Going on a safari to Disney’s Animal Kingdom and want to have the shortest possible wait times? In this guide, we are going to give you strategies and ride recommendations for Disney World’s wildest theme park. Should you spend your hard earned money on Genie+ or Individual Lightning Lane at Animal Kingdom? If you do, which rides should you prioritize? This guide will make sure you have all the info you need to have an amazing day at DAK with Lightning Lane.

If you need a refresher on Disney’s FastPass replacement, check out our 6 part Guide 2 Disney Genie, which explains how Lightning Lane and Genie+ work.

Individual Lightning Lane Recommendations for Animal Kingdom

Individual Lightning Lane attractions are not included in Genie+ and are an extra fee. Since everyone has a different budget and sensitivity to pricing, I’m not going to say that you should definitely buy an Individual Lightning Lane or not. What I will say is if you should consider it. With some attractions, Individual Lightning Lane could represent a value as it will save you a ton of time in line. With others, you shouldn’t waste your money. Here are our Animal Kingdom Individual Lightning Lane recommendations.

Avatar Flight of Passage on Pandora Ð The World of Avatar at Disney's Animal Kingdom

Avatar Flight of Passage – Consider Buying

Next to Rise of the Resistance at Hollywood Studios, Avatar Flight of Passage is our second highest recommendation for Individual Lightning Lane. The incredible 3D flying simulator still draws extremely long wait times, with it not being out of the ordinary for wait times to soar to 2 hours or more. Unlike Rise of the Resistance, Flight of Passage Lightning Lane availability can stretch into the evening, so you can wait to see how crowds are when you go to see if it’s worth spending the money on the Individual Lightning Lane. At the beginning and end of the day, you can sometimes get lucky and get on Flight of Passage with a wait time under 30-45 minutes. But in terms of value for time in line skipped, Avatar Flight of Passage will be one of your best bets.

Expedition Everest – Don’t Buy

Beware of the Yeti and this Individual Lightning Lane. Expedition Everest is priced at the lowest end of the Individual Lightning Lane lineup for Disney World, and it’s still a bad deal. Expedition Everest is arguably the best roller coaster at WDW, but it also has a high capacity, which means lower wait times. When the park first opens, you can head straight to Expedition Everest and find a 5-15 minute wait. Wait times can stay around that for the first couple of hours of park operation. Looking at posted wait times today, the longest wait time was 30 minutes the entire day. Spending $7 to avoid a 15-30 minute line is an incredibly bad deal. Even if you want the shortest wait, you have a free option with the Single Rider line.

If it’s the most crowded day of the year, maybe then you might want to consider possibly entertaining the idea of purchasing the Expedition Everest Lightning Lane. But in most cases, this deal works as well as the Yeti animatronic.

Is Genie+ Worth It at Animal Kingdom?

Should you add $15 to your ticket at Animal Kingdom? The park currently only offers 8 attractions with Genie+ Lightning Lane, which is the thinnest lineup of all the parks at Disney World. Of those, there are 4 rides, 3 shows, and a drawing experience. For the rides, you might save about 1.5 – 2 hours in line on an average day. Shows are an odd proposition for Lightning Lane, because it usually guarantees you a good seat but not necessarily a shorter wait time. While definitely worth doing, The Animation Experience usually doesn’t have much of a wait.

Here’s Animal Kingdom’s Genie+ Lightning Lane Lineup

  • Celebration of the Festival of the Lion King
  • DINOSAUR
  • Feathered Friends in Flight!
  • It’s Tough to Be a Bug!
  • Kali River Rapids
  • Kilimanjaro Safaris
  • Naʻvi River Journey
  • The Animation Experience

With such a small lineup of rides, we would recommend not buying Genie+ on most days when you’re only going to Animal Kingdom. Instead, spend your money on Flight of Passage, as you might end up saving a similar amount of time for less money. If you are going on a particularly crowded day, we would change our recommendation to buy Genie+, no matter which park. If you are park hopping, our recommendation also changes to buying Genie+, as you can get most of the rides and experiences done at Animal Kingdom in half of the day.

Animal Kingdom Genie+ Lightning Lane Recommendations

If you have Genie+, you still will want to prioritize which rides you choose. Here are which attractions you should pick first for your Genie+ Lightning Lane reservations.

Biggest Priorities: Will Save You The Most Time / The Best Rides

Kilimanjaro Safaris Ride

  • Kilimanjaro Safaris
  • Na’vi River Journey

Kilimanjaro Safaris is a must ride for any visit to Animal Kingdom. Even if you’ve been on this ride dozens of times, there’s nothing quite like seeing wildlife roam the expansive savanna that Imagineering built. Na’vi River Journey is a peaceful ride featuring one of the best animatronics ever built, but it is also on the short side. Avoid a lengthy line by using Lightning Lane for Pandora’s beautiful boat ride.

Middle Priorities: Will Save You Moderate Amount of Time

Dinosaur - Animal Kingdom Ride

  • Kali River Rapids
  • DINOSAUR
  • Celebration of the Festival of the Lion King

Kali River Rapids and DINOSAUR are both really solid thrill rides with waits in the moderate range. Getting Genie+ Lightning Lane reservations for these two Animal Kingdom attractions should be no problem. Festival of the Lion King is currently the best live show at Walt Disney World, so getting a Lightning Lane reservation is worth it for securing your seat.

Lowest Priorities: Lightning Lane Might Only Save You A Little Time

It's Tough to Be A Bug - Animal Kingdom Show

  • Feathered Friends in Flight!
  • It’s Tough to Be a Bug!
  • The Animation Experience

You should be able to get into all three of these attractions with a short wait on most days. If it’s really busy at Animal Kingdom, go ahead and grab these if none of the other attractions are available. If you are park hopping and starting your day at Animal Kingdom, you can probably skip grabbing Lightning Lane for these. Instead, focus on using Genie+ for the attractions above, and grab the first available Lightning Lane that you want for your next park instead of using them on these to skip short lines.

Animal Kingdom Lightning Lane Tips

  • The Animation Experience is on Conservation Station, which requires a train ride to get to. Make sure you account for this when booking your Lightning Lane.
  • Genie+ Lightning Lane reservations open up at 7 am for all guests. Individual Lightning Lane reservations open up at 7 am for resort guests, and park opening for all other guests.
  • When you’re making your first pick, try to get a Genie+ Lightning Lane time slot for one of your priority rides as early as possible. You can make another reservation either 2 hours after you make your reservation, or once you use your Lightning Lane reservation, whichever is first. Grabbing your first Lightning Lane reservation for sometime in the first 2 hours of park opening gives you the best chance of getting another high priority Lightning Lane reservation early. Check out our in-depth guide for maximizing Genie+ Lightning Lane to find out more about how often you can get Lightning Lane reservations.
  • Lightning Lane reservations are a limited pool and are first come, first served. The rides in our “Biggest Priorities” section of the list above will typically sell out first, so try to get Lightning Lane reservations for those as soon as you can.
  • If you can’t find a reservation, pull to refresh on the Tip Board section of Disney Genie. Return times fluctuate, and it’s possible for somebody else’s cancellation to open up a time slot for a ride you are going for.

Be sure to check out our entire Guide 2 Lightning Lane:

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James

James is a lifelong Disney Parks fan. While at the parks, he loves finding new details, learning more about Disney World history, and taking pictures. His favorite WDW attractions include Spaceship Earth, Tower of Terror, and Star Tours.
James is a filmmaker and writer based in Los Angeles.

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