“Lightning” Strikes at Walt Disney World

Disney introduces paid “Lightning Lane” in place of FastPass+

Abby Milkes, Editor-in-Chief

Disney just released a new system in place of FastPass, which has been suspended in the parks since they temporarily closed in March 2020 due to COVID-19.

This system, which debuted on October 19, is run through the new Disney Genie+ app. In the parks, there are two lanes in which guests can enter each ride: the standby line or the Lightning Lane. There is one major difference: one costs extra money.

All 4 Disney parks—Magic Kingdom, Animal Kingdom, Epcot, and Hollywood Studios— have the Lightning Lane option. By entering the Lightning Lane, guests can access rides at a quicker rate. Starting at 7 a.m. on the day of their visit, guests will be able to make one ride selection. Once they complete that ride, guests may choose a time slot for another ride.

However, this does not grant access to all the rides. Disney has blocked off two per park that require a separate, individually purchased ticket. These six rides are the most popular attractions at the parks, are generally newer, and pose the greatest wait times. These rides are the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, Space Mountain, Frozen Ever After, Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure, Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway, Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance, Avatar Flight of Passage, and Expedition Everest.

Now that you know how it works, you may be wondering- how much will all this cost? Genie+, which gives guests Lightning Lane access, costs $15 per day per ticket. For Individual Attraction Selections, the price will vary per ride depending on the day. For reference, Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure will cost $9 per person on a Tuesday, but increase to $11 per person on a Saturday.

This new system is getting a lot of criticism from Disney fans. People are unhappy that they were able to get fast passes for free last year, and now, in order to maximize their day at the park, they have to pay extra fees. Additionally, Disney is already expensive as is— many people planning their dream trip to Disney will have to expand their budget if they want the optimal Disney experience.

All of Disney’s rides change their signs from “FastPass+ Entrance” to “Lightning Lane.”