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Travel Disney introducing paid ‘FastPass’ replacement Oct. 19 — Here’s what ‘Lightning Lanes’ will cost

05:30  09 october  2021
05:30  09 october  2021 Source:   thepointsguy.com

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  Disney introducing paid ‘FastPass’ replacement Oct. 19 — Here’s what ‘Lightning Lanes’ will cost © Provided by The Points Guy
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On Oct. 19, there’s a new way to skip the regular lines at Disney. This is when Genie, Genie+ and Lightning Lanes will launch at Walt Disney World.

Disney’s free FastPass program is officially a part of the Disney history books and in its place is a new mix of paid and complimentary services.

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From what it costs to how it works — here’s what you need to know about Disney’s new way to skip the lines.

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$15 to skip lines with Genie+ starting Oct. 19

In a little over a week, Disney Genie+ will launch at $15 per day at Disney World. It provides access to what used to be referred to as FastPass lines and will apply to more than 40 attractions at Walt Disney World. And while this is functionally a lot like what a paid FastPass would have been, the actual term FastPass is being retired and will be replaced with “Lightning Lane.”

(Image courtesy of DIsney) © The Points Guy (Image courtesy of DIsney)

While we don’t have a launch date for this service at Disneyland quite yet, Genie+ will cost $20 per person per day when it launches in California and will apply to more than 15 rides. The Disneyland price is on par with what MaxPass cost prior to the 2020 park closure, and this service actually functions much like MaxPass worked at Disneyland.

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Examples of attractions that will be available for Lightning Lane via Genie+ include Haunted Mansion, Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run and Big Thunder Mountain Railroad.

At Disneyland, Genie+ will also include unlimited PhotoPass downloads, and at Disney World, it will include some augmented reality lenses.

Similar to how MaxPass operated at Disneyland, you can select another Lightning Lane attraction and return time (if available) as soon as you use the one you had selected. If the one you selected is for a popular attraction that doesn’t have return availability until much later in the day, Disney states you can select a new one after two hours even if you haven’t yet used the one that only had availability much later in the day.

For those that like to park hop, you will be able to use it across multiple theme parks in one day.

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A la carte “Lightning Lane” access starts around $7 each

For the highest-demand attractions, you’ll have to pay a separate amount to access those Lightning Lanes. You can do that with or without the purchase of Genie+.

According to Disney, these a la carte attractions include:

  • Magic Kingdom: Seven Dwarfs Mine Train
  • Magic Kingdom: Space Mountain
  • Epcot: Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure
  • Epcot: Frozen Ever After
  • Disney’s Hollywood Studios: Rise of the Resistance
  • Disney’s Hollywood Studios: Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway
  • Animal Kingdom: Pandora Flight of Passage
  • Animal Kingdom: Expedition Everest
(Photo by Summer Hull/The Points Guy) © The Points Guy (Photo by Summer Hull/The Points Guy)

The pricing will vary some from day to day, but the examples we were given are roughly what we expected based on the pricing that was used at Disneyland Paris. In the examples provided, pricing ranges from around $7 – $15, per ride, per person.

Disney said that as an example, the Lightning Lane entrance for Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure at Epcot will be $9 per person on Oct. 19 and $11 per person on Oct. 23. On those same dates, it will be $7 for Expedition Everest and $15 for Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance inside Galaxy’s Edge.

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This a la carte option will only be available for two different attractions each day — though you can split them between parks doing one in Magic Kingdom and one in Hollywood Studios, assuming you park hop.

(Photo by Summer Hull/The Points Guy) © The Points Guy (Photo by Summer Hull/The Points Guy)

New free Genie service will help optimize your day

There’s also a long-awaited free service coming soon to all Disney World and Disneyland guests — Disney Genie.

The new Disney Genie service will be available within the My Disney Experience and Disneyland apps. Its goal is to help Disney guests maximize their day by displaying estimated future wait times for attractions, making suggestions on their day’s specific itinerary based on their plans and stated preferences and centralize their dining reservations, virtual queues and “lightning” access plans.

a man holding a baby: (Photo courtesy of Disneyland Resort) © The Points Guy (Photo courtesy of Disneyland Resort)

These won’t be static recommendations but will update in real-time based on wait times, their changing goals, ride availability and more.

Disney Genie will leverage decades of Disney data and technology to help guests plan their best Disney day and reduce the time spent in lines.

Related: Guide to visiting Disney World

Old-fashioned lines are still available

With all of this talk of Genie, Genie+ and individually available paid Lightning Lane access add-ons, you may start to wonder if you can still just decide to just buy a regular ticket and get in line to ride something.

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a group of people standing in front of a crowd: Don’t worry — you’ll still be able to hop in a traditional queue at Disney parks. (Photo by Summer Hull/The Points Guy) © The Points Guy Don’t worry — you’ll still be able to hop in a traditional queue at Disney parks. (Photo by Summer Hull/The Points Guy)

Thankfully, Disney says that the answer is yes — standby lines will still be available as they are now. The obvious difference is that those lanes will now probably move a bit slower than they currently do because you’ll have to alternate with people using Lightning Lane access.

Beyond the old-fashioned physical lines, some of the virtual queues that are available today at no extra cost will continue to operate in that same way. At Disney World, a virtual queue is being used for the new Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure.

When can you buy Genie+ and request Lightning Lane access?

Disney states that date-based ticket guests will be able to purchase Genie+ in advance of their visit, but Lightning Lane won’t be available until the day of the visit.

At Disney World, Genie+ users will be able to select a return time for your first desired and included attraction of the day beginning at 7 a.m. on the day of your trip. At Disneyland, you’ll have to wait until you’re physically in the park to select a return time for your first ride. That’s true regardless of where you are staying for your vacation.

However, there is a little extra perk for those who are staying in Disney World resorts.

If desired, Disney resort guests can make their first individually purchased Lightning Lane attraction selection beginning at 7 a.m. (such as for Seven Dwarfs Mine Train). Non-resort guests can’t do this until the park officially opens — which may be an hour or two later depending on the day and selected park.

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Disney has not ruled out the possibility that annual pass holders will one day be able to purchase a Genie+ add-on to their pass, but that is not available at rollout and may or may not happen down the road.

Bottom line

When speaking about all these new options and planning features, Disney says that the “one size fits all approach doesn’t make sense” for its guests anymore.

While most who follow Disney Parks news pretty closely likely expected some version of paid FastPass to be introduced at Disney World just as it had been at Disneyland, Disneyland Paris and other Disney parks, it might come as a disappointing shock that there is no longer any included tier of FastPass (now called Lightning Lane) access available.

Thankfully, the $15 per person per day fee for Genie+ likely doesn’t add a huge amount to the total overall total cost of a trip to Disney World. It’s certainly a much more affordable option than the several thousand dollars per day Disney VIP tour, which is currently the only real way to bypass the increasingly long standby lines.

For a family of four who is spending three days in the Walt Disney World parks and wants these perks, Genie+ will add $180 to the trip cost. Purchasing two a la carte Lightning Lanes per day for top-tier rides would add approximately $265 to their trip, based on an average of the examples given. That $445 is a lot of money and could be the deal-breaker for some.

But for others, it’s a lot more affordable than some other skip-the-line options. Time will tell how much time using Lightning Lane really saves.

Walt Disney himself once said, “We keep moving forward, opening new doors, and doing new things…” And this time, that means the end of the FastPass era and the beginning of a more a la carte approach to a day spent at Disney theme parks starting on Oct. 19.

Featured photo by Summer Hull/The Points Guy.

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Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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