Walt Disney World announced that two additions will be made to the Genie+ lineup at Animal Kingdom, as the reimagined Finding Nemo Musical and Adventurers Outpost meet & greet will have Lightning Lanes once the attractions reopen. This post covers details about the duo joining the paid FastPass ride roster in Summer 2022 and commentary about the change.
A number of other changes have sought to serve the same end results, but have been less well-received. The most recent (but not the last!) of those initiatives was the announcement that Genie+ Ticket Add-On is Being Eliminated at Walt Disney World. We applauded this change as a net positive for guests, but most commenters disagreed (the good news is that you can still buy the add-on through June 8, for travel dates through the end of 2022).
As a reminder, the goal of all of this is to increase capacity or supply of Lightning Lanes and/or reduce guest demand for the service, thereby improving the overall experience. Before these rides were moved over to the Genie+ service, many readers complained of limited ride reservation availability. (Complaints are still common, but we have noticed overall Genie+ “dissatisfaction rates” have ticked down slightly.)
Walt Disney World has also sought to lower expectations by adding a ‘warning’ that “on average, guests can enter 2 to 3 attractions or experiences per day using the Lightning Lane entrance if the first selection is made early in the day.” (Read more in Genie+ Really is Paid FastPass+ at Walt Disney World.)
Against that backdrop, Walt Disney World announced that “Finding Nemo: The Big Blue…and Beyond!” will be added to Genie+ on June 13, 2022.
In case you missed it, this is the date that the reimagined Finding Nemo: The Musical reopens at Animal Kingdom. It’s not really a huge surprise that it’s joining the Genie+ Lightning Lane lineup, given that its predecessor was a FastPass+ selection choice.
Walt Disney World also revealed that “Meet Favorite Disney Pals at Adventurers Outpost” will join the Animal Kingdom Genie+ roster on June 19, 2022. (File photo from Tusker House above–but the costumes are the same idea.)
Unless I missed something, this is effectively the official announcement that the globetrotting couple’s meet & greet at Animal Kingdom is returning. I guess they’re back from their last grand expedition? Sure took long enough. Maybe they got trapped abroad when the border closures started? Either way, that meet & greet should be reopening this month–presumably on June 19, 2022.
Now, let’s turn to strategy and how Adventurers Outpost and Finding Nemo: The Musical joining Genie+ changes things at Animal Kingdom.
First, we’d recommend anyone visiting the parks during the busy summer season follow our Walt Disney World Itineraries. We’ve started updating these and will have them finished by next week.
Kali River Rapids will leapfrog Dinosaur, and the Adventurers Outpost meet & greet will likely edge out Dinosaur, too. Although meet & greets have seen their popularity recede slightly in the last couple of weeks, wait times remain elevated. With this being the prime character option in Animal Kingdom, it’ll likely command long lines during peak season.
The bigger wildcard here is “Finding Nemo: The Big Blue…and Beyond!”
While other stage shows have returned in modified form, this is the first to be reimagined into something different. Where it fits into the lineup depends on the number of daily performances and how well the changes are received with guests. Our expectation is that it’ll also pass Dinosaur in the rankings. Poor Dinosaur–if only guests had a greater appreciation for being thrashed around in the dark and seeing occasional dinosaur heads on sticks!
The other change here is that we might actually start recommending Genie+ at Animal Kingdom, for at least some guests.
Up until now, our advice has been to skip it entirely at Animal Kingdom, unless you’re Park Hopping and able to double-dip on using the service at two parks in one day. Although neither of these additions are headliners, their presence might tip the scales a bit. Maybe.
In all likelihood, we’ll instead continue to strongly encourage guests to either arrive early or stay late at Animal Kingdom. See our recent post: Animal Kingdom Afternoon Arrival Strategy. The same general principles apply when arriving during Early Entry–you essentially just reverse the order of attractions.
Strategy for Animal Kingdom shouldn’t materially change for Summer 2022. Adventurers Outpost will slot in late morning or late afternoon, as the case may be, and Finding Nemo: The Musical (Reimagined Edition) will fill in somewhere midday. The biggest consequence of the change will be in crowd dynamics–more guests will presumably stay later at Animal Kingdom if there’s more to do, ending the 2 pm mass exodus.
As a reminder, Animal Kingdom opens daily at 7:30 am or 7 am for Early Entry this summer. These significantly earlier opening times provide a huge advantage to early risers, and savvy strategy or advanced-level know-how with Genie+ and Lightning Lanes can be a gamechanger.
Ultimately, this could change the equation for purchasing Genie+ when visiting Animal Kingdom in Summer 2022…but probably not. While this will improve the value proposition of the paid FastPass service, neither of these additions are headliners that’ll command high wait times that will be difficult to bypass. To the contrary, Animal Kingdom should be the easiest park to strategize for and beat the crowds–it’ll just take a bit more time and effort.
Adding more Animal Kingdom attractions to the Genie+ lineup is another step in the right direction, but plenty of issues persist with the Genie system at Walt Disney World. Before we get carried away patting Walt Disney World on the back here, we should add the very important caveat that eligible attraction capacity is still too low at 3 of the 4 parks to sustain this system. That’s something that won’t be fixed unless the company announces a half dozen new attractions at the D23 Expo–don’t hold your breath on that one (even then, it would be another decade before they’d all be built and open).
If you have more unanswered questions, see our Guide to Genie+ at Walt Disney World & Lightning Lane FAQfor all of the foundational need-to-know info about this replacement for free FastPass+. This whole system is confusing and convoluted, so you might have a question or two-dozen. That answers all of the most common ones we’ve been receiving from readers.
What are your thoughts on Walt Disney World adding “Meet Favorite Disney Pals at Adventurers Outpost” and “Finding Nemo: The Big Blue…and Beyond!” to the Genie+ service at Animal Kingdom? Do these additions tip the scales in favor of buying Genie+ at DAK? Do you agree or disagree with my assessment? Any questions we can help you answer? Hearing your feedback–even when you disagree with us–is both interesting to us and helpful to other readers, so please share your thoughts below in the comments!