The days of fast pass at Walt Disney World are long gone. In an effort to monitor usage and promote fairness as new attractions such as Rise of the Resistance and Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind make their way to Walt Disney World, Genie+ and Individual Lightning Lanes were introduced through the My Disney Experience App.
Genie+, a paid service, offers guests a tailored look at their day based on preselections made when setting up the program. The app will notify users of popular rides, as well as open Lightning Lane times that they can select and even stack, as some YouTube personalities call it.
Also, guests can outright purchase a few large E-ticket attraction times, like Tron Lightcycle Run at Magic Kingdom, for an additional fee. Upon its introduction, many Disney World guests cited the constant need to be on their phones as a downside of Genie+.
Another Issue with Individual Lightning Lane
Individual Lightning Lane is an excellent way for Walt Disney World to help manage the large crowds that infest their parks daily. Disney is able to move guests using Genie+ from one park land to another, as well as open up individual lightning lane selections throughout the day.
Outside of virtual queues, Individual Lightning Lane gives Disney a lot of power, but many guests claim that the paid service is being used unethically.
Crowd Issues at Disney World
Individual Lightning Lanes are incredibly competitive. It isn’t uncommon for popular attractions to lose their slot very early in the day. As many vy for virtual queues early in the morning and afternoon to no avail, purchasing Individual Lightning Lane is their only shot at riding must-do attractions without waiting for hours.
As yes, sometimes the waits for rides like Avatar: Flight of Passage can reach multiple hours. For this reason, it’s also common for time slots for lightning lanes included with Genie+ to fill up quickly.
This issue is primarily due to the popularity of Walt Disney World. Despite claims of low park attendance, visiting Magic Kingdom, EPCOT, Hollywood Studios, or Animal Kingdom quickly proves that crowd levels are still at high capacity, creating a great demand for lightning lanes.
Is Disney Stacking Lightning Lane?
I’ve noticed a problem at Walt Disney World, in several different attractions, but most recently at Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure, is hundreds of guests arriving to claim their lightning lane simultaneously.
Typically, this doubles the wait time. Sadly, I’ve waited in Lightning Lane lines for over 50 minutes without the attraction malfunctioning. Arriving with hundreds of other guests has happened at several attractions, including Seven Dwarfs Mine Train and Smuggler’s Run at Galaxy’s Edge.
Guest Report More Issues with Over-Issuing Lightning Lane
With an abundance of popular attractions like Haunted Mansion, Space Mountain, Slinky Dog Dash, and Expedition Everest, allowing Lightning Lane selections has become a necessity at Walt Disney World.
However, it’s starting to feel as if the system is being overbooked, possibly allowing too many selections at the same time, and beyond my own observations, other guests are reporting the same issue.
On Reddit, user @u/runMiked noted that their latest trip experience using Genie+ led to several longer-than-normal waits after making their Lightning Lane selections.
The user went on to explain that although they are Annual Passholders, they decided to purchase Genie+. Still, after a long day of extended waits when hundreds of guests showed up at the same time to enter the Lightning Lane queue, they have vowed never to purchase the system again.
Citing issues with Soarin’ at EPCOT and Jungle Cruise at Magic Kingdom, some waits almost doubled their posted times on the My Disney Experience app; the user noted what many have stated regarding Disney potentially over-selling Lightning Lane selections.
Is There a Fix?
What can be done to stop the influx of guests to the Lightning Lane lines at Walt Disney World? The quickest solution would not be a popular one. Disney, if it deemed it necessary, could remove some selections from Genie+ service and move them back to Individual Lightning Lane.
Slinky Dog Dash, Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, and Avatar Flight of Passage would all work as Individual Lightning Lanes. Of course, this would be an incredibly unpopular move by Disney World.
Of course, the other option, which remains highly unpopular, would be to increase the cost of Disney Genie and Individual Lightning Lanes. Although they are already on a sliding scale dictated by demand on a daily basis, an overall increase could help make their Lightning Lanes feel, well, like lightning.
Guests Satisfaction with Lightning Lanes Remains Low
The concept of Lightning Lanes is similar to the old-school Fast Pass system, except that you now have to pay for it. Individual Lightning Lanes work more like Disney’s much older ticket system, which derived the terminology for “E-ticket.”
Guests to Walt Disney World still note difficulty with the Disney Genie system, citing confusion, difficulty, and inconvenience among problems they associate with the app. Although Disney World is taking a step, utilizing new technology to maximize guest experience, many feel the perceived move forward is actually a step in the wrong direction.
Do you think Lightning Lanes work well?