I recognize that many Disney fans hold strong opinions about the various FastPass replacements at the parks.
Disneyland locals don’t get as dialed up since they had MaxPass for several years before FastPass officially ended.
For Walt Disney World fans, the wounds remain fresh. But my responsibility here, one I take quite seriously, is to provide you with theme park visit advice.
I want you to maximize your vacation time at Disney theme parks.
So, I need to talk about all subjects, even the giant pink elephant in the living room.
Today, I’ll discuss whether you should buy Lightning Lane and/or Disney Genie+ and various Walt Disney World theme parks.
Disney’s Animal Kingdom
The Lightning Lane attraction at Animal Kingdom is Avatar Flight of Passage.
I evaluated the various attraction wait times for the past month as I wrote this.
For Avatar Flight of Passage, guests waited as long as two hours and averaged roughly 100 minutes.
In fact, this attraction required the longest time spent standing in line of anything other than Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance.
For this reason, I’d recommend that you purchase Lightning Lane here. However, I’ll add that the other attraction lines at Animal Kingdom aren’t as long.
You could feasibly just wait for this one and still have time to do everything else you want.
As for Disney Genie+, similar logic applies to this option. I just stated that the other lines aren’t as bad as Avatar Flight of Passage.
So, I don’t see much point in spending $15 plus tax per person for shorter waits at Animal Kingdom.
Now, don’t get me wrong. You’ll benefit mightily if you purchase Disney Genie+. You’ll get to experience everything at the park.
Honestly, you could probably ride some of the best attractions multiple times.
Despite this fact, I don’t believe Disney Genie+ provides good bang for the buck at this park.
Disney’s Hollywood Studios
Remember what I just said about Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance? Well, that statement still stands.
You will spend an eternity waiting in line for Disney’s most technologically advanced ride to date. And that’s not even the worst part.
Rise of the Resistance tears up a lot. When that happens, your choices are to wait for a repair or come later, both of which implode your park plans.
Out of everything at Walt Disney World, the digital queue purchase you should buy is a Lightning Lane reservation for Rise of the Resistance.
Otherwise, you’re at the whim of fate, and it’s a mercurial mistress.
Similarly, I’ll direct you toward this article I recently wrote. It gets the point across that you’re in for hard decisions at Hollywood Studios.
Even if we ignore Rise of the Resistance, the next six popular attractions at this park can and often do take upwards of 11 hours (!) to ride.
So, I just planned out your whole park day other than meals, snacks, shopping, and bathroom breaks. But, of course, you’ll need to rush through all those things as well.
Lately, Hollywood Studios has stayed open for 12 and a half hours on average.
I think you can guess where I’m going with this. You don’t just want Disney Genie+ at Hollywood Studios; You NEEEEEED it!
Here’s the first park where I would say no to either option.
Disney recently moved Frozen Ever After from Lightning Lane to Disney Genie+. Technically, that’s not a permanent swap, but it’ll last through the summer.
The only Lightning Lane option is Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure, an attraction with excellent throughput.
In fact, after only four months in operation, Ratatouille had swapped with Frozen Ever After in terms of wait time.
Both rides have averaged a wait of roughly 80 minutes over the past month. However, Ratatouille is likely to decline more as its buzz wears off.
Meanwhile, Frozen Ever After remains just as popular as when it opened.
For this reason, I wouldn’t purchase a Lightning Lane for Ratatouille, especially if you’re on a tight budget.
As for Disney Genie+, you don’t need it, either.
Yes, skipping the longer line for Frozen Ever After would be nice. Even so, Soarin’, Test Track et al. have a combined wait of less than seven hours on average.
In other words, you can experience every attraction at the park and still have time to eat and drink to your heart’s content.
You can even explore the marvelous pavilions at the World Showcase.
EPCOT allows you to pack plenty into your park day…and at a cheaper cost than the other Walt Disney World gates.
Here’s the park where I believe there’s no right or wrong answer. You could purchase Lightning Lane and Disney Genie+, or you could buy neither.
Ultimately, these decisions will only impact your wallet and your entertainment value. Even the latter discussion proves subjective, though.
Here’s the fact about the Lightning Lane attraction. For the past month, Seven Dwarfs Mine Train has averaged a wait of 95 minutes.
Four other rides at Magic Kingdom – Jungle Cruise, Peter Pan’s Flight, Space Mountain, and Splash Mountain – have required waits of 60+ minutes.
So, the park is a bit top-heavy, and you likely won’t get to do everything during a one-day visit.
Of course, few people spend only one day at Magic Kingdom during a Disney vacation. For this reason, everything tends to balance out in the end.
When you want to max out your park day, you absolutely should snag Lightning Lane for Seven Dwarfs Mine Train.
In doing so, you could add as many as five other mid-tier attractions to your list of conquests for that day.
Similarly, with Disney Genie+, you could check all the rides I just mentioned off your list and still have many hours to spare for everything else at Magic Kingdom.
Then again, you could buy a base admission ticket for one day at Magic Kingdom and still have the time of your life.
The explanation is right there in the name. It’s the Magic Kingdom. You’ll love your visit no matter what.
FWIW, I’d recommend buying at least Disney Genie+ and probably Lightning Lane, too.
Still, I’m 100 percent serious when I say you cannot go wrong with your choices here.