Genie+ Priorities at Animal Kingdom

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Everyone wants to talk about Genie+. And a lot of people feel like they need to learn all about Genie+ before their next trip. Our YouTube series of 6 videos about Genie+ has gathered over 70,000 views in just the past two months. Our fancy-pants availability charts have gotten your feedback as must-have tools for this current era of Genie+. And there are many, many Disney sites that are offering prioritized lists of Genie+ attractions at every park.

A lot of those lists are based on gut feel. And some are even based on some pretty thorough testing by the authors or their teams. But here at TouringPlans, we’ve got the math. And I’m finally confident that we’ve got enough data to make some real data-driven prioritized attraction lists for each park. Today we’ll start with Animal Kingdom, and then in the coming days we’ll release similar posts for the other three WDW parks (and eventually Disneyland parks too, but they need some bigger sample sizes first).

This post was updated on April 15th to account for the reopening of Expedition Everest.

Explain the Math

We can rank the Genie+ attractions in each park in multiple ways. In this post, we are aggregating three of those measures by doing a simple average.

  1. Rank by average availability, ascending – the attraction in each park that typically sells out first will receive rank 1, and the attraction in each park that maintains book now/ride now availability the most through the day receives the lowest rank.
  2. Rank by average time savings, descending – the attraction in each park where Genie+ typically saves the most time compared to standby will receive rank 1, and the attraction in each park where Genie+ typically saves the least time compared to standby will receive the lowest rank.
  3. Rank by attraction satisfaction, descending – the attraction in each park with the highest overall average satisfaction from the past two years will receive rank 1, and the attraction in each park with the lowest overall average satisfaction from the past two years will receive the lowest rank.

The first two of of these rankings are relatively easy to figure out based on our most recent Genie+ analyses. You can find those results and how they were calculated here and here.

The last one is where I’m choosing to be a little tricky. At first, I used a straight rank from highest satisfaction down to lowest satisfaction (average of all satisfaction ratings from all demographics for the past two years). But after looking at the results, it didn’t really appropriately capture all of the complexity. It wasn’t fair to parks where several attractions had significantly higher satisfaction than all of the rest, or when one attraction has worse satisfaction by far than all the rest. So I created a linear regression where the top satisfaction score received a 1, and the lowest satisfaction score received the lowest possible rank (count of the Genie+ attractions in that park).  Then I used the resulting equation to convert the rest of the scores to a relative number between 1 and the worst possible rank.

Once I calculated all three ranks, then I averaged the three results and sorted from score that was closest to one all the way to the highest number. I used those averages to come up with the following prioritized list! Phew.

Prioritized List of Animal Kingdom Genie+ Attractions

Happily, the math supports what should have been everyone’s top priority anyway – the unmatched awesome of Kilimanjaro Safaris.

1. Kilimanjaro Safaris

Availability Score = 1 out of 6

Time Savings Score = 1 out of 6

Satisfaction Score = 1 out of 6

At Animal Kingdom, Kilimanjaro Safaris has the worst availability of all Genie+ attractions, the highest average time savings, and is the option with the highest satisfaction. That’s the trifecta and means it’s the easy top priority if you choose to use Genie+ on a day at Animal Kingdom.

On high crowd days, it’s often booked up before 11 am. Because the attraction closes as sunset, availability may actually improve as we move toward summer with the sun staying up longer and that will free up more “slots” for booking. You can save over 40 minutes compared to standby, on average. And of the whole six attractions on this list, it has the top satisfaction.

The mark of a great attraction, IMO: excellent addition to the geography of the park from afar, and exciting to experience.

2. Expedition Everest

Availability Score = 3 out of 6

Time Savings Score = 3 out of 6

Satisfaction Score = 1.3 out of 6

On April 16th, Expedition Everest will reopen (did reopen, depending on when you read this), changing the original math of this post. Thankfully, we already have data from when it was a Genie+ option during the holiday season, so we can update our rankings using math to include it!

Expedition Everest has pitiful time savings compared to the entries above and below it here, with something like 20 minutes saved on average. We’ll see if this changes with an influx of riders in the coming weeks. And even when it was previously on Genie+, it didn’t sell out before Na’vi River Journey. That being said, its satisfaction score is MUCH higher than Na’vi River Journey, or any other attraction on the rest of this list. On the 1-to-6 scale, Expedition Everest scores just behind Kilimanjaro Safaris with 1.3, and the next-closest Genie+ attraction only scores a 4. 4! That’s about half of the entire scale away. Boo on all of those other options. As far as satisfaction goes, you’re better off not making any other reservations and exploring the animal trails or watching the shows. Or playing Wilderness Explorers!

 

Let’s be honest – as an engineer, I mostly ride Na’vi River Journey so that I can watch the Shaman at work. Oh, and the wonder in my kids’ eyes. That too.

3. Na’vi River Journey

Availability Score = 2 out of 6

Time Savings Score = 2 out of 6

Satisfaction Score = 5.6 out of 6 (ouch)

After Kilimanjaro Safaris, Na’vi River Journey is the obvious second choice as far as availability and time savings are concerned. Typically it books up for the day an hour or two after Kilimanjaro Safaris. And on average it saves you just under 40 minutes compared to standby.

But when you factor in satisfaction, the decision doesn’t stay the same. River Journey ranks 5th out of the 6 Genie+ attractions in average satisfaction. On a scale of 1 to 6 (with 6 being worst), it can only manage a pitiful 5.6. But I’m going to go ahead and say it’s worth trying, especially without much of a wait.

 

I’m a scaredy-cat, and therefore never ride DINOSAUR. This is where my personalized Genie+ priority list would stop abruptly for this park.

4. DINOSAUR

Availability Score = 4 out of 6

Time Savings Score = 4 out of 6

Satisfaction Score = 5.4 out of 6

Following the trend of Animal Kingdom being straightforward, DINOSAUR ranks in 4th place for both availability (booking up 3-4 hours after Na’vi River Journey does, so it’s not really close) and time savings compared to standby (not a big sample size, but in the 10-15 minute range).

In this case, out of the six Genie+ attractions we’re ranking, DINOSAUR also happens to have the fourth-best overall satisfaction from the past two years. On our 1 to 6 scale, it scores a 5.4. Better than Na’vi River Journey, but not by enough to gain a spot on our priority list.

 

Currently 4th out of 5, but let’s vote it Most Likely to Move Up.

4. Kali River Rapids

Availability Score = 5 out of 6

Time Savings Score = 5 out of 6

Satisfaction Score = 4 out of 6

Kali River Rapids is currently pretty low on the list, thanks to easy availability all day and not-spectacular time savings (hovering around the 10 minute mark with somewhat low sample sizes). The bright side is that its satisfaction score is the third-highest out of any of these six options. Enough to make it almost overtake DINOSAUR for 4th priority … but not quite.

All of this may change as we move into the summer with higher temperatures and more sun. Those factors will make Kali River Rapids more popular, which should lead to worse availability and better time savings compared to those longer standby waits. I’ll keep an eye on this one to see if it pushes up the rankings as the weather gets warmer.

 

Terrified by this picture? Yeah, everyone else is too.

5. It’s Tough to Be a Bug

Availability Score = 6 out of 6

Time Savings Score = 6 out of 6

Satisfaction Score = 6 out of 6

It’s tough to recommend It’s Tough to Be a Bug (see what I did there?). At all. Ever. To anyone. Genie+ reservations have almost immediate availability all day every day, and the cost savings are close to zero on all except the very most crowded days of the year. It also has really low overall satisfaction, performing especially poorly with the young kids set who tend to be scared of all of the in-theater elements. I’d say don’t ever waste your time on this one unless you’re not park-hopping, have already purchased Genie+ for the day, and have already used reservations at basically every other eligible attraction or show.

What Does This Mean For You?

  1. I’d generally not recommend using Genie+ at Animal Kingdom. But on high crowd level days, and especially if you tend to miss rope drop, it could be worth it even if you only get reservations for Kilimanjaro Safaris and Na’vi River Journey.
  2. There are so many other things to do in Animal Kingdom that have higher overall satisfaction than the Genie+ attractions that I’m tempted to just say forget Genie+ in all circumstances and go hit the trails or watch Flights of Wonder and spend your time getting Wilderness Explorer badges. You’ll have a full and informative day without the hassle of long queues and booking reservations.
  3. All of this math will likely change once Expedition Everest makes it back into the mix (I expect it to re-debut as a Genie+ option rather than ILL). Oh hey, look at that, Disney decided to reopen Everest 3 days after I posted, and yes, it came back as Genie+, and yes it changed the math. Rankings updated.
What can I say? It’s okay. You’re welcome.

Have you used Genie+ at Animal Kingdom? Do you agree with these rankings or would yours be different? Let me know in the comments! And check back on the blog for similar lists for the other three WDW parks.

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Becky Gandillon

Becky Gandillon was trained in biomedical engineering, but is now a full-time data and analytics nerd. She loves problem solving and travelling. She and her husband, Jeff, live in St. Louis with their two daughters and they have Disney family movie night every Saturday. You can follow her on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/becky-gandillon/ or instagram @raisingminniemes

10 thoughts on “Genie+ Priorities at Animal Kingdom

  • April 13, 2022 at 5:45 pm
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    LOL I agree that it’s tough to recommend It’s Tough to Be A Bug. Ever.

    Reply
    • April 13, 2022 at 8:54 pm
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      There are very few attractions I feel this way about. They will all come to light in this blog series. Ha!

      Reply
  • April 14, 2022 at 7:21 am
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    I really want a t-shirt, a sticker, something that says “Touring Plans. We have the math.” 🙂

    Love these posts and series about Genie+. We’re headed there in June and these have helped so much with understanding the process and planning. Thanks!

    Reply
    • April 14, 2022 at 8:04 am
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      Surely _someone_ could make that happen 😉

      Reply
  • April 14, 2022 at 1:49 pm
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    Um… I *love* Na’vi River Journey! *ducks for cover*

    Reply
  • April 14, 2022 at 4:18 pm
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    Where would we guess that Expedition Everest will rank on this list when it returns (hopefully soon)?

    Reply
    • April 14, 2022 at 10:56 pm
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      Of course Disney would open the ride 3 days after I press publish! I plan on updating the blog with a data-driven ranking tomorrow 🙂

      Reply
  • April 20, 2022 at 7:01 pm
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    What about Flight of Passage? Is that a rope drop scenario?

    Reply
    • April 20, 2022 at 9:48 pm
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      Flight of Passage is an Individual Lightning Lane attraction, so you would have to pay for it separately anyway. Or you could rope drop (only if you have early entry), or wait until late at night.

      Reply
  • April 26, 2022 at 9:59 pm
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    What about the Celebration of the Festival of the Lion King? Is that just not in the running because it isn’t really needed? I know it had long lines when I was there in last June but didn’t know if that has changed. Thanks!

    Reply

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