When FastPass was included with your ticket, it was important to figure out which rides you should choose first for your reservations. Now that Genie+ has arrived and front-of-the-line access costs an additional fee, it’s even more important to know which rides to prioritize and which rides to skip. In our Guide 2 Lightning Lane at Disneyland Resort, we are sharing tips and strategies to make the most out of your day at Disneyland and California Adventure. We’ll share whether Genie+ is worth it at each park, which rides you should prioritize for Genie+ Lightning Lane, and if it’s worth it to spend extra money for Individual Lightning Lane. If you need a refresher on Disney’s FastPass replacement, check out our 6 part Guide 2 Disney Genie, which explains how Lightning Lane and Genie+ work.

We’ll start where it all started in 1955: Disneyland Park. With classics like Space Mountain and Haunted Mansion included in Genie+ as well as the cutting-edge Rise of the Resistance available via Individual Lightning Lane, Disneyland has a wide variety of attractions included in their line-skipping program, so it could be very worth it for you to consider spending some extra dough on these

So, which of these attractions are worth your money for Lightning Lane? And which are worth skipping? Read on to find out.

Looking for Disney World Lightning Lane recommendations? Read our Guide 2 Lightning Lane at Disney World.

Individual Lightning Lane Recommendations for Magic Kingdom

Individual Lightning Lane attractions are not included in Genie+ and are an extra fee. Since everyone has a different budget and sensitivity to pricing, I’m not going to say that you should definitely buy an Individual Lightning Lane or not. What I will say is if you should consider it. With some attractions, Individual Lightning Lane could represent a value as it will save you a ton of time in line. With others, you shouldn’t waste your money. Here are our Disneyland Park Individual Lightning Lane recommendations.

Rise of the Resistance Queue

Rise of the Resistance: Strongly Consider Buying

Even at $20, Rise of the Resistance is the only attraction I would consider as a strong recommendation to buy. The Lightning Lane entrance gets you right to the room where the experience really starts and where you see the first characters in the attraction. Because this experience is so popular, so lengthy, and so mind-blowing, it can really feel worth it to put down the cash to skip a line that can easily be 90-120 minutes. If you don’t want to spend so much on Rise of the Resistance, I would recommend trying to ride it either first thing in the morning or toward the end of its operating hours, when lines dip down a bit.

Unlike Disney World, Rise of the Resistance Individual Lightning Lane doesn’t sell out at Disneyland first thing in the morning, and you can only buy the first available time slot. Depending on the day you go, you might be able to purchase for an immediate return time or for one about an hour or two out. If you are going on a busier day like a holiday weekend, expect this lead time to stretch longer.

Important Rise of the Resistance tip: Rise of the Resistance doesn’t always have the same operating hours as Disneyland Park and can close early. Recently, I’ve seen it consistently closing at 8 pm. Keep this in mind when you are making your plans.

Is Genie+ Worth It at Disneyland?

The first question you need to answer is if you should add $20 to your ticket for your day at Disneyland. Like Individual Lightning Lane, budgets will be different for everyone, so it’s impossible to give a one-size fits all recommendation. That having been said, Genie+ delivers a lot of value at Disneyland Park because of three factors: ride roster, Genie+ demand, and PhotoPass.

With 12 Genie+ Lightning Lane attractions included in the price, you have the best chance of getting several Lightning Lane timeslots for some amazing rides.

Here is the Disneyland Genie+ Lineup.

  • Autopia
  • Big Thunder Mountain Railroad
  • Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters
  • Haunted Mansion
  • Indiana Jones Adventure
  • “it’s a small world”
  • Matterhorn Bobsleds
  • Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run
  • Roger Rabbit’s Car Toon Spin
  • Space Mountain
  • Splash Mountain
  • Star Tours — The Adventures Continue

This is an absolutely stellar lineup of rides. At least 8 of the 12 rides can easily be considered must-ride classics, and you could make a good argument that almost every ride is worth riding during a day at Disneyland. It’s worth noting that 8 of these attractions have a height requirement, with only Buzz, Haunted Mansion, small world, and Roger Rabbit being accessible to guests of all heights.

The thing that makes Genie+ an easier recommendation at Disneyland for vacationers than at Disney World is the demand seems to be lower in California for Genie+. My theory: Disney World is a vacation destination, and a bigger percentage of guests will spend money to add Genie+ to their ticket. Disneyland is more of a locals park, and if you are visiting multiple times a year, you’re probably less likely to spend $20 to skip the lines for rides you’ve done many times.

In my personal experience at Disneyland, I was able to get an immediate return time for almost every ride during the busy holiday season except for Haunted Mansion Holiday, which was available 30 minutes – 1 hour after booking. With Genie+ Lightning Lane reservations, you can make your next reservation 2 hours later or as soon as you scan your ticket to use your LL reservation — whichever comes first. Because of the widely immediate availability, you can really breeze through these rides by using the stacking techniques we lay out in our tips for maximizing Genie+ Lightning Lane. Even on busier days, you’ll be able to save a lot of time for these rides with Genie+.

The final value proposition is the inclusion of PhotoPass with Genie+ at Disneyland, which is a great bonus (and honestly something they should do at Disney World).

Genie+ Lightning Lane Priorities for Disneyland

With 12 attractions available for Genie+ Lightning Lane at Disneyland, it’s possible to go on all of them depending on which day you visit. However, you still should prioritize which rides to pick first. Below is our list of Genie+ Lightning Lane recommendations, based both on what will save you the most time and which rides are the best within this list. Typically, the best rides attract the longest lines, but some guests may want to prioritize rides in the middle or bottom tier, as they may not like thrill rides or may be looking for the most kid-friendly attractions.

Highest Priorities: Will Save You The Most Time / The Best Rides

Haunted Mansion Holiday - Disneyland Lightning Lane Guide

  • Haunted Mansion Holiday
  • “it’s a small world” Holiday
  • Indiana Jones Adventure
  • Big Thunder Mountain Railroad
  • Space Mountain
  • Splash Mountain

First of all, both of Disneyland’s holiday overlay attractions are extremely popular and attract very long lines, especially Haunted Mansion Holiday. Both Haunted Mansion Holiday and “it’s a small world” Holiday are only available for a few months out of the year and they are exclusive to Disneyland, so they are huge draws for Magic Keyholders and vacationers alike. Without the holiday overlays, these rides will be found in the Middle Priorities tier.

The other four rides in this tier are top-level thrill rides. Indiana Jones Adventure is one of the greatest rides that Imagineering has ever created, and it still can attract long lines. The three mountains are genuinely thrilling classics, and a day at Disneyland isn’t complete without a ride on each for me.

Lightning Lane tip: Consider making these your “Top Picks,” as it will put the attractions at the top of your Tip Board within the My Disney Experience app. This will save you time from scrolling.

Middle Priorities: Will Save You Moderate Amount of Time

It’s a Small World - Disneyland Lightning Lane Guide

  • Millennium Falcon: Smuggler’s Run
  • Star Tours — The Adventures Continue
  • it’s a small world (non-holiday)
  • Haunted Mansion (non-holiday)
  • Matterhorn Bobsleds
  • Autopia

Any of these attractions are a great pickup for your Lightning Lane selections, as each of them will save you a good chunk of time in line. You could really consider this tier as Middle/High priorities, as there’s an argument you could make that each of these could be included in the top priorities. But factors like Single Rider availability on Millennium Falcon or the general bumpiness/roughness of Matterhorn have these ranked just slightly lower than the top rides.

If you have a small child, getting Genie+ to avoid the outdoor lines at “it’s a small world” and Autopia could be worth the $20 alone.

Lowest Priorities: Lightning Lane Might Only Save You A Little Time

Roger Rabbits Car Toon Spin - Disneyland Lightning Lane Guide

  • Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters
  • Roger Rabbit’s Car Toon Spin

This definitely isn’t a recommendation to skip these attractions. It’s just that a Lightning Lane reservation might not save you that much time versus the standby line for these attractions, as they have some of the shortest wait times on average in Disneyland. Also, thanks to their lower demand in general, it’s more likely that they’ll have immediate availability.

Disneyland Lightning Lane Tips

  • Genie+ Lightning Lane become available as soon as you enter the park.
  • When you’re making your first pick, try to get a Genie+ Lightning Lane time slot for one of your priority rides as early as possible. You can make another reservation either 2 hours after you make your reservation, or once you use your Lightning Lane reservation, whichever is first. Grabbing your first Lightning Lane reservation for sometime in the first 2 hours of park opening gives you the best chance of getting another high priority Lightning Lane reservation early. Check out our in-depth guide for maximizing Genie+ Lightning Lane to find out more about how often you can get Lightning Lane reservations.
  • Lightning Lane reservations are a limited pool and are first come, first served. The rides in our “Biggest Priorities” section of the list above will typically sell out first, so try to get Lightning Lane reservations for those as soon as you can.
  • If you can’t find a reservation, pull to refresh on the Tip Board section of Disney Genie. Return times fluctuate, and it’s possible for somebody else’s cancellation to open up a time slot for a ride you are going for.
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James

James is a lifelong Disney Parks fan. While at the parks, he loves finding new details, learning more about Disney World history, and taking pictures. His favorite WDW attractions include Spaceship Earth, Tower of Terror, and Star Tours.
James is a filmmaker and writer based in Los Angeles.

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