If you’ve never been to the Animal Kingdom before, you’re in for a treat. The park is home to some of the best attractions in the whole of Walt Disney World, Florida.
However, this does mean that it gets pretty busy.
Experienced Disney World visitors will tell you that waiting in long lines is inevitable. Well, they’re wrong.
In this guide, we’ll show you how Genie+ and Lightning Lanes can save you a huge amount of time. We’ll tell you how to make the most out of these two services and greatly improve your Animal Kingdom experience.
- What Is A Lightning Lane?
- What Is Genie Plus Animal Kingdom?
- What Are Individual Lightning Lanes?
- How Much Does Genie Plus Animal Kingdom Cost?
- How Much Do Individual Lightning Lanes Cost At Magic Kingdom?
- When Do I Purchase Individual Lightning Lanes?
- When Do I Purchase Genie Plus Animal Kingdom?
- When Can I Make Genie+ Reservations?
- Genie Plus Attractions At Animal Kingdom
- Which Animal Kingdom Rides Aren’t Included In Genie Plus?
- Individual Lightning Lane Attractions
- High Priority Animal Kingdom Genie Plus Attractions
- Low Priority Animal Kingdom Genie Plus Attractions
What Is A Lightning Lane?
If you’ve been to Walt Disney World before, then you’ll probably remember the FastPass+ system. The Lightning Lane system has now come in to replace that. Essentially, it has the same function. Lightning Lanes allow you to bypass the free Standby Lines and get on rides more quickly.
The main difference is that you need to pay for a Lightning Lane. The old FastPass+ system was free.
What Is Genie Plus Animal Kingdom?
Genie+ allows you to pay a set fee each day per person to use the Lightning Lanes on several rides.
You can use it at both Walt Disney World and Disneyland and across the different parks. This makes it ideal if you’re going to be park-hopping during your family vacation. Plus, if you are park-hopping, you don’t even need to let Disney know.
Once you’ve bought Genie+, you can start making reservations for the Lightning Lanes of various attractions within Disney’s Animal Kingdom.
One downside is that Animal Kingdom Genie+ can only be used during the park’s regular opening hours. If you’ve bought Early Theme Park Entry, you can’t make reservations for rides with Genie+ during this time. So, even if you bypass the rope drop, you’ll still have to wait in line.
The best thing about Genie+ is that it saves you a lot of time during the day. As you don’t need to spend as much time queueing for rides, you have more time to enjoy Animal Kingdom.
There are many rides within the Animal Kingdom that use Genie+. Still, they don’t all use it.
What Are Individual Lightning Lanes?
Some rides in the Animal Kingdom use Individual Lightning Lanes. This means that you can’t use Genie+ for them, and you need to pay per person, per ride.
There are currently two rides in the Animal Kingdom that use the Individual Lightning Lane system. In order to access the Lightning Lane for one of these rides, you need to pay for it separately.
How Much Does Genie Plus Animal Kingdom Cost?
Genie+ is charged per person per day. The price is $15 to $29. The cost increases depending on the demand level during the day you visit. If the Animal Kingdom is particularly busy, you will get hit with higher prices.
How Much Do Individual Lightning Lanes Cost At Magic Kingdom?
How much an Individual Lightning Lane costs depends on the ride. The prices are between $7 to $16 per person, per ride. The prices will also vary depending on how busy the Animal Kingdom is and what season it is.
For the most popular rides, the price of an Individual Lightning Lane is always going to be high.
You need to consider whether buying Animal Kingdom Genie+ or Individual Lightning Lanes is worth it for you. It won’t be worth it if you’re happy to wait in the free Standby Lines. If you want to save time and experience as much of the park as possible, then it definitely is worth it.
When Do I Purchase Individual Lightning Lanes?
The time at which you can purchase and book an Individual Lightning Lane depends on where you’re staying. If you’re staying in a Walt Disney World Resort hotel, then you can start making reservations for the day from 07:00 am.
If you’re not staying in a Disney World hotel, you can make reservations from when the Animal Kingdom opens. This is one good reason to stay in a Disney World hotel during your family vacation.
When Do I Purchase Genie Plus Animal Kingdom?
Genie+ is available to buy from 12:00 am on the day of your visit to the Animal Kingdom. So, if you’re visiting on May 15, you can buy Genie+ from midnight on May 15. It’s always best to purchase Genie+ as early as possible.
When Can I Make Genie+ Reservations?
You can start making Genie+ reservations via the My Disney Experience app from 07:00 am on the day of your visit. This doesn’t change if you’re staying at a Disney World hotel.
Unfortunately, Genie+ doesn’t allow you to choose your own return times for attractions. You have to take whatever time slot is next available.
Genie+ reservations are assigned in chronological order. So, the 09:00 am slots go first, then 09:30 am, and so on. Once a ride’s reservations have sold out, they’re gone for the whole day. Reservations for the ride will only become available again if someone cancels theirs.
To avoid missing out on the best rides, we recommend making your Genie+ reservations as early as possible. The most popular rides at the Animal Kingdom sell out really fast. They’re usually all gone before the park opens for the day.
Genie Plus Attractions At Animal Kingdom
The Animal Kingdom currently has 11 attractions that use Genie+. They are:
- Na’vi River Journey
- Kilimanjaro Safaris
- Feather Friends in Flight!
- Expedition Everest – Legend of the Forbidden Mountain
- It’s Tough To Be a Bug!
- Finding Nemo: The Big Blue and Beyond!
- Kali River Rapids
- The Animation Experience at Conservation Station
- Meet Favorite Disney Pals at Adventures Outpost
- Festival of the Lion King
Expedition Everest is only part of Genie+ temporarily. At some point, it may go back to being one of the Individual Lightning Lane attractions. This would be very disappointing as Animal Kingdom currently has the lowest number of Genie+ attractions in Disney World.
We hope that Disney will permanently add Expedition Everest to the Genie+ service.
Which Animal Kingdom Rides Aren’t Included In Genie Plus?
So, that leaves a lot of rides and attractions that aren’t included in the Genie+ service. Some of them are part of the Individual Lightning Lane system. Yet, many of them have no option for skipping the queues.
Considering how busy Animal Kingdom gets, this isn’t ideal.
The rides not included in Genie+ are:
- Avatar Flight of Passage
- Affection Section
- Fossil Fun Games
- Discovery Island Trails
- The Boneyard
- Gorilla Falls Exploration Trail
- Wilderness Explorers
- Maharajah Jungle Trek
- TriceraTop Spin
- Wildlife Express
- Most Character Meets
Individual Lightning Lane Attractions
Currently, there are two Individual Lightning Lane attractions at Animal Kingdom. They are Avatar Flight of Passage and Expedition Everest – Legend of the Forbidden Mountain.
However, Expedition Everest is also included in the Genie+ service. This means that you don’t need to purchase it as an Individual Lightning Lane if you already have Genie+. It also means that you’re still able to reserve a Lightning Lane for the ride separately if you don’t buy Genie+.
The benefit of reserving an Individual Lightning Lane instead of using a Genie+ reservation is that you’re able to choose your preferred return time. With Genie+, you’re not able to do this.
This may seem a bit complicated, but it actually gives you more flexibility. If you just want to prioritize Expedition Everest, you can reserve a Lightning Lane without having to pay for Genie+.
It’s also likely that Expedition Everest will go back to just being an Individual Lightning Lane at some point. So, if you do buy Genie+, make the most of it whilst you can.
High Priority Animal Kingdom Genie Plus Attractions
A family vacation to the Animal Kingdom can be an incredible experience. It’s one of the most popular Disney World parks for a good reason. It’s also expensive, and many families can only afford to visit every now and again.
This means that you need to make the most out of your visit. This is especially true if you’ve decided to pay the extra cost of Genie+. You need to know which rides to use it for and which ones should be a lower priority.
The most popular rides at Disney’s Animal Kingdom sell out very quickly. The reservations are always gone before the park opens. So, you need to plan ahead and decide which rides are most important to your family.
Below, we’ve listed the Animal Kingdom attractions in order of reservation priority. This is the order in which you should reserve a Lightning Lane for each ride. It’s not a list of which rides we think are the best.
Sometimes, you need to reserve rides first that might not be your favorites. Or, you can prioritize rides lower down the list if you don’t mind missing out on a Lightning Lane for a bigger attraction.
1. Na’vi River Journey
In terms of popularity, it’s hard to separate the top two rides on this list. However, we think that Na’vi River Journey should be your top Genie+ priority.
If you don’t buy an Individual Lightning Lane for Avatar Flight of Passage, then you’re probably going to rope-drop it instead. This means you’ll be close to Na’vi River Journey after that, so it makes sense to have this as your first selection.
Usually, the wait times for the Na’vi River Journey are around 60 to 80 minutes. If you use Genie+ to reserve a Lightning Lane, the wait time goes down to around 15 minutes. This is going to save you a lot of time and give you a better chance of making a solid second reservation.
Na’vi River Journey is also usually the first ride that sells out on most days. It stays very busy all day as well, and there aren’t really any quiet periods.
These are the reasons why we think you should make this ride your number-one pick. Plus, it’s an awesome ride that you don’t want to miss! Trust us; your kids will thank you if you secure a reservation for Na’vi River Journey.
2. Kilimanjaro Safaris
Kilimanjaro Safaris is about as popular as the Na’vi River Journey. This could also be a good candidate for your first Genie+ Lightning Lane reservation. The animals tend to be more active early in the morning, which makes the ride a better experience earlier than later in the day.
Still, the wait times for this ride are usually between 50 to 70 minutes. This is slightly shorter than the wait times for our top pick. The reservations for Kilimanjaro Safaris also don’t sell out as quickly. You can often still find Lightning Lane reservations in the afternoon.
A lot of visitors rope-drop Animal Kingdom and start off in the Pandora section of the park. So, it makes sense to do Avatar Flight of Passage and Na’vi River Journey first. This is the main reason we have Kilimanjaro Safaris as our second choice.
Yet, if Kilimajaro Safaris is the ride you’re most excited to go on, then bump it up to your top priority.
3. Kali River Rapids
Kali River Rapids is a bit of a tricky one. This is because the wait times for it vary greatly depending on the time of year that you’re visiting the Animal Kingdom.
In the period between April and October, when the weather is warm, the popularity of this ride surges. During this period, the wait times are usually around 60 minutes. When the weather is cooler, Kali River Rapids is less popular. The wait times often drop down to around 30 minutes.
In fact, Disney often takes the chance to refurbish the ride when the temperature drops. So, if you’re at the Animal Kingdom during the winter, this ride might not even be open.
As most people visit the Animal Kingdom when the weather is warm, we’ve placed this ride at number three on our list. However, during colder weather, we’d actually put it around number five on our list of Genie+ priorities.
4. Expedition Everest – Legend of the Forbidden Mountain
We’re really happy that Disney has now included this ride in the Genie+ service. It used to only be available as an Individual Lightning Lane attraction but is now available through both services.
The reason we’re so happy about this is that Expedition Everest is up there with the best rides in the whole of Disney World. For our money, it’s got to be the best attraction in the Animal Kingdom.
So, you may be wondering why it’s not at the top of our list. As we said, this list isn’t based on which rides we think are the best. It’s based on which rides have the longest wait times and sell out the quickest.
Even though this ride is very popular, the wait times rarely exceed 30 to 40 minutes. The Lightning Lane reservations for it also don’t sell out as quickly as they do for other rides. This means that it doesn’t need to be your highest priority when making your Genie+ selections.
You might save yourself 15 minutes of queueing time, but this is not much when compared with the top two rides on our list.
For this reason, we think this ride should be your fourth selection when making Genie+ reservations. If you really don’t want to queue for long to get on this ride, then make it your second choice.
DINOSAUR is another popular ride that doesn’t tend to get as busy as others. The wait times are usually between 30 to 40 minutes. The Lightning Lane reservations for this ride don’t sell out very quickly. You can usually still find a reservation late into the day.
On days when the park is quiet, the wait times can drop as low as 20 minutes. So, we wouldn’t recommend having DINOSAUR as a top priority. You’ll be fine to use this as your fifth Genie+ selection of the day. In fact, if the park’s not too busy, you might as well just wait in the Standby Line.
Low Priority Animal Kingdom Genie Plus Attractions
The two attractions below are included in the Genie+ service but shouldn’t be a high priority. Often, it’s not worth using a Genie+ reservation for either of these attractions. You won’t save much time, and you might miss out on reservations for the bigger attractions.
That said, there are times when you may want to book a Genie+ reservation for one of them. Still, neither of these attractions should be among your first choices.
Festival of the Lion King
Festival of the Lion King is a show rather than a ride. This means it doesn’t have any Lightning Lanes, so it’s usually unnecessary to have it as one of your Genie+ selections.
As long as you turn up at the venue early enough, you should find it fairly easy to get yourself a ticket. When the park’s really busy, there’s a chance the show will be sold out a while before it begins. On these days, it could be worth using this as a late Genie+ reservation.
The main reason for using a Genie+ reservation for this show is to get better seats. If you book a Genie+ reservation for it, then you’ll have access to priority seating. Still, the priority seats aren’t that much better than the normal seats. So, it’s not usually worth it.
Really, we’d only recommend having this as a Genie+ reservation if all of the higher-priority attractions on this list have already sold out.
It’s Tough To Be A Bug!
It’s Tough To Be A Bug! is a really fun show that we’re sure your kids will love. Luckily, the queue times are never very long, and it’s rare to wait more than 15 minutes to get in. Genie+ reservations for this show never sell out.
This makes sense, as there isn’t much point in booking a Genie+ reservation for the show. We’d only recommend using a Genie+ booking for this show as an absolute last resort.
Can my whole family use my Genie Plus?
No, you need to buy Genie+ for each member of your family individually. Genie+ reservations are per person, per ride. For example, if you’re a family of four, you’ll need to buy Genie+ four times to go on rides together.
What is the Disney World 120-minute rule?
The ‘120 minute rule’ means you can book a Genie+ reservation 120 minutes after you make your first reservation. For example, let’s say you booked DINOSAUR at 09:00 am. You made the reservation for 11:30 am. Once it reaches 11:00 am, you can make a reservation for a second ride.
This means you don’t have to wait until you’ve redeemed your first reservation to book the second one.
Can I book an Individual Lightning Lane for the same ride twice?
You can only book an Individual Lightning Lane for an attraction once per day. So, if you want to go on the same ride again, you need to wait in the Standby Line. You can reserve two Individual Lightning Lanes on separate rides during the day.