Let’s Rank the Lightning Lane Attractions
Disneyland and Walt Disney World just announced their pay-to-play attractions.
After several months of speculation, we now know which rides will allow guests to skip the line at the cost of $7-$15.
So, the question becomes which ones are worth the money. Let’s rank the Lightning Lane attractions based on whether you should splurge on them.
10) Space Mountain
Walt Disney World has confirmed eight participants in the Lightning Lane program. At Disneyland, three attractions are eligible for Lightning Lane.
This list only consists of ten entries rather than 11 because one ride is available at both parks.
Still, no matter how you feel about the various options, Space Mountain shouldn’t be a Lightning Lane attraction.
The ride’s older than David Harbour, who played the over-the-hill parental figure in Stranger Things five years before he did the same thing in Black Widow.
The other tell-tale sign brings us back to Disneyland. That park will NOT charge for Space Mountain. It was available via MaxPass and will presumably be available on Disney Genie+, too.
So, Disney is telling us that we shouldn’t pay for Space Mountain at Disneyland while arguing that we should at Magic Kingdom. It makes no sense.
Please don’t pay for Space Mountain. It sends Disney the wrong message.
9) Expedition Everest
I would argue that three of the Lightning Lane attractions provide questionable value. Two of them border on comical.
Yes, I’m including Expedition Everest on this. I’ve ridden this attraction four times in an hour…this year!
Even when the lines remain long enough for you to consider, this ride comes with Single Rider as an option. So, you can shorten your wait that way.
I don’t think I’m making a bold prediction here that Expedition Everest and Space Mountain will earn the fewest Lightning Lane purchases.
8) Frozen Ever After
Look, we’re all busy and want to maximize our park time. Still, Frozen Ever After often requires an average wait of 30 minutes.
Friends, if you don’t want to wait half an hour to ride something, you probably shouldn’t go to a theme park.
Nobody’s questioning the quality of Frozen Ever After, a delightful ride experience.
I ordinarily do Frozen Ever After two or three times per EPCOT visit. However, I never feel a time crunch since the lines are so short for most other rides.
Simply stated, there’s no need to demonstrate this sort of impatience during an EPCOT day.
You could take that same money and buy delicious food or drinks at the World Showcase’s festival kiosks.
7) Seven Dwarfs Mine Train
Magic Kingdom and Disneyland share a common trait. Both parks provide such tremendous value that you’ll run out of time.
Riding everything at Disney California Adventure or the other three Walt Disney World parks isn’t as challenging.
You’ll need some luck to make the attempt at Magic Kingdom, although Disney Genie and especially Disney Genie+ will help with that.
Seven Dwarfs Mine Train debuted in 2014, which means that odds are pretty good that you’ve ridden it.
If so, you probably either like it or loooove it. I fall into the latter category and MUST ride it during a Magic Kingdom visit.
When I Park Hop to Magic Kingdom, I often save Seven Dwarfs Mine Train for closing, as the place looks gorgeous at night.
So, I’m a massive fan of the ride, and I’m telling you it’s not great value as a pay-to-play attraction. Just show up at Rope Drop and wait 20-40 minutes instead!
6) WEB-SLINGERS: A Spider-Man Adventure
Now, I’m getting a bit controversial. After all, this attraction is so new that if you haven’t visited Disneyland since its reopening, you haven’t experienced this one.
The Happiest Place on Earth closed a few weeks before WEB-Slingers should have opened.
You’ll love the ride, especially if you’re a Marvel fan or have lots of Spider-Man Funko POPs.
Still, the demand for this attraction is dwindling by the day. So park officials have already planned for the day when it’ll switch to a standby queue.
That date could arrive before this article even publishes. I say this because WEB-SLINGERS has had Boarding Groups available until late in the day recently.
The dying momentum should lead to a standard line queue wait, negating the aggravation of Boarding Group attempts. And those aren’t even hard to attain.
On top of that, this ride isn’t as dazzling as the other new entry at Disneyland. So, if you only want to buy one Lightning Lane attraction, it’s not this one.
5) Radiator Springs Racers
I go back and forth on this one. Paying for an older ride like Radiator Springs Racers strikes me as madness.
I mean, I made the same argument against Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, and this one’s two years older.
However, the entire point of Lightning Lane stems from the desire to maximize park time.
Only one attraction at Walt Disney World usually matches or surpasses the wait times here. It’s the one I’ll discuss next.
So, I fully understand if you want to drop from a 120-minute wait to a shorter one. But unfortunately, there’s a second aspect to this.
Even Single Rider at Radiator Springs Racers can reach 45 minutes fairly regularly.
I’m not sure yet whether you’ll save more than an hour with Lightning Lane. This one will require more data. So, I’m slotting it in the middle.
4) Avatar: Flight of Passage
Whenever someone got a FastPass for Avatar: Flight of Passage, they’d almost get dizzy from the difference.
When you enter the standby queue and wait two hours or more, you experience all sections of the themed experience, including the giant Na’vi in the science lab.
Conversely, when you enter the shorter lane, you can be watching the pre-show video in 10-15 minutes.
On those days when you don’t feel like standing in line for hours, Lightning Lane at Avatar: Flight of Passage makes perfect sense.
As such, this is the cutoff point for me. I’ll suggest that friends consider pay-to-play on everything from here on.
The previous six rides just aren’t worth the cost, save for possibly Radiator Springs Racers.
3) Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway
I’ll recommend this ride as a Lightning Lane choice, but there’s a time factor to it.
Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway has fluctuated dramatically with its average wait times this summer and fall.
Lately, the second-newest attraction at Walt Disney World has hovered in the 40-45 minute range. So, you’re not saving much time here.
However, you DO guarantee that you get to ride something that you may not have done before.
There is value in that, at least if the ride is great. I docked WEB SLINGERS because it’s just a glorified update on the Buzz Lightyear Space Ranger rides.
You shouldn’t pay for something that’s no longer original. That’s my philosophy about Lightning Lane in general.
As such, I recommend Runaway Railway until such a time as the shine has worn off.
Then, it’s just a great ride that you jump on whenever the wait time justifies it. After all, Runaway Railway’s central location guarantees that you’re never far from it.
2) Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure
I vacillated on what to make the number one choice for Lightning Lane.
After all, Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure is only a couple of weeks old, at least at Walt Disney World.
Currently, you must book a Boarding Group to experience Ratatouille, and those aren’t easy to get.
Also, this attraction is cheaper than the one that I picked for number one.
However, some other factors come into play. Ratatouille cycles through more riders and thus services more Boarding Groups.
Remy's Ratatouille Adventure has been added to the virtual queue in the My Disney Experience app. The attraction officially opens at Epcot on Oct. 1. pic.twitter.com/sdljrVA54U
— Ashley Carter (@AshleyLCarter1) September 23, 2021
Over the past 10 days, it crossed 200 Boarding Groups on three (!) different occasions and 190 on three more. Two of the “bad” days served 189 Boarding Groups.
In short, you have a better chance of riding this one without paying for it.
Still, you can skip plenty of aggravation to ride something that I’m reasonably confident you haven’t checked off your list yet.
I think that’s worth a few dollars.
1) Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance
Buy this one.
Just do it.
I’m not going to equivocate about the cost, which is the most expensive of any Lightning Lane attraction.
Instead, I’m going to emphasize two points. The first is that Disney has stated that Lightning Lane will never sell out.
In other words, whether you’re at Disneyland or Disney’s Hollywood Studios, you CAN guarantee a turn on Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance.
Since the end of 2019, guests would have killed for that option.
I recently spent $20 to ride a Ferris wheel at a nearby tourist trap. So, $15 for Rise of the Resistance feels like a steal.