Individual Lightning Lanes are pay-per-ride access at Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Hollywood, and Animal Kingdom. Guests can buy line-skipping privileges at the most popular attraction in each park. This guide covers pricing, when ride reservations are selling out and how to book ILLs. Plus, the best ones to buy–and why we don’t recommend purchasing the others. (Updated October 16, 2022.)
The first thing you need to know is that Individual Lightning Lane attractions are not included in the Genie+ service. Think of that as a paid “FastPass Minus,” which is to say that it’s like FastPass+, except it costs $16 per person per day, and excludes the most popular ride per park that are ILL. (That’s an unfortunate acronym, but perhaps it’s meant to evoke how you’ll feel after dropping ~$90 for your family to not wait for Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance, only to have the ride breakdown while you’re in the Lightning Lane.)
We’ve address the differences between Genie+ and Individual Lightning Lanes in numerous posts, including our Guide to Genie+ at Walt Disney World & Lightning Lane FAQ. We’re not going to rehash those foundational differences here, so please refer to that if you’re still confused. Instead, we’ll focus on how to buy the pay-per-ride Individual Lightning Lanes, pricing, and how ILL is selling thus far…
Before that, a quick housekeeping note. Walt Disney World has used several terms to refer to this same line-skipping option: a la carte Lightning Lanes, Individual Attraction Selections (IAS), and individual Lightning Lanes–all interchangeably–when referring to this.
These all mean the same thing. Typically, Disney now refers to this pay-per-ride option as Individual Lightning Lanes, but you might seem other terms used here and there. Essentially, these are the Lightning Lanes that are not part of Genie+. They’re the ones available for the most popular attraction with the longest wait time in each park. (It still can be confusing, but hopefully that helps.)
If that wasn’t complicated enough already, Walt Disney World moved Individual Lightning Lane attractions to Genie+. Expedition Everest at Animal Kingdom, Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway at Hollywood Studios, Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure and Frozen Ever After at Epcot, and Space Mountain at Magic Kingdom are now included in the flat-rate Disney Genie+ service and will not be sold a la carte as Individual Lightning Lanes.
This was originally a temporary change lasting through the end of the peak summer season, but Walt Disney World has made it permanent. This is great news for anyone wanting to buy the Genie+ service, but potentially bad news for anyone who only cared about those particular rides. (For the vast majority of guests, this change is a positive.)
Next, let’s take a look at Individual Lightning Lane pricing. Walt Disney World previously announced that prices will vary depending on the attraction and day of visit. Think of it like Express Lanes on highways—dynamic pricing that increases with demand.
It’s thus slightly inaccurate to say that prices have already “increased” on Individual Lightning Lanes. Rather, the service launched on a weekday when crowds were lower, and prices went up on the weekend when crowds were higher. If Genie launched on a weekend when prices were higher, we wouldn’t say they “decreased” once the weekdays rolled around. They’re going to be up and down with demand.
October 16, 2022 Update: Walt Disney World rolled out new date-based pricing for the Genie+ service. That’s code for a price increase, which has already happened with the cost of paid FastPass jumping overnight. Under the date-based pricing, Genie+ has been priced at $20 to $22 thus far, as compared to $15 previously.
Along with this, prices have also increased for certain Individual Lightning Lane attractions. Here’s a look at new/current weekday pricing:
Here’s a look at high and low price points we’ve seen so far post-price increase:
- Seven Dwarfs Mine Train: $12
- Guardians of the Galaxy Cosmic Rewind: high $17, low $15
- Star Wars Rise of the Resistance: high $22, low $20
- Avatar Flight of Passage: $14
It’s almost certain that we haven’t seen Individual Lightning Lane peak prices yet. Even though Walt Disney World didn’t increase prices last year for Thanksgiving, Christmas, or New Year’s Eve, that’s likely only because the system was so new and the company didn’t want to appear (overly) greedy.
With date-based pricing, Disney might be more willing to adjust prices with regularity, especially around the aforementioned holidays when demand is much higher. As we’ve seen over the course of the last year, Individual Lightning Lanes sell out faster–even at higher prices–when crowds and wait times are worse. Which makes complete sense: even if it costs more, there’s more value in skipping a longer line. In other words, current demand already suggests that the prices could likely go up significantly.
Despite that, Walt Disney World did not increase prices for Individual Lightning Lanes when debuting Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind. In other posts before it debuted, we made public our guess that this would cost $20, with the caveat that we wouldn’t be the least bit surprised if it were $25 or even $30 per ride.
Instead, Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind is $15 for off-peak dates and $17 for busier days. While we’re still not fans of paying per ride as a matter of principle, this was nice to see. You could say a pleasant surprise within general disappointment!
That brings us to our next topic: Individual Lightning Lane availability or lack thereof–what’s selling out and what’s readily available. Note that this is based on our experiences from this summer through early fall. It’s now mid-October 2022, and Individual Lightning Lanes will almost certainly start selling out faster for the remainder of 2022.
During last year’s holiday season, that’s exactly what happened–even the last popular Individual Lightning Lanes sold out early in the day. We’ll be monitoring availability and will report back in November as to how daily availability is looking.
For now, Seven Dwarfs Mine Train in Magic Kingdom sells out with regularity, but usually lasts for a few hours after park opening.
Over at Epcot, Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind has improved Individual Lightning Lane availability. With it now easier to enter the virtual queue for Cosmic Rewind, the Lightning Lane often is not selling out until after boarding groups fill up. (See our How to Ride Guardians of Galaxy Cosmic Rewind & Virtual Queue Speed Strategy for improving your odds of success at the free virtual queue.)
Disney’s Hollywood Studios is home to the other best-seller: Star Wars Rise of the Resistance. This Individual Lightning Lane attraction always sells out before DHS opens, which is when off-site guests are eligible to purchase. In fact, there are many mornings when it’s gone within minutes of 7 am.
To compound matters, DHS is also home to the unequivocally most popular Genie+ Lightning Lane attraction: Slinky Dog Dash. This presents a practical problem–how do you book both? There is no good way for one person to accomplish both beyond trying to do things quickly and hoping for the best. Realistically, you’ll want to have two adults awake at 7 am, with one booking Slinky Dog Dash and the other booking Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance. For the best outcome, follow our Speed Strategy for Genie+ Selections.
With all of that said, if you’re only going to buy one Individual Lightning Lane, make it Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance. This is the one big exception to our recommendation that you strategize around ILLs, and is for a few reasons. First, we think it’s the best attraction of all 82 at Walt Disney World. Second, it typically is the longest wait time in all 4 parks.
Finally, and most importantly, Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance is the most unreliable attraction, with breakdowns occurring daily. If you jump into a multi-hour standby line, there’s moderate probability of downtime while you’re waiting. That not only means you’ll potentially be stuck in the same spot for an hour or so, but also that when Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance returns from downtime, it’ll have a backlog of Individual Lightning Lane guests–who are prioritized–to process before the standby line.
Speaking from experience, it is incredibly frustrating and a huge waste of time if this happens while you’re in the standby line. While we hate Individual Lightning Lanes as a matter of principle, we are also realists and recognize that vacation time is finite and has a per hour value. There’s also the reality that enduring a ride breakdown of Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance while in the standby line could really put a damper on your day, and vacation as a whole.
For this reason alone, we recommend Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance during Early Entry, at the end of the night, or via the Individual Lightning Lane. The risk and potential for wasted time via standby during the middle of the day is simply too high. It’s not an overstatement or exaggeration to say that a negative standby experience with Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance could ruin your day.
Another alternative is waiting for a refill of the Individual Lightning Lane for Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance. See Ride Reservation Refill Rules at Walt Disney World for timing on when these typically occur.
Animal Kingdom is where you’ll find one of Walt Disney World’s most popular attractions: Avatar Flight of Passage. This has sold pretty well, often being gone before afternoon while posting hour-plus or even triple digit standby wait times.
However, it’s also relatively easy to experience Avatar Flight of Passage without a lengthy wait. Either arrive for Early Entry and do it first, or show up late and do it during the last hour of the evening. We’ve done both approaches many times, and often have an actual wait time of under 30 minutes, regardless of the posted wait time.
Given all of the above, our expectation is that Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance continues to see prices increase between now and the end of 2022. If I were visiting this Christmas and planned on buying Individual Lightning Lane access on this Galaxy’s Edge headliner, I’d budget $25 per person for it. That’s not to say it’ll increase to that amount, but I would not bet against it.
There’s no shortage of demand for Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance Individual Lightning Lanes at present, and that’ll only increase along with crowds and as standby wait times likewise go up. Walt Disney World could potentially double the price on that to ~$30 per person and still sell out those Individual Lightning Lanes with regularity. With that said, Disney didn’t price Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind at a higher level, so perhaps they want the appearance of not being overly greedy. There’s a first for everything!
Next, here’s how to book Individual Lightning Lanes…
There are a few different ways to make an initial purchase of Individual Lightning Lanes.
It’s entirely possible you’ll be prompted while browsing My Disney Experience or setting up the free Genie service, in which case you’d see something like the above.
You can also navigate to the Tip Board via the + button at the middle bottom of My Disney Experience or the hamburger button on the bottom right.
From there, you’ll see something similar to the above screen. Click the Individual Lightning Lane box for the attraction to which you’d like to buy line-skipping access.
From there, you’ll either see the screen above or one to select your party. This is pretty self-explanatory; you select the start time of available one-hour return windows.
Be sure to check your existing plans (tap the arrow next to “Plans During This Time” for a dropdown) to avoid significant overlap between Advance Dining Reservations, Genie+ selections, and other plans. My Disney Experience will not prevent you from booking conflicting plans–it’s up to you to make sure you’re not double-booked.
It’s also possible you’ll first be directed to this screen, where you can select which members of your party for whom you’d like to purchase Individual Lightning Lane access. This means that you do not need to purchase ILL for anyone who the ride might make physically ill, kids who are too short to ride, etc.
If you don’t see the above screen first, you can get to this point by tapping the “Edit” button to the right of your party on the time slot selection screen.
After confirming your party and selecting a time, you’re sent to a screen to review the details before completing the purchase.
If anything is inaccurate or you’d like to change it, tap the back arrow on the top left corner of the screen.
Otherwise, it’s on to enter or confirm your contact details, payment info, and agree to Disney’s terms & conditions before tapping purchase. Notably, Individual Lightning Lane prices do not include tax–just like the Genie+ service–which feels like nickel & diming on top of nickel & diming.
On a more humorous note, there’s a caveat above the terms & conditions that this Individual Lightning Lane can only be redeemed at Walt Disney World–near Orlando, Florida. If someone can’t distinguish between Disneyland in Anaheim, California and Walt Disney World, they are seriously going to be lost when it comes to the convoluted Genie system!
From there, you’ll receive a receipt with a lengthy confirmation number and order details that should look similar to the above. I say “should” because I’ve never actually bought Individual Lightning Lane access and have no intentions of doing so.
No offense to those who plan on buying these–to each their own–but it’s simply a line we’re not willing to cross, so to speak. While we are already fans of Genie+, that’s bundled access for multiple attractions that makes the whole day easier. This is different, as it means putting a price on a single attraction–all of which we have done many, many times over the years.
Beyond that, us buying Individual Lightning Lane access is not necessary “for the sake of research,” whereas testing and using Genie+ very much is. Since there’s currently only one ILL ride per park, it’s pretty easy to rope drop one and do the other right before park closing and bypass the lines that way.
If anything, thinking up, trying, and testing other savvy strategy to bypass long waits at Individual Lightning Lane attractions will be a “fun” challenge. That’s more important to us than getting to skip the lines ourselves! We recommend a similar approach to most vacation planners who are on a tighter budget, with the one potential exception being Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance. For the reasons outlined above, it can be a good use of money that minimizes headaches and saves a ton of time–but even then, doing it during Early Entry or at the end of the night is a viable alternative.
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What do you think of the pay-per-ride Individual Lightning Lane ride reservations? Planning on using this to skip standby lines, or do you prefer not to pay even more for an already expensive Walt Disney World vacation? Are you more likely to purchase Genie+ or Individual Lightning Lanes–or neither? Do you agree or disagree with our advice and assessment? Any questions we can help you answer? Hearing your feedback–even when you disagree with us–is both interesting to us and helpful to other readers, so please share your thoughts below in the comments!