Some parks at Walt Disney World are easier to tour than others, and Animal Kingdom is definitely one of the least stressful parks to tour.
On this day, we tested out touring at Animal Kingdom – one of us (Heather) toured without Genie+, and the other one of us (me, Felicia) toured with Genie+.
I was able to ride almost everything I wanted to before lunch and could have easily accomplished everything in the park before dinner.
Here’s how I did it:
How we put together our Animal Kingdom touring plans
When putting together our plan below for our day at Animal Kingdom, we used our guide on How to Tour Animal Kingdom (without waiting in lines).
There, you’ll find everything you need to create a touring plan for your day at Animal Kingdom, too, including a detailed breakdown of each attraction with insider tips on the most strategic times to ride.
In addition, there are user-friendly graphics that can be easily saved to your phone, providing you with the necessary information to make informed, real-time decisions throughout the park.
If you’re interested in comparing what a day at Animal Kingdom would be like with and without Genie+, read also about our experience on the same day Touring Animal Kingdom without Genie+.
During my Animal Kingdom visit, I was able to accomplish 10 rides/attractions before lunch time at 1 p.m. I didn’t continue touring after lunch, but believe that if I had I would have been able to do the rest of the items I wanted to do by about 5 p.m.
Here is a summary of what I was able to do:
- 8:18 – Na’vi River Journey
- 8:52 – DINOSAUR
- 9:04 – TriceraTop Spin
- 9:15 -🧞 Meet Mickey and Minnie at Adventurers Outpost
- 9:30 – Kali River Rapids
- 9:45 – Maharajah Jungle Trek
- 10:30 – Feathered Friends in Flight
- 11:02 -🧞 Kilimanjaro Safaris
- 12:00 -🧞 Festival of the Lion King
- 12:37 -⚡ Flight of Passage
- 1:00 – Lunch at Tusker House
If I had stayed after lunch, I would have tried to do these remaining items in this order:
- 2:30 Finding Nemo… The Big Blue… and Beyond!
- 3:00 🧞 Expedition Everest
- Wildlife Express Train to Rafiki’s Planet Watch
- 4:00 🧞 Animation Academy
- It’s Tough to be a Bug
Before We Left the Room
I started the day by buying Genie+ for myself. This is available to purchase starting at 12 a.m. on the day of your park visit. I was already asleep by then, so I bought it in the morning at 6:30 a.m.
Because we are staying on-site at Art of Animation, I was able to purchase an Individual Lightning Lane at 7 a.m. for Flight of Passage. There were plenty of return times when I was booking, so I had no issue getting a time that worked with my plans for the day. I chose a return time of 11:40 a.m. to 12:40 p.m. because I knew we had lunch at 1 p.m. nearby at Tusker House.
At 7 a.m., I was also able to make my first Genie+ selection. My first selection was Meet Favorite Disney Pals at Adventurers Outpost. This location is where you are able to meet Mickey and Minnie in their safari gear. I wanted this to be my first selection because it is often one of the first Genie+ selections to run out or have later return times. My return time was 9:10 a.m. to 10:10 a.m., which was perfect for my plans.
Getting to Animal Kingdom
On this day, Animal Kingdom opened at 9 a.m. with Early Theme Park Entry starting at 8:30 a.m. for on-site guests. Generally, we recommend that you get to the bus stop about an hour before park opening (or an hour before Early Theme Park Entry, in this case).
We arrived at the bus stop at 7:20 a.m. and there were about 15 people ahead of us. We were able to easily make it on the first bus of the day, however we would have been cutting it close if we had gotten there right at 7:30 a.m. Based on that, it may be better to arrive 90 minutes before park opening if you want to guarantee that you’ll be at the front of the bus line.
Our bus arrived at 7:30 a.m. and we were at Animal Kingdom by 7:45 a.m.. There were several people in line to get into the park at this time. Tapstiles were opened to guests to start entering the park at 8:03 a.m. All guests are able to enter through the tapstiles at that time, however only on-site resort guests will be able to move further into the park before 9:00 a.m.
After tapping into the park, on-site guests are directed left where their MagicBand will be scanned to verify that they are indeed on-site guests. Once scanned, I headed toward Pandora because my plan was to rope drop Na’vi River Journey. Pandora wasn’t quite open at this point, so everyone was held at the bridge that enters into Pandora, near Tiffins and Nomad Lounge.
Attraction 1: Na’vi River Journey
- Posted Wait: N/A (Early Theme Park Entry)
- Time entering line: 8:18
- Time boarding: 8:20
- Time exiting: 8:27
- Total Wait: 2 minutes (time it took to walk the queue)
Around 8:12 a.m., the line into Pandora started moving. The majority of people are headed to Flight of Passage in the mornings, so I was able to get to Na’vi River Journey with only a handful of people ahead of me in line. I was able to enter the line at 8:18 a.m. and boarded the ride immediately. I exited at 8:27 a.m., which is 3 minutes before Early Theme Park Entry officially starts.
Next, my plan was to head to Kilimanjaro Safaris. This attraction isn’t officially open for Early Theme Park Entry, however they often allow people on before official opening. I entered the line at 8:32 a.m. and the ride was open. However, there was an issue that was causing a pause in boarding when I got there. I waited for the issue to be resolved for about 10 minutes, but the line never moved. I decided to leave the line and head elsewhere because I didn’t want to lose the rest of my Early Theme Park Entry time.
Attraction 2: DINOSAUR
- Posted Wait: 5 minutes
- Time entering line: 8:52
- Time boarding: 8:56
- Time exiting: 9:01
- Total Wait: 4 minutes (time it took to walk the queue)
Normally, I would have headed to Expedition Everest, but it was down (and stayed that way until the afternoon). I instead went to DINOSAUR. I arrived at 8:52 a.m. and the posted wait time was 5 minutes. I was able to walk on with no wait at all and was off by 9:01 a.m.
On my walk to DINOSAUR, I was able to catch the Adventure Flotilla with Scrooge McDuck and Launchpad McQuack when I was crossing the bridge into DinoLand, U.S.A. This flotilla is scheduled throughout the day and times can be found in the My Disney Experience app.
Attraction 3: TriceraTop Spin
- Posted Wait: 5 minutes
- Time entering line: 9:04
- Time boarding: 9:07
- Time exiting: 9:10
- Total Wait: 3 minutes
- Notes: First thing in the morning, this attraction is often not busy. If there is no one or only a few people waiting, the Cast Members will often let guests stay on the attraction to repeat rides. This could be a good option for families that have part of their group riding a nearby attraction like Expedition Everest or DINOSAUR but have smaller children that aren’t able to ride those other rides.
Because I was already in the area, I hopped on TriceraTop Spin with no wait just a couple minutes after 9:00 a.m. This attraction rarely is busy, but that is especially true right at park open. This makes it a great option for little ones because you are often able to just stay on the attraction and ride repeatedly, as long as there continues to be no line.
Attraction 4: Meet Favorite Disney Pals at Adventurers Outpost
- Posted Wait: 20 minutes
- Time entering line: 9:15
- Time boarding: 9:25
- Time exiting: 9:27
- Total Wait: 10 minutes with Genie+
- Notes: This character meet has an automated PhotoPass machine instead of an actual photographer. The pictures that come from this are generally not that great. I would recommend asking the Cast Member to also use your phone to take photos/videos if you want to make sure you get a good shot.
By this point, it was time for my Genie+ selection to meet Mickey and Minnie. The posted wait time for standby guests at 9:15 a.m. was only 10 minutes, however Cast Members said the actual wait would most likely be closer to 20 minutes.
Using Genie+, I was able to get through the queue and meet them in just 12 minutes. After I tapped in here, I grabbed my next Genie+ selection for Kilimanjaro Safaris, since I wasn’t able to ride it after Na’vi River Journey like I had originally planned. My return time was for 10:50 a.m. to 11:50 a.m.
Attraction 5: Kali River Rapids
- Posted Wait: 5 minutes
- Time entering line: 9:30
- Time boarding: 9:35
- Time exiting: 9:42
- Total Wait: 7 minutes
- Notes: This attraction can get you very wet. If you have anything you don’t want to get wet, I would recommend using the free lockers offered just outside the entrance to the ride.
If Expedition Everest had come back up, I would have headed to ride this next. It was still down, though, so I went to Kali River Rapids which had a posted wait time of 5 minutes. This was exactly how long it took me to get on the attraction, and the entire 5 minutes was spent walking the queue. I was on a raft by myself and all of the rafts going out were mostly empty.
I will say, this attraction is not my favorite. I’m generally a fan of these types of attractions (river rapid raft rides), but this version is rather boring and you get soaked. I would only recommend if you really want to just get wet and cool down.
Attraction 6: Maharajah Jungle Trek
- Posted Wait: N/A
- Time entering trail: 9:47
- Time exiting: 10:00
- Total Experience Time: 13 minutes
- Notes: This trail has several animal exhibits, including the tigers. Would recommend doing this walk if you are interested in seeing them.
Right at the exit of Kali River Rapids is Maharajah Jungle Trek, so I spent about 15 minutes walking through this area. On this trail, you can see several animals including bats, tigers, water bison, and a variety of birds.
My favorite part of this was the bird enclosure because there were so many different types of birds to see, and they even provide a handy bird spotting guide to help you identify what is what.
Attraction 7: Feathered Friends in Flight
- Show start time: 10:30
- Time entering show: 10:20
- Show length: 30 minutes
- Time exiting: 10:58
Next up, I headed to Feathered Friends in Flight for the 10:30 a.m. show. I finished the Jungle Trek at 10:00 a.m. so I had a few minutes to get a snack and explore Asia on my way over to the show.
I ended up entering at 10:20 a.m. and was able to get a great seat near the front. The show itself starts at 10:30 a.m. and is 30 minutes long. It is cute and informative, plus it is in the shade so it can be a good place to take a break from the heat.
Attraction 8: Kilimanjaro Safaris
- Posted Wait: 65 minutes
- Time entering line: 11:02
- Time boarding: 11:08
- Time exiting: 11:32
- Total Wait: 6 minutes with Genie+
- Notes: Gorilla Falls Exploration Trail is at the exit of this attraction, if you’re interested in walking that trail.
Now it was time to try Kilimanjaro Safaris again, this time using Genie+. The standby line at 11:00 a.m. was 65 minutes and the line extended back to Dawa Bar.
However, using Genie+ I was able to board just 6 minutes after I entered the queue. After tapping in here, I snagged my next Genie+ selection for the 12 p.m. showing of the Festival of the Lion King.
Attraction 9: The Festival of the Lion King
- Show start time: 12:00
- Time entering show: 11:45
- Show length: 30 minutes
- Time exiting: 12:30
I exited the safari at around 11:30 a.m. and headed over to Festival of the Lion King. I entered the show via the Lightning Lane at 11:45 a.m. and had no issues getting a good seat.
There were several people in the standby line before 12 p.m. that were not able to make it into that showing, so if you are seeing the show without Genie+, I would recommend arriving around 30 minutes prior to showtime in order to have the best chance of getting into the show.
Attraction 10: Flight of Passage
- Posted Wait: 140 minutes
- Time entering line: 12:37
- Time boarding: 12:43 (first pre-show room)
- Time exiting: 12:56
- Total Wait: 6 minutes with Individual Lightning Lane
Festival of the Lion King is 30 minutes long, so when it got out at 12:30 p.m. I headed over to Flight of Passage to use my Individual Lightning Lane. The posted wait time for standby guests was a whopping 140 minutes.
With my Lightning Lane, I was able to get into the first pre-show room just 6 minutes after I entered the queue. This is one of my favorite attractions and I loved getting to ride it with such a short wait.
After all of that, it was time to head to our 1:00 p.m. dining reservation at Tusker House (read our review of that here). Before lunch, I was able to accomplish nearly all of the attractions and shows with the exception of these:
- It’s Tough to be a Bug
- Finding Nemo: The Big Blue… And Beyond!
- Expedition Everest (but only because it was down, and I could have easily fit this in earlier in the day if it had been operational)
- Rafiki’s Planet Watch and Animation Academy
How I would have spent the rest of the day
After eating at Tusker House, we decided to head back to the hotel to get some work done. However, if I was visiting for vacation, I would have stayed at the park and finished out the rest of the things I wanted to do there.
This could have been accomplished by 5 p.m. and then I probably would have gone back to the resort to enjoy the pool for awhile.
While at Tusker House, Expedition Everest finally came back up. There was a Genie+ selection available for 2:50 p.m. to 3:50 p.m., so I would have grabbed this and then headed to the 2:30 p.m. showing of Finding Nemo: The Big Blue… And Beyond!
That show is approximately 25 minutes and would be over around 2:55 p.m.. I would have then headed to Expedition Everest to use the Genie+ selection. After tapping in at Expedition Everest, I would have snagged a Genie+ selection for Animation Academy at 4:00 p.m.
After exiting Everest, I would have headed to the Wildlife Express Train to go to Rafiki’s Planet Watch to explore out there and then do the Animation Academy at 4:00 p.m.
I would have then ended my park day at It’s Tough to be a Bug back at the front of the park.
Overall, touring Animal Kingdom with Genie+ is pretty easy to do. If you’re on a budget and don’t want to buy Genie+ everyday, I would skip buying it at Animal Kingdom. If you’re interested in learning about how touring Animal Kingdom without Genie+ on this same day would have gone, you can read about that here.
One thing to note is that I would have handled things slightly differently if Kilimanjaro Safaris wasn’t down during Early Theme Park Entry and/or if Expedition Everest had been operational before early afternoon.
If Kilimanjaro Safaris was down like I experienced but Expedition Everest was up, I would have headed to Expedition Everest before going to DINOSAUR.
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