We’ll head out to Epcot to test out timing on my “ideal morning at Epcot” from my Planning Around Disney World’s FASTPASS Return Enforcement Policy article. As a reminder, this is what it looks like:
- Arrive at Epcot by 8:30am. Walk to the turnstiles down to the right. Get in line furthest to the right where there aren’t a lot of people in line (other than the last set of two which are used as an exit). The turnstiles open at 8:47am after a two minute opening message.
- Ride Soarin’ in the standby line.
- Collect Soarin’ FASTPASSes with a return time around 10:50am – 11:50am.
- Ride Sum of All Thrills in Innoventions East.
- Ride Mission: SPACE Orange.
- Walk back to the Land Pavilion and ride Living with the Land.
- Ride Soarin’ with FASTPASSes collected earlier in the day.
- Have lunch at Sunshine Seasons.
- Proceed to World Showcase or other Future World attractions.
The goal is to get Soarin’ FASTPASSes with a return time that includes 11am. With Disney enforcing FASTPASS return times, it’s going to be difficult to get back to Soarin’ between 9:40am and 10:40am if you pull the FASTPASSes before riding Soarin’ and have plans to hit Sum of All Thrills and Mission: SPACE. If you’re trying to fit in Character Spot, I recommend doing it first thing in the morning before heading to Soarin’. If that isn’t possible, keep in mind that Character Spot is operating until 10pm nightly and wait times are lower after 8pm. From 10am – 7pm, expect waits to be in the 20 to 60 minute range all summer.
Arriving at the Transportation and Ticket Center at 8:07am.
I’m not sure why Disney had most of this walkway roped off. Checking for Tinker Bell costumes, perhaps?
You can tell the website is really getting popular. Everyone is following the advice!
Test Track progress as of one week ago. Irrelevant now.
And turning Kim Possible into Agent P.
After a 20 minute delay on the Monorail, we’re arriving at 8:38am. Disney was again not operating these turnstiles down here to the right, causing the lines at the other turnstiles to be much longer than we’d like them to be.
You know somebody isn’t going to remember which finger they used.
The current “opening show” if you “literally” have two minutes of your life that you never want to get back. It’s clear Disney put at least three minutes of thought into it, so it isn’t a bad return on investment!
As is the norm, the turnstiles began operating at 8:47am after the two minute spiel. All of the Future World attractions are open.
The mind boggles. Come back to meet Daisy and Stitch after 1pm when lines are shorter and you aren’t wasting that precious first hour.
Even the little girl here looks disgusted at the people heading straight for Spaceship Earth.
Like most of the major character meets, waits balloon quickly with the limited capacity.
This early (8:56am), you could be in and out in about five minutes. It’s a great opportunity to meet Mickey, Minnie, Donald, Goofy, and Pluto in their classic outfits one after the other. Even with a 30 minute wait, you could rationalize it as six minutes per character. And it’s air-conditioned.
Continuing to Soarin’ which is getting slammed with Test Track down until at least the end of November. You’d be surprised about how many people have absolutely no idea what they should do first and simply follow the crowd wherever. We could be headed off a cliff. With Test Track down and nowhere else sensible to head first, virtually everyone visits Soarin’ first thing in the morning, even people that had no idea they should.
The Land Pavilion is seemingly not so bad…yet.
Spoiler. It’s 1:54pm here.
FASTPASSes are all the way out to 10:10am and it isn’t even 9am yet! Remember that we want FASTPASSes with a return time after 11am. These would work since you should be able to return up to 15 minutes after the window “closes” or 11:25am in this instance.
We ended up being this far back in the queue. It’s 9:05am. This is the first time that I heard updated wait times announced over the intercom to those already in line.
I wasn’t back out front until 9:38am, for a total wait/ride time of about 35 minutes. That’s what you’re going to want to budget. Had I arrived at the main turnstiles closer to 8:20am, I would have been to Soarin’ sooner and could have been out as early as 9:20am or so. By 9:38am, FASTPASS return times are already over two hours out. The median peak wait time over the last week has been 120 minutes with FASTPASSes gone around 1:30pm. It’s not going to get any better.
Note that the Land Pavilion continues operating until 10pm, meaning you can get in line for Soarin’, Living with the Land, or Circle of Life up until 10pm. The fact that the Land Pavilion is open until 10pm is now listed on the Times Guide, but crowds and waits are still low. If you can go without seeing IllumiNations, visit the Land Pavilion from 8:30pm to 10pm to find shorter waits and lower crowds than virtually any other time of day, other than potentially 8:50am – 9:00am.
If anything, the posted wait time is on the optimistic side.
We’ll see another wave as more and more people begin arriving around 10:30am.
Heading over to Innoventions East for Sum of All Thrills. Because of its limited capacity, it’s second on our list and should be ridden before Mission: SPACE.
This new-ish casa de kids fort thing with a crooked roof reminds you to buy BOSCH BOSCH BOSCH.
Sum of All Thrills really is a neat attraction that shouldn’t be skipped if you’re able to ride.
The wait time is almost never changed. Assume it’s going to take about five minutes for every 15 people in front of you. We’ll miss walking right in by one person at 9:46am.
Fast forward to 10:13am and it’s a lot busier. This would be closer to a 20 minute wait. I actually saw a 60 minute posted wait there today, which is pretty redonkulous.
What’s more popular? A closed Habit Heroes…
Or an open Vision House?
Over to Mission: SPACE at 10:18am. Remember when I said it would be difficult to get back to Soarin’ by 10:40am?
It really is one of the best themed attractions at Walt Disney World. It’s just a shame no one wants to ride it!
And we’re back out front at 10:42am, for a total wait/ride time of 24 minutes. That’s almost the bare minimum at Mission: SPACE, which is similar to the minimum wait/ride time at Soarin’. With the lengthy preshow and the attraction itself, you’ll need to budget 20 to 30 minutes.
In a wool marching band outfit I would pass out instantaneously.
Back to Soarin’ at 10:51am.
With a posted wait of 65 minutes, which is really not bad all things considered. Expect peak waits in the triple digits more or less every day until the end of August. I was visiting with Brenda (blyday on the forums) and her husband Kevin, and they were able to use their 9:40am – 10:40am FASTPASSes at 10:50am without incident. While the “official policy” is to allow guests to use their FASTPASSes up to 15 minutes after the stated window, I wouldn’t necessarily bank on it. I think you’ll be fine around 90.41% of the time, but you never know when you’re going to run into an argument. Jeff can pop up anywhere.
Living with the Land should also be offering FASTPASSes for at least the next three months. They aren’t generally needed, though return times are almost always 40 minutes out. If you’re planning to grab lunch at Sunshine Seasons and don’t want FASTPASSes for a much later return at Soarin’, you could grab a set before eating. That would guarantee a walk-on after you finish lunch/dinner.
That’s about a 10 minute wait at Living with the Land. When Epcot isn’t recommended, the line can spill all the way out to Sunshine Seasons. Expect to see this intermittently for the next few months.
Speaking of Sunshine Seasons, here are some menu pictures for no reason in particular:
I don’t think anything has really changed.
I was off Living with the Land and back up here at 11:10am.
We did pretty well. I would have liked to have been at Soarin’ sooner, but the delays I experienced can be similar to what you may experience. The plan calls for lunch now, but we do have a 12pm reservation at Rose & Crown, so we’re going to hold off. At this point, you could do lunch or head to other Future World/World Showcase attractions. Getting up to World Showcase now would ensure the shortest possible lines at Gran Fiesta Tour and Maelstrom. I like to head up to World Showcase now and then return to Future World after 5pm when the crowds move up to World Showcase.
In Part 2, we’ll catch Turtle Talk, have lunch, and check out Innoventions West.