Though not quite as important as in some other parks, knowing how to use Disney Genie+ is important when visiting Disney’s Animal Kingdom. Even if you aren’t planning on using it, wait times and ride priorities are affected by this line skipping service.
In this post, we are going to explain to you everything you need to know about using Disney Genie+ at Disney’s Animal Kingdom in Walt Disney World, and how to use it to skip your favorite attractions during your visit.
We’ll tell you which Animal Kingdom attractions use Genie+ and we’ll rank them in order from best to worst. If you are going to spend the extra money to skip the lines, you need to prioritize the attractions correctly so you get the best possible value for your money.
We’ve also included some Genie Plus touring itineraries when visiting the Animal Kingdom that you can use as a guide. Your experience won’t be exactly the same during your trip since there are many factors that you can’t control when planning your day such as weather, crowd levels, and attraction maintenance.
These factors are going to determine how many Lightning Lane reservations you can make in a day and how useful it is to you. Our goal is to give you an outline and the tools you need to plan your own perfect Genie+ day at the Animal Kingdom.
In the end, you may decide that it’s not worth buying Genie+ here at all. After using Disney Genie Plus countless times around Disney World, the Animal Kingdom is where you get the least value for your money so you may not want to spend the extra money.
There have been some big changes with Genie+ at the Animal Kingdom in recent months, and these changes have made it slightly more useful. Disney has moved to a new Genie+ pricing structure where now all 4 theme parks have a different cost that changes daily.
Disney’s Animal Kingdom is the cheapest of the 4 parks to buy Genie+ which gives it more value than before and it can be an actual consideration now as compared to before when there was no point in buying it here 99% of the time. It still isn’t nearly as important at the Animal Kingdom, but we’ll get into that more later on as we look at the real value it offers guests.
Before we get started, we have other guides to the Disney Genie+ service and Lightning Lanes you definitely will need to check out if you haven’t already. They will give you all the basics you need to know about the service:
- The Ultimate Guide to Disney Genie+ and Individual Lightning Lanes at Disney World
- Is Genie+ Worth It?
- How to Purchase Genie+ and Use It Properly
- How to Purchase Individual Lightning Lane Attractions & Prices
- FREE Disney Genie Service | The Complete Guide
Also, don’t forget to sign up for our FREE Weekly E-Mail Newsletter. There we bring you the latest changes to Disney Genie Plus and other Disney vacation planning tips. You can sign up here: You can sign up here: Join our E-Mail Newsletter!
Table of Contents
Genie+ & Lightning Lane Basics
Before we can plan your day at Disney’s Animal Kingdom, there are a few basic things you need to know about Genie+ and Lightning Lanes. The links we mentioned above will give you more specifics, but below we will explain some of the most important things to know.
What Are Lightning Lanes?
Lightning Lanes is the new name for the old FastPass+ queues at the attractions at the Disney theme parks. Instead of waiting in line in the traditional standby queue, the Lightning Lane lets you skip the line which ends up saving you a ton of time.
Unlike the old FastPass+ system, however, skipping the lines is not free and you have to pay for this service. That’s where Genie+ comes in…
What is Genie+?
Disney Genie+ is a service that allows you to “skip the lines” on your favorite Walt Disney World attractions. It works just like the old FastPass+ at Disney World and FastPass/MaxPass in Disneyland just that you now need to pay to use it.
To use Genie Plus, each guest pays a flat fee per day which then gives you access to the Lightning Lanes. When you purchase Genie+ you can make ride reservations at various attractions throughout the day.
If used properly, Genie+ reduces the time you spend waiting in lines throughout the day, making room for shopping, dining, or riding more attractions than you would otherwise be able to do. The time savings isn’t as big at the Animal Kingdom but it is still there.
At Disney’s Animal Kingdom, many of the attractions use the Lightning Lanes but not all of them, so check the full list below to plan out your day correctly.
Individual Lightning Lanes
In Disney’s Animal Kingdom there is 1 attraction that is not part of the Genie+ lineup of attractions but instead is available for purchase a la carte via Individual Lightning Lanes. This is a pay-per-ride service that lets guests skip the lines at select attractions, one ride at a time.
The difference between Individual Lightning Lanes and the regular Genie+ service is that ILL lets you ride one attraction at a time instead of giving you access to a group of attractions for one price.
How Much Do Genie+ and Lightning Lanes Cost?
So how much do Genie+ and Individual Lightning Lanes cost exactly?
Starting on June 27, 2023, Disney World introduced park-specific pricing for Genie+ with both Single-Park and Multiple-Parks options available to guests.
Each of the 4 Walt Disney World theme parks now has separate Genie+ pricing with some costing more and some less each day. Prices are date-specific and based on demand, so if you are visiting during a busy time of the year, you will pay more than if you went during a slower time.
Here are some of the price ranges for Genie+ in Disney World:
Genie+ Multiple Parks Pass – This costs between $20-$29 per person, per day at Walt Disney World (plus tax). This let’s you park hop and use Genie+ in as many parks as you want in one day.
Disney’s Animal Kingdom – This costs between $15-$18 per person, per day at Walt Disney World (plus tax). We expect this to increase as time goes by and the parks get fuller.
Previous Genie+ Pricing (before park-specific pricing) – This cost between $15-$35 per person, per day at Walt Disney World (plus tax).
These prices are based on what has been available so far since the new pricing change. It’s hard to know at this time the full range of prices until more time goes by and Disney can get a feel for guest demand in each park, especially as we get into the holiday season and beyond.
Individual Lightning Lanes – The price here is different for each ride. Prices for Individual Lightning Lane selections at the Animal Kingdom range from $13 to $17 per ride, per person. These prices can vary depending on the season and how crowded the parks are. The most popular attractions like Avatar Flight of Passage are always more expensive.
- For both Genie+ and Individual Lightning Lane, check the My Disney Experience app for pricing on the day of your park visit.
Disney World is already one of the most expensive places to visit, so you may want to weigh the value that adding Genie+ or Individual Lightning Lanes actually give you before planning your trip.
What Time Can I Buy Genie+ at the Animal Kingdom?
You can buy Genie Plus for your visit to Disney’s Animal Kingdom starting at 12:00 am EST on the day you plan on visiting. For example, if you are going to the Animal Kingdom on May 24, Genie+ is available for purchase at 12:00 midnight on May 24.
What Time Can I Make Genie+ Reservations?
All reservations for the Genie+ service are made through the My Disney Experience app.
- Genie+ ride selections begin at 7:00 am on the morning you are visiting the theme park. This is the case whether you are staying at a Walt Disney World Resort hotel or not.
One of the main differences between Genie Plus and the old FastPass+ service is that you cannot choose a specific return time with Genie+. Instead, guests must take the next available return time for that attraction that is currently available. Reservations are assigned to guests in order. For example, the 9:00 am return times sell out first, then 9:30 am, etc.
Once reservations for a specific ride are sold out for that day, they are completely gone unless someone who currently has a reservation cancels it. If that happens, it once again becomes available to everyone.
We highly recommend that you make your first Genie Plus selection immediately at 7:00 am. Sometimes the best attractions at the Animal Kingdom sell out for the day even before the official park opening so if you wait to make your reservations you may miss out and be forced to wait in a standby line.
Again, check out our post on How to Purchase Disney Genie+ for more tips and answers to all your FAQs.
What Time Can I Purchase Individual Lightning Lanes?
Individual Lightning Lane reservations are a little bit different from Genie+ and the time you can make reservations at the Animal Kingdom depends on if you are staying at a Walt Disney World Resort hotel or not.
Purchases for Individual Lightning Lane attractions at the Animal Kingdom start each day at:
- 7:00 am if you are a Walt Disney World Resort hotel guest.
- Park opening if you are not staying at a Disney World Resort hotel.
On-site visitors have a big booking advantage by having early access each morning, and this is one reason why it could be beneficial for you to stay at a Disney World Resort hotel.
For a full step-by-step guide, read our post on How to Purchase Individual Lightning Lane Attractions.
Animal Kingdom Genie+ Attractions List
Before we get a strategy for Genie Plus at Disney’s Animal Kingdom, you need to know which attractions are included in the service, which ones are excluded, and which ones are Individual Lightning Lane selections.
Right now, there are 11 attractions and experiences using Disney Genie+ at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. Here is the updated list:
- Festival of the Lion King
- Expedition Everest – Legend of the Forbidden Mountain
- Feathered Friends in Flight!
- Finding Nemo: The Big Blue and Beyond!
- It’s Tough to Be a Bug!
- Kali River Rapids
- Kilimanjaro Safaris
- Meet Favorite Disney Pals at Adventurers Outpost
- Na’vi River Journey
- The Animation Experience at Conservation Station
All the above-listed attractions are part of the Genie+ package and are available for $15-$18 (plus tax) per person, per day at Animal Kingdom.
You are not guaranteed to be able to book every one of these attractions in one day, but this is the list of attractions that are available to choose from. Expedition Everest used to be an ILL selection but has thankfully moved over to the Genie+ lineup of attractions.
With the lowest number of Genie+ attractions, the best scenario for the Animal Kingdom is to keep Expedition Everest as part of that lineup. Returning to the Individual Lightning Lane would decrease the value of Genie Plus here which already isn’t the greatest.
What Rides are Excluded from Genie Plus?
Not all attractions at Disney’s Animal Kingdom are included in the Disney Genie+ service. Yes, there are 11 attractions that participate, but there are also some attractions, shows, and character meets that are not a part of the lineup. In fact, there are 20 attractions in the park in total.
Some of them are included as Individual Lightning Lane selections (more on that in a minute), and others do not have a line-skipping option.
Here is a list of the Animal Kingdom attractions excluded from Genie Plus:
- Affection Section
- Avatar Flight of Passage
- Discovery Island Trails
- Fossil Fun Games
- Gorilla Falls Exploration Trail
- Maharajah Jungle Trek
- The Boneyard
- TriceraTop Spin
- Wilderness Explorers
- Wildlife Express
- The majority of Character Meets
Individual Lightning Lane Attractions
There is 1 Individual Lightning Lane attractions at Disney’s Animal Kingdom:
- Avatar Flight of Passage
Expedition Everest – Legend of the Forbidden Mountain used to also be an ILL selection but has now moved over to the Genie+ lineup of attractions.
Remember, any Individual Lightning Lane attractions are not included in the Genie+ package and are a separate pay-per-ride service. Instead of paying for access to a group of rides, you are paying for each one individually.
One difference from Genie+ is that you can choose your return time for Individual Lightning Lane attractions instead of being forced to take the next available one. This gives you more options when planning your day.
Guests are not required to purchase Genie+ in order to use the Individual Lightning Lane, or vice versa. Both services are independent of each other and you can use either one or even both if you like.
Avatar Flight of Passage
Is It Worth It?: Avatar Flight of Passage is one of the best attractions to spend an Individual Lightning Lane on, even if it’s not necessary under most circumstances. It is easily the most popular attraction in the Animal Kingdom, and the majority of guests will head there right at rope drop. In fact, it has the longest wait times of any attraction in the park and is often 120 minutes long or more on a regular basis.
All that being said, there just aren’t enough rides at the Animal Kingdom to make buying an ILL for Flight of Passage worth it. if you are using Early Theme Park Entry you should be able to ride it without paying the extra money.
Honestly, if you plan on spending a full day at the Animal Kingdom, you probably don’t need to purchase an ILL for Flight of Passage since you should be able to do all the attractions without much issue.
Another option if you don’t want to pay the extra money to ride Flight of Passage is to go at the end of the evening. If you get in line about 5 minutes before the park closes, it will often be the shortest wait time of the entire day.
The reason is that Disney often exaggerates the wait times at the end of the night, so even if 90 minutes is listed, it’s likely only going to be 30 minutes, sometimes even less.
You might want to consider buying an Individual Lightning Lane for Avatar Flight of Passage if you are park hopping to another park during the day and you are trying to be as efficient as possible. If that is the case or you are not able to rope drop the park it could be a good value, otherwise, show up early and don’t spend the money.
*(Not currently an Individual Lightning Lane attraction)
Is It Worth It?: No, it’s definitely not. When Expedition Everest is listed as an Individual Lightning Lane attraction, it’s not worth the extra cost to skip the line. You can easily ride it in the traditional standby queue every day without having to spend a ton of time in line.
On most days, wait times for Expedition Everest range from 30 to 40 minutes which doesn’t merit spending the extra money. They will be even lower than that if you go early in the morning or later in the day.
Expedition Everest also has a Single Rider line so that’s always another option if the wait time is too long.
Instead of spending the extra money on an Individual Lightning Lane, a better all-around value for your money would be to purchase the regular Genie+ service which gives you access to more attractions than just one. Thankfully, at the time of this writing, Expedition Everest is included in the Genie+ service.
Best Genie+ Attractions
Below we’ve ranked all the Genie+ attractions at the Animal Kingdom in order of priority and given a brief explanation of why you need to make these rides the priority throughout the day.
Even though we usually don’t recommend purchasing the Genie+ service at Disney’s Animal Kingdom, it’s important to know which attractions in the park are the best choices if you do decide to use it. It’s also helpful to know which ones are the best if you aren’t using Genie+ so you know which rides to prioritize since they are the ones that will usually have the longest wait times.
Genie+ reservations do sell out for most attractions at some point in the day, and reservations are limited to first come, first served. If you want to make the right choices, smart planning is needed ahead of time. You may find that some attractions are not your favorite, but they make more sense to book early on since they will save you more time.
At least we have one extra Genie+ attraction at the moment (Expedition Everest – Legend of the Forbidden Mountain) since it is still part of Genie+ for now.
Remember, this is not our list of the Best Animal Kingdom Rides and Attractions, that is a completely different list, while this one is only our rankings of these attractions when taking into consideration Genie+ reservations.
Na’vi River Journey
From our experience, the top 2 main priorities for Genie+ at the Animal Kingdom are Kilimanjaro Safaris and Na’vi River Journey.
We really consider them 1A and 1B, but we are giving a slight advantage to Na’vi River Journey. Unless you are paying extra for an ILL for Flight of Passage, you will most likely be rope dropping that which means Na’vi River Journey is the ride that makes the most sense to do right after.
The wait times for Na’vi River Journey are regularly between 60-80 minutes which is #2 in the park (behind only Flight of Passage). Using the Lightning Lane will only take 10-15 minutes so you are getting a big time savings by using it here.
This is also an attraction that tends to stay busy for the entire day. Kilimanjaro Safaris is packed in the middle of the day, but the wait times drop off significantly in the late afternoon, giving Na’vi River the advantage.
As far as Genie+ reservations, Na’vi River Journey is usually the first to sell out each day with most passes gone by 3:00 pm to 5:00 pm depending on the season
All of these factors make Na’vi River Journey our #1 choice. Even if it’s not your favorite attraction you will get the biggest time savings here over any other ride if you use Genie+. It also frees you up at rope drop to go to Flight of Passage and then come here second.
Depending on the rest of your touring plan, Kilimanjaro Safaris could also be a viable choice for your first Genie+ reservation of the day.
If wait times were not a consideration, Kilimanjaro Safaris would always be our first attraction of the day at the Animal Kingdom since the animals are much more active first thing in the morning which makes for a more rewarding ride experience. The hotter it gets, the less likely you are to see the animals.
The wait times here are usually between 50-60 minutes, just behind Na’vi River Journey, but still close. It doesn’t sell out of Genie+ reservations quite as quickly though and you can usually find one even late in the day.
One reason it makes sense to have this as your number one priority is if you are already going to have this as your first attraction of the day. That way you tap into the queue and can make another reservation early.
However, if you are starting your day in Pandora, you probably want to knock out both rides there before moving across the park, and in that case, you can do Kilimanjaro Safaris later in the day.
Kali River Rapids
Starting the next tier down we have Kali River Rapids. This is perhaps the Genie+ selection that changes the most depending on what time of year it is. For example, when the weather is hot (April to October) Kali River Rapids is one of the most popular rides in the park with wait times of more than 60 minutes at times.
During the colder months of the year, there is a dramatic change and demand for this ride falls off a cliff. In fact, refurbishments are common in the winter, and when it is open it’s likely under 30 minutes.
When the weather is warm, Kali River Rapids is the #3 choice for Genie+ but during the colder months it drops down to #5 just behind DINOSAUR.
Expedition Everest – Legend of the Forbidden Mountain
This ride started out as an Individual Lightning Lane attraction when the Genie+ system first launched, but it has been switched over to the regular lineup of Genie+ attractions at least for now.
This is arguably the best roller coaster in Disney World and deserves to be high up on the priority list of Genie+ attractions, and when the weather is not blazing hot we would move it up to #3.
Despite its popularity, average wait times are usually between 30-40 minutes which is manageable. If you go early or later in the day those times are going to be even less. Yes, making this a Genie+ will save you 20-30 minutes, you just won’t get as big of a savings compared to the other top choices.
This is the last of the real priority Lightning Lane attractions and in most cases, it should be your 5th reservation of the day. Wait times here are similar to Expedition Everest and hover around 30-40 minutes or just above on busy days.
Genie+ availability isn’t super hard to come by with reservations usually lasting until 5:00 pm or beyond. On average you are going to save 10-20 minutes by using a Lightning Lane selection here.
Honestly, if it’s not a busy day, you probably won’t wait more than 20 minutes in the standby queue so it’s not going to help much. While it can be a decent use of a Genie+ reservation, it’s not as good as the others before it.
Worst Genie+ Attractions
Below is a list of the remaining Genie Plus attractions at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. Even though you may enjoy them, they should be low on your priority list when it comes to making Genie+ reservations.
Already the Animal Kingdom doesn’t offer you good time savings for using Genie+, and these rides are the worst of the bunch. Most of the time they are not worth using a Genie+ reservation on and they will save very short wait times when compared to the previously mentioned attractions. You can get away with using the standby queue for them without an issue.
The only time you should consider making Genie Plus reservations here is when all the other attractions are already sold out for the day and you don’t have any other choices.
Stage shows in general are not a good use of a Genie+ selection. You will get priority seating for the show, but the seats are not good enough to warrant using a Genie+ for them over another higher-priority attraction. You should make the previously mentioned attractions first on your list before any of the character meets or shows.
Festival of the Lion King
This is the most popular show at the Animal Kingdom, and it would be our first choice of the remaining attractions. At times the show will sell out if you don’t show up early enough before the start of the show, but for the most part, you can get in without an issue.
You may get a seat with a slightly better view, but for the most part, it’s not worth using a Genie+ reservation here.
Finding Nemo: The Big Blue and Beyond!
Genie+ reservations are also available for the newly reimagined Finding Nemo: The Big Blue and Beyond which debuted in 2022. Again, using a Lightning Lane here gives you priority seating, but it’s not good enough to warrant using Genie+ here over other higher-priority attractions.
It’s Tough to Be a Bug!
Even though we absolutely love It’s Tough to Be a Bug, there is no circumstance we have yet to experience that would make using Genie+ here worth it.
Wait times rarely exceed 15 minutes which is only the time needed until the next show starts. Not only that but Genie+ reservations never run out for the day which tells you all you need to know.
Meet Favorite Disney Pals at Adventurers Outpost
At the Adventurers Outpost, you will find an indoor character meet location for Mickey and Minnie with photos and memorabilia from their world travels. Character meets are usually not worth using a Genie+ reservation on, and that is still the case here.
Feathered Friends in Flight!
The same is true here as it is for the other shows. Genie+ will give you a better view of the show, but no savings in wait times, so you are better off using your selection somewhere else.
Below we’ve ranked all the Animal Kingdom attractions in a list in order of priority for Genie+ selections. The list will change slightly depending on which attractions you plan on riding, but it will give you a good baseline to go by when making your own reservations.
- Kilimanjaro Safaris
- Na’vi River Journey
- Kali River Rapids
- Expedition Everest – Legend of the Forbidden Mountain
- Festival of the Lion King
- Finding Nemo: The Big Blue and Beyond!
- It’s Tough to Be a Bug!
- Feathered Friends in Flight!
- Meet Favorite Disney Pals at Adventurers Outpost
- The Animation Experience at Conservation Station
Tips & Strategy
Here are a few of the most important strategies when using Disney Genie+ at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. These will give you an advantage over other guests you are competing against for ride reservations.
Be Ready at 7:00 AM
I love to sleep on vacation as much as the next person, but that just can’t happen when visiting the Animal Kingdom. Waking up early is important at all 4 Disney World theme parks, and the Animal Kingdom opens earlier than all of them.
Being ready to make reservations at 7:00 am will give you a big advantage over other guests, and you need to be in the My Disney Experience app and ready to go. Thousands of other guests will be competing with you for those limited Genie+ reservations, and since there are fewer attractions here than in other parks, it can get competitive.
Rides like Na’vi River Journey and Kilimanjaro Safaris will fill up quickly, and if you hesitate you will end up with a later return time, or you could miss out on a reservation there altogether and be forced to use the standby queue.
Make sure to purchase Genie+ well before 7:00 am. If you wait until 7:00 am other people will already be booking rides while you are trying to buy the service.
Us the “Refresh Strategy”
One of the best tricks when booking Genie Plus reservations is to use the “Refresh Strategy.” This is effective when you think reservations are sold out for the day for a specific attraction. In reality, there may still be some reservations left.
We use this all the time and end up with attractions that at one point during the day seemed sold out. This happens because as guests are booking Genie Plus attractions, at times they change their minds and let go of reservations they previously had. When that happens they go back into the common pool for other guests to choose from.
To use this strategy, keep refreshing the app on the Tip Board page every minute or so when you are trying to land one of the more popular rides. To refresh, drag your finger down the screen and it will show you all available Genie+ attractions.
As you do this, attractions that looked like they were previously sold out can all of a sudden have available reservations once again.
The best time to refresh the app is just after 7:00 am (up until about 7:15 am) and at 2-hour intervals throughout the day. If the Animal Kingdom opens at 8:00 am, you may have some luck refreshing around 10:00 am when people are trying to make their next selection.
Make Genie+ Reservations As Soon As Possible
Genie+ rewards guests who act quickly and who make new reservations as soon as they become available.
For example, once you get in the queue for your Genie+ reservation you can start booking your next reservation. Don’t wait to ride the attraction to do this, book your next reservation while you are still waiting in line.
Also, don’t forget what time you can book your next ride. If your current attraction return time is more than 120 minutes after the park opening or later in the day if it’s more than 120 minutes from when you booked it, you will be able to book a second ride before you ever get to ride the first one.
So you don’t forget, set an alarm on your phone to remind you when the 120 minutes are up so you book the next ride immediately.
Best Times for Genie+ Reservations
Since you can’t choose your own return times for attractions with Genie+, this one isn’t too hard to understand.
Whenever possible, we go for early return times on attractions. This is helpful since you can make your next reservation once you tap into the queue of your current attraction and you don’t have to wait the entire 120 minutes for your next selection.
Doing this helps you make more overall reservations throughout the day, especially for the most sought-after rides. Even though this is our strategy, you have no control over the return times and you should just concentrate on booking the best overall rides in the park instead of worrying about what return times they are giving you.
Use Early Theme Park Entry
Another reason to wake up early is to use the Early Theme Park Entry service. This gives guests staying at a Walt Disney World Resort hotel a big advantage over guests staying off-site. Early Theme Park Entry allows you into the Animal Kingdom 30 minutes earlier than other guests, which makes a big difference when trying to ride attractions like Flight of Passage.
Getting there for park opening is called rope dropping, and we always recommend doing this if you are serious about doing all the rides and saving time. 30 minutes may not seem like a big deal, but it is a huge help if done the right way.
For example, if the Animal Kingdom opens at 8:00 am, Early Theme Park Entry starts at 7:30 am that day. However, guests can start entering the Animal Kingdom earlier than that, even as early as 7:00 am or before.
When using Early Theme Park Entry, we recommend showing up 90 minutes before the official park opening time, which is really 60 minutes before Early Entry starts.
When the gates open guests will line up near the entrance to Pandora: The World of Avatar or near the entrance to Harambe Village in Africa (for rope dropping Flight of Passage or Kilimanjaro Safaris).
Read our guide to Early Theme Park Entry for more details on how it works and why you should use it.
Try Stacking Reservations
If you can’t get early Genie+ reservations, another strategy you can try is called stacking. This is when you book reservations with return times later in the day and then can do 2-3 rides all later in the day. This isn’t always the best strategy, and sometimes just getting early reservations lets you do more than stacking later in the day.
Having multiple Genie+ reservations lined up in the afternoon means you will be able to skip the lines for those attractions right when wait times are the longest. And this can be very helpful if you do not rope drop the Animal Kingdom and/or show up later in the day.
Keep in mind though that if you are park hopping to another park after the Animal Kingdom, you won’t be allowed into the second park until 2:00 pm.
Also, if you are going to use Genie+ at the second park, you will need to purchase a Multi-Park Genie+ pass for the day, and not just the standard Animal Kingdom one. If you buy the less expensive Genie+ pass for Animal Kingdom, that will be the only park you can use it in all day.
Here’s an example of stacking at Animal Kingdom just booking attractions located there:
- 6:45 AM – Purchase the Disney Genie+ service
- 7:00 AM – Make Genie+ reservation for Na’vi River Journey with an 8:30 am – 9:30 am return time.
- 8:30 AM – Ride the Na’vi River Journey via Lightning Lane
- 8:35 AM – Book the next Genie+ reservation for Kilimanjaro Safaris with a return time of 12:45 pm to 1:45 pm.
- 10:35 AM – Book the next Genie+ reservation for Expedition Everest with a 3:25 pm to 4:25 pm return time.
- 12:35 PM – Book the next Genie+ reservation for Kali River Rapids with a return time of 5:05 pm to 6:05 pm.
- 2:35 PM – Book the next Genie+ selection for DINOSAUR with a return time of 6:40 pm to 7:40 pm.
In this scenario, we ended up with an early Na’vi River Journey reservation that we used right away. We then were able to book Kilimanjaro Safaris, DINOSAUR, Kali River Rapids, and Expedition Everest all for later in the day.
This allows us to do some other less popular rides and shows via standby queue while reserving Lightning Lanes for the more popular ones later on.
Since you can’t really choose your own attraction return time, the most popular rides in the Animal Kingdom tend to fill up early, leaving you with more availability later in the day. Stacking may become your default strategy and you won’t even have a choice.
Animal Kingdom Touring Examples with Genie+
Ok now that we’ve shared a detailed explanation of all the attractions at the Animal Kingdom and what Genie+ priority you should give them, let’s take a look at some actual Animal Kingdom touring plans using Genie+ and Lightning Lanes.
Keep in mind that these are only examples of how your day might go when you visit the Animal Kingdom. Your day will vary due to factors such as crowds, weather, and ride maintenance.
From our experience, you will probably be able to book somewhere between 4-6 attractions in a day at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. While the final number might be around the same as when visiting other parks like the Magic Kingdom, for example, you might not be able to book as many E-Ticket attractions as in the others since there are fewer of them here overall.
We are going to give you 2 sample 1-Day Animal Kingdom Genie+ Itineraries. The first one is only using Genie+, and the second is if we include Individual Lightning Lane selections into the mix. These plans can of course be modified according to your personal preference.
With Only Genie+
In this touring plan, we are assuming the Animal Kingdom is opening at 8:00 am (7:30 am for Early Entry). We are doing Early Theme Park Entry so we can get the most attractions done as possible and squeeze as much value out of our tickets as we can.
6:45 AM – Purchase the Disney Genie+ service ($15-$18 + tax) and select ride and experience preferences in Tip Board on My Disney Experience.
7:00 AM – Book a Genie+ for Na’vi River Journey with a Lightning Lane return window of 8:15 am to 9:15 am. Getting an early return time here is ideal since we will be rope dropping Flight of Passage, so get the earliest one you can.
7:01 AM – Get in line outside the Animal Kingdom for Rope Drop. We know this is early, but it’s worth it in the long run. Our strategy is going to be a straight run for Avatar Flight of Passage once the park opens. Since we are doing Early Entry, there shouldn’t be more than a 20-minute wait.
Another option is to do Kilimanjaro Safaris first, but since we are going to concentrate our time in Pandora: The World of Avatar first.
7:30 AM – Rope Drop Avatar Flight of Passage via the standby queue.
8:15 AM – Ride Na’vi River Journey via Lightning Lane. If you have time before this you can get some breakfast at Pongu Pongu for some French Toast Sticks or Pongu Lumpia. The objective is to get to Na’vi River Journey as soon as you can so you can make your second Lightning Lane reservation. If there isn’t enough time, get breakfast after Na’vi River Journey or wait until lunch.
8:16 AM – While in line for Na’vi River Journey, make your next Genie+ reservation for Kilimanjaro Safaris with a return time of 10:05 am to 11:05 am.
8:40 AM – Ride DINOSAUR via the standby queue.
9:05 AM – Ride TriceraTop Spin via the standby queue.
9:30 AM – See It’s Tough to Be a Bug via the standby queue.
10:05 AM – Ride Kilimanjaro Safaris via the Lightning Lane.
10:16 AM – Book your next Genie+ selection for Kali River Rapids with a return time of 12:10 pm to 1:10 pm.
10:40 AM – Walk through Gorilla Falls Exploration Trail and marvel at the amazing gorillas as they play around.
11:15 AM – Visit Mickey and Minnie at the Adventurers Outpost via the standby queue.
11:45 AM – Have lunch at the Flame Tree Barbecue, one of the best quick service restaurants at the Animal Kingdom.
12:16 PM – Book your next Genie+ attraction for Expedition Everest with a return time of 2:25 pm to 3:25 pm.
12:20 PM – Ride Kali River Rapids via the Lightning Lane.
12:50 PM – See Disney KiteTails over at the Discovery River Lagoon. This will give you some time to dry off after getting drenched on Kali River Rapids.
1:20 PM – Walk through the Maharajah Jungle Trek and watch the tigers and other wildlife such as bats, water buffalo, and komodo dragons.
2:00 PM – See Festival of the Lion King via the standby queue.
2:16 PM – Book your next Genie+ reservation for DINOSAUR with a return time of 4:40 pm to 5:50 pm. We know that we’ve already gone on this ride once today, but we love it and it was the best use of our next Genie+ reservation.
2:45 PM – Ride Expedition Everest via the Lightning Lane.
3:15 PM – Take this time to try some of Animal Kingdom’s best snacks. They have really stepped up their game in recent years and there is tons to try including Mac and Cheese, Buffalo Chicken Chips, or the Simba Sunset.
3:30 PM – See Feathered Friends in Flight! via the standby queue.
4:00 PM – Walk through the Discovery Island Trails and try to see how many carved animals you can find on the Tree of Life.
4:30 PM – See Finding Nemo: The Big Blue and Beyond! via the standby queue.
5:05 PM – Take the Wildlife Express Train over to Conservation Station where you can learn more about the animals here at the Animal Kingdom and around the world. You’ll see how the animals are treated, fed, and what resident scientists are working on.
6:15 PM – Get a table at the Nomad Lounge and enjoy the adventurous drinks and small plates.
7:00 PM – As long as the park is open past 7:00 pm, you still have some time to do another attraction or two. The wait times should be short and you can probably do Na’vi River Journey and Flight of Passage for the second time.
In this sample day, we didn’t do Fossil Fun Games, The Boneyard, or Wilderness Explorers. We also didn’t do all the character meets. If any of those are important to you, then you can easily substitute them for some of our other plans.
Using Genie+ also allows you to do some of the popular rides twice if you want. We did end up riding Na’vi River Journey, Flight of Passage, and DINOSAUR all twice but we could have done Expedition Everest and Kilimanjaro Safaris another time if we wanted to, especially if we skipped some of the shows.
- TIP: If for some reason you didn’t get to ride any of the most popular attractions during the day due to long wait times, you can get in line for them at the end of the day where they should be a walk-on, or very close to it.
Now, let’s look at another Genie+ touring plan for the Animal Kingdom, this time also using the Individual Lightning Lane…
With Genie+ and Individual Lightning Lanes
Like in the previous itinerary, in this touring plan, we are assuming that the Animal Kingdom is opening at 8:00 am (7:30 am for Early Entry) and that there is still no nighttime show or that you are not interested in seeing it. Obviously, this can be worked into the itinerary should those plans change.
On top of Genie+, we also are purchasing an Individual Lightning Lane for Avatar Flight of Passage.
6:45 AM – Purchase the Disney Genie+ service ($15-$18 + tax) and select ride and experience preferences in Tip Board on My Disney Experience.
7:00 AM – Book a Genie+ for Na’vi River Journey with a Lightning Lane return window of 8:30 am to 9:30 am. Getting an early return time here isn’t as important since we aren’t rope dropping Flight of Passage this time and instead using an Individual Lightning Lane for it.
7:01 AM – Book an Individual Lightning Lane selection for Avatar Flight of Passage with a return time of 1:25 pm to 2:25 pm.
7:02 AM – Get in line outside the Animal Kingdom for rope drop. This time we will be rope dropping Kilimanjaro Safaris. This is a great time to see the animals because they are super active before the temperature gets too hot.
7:30 AM – Rope drop Kilimanjaro Safaris via the standby queue.
8:00 AM – Ride Kali River Rapids via the standby queue.
8:30 AM – Ride DINOSAUR via the standby queue.
8:55 AM – Ride TriceraTop Spin via the standby queue.
9:15 AM – Ride the Na’vi River Journey via the Lightning Lane. Upon tapping into the ride queue book Expedition Everest as your next Genie+ with a return time of 12:15 pm – 1:15 pm.
9:40 AM – Do It’s Tough to Be a Bug via the standby queue.
10:10 AM – Explore the Discovery Island Trails.
11:00 AM – See Festival of the Lion King via the standby queue.
11:15 AM – Book your next Genie+ reservation for DINOSAUR with a return time of 1:10 pm to 2:10 pm. Yes, it’s our second time riding this today, but we just can’t get enough.
11:35 AM – Have lunch at the Satu’li Canteen, one of the best quick service restaurants in Disney World.
12:05 PM – Take the Wildlife Express Train over to Conservation Station. Make sure to spend some time at the Affection Section and see The Animation Experience at Conservation Station.
1:10 PM – Ride Expedition Everest via the Lightning Lane.
1:15 PM – Book your next Genie+ reservation for Kali River Rapids with a return time of 4:20 pm to 5:20 pm. Again this is our second ride of the day but with the hot weather, it’s most welcome.
1:35 PM – Ride DINOSAUR via the Lightning Lane.
2:00 PM – Ride Flight of Passage via the Lightning Lane.
2:35 PM – Walk through Gorilla Falls Exploration Trail and see the gorillas and other animals.
3:00 PM – Walk through the Maharajah Jungle Trek.
3:15 PM – Book your next Genie+ reservation for Finding Nemo: The Big Blue and Beyond! Usually, we wouldn’t use a Genie+ reservation for a show but we’ve already ridden most of the attractions twice by this time and we are waiting for
3:30 PM – See Feathered Friends in Flight! via the standby queue.
4:00 PM – Grab a snack at one of the many awesome locations throughout the park.
4:30 PM – See Finding Nemo: The Big Blue and Beyond! via the Lightning Lane.
5:05 PM – Ride Kali River Rapids via the Lightning Lane.
5:25 PM – Visit Mickey and Minnie at the Adventurers Outpost via the standby queue.
5:50 PM – Ride Kilimanjaro Safaris via the standby queue.
6:25 PM – Have dinner at Tiffins. This is our top place to eat at the Animal Kingdom and one of the most unique restaurants on property. We chose to eat here at dinner but lunch is also a good time since it gives you a long break from the heat.
Like in our other plan, on this sample day, we didn’t do Fossil Fun Games, The Boneyard, or Wilderness Explorers. There are also more character meets to do. If any of those are important to you, then you can easily substitute them for some of our other plans.
In our opinion, Genie+ at the Animal Kingdom is not necessary most of the time anyway, and using the Individual Lightning Lane is even more overkill on top of that. You will save some time by paying for Flight of Passage, but we had so much time that we ended up repeating a bunch of the attractions. If you want to ride all the good attractions twice, that’s fine, but the extra cost is not worth it for most people.
Again, both of these itineraries are just samples, and the wait times for the attractions we did via standby queue could vary during your visit, as well as the availability of the Genie+ attractions or return times. They should give you a pretty good idea of what to expect, however, and work as nice baseline touring plans with Genie+.
Here are some of the most common FAQs for using Genie Plus at Disney’s Animal Kingdom:
Is Avatar: Flight of Passage Included in Genie+?
No, it is not. Avatar Flight of Passage is not included in the Genie+ lineup of attractions and is instead an Individual Lightning Lane attraction which is an additional cost over the price of Genie+.
These are reserved for the 1-2 most popular rides in each park, and that is Avatar Flight of Passage at Disney’s Animal Kingdom.
If you decide to purchase an Individual Lightning Lane for Flight of Passage, we recommend purchasing it right at 7:00 am since it tends to sell out quickly each day.
Which Genie+ Should I Book First at Animal Kingdom?
As of this writing, there are two Genie+ attractions you can consider for your number one priority at Disney’s Animal Kingdom, Na’vi River Journey and Kilimanjaro Safaris. These are the two that book up the quickest and there really shouldn’t be any others you should book first.
Both of them are really close and it depends on a few different factors when deciding which one is #1.
In most situations, Na’vi River Journey is our #1 pick for Genie+. The fact that most guests are going to rope drop Flight of Passage makes having your first Genie Plus reservation of the day as Na’vi River Journey a very convenient plan.
Na’vi River Journey has on average longer wait times and the Genie+ reservations run out quicker, both of which make it a better choice.
If you end up paying for an Individual Lightning Lane for Avatar Flight of Passage, we’d end up choosing Kilimanjaro Safaris first since the animals are more active first thing in the morning. Neither attraction should sell out so quickly that you can’t book both of them, so it’s all about preference.
Even though Kilimanjaro Safaris is also popular, the real problem here is that it’s far away from everything else and the ride is really long. You usually want to get the quick attractions done first but Kilimanjaro Safaris will eat up more than 20 minutes of your morning when time is most critical.
Our third through fifth choices alternate between Kali River Rapids, Expedition Everest, and DINOSAUR. In the hot months of the year, we’d choose Kali River Rapids at #3. Once the temperature cools down, wait times here decrease and it’s better in the #5 position.
Expedition Everest and DINOSAUR are very close in wait times and there isn’t much difference between them.
Park Hopping with Genie+?
Park hopping is definitely a good idea while using Genie+ and it can give you a big advantage over other guests while skipping the lines if done right. Coincidentally, our favorite park at Disney World to combine park hopping and Genie+ is Disney’s Animal Kingdom.
Remember though that with the latest pricing changes, if you want to use Genie Plus when park hopping, you will need to purchase a Multi-Park Genie+ Pass. This will allow you to use Genie+ in as many as 4 parks in one day.
If you buy the cheaper Genie+ that’s only for the Animal Kingdom, you can still park hop (assuming your park ticket has the park hopper option), but you won’t be able to use Genie+ in a second park that day.
One strategy is to rope drop one park in the morning and start making Genie+ reservations for attractions at the second park so they are all lined up for you when you arrive. Park hopping starts at 2:00 pm daily, so only book afternoon return times for the second park.
This can be tricky since you can’t necessarily choose Genie+ return times. To make this happen, keep checking the return times for rides starting at 7:00 am, but don’t book them for the second park until you see them showing up for 2:00 pm and later.
This is risky so make sure to keep a close eye on things so your ride doesn’t fill up and you lose your opportunity altogether.
Our suggested strategy here is to rope drop the Animal Kingdom in the morning and get all the main attractions done there via the standby queue. You shouldn’t have much trouble getting them done by the early afternoon since there aren’t many E-Ticket attractions to do.
Start stacking up Genie+ reservations for the second park starting at 7:00 am and that should let you get 3 or 4 of the top rides at the second park which means no waiting when you get there.
For example, if you are going to Hollywood Studios as your second park, you can probably book Slinky Dog Dash, Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run, Tower of Terror, and Toy Story Mania! All before even setting foot in the park.
Read our Guide to Park Hopping in Disney World for more info.
What About Animal Kingdom Special Events?
The Genie Plus service does not work with special events at Disney’s Animal Kingdom, it’s only available during normal park hours. That means Genie+ is not available during early morning events such as Early Theme Park Entry or After Hours Events like Extended Evening Hours.
This isn’t nearly as big of a deal at the Animal Kingdom as it is at another park like the Magic Kingdom where there are many more special events going on.
Do Ride Reservations Run Out at the Animal Kingdom?
Yes, they do. Genie+ selections are “first come, first served,” and almost all attractions at the Animal Kingdom end up selling out every day. The most popular ones can sell out only an hour or two after park opening, and sometimes even before it opens.
It’s not as big of a deal at the Animal Kingdom as it is at the Magic Kingdom or Hollywood Studios, and they may last until the early afternoon when the park is slow, but they still will sell out at some point that day.
At the Animal Kingdom, the attractions that sell out first each day are Na’vi River Journey, Kilimanjaro Safaris, Kali River Rapids, Expedition Everest, and DINOSAUR.
When an attraction has sold out of Genie Plus reservations for the day, they are gone and no extra inventory is released later on. You will see “Not Currently Offered” displayed on the Tip Board for attractions that have sold out that day.
Again, make sure to use the Refresh Strategy before thinking that a given attraction is really sold out for the day. A lot of times they are sold out for a few minutes and then more reservations end up opening up again. This will help you get Genie+ reservations you thought were otherwise sold out.
In any case, we highly recommend prioritizing which attractions are most important to you at Animal Kingdom and make reservations for those first. If you have a list, then if one of your choices is sold out, you can quickly go to the next most important one on your list.
Is Genie+ Worth It at Disney’s Animal Kingdom?
Even though we don’t like spending the extra money on a vacation that is already extremely expensive, we can make an argument for using Genie+ at the Magic Kingdom and Hollywood Studios. Those parks have a ton of attractions and very long wait times. That is not the case at the Animal Kingdom.
From our experience, Genie+ is not worth the extra cost at the Animal Kingdom. On 99% of the days, you can easily finish all the attractions in the park via the standby queue and still have time left over. Even if you use Genie+ here, you may save an hour or two and that’s it.
There just are not enough attractions here to make it worth the extra cost. Right now with the new pricing $15-$18 per person won’t break the bank, but most families shouldn’t spend that here.
Now, there are some isolated circumstances where Genie+ can be worth it. For example, if you only have half of a day and time is of the essence, Genie+ will help you get in and out of the Animal Kingdom faster than not using it. It’s also useful for late risers or if you just like to get breakfast and take it easy in the morning.
It also can be worth it if you are trying to ride some of the E-Ticket attractions here more than once in the same day. Genie+ can help you ride Na’vi River Journey, Expedition Everest, or Kilimanjaro Safaris multiple times and skip the lines one of those times.
Also, we love using Genie+ when starting at the Animal Kingdom and then park hopping to another park later in the day. In that case, however, we usually don’t make the actual ride reservations at the Animal Kingdom and we end up making them at the second park so we don’t have to wait when we get there.
And if you do that, you won’t need to buy Genie+ at the Animal Kingdom or spend the extra money for a Multi-Park Genie+ pass, you can just buy it for the second park.
So, is Disney Genie+ worth it at the Animal Kingdom? No, the vast majority of the time it is not worth it. It may be worth it on the days that crowds are at their absolute peak or if you are really rushed for time but that’s probably it.
Is It Worth It to Purchase Genie+ AND Individual Lightning Lane Selections at the Animal Kingdom?
As we explained earlier, Genie+ and Individual Lightning Lane selections are completely different and you don’t need to buy one to use the other. Genie+ here costs $15-$18 per person, per day, and Individual Lightning Lanes are an extra $13-$17 per person, per ride on top of that. This can get quite costly even for families with big budgets.
So is there some scenario where it’s worth it to buy BOTH Genie+ and Individual Lightning Lane attractions at Disney’s Animal Kingdom? After using both services dozens of times, no, we don’t think it’s worth it.
In most situations, we don’t think even Genie+ is worth it here, let alone another pay-to-ride service on top of that. You will save some time, but if you have set aside most of the day to visit here, you can still get everything done without paying the extra money.
If it’s a busy day and you have the extra money to spend, you will probably get more bang for your buck by buying an Individual Lightning Lane for Avatar Flight of Passage instead of shelling out the $15-$18 for Genie+. It’s cheaper and it will save you at least 60-90 minutes, perhaps more.
If you decide to go that route, make a reservation for Flight of Passage and then rope drop Na’vi River Journey or Kilimanjaro Safaris. After that, take out the other attractions systematically according to our Genie+ priority.
If You Don’t Purchase Genie Plus at Disney’s Animal Kingdom
You may well decide that buying Genie+ at the Animal Kingdom is just not worth the extra cost. In fact, 99% of the time, that’s exactly what I am going to recommend to people.
So even though there are some benefits, what should you do if you decide not to buy it? Here are some alternatives that will help you tour the Animal Kingdom as efficiently as possible without Genie Plus.
Rope Drop and Use Early Theme Park Entrance
Rope dropping the Disney World parks and taking advantage of Early Theme Park Entry always give you a big advantage over other guests not using them, but even more so if you decide not to use Genie+.
We think this is really essential at the Animal Kingdom for 2 reasons. The first reason is that this park opens earlier than any other, which means people are already conditioned to arrive at the Animal Kingdom before it opens.
Getting there early means lower wait times and a more efficient touring plan. You’ll probably be able to ride an extra attraction or two before the lines get too long. The first 2 hours of the day are when you will experience the shortest wait times so make sure you are there and ready to roll.
The second reason is that this park is more alive in the morning than later in the day. The main reason you come here is to see the animals, but they are much more active at 8:00 am or 9:00 am than they are at 12:00 pm when the Florida sun is blazing. The safari, the trails, and all the animal exhibits will be much more enjoyable if you are there early.
Animal Kingdom Slows Down Late in the Day
Even if you aren’t an early riser, the fact that the Animal Kingdom doesn’t have a ton of attractions means you can still get most of them done by coming later on. The park slows down in the late afternoon and early evening, and we usually take this time to hit some of our favorite rides.
If you do take our advice and rope drop the park, staying later means you’ll probably get a second chance to ride your favorite attractions.
For example, we usually wait until the last hour and get in line for Kilimanjaro Safaris. This gives you a completely different perspective of the savanna than you normally experience, and the animals come back out.
After that, we get in line for Flight of Passage about 5 minutes before closing. That way, even if we rope dropped it in the morning, we can ride our favorite attraction for the second time in the same day!
You Can Still Do Everything in One Day
I can make a good case that it’s worth planning 2 days to visit all 3 of the other Disney World theme parks. That is not the case at the Animal Kingdom. This park has the fewest number of attractions, and you should be able to do them all, plus all the shows in one day (with or without Genie+).
If you have a really long vacation planned (10 days or more), or if you are a huge animal lover, then I could see visiting the Animal Kingdom twice. But for the average family trip, 2 days is overkill. Take an extra day and visit the Magic Kingdom which has twice as many attractions, or take an extra day to just lounge around your resort pool instead.
Future of Genie+ at the Animal Kingdom
There have been a lot of changes with the Genie+ lineup of attractions at Walt Disney World in the other 3 parks since it launched, but not too much has changed at the Animal Kingdom.
The biggest change is when they moved Expedition Everest from an Individual Lightning Lane ride to the regular Genie+ lineup. Now Avatar Flight of Passage is the only Individual Lightning Lane attraction at the moment. That is in place at least for the time being, in the future we don’t know what will happen.
Our best guess is that Expedition Everest will remain a Genie+ selection as it looks like for the most part Disney prefers having only one Individual Lightning Lane attraction in each park. This is to increase demand for Genie+ and also give guests enough attractions to make it worth the up charge.
Even though there are some new attractions coming to Disney World in the next few years, nothing big as been announced for the Animal Kingdom at this time. Even though we got a tease of a Dinoland USA repalcement at the most recent D23 Expo, it will be years until a new attraction is built.
That means that there shouldn’t be a huge change to Genie+ at the Animal Kingdom anytime soon, but we’ll let you know as soon as we hear of anything.
Ready to Start Planning Your Disney Vacation?
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That wraps up this step-by-step on how to buy Genie+ and use it at the Animal Kingdom. We hope that it gives you some good strategies to use and that our itineraries make it easier when planning your next trip here. Feel free to ask any unanswered questions below and we will add them to the article.
If you are thinking about using Genie+ at any of the other Walt Disney World theme parks check out our other guides:
- Magic Kingdom Genie+ & Lightning Lane Guide
- EPCOT Genie+ & Lightning Lane Guide
- Hollywood Studios Genie+ & Lightning Lane Guide
If you are thinking about going to Walt Disney World in the coming future, here are some other popular articles where you will find all the info and tips you need to plan your trip.
- Disney World Vacation Planning Guide
- Disney World Crowd Calendar
- When are the Best Times to Visit Disney World?
I want to know what you think about buying and using Genie+ at the Animal Kingdom…
- Do you think it’s worth it?
- What are your favorite attractions to use a Lightning Lane selection on?
Let us know in the comments section below!
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My name is Ziggy and I love Disney, everything Disney! I grew up on Disney and it has and continues to be a huge part of my life. I started young when my parents took me to Disney World when I was 18 months old. Little did they know that would be the first of an uncountable number of trips we would take. I have so many amazing memories going to Disney with my family and friends and it has been interwoven into my DNA.