Epcot may be undergoing some construction right now, but that doesn’t mean you should avoid a visit! In fact, the entire Walt Disney World Resort is going through changes before its 50th anniversary this year, and likely for the next few years with the delay due to the pandemic. These changes will completely change the Walt Disney World experience for guests. So if you thought you knew the best Epcot fastpasses strategy before, think again!
Everything is changing at Disney, 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 of 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 designed to be 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. When it first opened, it was called Epcot Center.
Since then, Epcot has undergone many refurbishments and changes, but this upcoming remodel may be the biggest one yet! Unfortunately, we will probably not see the final product of these changes until 2022 or later. So until then, how should you strategize your best Epcot trip? 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, let’s focus on FastPass + at the Walt Disney World Resort.
There are a few really important things to know about FastPass +. The first is that 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’re actually wasting your time and money! This is absolutely crucial to making your trip the best ever.
The other really important thing to know about FastPass + is that it is all conveniently electronic, and you should book your reservations early. Don’t worry, we will discuss this in more detail in a bit.
How Does FastPass + Work?
First, you must download the My Disney Experience app or visit the main Disney 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.
How many FastPasses do you get per day at Disney World?
There is a limit to how many FastPasses you can use at Disney World, and that’s three per park, per day. But not really, as once you use those first three FastPasses, you can schedule one more. Then another. Than another.
Before your day begins, you can schedule up to three per park, but that doesn’t mean you actually have to schedule all three if you don’t want to. You can schedule one, two, or the full three. Whatever you prefer. But in order to get more, you have to first use the initial three.
Do you have to use all three FastPasses to get more?
Just like in all of the other parks at Disney World, in order to get more FastPasses for the day, you must first use up the three you start with. Of course, you can change or cancel your selected choices at any time.
Once you’ve redeemed your initial set of FastPass selections, or the last arrival time window has passed, you can make more FastPass selections, one at a time until the park is closed. You can make these selections by using the mobile app or visiting the in-park kiosks. At these stations, a cast member will be nearby if you need any help.
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.
Remember: Guests can only book one reservation in the Tier 1 category of rides, per day. You do not HAVE TO book a Tier 1 reservation if you do not want to, but there can only be one per day. The rest have to be in Tier 2. Once you’ve used all of your initial three passes, you may book another Tier 1 option.
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 ride it while it goes through all the important safety 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 good Tier 1 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 feels 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 1 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 1 FastPass for kids and Frozen fans.
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 2 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 2 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 2 choice for your Epcot FastPasses.
Turtle Talk with Crush: This is not a ride, but a show. Guests get to meet and hang out with Crush the turtle from Finding Nemo, where he asks you questions and answers yours. Turtle Talk is hilarious and very entertaining, and it’s also a nice way to sit in an air-conditioned room on a hot day and cool off for a few minutes. 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 2 FastPass + option for Epcot.
Epcot FastPasses: What’s worth it and what’s not
Best Tier 1 Choices: Frozen Ever After or Soarin’ Around the World. Both are great options, depending on you and your party’s interests, though I might recommend Soarin’ over the other. While Frozen Ever After is fun and great for kids, a lot of the draw is simply because the ride is new. Along with that, given the fall in visitors in 2020, it’s likely that there will be a time during the day that the line won’t be too long. As for Soarin’ the attraction is fifteen years old and still draws in huge crowds, for a good reason. It’s always a fantastic experience, an attraction you must visit if you fave the chance.
Worst Tier 1 Choice: Unless Test Track is your favorite attraction, I’d pass on using your only Tier 1 FastPass on this ride. While it’s fun and exciting, Frozen Ever After and Soarin’ are just too good to miss. Also, Test Track has the option of a Single Rider line. It means that you won’t be able to ride together with your whole party, but everyone will get to experience it and the line shouldn’t be long at all. Unfortunately, when you use the Test Track single rider line, you don’t get to do the “design your car” portion of the ride, but in my opinion, you’re not missing much. But if experiencing this part of the attraction is important to you, a FastPass might be the right option.
Best Tier 2 Choices: Depending on whether you are visiting with thrill-seekers or younger kids, I recommend either Mission: Space or The Seas with Nemo and Friends. Or of course, both! Mission: Space is a very extreme ride, even when riding the less intense version, so be prepared if you are thinking of going on this attraction. But if you are up for it, Mission: Space is a thrilling and realistic experience. As for Nemo and Friends, this is simply an enjoyable ride for the whole family, and it’s quite popular. When the lines get long, this is a great option for a FastPass. Who doesn’t love Nemo?
Worst Tier 2 Choices: I don’t recommend using your FastPasses for either Spaceship Earth or Turtle Talk with Crush. Even if you love Spaceship Earth, I doubt there will ever be a time that you need a FastPass to get on the attraction quickly. The same is true with Turtle Talk with Crush because it’s a show. Unless it’s an extremely busy day, you can easily get into this attraction with little waiting time.
Here is the schedule Disney World fanatics recommend as the ideal option to get the best use of your FastPasses at Epcot:
Use your Tier 1 FastPass selection on Soarin’ around the World. Get to the park 30 minutes before opening and ride Frozen Ever After first thing. After your Tier 1 FastPass was used, opt for the single rider line at Test Track unless you have a member of your party that is under the age of 7.
You can then select anything from the Tier 2 ride and attraction options at Epcot for your FastPass selections, but most people say that these rides don’t even need a FastPass to be used. But you need to use all 3 of your ark selections in one day if you want to get more for later in the day.
So depending on which ride you selected for your Tier 1 choice, aim to have your two Tier 2 rides be nearby, and within a timely manner towards the earlier portion of the day. This gets them out of the way and allows you to have more FastPass choices. You can select another Tier 1 ride at this point, thanks to the mobile app and in-park kiosks.
Epcot FastPass Final Tips and Tricks
- Pay attention to the tier system. You can find all of this detailed information listed above. You do not have to book a FastPass in Tier 1 at all if you do not want to. All of your reservations can be in Tier 2 if you and your party desire that. However, you can only book one ride from Tier 1 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!