before your trip. The process of selecting your first Lightning Lane pass begins at 7 a.m. for guests staying on property, and when the park opens for those staying off property.
Genie+ essentially works like paper FastPasses did: you get a FastPass to return to the ride at a later time. Once you turn in that ticket, you’re free to grab another and repeat the process at any attraction in the park as long as they’re available. The only difference is that Genie Service takes place on the My Disney Experience app, so you don’t have to run around the park.
The attractions eligible for Lightning Lane on Genie+ are:
Big Thunder Mountain Railroad
Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin
Dumbo the Flying Elephant
“it’s a small world”
Mad Tea Party
Magic Carpets of Aladdin
Monsters Inc. Laugh Floor
Peter Pan’s Flight
Pirates of the Caribbean
The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh
Under the Sea ~ Journey of the Little Mermaid
Disney & Pixar Short Film Festival
Journey into Imagination with Figment
Soarin’ Around the World
The Seas with Nemo & Friends
Turtle Talk with Crush
Alien Swirling Saucers
Beauty and the Beast: Live on Stage
Disney Jr. Play & Dance
Frozen Sing-Along Celebration
Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular
Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run
Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster Starring Aerosmith
Slinky Dog Dash
Star Tours – The Adventures Continue
The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror
Toy Story Mania
Disney’s Animal Kingdom
A Celebration of Festival of the Lion King
It’s Tough to Be a Bug
Kali River Rapids
Na’vi River Journey
The Animation Experience at Conservation Station
Feathered Friends in Flight
Still with me? Well, there’s one more caveat: Some rides, like the more popular e-ticket attractions, will not be included in Genie+ Lightning Lane. These premium attractions will cost an additional fee, anywhere from $7 to $15 per person, and only two of them can be purchased each day. This is important to note for park hopping! However, you do not need to have Genie+ to purchase individual Lightning Lane passes. So you can choose to go standby for most of the day, and just buy one or two Premium Lightning Lane passes for the rides with the longest lines.
The attractions that must be purchased as individual Lightning Lane passes are:
Seven Dwarfs Mine Train
Frozen Ever After
Remy's Ratatouille Adventure
Mickey & Minnie's Runaway Railway
Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance
Disney’s Animal Kingdom
Avatar Flight of Passage
So for a party of four, you’re looking at an extra $116+ per day for both Genie+ and at least one individual pass. That’s another park ticket or food for the day, which is A LOT. And that’s also why people, like myself, are upset by this development. In essence, Disney is becoming harder and harder to justify as a vacation with all these added fees. And it’s worsened by the fact they used to be complimentary.
And who knows the effects it will have on the standby queues. Every year I’ve gone to WDW since FastPass+ debuted, the regular lines have increased significantly. I’m talking 35 to 45 minutes for continuously moving rides like the Haunted Mansion at traditionally less crowded times in the day. So will Lightning Lane cause a similar influx in wait times for rides that don’t really need it?
While it may be too soon to say, what is certain is that Genie+ and individual Lightning Lane passes are an added expense to an already costly vacation. If guests can’t easily make it work for one trip, how will they continue to go? Especially when Annual Passsholders and Disney Vacation Club members, the guests who visit WDW regularly, don’t receive any sort of discount.
If prices continue to go up, fewer segments of the population will be able to visit the Happiest Place on Earth, which begs the question: will there be any guests left to pay for it?