Epcot may be undergoing some construction right now, but that doesn’t mean you should avoid a visit! I mean, the entire Walt Disney World Resort is also going through some changes before its 50th anniversary in 2021. These changes will literally mean different kinds of vacations than ever before. In fact, if you thought you knew the best Fastpass + strategy before, think again! Everything is changing, and Epcot Fastpasses are no exception. We already spoke about the best Animal Kingdom Fastpass Strategy and Tips, so now let’s focus on Epcot. Honestly, Epcot may be a bit trickier than any other park right now. So here is everything you need to know Fastpass + at Epcot.
The Walt Disney World Resort has been a staple in any central Florida vacation since its opening day in 1971. Epcot was the second Walt Disney World theme park to open on October 1, 1982. It was supposed to be designed like a perfect utopia that Walt Disney thought of himself. His original plan was a real-life, self-sustaining town, called Progress City. You can see his initial model for Progress City on the Peoplemover in Magic Kingdom.
Unfortunately, Walt passed away before he saw this dream come to life. Epcot stands for Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow. On opening day, it was called Epcot Center. Since then, it has undergone many refurbishments and changes. Although, this upcoming remodel may be the biggest one yet! We will not see the final product of these changes until the year 2021. So until then, how should you strategize your best Epcot trip? Let me explain. First, let’s discuss what Fastpass + even is.
What is Fastpass+?
Fastpass is the somewhat secret way to skip the long lines of Disney attractions during your trip. If you would like more details on Disney Parks Fastpass Systems in general, I wrote about that here. For now, we will only talk about Fastpass + at the Walt Disney World Resort.
Here are some really important things to know about Fastpass +: it is COMPLETELY FREE OF CHARGE! Yes, as long as you have a valid park ticket for that day, you are able to use Fastpass + without spending another dime. Seriously. If you do not use it, you are actually wasting your time and money! This is absolutely crucial to making your trip the best ever. So many people do not know about FastPass or think it costs extra money. It really does not!
Disneyland in California does have a paid Fastpass option called Maxpass, but they still have the traditional paper Fastpass system that is no additional cost to your park ticket. The other really important thing to know about Fastpass +: it is all conveniently electronic and you should book your reservations early. We will discuss this more in a bit.
How Does Fastpass + Work?
First, you must download the My Disney Experience app or visit the main website. Then you can complete your profile and link your park tickets. After that, you must wait until 60 days before your trip (if you are staying at a Walt Disney World Resort Hotel) or 30 days before your trip (if you are NOT staying at a Walt Disney World Resort Hotel). As soon as you can, log back into the site or app and reserve your Fastpass + reservations. If you’re using a Disney Travel Agent, they will do all of this for you.
You can only make reservations for one park per day. However, you can make up to three reservations ahead of time. And once you visit the park and use up all your previously booked Fastpass reservations, you may go back on the app and book even more throughout the day! You just have to only do one at a time. So try to book your early reservations for the morning. Disney’s Hollywood Studios, Animal Kingdom, and Epcot all have tier systems that you have to abide by, which I will explain more in a bit.
Epcot Fastpasses Guide
Like I mentioned before, Epcot may be the trickiest park at the Walt Disney World Resort when it comes to Fastpasses. Many will recommend that you spend at least two full days in Epcot. That way you can spend one day in Future World (the front half of the park) and another day in the World Showcase (the back half with all the countries). Some people even mix it up and do the east half of the park one day and the west half another. While that is a very good suggestion if you can make it happen, going to Epcot for two full days is just not ideal for every vacation and wallet. So I will do the best I can to help you know how to conquer everything you want to do in Epcot in just one day! We will also discuss how different parties and guests should plan their day based on needs and preferences. But first, let’s discuss Epcot’s Fastpass Tiers.
Guests can only book one reservation in the Tier One category of rides, per day. You do not HAVE TO book a Tier One reservation if you do not want to, but there can only be one per day. The rest have to be in Tier Two.
Epcot Tier 1 Rides and Info:
Test Track: Test Track is the high-speed roller coaster of the park (at least until Guardians of the Galaxy opens). Guests get to design their own car in the queuing area, then you get to ride it while it goes through all the important tests. These tests include; temperature, collision prevention, and of course, speed! If you have a group of thrill-seekers who meet the height requirement, this is a great Tier One option for your Epcot Fastpasses.
Soarin’ Around the World: This attraction is unlike anything you have experienced before. You sit in rows of seats next to your friends and family. The seats rise up to the huge screen and simulate a hang gliding experience. It literally does feel like you are flying over famous landmarks around the world. If you have a party full of atmosphere-lovers who meet the height requirement, this could be a great Tier One choice.
Frozen Ever After: Oh my gosh this ride is amazing, especially if you are a Frozen movie fan. It is a beautiful boat ride around Arendelle where you see Olaf, Kristoff, Sven, Anna, and Elsa. You also go backward and down a small hill. You will probably not get too wet, do not worry. This is the best Tier One Fastpass for kids and Frozen fans.
Epcot Forever: This is the nighttime fireworks show that takes place on the World Showcase Lagoon. It recently replaced IllumiNations and is only here until HarmonioUS premieres later this year. I always found it ironic that “Epcot Forever” is a very temporary show. I actually do NOT recommend this as your Tier One option because there are other really great ways to get good seats for this show. Instead, you can eat dinner at locations with a good view like Rose and Crown Pub, or you can purchase a dining package. You can also find a good spot in the Moroccan Pavilion, which is generally not very crowded for some reason.
Epcot Tier 2 Rides and Info:
Living with the Land: This educational but exciting attraction takes you on a tour of Epcot’s farming. You will learn about their coolest plants, fish, fruits, and more. Yes, these items are really grown and made in Epcot and then served at Walt Disney World! It is such a cool experience. This line can be moderately long, and there is no height requirement so both atmosphere-lovers and groups with kids should consider this as an option for their Epcot Fastpasses.
Mission: Space– Believe it or not, Mission: Space might be the most controversial Disney Parks attraction in the world. Why? It is actually really, really intense. It was approved and developed with the help of real astronauts from NASA to ensure that it really felt like the grueling training they have to endure. Many guests get sick on it, especially on the ORANGE side, which is the most intense. A few years later, the GREEN side was added. There is no spinning on that side so you are less likely to get sick. But if you are a thrill-seeker and think you can handle it, this could be a great Tier Two choice.
The Seas with Nemo and Friends: Take a ride on a clamshell through the ocean while Dory, Marlin, and friends try to find Nemo–again! The coolest part about this, you will see the characters in the real-life “Seas” aquarium! So these cartoon characters that we all know and love are really swimming with actual marine life. If you have Finding Nemo or Finding Dory fans in your group, or young kids, this is a great Tier Two option for your Epcot Fastpasses.
Spaceship Earth: Travel through the ages of developing art and technology (and eventually, storytelling). This attraction is a literal ride through history and it is much more fun than you would think. It is also a total Epcot staple. There is no height requirement for this ride. So normally I would recommend it for groups with young kids or grandparents. However, there are times in the day when the wait time drops significantly–in the evening, for example. That is why I do not necessarily believe it is essential to make a Fastpass reservation to ride Spaceship Earth.
Journey into the Imagination with Figment: This ride is…um…interesting, to say the least. There was a similar opening day attraction that was well received and beloved by all. Then Disney Imagineers removed two iconic characters, DreamFinder and Figment. Nobody really knows why this happened but the resulting uproar from fans was so massive that they added Figment back in. And, Journey into the Imagination with Figment was the result. Kids may love this attraction, though. But it is difficult to say that anybody else will, though. So I only recommend booking a Fastpass + reservation if you have kids. Otherwise, I do not believe it is a good Tier Two choice for your Epcot Fastpasses.
Turtle Talk with Crush: This is not a ride, but a show. Guests get to see Crush the turtle from Finding Nemo as he asks you questions and answers yours. It is a nice way to sit in an air-conditioned room on a hot day and cool off for a few minutes. Turtle Talk is also hilarious and very entertaining. Kids and parents will probably enjoy it the most. However, kids get special seating in the front so they can see Crush best, whether they had a Fastpass or not. That is why I do not recommend this as a Tier Two Fastpass + option for Epcot.
Epcot Fastpass Tips and Tricks
- Pay attention to the tier system. You can find all of that detailed information listed above. You do not have to book a Fastpass in tier one at all if you do not want. All of your reservations can be in Tier Two if you and your party desire that. However, you can only book one ride from Tier One per day, if that is what you choose to do.
- Research and make a list of priority attractions before your time to book. You do not want to go into this process unprepared. You should have a list of “plan A attractions” for each tier and “plan B” and maybe even “plan C” attractions for each tier. That way, no matter what happens during the reservation process, you get what you want. You feel informed and ready to go.
- Book as early as possible! You do not want to miss out on that coveted Test Track reservation because you decided to sleep in on reservation day. Maybe even set an alarm to remind you.
- Do not stress! It is still a vacation, so relax and enjoy it for heaven’s sake!
- Check back multiple times a day. Once you have made it to your vacation, if you have used all three of your FastPass reservations already, check the app again. There may be something new you can book. Yes, even for something as rare as Test Track or Spaceship Earth!
Yes, Epcot can be pretty tricky when it comes to Fastpass + reservations, especially with all the construction and changes happening right now. But with this information, it will hopefully be a piece of cake!