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Disney World’s new line-skipping trick explained – and the pitfalls to avoid

Walt Disney World is getting ready to switch over its line-skipping program Genie+ to the Lightning Lane system in just a matter of weeks. 

However, knowing how to navigate this new purchasable perk, debuting on July 24, can make or break your trip to the Most Magical Place on Earth. 

Disney theme park expert Michelle Atwood of The Main Street Mouse recently sat down with Fox35 to discuss the pros and cons of the replacement Genie+, which can cost each guest up to $39 per day.

Calling the unexpected change a ‘mixed bag’ for theme park fans, Atwood revealed how future park guests can navigate the complex scheduling and rules of the ‘paid’ Lightning Lane system.

Here are some of her best tricks to help avoid the common pitfalls park guests might experience with the new system.

Genie+ services will rebrand to Lightning Lane Multi Pass and individual Lightning Lane will now be known as Lightning Lane Single Pass effective July 24

Genie+ services will rebrand to Lightning Lane Multi Pass and individual Lightning Lane will now be known as Lightning Lane Single Pass effective July 24

Calling the unexpected change a 'mixed bag' for theme park fans, theme park expert Michelle Atwood (pictured above) revealed how future park guests can navigate the complex scheduling and rules of the 'paid' Lightning Lane system

Calling the unexpected change a ‘mixed bag’ for theme park fans, theme park expert Michelle Atwood (pictured above) revealed how future park guests can navigate the complex scheduling and rules of the ‘paid’ Lightning Lane system

Plan in advance, but know exactly when

‘So instead of getting up at 7am, like you would normally do for Genie+, there’s the Lightning Lane Multi Pass, which you can book seven days in advance,’ Atwood said.

‘You don’t have to get up at the crack of dawn on your vacation. And that is for resort guests.’

While this does mean you get to sleep in instead of waking up early on the day of your park visit, you must remember to book your Lightning Lanes exactly seven days before your trip to the parks begins.

You will also be able to book all of the tickets for your entire trip, up to 14 days. So don’t stop on scheduling your first day! 

Atwood added: ‘For other ticket holders, you can reserve your attractions three days in advance. It’s going to vary in price by seasons – if it’s a busy time, if it’s not.’ 

So, if you’re not staying at one of the hotels in the Walt Disney World, you still get a three-day head start.

Once you’ve selected your three Lightning Lane choices, you can move them around during the day

When your time is ready, bring your iPhone with your Lightning Pass reservation barcode on it for scanning – then head to the front of the line

Multi pass vs single pass

Multi Pass gives you front-of-the line access to most rides. 

At each park, you’re able to schedule ahead three Lightning Lanes from the Multi Pass per day. 

You can book one from each theme park’s list of their bigger attractions and two from their list of smaller rides. 

However, across the four parks that make up Walt Disney World, there are a total of five E-ticket attractions – rides so big and popular, that a separate Lightning Lane category exists for them that you have to pay extra for: the Lightning Lane Single Pass.

‘The Lightning Lane Single Pass is kind of like a separate ticket thing,’ Atwood said. 

‘If you want to pay to go on the bigger, and you maybe didn’t get your pass for the day, you can pay to go on… the top tier rides.’

Know your tiers 

For the Multi Pass, there is a tiered system of rides mentioned above that will dictate how you use your scheduled Lightning Lanes. 

‘This is a tiered system, so you get one choice for tier one, and two choices from tier two. And tier one is going to be your bigger rides,’ Atwood said of the Multi Pass, which she says offers ‘people more ability to plan. And it’s supposed to make it easier.’

So, let’s break it down for each park. 

Pictured: Crowds at Main Street USA in Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom

Pictured: Crowds at Main Street USA in Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom

Magic Kingdom tier one rides (choose one)

  • Big Thunder Mountain Railroad
  • Jungle Cruise
  • Peter Pan’s Flight
  • Space Mountain
  • Tiana’s Bayou Adventure
Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, pictured above, is one of the Magic Kingdom's tier one rides of Multi Pass Lightning Lanes

Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, pictured above, is one of the Magic Kingdom’s tier one rides of Multi Pass Lightning Lanes

Tiana's Bayou Adventure, a Tier One Ride, has officially opened at the Magic Kingdom

Tiana’s Bayou Adventure, a Tier One Ride, has officially opened at the Magic Kingdom

Magic Kingdom tier two rides (choose two or three)

  • The Barnstormer
  • Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin
  • Dumbo the Flying Elephant
  • Haunted Mansion
  • “it’s a small world”
  • Mad Tea Party
  • The Magic Carpets of Aladdin
  • The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh
  • Mickey’s PhilharMagic
  • Monsters Inc. Laugh Floor
  • Pirates of the Caribbean
  • Tomorrowland Speedway
  • Under the Sea ~ Journey of The Little Mermaid
Although the Hollywood Tower Hotel is not welcoming guests, travelers staying at one of Walt Disney World can schedule their Multi Pass Lightning Lanes up to a full week in advance

Although the Hollywood Tower Hotel is not welcoming guests, travelers staying at one of Walt Disney World can schedule their Multi Pass Lightning Lanes up to a full week in advance

Hollywood Studios tier one rides (choose one)

  • Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway
  • Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run
  • Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster Starring Aerosmith
  • Slinky Dog Dash
Guests can ride Rise of the Resistance at Hollywood Studios, but they'll need to buy Single Pass Lightning Lane for it

Guests can ride Rise of the Resistance at Hollywood Studios, but they’ll need to buy Single Pass Lightning Lane for it

Hollywood Studios tier two rides (choose two or three)

  • Alien Swirling Saucers
  • Beauty and the Beast Live on Stage
  • Disney Junior Play & Dance!
  • For the First Time in Forever: A Frozen Sing-Along Celebration
  • Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular
  • Muppet*Vision 3D
  • Star Tours – The Adventures Continue
  • The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror™
  • Toy Story Mania!
Epcot has three different Tier One rides for guests to choose from for the Lightning Lane

Epcot has three different Tier One rides for guests to choose from for the Lightning Lane

Epcot tier one rides (choose one)

  • Frozen Ever After
  • Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure
  • Soarin’ Around the World

Epcot tier two Rides (choose two or three)

  • Disney and Pixar Short Film Festival
  • Journey into Imagination with Figment
  • Living with the Land
  • Mission: SPACE
  • The Seas with Nemo & Friends
  • Spaceship Earth
  • Turtle Talk with Crush
Animal Kingdom, pictured above, is not separated into two tiers. Instead, you can choose among a wide range of rides for your three scheduled Lightning Lanes

Animal Kingdom, pictured above, is not separated into two tiers. Instead, you can choose among a wide range of rides for your three scheduled Lightning Lanes

Animal Kingdom Multi Pass rides (choose three)

  • DINOSAUR
  • Expedition Everest – Legend of the Forbidden Mountain
  • Feathered Friends in Flight!
  • Festival of the Lion King
  • Finding Nemo: The Big Blue… and Beyond!
  • It’s Tough to Be a Bug!
  • Kali River Rapids
  • Kilimanjaro Safaris
  • Naʻvi River Journey
Pictured: The cast of Guardians of the Galaxy attend the grand opening of Cosmic Rewind in Epcot

Pictured: The cast of Guardians of the Galaxy attend the grand opening of Cosmic Rewind in Epcot

Pictured: Avatar Flight of Passage in Animal Kingdom

Pictured: Avatar Flight of Passage in Animal Kingdom

Lightning Lane Single Pass rides

In all of Walt Disney World, there are five rides you can only obtain a Lightning Lane for by purchasing a separate Single Pass. 

This includes the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train and TRON Lightcycle / Run in Magic Kingdom; Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind in Epcot; Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance in Hollywood Studios; and Avatar Flight of Passage in Animal Kingdom.

Lightning Lanes for these have to be purchased separately, but if do not want to splurge for front-of-the-line treatment, you can always wait in the standby line for no additional cost. 

Pictured: the cast of Star Wars rides Rise of the Resistance at Hollywood Studios, the theme park's only Single Pass Light Lane

Pictured: the cast of Star Wars rides Rise of the Resistance at Hollywood Studios, the theme park’s only Single Pass Light Lane

Pictured: TRON Lightcycle / Run in the Magic Kingdom

Pictured: TRON Lightcycle / Run in the Magic Kingdom

The price of Multi Passes vary from park to park, so if you want to switch to a Lightning Lane in another, more expensive park, you have to pay the difference between their Multi Pass prices

The price of Multi Passes vary from park to park, so if you want to switch to a Lightning Lane in another, more expensive park, you have to pay the difference between their Multi Pass prices

You can switch scheduled Lightning Lanes to another park

At Walt Disney World, plans change all the time, which is why the Multi Pass lets you go with the flow… for a price. 

The price of Multi Passes vary from park to park, so if you want to switch to a  Lightning Lane to another more expensive park, you have to pay the difference between their Multi Pass prices.

Walt Disney World recently celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2023

Walt Disney World recently celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2023

No more ‘120-minute’ rule

Previously with Genie+, you had to wait two hours after you made a selection before making your next. 

Now, once your first reservation on your Multi Pass is used, you can find other available attractions to get another Lightning Lane. 

Whether you're in a group or looking to tackle the parks solo, Lightning Lane has got you covered

Whether you’re in a group or looking to tackle the parks solo, Lightning Lane has got you covered

Coordinate with your fellow travelers… or not!

For each Multi Pass, you can link up everyone in your trip to one Multi Pass. 

After scheduling a Lightning Lane for everyone in your party, you can change individual reservations to other attractions. This is of course subject to availability.

The best advice would be to have your go-to schedule already planned out before the seven-day window opens up to book your trip, with one person in charge with booking all the Lightning Lanes for the group. 


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