Genie+ Priorities at Animal Kingdom
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 about Genie+ has gathered over 100,000 views. 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 confident that we’ve got enough data to make some real data-driven prioritized attraction lists for each park.
This post was last updated on February 26th to account for recent trends.
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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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 things get 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.
Update: After feedback from readers, I’m expanding this linear comparison to all three metrics. So all will be linearly distributed between the lowest and highest ranks. We’ll see how this impacts the rankings!
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
1. Kilimanjaro Safaris
Availability Score = 2.6 out of 7
Time Savings Score = 1 out of 7
Satisfaction Score = 1 out of 7
At Animal Kingdom, Kilimanjaro Safaris has the second-worst availability of all Genie+ attractions, and is the option with the highest satisfaction. It’s no longer the top “trifecta” like it once was, but that’s mostly only due to the Disney Pals having low capacity and high demand (more on that later). But its time savings have rebounded thanks to the Lightning Lane speeding back up.
On high crowd days, it’s back to booking up around noon. You can save up to 47 minutes compared to standby, on average. And of the whole seven attractions on this list, it has the top satisfaction.
2. Meet Favorite Disney Pals at Adventurers Outpost
Availability Score = 1 out of 7
Time Savings Score = 5.2 out of 7
Satisfaction Score = 3.0 out of 7
Back in September, when this was last updated, Adventurers Outpost debuted in 4th place and I voted it most likely to move up the ranks. And … I was proven right. Thanks, data. Character meet and greets have returned to normal, and are still incredibly popular. And thankfully, capacity has increased a bit thanks to the easing of some staffing issues. So time-savings have gone down, but availability is still really terrible – it’s almost always the first attraction to sell out each day at Animal Kingdom. Its satisfaction is very high for this park as well, coming in third.
In the fall, I called for Adventurers Outpost availability to get worse (it did), and for it to flip-flop spots with Kali River Rapids on this list. Color me surprised that it did even more than that and took 2nd place from our next entry.
3. Na’vi River Journey
Availability Score = 2.7 out of 7
Time Savings Score = 2.1 out of 7
Satisfaction Score = 6.3 out of 7 (ouch)
After Kilimanjaro Safaris, Na’vi River Journey is the obvious second choice – if you only care about time savings. It sells out on average just after Kilimanjaro Safaris each day. And it has great time savings – averaging over 45 minutes.
But when you factor in satisfaction, the decision to prioritize Na’vi River Journey doesn’t hold true. River Journey ties for 5th out of the 7 Genie+ attractions in average satisfaction. On a scale of 1 to 7 (with 7 being worst), it can only manage a pitiful 6.3. But I’m going to go ahead and say it’s worth trying, especially without much of a wait.
4. Expedition Everest
Availability Score = 7 (tie) out of 7
Time Savings Score = 3.5 out of 7
Satisfaction Score = 1.3 out of 7
Ohhhhhhh … Expedition Everest. As of the inaugural rankings, this fan favorite was in 2nd place. Surprisingly, Everest back then had relatively pitiful time savings compared to the entries above it here, with something like 15 minutes saved on average. Thankfully, that has rebounded to over 30 minutes of time savings on average in the past 3 months. It still sells out after most attractions at Animal Kingdom, including DINOSAUR. Weird. That being said, its satisfaction score is MUCH higher any other attraction on the rest of this list other than the Safari. 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!
5. Kali River Rapids
Availability Score = 7 (tie) out of 7
Time Savings Score = 4.8 out of 7
Satisfaction Score = 4.8 out of 7
Kali River Rapids was originally 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 was that its satisfaction score was … not as terrible as some others.
The average 10 minute time savings of last winter have shifted up to over 20 minutes of average time savings in the past couple of months, and hover near the 30 minute mark in the summer and fall. But it hasn’t been selling out … at all, similar to Expedition Everest. So that drops it to 5th place.
Availability Score = 5.9 out of 7
Time Savings Score = 5.5 out of 7
Satisfaction Score = 6.3 out of 7
DINOSAUR ranks in 4th place for availability (booking up 3-4 hours after Na’vi River Journey does, so it’s not really close) and 6th place for time savings compared to standby (solidly in the 15 minute range).
And out of the seven Genie+ attractions we’re ranking, DINOSAUR ties for the second-worst overall satisfaction from the past year. On our 1 to 7 scale, it scores a 6.3. Tied with Na’vi River Journey, and bad enough to keep it low on the list.
7. It’s Tough to Be a Bug
Availability Score = 7 out of 7
Time Savings Score = 7 out of 7
Satisfaction Score = 7 out of 7
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?
- 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. (bonus points for Adventurer Outpost)
- 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.
- What is most likely to change as we head into the summer? Kali River Rapids will see a decrease in availability and increase in time savings with warmer weather, and Kilimanjaro Safaris should see an increase in availability as sunset gets later heading into the summer.
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.
12 thoughts on “Genie+ Priorities at Animal Kingdom”
LOL I agree that it’s tough to recommend It’s Tough to Be A Bug. Ever.
There are very few attractions I feel this way about. They will all come to light in this blog series. Ha!
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!
Surely _someone_ could make that happen 😉
Um… I *love* Na’vi River Journey! *ducks for cover*
Where would we guess that Expedition Everest will rank on this list when it returns (hopefully soon)?
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 🙂
What about Flight of Passage? Is that a rope drop scenario?
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.
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!
On a friend’s recommendation based on his many successful Touring Plans vjsits, we are using your strategies exclusively for our family’s first trip to WDW on the incredibly busy week of 10/9-10/15. We have been deep diving the blogs, the YouTube videos, optimizing touring plans, and studying the data to hit try to hit all the headliners for our “one and done” WDW trip with our 8 and 6 year old boys.
I find the G+ return time data you’ve reviewed this September 2022 particularly useful.
The only recent data I have not seen is on return times for the ILL rides. The last data I’ve seen was before Disney changed to having only 1 I’ll per park, which I’m assuming has had an impact on the return times. Can you direct me to recent data or if you haven’t yet reviewed it, can you please let us know if you’ll be reviewing and releasing this data soon? It would be very useful in planning my trip.
A Reluctant Visitor
Ah, A Reluctant Visitor. I knew you all existed 😉
Next week I’ll be updating the Genie+ availability charts _and_ the ILL ones. Thanks for the reminder!