Mastering the Individual Lightning Lane at Disney World: Tips & Tricks

DISCLAIMER: Our posts may contain affiliate links. If you click through and make a purchase, we may receive commission. You won't pay more, but you will be providing us with a small commission, which helps to keep the lights on. All recommendations are based on our own opinions and preferences. You can read our complete disclaimer here. Thanks!

So, you’ve finally gotten a handle on the new Disney Genie+ service and think you understand how to use the Lightning Lane. Then suddenly you realize not every ride is available through Genie+. For some of the most popular rides, you must purchase a pass to an Individual Lightning Lane at Disney World, adding another complicated layer to a service that already sounds tricky to navigate.

The good news is, it isn’t as difficult as it may sound to use the Individual Lightning Lane at Disney World. All it takes is a few tips and pointers to get you on your way.

Lightning Lance Versus Individual Lightning Lane at Disney World

Disney World Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, one of the attractions you'll visit with Disney World free travel agen services.
  • Save

When Disney retired Fastpass+ in 2021, they unveiled a new line-skipping service creatively christened Genie+. Genie+ was meant to be magic, getting you to the fun and excitement faster by offering a dedicated queue called a Lightning Lane.

At the same time, the powers that be also introduced a novel new concept, not so creatively named, called the Individual Lightning Lane (ILL). What becomes confusing for guests is the fact that one type of Lightning Lane is pretty much the same as the other. Both allow you to book a ride window, and both offer an alternative, usually shorter, queue.

The only thing that really makes the Individual Lightning Lane at Disney World stand apart from the regular Genie+ Lightning Lane is the cost. Any Genie+ enabled Lightning Lane is included in the $14.99 per person price you pay each day to access the service. ILL reservations are not.

The Individual Lightning Lane is reserved for Disney’s most popular attractions, and therefore requires a separate purchase outside of Genie+. To put it simply, you can pay the $14.99 per person per day to purchase Genie+ and not have access to the Individual Lightning Lane. However, the reverse is also true. You may purchase admittance to an Individual Lightning Lane and not have access to Genie+ Lightning Lanes.

Another thing to note before we move onto booking is this: There is no blanket Individual Lightning Lane Pass. Access to each Individual Lightning Lane ride must be purchased separately. The price for each ILL is dependent upon the attraction and the crowd conditions expected in the park on a given day.

In short, if you plan to park hop and would like to book an ILL for Avatar Flight of Passage and Guardians of Galaxy Cosmic Rewind, you will need to purchase admittance to two separate Individual Lightning Lanes.

Guests are limited to two ILL purchases in a single day.

How to Book a Reservation in the Individual Lightning Lane at Disney World

It’s actually quite simple to purchase an Individual Lightning Lane reservation at Disney World, but first, you will need to create a My Disney Experience account and link all of the members travelling in your party.

Once everyone in your travel group is linked through My Disney Experience, simply open the My Disney Experience app and navigate to the tip board. Make sure you are viewing the right park, and then scroll through the list of attractions.

Screenshot of My Disney Experience app and booking of the Individual Lightning Lane at Disney World
  • Save

Attractions offering an Individual Lightning Lane will be marked with “Individual Lightning Lane. You will also see the first return time available and the per person cost for booking a spot in the queue. Keep in mind, there may be other ride windows available. The time shown is when availability begins.

To book, simply click on the purchase link. You will have the option to change to a different time, if available, at this stage.

Individual Lightning Lane Prices

Unlike Genie+, there is no one size fits all price for booking an Individual Lightning Lane at Disney World. Each attraction may be priced differently, depending on when you are traveling.

Generally, we’ve seen the cost for the Individual Lightning Lane begin as low as $7.00 and reach as high as $30 for a popular attraction during peak travel seasons.

Individual Lightning Lane Rides

Disney World know before you go - things to consider to enjoy rides like Mine Train featured here.
  • Save

When the Individual Lightning Lane was first introduced, each park had two rides with an ILL-enabled queue. In early 2022, an attraction from each park was moved to the Genie+ service.

This policy change added an additional ride in each park to Genie+, making Genie a better value. It also reduced the number of extra purchases that guests were required to make if they wanted to use an expedited queue.

To date, each park now only has one Individual Lightning Lane experience.

Animal Kingdom Individual Lightning Lane Ride

  • Avatar Flight of Passage

EPCOT Individual Lightning Lane Ride

  • Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind

Disney Hollywood Studios Individual Lightning Lane Ride

  • Star Wars Rise of the Resistance

Magic Kingdom Individual Lightning Lane Ride

  • Seven Dwarfs Mine Train

With the exception of the rides listed above, access to the Lightning Lane for most attractions can be obtained by purchasing Genie+.

mickey minnie newsletter signup
  • Save

Can I still Ride Genie+ and ILL Enabled Rides Using the Standby Queue

All attractions at Disney World that are enabled with either Genie+ or an Individual Lightning Lane continue to offer a standby queue. If you prefer not to purchase Genie+ or the Individual Lightning Lane pass, you are free to use the standby line.

How Often May I Use the Individual Lightning Lane at Disney World?

To make it fair for all guests, you may only purchase entrance to a single ILL attraction once each day. For example, if you want to purchase access to the Lightning Lane for Star Wars Rise of the Resistance, you may do so once on a given day.

If you want to ride it again and not wait in line, you will need to purchase an Individual Lightning Lane on a separate day. However, if you have a park hopper ticket, you may purchase access to up to two Individual Lightning Lanes on any given day.

Planning Your Individual Lightning Lane Strategy

Each park has a different number of rides and attractions. Some are more popular than others and can easily stack up long lines, resulting in high wait times.  Therefore, deciding when and where to use the Individual Lightning Lane varies by park.

Guests who decide not to use the Individual Lightning Lanes are often fans of “rope dropping.”

Each of Disney’s parks has a published opening time, but guests can begin lining up at the turnstiles 30 to 60 minutes before the park opens. When the lines at the turnstiles get too long, cast members will begin admitting guests.

However, guests are not permitted full access to the park. Instead, a rope or multiple ropes, cordon off the main section(s) of the park. This is where the term “rope drop” or “rope dropping” originates.

Guests who “rope drop” a park are positioned as close to this rope as possible. By moving directly toward a certain attraction when the rope drops, you’ll be one of the first visitors to ride, drastically reducing the time you’ll spend in line for popular attractions.

Individual Lightning Lane Animal Kingdom Strategy

  • Save

Animal Kingdom Without Individual Lightning Lane

If you’re willing to get up early and use the rope drop strategy, Animal Kingdom is an easy park to visit without using the Individual Lightning Lane. Just make sure to position yourself as close as possible to the rope leading toward the Africa/Pandora side of the park.

Guests who rope drop Avatar Flight of Passage are usually on and off the ride before most guests have begun to arrive. This is particularly true if you are staying at a Disney World resort and have access to Extended Theme Park Early Entry, a perk for guests staying at Disney World resorts.

We usually head next to Kilimanjaro Safari, followed by Expedition Everest and then Dinosaur. However, if you plan to ride Na’vi River Journey without the use of Genie+, make that your second stop after Flight of Passage.

Animal Kingdom Using Individual Lightning Lane

If you do plan to purchase the Individual Lightning Lane for Flight of Passage, we recommend you book your ride window for later in the day. This will allow you to start with Na’vi River Journey, followed by Kilimanjaro Safari, Expedition Everest and Dinosaur, in that order.

The remainder of the rides and attractions will have roughly the same wait throughout the day. By following this strategy, you should be able to hit the biggest headliners before lunch and with little time spent in line.

Individual Lightning Lane Hollywood Studios Strategy

Using the Individual LIghtning Lane at Disney World Hollywood Studios requires a strategy
  • Save

Disney’s Hollywood Studios is home to some of Disney World’s most popular rides. No surprising, it’s the park with some of the highest wait times as well. If you only plan to purchase Genie+ and the Individual Lightning Lane once during your trip, use it at Hollywood Studios.

Hollywood Studios Without Individual Lightning Lane

Hollywood Studios is one of the toughest parks to visit if you do not plan to use Genie+ or at a minimum, the Individual Lightning Lane for Star Wars Rise of the Resistance. However, you should be able to visit all attractions as long as you are willing to wait in some lines up to an hour or more.

While many people will rope drop Star Wars Rise of the Resistance, we usually take a different approach. Since we know we will be waiting in moderate to long line for all rides anyway, we try to minimize how long we wait at each individual ride by starting with Rock ‘N’ Roller coaster, followed by Tower of Terror and then Millennium Falcon Smugglers Run.

By following this strategy, incorporated with Early Theme Park entry, we can experience the first three rides of the day with minimal wait and be done before 10:00 am. If you aren’t using Early Theme Park Entry, the strategy is the same. Just expect to finish 20-30 minutes later in the day.

We usually plan lunch around 11:00 and fill in any time before this by experiencing a ride that has consistently low wait times, such as Muppet Vision 3-D. By the time our lunch is over, wait times at rides are diminishing some, as the majority of guests take a break to eat.

We take advantage of lull to get in line for Star Wars Rise of the Resistance, followed by Alien Swirling Saucers, Toy Story Mania and then Star Tours. We take some time in the afternoon to catch some shows or do a little shopping.

We also keep a close eye on the My Disney Experience app and jump in line to revisit our favorites if we see a wait time drop somewhere. After dinner, we hit the other most popular rides, Slinky Dog Dash and Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway as close to park closing as we can.

Hollywood Studios with Individual Lightning Lane

If you plan to purchase an Individual Lightning Lane pass for Star Wars Rise of the Resistance, you will reduce how much time you’ll spend in line. However, the strategy we take isn’t much different. Simply follow the strategy outlined above, but make a late-day reservation for Rise of the Resistance.

Rides tend to stack up wait times as the day goes on, before dwindling again as you get closer to park close. Taking this approach allows you to get in as many high-wait attractions before or after wait times begin to stack up.

Individual Lightning Lane EPCOT Strategy

Using the Individual LIghtning Lane at Disney World's Guardian of the Galaxy requires a strategy.
  • Save

Despite the fact that there are few actual rides at EPCOT, purchasing the Individual Lightning Lane for Guardians of the Galaxy could save you a lot of time. However, the queue is a big part of the experience with this ride, so we do recommend that guests visit the ride through the regular queue at least once.

EPCOT Without Individual Lightning Lane

Guests experiencing EPCOT without the purchase of an Individual Lightning Lane for Guardians of the Galaxy would do best to rope drop this experience if they have Early Theme Park Entry. Follow it up with a visit to Test Track, followed by Frozen and then Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure. After Lunch, feel free to check the My Disney Experience app and visit attractions with the lowest wait times. Afternoons tend to be moderate to light for most attractions.

If you do not have access to Early Entry, begin your morning with a ride on Test Track. Hop on over to Guardians of the Galaxy next, as it often experiences a bit of a dip in line waits around this time. Follow with the remainder of the schedule as noted above.

EPCOT With Individual Lightning Lane

If you plan to visit EPCOT and purchase the Individual Lightning Lane for Guardians of the Galaxy, make your reservation for later in the afternoon or evening. This allows you to arrive at opening and enjoy Test Track, before proceeding into the World Showcase through Mexico. When you reach Norway, spend some time with Elsa on Frozen and then visit everyone’s favorite rat on Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure.

By now, it’s likely lunch time, so grab a bite at one of the fabulous EPCOT restaurants and fill in the remainder of the afternoon visiting other attractions, before entering the Individual Lightning Lane for Guardians of the Galaxy

Individual Lightning Lane Magic Kingdom Strategy

Magic Kingdom offers the widest array of rides and attractions, and also happens to be the park most popular with younger visitors. For this reason, a strategy is important if you want to spend as little time as possible in line.

We recommend splitting Magic Kingdom up across two days, but if you only have a day to spend, it’s especially important to take advantage of Early Theme Park Entry. At a minimum, plan on being there for rope drop.

Magic Kingdom Without Individual Lightning Lane

Seven Dwarfs Mine Train Sign, an Individual Lightning Lane ride at Disney World
  • Save

If you plan to rope drop Magic Kingdom and you have access to Early Theme Park Entry, we do not recommend that you race to Seven Dwarfs Mine Train at park opening unless you are at the beginning for the line heading in this direction. Since many people take this approach, lines for this ride can be highest during the first hour of the morning. We recommend the same approach for anyone who is not using Early Theme Park Entry.

Instead, try hitting the rides that get the longest wait times during the later part of the day. These include:

  • Big Thunder Mountain Railroad
  • Jungle Cruise
  • Peter Pan’s Flight
  • Pirates of the Caribbean
  • Space Mountain
  • Splash Mountain

If you knock out 3 or 4 of these early in the day, you will experience much shorter wait times, saving you time overall. Save Seven Dwarfs Mine Train for late afternoon or before park closing. You’re likely to spend the same amount of time in line as you would first thing, probably less, but you won’t have to worry about missing the shorter lines on other attractions.

Magic Kingdom With Individual Lightning Lane

Purchasing an Individual Lightning Lane at Disney World for Seven Dwarfs Mine Train could easily save you 50 to 80 minutes standing in line. That’s why this is one of the Individual Lightning Lane purchases we highly recommend at Disney World.

When laying out your Individual Lightning Lane strategy for Magic Kingdom, we recommend the same approach as we do when visiting without ILL. Fill your morning with the attractions that tend to stack up long wait times as the day goes on, and book your ILL for late afternoon or early evening.

We Can Help You Plan Your Disney World Vacation!

Request a Quote Today

We have partnered with Mickey World Travel, an authorized Disney vacation planner. Let us book your vacation package, and we’ll take care of the heavy lifting or guide you through the process. Our services are offered free of charge, so contact Kathlen@Mickeyworldtravel.com or click here for an easy, no obligation quote.

Is the Individual Lightning Lane at Disney World Worth It?

When visiting Disney World, we always find it worth it to purchase ILL at Hollywood Studios and Magic Kingdom. Waiting 5 to ten minutes in line instead of an hour is a serious time saver and an important consideration in parks where there is so much to see and do.

As already discussed in the Animal Kingdom strategy, we think purchasing ILL here won’t really save you much time if you’re willing to rope drop Avatar Flight of Passage with Early Theme Park Entry.  If you don’t have access to this Disney resort perk, or just prefer not to rise with the birds while on vacation, purchasing the ILL will save you quite a bit of time in line. However, the purchase isn’t vital, and you can still experience an enjoyable time without it.

When it comes to EPCOT, we do recommend purchasing ILL if you are unable to get into the virtual queue for Guardians of the Galaxy. At some point, this virtual queue will be closed down and your only line-skipping opportunity will come from purchasing the ILL.

EPCOT is large and spread out. Plus, the few headliners in the park can stack up very long waits. Purchasing ILL allows you to easily experience these rides in the morning when lines are shorter, before heading over for your Individual Lightning Lane Experience on Guardians later in the day.

Of course, if you’re vacation enjoyment hinges on spending the least amount of time in line as possible, you’ll want to pair your Individual Lightning Lane purchases with the purchase of Genie+.

Why We Love Walt Disney World Vacation Packages (and You Should Too)

Walt Disney World Vacation Planning: 10 Steps to Creating Your Trip of a Lifetime

Will We Ever See the End of Disney World’s Park Reservations?

25 Secrets of Animal Kingdom: Facts Disney World Rarely Shares

Revenge Travel to Disney World? Why Many Vacationers Are Saying Yes

  • Save
Mother daughter travel bloggers exploring the U.S.

We're Kat and Ali, a pair of mother-daughter travel bloggers exploring the U.S. We're sharing our experiences, tips and insights to help you more easily get out and explore the beautiful landscapes and places of this nation.


Kathleen Hesketh

Kathleen is a travel agent with Mickey World Travel, a platinum level Authorized Disney vacation planner, where she helps people discover the magic of a Disney vacation and other travel destinations. She is also the chief author and editor for Seconds to Go - a travel blog where she shares experiences from traveling the U.S. with her daughters. Kathleen has been a professional writer for more than a decade, helping businesses craft compelling content to advance organizational goals.

Leave a Comment