Gone are the days of free fastpasses that let you skip the line at Disney World’s theme parks. To replace it, Disney released Genie+ and lightning lanes, both of which cost money.
Since neither is a required purchase to visit the parks, you may be wondering whether it’s worth the extra cost, especially at less crowded parks like Animal Kingdom.
In this guide, I’ll discuss the basics of Genie+ and individual lightning lanes, go over which attractions are available for each, and which attractions are worth the cost.
By the end of the post, you’ll have a good idea of whether Animal Kingdom Genie+ and individual lightning lane purchases are right for you.
Genie+ is Disney’s new Fastpass system. It enables guests to reserve a time slot to access a ride via the lightning lane line, bypassing the regular standby line.
In some ways it’s like a virtual queue, but unlike Disney’s virtual queue system, you are able to choose from a list of available time blocks rather than getting a random time assigned to you.
Depending on the ride, this system can be a real timesaver as it enables you to make better use of your time than standing in a line for an hour or more. On the other hand, for other rides it’s a bit of a waste.
Therefore, it’s important to review what’s available with this system to determine if it’s worth the money for you.
For more detail about this program, check out my Disney Genie, Genie+, and Lightning Lane guide.
Individual lightning lanes at Disney’s Animal Kingdom
Although Genie+ gives you access to lightning lanes for select rides, there are also a few rides at Walt Disney World that you can purchase access to the lightning lane for just that ride.
Of course, these also happen to be the most popular rides at Disney.
Individual lightning lane prices vary depending on crowds, as well as the ride. But it’s often not far from the price of Genie+ itself.
Avatar: Flight of Passage lightning lane
Animal Kingdom only has one lightning lane ride, Avatar: Flight of Passage in Pandora.
This is by far Animal Kingdom’s most popular attraction, and also one of the most popular at Disney World overall.
According to Thrill Data, the average wait time for Flight of Passage is TIME minutes.
During more crowded times of the year, the wait times can easily reach several hours. In fact, back in December 2023, Thrill Data reported an average wait time of TIME minutes.
For this reason, purchasing an individual lightning lane can make a lot of sense.
That said, I prefer to rope drop Animal Kingdom and head straight to this ride. Depending on where you’re at in the rope drop line, you’ll end up with a 5-30 minute wait usually. Not too shabby!
Animal Kingdom Genie+ rides
There are 11 attractions that are available as part of Genie+ at Animal Kingdom. Let’s go over which ones are worth snagging on Genie+ and which ones are lower priority.
Top priority rides for Genie+ at Animal Kingdom
There are 5 rides that I recommend prioritizing if you purchase Genie+ at Animal Kingdom (in no specific order):
- Expedition Everest
- Festival of the Lion King
- Kilimanjaro Safaris
- Na’vi River Journey
- Meet Favorite Disney Pals at Adventurers Outpost
Let’s go over each ride so you can decide if you want to pursue them on Genie+.
Average wait time data sourced from Thrill Data.
Na’vi River Journey
Na’vi River Journey is a leisurely boat ride through a glowing rainforest on Pandora, where you’ll meet the Shaman of Songs. Or at least a very lifelike animatronic version of her!
It’s a super fun way to immerse yourself in the beautiful planet, especially after getting a glimpse of it on Flight of Passage. Or, if FOP is too intense for you, this ride will still give you a taste of Pandora!
Lastly, this ride has no height requirement, so lots more people can go on compared to other rides.
The only barrier might be if you’re in a wheelchair or using a scooter – but if you’re able to transfer into the boat on your own, then you’re good to go.
The average wait time for this ride is 81 minutes, making it a top pick for Genie+ at Animal Kingdom.
Kilimanjaro Safaris is an open drive through Animal Kingdom’s African savanna to see animals as they roam freely.
Located in the Africa section, highlights include cheetahs, giraffes, hippopotamus, lions, and zebras.
The ride is approximately 18 minutes long, so you’ll have plenty of time to slow down and take in the beautiful sights and marvel at all of the adorable animals.
Average wait time for this attraction is 68 minutes, making it another key ride to snag on Genie+.
Next up is Expedition Everest, the lone roller coaster at Animal Kingdom.
Located in the Asia section, this ride will have you screaming (in a good way) as you barrel around turns, speed down big drops, and even go backward, all while avoiding the mythical Yeti that inhabits the mountains.
Average wait time is 60 minutes, making it another stellar Animal Kingdom Genie+ selection. That said, if you are visiting solo, there is a single rider line here, too!
Meet Favorite Disney Pals at Adventurers Outpost
At this character meet-and-greet on Discovery Island, you can meet Mickey and Minnie, all decked out in Safari gear. During the holiday season, the duo greets guests in holiday outfits at this location, too.
The average wait time to meet this iconic duo is 47 minutes, so reserving a spot via Genie+ is a good idea so you can do something else with that time.
Festival of the Lion King
Festival of the Lion King is, hands down, one of the best shows at Disney World.
It is packed with talented singers, tumblers, dancers, and of course, your favorite characters from The Lion King.
There are 4 sections of seating, forming a square in the middle where the performance takes place.
While there isn’t a bad seat due to the setup, Genie+ will get you access to the first few rows in one section.
If you have kids or are short like me, this means less of a chance your view will get blocked. Plus you won’t have to walk up all those stairs to get a seat.
Honestly, you could go either way (Genie+ or standby) with this attraction, but if you’ve gone through the rest of the must-dos on this list or none of those are left, this is a solid selection.
Other rides to consider for Genie+ at Animal Kingdom
There are 6 additional attractions available on Genie+. All of these usually have reasonable wait times or at least far less than other ones on the list.
Let’s go over each one so you can decide if you should prioritize them the same way or move them up on your priority list.
The Animation Experience at Conservation Station
This fun experience is a 25-minute lesson in drawing Disney characters, led by an actual Disney artist!
There are usually around 9 classes per day and each class focuses on a different character, so you could take more than 1 class if you wish.
It is located in Rafiki’s Planet Watch, which you can only access via the Wildlife Express Train in Africa.
There usually isn’t much of a wait time for this, given that it is a bit hidden, so I don’t think it’s worth getting on Genie+ unless there’s nothing else to choose.
Located in Dinoland USA, DINOSAUR takes guests back in time to the prehistoric era when dinosaurs once roamed. It’s a dark ride that is also extremely bumpy and in my opinion, very uncomfortable. Like, don’t be surprised if you get whiplash kind of uncomfortable.
Anyway, rumor has it that this ride will be scrapped within the next few years, possibly to be reimagined with an Indiana Jones theme.
Disney hasn’t outright stated that this is the case, but they have acknowledged that they’re strongly thinking about retheming the entire Dinoland USA area.
And of course, that means lots of people have been in an uproar, claiming that this is their favorite ride.
Let’s be real – it’s probably not, but a large subset of Disney adults hate any kind of change, so they kick and scream any time something is set to close.
Lastly, while I’m not a fan of this ride (it made my list of worst rides at Disney), the average wait time for Dinosaur is 30 minutes. More often than not, I see this ride with 20 minutes or less, even at peak times of the day!
Feathered Friends in Flight!
Feathered Friends in Flight! is a super fun show that showcases several birds they have at the park, as they perform tricks and learn more about each one.
Located in the Asia section, this outdoor theater doesn’t have a bad seat in house. Plus even during heavy peak periods, you can often walk right in around showtime.
Basically, if you have other options available to you, you’re better off picking one of those and utilizing the standby line for this show.
Finding Nemo: The Big Blue…and Beyond!
Located between Dinoland USA and the Expedition Everest end of Asia, Finding Nemo: The Big Blue…and Beyond! is an adorable stage show that utilizes puppets to retell the story from the Pixar film, Finding Nemo.
I know what you’re thinking – puppets?! Well, I don’t mean the cheaply made kind you stick on your hand. These are elaborately designed, colorful works of art!
Part of the wonder with this show, for me at least, is admiring the puppets and how everything works.
With all that said, this is another show where all of the seats are good, so you don’t need to bother with using a Genie+ selection to skip the line.
It’s Tough to Be a Bug!
Located on Discovery Island, It’s Tough to Be a Bug! is a dark, indoor show featuring characters from A Bug’s Life that takes place inside the bottom of the Tree of Life.
The show includes a 3-D film about insects with a few surprises in store. This is an attraction that people either love or hate and there really is no in between.
For the time being, the average wait time is 11 minutes, so it’s not really necessary to use Genie+ for this show.
It’s Tough to Be a Bug! is expected to close in 2024, but Disney has not announced exactly when.
But now that it’s 2024, the clock is ticking! Once Disney announces a closing date, I expect the average wait time will increase as people set out to watch it “one last time.”
Kali River Rapids
Last, but not least, located in Asia, is the water ride, Kali River Rapids.
On this attraction, guests board a raft for an exciting whitewater rapids ride with a 20-foot drop.
You will get wet on this ride, no matter where you sit. There are lockers nearby where you can stash anything you don’t want to get wet and perhaps a change of clothes.
I don’t really like water rides, but it is a fun way to cool off on a hot summer day – especially right before you leave for an afternoon nap.
Average wait time for Kali River Rapids is 30 minutes, which isn’t too bad.
There are definitely better selections for Genie+, but if you want to time this for right before you leave the park, it could be a good pick in that situation.
Which attractions are excluded from Genie+?
There are a number of attractions that aren’t available under Genie+ as it’s not necessary. Here’s the complete list, sorted by general location:
- Gorilla Falls Exploration Trail
- Harambe Village Acrobats
- Tam Tam Drummers of Harambe
- Wildlife Express Train
- Maharajah Jungle Trek
- The Boneyard
- Donald’s Dino-Bash meet-and-greet
- Fossil Fun Games
- TriceraTop Spin
- Character Flotillas
- Discovery Island Trails (including the trail under the Tree of Life)
- Meet Moana at Character Landing
- Viva Gaia Street Band!
- Wilderness Explorers
- Winged Encounters – The Kingdom Takes Flight
Rafiki’s Planet Watch
- Affection Section
- Conservation Station
- Wildlife Express Train
Is Genie+ worth it at Animal Kingdom?
At the end of the day, whether Genie+ is worth it at Animal Kingdom really depends on your attraction wish list and whether you have a park hopper ticket.
In my opinion, Genie+ is only worth it at Animal Kingdom if you have a park hopper ticket or annual pass, which automatically allows park hopping.
Alternatively, if you’re not a morning person and don’t want to or can’t rope drop, that’d also justify the purchase of Genie+ for this park.
If you have a single park ticket for Animal Kingdom and don’t mind getting there before the park opens, then rope dropping Animal Kingdom is a the best way to go (and will save you money).
It’s an even better option if you have access to early entry hours because you’re a resort guest!
I hope you found this Animal Kingdom Genie+ and Lightning Lane guide helpful for planning your Walt Disney World vacation. Be sure to pin this post on Pinterest to refer to later!
About the author
Meg Frost is the creator of The Park Pixie, where she covers Disney World, Disney+, and Disney fandom.
She holds an M.A. in Journalism from Northeastern University and B.S. in Communication & American Studies from University of Miami in Florida.