Update November 24, 2021: As we mentioned in this article, this loophole could be closed at any time by Disney, and it turns out that they have updated Genie+ Lightning Lane to close this hack. Normal Lightning Lane stacking is still possible, by making a Lightning Lane reservation as soon as you redeem your LL reservation, or when 120 minutes elapses from when you made the reservation, whichever comes first. You can no longer double dip on a single Lightning Lane reservation that’s further than 2 hours out by getting a LL reservation 120 minutes after you make the reservation AND when you scan in line. It is still possible to stack your Lightning Lane reservations by using the system as it was designed. Find out about how the Genie+ Lightning Lane system works here:  How to Maximize You Genie+ Lightning Lane Reservations

Curious about how the hack used to work? The original article follows:

Disney Genie and Lightning Lane have recently replaced FastPass at Walt Disney World, and we are still learning about the system’s quirks. In our Guide 2 Disney Genie and Guide 2 Lightning Lane at Disney World, I laid out how the line-skipping system works and which attractions you should prioritize. But this might be the most important Lightning Lane tip so far. I briefly explained how this Lightning Lane loophole worked in How to Maximize You Genie+ Lightning Lane Reservations, but it’s such an important strategy to stacking Lightning Lane reservations that it deserves its own post.

This Genie+ Lightning Lane trick is a huge time saver. It will let you get on more rides and skip more lines. It all has to do with how often you can make a Genie+ Lightning Lane reservation, and what actions trigger the system to let you make a new Lightning Lane reservation.

How Often Can You Make a Genie+ Lightning Lane Reservation

Splash Mountain - Exterior - Disney World

The Lightning Lane loophole relies on how the Disney Genie+ system works, and how often it lets you make a Lightning Lane reservation. Once you make your first reservation, you can reserve another Lightning Lane slot either 120 minutes after you made your reservation, when you scan into the Lightning Lane line, or when your Lightning Lane reservation expires, whichever comes first. Each of these count as an action in Genie+ that tells the system “This person can make a new Lightning Lane Reservation.”

Consider these three different scenarios:

  • Scenario 1: At 9 am, you make a Lightning Lane reservation for Haunted Mansion at 12 pm. You can make your next reservation at 11 am, 120 minutes after you made your reservation.
  • Scenario 2: At 9 am, you make a Lightning Lane reservation for it’s a small world at 9:30 am. You can make your next reservation immediately after you scan your ticket to get in line, anytime between 9:30 am and 10:30 am.
  • Scenario 3: At 9 am, you make a Lightning Lane reservation for Splash Mountain at 9:45 am-10:45 am, but you don’t get around to using it. At 10:45 AM, your reservation “expires” and you can now make a new Lightning Lane reservation. (More on expiring Lightning Lanes later)

There are two other things to know about the Genie+ system that are vital to understanding the Lightning Lane hack: you can make reservations that overlap, and Lightning Lane reservations have a buffer that let you be 5 minutes early or 15 minutes late.

The (Now Defunct) Lightning Lane Hack

Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run - Star Wars Galaxy's Edge Ride - Hollywood Studios Attraction

First of all: This Lightning Lane hack is a quirk of the design of the system. You don’t need to enter some secret code into the MyDisneyExperience app or steal a Cast Member’s iPad. It’s part of how Disney engineered the Genie+ Lightning Lane system to work. Guests who use this loophole are just maximizing the system and getting the most out of their purchase for it. Whether you call it a hack, a pro-tip, or a loophole, it’s really an important time-saving strategy using knowledge of how Disney designed the system. It also should be noted that Disney could change how the system works at any time, and this hack might not work in the future.

The key thing to understand is that you can make a new Lightning Lane reservation any time you enter the Lightning Lane line. This ensures that you don’t need to wait 120 minutes to make a new reservation if your Lightning Lane reservation is sooner than that, like in Scenario 2 detailed above. But this also works in the case for reservations that are more than 120 minutes out. You can essentially double dip on getting a new Lightning Lane reservation with the 120 minute rule: if you make a LL reservation for more than 120 minutes away, you can make a new reservation both in 120 minutes and when you scan your ticket to get in line.

Let’s revisit Scenario 1

  • Scenario 1: At 9 am, you make a Lightning Lane reservation for Haunted Mansion at 12 pm. You can make your next reservation at 11 am, 120 minutes after you made your reservation. You make one for Pirates of the Caribbean at 2 pm. You can make your next reservation at 12, when you scan into your Haunted Mansion Lightning Lane reservation. You make a reservation for Splash Mountain at 4 pm.

Using the Genie+ 120 minute rule, you can make your next reservation at 2 pm. But you should note, you also have a Lightning Lane reservation at 2 pm for Pirates of the Caribbean. In this scenario, you should make your new reservation at 2 pm before getting in line for the ride. Then when you scan into Pirates at 2:01 pm, you can immediately make another Lightning Lane reservation.

The lesson here is that you can use the 120 minute rule to your advantage with the current Genie+ system. This makes getting Lightning Lane reservations later in the day actually somewhat advantageous.

Lightning Lane Hack Strategies

Slinky Dog Dash - Toy Story Land - Disney's Hollywood Studios - Walt Disney World

There are a few different ways you can use this loophole.

Stack the Afternoon: Because you can have overlapping Genie+ Lightning Lane reservations, you can try to time your Lightning Lane reservations for the afternoon. Lightning Lanes that you can use immediately or soon should be your priority, since they will also let you make a new reservation, but picking something for later in the day can work in your advantage too. So in the morning whenever you can’t find Lightning Lanes you can immediately use, make a Lightning Lane reservation for further than 120 minutes out. Then wait 120 minutes to make a new reservation that’s more than 120 minutes out. As you do this, you will end up with a few reservations that are close together or overlapping in the afternoon. Then as you redeem each of those Lightning Lane reservations, immediately make new reservations. This will work best in Magic Kingdom, which has the most number of Lightning Lane attractions. You should always choose your priority attractions over stacking, as the most popular attractions will sell out first, and you’d rather get on the rides that you really want rather than maximize efficiency for rides you don’t care about.

Maximize Lightning Lane from Your Hotel: So many Disney World and Disneyland strategies involve getting to the parks as early as possible. But what if you could relax at your hotel in the morning and then arrive to the park in the afternoon with a bunch of Lightning Lanes already booked? You can now do that with Genie+. At 7 am, all guests can start making their Genie+ Lightning Lane reservations. From your hotel, you could try to grab a reservation for the afternoon. As the most popular attractions like Slinky Dog Dash sell out first, securing an afternoon reservation for your top Lightning Lane priorities shouldn’t be too hard. Then you wait 120 minutes, make your next reservation, and so on until you stack the afternoon with Lightning Lane reservations. You might not get into the park until 2 pm, but it’s possible that you’ll already have 3 Lightning Lane reservations secured.

Using Hollywood Studios Lightning Lane priorities, here’s how you could stack the afternoon from your hotel room on a day where the park opens at 9 am and you’re planning relaxing at your hotel until 2 pm.

  • Between 7 am and 9 am, make a reservation for Slinky Dog Dash, trying to secure one for the afternoon. You still should be on the earlier side to try to get this. For this scenario, let’s say you get a 4 pm – 5 pm reservation.
  • You can make your next Lightning Lane reservation at 11 am, as the 120 minute rule starts after park opening. At 11 am, get an afternoon reservation for Millennium Falcon, Tower of Terror, Rock N Roller Coaster, or Toy Story Mania. Let’s say you get a 3 pm reservation for Millennium Falcon.
  • At 1 pm, try to get an afternoon reservation for one of those other priority rides. Let’s say you get a 2 pm reservation for Toy Story Mania.

When you get into the park at 2 pm, you’ll have Lightning Lane reservations for 3 of the top attractions lined up for the afternoon. Even better, you can get new Lightning Lane reservations as soon as you redeem each pass, which means you’ll be able to get 6 or more Genie+ Lightning Lane reservations for a day where you spent most of the morning relaxing at your hotel.

Double Dip: If you make a Lightning Lane reservation for about 2 hours away, you should let the 120 minute rule kick in before you get in line. That lets you essentially get an extra Lightning Lane reservation immediately. As described above, at 12 pm you make a Lightning Lane reservation for Pirates of the Caribbean at 2 pm. Before you get in line, make a new reservation at 2 pm. Then once you get in line for Pirates of the Caribbean at 2:01, you can immediately make a new reservation, as these back-to-back actions both trigger the system to let you make a new reservation.

Let It “Expire”: Remember that a Lightning Lane reservation expiring counts as an action that lets you book a new LL ride. But this doesn’t take into consideration the grace period, which lets you be 15 minutes late. So if you’re running late for your Lightning Lane reservation, wait to enter the line until after the expiration time. You should be able to make a new reservation as soon as the end of your reservation slot, then scan into line using the 15 minute grace period, and make a new reservation as soon as you get in line. I wouldn’t deliberately try to do this every time, as you are essentially wasting an hour to use the trick, which could make a big difference in Lightning Lane availability for other attractions.

Have you had any luck with these strategies? Do you have any Lightning Lane tips or tricks? Let us know in the comments below!

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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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