9 Secret Epcot Tips & Tricks for a Magical Day!

Epcot is my favourite Disney World park and has been since I was a child. I’ve learnt so many secret Epcot tips in my time, and I’m spilling them all today!

Epcot has a bit of a reputation of being the adult park, but Disney is working hard to create a more family friendly park and draw more kids and parents to it.

And with the push to bring more families to the park, Epcot is busier than ever.

You need to know the Epcot tips and tricks on this list to maximize your time in the park.

These Epcot tips save you money, time, and steer you towards some hidden truths about the park.

It is your one-stop guide to conquering Epcot and having a Magical Day!

1. No Need to be at the Park for Rope Drop

If you’ve read any of my other Disney World guides, you know I love rope drop and tell you to get up early for rope drop as much as possible.

Epcot is the only Disney World park where being at the park for rope drop is not necessary.

Let your Epcot day be your sleep in day!

I suggest arriving at the park between 10am and 11am. There will be lines at the most popular attractions, but that is what Fastpass+ is for!

The World Showcase doesn’t open until 11am, so if you’re at the park for rope drop, you kind of run out of things to do once you’ve ridden Frozen Ever After, Soarin’, and Test Track.

So, my suggestion is to either sleep in on your Epcot park day or hit up another park for their rope drop and head over to Epcot mid-morning.

I suggest visiting either Magic Kingdom or Hollywood Studios, so you can use the monorail or Skyliner to quickly hop over to Epcot.

Spaceship Earth Epcot

2. Be Internet Safe

This is an unconventional Epcot tip, but it may be the most important one on the list!

You need to be internet safe when you’re at any Disney World park or hotel.

You’re hooked into a public wifi network that thousands of other people are connected to as well.

That puts you at risk of having your online personal information and data stolen.

99.9% of the people who connect to Disney wifi are using it in the same way you are, but it only takes one person who is interested in hacking phones and stealing personal data to ruin your day.

How awful would it be to find out your credit card information was stolen while you’re at Disney and have to deal with calling the bank and cancelling all your cards?!?!

The only way you can protect your personal online information and data is by installing a VPN on your devices.

A VPN essentially puts an invisible forcefield around your devices that hackers can’t get through.

It makes using public wifi as safe as using your home wifi where you’re the only person who knows the password.

My Favourite VPN

I’ve used a lot of different VPNs over my years of travel.

And hated every single one until I discovered NordVPN.

It is the quickest VPN on the market, which is why I love it so much!

I’ve personally used NordVPN for over three years now!

Not only is NordVPN super fast, but it is also very affordable!

The price per month on a two-year plan is less than the price of a single latte at Starbucks!

There isn’t an excuse for not protecting your online data while travelling. It is just an unnecessary risk you don’t need to take!

My philosophy is that if you can afford to travel, you can afford to protect your online privacy by installing a VPN on your devices!

3. France and Norway Open Earlier than the Rest of the World Showcase

Okay. I’ll admit that this headline is a bit misleading.

Not everything in Norway and France is open before 11am when the World Showcase opens, but the most important stuff is!

If you’re unfamiliar with how the opening of Epcot works, the World Showcase opens at 11am, and the other parts of the park open earlier in the morning.

The exact opening time depends on the day, so be sure to check your times guide or the Disney World website!

There are two exceptions to this 11am opening rule though:

  • Frozen Ever After in Norway and
  • Les Halles Bakery in France

Both of these locations open at the same time Future World and the non-World Showcase parts of the park opens.

This means you can get in line for Frozen Ever After as soon as you enter the park or grab a lovely French breakfast before starting your day.

Technically, you’re supposed to head straight to either Frozen Ever After or Les Halles because the rest of the World Showcase isn’t open.

But I wouldn’t judge you if you stopped to take a few photos of the World Showcase while it is empty!

Epcot

4. Hit Up Garden Grill for Breakfast

This may seem like the oddest of all the Epcot tips on this list but hear me out!

Garden Grill is a restaurant in The Land Pavilion that offers character dining.

You get to hang out with Mickey, Pluto, Chip, and Dale.

It is super fun and cute.

But that’s not the best part!

The best part is that the food is fantastic and every time I’ve been there for lunch, it has been super quiet.

I’m talking maybe ten tables in the entire restaurant were filled!

This gives you more time to interact with the characters, and you get to see each character more than once during your meal.

You never feel rushed, and you can enjoy your meal in relative peace and quiet.

If you’ve ever done character dining before, you know that it tends to be a loud and chaotic scene!

As I mentioned, the food is delicious!

You get all the classics: Mickey waffles, potatoes, bacon, sausage, and so on.

But the star of the show is without a doubt the cinnamon pull aparts! You’ve been warned that they are highly addictive!

The food is served family style, which means it is brought to your table, so you don’t have to get up and deal with a buffet.

You can get refills on whatever food you want and eat as much as you want!

It is by far my favourite character dining experience in Epcot and one of my favourites in all of Disney World!

Oh! And the fresh fruit and vegetables are all grown in the greenhouse in The Land Pavilion!

Pluto Garden Grill

5. Set a Budget and Stick to It

This and being internet safe are probably the two most important Epcot tips on this list.

If you’re only paying attention to a few of my Epcot tips, let this be one of them!

It is so easy to spend a lot of money at Epcot without realizing it.

A snack here, a festival treat there, doesn’t seem like much, but you’ll be shocked when you look at your credit card statement the next day!

If there is any park where you really need to set a budget and stick to it, it is Epcot.

Especially if you’re sampling a bunch of festival food!

One of the best ways to stick to your budget is pre-load a certain amount of money onto a Disney gift card and just use that while you’re at Epcot.

Don’t pull out your credit card or tap your Magic Band at all! Just rely on your pre-loaded gift card.

This will force you to stick to your budget!

Once the money on your gift card is gone, you’re done spending for the day.

You don’t want to get yourself in a financial hole because you weren’t paying attention and went way over budget having too much fun at Epcot!

6. Anna and Elsa Normally Have a Short Wait Time

This is probably the most secret and hidden of all the Epcot tips on this list!

Anna and Elsa are hugely popular characters and everybody wants to meet them!

They hang out in the Norway Pavilion right next to the Frozen Ever After ride.

Makes sense!

The posted time at the entrance normally says between 30 and 60 minutes.

Every time I’ve jumped in line, I’ve gotten to meet Anna and Elsa in about 10 minutes!

So fast!

Now, I can’t guarantee that you’ll have the same luck I’ve had.

But, from my experience, the wait time posted at the entrance is quite a bit longer than the actual wait time.

If you don’t like lines and are hesitant about waiting 30 or so minutes, I suggest jumping in line.

It may be a quick wait, and if it isn’t, you can always leave the line and get on with your day.

The one time I don’t suggest you take this risk is if you have to hurry for a Fastpass+ reservation.

It isn’t worth the risk of missing out on a ride!

But, if you have some free time, hop in that line because you might be amazed at how quickly you get to meet the iconic ladies of the Frozen franchise.

Everything you need to know about meeting characters at Epcot

Epcot

7. Pass on the Night Show Fastpass+

I’m never not shocked that the evening firework show at Epcot is considered a first tier Fastpass+ option!

The nighttime firework show at Epcot is good, but it isn’t worth spending your one and only tier one Fastpass+ on.

I always suggest you use your tier one Fastpass+ on Soarin’, Frozen Ever After, or Test Track.

After you use your first three pre-booked Fastpass+ options, then go into the app and get a Fastpass+ for the nighttime show.

That is what I think is the best Fastpass+ strategy in Epcot.

I’ve never been at Epcot and not been able to get a same-day Fastpass+ for the nighttime show.

If you’ve visiting during the busiest times of the year (e.g. 4th of July), this strategy probably won’t work, but it will work 99% of the time.

Read my full Epcot Fastpass+ strategy

8. Indulge in at Least One Table Service Restaurant

The food choices at Epcot can be overwhelming.

To put it lightly!

Between the food booth at festivals, all the quick service dining, and the table service restaurants, it is hard to decide what to eat.

One of the best Epcot tips I can give you is to eat at least one meal at a table service restaurant.

Preferably in the World Showcase.

The food is always outstanding, and it just doesn’t seem right to go to Epcot and not have a nice sit down meal.

Reservations go quickly so be sure to book your reservation 180 days in advance. Or as close to that as possible.

My personal favourite table service restaurant at Epcot is Teppan Edo. It is incredible!

9. Make Time to Explore the Festivals

Last but not least on the list of Epcot tips and tricks is to dedicate time to explore whatever festival is on while you’re at Epcot.

Because chances are pretty good that you’ll be there during a festival!

The festivals at Epcot are so much fun! They really increase the atmosphere of the park, and it would be a shame if you didn’t get to explore all they have to offer!

So, be sure to allocate some of your park day to exploring the festival.

Take in the food, entertainment, and shopping experiences.

It is well worth not rushing through the park and experiencing the festivals. It is always a new experience even if you’ve been to the same festival in years past.

Flower and Garden Festival

Tips for the Perfect Solo Disney Trip

Conclusion

Whew!

There are my top Epcot tips and tricks to help you plan the most magical day in the park.

There is so much to do at Epcot, and it is by no means only an adult park anymore. You’ll fall in love with the park no matter how old or young you are!

I hope the Epcot tips on this list give you a better idea of what to expect on your next trip to Epcot.

And potentially save you some money! We all know how expensive Disney can be.

If you were on the fence about visiting Epcot, I hope this post swayed you to give the park a try.

It is unlike any other theme park in the world, and I personally don’t think any trip to Disney World is complete without exploring Epcot.

10 Epic Tips for Meeting Epcot Characters

Epcot characters are some of the most fun to meet in all of Disney World. There are tons of rare characters hanging out at Epcot, and you never know who you’ll stumble on.

If you love meeting less common characters or characters in special outfits, Epcot is the place for you!

Meeting Epcot characters is a bit trickier than meeting characters at other Disney parks. Many characters are in obscure locations, only greeting guests for 30 minutes at a time, and the majority of Epcot characters offer a Fastpass+ option.

Add all those factors together, and you can clearly see you need a strategy for meeting Epcot characters.

Otherwise, you’ll waste a lot of time chasing down characters and probably missing them by a few moments. You don’t want the disappointment of not meeting your favourite Epcot characters because you weren’t prepared and didn’t have a plan!

But worry not!

You’ll be an Epcot character expert by the end of this post!

You’ll know all the tips and tricks, and you’ll be able to meet every Epcot character on your list (and possibly more)!

PS- Check out my post about meeting Magic Kingdom characters to learn how to meet a few super rare characters in that park!

1. Don’t Neglect the Characters at Epcot’s Entrance

Most people enter Epcot and rush straight to Soarin’ or Frozen Ever After. They power walk through the entrance and past Spaceship Earth without looking around them.

That is a huge mistake because they miss one of the best and quietest opportunities to meet Epcot characters.

Basically any time of day you can mind a couple of characters meeting with guests at the entrance of Epcot.

Normally, Daisy is meeting guests on the right-hand side of the entrance and Pluto is meeting guests on the left-hand side.

The characters can change, but Daisy and Pluto are the most common characters meeting guests at the entrance to Epcot.

They can be a bit difficult to see at times- especially if you don’t know to look for them!

They’re tucked away almost in a corner on the sides of the walkway leading to Spaceship Earth.

There normally isn’t a line, so you can’t even use that as a tip-off that characters are meeting with guests.

You should definitely keep an eye out for the characters at Epcot’s entrance though! There is hardly ever a line, so you can get in and out with a great photo and new memory in just a few minutes.

Seriously!

A lot of the time it takes less than five minutes to meet the characters meeting at the front of Epcot.

It is one of the best places to meet Epcot characters because there is little to no line and doesn’t set you too far back time wise!

Spaceship Earth Epcot

2. Character Spot is the Perfect Choice for Your Bonus Fastpass+

Character Spot is one of my favourite places to meet Epcot characters. You meet Mickey, Minnie, and Goofy all in one spot.

It is great fun, and the perfect way to knock a bunch of characters off your list really quickly.

There are two major problems with Character Spot though:

  • It is extremely popular and normally has at least a 45-minute line
  • It is considered a tier one attraction and is so not worth using your only tier one Fastpass+ selection on

That is where the bonus Fastpass+ comes in!

If you don’t know what I mean by a bonus Fastpass+, check out this article on the Epcot Fastpass+ system. It goes in depth about what a bonus Fastpass+ is and how to maximize it.

The sparks note version of the bonus Fastpass+ is that you can make a same-day Fastpass+ reservation after you used your original three pre-selected Epcot Fastpass+ selections.

Character Spot is the perfect attraction to use your bonus Fastpass+ on because it always has a line and 9 times out of 10 you’re able to snag a same-day Fastpass+ for Character Spot.

You get to meet the Mickey, Minnie, and Goofy at Character Spot without the long wait and without using your Epcot tier one Fastpass+ on it.

It is the best of both worlds and one of my favourite Epcot character hacks!

Mickey at Character Spot

3. Characters Meet Behind the Tea Caddy in the England Pavilion

I have a bit of an embarrassing confession to make! The first time I wanted to meet Mary Poppins in the England pavilion, I almost missed out because I couldn’t figure out where she was meeting guests!

The sign showing when Alice and Mary Poppins are meeting guests is at the front of the Tea Caddy near the garden.

I assumed that since that is where the sign was, that is where they would be meeting guests.

So I got to the tea garden early hoping to be near the front of the line and waited and waited and waited.

Nobody else showed up for the meet and greet- including Mary Poppins!

This led me to wander around the Tea Caddy in search of Mary Poppins. Turns out the characters meet behind the Tea Caddy and not in the tea garden near the sign!

It was a silly mistake, but I wouldn’t be surprise to learn that a lot of other people have made the same one!

Learn from my mistake and go to the back of the Tea Caddy for the character meet and greets in the England pavilion.

It would be awful to miss out on meeting such amazing and rare characters just because you were waiting in the wrong place!

So close yet so far.

PS- Be sure to check out this post if you’re planning a solo Disney trip. It has some great tips for interacting with characters when you’re on your own.

Mary Poppins Epcot

4. Plan to Meet Elsa and Anna in the Early Afternoon

I don’t have an explanation for it, but the line to meet Elsa and Anna is normally significantly shorter between 12pm and 2pm.

It may be because people are eating lunch or it is a popular time to schedule a Fastpass+, but whatever the reason, it is awesome!

I’ve used this trick three times, and I’ve never had to wait more than 10 minutes to meet Elsa and Anna.

The posted wait time was around 30 to 40 minutes each time I used this trick, but the actual wait time was nowhere near the posted wait time.

It may be a bit of a gamble to hop in line when there is a 30-minute wait time posted because it might be accurate.

Always make sure you have enough time in your schedule to wait the entire posted time just in case it is accurate.

I can’t guarantee that you will have a short wait time to meet Elsa and Anna between 12pm and 2pm, but, in my experience, it is the best time of day to meet the ladies of Frozen.

Meeting Anna at Epcot

5. The Disney World App is Your Best Friend

Most people don’t use the Disney World app to its full potential. They use it to check wait times, and that’s it.

There is so much more you can do inside the Disney World app including tracking down Epcot characters.

The Disney World app has an entire section dedicated to characters. You can filter it to just show Epcot characters, and it is a game changer!

It shows you everything you need to know to plan and strategize about meeting Epcot characters.

The app shows you where different characters meet with guests and when they meet with guests.

It is essential to know when and where Epcot characters are meeting. Most of the characters that meet guests in World Showcase only meet a couple times per day and for a limited amount of time.

You need to know when and where your favourite character is meeting guests, so you don’t miss them!

The app gives you so much more information than the paper park guide does. Download the app before you arrive at Disney World. It makes your trip goes so much smoother and saves you a lot of time.

But the app does have its downsides.

It doesn’t tell you where and when every Epcot character is meeting.

The app doesn’t tell you about the characters that roam around the park or greet guests in the super secret location (see tip seven to learn where that is!).

But, all things considered, the app is an essential addition to your Disney World trip and is one of the best resources to use if you plan on meeting characters at Epcot.

China Pavillion Epcot

Let’s Talk Internet Safety (because you’re probably not as safe as you think)

Disney offers guests complimentary wifi all across Disney property. Some of their buses even offer wifi now!

This is amazing.

Being able to connect to the internet and access the Disney World app (and social media) is essential.

But you are putting yourself at increase risk when using Disney’s complimentary wifi.

It is a public wifi network that tens of thousands of people access each and every day.

Most people use it for nothing but personal use, but there is a small percentage of people who are using the wifi to try to steal your online information.

It is shockingly easy to access and steal personal information when you’re logged into a public wifi system.

You can easily have your banking and other personal information stolen.

Nothing will dampen the Disney magic more than having to deal with your bank and locking all your cards because your banking information was compromised.

The only way you can effectively protect yourself from hackers is by installing a VPN on your phone and other devices.

It puts a private shield around your devices that makes it impossible for a hacker to access your online data.

A VPN makes public internet as safe and secure as your wifi at home where you’re the only one who knows the password.

You can protect up to six devices with one NordVPN subscription. I’ve been using their VPN for years and am nothing but happy with the product.

NordVPN often runs sales where you can save 68% off your two-year subscription, so you have no excuse not to protect your personal online information!

Seriously! What are you waiting for? Head over to NordVPN right now and start protecting your devices before you get to Disney World and leaving yourself vulnerable by using their complimentary wifi.

6. Character Dining is a Great Option

Character dining can be hit or miss, but the character dining at Epcot is some of the best in Disney World.

There are two character dining options at Epcot: Garden Grill and Akershus Royal Banquet Hall.

You get to meet Mickey and friends at Garden Grill and the princesses at Akershus Royal Banquet Hall.

They both offer breakfast, lunch, and dinner, but they are quite different.

Garden Grill is a family-style restaurant where a platter of food is brought to your table. You share the food with your group and can get seconds (thirds or fourths) of any food item you run out of.

Akershus Royal Banquet Hall is a traditional buffet where you get up, go to the buffet to fill your plate, and return to your table.

The family-style service of Garden Grill is much better in my opinion. You don’t have to time when you go to get food based on how near or far the characters are from your table. It is also a much more relaxing experience because you don’t have to stand in line for food or interact with the other guests dining at the restaurant.

I think Garden Grill is the best character dining option at Epcot. The food is better and it is a more relaxed experience.

But if you have a princess lover in your group, Akershus Royal Banquet Hall is the place to go!

It is a significantly less expensive princess dining meal than Cinderella’s Royal Table. You still meet the princesses in a castle like at Cinderella’s Royal Table, but the cost is more reasonable and more people can afford the experience.

No matter what Epcot character dining meal you choose, it is a great experience. You won’t regret it!

Pluto Garden Grill

7. The Top Secret Place to Meet Rare Characters

Between the Canada and United Kingdom pavilions is the World Showcase Events Pavilion.

Hardly anybody visits that pavilion, but you should always take a peak down the walkway when you’re passing by.

The walkway to the World Showcase Events Pavilions is the best place in Epcot to meet rare characters.

Characters that you hardly ever seen anywhere else in Disney World like King Louise from The Jungle Book and the penguins from Mary Poppins!

You truly never know who you’ll run into, and you don’t want to miss out on anybody who meets in this walkway.

It is a treasure trove of joy for people who love meeting Disney characters!

Disney uses the walkway to the World Showcase Events Pavilion as a way to train new cast member or test out new costumes. It is super quiet and the perfect place for new cast members to get the hang of interacting with guests without being overwhelmed.

If you’re super lucky you might even catch Jack and Sally training before Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party!

They don’t come out very often, but they’re out there a couple of days every summer.

The Epcot characters meeting along the walkway aren’t listed on the Disney app and don’t have a set time schedule.

You never know who will show up when, but please promise me you’ll stop if you ever see characters meeting there!

They’re some of the best character experiences you can have at Epcot and shouldn’t be missed!

King Louis at Epcot

8. World Showcase Characters Meet for a Very Short Period of Time

World Showcase is where you can meet some of the best Epcot characters, but it can be fairly difficult to be there at the right time if you don’t have a plan.

Characters like Aurora, Snow White, Belle, Mary Poppins, and Alice all meet in World Showcase pavilions but only for about 20 minutes at a time.

And only meet guests three to fives times a day!

That means you really have to have a plan and know what time characters are meeting in World Showcase.

Additionally, because these highly popular Epcot characters only meet for such a limited amount of time, people start lining up way in advance.

This is especially true for Snow White. I’ve seen people start lining up 45 minutes before she was scheduled to meet guests.

She’s the most popular World Showcase character, but people start lining up about 15 minutes before the scheduled meeting time.

Be prepared to show up a little early if you want to meet any of the World Showcase characters.

They aren’t out for long, but they’re well worth the effort to meet!

Epcot characters

9. Joy and Sadness and Baymax are Quietist in the Morning

Epcot is the only Disney World park where you can meet Joy and Sadness from Inside Out and Baymax from Big Hero 6.

If you’re a fan of these characters and want to meet them, the best time of day is in the morning.

Most people rush to the popular Epcot attractions like Soarin’ and Frozen Ever After and never give meeting these Epcot characters a second thought.

Don’t be that person!

There isn’t a Fastpass+ option for either Joy and Sadness or Baymax, and the lines can get painfully long.

They also move incredibly slow, so the entire waiting experience is dreadful (at best). The line can look short, but it can be deceiving. I jumped in a short(ish) line to meet Joy and Sadness one afternoon, and it took over 45 minutes.

It was painful, and there were so many better things you can do with your time!

However, if you take the time to meet these Epcot characters in the morning, you will have a significantly shorter line to contend with.

It doesn’t have to be first thing in the morning. Getting there at 10 or 11 works just fine!

Joy and Sadness and Baymax are neighbours, so you can quickly meet them back to back!

Joy, Sadness, and Baymax are some of the most fun Epcot characters to meet! I highly recommend you add meeting them to your Epcot itinerary!

Joy and Sadness Epcot

10. A Lot of Characters Don’t Have Photopass Photographers

Some Epcot characters- especially characters that meet in World Showcase pavilions- don’t have photopass photographers accompanying them.

It is unfortunate, but it is a fact of life.

You never really know who will and won’t have a photographer with them.

Sometimes Mary Poppins has a photographer and sometimes she doesn’t. The same can be said for basically every other World Showcase character.

Jasmine and Aladdin and Elsa and Anna are the only World Showcase characters that are guaranteed to have a photopass photographer with them.

But fret not!

Every character has a character attendant with them.

In addition to managing the line and helping the character with anything they need, the character attendant is more than happy to take a photo of you and the character on your personal camera or phone.

They might not have the same photography skills as a photopass photographer, but you’ll get a nice photo of you and the character.

That’s what matters most!

Daisy at Epcot

Conclusion

There you have it! I’ve spilled all my top Epcot character secrets.

You’re in the know now and are officially an expert in all thing Epcot characters.

It is so fun to meet characters at Epcot.

There is a mix of classic characters like Mickey and Minnie, popular characters like Elsa and Anna, and rare characters like Alice and Baymax.

Epcot is without a doubt the best park to meet characters. No other park has such a variety of characters or has as many characters you can meet as Epcot.

Magic Kingdom is close, but Epcot has a few more characters.

No matter who you are or what Disney characters you love, there is a character at Epcot you’ll love.

It is so much fun to meet Epcot characters, and it is worth taking the time out of your day to meet a few of them!

10 Super Secret Epcot Fastpass+ Tips

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.

Spaceship Earth Epcot

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!

Or if you want to take advantage of every moment you have a Disney, rope drop at Magic Kingdom or Hollywood Studios and take the monorail or skyliner to Epcot mid-morning.

China Pavillion Epcot

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.

Mission: SPACE Epcot

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.

PS- if you’re going on a solo Disney trip, you’ll want to read this!

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.

Frozen Ever After Epcot

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!

The Seas with Nemo and Friends Epcot

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.

PS- Be sure to check out my Magic Kingdom characters post!

Character Spot Epcot

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!

Japan Pavillion Epcot

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.

The Land Epcot

Conclusion

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!