Disney has finally released the final details regarding the Lightning Lane and Genie+. First, the official start date for the service is October 17. Disney has decided that two attractions at each park will be part of Lightning Lane paid service. The full list of attractions with access can be found on the Walt Disney World website.
No one will be surprised to hear that Seven Dwarfs Mine Train is one of the two rides. It historically has the longest lines at Magic Kingdom and is enjoyed by guests of all ages. I speculated that the other attraction would be Peter Pan’s Flight as that was the other attraction that you couldn’t redeem a bonus FastPass on (in the event of rain or breakdown). No, it’s Space Mountain. I find that a very odd choice as Space generally doesn’t have lines over 40 minutes, while the standby at Splash Mountain is much more harsh (in the sun) and most of the time much longer. This will be short lived, however, as the REAL second Lightning Lane Attraction is Tron… it just hasn’t opened yet.
Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure which is currently operating in virtual queue mode is not at all surprising, nor is Frozen Ever After. The only other two choices are Soarin’ (but it has three theaters and the wait can be under 30 minutes during the day) and Test Track. I think they went with Frozen (and I would have too) due to it’s slower loading process and the fact that it doesn’t have the hourly capacity of the other three major attractions at Epcot. Similar to at Magic Kingdom, we know that either Remy or Frozen will be replaced with Guardians of the Galaxy sometime in 2022.
While Rise of the Resistance is not a surprise, I had guessed that Slinky Dog Dash would likely be the second attraction as it’s lines are much longer than anything else at the park from park open to close. But alas, it is Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway that is the second attraction. This just makes Genie+ an even better option for Hollywood Studios.
Flight of Passage was an automatic add to the list, and honestly it should be the only attraction at this park that someone would ever pay a “per person per ride” charge. But I guess the executives decided that every park needed two, so Expedition Everest was the other choice. The last few times I’ve been to Animal Kingdom, standby hasn’t been a concern here, so expect that Lightning Lane to be “virtually” empty.
The Disney website references some price examples that show the potential difference in price depending on date and on ride. They gave the example of Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure being $9 per person on October 17 (a Sunday) and $11 per person on October 23 (a Saturday). With the Park Pass reservation system, Disney will know in advance the number of guests that will be in the park (at least the first half of the day) and will adjust the pricing based on potential demand.
They also reference that on both of those dates Everest will be $7 per person while Rise of the Resistance will be $15 per person. In these cases there was no variation on date, but a wide swing in price between the two attractions. One could assume that the $7 is the lowest price any attraction would ever be, and that Rise of the Resistance would never be less than $15 per person.
Depending on my dates of travel, and parks I’m visiting, I will purchase Genie+ to skip the lines. Certainly this is a no brainer at Magic Kingdom (Peter Pan, Splash, Thunder, Jungle Cruise) and Hollywood Studios (Slinky Dog Dash, Millennium Falcon, Tower of Terror, Rock n’ Roller Coaster). With this however, I’m assuming that I will be able to use the Lightning Lane for these multiple times per day based on availability.
For myself, I don’t see me purchasing Lightning Lane. I’ve been on every attraction at Walt Disney World through the current date. It would cost my family of five $75 to ride Rise of the Resistance. It’s just not going to happen. However, if I had never been on that ride, and I missed the virtual queue or the standby line was at two hours, I might have a different opinion. It will certainly be interesting to see how this all plays out over the next few months.