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You need an Epcot Fastpass+ strategy. It is essential and will make your day at Epcot go so much smoother than if you don’t have a Fastpass+ strategy!
It might be the most important park to have a Fastpass+ strategy for!
The Epcot Fastpass+ system isn’t as well designed as the other three Disney World parks. It is partially due to the lack of big attractions, but it still causes a problem for guests. If you don’t have an Epcot Fastpass+ strategy, you end up waiting in long lines for even the less popular attractions. The Epcot tier systems makes it nearly impossible to walk onto any attraction. They are being filled with Fastpass+ holders who just got a Fastpass+ because they had to use a tier two Fastpass+.
In my opinion, the Epcot Fastpass+ system needs an overhaul to cut down on the congestion at rides that shouldn’t have more than a 5-minutes wait.
Because of the congestion, it is essential to have an Epcot Fastpass+ strategy, book your Fastpass+ reservations as early as possible, and be strategic about how you ride the big attractions you weren’t able to get a Fastpass+ for.
PS- If you’re looking to learn about Fastpass+ strategies for the other Disney World parks, click this link! It takes you to my Disney World archive where you can find all my Disney World posts (and secret tips).
1. Understand the Epcot Tier System
Epcot Fastpass+ works on a two tier system.
You pick one tier 1 Fastpass+ and two tier 2 Fastpass+ selections.
All the top attractions are in tier 1, and it is a way to make sure more people get a Fastpass+ for the most popular attractions.
The less popular attractions are in tier 2.
Epcot Fastpass+ Tier 1 Attractions
- Frozen Ever After
- Soarin’ Around the World
- Test Track
- Character Spot
- Epcot Forever Nighttime Show
Epcot Fastpass+ Tier 2 Attractions
- Spaceship Earth
- Mission: SPACE
- Living with the Land
- Turtle Talk with Crush
- The Seas with Nemo and Friends
- Journey into Imagination with Figment
- Disney & Pixar Short Film Festival
Epcot Fastpass+ Strategy
It is quite difficult to choose what ride to get a tier 1 Fastpass+ for.
If you’re okay with using single rider (scroll to tip 3), then you essentially have to choose between Frozen Ever After and Soarin’ Around the World.
This is a very difficult decision if you have kids in your group. They probably want to ride both.
Frozen Ever After has a long line all day everyday. Soarin’ Around the World, on the other hand, has dips and peaks during the day. If you pay attention to the app (scroll to tip 7), you may only have to wait half an hour for Soarin’ Around the World.
In this scenario, Frozen Ever After should be your tier 1 Fastpass+ choice.
Spaceship Earth and Mission: SPACE are without a doubt the best tier 2 Epcot Fastpass+ choices.
They have the longest lines and are the best tier 2 attractions.
Epcot is one of the hardest parks to make Fastpass+ selections for. You need to think about what attractions you really want to ride and prioritize them.
2. Don’t Need to be at Epcot for Rope Drop
I’m a huge advocate for being at the parks right when they open for rope drop. You get so much done, and the lines are a fraction of what they are the rest of the day.
Epcot is the only park I don’t rope drop, and you should consider skipping it too!
The upside to rope dropping isn’t as high as at the other parks.
Everybody rushes to Test Track, Soarin’ Around the World, and Frozen Ever After. The lines get fairly long very quickly.
In every park, there are major attractions the guests flock to at rope drop, and the line starts to pile up pretty quickly. That’s normal.
The problem is that Epcot doesn’t have many (or really any) attractions outside of the three main ones that guests will go to instead of the main ones or after they ride a major attraction.
People run from one major attraction to the next with nothing to distract them in between.
The result is very long lines at every popular attraction within a very short period of time.
How quickly every attraction forms a long lines negates the benefits of dragging your butt out of bed super early to be at the park for rope drop. Within less than an hour of the park opening, wait times are pretty much where they’ll be for the rest of the day.
Use you Epcot park day to sleep in and catch up on some much deserved sleep!
3. Take Advantage of Test Track’s Single Rider Line
Test Track is the only Epcot attraction that offers a single rider line.
It is in your best interests to not get an Epcot Fastpass+ for Test Track and use the single rider line instead!
The single rider line is used to fill empty seats in a ride vehicle. This ensures the ride is operating at full capacity, and the line moves as quickly as possible.
Test Track has three seats per row, so it is the perfect ride to take advantage of the single rider option.
When a part of 2 or 4 gets to the front of the regular line, a person from the single rider line is used to fill the empty seat. Most people who visit Disney World come as a part of 2 or 4, so there are a lot of empty seats to be filled with single riders.
The Test Track single rider line moves quicker than any other single rider line in Disney World.
The single rider line moves significantly quicker than the regular line, and it is one of the best ways to save time at Epcot and still ride all the major attractions.
There was a time not too many years ago before most people knew about single rider lines where you could basically walk onto Test Track as a single without any wait!
Those times, unfortunately, are a thing of the past.
Test Track’s single rider line is quite popular, and you are probably still going to have to wait in line. But the wait is still much short than the normal line.
On average, the single rider lines takes about a third of the time as the regular line.
You still have to wait, but it is a much shorter wait.
Bonus Secret Test Track Single Rider Tip
I’m going to tell you my super secret strategy for Test Track single rider line, but only if you promise to keep it between you and me!
There is a portion of the single rider (and regular) line where you can make your own car to race.
It takes a long time to design your car, and you’re forced to stay in that area for the allotted time if you’re in the regular line.
But you can skip that area and continue to the next portion of the line if you’re in the single rider line.
You don’t have to design a car if you don’t want to. If you want to design a car, then by all means stay in that area for as long as you need before you have the perfect car.
But if you’re like me and don’t give a hoot about designing a car and just want to ride Test Track, just keep walking when you get to that area.
You’ll go into another hallway and join up with the rest of the single riders.
Not designing a car is a huge time saver!
Skipping this portion of the line cuts down on your wait time even more and allows you to get even more done at Epcot.
4. Frozen Ever After Opens Before World Showcase
World Showcase doesn’t open until 11am, but Frozen Ever After opens as soon as the park does.
You don’t have to wait until World Showcase opens to ride Frozen Ever After!
There are signs at the entrance of World Showcase saying it isn’t open yet, but you’re free to walk to the Norway Pavilion to ride Frozen Ever After.
None of the stores or restaurants (excluding Les Halles in France) are open, and you’re not supposed to stop for photo ops and the such.
Essentially, Disney wants you to walk to Frozen Ever After and not stop for anything else on the way there.
The quickest way to Norway is by entering World Showcase at the Mexico Pavilion.
If you arrive at Epcot at the International Gateway, you’ll have longer to walk, but it is quickest to turn right towards France and walk to Norway that way.
5. Don’t Forget About Attractions Inside World Showcase Pavilions
World Showcase has some of the most underrated and least busy rides.
A lot of people don’t know they exist, and they’re missing out!
Mexico has the best World Showcase ride. The Grand Fiesta Tour is a slow boat ride that takes you on a journey through Latin America with the Three Caballeros.
It is adorable, never has a line, and severely underrated.
France, China, and Canada all have short movies that run continuously. They’re a great way to get out of the heat and experience something new.
I’d been to Epcot about a dozen times before I watched any of the films. That was a big mistake, and I watch at least one every time I’m at Epcot now.
Taking the time to experience the attractions inside Mexico, France, China, and Canada is a great way to get more out of your Epcot day.
You feel more accomplished, see a side of Epcot lots of people miss, and learn something new along the way!
6. Even the Least Popular Attractions Have Lines
The Epcot Fastpass+ tier system has its pros and cons. It gives more people the ability to ride the most popular attractions by making it impossible for someone to get a Fastpass+ for them all.
Without a doubt the worst thing to come out of the Epcot Fastpass+ tier system is every single attractions is busy now.
It wasn’t many years ago that Spaceship Earth never had a wait longer than 5 or 10 minutes. You could show up at basically any time of day and ride it within minutes.
Now, thanks to the Epcot Fastpass+ tiers, you’re lucky if Spaceship Earth has a wait time until 30 minutes.
You have to select two tier 2 Fastpass+ options, so every ride has a long wait now with the Fastpass+ line being prioritized.
Even Living with the Land can get to a 30 minute wait now. That should never be the case.
It is frustrating, and it can really put a damper on your day.
There aren’t many attractions at Epcot, so people flock to the few choices they have.
Disney is trying to rectify this, and they’re building more high-profile attractions in Epcot. This issue should be solved in the coming years, but, for now, be aware you have to wait longer than you should have to for nearly every attraction.
7. The App is Your Best Friend
The Disney World app is an essential part of having a good day at Epcot.
Your Epcot Fastpass+ selections are on the app. You can view them, change them, and make your bonus Epcot Fastpass+ selection right on the app.
It tells you real-time wait times for every attraction. You can easily see which rides have a long wait and which ones are quieter. This helps you strategically decide what to do next and not waste your time walking to one ride only to find out it has too long of a wait.
One of my favourite features is you can see what characters are meeting guests and where.
Epcot has some of the best character meet and greets, so it is important to know when they meet guests. They often only meet for about 20 minutes, so you don’t want to miss your window of opportunity.
This post is about Epcot Fastpass+ tips, and this one may not seem directly related to Fastpass+, but it is.
The Disney World app makes your entire day go smoother. It helps you with scheduling, remembering when your next Epcot Fastpass+ reservation is, and it even helps you plan your food.
Dining reservations can be made on the app, and you can see the menu for quick service restaurants on the app. You don’t have to wander around to each pavilion to see what you might like to eat.
It is all on the app!
Download it before you arrive at Disney World, and you’ll be thanking me later!
Make Sure You’re Being Internet Safe!
Disney World offers guests complimentary wifi in the parks.
This is amazing and helps you stay connected during the day.
It also leaves you exposed to having your online data stolen.
Disney World wifi is a public wifi network, and it doesn’t have any passwords.
This means anybody can access it for any reason. Including using it to steal online information.
The only way to protect your online data, privacy, and security is to install a VPN on your phone.
A VPN makes it so even a public wifi system as safe as your home wifi where only you know the password.
Nobody is able to spy on your online activity, and nobody is able to steal your online data.
A VPN costs less than the price of one Starbucks drink a month, and you can protect up to six devices on one account.
There is no excuse not to protect your online safety at Disney World with a VPN!
8. Character Spot is the Perfect Bonus Epcot Fastpass+
Character Spot used to be a tier 2 attraction, but it moved to tier 1 in 2019.
That move took away one of the best Epcot tier 2 attractions. Disney moved Character Spot into tier 1 to try to disperse the number of people using their tier 1 Fastpass+ for Frozen Ever After, Test Track, and Soarin’ Around the World.
It didn’t work as well as they hoped, and it has resulted in very few people choosing Character Spot at their tier 1 Epcot Fastpass+.
Character Spot isn’t worth using your tier 1 Fastpass+ on!
It is, however, the perfect use of your bonus fourth Epcot Fastpass+!
Your chances of getting a same-day Fastpass+ for Character Spot is really high. You may not be able to get one on the busiest days of the year (Christmas, New Years, Spring Break, etc.). If you’re at Epcot on an average day, your chances of getting a Character Spot Fastpass+ mid-day is pretty high.
I always use my bonus fourth Epcot Fastpass+ at Character Spot.
The lines at Character Spot are normally extremely long and slow. It is crowded and uncomfortable, so I avoid the regular line at all costs.
Having a Fastpass+ makes the entire experience so much more enjoyable.
It is still cramped and crowded, but you get through it so much quicker.
One of the best parts of Character Spot is that you get to meet Mickey, Minnie, and Goofy back to back to back. You knock three popular characters out with one line, and it is a great use of your time.
I highly suggest you use your bonus Epcot Fastpass+ at Character Spot and then maybe the nighttime show if there are still availability once you’re done at Character Spot.
What the Heck is a Bonus Epcot Fastpass+?
If you don’t know what a bonus Fastpass+ is, you’re probably a bit confused right about now.
Every Disney World guest is allowed to make three Fastpass+ reservations for every day they have a park ticket.
Guests staying at a Disney hotel can make their Fastpass+ reservations 60 days before their arrival. Guests staying off-property are able to make their reservations 30 days in advance.
After you use your first three pre-reserved Fastpass+ selections, you can make additional Fastpass+ reservations the same day you’re in the park.
You can make your bonus Fastpass+ selections for any park, but you can only make them one at a time. Once you use your fourth Fastpass+, you can make a fifth. And so on and so forth.
I always recommend you make your original three Fastpass+ reservations for earlier in the day. Ideally, your last Fastpass+ reservation will be before 2pm.
This gives you the best opportunity to get a good bonus Fastpass+ on the day you’re in the park.
It is nearly impossible to get a same day Epcot Fastpass+ for Test Track, Frozen Ever After, or Soarin’ Around the World. Those are booked well in advance, and most people don’t give them up.
Character Spot is a different story.
It is the least popular Epcot tier 1 attraction, so it is your best choice when it is time to get your bonus Fastpass+.
9. Visit World Showcase During Peak Hours
World Showcase is the best place to go when the attraction lines get long in the middle of the day.
One of the best parts about World Showcase is that it is a move at your own pace attraction.
You can take as long in each pavilion as you want, and there are no lines (except for possible lines for food items).
I like visiting World Showcase mid-afternoon.
That is when the traditional attractions have the longest lines, and World Showcase tends to be quietest because most of the guests are in line for attractions and Orlando locals haven’t arrived at the park yet.
There are lots of stores to duck into when you need a break from the heat. And lots of places to grab a drink or snack as you’re exploring.
It takes a couple of hours to walk through World Showcase if you explore all the pavilions. The best strategy is to start at one end and make your way around.
There is actually quite the debate within the Disney community about whether starting at Mexico or Canada is better.
I’m team Mexico.
Let me know in the comments below whether you’re team Mexico or team Canada!
10. Extra Magic Hours are a Waste of Time
This pains me to say because I’m a huge fan of Extra Magic Hours.
Extra Magic Hours at Epcot aren’t worth your time.
The same logic applies for morning Extra Magic Hours as with rope drop. The lines fill up too quickly, and you don’t get much of an advantage from Early Morning Magic Hours.
Late Night Extra Magic Hours are even worse!
There is such a bottle neck of regular guests clogging the queue for the most popular attractions that most Extra Magic Hour guests go to the less popular attractions first.
This means the less popular (but still great) attractions end up having a fairly long line. You’re not benefiting from that much either!
I haven’t been to an Epcot Extra Magic Hours event since 2018. I stayed for less than an hour and left because the lines were too long.
Extra Magic Hours are supposed to benefit the guests, but the structure of Epcot doesn’t make it easy for guests to take advantage of them.
You expect the most popular rides to have a decently long wait at any Extra Magic Hours event, but you can normally get a lot of the less popular attractions done in a short amount of time.
Not at Epcot unfortunately.
Sleep in, go back to the hotel, or visit Disney Springs.
I personally don’t see the value in Epcot Extra Magic Hours.
You Lost Me Again. What are Extra Magic Hours?
Extra Magic Hours are a lovely little benefit guest staying at Disney hotels get.
Everyday one park has Extra Magic Hours. The park either opens an hour early for Disney hotel guests or stays open to hotel guests two hours after park close.
Normally it is a great way to ride the most popular attractions with a shorter wait time.
Early Morning Extra Magic Hours are the best. There are hardly any lines, and you get so much done.
The night time Extra Magic Hours are less desirable. More people are willing to stay in a park late than get up early, and they’re much busier.
The wait times are longer, and you don’t get as much done.
You find the parks that have Extra Magic Hours on any given day by visiting the Disney World park calendar. There is also a printout of the park hours in the your hotel room, and it includes Extra Magic Hours.
Whew. There is a lot you need to know to maximize your Epcot Fastpass+ selections.
It can be a difficult park to navigate, but now that you know these 10 tips, you’re a pro!
If you take advantage of Test Track’s single rider line, World Showcase attractions, and your bonus Fastpass+, you’ll see and more at Epcot than you ever thought possible.
Epcot is often thought of as a boring, educational park, but it is so much more than that!
It has amazing attractions, amazing food, amazing characters, and it is a great place to learn something new.
Epcot is my favourite Disney World park, and I hope you fall in love with it too!
Oh, and if you’re at the Germany pavilion, be sure to have a bit of caramel popcorn for me!