Where You Should Buy Lightning Lane This Summer?
Walt Disney World is the place to be as of right…now.
The school year has ended, and you’re finally ready for that summer vacation you’ve dreamt about all year.
You’ll want to stretch your vacation budget as much as possible while still enjoying the best possible time.
The big question on everyone’s mind these days is whether you should spend the money for the two versions of Lightning Lane.
Believe it or not, this answer varies from park to park. Here’s where you should buy Lightning Lane at Walt Disney World this summer.
Disney’s Animal Kingdom
I’ll go ahead and tell you that I feel two parks and two attractions justify Lightning Lane upgrades. Everything else does not.
Disney’s Animal Kingdom comes with a bit of debate, as some might disagree with me here…on one part.
Most Animal Kingdom guests know that the park doesn’t offer quite as many rides as the rest of Walt Disney World.
Depending on how you define a ride, the total hovers around seven or eight.
You’ll find countless other attractions at Animal Kingdom, which is basically a zoo with Disney Imagineering everywhere.
Still, you shouldn’t need to wait as long for those experiences except for maybe Adventurers Outpost and Festival of the Lion King.
So, when you buy Disney Genie+ here, your Lightning Lane options prove limited.
You’ll definitely have the run of the park, but the cost doesn’t make much sense unless you plan to Park Hop.
So, this one is the hardest NO! of the four parks, in my opinion.
With the per-ride version of Lightning Lane, you’ll face a more challenging decision.
Avatar Flight of Passage is both the best attraction at Animal Kingdom and the most crowded.
Would you rather skip an hourlong wait – and sometimes much more – by spending money on a Lightning Lane.
I have done this and in fact, usually take this approach at the park. However, I don’t recommend the strategy to friends.
You should Rope Drop at Animal Kingdom anyway. When you do that, your target should be Avatar Flight of Passage.
Even if you don’t, you’ll have plenty of time to stand in line at Avatar Flight of Passage but still do everything you want at the park.
Disney’s Hollywood Studios
During the busiest times of the year – LIKE SUMMER!!! – seven different rides at Hollywood Studios could require hourlong waits.
Two of them – Slinky Dog Dash and Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance – could grow much longer.
For this reason, purchasing Disney Genie+ at this park is a no-brainer, presuming you can afford it.
When you don’t buy Disney Genie+, you must pick your battles regarding which attractions matter most to you.
With Disney Genie+, you’ll enjoy substantially more flexibility in choosing your attractions.
I’ll add that you should temper your expectations, though. The Lightning Lane reservations for the best rides usually go quickly.
That’s the downside of this approach. You may spend the money but then struggle to find E-ticket attractions available via Lightning Lane.
Disney makes no guarantees for this service. Now, this generally hasn’t been my experience, but please be aware of the possibility.
As for the single attraction Lightning Lane, this one’s obvious as well.
YES! You should purchase a Lightning Lane for Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance if you want to ride it.
The lines for this attraction are often 80+ minutes, and even Rope Drop likely requires a prolonged wait. Plus, it’s worth the money!
I’ll answer no on both versions of Lightning Lane here…with a huge asterisk.
With Disney Genie+, you’ll book Lightning Lanes primarily for the top three attractions.
Those are Frozen Ever After, Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure, and Test Track.
While you can save substantial time by doing so, everything else at the park requires a modest wait.
My expectation for the summer is that these three rides would average a wait of 70-80 minutes on crowded days.
With the other EPCOT attractions, we’re talking about maybe 30 minutes…but more likely 20.
Several of the rides remain virtual walk-ons late in the afternoon and in the evening as guests gravitate toward the World Showcase.
For the individual Lightning Lane, I’ll say no for right now. This opinion could change, though.
Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind offers a virtual queue (aka Boarding Group) twice a day.
In recent months, guests have claimed a Boarding Group without much struggle.
I expect that behavior to remain the same except for maybe a few days in mid-summer, especially the week of the July 4th holiday.
Should you fail to claim a Boarding Group after the second allotment in the afternoon, you can always switch to Plan B and buy a standalone Lightning Lane.
The answers here are yes and yes.
With Disney Genie+, you can probably ride all of Magic Kingdom’s iconic attractions. There’s a difference here versus Hollywood Studios.
At Magic Kingdom, you’ll enjoy a plethora of Lightning Lane reservation possibilities as opposed to a golden few.
So, no matter when you attempt to book a Lightning Lane, you’ll discover several high-quality options available.
As such, you’ll more conveniently plan your day, just as you could during the glory days of paper ticket FastPasses.
Remarkably, you don’t NEED to buy Disney Genie+ for the same reason, though.
You’ll still be able to ride virtually all the attractions you desire. The only difference is that you’ll stand in line longer.
How much are you willing to pay to experience more attractions and stand in line less? Only you can decide that for certain.
However, you almost certainly will need to buy a Lightning Lane for Magic Kingdom’s newest attraction, Tron Lightcycle / Run.
This attraction also offers a virtual queue, but it’ll be gone in minutes, possibly even seconds.
Currently, the Tron roller coaster doesn’t even offer a standby queue. So, it’s probably Lightning Lane or nothing here.
Don’t pick nothing. You’re only hurting yourself. Tron is incredible!
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Feature Photo: Disney