This article is your complete guide to the question, is Lightning Lane Worth it at Disney World? And we have been covering the Disney World Genie+ and individual Lightning Lanes a lot in our recent blog posts mostly because they are the most important change that we have seen at Disney in the past few years. The main reason is the Lightning Lane has replaced the free Disney World Fast Pass system and it is now a pay to skip the line system. This has left many families scrambling to figure out if the Lightning Lane entrance is worth it or not.
As a general rule of thumb we do find the Lightning Lane to be worth it if your total cost per person to skip the line for that attraction is below $11 per attraction and you will end up saving 60 minutes or more by using the Lightning Lane. This is specifically true for the Disney World Genie+ Lightning Lane attractions where Disney has stated will help guests get on 2-3 rides. As you will also see we will need to scale these numbers for the individual Lightning Lane selections as many of those attractions will have a larger pay to skip the line cost however on average they do tend to have longer then 60 minute waits so there can still be value in upgrading.
We will break all of this information down in more detail so if you’re ready to find out if the Lightning Lane entrance is worth it read on!
There are several factors we must look at when trying to answer the question, is the lightning lane entrance worth it? The first thing to consider is how much does it actually cost you per person and per day to be at Disney World. From there we will even break it down even more and say that the most accurate way to figure out if the Lightning Lane is worth it at Disney World is to figure out how much does it cost per person per hour to be in the parks. From there we must next look at if you plan to use the Lightning Lane for the Disney Genie+ attractions or for the individual Lightning Lane attractions. And then last we will need to take a look at the average wait times for each attraction and if possible break it down based on the specific time of year that your family plans to visit Walt Disney World.
It’s also important to understand the differences between the Genie Plus and the Individual Lightning Lanes. With the Genie+ giving guests the ability to choose from up to 40+ different attractions for the cost of $15-$22 per person per day. And for the individual Lightning Lanes guest can choose from one premium selection at each park which can cost between $10-$17 per person to skip that ride. It’s also important to note that with the Disney Genie+ guests can typically only hold one Lightning Lane reservation at a time, however they can continue to make their next Lightning Lane reservation once their current one is used. For the individual Lightning Lanes guests can also only hold one reservation at a time and can only make 2 total for that day.
On average the lightning lane will always have a much shorter wait time compared to the standard Disney World line, but it usually combines with the regular line before the ride. As a result, it’s common to have a wait time of around 5-10 minutes, even when using the Lightning Lane. However on the flip side this is still substantially less then waiting in the regular queue, especially for some of the most popular rides which we will break down below.
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As we discussed one of the most accurate ways to answer the question, is Lightning Lane worth it at Disney World is to start with how much it costs each person to be in the Disney World parks by the hour. The main reason is that the entire point of the Lighting Lane is to save you time on lines so that you can get more done within your time in the parks. However on the flip side it’s making your day more expensive so we feel like these numbers go hand in hand, and the most important place to start is your baseline cost to be in the parks.
For our example we are simply going to use a four day Disney World ticket sold from us here at The Park Prodigy, and we picked an average time of year to visit in October so ticket prices will be moderate. The main reason we picked a four day ticket is because there are four major Disney World theme parks. We are also going to simply use a 12 hour day as we feel like that is the average between the four with Magic Kingdom days being a bit longer. So our price for a four day ticket including sales tax in the middle of October is $525.00 per person. This would mean that it costs the average person right under $11.00 per hour to be at Walt Disney Word if they planned to stay in the parks all day long.
As discussed the next most important question to then ask when trying to figure our if the Disney Lightning Lane is worth it is, how much does the Lightning Lane cost? And as a general rule of thumb the Disney World Genie+ Lightning Lane will cost $15-$22 per person per day and the individual Lightning Lanes will cost you $10-$17 per person per day. And on average Disney World has stated that the Disney Genie+ will help guests get on 2-3 rides per day while the individual Lightning Lane will help families skip the lines for that specific ride. Based on what we have been seeing recently we are going to use the high side for the Disney Genie+ at $22 and we will use $15 for the individual Lightning Lane prices.
Okay so the last question we must answer when trying to figure out if the Disney World Lightning Lane is worth it or not is what are the average wait times for the most popular attractions. And using the same week in which we grabbed the four day ticket prices the average wait times at the Magic Kingdom park were 35 minutes per ride, 38 minutes per ride at EPCOT, 47 minutes per ride at Animal Kingdom, and 49 minutes per ride for Hollywood Studios. Now although these numbers might show that Hollywood Studios is the best park to use the Lightning Lane for it’s also important to note that the Magic Kingdom has the most Disney World rides out of any Disney park so we really need to dive in and look at each ride to be accurate.
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As a general rule of thumb we do find the Disney World Lightning Lane to be worth it if you can find a way to save 60 minutes per attraction at a cost of under $11.00 per attraction. Based on the average wait times above this would also apply for popular attractions with wait times well over 60 minutes that also do cost more then $11.00 such as Avatar Flight of Passage and Star Wars Rise of the Resistance. With the main reason here being that guests are still able to save a significant amount of time when compared to the $11.00 per person per hour that they are spending to be inside of the Disney World parks.
Now of course the important thing to keep in mind with the Disney Genie+ is the more rides and attractions you can accomplish within a day the lower your average wait time savings per ride can be. The main reason is that the Disney Genie+ is only costing you the flat fee of $15-$22 per person. So if you can get more then three rides out of it this will change your entire pay back period in a positive way.
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Another very popular question we receive is, is it better to use the Genie plus or individual lightning lane? And on average we almost always see the individual lightning lanes to provide a greater value when it comes to saving time in the theme parks. And the main reason being is these are the four most popular attractions in all of Walt Disney World with all of them having an average wait time over 70 minutes long. Star Wars Rise of the Resistance and Avatar Flight of Passage actually have an average wait time of over 90 minutes. So when you compare these average wait times to the averages of some of the other Disney World rides which are typically between 25-45 minutes it’s not even close in our opinion if Genie plus or the lightning lane is the better choice. We almost always use the individual lightning lanes when we are in the theme parks and will sometimes upgrade to the Disney Genie plus depending on what our plans are for that day.
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One of the most popular questions we receive on this topic is, is Lightning Lane for Rise of the Resistance worth it? And as a general rule of thumb we do consider the Lightning Lane to be worth it for Rise of the Resistance as guests will save up to 98 minutes on average at an additional cost of $16.00 per person. However when you consider that it costs the average guest $11.00 per hour to be inside of any of the Disney World theme parks we feel like the additional cost is worth it as you are receiving an equal amount of time back to enjoy on other Disney World rides.
Our Disney World Crowd Calendar is the best tool to help you get the most out of your time in the parks. We break down park crowds, park hours of operation, ticket prices, and average temperature. We also break down the best time to visit Disney World based on specific times of the year and special events.
Are you planning a trip to Walt Disney World? Be sure to speak with a Disney World Travel Agent for the most recent deals and promotions. The Park Prodigy will provide a Free Quote for all Disney World Vacation Packages. The Park Prodigy can also help you save up to $20 per ticket when purchasing your Walt Disney World Tickets, and we offer promotional discounts for special events such as Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party Tickets and Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party Tickets.
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