It’s no secret, a trip to Disney World can be pretty pricy. But here’s why you might want to spend even more money during your time in the parks.
The costs of a Disney World trip can add up FAST. By the time you’ve paid for your park tickets, hotel room, transportation, food, and souvenirs, there’s a good chance that your budget may already be super tight. So, after all that, why would you want to pay even MORE money to ride an attraction? As wild as it may seem, there is a mathematical reason you might actually want to shell out more for that must-do ride.
What Are Individual Lightning Lanes?
Let’s start with a few Disney World attractions basics before we dive into the mathematical breakdown of why you might want to pay extra to experience a particular ride.
Technically, all of the rides at each of the Disney World parks are included in the cost of a ticket. This means that, in theory, there is an option to ride each attraction through a standby line without paying extra on top of your park ticket. But, in October 2021, Disney World launched several new planning tools that gave guests the option to bypass standby lines for select attractions at an additional cost.
The basic version of the planning tool — called Disney Genie — is a complimentary service within Disney World’s My Disney Experience app that provides planning tools and customized itineraries to help guests maximize their time in the parks. In addition to the free planning tool, there are also two optional add-ons available through Disney Genie, each of which can be used for a fee.
First, there’s the Disney Genie+ base-price option, which allows guests to select the next available time to arrive at an attraction (similar to the previous FastPass+ time windows) and enter that attraction’s Lightning Lane. Disney Genie+ includes access to the Lightning Lanes of over 40 attractions across Disney World. The pricing for Genie+ varies by date, but we’ve seen the cost per person range from $15 per day to $22 per day.
But, each of the Disney World parks also includes one ultra-popular attraction that is NOT included as a Lightning Lane option with the purchase of Disney Genie+. In order to access the Lightning Lane for these attractions, guests must purchase an Individual Attraction Lightning Lane Selection.
The attractions that require the purchase of an Individual Lightning Lane to bypass the standby line are Seven Dwarfs Mine Train (Magic Kingdom), Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind (EPCOT), Avatar Flight of Passage (Disney’s Animal Kingdom), and Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance (Disney’s Hollywood Studios).
The pricing for each attraction varies by day, but so far, we’ve seen Seven Dwarfs Mine Train range from $10-$12 per person, Guardians of the Galaxy range from $14-17 per person, Flight of Passage range from $11-$14 per person, and Rise of the Resistance range from $15-$22 per person.
Why would you consider paying extra to bypass the standby line for just one of those rides? Let’s dive into the math!
When Does an Individual Lightning Lane Make Sense?
As mentioned before, there is a standby line available for each Disney World attraction (with the exception of Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind, which is still using a Virtual Queue system that requires guests to get a Boarding Group in order to ride).
But even though you could experience each attraction without paying extra in theory, there is one super important reason why buying an Individual Lightning Lane might be worth it — time is money in Disney World.
Let’s run through an example to see this concept in action. If, for example, Hollywood Studios is open for 12.5 hours, and you paid $109 for your park ticket, that ticket is costing you $8.72 per hour ($109/12.5 hours) — and that’s assuming you are there from rope drop to closing. If you wait in a 3-hour standby line for Rise of the Resistance, the cost of that time equals $26.16 ($8.72 x 3 hours).
So from that perspective, you would have saved money by paying for an Individual Attraction Selection for Rise of the Resistance, even if the cost for that day was at the highest pricing we’ve seen so far of $22.
Let’s do the same thing over at Magic Kingdom. The park has been open for 14 hours lately, so you’re essentially paying $7.79 per hour. We see Seven Dwarfs Mine Train get to a two hour wait nearly every day, so it would cost you $15.58 to wait in that two hour line. We mostly see the Individual Lightning Lane at $11, so again, you would save money by saving time here.
This same logic can be applied to the purchase of Genie+, which includes access to Lightning Lanes for multiple attractions across the parks.
By purchasing Genie+, Individual Lightning Lanes, or both, you can save a significant amount of time waiting in standby lines. This allows you to get the most out of your day in the park, maximizing the value of your ticket.
Of course, spending even more money on a day in Disney World might not be in every family’s budget. If you can’t swing the extra cost of Genie+ or Individual Lighting Lanes, there are still options to help you get the most out of your time!
First, be strategic about your time in the park. Lines for attractions tend to be the shortest right after the park opens and in the few hours before the park closes. To bypass some of the longest lines, try to arrive in time for rope drop in the morning, or plan to stay all the way up until the park closes.
If you’re staying at a Disney-owned hotel, you may also be eligible for extra time in the parks through Early Theme Park Entry or Extended Evening Hours. Be sure to check on any extra park hours included for your hotel for another opportunity to take advantage of shorter standby lines!
We know that a trip to Disney World can be wildly expensive. And that can make it hard to justify shelling out even MORE money to experience an attraction. But if you’re trying to maximize the value of your park ticket and accomplish as much as you can on your vacation, it may be worth splurging on Genie+ or Individual Lightning Lanes to bypass some of those standby lines! After all, when it comes to Disney World, time is definitely money.
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Have you used Genie+ or Individual Lightning Lanes in Disney World? Let us know if you think they’re worth it in the comments!
The post Why You SHOULD Pay Extra To Ride Disney World’s Most Popular Rides first appeared on the disney food blog.