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Alright, let’s be honest here: Disney is EXPENSIVE. Just the ticket alone is a pretty hefty price tag and if you’re purchasing tickets for a whole family, well we understand that extra purchases may not fit the budget, especially with Individual Lightning Lane typically coming at about 20 bucks per attraction per person (OUCH!).

Spaceship Earth

Still, if you’re going to Disney World, you want to ride those big-ticket attractions you’ve been hearing so much about. And while buying Individual Lightning Lanes can guarantee you a spot in line, they’re definitely not the ONLY way to do it!

Here’s a list of our best tips and tricks to ride those expensive Individual Lightning Lane attractions WITHOUT an expensive Individual Lightning Lane. But first, let’s take a look at what an Individual Lightning Lane is!

You have probably heard of Disney Genie+ — the service you can buy on a per-day, per-person basis to reserve times to ride most of the rides at Disney World. BUT — and this is a big but — the very most popular rides in Disney World are NOT available on Disney Genie+. Instead, you can purchase a window of time to ride the ride with a shorter line on an per-ride basis. That’s why they are called INDIVIDUAL Lightning Lanes (and you might also hear us call them pay-per-ride or “fancy” Lightning Lanes).

Rise of the Resistance

The rides in Disney World that currently have Individual Lightning Lanes available are:

TRON Lightcycle / Run in Magic Kingdom
7 Dwarfs Mine Train in Magic Kingdom
Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind in EPCOT
Rise of the Resistance in Disney’s Hollywood Studios
Flight of Passage in Disney’s Animal Kingdom

One interesting thing to note — when Tiana’s Bayou Adventure opens in  June in Disney World, it will be part of the regular Genie+ and NOT an Individual Lightning Lane. 

NOW, if all of this Genie+ and Individual Lightning Lane stuff confuses you (and don’t even get us started on Virtual Queues), you are not alone. This is confusing to, well, EVERYONE. We’ve been using the system since it was released by Disney World in October 2021, and we’ve got a video you can watch right here that explains everything we’ve learned.

OK! Now that you’re a Genie+ and Individual Lightning Lane expert, let’s get back to those tips on how NOT to use them! Trust us, your wallet will definitely thank you.

Rope Drop Is Your Best Friend!

Crowds at rope drop in Hollywood Studios

Ready those alarms because you’re going to need to wake up early for this one. We know that doesn’t sound appealing, but try to resist pressing the snooze button this once. To guarantee a spot on those big ticket attractions, such as Rise of The Resistance or Flight of Passage, without an Individual Lightning Lane, you need to get to the park before it even OPENS. This is called “rope drop,” and our best strategy is to get there 30 minutes before the park’s opening, so once they start letting guests in, you can head straight to your desired attraction. And because the park just opened, there’s little to no wait times for them!

2. Go on the Rides During Fireworks and Parades!

Yep, they’re pretty, but you may want to skip them to get some extra rides in!

This list is all about prioritizing those rides with a pricey Individual Lightning Lane, so of course we’re going to skip any firework spectaculars or festive parades because they’re the best times to get in line for a ride. Wait times are lowered significantly due to guests watching these shows, so it’s the best time to hit up those must-do attractions. Just make sure to check the show times for the day and coordinate with your group about what time you’ll be heading to which attraction.

3. Getting a Virtual Queue!



OK, we said earlier we weren’t going to talk about Virtual Queues, but we have to talk about them because they’re free! Although we have listed some good tips, some of the newest and most popular attractions at the parks can’t actually be done with any of them because there are no stand-by lines to wait in. This is the case right now with TRON Lightcycle / Run and Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind. For these two rides you either have to have a free virtual queue, or you have to buy an Individual Lightning Lane. If you just show up at the ride, there is literally no line you can get in to just ride.

So, what’s a Virtual Queue? You sign up for them through the My Disney Experience app. When you sign up, you’re given a “boarding group” number, and when that number is called, you’ll get a notification on your phone to head to the ride. You’ll have an hour to get there and scan in. So basically, you join the line “virtually” so that you can do other things in the park while you’re waiting to ride. Now you often have to be very quick to get in a free virtual queue — they tend to fill up quickly. Your first opportunity for a Virtual Queue is at 7AM, and we recommend waking up early, opening up, and being ready to go a few minutes before 7. If you didn’t get in at 7AM, you’ll have another chance at 1PM. There’s a caveat to that one, though — you’ll need to be IN the park to join the Virtual Queue at 1PM. The system can be a little tricky for those unfamiliar with it but don’t worry because we have you covered on all the basics of Virtual Queues and how to get one at the link below!

Virtual Queues: How To Get a Boarding Group for Disney’s Most Popular Rides

And one more Virtual Queue note — remember how we talked about Tiana’s Bayou Adventure NOT having an Individual Lightning Lane when it opens this summer? It WILL have a Virtual Queue, so if you’re visiting this summer, you’ll want to get familiar with this option!

4. There’s No Need to Purchase an Individual Lighting Lane for Animal Kingdom!


If you made it to the bottom of this list and feel like an Individual Lightning Lane might be your go-to for at least one park, then let us assist you in your choice by letting you know that purchasing an Individual Lighting Lane for Animal Kingdom is pretty much unnecessary. Listen, we adore Animal Kingdom, and it is home to some AMAZING attractions, but it’s no secret that it’s the park with the least amount of rides. This means that you’ll most likely get to ride all the attractions on your list, including its Individual Lightning Lane attraction — Flight of Passage. This can also be knocked out early in your park day with just rope dropping alone, so we suggest you save your Indivdiual Lightning Lane Purchases for a busier park such as Magic Kingdom or Hollywood Studios.

Rise of the Resistance

We hope these tips help you get the most out of your Disney World vacation. For more tips and tricks, make sure to stay tuned with us as we give you the latest on Disney news!

You Can RIDE Disney Attractions at HOME — Here’s How!

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Oh boy, planning a Disney trip can be quite the adventure, and we totally get it! But fear not, dear friends, we compiled EVERYTHING you need (and the things to avoid!) to plan the ULTIMATE Disney vacation.

Whether you’re a rookie or a seasoned pro, our insider tips and tricks will have you exploring the parks like never before. So come along with us, and get planning your most magical vacation ever!

Have a favorite tip from our list? Let us know in the comments!

The post How to Get on the Most EXPENSIVE Rides in Walt Disney World WITHOUT Paying first appeared on the disney food blog.