Walt Disney World Updates Lightning Lane and Disney Genie+
Over the past few days, Disney has changed several integral aspects of its still-new Disney Genie+ and Lightning Lane programs. Here’s what you need to know.
Over the holidays, Disney removed four Lightning Lane attractions from its menu. The rides in question all switched to Disney Genie+.
At the time, I stated that Disney should make this move permanent.
Privately, cast members had indicated that some attractions were performing significantly worse than others on the Lightning Lane platform.
Yes, guests were willing to pay for Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance and Avatar Flight of Passage. Expedition Everest or Space Mountain? Not so much.
So, I was somewhat surprised when Disney changed back at the start of 2022. Well, that was apparently a temporary move.
As of last week, Disney has once again placed (most of) these attractions on Disney Genie+. The rides in question are:
- Frozen Ever After
- Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway
- Space Mountain
Expedition Everest isn’t part of this list, but that’s because it’s currently undergoing renovations. It will presumably join this list when it returns.
For now, the four Walt Disney World theme parks will sell one Lightning Lane attraction each.
This change isn’t permanent yet, though. Disney has confirmed ride status through August 7th.
Coincidentally or not, that timeframe covers Spring Break and most of the summer school break.
Disney’s plan moving forward may be to sell more Lightning Lane options during the slow season. Then, it converts to one per park during busy parts of the year.
This way, Disney gains more revenue during its offseason but maintains better wait times when the parks are near their peak traffic.
Disney also changed Disney Genie+ purchase rules. You cannot buy this option in advance for single-day tickets anymore.
You must wait until the day of your park visit. So, you’ll have a more hectic early morning if you take this approach.
About the Changes
I’ve previously listed some suggestions for the best Disney Genie+ options at each park. However, this change forces some reevaluation.
Obviously, the three rides in question all qualify as E-ticket attractions. People were literally paying for the right to ride them quickly.
So, each of them skips to the top of the list for Disney Genie+ options.
At Magic Kingdom, here are the attractions you should shortlist/prioritize:
- Big Thunder Mountain Railroad*
- Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin
- Haunted Mansion*
- It’s a Small World
- Jungle Cruise*
- The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh
- Peter Pan’s Flight*
- Pirates of the Caribbean*
- Space Mountain*
- Splash Mountain*
I track Walt Disney World wait times regularly. Those are the ten Disney Genie+ options with the longest average waits.
I realize that you may not want to do all of these. So, I put an asterisk beside the ones I feel are especially important for saving time.
Pick and choose as you see fit. Just remember that you’ll possess a maximum of eight Disney Genie+ bookings.
Keeping that in mind, here are the eight EPCOT suggestions:
- Frozen Ever After*
- Journey into Imagination with Figment
- Living with the Land
- Mission: SPACE
- The Seas with Nemo & Friends
- Soarin’ Around the World*
- Spaceship Earth
- Test Track*
You can tell by the presence of Figment that you don’t really need a Disney Genie+ reservation for several of these. EPCOT’s still got that odd big fish/little fish divide.
The only Disney Genie+ bookings that are no-brainers are Frozen Ever After, Soarin’, and Test Track.
The Other Two Parks
Disney’s Animal Kingdom works similarly to EPCOT. Some Disney Genie+ reservations are absolutes. Others are more along the lines of, “Why not?”
Technically, nothing has changed here, either. And it won’t until Expedition Everest returns in late April or May. Until then, you only have eight options anyway.
Once Expedition Everest reopens, simply drop Feathered Friends in Flight! And book everything else. Easy peasy.
So, let’s talk about Disney’s Hollywood Studios, the one with the most challenging choices.
Based on average wait times, here are the rides to prioritize:
- Alien Swirling Saucers
- For the First Time in Forever: A Frozen Sing-Along Celebration
- Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway**
- Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run**
- Muppet*Vision 3D
- Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster Starring Aerosmith*
- Slinky Dog Dash**
- Star Tours – The Adventures Continue
- Toy Story Mania!*
- Twilight Zone Tower of Terror**
The attractions with two asterisks beside them are no-brainers for everyone.
The ones with one asterisk indicate that I would recommend them as Disney Genie+ selections for most guests.
That’s the updated guide for Disney Genie+ from now through August 7th.
As for Lightning Lane, I now recommend purchasing the only option at each park. They’re all worth the extra money to save the line time.
That statement goes triple for Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance and Avatar: Flight of Passage. They’ve both averaged waits of roughly two hours over the past month!