How to Use Disney's Individual Lightning Lane

October 19, 2021, 6:46 PM · Updated April 5, 2023 Want to skip the lines at Disney's top theme park attractions? Visitors to the Walt Disney World and Disneyland theme parks can pay their way into a shorter queue by buying one-time Individual Lightning Lane access.

Lightning Lane is Disney's new term for its old Fastpass queues. For many attractions, fans can get Lightning Lane access by purchasing Disney Genie+, which we detailed in a previous post, How to Use Disney Genie+. But for five top attractions at Walt Disney World and three at Disneyland, Genie+ won't get you into the Lightning Lane. You will need to buy what Disney is calling Individual Lightning Lane access for those.

The prices varies for each Individual Lightning Lane access depending upon the attraction and the date. You can book up to two Individual Lightning Lane uses per person per day, but only one at each attraction.

The eligible attractions for Individual Lightning Lane access at the Walt Disney World Resort are:

At the Disneyland Resort, the eligible attractions are:

To book, just select the Individual Lightning Lane box under the attraction's listing on the Disney Genie Tip Board, then select a time and pay.

Disney Genie Individual Lightning Lane

You do not need to buy Disney Genie+ to buy an Individual Lightning Lane time, but you do need to be logged into the official Walt Disney World or Disneyland app.

Access to Individual Lightning Lane opens at 7am each morning for Walt Disney World's on-site hotel guests, then at park opening for everyone else. Disney seems to be opening additional inventory for day guests at park opening, so earlier times may become available then.

Should you buy Individual Lightning Lane?

As with Disney Genie+, this comes down to your budget and the number of people in the park on the day of your visit. If you check the Disney Genie Tip Board in the weeks leading up to your visit, you will get an idea how long a wait you would be avoiding with an Individual Lightning Lane purchase. Unlike Disney Genie+, the number of Individual Lightning Lane accesses sold each day is limited, so if you want one, plan to buy it as soon as it becomes available.

For attractions with virtual queues, try getting a space in those queues when they open at 7am. If you do not get in, you then can decide if you want to try your luck with the second-chance queue later in the day, or go ahead and pay for the Individual Lightning Lane access. Current virtual queue attractions are Epcot's Guardians, Magic Kingdom's TRON, and Disneyland's Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway.

Previously: How to Use Disney Genie and How to Use Disney Genie+

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Replies (8)

October 19, 2021 at 8:24 PM

According to some reports, LL for RotR sold out by 10am today.

October 20, 2021 at 8:20 AM

I saw some of those reports too, but it's hard for me to believe that guests would willingly pay $15 to skip what has on average been a 60-90 minute line for a reservation that cannot be redeemed for 10 hours. If you're buying an Individual Lightning Lane at 10 AM for a return time at 8 PM, what value is that really getting you? Why not just slip in the standby line for free at the end of the day when Disney inflates wait times to discourage guests from entering the standby line or just monitor the wait times in the app and hop in line when it's shorter?

October 20, 2021 at 9:41 AM

Along those same lines, Touring Plans reported yesterday that an hour after opening a person could wait in the posted 5 minute line for Expedition Everest or pay $7 to ride in 20 minutes!

I really don’t know why EE is even an individual Lightning Lane choice. The single rider line is the way to go. If it runs like many parks, a single rider gets to fill a seat for an odd-numbered party who paid for skip-the-line access!

October 20, 2021 at 10:26 AM

@Twobits - Because of the limitations placed on Individual Lightning Lane purchases (no re-rides and only 2 allowed per day), Disney has to identify 2 attractions in each park that are ILL. FoP is the obvious top attraction in DAK, so Disney had to pick a second attraction in DAK to allow guests a second opportunity to purchase the upcharge. Everest was the obvious choice as the second most-popular ride in DAK, but the efficiency and throughput of the coaster (as well as the presence of a single rider line), makes paying for Lightning Lane pretty worthless. I'm sure there are days/times where the Everest line will be >60 mins, but will paying $7-$15 really be worth it when you could just split up your party and ride through the single rider line in 20 minutes or less.

October 20, 2021 at 1:50 PM

Well, they didn't HAVE to pick a second ride for the upcharge...

EE surprised me as their second pick. I have waited a lot longer for Kilimanjaro Safaris and Navi River Journey on about any day I have visited. But my party and I always use the single rider line for EE, something the the other rides in the park do not have, so that's likely why I haven't noticed EE's popularity.

October 20, 2021 at 4:33 PM

Unlike Genie+, from what I've seen observing over the past couple days, the ILLs actually seem like they may be worthwhile in some cases. If I'm only at the park for one day and a ride has a 60+ minute wait, but I could pay $10 and board immediately (or at least much sooner than the physical queue), it's something I might consider on a case by case basis. The other good option is as a safety net for virtual queues, as it allows you to obtain access if the lottery fails. I don't think they're something I'd buy regularly, but unlike Genie+ (which thus far I see no reason to purchase), I could see buying one or two ILLs per trip in certain circumstances.

October 21, 2021 at 11:03 AM

@AJ - I would agree, but it does appear that the ILLs are not always allowing for immediate boarding. For instance, even if you're in DHS during EMH, you are unlikely to get an immediate boarding for RoTR. In fact, as I type this at 11:50 AM EDT, here are the ILL return times across WDW...

7DMT - 4:40 PM (65 minute standby) $10
Space Mountain - 11:50 AM (40 minute standby) $7
Frozen - 12:45 (50 minute standby) $9
Ratatouille - 5:20 PM (VQ boarding sold out until 1 PM) $9
MMRR - 3:40 PM (60 minute standby) $8
RotR - SOLD OUT (125 minute standby)
FoP - 4:00 PM (75 minute standby) $11
Everest - 11:55 PM (35 minutes standby) $7

So only Everest and Space Mountain have immediate boarding, and Frozen is the only other attraction offering ILL access within the time it would take to ride through the standby line. Obviously more data need to be collected on the systems, but it just seems like neither Genie+ or ILL are worth the extra cost the way they're being operated right now. ILL might be worth it if you arrive to the park at rope drop and immediately commit to purchasing your 2 attractions first thing, but if you're there when the park opens, you can probably get on those attractions with a short wait anyway (so you're just paying for a short line for a second time through).

October 21, 2021 at 2:43 PM

Obviously I only posted a couple examples, Russell, but looking at the data you posted, I'd say roughly half of them are something I'd consider. Generally, I'd buy an ILL if at least one of the following conditions were met (most to least likely)...

-The ride has boarding groups and they're all sold out for the day
-The ride is one I've never been on before
-Buying the pass will cut my wait time in at least half
-The line is over an hour and I've got limited time at the park
-The line is over two hours

Thus, Frozen, Ratatouille, and RotR (if available) would be likely purchases for me with the numbers you posted, and I might even consider FoP or Space Mountain if I was tight on time. For the other three, Everest I'd most likely just use the (often very short) single rider line, 7DMT I don't care for enough to wait or spend the money on, and MMRR I'd just wait rather than paying and returning hours later. That's a lot more than Genie+, which I don't see any advantage to purchasing.

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