Lightning Lane at WDW: The Difference Between Genie Plus and ILL
Mostly you’ll be purchasing Genie+ for the Lightning Lane access. However, a few rides are not included with Genie+ and require individual purchase. This is the key difference between Genie plus and ILL.
Lots of changes have come to Walt Disney World in the last couple of years. One of them is the highly anticipated debut of Disney Genie. Another big change after the removal of Fastpass+ is the new Lightning Lane system which is available only through Genie+.
While Disney Genie is free, Genie+ comes at a price of $15 (plus tax) per person. What you get for that price is a handful of exclusive features. Mostly you’ll be purchasing Genie+ for the Lightning Lane access. However, not all rides provide Lightning Lane and a few of them are not included with Genie+ even though they are equipped for Lightning Lane. These rides require individual purchases. Here is the lowdown on Genie Plus Lightning Lane attractions, individual Lightning Lane purchases, and the differences between the two.
What is the Lightning Lane?
The term Lightning Lane refers to the new line-skipping option available at Walt Disney World. It’s also coming soon to the Disneyland Resort. The prior system and the new system, while similar in concept, work very differently. On the one hand, Fastpass+ at Disney World offered three early Fastpass reservations. Once those reservation windows lapsed you could continue making more Fastpass reservations one at a time throughout the rest of the day. The three preliminary Fastpass+ selections were subject to a tiered rating system that required you to alternate your reservations between high-demand rides and less popular ones.
Meanwhile, at Disneyland, the paid option Maxpass has operated fairly similar to what the new Genie + offers guests who purchase the upgrade. Among the paid features Disney Genie+ offers are Lightning Lane reservations in lieu of Fastpasses. When you reserve Lightning Lane you get a return window just like you would with Fastpass. Once you enter the lightning lane queue for the reserved attraction your pass gets scanned remotely and you will be able to make your next selection. The main difference is that you can only make your reservations the day of and the tiering system requires an extra or at least a separate charge for attractions in higher demand.
Can I Use the Lightning Lane in Every Walt Disney World Attraction?
As with Fastpass +, not all attractions in Walt Disney World or Disneyland resort have Lightning Lane. Only those high-demand attractions with longer wait times tend to have Lightning Lane. There is another difference among Lightning Lane attractions that speaks to the concept of a tiered system. As with Fastpass+ which made the premium rides slightly less accessible unless you jumped through a few hoops, Lightning Lanes have their own omissions of more popular attractions that you have to purchase individually.
These individual purchases guarantee a spot on hot ticket attractions such as Rise of the Resistance, or Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure. Attractions classified in this way are not available through Genie + and require individual purchases for each attraction you wish to ride. At Disneyland Resort in California Radiator Springs Racers and Rise of the Resistance are two such attractions.
What Attractions Are Eligible for Lightning Lane?
The Magic Kingdom has 17 Lightning Lane attractions. These include big draws such as Splash Mountain, Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, and Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin. The Laugh Floor and Mickey’s Philharmagic are also included. As are the Tomorrowland Speedway and every Fantasyland attraction from It’s a Small World to The Mad Tea Party. The Haunted Mansion and the Jungle Cruise also make the list.
At EPCOT, every existing attraction in World Discovery, World Celebration, and World Nature (aka Future World) offers Lightning Lane through Genie Plus. That includes Test Track, Mission: Space, Spaceship Earth, Soarin’, Living with the Land, the Seas with Nemo and Friends, Journey into Imagination and other less popular options.
In Disney Hollywood Studios (a park not known to be bursting with attractions), a whopping 12 attractions have Lightning Lane. This includes some stage shows. Among them is the Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular which returns on December 19. Almost all your favorites, including the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror, Star Tours, Rockin’ Rollercoaster, Slinky Dog Dash, Toy Story Mania, and Millenium Falcon: Smugglers Run are also eligible. Evn Alien Swirling Saucers and Muppet Vision 3D made the list.
Disney’s Animal Kingdom has even fewer attractions requiring a Lightning Lane. So virtually all are included with a couple of noteworthy exceptions. In fact, exactly two attractions from every park have been excluded from the list of Lightning Lane eligible attractions for Genie+.
What E-Ticket Rides are not Available on Genie Plus? This is the key difference between Genie Plus and ILL
There are two premium attractions at every Walt Disney World theme park that currently are not offered with the Genie+ purchase. You need to buy these attractions individually if you want Lightning Lane access. Otherwise, you can always use the standby line, but to ensure you get a spot on these hot ticket rides, you need to make these individual ride purchases. Here are the attractions that are currently available for individual purchase and not on Genie+:
- Space Mountain
- Seven Dwarfs Mine Train
- Frozen Ever After
- Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure
Disney Hollywood Studios
- Rise of the Resistance
- Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway
Disney’s Animal Kingdom Park
- Flight of Passage
- Expedition Everest
Do I Need Genie Plus to Purchase Individual Lightning Lane Entrance?
The good news is that you don’t have to purchase Genie+ to pay for individual Lightning Lane attractions. Although you can stack them on top of the Genie+ offerings, you can also buy them a la carte. Also, as I mentioned before, these individual passes are not required to gain admission to the attractions themselves, only the lightning lane.
So if time-saving and efficiency are your main goals, you may want to make these purchases, otherwise, you can just choose the standby option, which may not always be such a long wait. The real benefit to Lightning Lane and Individual Lightning Lane purchases is the peace of mind they afford and the chance to make sure you don’t miss major experiences during an already expensive vacation.