Best Lightning Lane Rides to Reserve with Genie+
Best Lightning Lane Rides to Reserve with Genie+
Let’s talk about Genie+ and the best Lightning Lane rides to jump on first when you get the chance to schedule those reservations.
Disney Genie and Genie+ is moving full steam ahead at Disneyland and Walt Disney World. Now, everybody wants to know how to use it. What are the hacks? What are the strategies? Which Lightning Lanes do you have to reserve and which ones aren’t quite so essential to your day?
What people want to know most of all is What Lightning Lanes should I reserve first when I go to the parks with Genie+. To answer that, I’ll have to discuss just a few of the ways that Lightning Lane is different from Fastpass and some ways in which they are the same, or similar. Then we can talk about the best Lightning Lane rides to jump on first when you get the chance.
Removed From the Equation
Before we start making reservations for the best Lightning Lane rides, let’s address the attractions that aren’t eligible. While plenty of attractions that don’t need Lightning Lane are included with Genie+, the premier attractions are conspicuously missing from the longish list of options under the paid Disney Genie extension. These rides– two from each park except Disneyland– must be purchased separately for Lightning Lane access. These are the top-tier attractions. Typically the newest and most in-demand. That means, if you want to experience the hottest rides, you’ll either wait in long lines or pay not to.
These attractions have ILLs (Individual Lightning Lanes that are available to purchase at a maximum of two per person. Not counting these attractions and sticking only to what is available through Genie+ let’s look at what the best rides are to focus on for your first Lightning Lane reservations.
The Invisible Second Tier (Lightning Lanes to Reserve First)
In the old days of Fastpass+– those naive and innocent times prior to the devastating spread of the COVID pandemic– guests had a weighted advantage that allowed for three reservations per day as far as 60 days prior to check-in. The selections were available or not depending on what you choose. Each guest could only pick on top their attraction and the other two would have to be second tier. There was no third tier or lower. There was just the A team and B team of attractions.
With a select few attractions reserved for the a la carte purchase of Lightning Lane passes, the rest of the premier Disney rides got lumped into the pile with the less essential attractions like Mad Tea Party or Star Tours. When I say less essential, I don’t necessarily mean inferior. I love both of these attractions. However, both are high-capacity attractions that take in large amounts of people quickly and tend to have shorter weight times, to begin with.
In short, there are lots of Lightning Lane eligible attractions you probably won’t need Lightning Lane for. So, when you make your initial selections, shoot for the lower capacity and higher demand experiences that typically have longer wait times. These attractions include:
The Haunted Mansion — Magic Kingdom
Peter Pan’s Flight — Magic Kingdom
Mission Space — EPCOT
Test Track — EPCOT
Slinky Dog Dash- Disney Hollywood Studios (note: out of all the rides at Disney World, this seems to be the one that is maxed out the fastest. You should be ready to reserve a time slot right at 7am for Slinky Dog Dash!)
Rock ‘N’ Roller Coaster — DHS
Tower of Terror — Disney Hollywood Studios
Smugglers Run— Disney Hollywood Studios
Kilimanjaro Safaris — Disney’s Animal Kingdom
Dinosaur — Disney’s Animal Kingdom
Some of these are high capacity but still have longer lines because the demand is so great. At DHS, this is due to the size of the park and a high number of popular attractions. At Animal Kingdom the lower attraction count means less dispersal of the crowds. So while the park is relatively large. Most guests wind up waiting at the same few offerings.
Lightning Lanes You Probably Won’t Need
In general, I always think it best to steer clear of shows when it comes to using a standby skipping option (Fastpass or Lightning Lane) on shows. Shows are not only high-capacity crowd eaters, they also have definite start and stop times. While there is some advantage to reserving your place for a popular show, there is virtually no need for Lightning Lane unless you want a guaranteed spot in a theater that might reach occupancy, or you want a “better spot”
The problem with these two exceptions is that shows rarely go over capacity unless they are very new and the park is very crowded. Getting the best spot is difficult because Cast Members are trained to keep guests moving and not allow anyone to stop in the middle of the theater. They can’t make you move, but they will try and are not always pleasant about it. In other words, save your Lightning Lane reservations for rides that will have a more critical impact
How Long is Standby? (The Disney Genie Factor)
One more factor that sets Genie+ apart from Fastpass+ is the free Disney Genie service. Disney Genie is an invisible hand that moves crowds around in a way that is completely different from Genie+. That’s because Genie makes suggestions to guests that are designed to disperse crowds and drive traffic to less popular areas. The direct result of this is an equalization of wait times across the board.
That means attractions with less pull normally will see more traffic. Higher profile attractions, on the other hand, may see a dip in standby wait times. Disney Genie also gives real-time and projected wait times in the parks. You can use all of that data to make informed decisions about which Genie+ reservations you should make before you even step into the park.
Canceling a Lightning Lane Reservation
If you purchase an Individual Lightning Lane reservation, you cannot cancel it. However, you can cancel Genie+ reservations. Do this if you change your plans or find out you won’t make the ride by the reservation window. Once you cancel a Lightning Lane reservation, you can then select another Lightning Lane either for the same attraction in a different return window, or a different ride altogether. Since you have to wait two hours between making reservations unless the reservation is used or canceled.
Canceling a Lightning Lane might be the best move if you want to take advantage of a better option. monitor the app regularly for those attractions you don’t want to miss to see if new reservations open up. To do this, refresh your screen often. Stopping for a drink or snack at a food kiosk is the perfect activity for taking a break to try and secure an elusive Lightning Lane for one of your favorite attractions.