Simple Guide to Disneyland’s Lightning Lane

This is the Simple Guide to Disneyland’s Lightning Lane—their “skip the wait”, Fastpass system. I’ll help you learn exactly what Lightning Lane can do for your Disneyland vacation, how to use it to maximize rides and time, along with who should buy this upgrade and more. Updated July 2024.

Front of the line Pass Disneyland Lightning Lane

 

Don’t skip this! Beginning July 24, 2024 Disneyland will retire the name “Disney Genie+” and “Genie+.” While Disney continues to adjust names and ways to use their “front of the line pass”, I will keep sharing exactly what you need to know. If you’ve visited during Genie+’s reign, all you need to know is we’re dropping Genie+ and using Lightning Lane.

Yes, there’s a few more nuances in there but everything is pretty much same-same. 

If you’re new to Disneyland Resort (especially if you’re a Walt Disney World regular), or haven’t been in a few years this is definitely an article you cannot miss. See what has changed since your last visit, including how you ride and plan out your favorite Disneyland Resort attractions in less time.

What is Disneyland Lightning Lane?

Lightning Lane is Disneyland’s optional, paid upgrade. Lightning Lane is the new version of the old MaxPass and FASTPASS system. You have two choices when purchasing Lightning Lane at Disneyland:

  1. Lightning Lane Multi Pass: The most common upgrade to skip the wait. Lightning Lane Multi Pass allows you a chance to use the shorter, faster moving queue labeled “Lightning Lane.” This queue is available at approximately 20 rides at Disneyland Resort. With the Lightning Lane Multi Pass you will be assigned a time to return to the attraction to ride it using the Lightning Lane rather than the standby queue. Depending on availability, you can ride each Lightning Lane attraction one time using the expedited queue. 
  2. Lightning Lane Single Pass: Pay a premium to skip the wait at Disneyland’s most in-demand rides. Lightning Lane Single Pass allows you to use the shorter, faster moving queue labeled “Lightning Lane.” This queue is available at 2-3 rides at Disneyland Resort. With the Lightning Lane Single Pass you will be assigned a time to return to the attraction to ride it using the Lightning Lane rather than the standby queue. You can use this feature once for the selected ride.

 

Lightning Lane small world

 

How Much is Lightning Lane at Disneyland?

Lightning Lane Multi Pass is $30-35 per person, per day with demand based pricing. Lightning Lane Single Pass is $20-30 per person, per ride with demand based pricing. 

 

Radiator Springs Racers Sign

 

Disneyland Lightning Lane Ride List

A variety of rides allow you to “skip the line” while using Lightning Lane, wether you choose the Lightning Lane Multi Pass and/or Lightning Lane Single Pass. 

Disneyland Park Lightning Lane Ride List

  1. Autopia (32 inches or taller)
  2. Big Thunder Mountain Railroad (40 inches or taller, Rider Switch available)
  3. Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters (no minimum height requirement, Rider Switch available)
  4. Haunted Mansion (no minimum height requirement, temporarily available via Virtual Queue upon reopening late 2024)
  5. Indiana Jones Adventure (46 inches or taller, Rider Switch available )
  6. “it’s a small world” (no minimum height requirement)
  7. Matterhorn Bobsleds (42 inches or taller, Rider Switch available)Disneyland Matterhorn from Tomorrowland
  8. Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway (no minimum height requirement)
  9. Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run (42 inches or taller, Rider Switch available, Single Rider available)
  10. Pirates of the Caribbean (no minimum height requirement, temporary Lightning Lane option in 2024)
  11. Roger Rabbit’s Car Toon Spin (no minimum height requirement)
  12. Space Mountain (38 inches or taller, Rider Switch available, Single Rider available)
  13. Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance  Lightning Lane Single Pass or Standby only (40 inches or taller, Rider Switch available)
  14. Tiana’s Bayou Adventure (40 inches or taller, not yet confirmed, opening date TBA)
  15. Star Tours-The Adventure Continues (40 inches or taller, Rider Switch available, Single Rider available)

Curious about the seating arrangements and who can sit by who at Disneyland? See seat photos and seating details here.

Disney California Adventure Park Lightning Lane Ride List

  1. Guardians of the Galaxy – Mission: BREAKOUT! (40 inches or taller, Rider Switch available)
  2. Goofy’s Sky School (42 inches or taller, Rider Switch available, Single Rider available)
  3. Grizzly River Run (42 inches or taller, Rider Switch available, Single Rider available)
  4. Incredicoaster (48 inches or taller, Rider Switch available, Single Rider available)
  5. Monsters, Inc. Mike and Sully to the Rescue! (no minimum height requirement)Monsters Inc Ride Disney
  6. Radiator Springs Racers Lightning Lane Single Pass or Standby only (40 inches or taller, Rider Switch available, Single Rider available)
  7. Soarin’ Around the World (40 inches or taller, Rider Switch available, Single Rider available)
  8. The Little Mermaid ~ Ariel’s Undersea Adventure (no minimum height requirement)
  9. Toy Story Midway Mania (no minimum height requirement)
  10. Web Slingers: Spider-Man Adventure (no minimum height requirement)

Who Should Buy Lightning Lane

I go to the theme parks once a month for a few days in a row. Since this system was implemented in 2021 I have bought Lightning Lane almost EVERY time. 

I recommend buying Lightning Lane Multi Pass when:

  • Pre-purchasing at $30 with your discount tickets 
  • If I have to choose Lightning Lane vs Park Hopping tickets, I choose Lightning Lane
  • You expect to ride at least half of the rides on the Lightning Lane list
  • You have a thrill ride enthusiast
  • You care more about time saved vs money saved
  • You want all the family photos on rides, in front of the castle and more from professional photographers
  • You’re using a MagicBand+

 

LargeFamilyDisneyland

 

I recommend skipping Lightning Lane Multi Pass when:

  • You’ll only be in the theme park for 2-4 hours
  • If most of the rides you care about are not included (most of Fantasyland)
  • You have a 5 day ticket, in this case choose 2 days to buy Lightning Lane on the day of and focus only on those rides

Thoughts on Lightning Lane Single Pass:

I have never purchased Lightning Lane Single Pass (formerly called Individual Lightning Lane). As a frequent park goer, I never had the need to—but I understand when this is your one trip you really want to maximize time. If you are only going for one day at each park, I highly recommend the extra purchase.

It’s also helpful to know:

  • Lightning Lane Single Pass are a paid feature, separate from Lightning Lane Multi Pass.
  • You can do both, all or none.
  • At Disneyland Resort you will NOT choose your exact time to ride.
  • Before you purchase a Lightning Lane Single Pass, you will preview the time frame for your ride return time.
  • You’ll be assigned the next available time at purchase, even if it overlaps with existing Lightning Lane times. 

How to Use Lightning Lane on the Disneyland App

Everything about Lightning Lane is tied to the Disneyland App. Download the app now, before your trip and start getting familiar with it. When I have my Disneyland Park Plan phone consults, I often spend most of our time discussing this very thing! If you start using the app now, you’ll be so far ahead.

There are so many ways to navigate the app but this strategy is by far my favorite and the way I teach everyone to use Lightning Lane with the least amount of friction possible. 

Jessica Happiest Blog Explains Disney Genie

 

Open the Disneyland App:

  1. Tap the map icon on the bottom menu.
  2. The default view is the map with wait times displayed, I prefer to tap “filter” on the top left and choose the park I am spending the day at. Then tap “apply.”Disneyland app wait time map
  3. This takes you back to the main map, now you tap “show list”, I prefer this view to the map view.
  4. Scroll to and tap “Autopia”, then tap the large, blue “LL” lableled Lightning Lane.
  5. This now quickly populates all the Lightning Lane Multi Pass rides in a list for you, make sure you toggle on “show only Lightning Lane entrances.”
  6. Here is the list you want—unfortunately it takes so many steps to get here, but once you’re here this is the easiest way to quickly find your next desired Lightning Lane attraction.
  7. Tap the bolded “Book Experience” button for whichever ride you prefer.
  8. The next page is “Confirm Party” and should have all your tickets checked so everyone gets Lightning Lane access. You can actually practice up until this point—and you should!
  9. From here you’ll confirm your selection and then will be able to redeem your Lightning Lane within the appointed time frame.
  10. Scan into the Lightning Lane at the ride using your paper ticket, digital ticket, Lightning Lane barcode or MagicBand+, any option will work.

Disneyland Strategies to Use Lightning Lane Multi Pass 

There are so many strategies, so I am going to dump them all here in no particular order:

  • Use my Park Plans where I list what order to choose your Lightning Lanes for maximum efficiency.
  • Or create your own with my DIY Park Plan Bundle.
  • If a ride is “temporarily unavailable”, grab the Lightning Lane because you may be able to use it on other rides later on if the ride doesn’t return to operation in the designated time frame. Disneyland Ride down multi expereince
  • Don’t use a Lightning Lane if the you have a Lightning Lane but the standby queue is 10 minutes or less, modify your Lightning Lane to another ride instead and ride that one again later with a new Lightning Lane
  • Don’t cancel Lightning Lanes, use the modify option instead
  • Book your next Lightning Lane as soon as you scan into a ride
  • Use your alarm to remember when you can book future Lightning Lanes
  • Indiana Jones, Space Mountain, Guardians of the Galaxy and Soarin’ typically run out of Lightning Lane times earlier in the day
    Indiana Jones Disneyand
    Courtesy Disneyland Resort
  • Holiday overlays of rides also run out quickly, especially on the first day and/or weekend like “it’s a small world” holiday
  • You generally have a 10 minute grace period for redemption
  • Begin making Lightning Lane selections as soon as you enter the park

Disneyland Lightning Lane Q&A

There’s so much to learn about Lightning Lanes at Disneyland. If you have a question I haven’t addressed, please leave a comment below.

Is there a free Lightning Lane option at Disneyland?

No, but there is “Disney Genie” that offers suggestions on what rides to go on. I don’t recommend it. I wouldn’t even recommend selecting favorites because it does nothing for you. The free version of Disney Genie is like spinning a wheel for random suggestions. Instead, I recommend one of my Park Plans which can be used with or without Lightning Lane.

Can I use Lightning Lanes with my Park Plan?

Yes, my Park Plans (step by step ride itineraries) are made to be used with or without Lightning Lane. Get your downloadable Park Plan here.

DIY Park Plan Bundle

How is this different from the older FASTPASS versions?

Lightning Lane is very similar to Disney Genie Plus and the paper FASTPASS you might have used back in the day. The paid version still allows you to return to select attractions at the Disneyland Resort for your appointed ride time, just like the old version.

The DIFFERENCE though is key! You can only redeem your Lightning Lane for each Lightning Lane attraction ONCE per day. Yes, you can ride it again but you must choose the standby option at that point.

Does Disneyland Lightning Lane work like Walt Disney World?

No, it doesn’t work the exact same as at Walt Disney World. Some things run much better at Disneyland Resort due to a number of factors like:

  • ease and proximity of park hopping
  • more attractions on Lightning Lane in each park
  • no pre-selecting rides before your trip

 

Mickey and Minnie Runaway Railway Disneyland sign

 

Does everyone in my group need to buy Lightning Lane?

Anyone ages 3+ in your group who wishes to ride the attractions and use Lightning Lane with your group needs to purchase Lightning Lane. 

 

Big Thunder RR

 

If you have riders who aren’t interested in these rides or tall enough, you can definitely get Lightning Lane for just some members of your group.

Can I make Lightning Lane reservations in advance of my visit?

Disneyland Resort guests may NOT make advance reservations for rides. Lightning Lane selections at Disneyland are only made on the day-of. You must walk in the park and have all tickets scanned at the gate to activate its use.

How many ride reservations can I have at one time?

You get one reservation at a time and can reserve another at the appointed time. At times this may mean you’ll be holding onto more than one return time at once.

This method, dubbed “stacking” by the Disney community is a popular method to getting the most out of your Disney day.

Are Lightning Lane options linked at each park?

Yes! Lightning Lanes are linked at both parks, you cannot double dip. But you can “stack” by getting new return times as soon as you’re eligible. 

 

Incredicoaster

Can I use Lightning Lanes for rides at the opposite park?

Yes. You can secure Lightning Lane return times from either park, and even from your hotel room, as long as you have previously entered one park that day and have valid theme park reservations.

If you are park hopping at 11:00 am, you will need to watch the return times and select one for after park hopping hours.

Is Lightning Lane included in my Disneyland Resort Hotel stay?

No, Lightning Lanes is not included for guests of Disneyland Hotel, Grand Californian Hotel & Spa or Pixar Place Hotel. Designer Parks Co Promo Code Happiest

Can I get reserved space for World of Color and Fantasmic with Lightning Lane?

No, it does not cover space for World of Color or Fantasmic. World of Color is currently using a free Virtual Queue system.

 

World of Color Disneyland

Can I add Lightning Lane to my Magic Key?

You can add Lightning Lane on a daily basis, there is no annual pricing at this time.

Is parking included?

No, see this Disneyland parking guide before you go. 

Do I get PhotoPass with Lightning Lanes?

Yes, with Lightning Lane Multi Pass, you get PhotoPass. Here’s many of the places to get your photo taken at Disneyland Resort.  

Disneyland App PhotoPass  

How soon can I use Lightning Lanes? 

As soon as your ticket is scanned into the parks for the day you can select rides. But you cannot enter the Lightning Lane queue until your redemption time is ready.

Can I get a refund if I decide not to use it?

Usually not, just like Disney Genie+.

Can I modify my Lightning Lanes?

Yes, f you have a ride selection you’d like to modify, simple select that Lightning Lane to modify.

Can I upgrade my current park ticket to include Lightning Lanes? 

Yes! You can upgrade your ticket to include Lightning Lanes after you enter the parks. You’ll pay on-demand based pricing and prices may fluctuate each day of your visit. 

How do I buy Lightning Lanes quickly since none of this can be done ahead of time? 

You’ll be let inside the park gates 30 mins before opening, so this process can begin during that time. Before you get into the parks you should have all your tickets loaded into the app.
 
The home page of the app will advertise buying Lightning Lanes even right now, check it out and tap “purchase” just to see how it works. It will not charge you or let you buy it if you’re not already inside the gates, so it’s worth testing beforehand.
 
You will then use your tickets barcode,MagicBand+ and/or the barcodes for the specific ride on the app. It sounds complicated and it certainly can be easier, just choose which method you want to use throughout your trip and stick to that. My personal favorite is using MagicBand+ but it’s not required.

When can I buy Lightning Lane?

I suggest purchasing discount tickets here and buy it on the app as you enter the parks on the morning of your first visit.

How do I buy Lightning Lane?

First, get discount tickets along with additional savings (get my promo code delivered to your inbox now.) and as soon as you walk in the parks each day, you can select your first Disney Genie Plus attraction via the Disneyland App.Minnie Ears

If you opt to buy on the day of your visit:

  1. Download the official Disneyland app. The icon looks like a castle, with blue surrounding a white castle. Create an account and enter credit card information for easier purchasing on the day of your arrival. Note you will need this credit card with you or the security code from the back to complete your purchase.
  2. Scan your park tickets into the Disneyland app. If you have e-tickets, simply scan the barcode from your e-ticket into the app. Assign each ticket a name for easier selection during your trip.
  3. Enter Disneyland or Disney California Adventure park each morning and tap “Get Lightning Lane Multi Pass” and continue until you have purchased for everyone in your group. Children under 3 will not need to purchase Lightning Lane and can simply enter the line with parents (as long as they meet the height requirements).

More Tips for Disneyland Lightning Lanes

Use multiple mobile devices. Your tickets can be scanned into more than one Disney account. For example, if a couple is taking their children to Disneyland, both Mom and Dad can have the Disneyland app, sign into their (separate or shared) Disney account, scan tickets into their respective accounts and still access all the same information.

This means if Mom takes the toddler back to the hotel for a nap, Dad can stay with the older kids and utilize Lightning Lanes too. This also works well for larger, extended family groups or friends.

Update your data plan before arrival. Disneyland wifi hotspots are listed here, but it’s even better if you have unlimited data and don’t need to rely on Disney’s wifi at all.

 

Lightning Lane access

 

Keep your phone charged. Yes, this will drain your battery. Disneyland Fuel Rods are the perfect solution. You can also purchase an external power pack to bring with you on your vacation.

It’s ok if your plans change. Inside the Lightning Lanes section of the app you can modufy a return time if your plans change.

Want to take a break? You can secure Lightning Lane reservations from either park, and even from your hotel room, as long as you have previously entered one park that day. Making Lightning Lanes reservations while your kids nap or swim is such a huge bonus! PS See all my Disneyland Hotel reviews here

Related Posts

By Jessica Sanders

Recognized authority on all things Disneyland Resort. Offering dynamic planning strategies and the latest theme park information since 2013. Jessica's insights have been featured on Yahoo! News, InStyle, The Washington Post, and many others.

44 thoughts on “Simple Guide to Disneyland’s Lightning Lane

  • Anthony

    I haven’t been to Disneyland in 25 years. This Genie plus is making my head spin! I think I understand it now. Thanks for this blog!
    But does each member of the group need to purchase the Genie plus in order to be added to a lightning lane reservation? Or can 1 person in the group buy the service and add others to the reservation time? We are a party of 3.
    We did not buy the genie plus when we booked our tickets as we did not realize that was our only shot before entering the park. Traveling mid February

  • Valery

    Hi! I am from Argentina, it is my first time at Disney California, I love you blog and I am taking note of a lot of tips for my stay. I just wanted to confirm if I understood cororectly, If I book for Fantasmic or World of colours as soon as I enter into the park, I will be able to use other fastpasses during the day? Thanks in advance!

  • MandiAnn

    I was able to visit the parks twice this year and we used MP both times. We absolutely loved it. My husband (bless his soul) does not do crowds, or lines. So the MP was a life saver to cut our eating time and not have all the back and forth. Being able to schedule our next fastpass on our phones immediately after scanning the current FP was a miracle. Also, most of the time we could activate a 2nd pass an hour after we activated a FP. Say at noon we grabbed passes for cars that weren’t until 4pm, we were able to activate another pass at 1pm for splash mountain.
    Also within the app you can see the available FP times so we were able to decide which FP to select by soonest availability. We alleviated the run around by not going across the park to get a ticket and then finding out the return time was 4 hours later. The app puts all the information in front of me. It made the trip so much better for me (being a Disney fanatic) and my (taking one for the team) hubs. He may actually go back with me sometime because of MP

  • Elizabeth

    Hi Jessica!

    I plan on purchasing the city pass for our visit in early May so we can do Legoland, Sea World, and the 3 day park hopper at Disneyland. Can I purchase a max pass by itself separately?

    • Hi Elizabeth, thanks for asking. You purchase MaxPass once you walk in the park via the Disneyland app. Be sure to have an account set up in advance with a linked credit card. You’ll also need that security code on the back to make the purchase. Have a fabulous trip and let me know if I can help further.

      • Elizabeth

        Thank you for the info! I will definitely be using your for the custom itinerary. If we have a May1-5 trip, we can we begin planning?

        • Absolutely! What I do when it’s a bit farther out is take your first day’s payment to hold your spot. It goes toward your final payment so you’re not paying anything extra. Just head over to our VIP custom plan page and fill out all the fun details there and we’ll get started. So much fun!

  • Albert Trotter

    The only redeeming quality is they won’t do advance fast pass selection. it really takes the spontaneity out of your day. I plan out every day of my work schedule the last thing I want to do on vacation is plan out what rides I want to ride and when I need to be there. Hopefully they will work out all the bugs faster than they did at World!

    • Thanks for your comment, Albert. I agree and hope they keep it a day-of type of reservation. Disneyland has always been a unique place and I hope the executives and decision makers see that although it is a Disney Resort, it’s personality is a lot different that Walt Disney World’s and we need to honor that even in little things like MaxPass.

  • There was a recent change in Fastpass policy. The two parks are now “linked”, meaning that getting a Fastpass in one affects when you can get a Fastpass in the other park. Admittedly, many did not know they were “unlinked” previously, and given the back-and-forth required, relatively few took advantage of this quirk.

    I suppose Disney thought, that with Maxpass coming, FPs would run out “too soon” if the policy wasn’t changed. However, for some visitors, this linking makes parkhoppers a little less valuable.

    • This makes a lot of sense for the MaxPass roll out. I agree, it’s kinda a pain to do the back and forth. Many guests buy hoppers because it seems to add value, but they don’t use them the way they imagined. Many people just hop over to Disneyland when California Adventure closes for the night. Don’t you agree?

  • Kayla

    Good luck getting a fastpass for Rafiator Spring Racers. With the ability to book fastpasses from either park, those will be gone within hours of opening. I will not be very happy if they eventually phase out paper fastpasses and charge you to use digital.

    • What’s crazy is how quickly they run out even with paper FASTPASSES. Last week it was a pretty low crowd day and the passes ran out by noon (if not before, that’s just when I walked by). But opening it up to people in both parks will certainly have those things flying! I am hoping the charge is temporary as a way to beta-test without the masses being involved. But with Disney, we know if they can make a few bucks they’ll continue to do so. Time will tell! I am also concerned about bottle neck crowds at the entrance, because as soon as they enter the parks they can stop right there and get FPs. Thanks for the insight Kayla, keep the comments coming, would love to hear more of your opinion.

  • Brandy

    Nooooooo!! I frequent Disney World and Disneyland and I prefer the paper system with out a question. The only redeeming quality is they won’t do advance fast pass selection. it really takes the spontaneity out of your day. I plan out every day of my work schedule the last thing I want to do on vacation is plan out what rides I want to ride and when I need to be there. Hopefully they will work out all the bugs faster than they did at World!

    • Brandy, I hope my predictions are correct with not allowing advanced FP reservations but I certainly could see them offering it as an incentive to stay on site. We will see! It’s all about pleasing/working with the locals here. So many APs that drop by last minute or on their way home from work and school. It doesn’t make sense to schedule them and that’s something I love about Disneyland too. I plan out my days but always allow for flexibility so I prefer not to plan FP in advance too. I hope they take their time to make this right and it improves the overall experience.

  • Cetain sites (which shall remain unnamed) have been pushing the “FP+ is coming to Disneyland” idea for at least two years. There have been some rather small-scale tests (like the scanners at Space Mountain) that indicate that changes are coming at some point. Construction permit applications also point to upcoming work related to FPs – specifically “touch points”.

    I just can’t see how any kind of FP would work at Peter Pan’s Flight. It has the cramped indoor switchback queue, which is invariably packed within ten minutes of park opening. It has the “temporary” chains set up outside. It has a tight exit space, currently used as an entrance for DAS guests. Tinker Bell really deserves great credit if she can create a Fastpass entrance that somehow doesn’t interfere with people entering and exiting as they do now.

    • I like your thinking! Yes, rumors about this very thing have been circulating for years! We will see if they actually come to life this time. As for Peter Pan, it’s just one on the rumor list- maybe just wishful thinking? Thanks for your insights, I can’t wait to hear more official word from Disney and will certainly update when they do make any announcement.

        • I know right? I definitely think something is up at Peter Pan’s Flight. Very anxious to see how this all unfolds. Thanks for your comments, I always enjoy reading what you have to say. Have a magical day!

          • As of now, there is no sign that the space is being converted to become a Fastpass queue. For whatever reason, the door was open on April 12, and I had to look inside. There were a few remants of the old shop (like a crown), but more candles and similar things.

            BTW, I’ve seen the “touch points” installed on several rides now – BLAB and Haunted Mansion on Wednesday.

          • I love that you took a peek in there for me! I certainly hope Peter Pan gets a FP regardless if they use that space or not but thanks for being some eyes for me since I can’t be in the park as much as I’d like. You’re awesome!

          • A different rumor seems to have been on target.

            Another visitor has stated that it has become – as of today, April 20 – a store. It might be called “Castle Holiday Shop”.
            I can’t confirm this, as no new store is listed on disneyland.com

            I still have no idea what Disney thinks it is going to do with dozens of flameless candles.

  • Jennifer

    We’ll be at Disneyland for a week late January through early February. (1/29-2/3) What are the chances the new system will be up and running then?

    • Hey Jennifer, that’s such a fun time to go. I was there those dates earlier this year. My insider source says spring at the earliest. It will be interesting to see because I’m guessing there will be testing here and there before it is launched in its entirety. I’ll keep updating this article with new information and our 2017 planning guide will be out next month so stayed tuned!

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