Should you spend up to $15 a ride to skip the lines at Walt Disney World? Disney's new Individual Lightning Lane allows you to do just that on eight popular rides at the resort.
But is Lightning Lane worth it? Here is what you will want to know to make an informed decision for you and your family when you visit the Walt Disney World Resort.
The first bit of information you need is, how much time will an Individual Lightning Lane pass save you? Individual Lightning Lane access is available on eight attractions at Disney World. Here they are, ranked by their typical wait times from most to least:
Remy's Ratatouille Adventure uses a virtual queue instead of a traditional standby line, which makes it a special case that we will get into in a moment. But for the other rides, typical wait times range between 15 to 150 minutes on an average attendance day. If you are visiting on a busy holiday week, expect to wait even longer for these rides.
The Lightning Lane is Disney's new term for its old Fastpass queues, and as anyone who used Fastpass could tell you, just because you has access to the Fastpass queue did not mean that you did not have to wait for the ride. Even with the new Lightning Lane access, expect at least a short wait as other people with Lightning Lane access also wait their turn to board.
That said, Fastpass was a free service and Lightning Lane costs money, so fewer people are using it than used Fastpass. Based on reports from the new system's first users, I would estimated a wait of somewhere between five and 15 minutes to get through a Lightning Lane queue.
Some people have reported even longer waits using Lightning Lane for Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance, but that's a unique attraction where opinions differ sharply between where the queue ends and the ride begins. To me, the Rise queue ends when you enter the briefing room with Rey. I will try to avoid spoilers, but even though you do a lot more after that before you get onto the final ride vehicle, entering that briefing room is where I stop counting wait time.
The cost for an Individual Lightning Lane access varies from $7-15 depending upon attraction and date, so you will want to compare the price you would pay for Lightning Lane versus the amount of time you would save. I recommend checking the Tip Board on the My Disney Experience app in the weeks leading up to your trip to get a better idea of the specific wait times for these and other Disney attractions throughout the day. See our post, How to Use Disney Genie, for guidance on doing that.
But don't think about just time saved. Consider what you would do with that extra time in the park if you had it. Let's say that buying a Rise of the Resistance pass costs you $15 per person and saves you two hours in the middle of the day. What would you do with that time if you did not have to spend it in the Rise queue?
Would that allow you to experience additional attractions that you otherwise would not be able to get into at the park? Would it allow you to see a nighttime show you otherwise would have skipped to take advantage of shorter wait times at the end of the day? Or would you just end up using the time milling around or killing time going on something that didn't really interest you or your family anyway?
Those are the questions to ask, because those extra experiences are what you really are buying when you spend money on Individual Lightning Lane. If getting to do that extra stuff is worth the $7-15 per person, then go for it. If not, obviously, then don't.
Now let's get to Remy's. That new ride in Epcot's expanded France pavilion uses a virtual queue, so try to get into that before thinking about buying Individual Lightning Lane access. The virtual queue opens at 7am each day and often fills within moments, so be logged into the My Disney Experience app before 7 so that you can refresh and try for the virtual queue as soon as it opens.
If you do not get into the virtual queue, buying Individual Lightning Lane will be the only other way that you and your family can get on Remy's Ratatouille Adventure. If experiencing that 3D trackless dark ride ride is important to you, then plan to go ahead and buy the access. But do not delay. Since everyone else who got shut out of the Remy virtual queue will be buying Lightning Lane, it may sell out quickly.
Disney provides its on-site hotel guests early access to Individual Lightning Lane at 7am each morning, but does open additional inventory for day guests at park opening. But Lightning Lane access may sell out soon after that, so if you decide you want it, plan to buy it through the My Disney Experience app as soon as it become available. Read our post, How to Use Disney's Individual Lightning Lane for more information.
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