Epcot While Soarin’ Is Closed – Touring Plans, Rope Drop, Wait Times, and FastPass+ Priority

The information below is available in an easily printable PDF here. Consider downloading it to your smart device for easy referencing.

Epcot Cheat Sheet – From January 4th to when Soarin’ reopens, likely in June 2016

General Touring Philosophy: With Soarin’ closed, Epcot is down to what amounts to one headlining attraction in the form of Test Track. Your approach relies largely on whether you’re headed to Sum of All Thrills and Mission: SPACE.

If you’d like to ride Test Track at least twice and plan to ride Sum of All Thrills and Mission: SPACE, head straight to Test Track to ride at rope drop, followed by Sum of All Thrills and Mission: SPACE.

If you’d like to ride Test Track once, but also want to ride Sum of All Thrills and Mission: SPACE, head to Sum of All Thrills first, followed by Mission: SPACE and then head to Future World West. Ride Test Track with FastPass+ when it fits into your overall plan later in the day.

If you’re content riding Test Track once or don’t want to ride at all, plan to skip Sum of All Thrills and Mission: SPACE, and want to avoid the mass of humanity headed in that direction, begin in Future World West with Character Spot or The Seas with Nemo.

Soarin’s closure makes it easier to tour Epcot over one day, though most guests visiting Walt Disney World for 6+ days will likely find themselves at Epcot on at least two. With FastPass+, it makes it easier to arrive later in the day and still enjoy short waits at Test Track and two other attractions each day. Consider sleeping in and arriving late on at least one of your days.

Characters: The Princesses in World Showcase can see substantial waits. Mickey, Minnie and Goofy at Character Spot can also see 30 to 50 minute waits. It’s best to do Character Spot near park close to avoid long waits or use FastPass+. If you’re skipping Test Track in the morning, visit Character Spot right after park open. Most other characters will have 5 to 20 minute waits. Random characters may also appear. Check in between the Canada and United Kingdom Pavilions and to the left of Liberty Inn in the United States in the afternoon.

Rope Drop:  Epcot has two entrances – Guests arriving via Disney bus, monorail, or their own vehicles will enter via the main entrance at the front of the park. The International Gateway entrance in between the France and UK Pavilions in World Showcase is used by those arriving from the BoardWalk, Beach Club, Yacht Club, Swan, and Dolphin resorts.

30 minutes before open, Disney will begin letting guests enter the park from both entrances. Guests will be held at the Fountain of Nations until 15 minutes to open and then cast members will slowly walk guests toward Test Track. If you’re headed to Test Track, stay as far to the Future World East side (the left side as you enter from the main entrance) as possible and try to stay in front of the crowd walking over. If you’re headed to Future World West, where The Land, Seas, and Imagination Pavilions are located, you’ll have a much less frantic time as far fewer people will be headed in that direction. Spaceship Earth will start operating 15 minutes prior to open. If you’re headed to Future World West and skipping Character Spot, you may elect to ride immediately at open. Everyone headed to Test Track or Character Spot should bypass Spaceship Earth first thing and either use FastPass+ later or ride after 5pm when waits are reliably short.

FastPass+ AT EPCOT

FastPass+ at Epcot is divided into two tiers. Guests may initially select only one Tier 1 experience. With Soarin’ closed for refurbishment, the obvious choice is Test Track, which saves 60+ minutes in line. Mission: SPACE moves to Tier 1 during Soarin’s refurbishment, but it’s easy enough to ride before 10am or in the evening with relatively short waits.

There are five options for Tier 2 and guests may initially select two of them. Most will want to initially select two of the top three choices.

FastPass+ Priority:

Tier 1 (Choose One)

  1. Test Track
  2. Mission: SPACE
  3. IllumiNations
  4. Living with the Land

Tier 2 (Choose Two):

  1. Spaceship Earth
  2. Character Spot
  3. Turtle Talk with Crush
  4. Journey into Imagination with Figment
  5. The Seas with Nemo and Friends

4th FastPass+ Selection Availability

During Soarin’s closure, Test Track is extremely unlikely to have any day-of availability outside of cancellations. Mission: SPACE will likely also have very little, if any, availability as a 4th option most days. Character Spot will also be unavailable save for the occasional cancellation. Living with the Land and low priority Tier 2 attractions like The Seas and Journey into Imagination may have availability, but it’s usually easier to head to the attraction of choice at a recommended time of day and wait a few minutes rather than hunt down a kiosk and wait there for a FastPass+ that won’t save you much time. Availability is better when crowds are lower, but with so few options, a “good” 4th FastPass+ is unlikely outside of lucking into a cancelation.

FastPass+ Kiosks:

  • Future World West breezeway across from the entrance to Character Spot
  • Future World East breezeway outside Mouse Gear and across from Electric Umbrella
  • International Gateway in between UK and France Pavilions near entrance/exit
  • There may be a temporary kiosk in Norway along the lagoon.

ONE DAY TOURING PLAN WITH TEST TRACK, SUM OF ALL THRILLS, AND MISSION: SPACE

Use FastPass+ at:

  • Character Spot (1pm-2pm)
  • Spaceship Earth (2pm-3pm)
  • Test Track (3pm-4pm)

The Plan:

  1. Ride Test Track: 8:55am – 9:20am
  2. Ride Sum of All Thrills in Innoventions East: 9:25am – 9:45am
  3. Ride Mission: SPACE: 9:50am – 10:15am
  4. Ride The Seas with Nemo and Friends: 10:25am – 10:40am
  5. See Turtle Talk with Crush: 10:45am – 11:15am
  6. Ride Living with the Land: 11:30am – 12pm
  7. Have lunch at Sunshine Seasons: 12:05pm – 12:45pm
  8. Ride Journey into Imagination with Figment: 1pm – 1:25pm
  9. Visit Character Spot with FastPass+: 1:30pm – 1:50pm
  10. Ride Spaceship Earth with FastPass+: 2pm – 2:20pm
  11. Visit Innoventions East, Innoventions West, The Seas Pavilion, and/or whatever else.
  12. Ride Test Track with FastPass+ between 3pm and 4pm.

Later Afternoon and Evening: Visit World Showcase beginning with Mexico or Canada.

If You’d Like More Time in World Showcase: Eliminate any attractions that your group is not interested in experiencing and move the FastPass+ times sooner in the day based on how much time you can expect to save by skipping those steps.

ONE DAY TOURING PLAN WITH TEST TRACK ONCE AND SKIPPING SUM OF ALL THRILLS AND MISSION: SPACE

Use FastPass+ at: Turtle Talk (10:30am-11:30am), Spaceship Earth (11:30am-12:30pm), Test Track (12:30pm-1:30pm)

  1. Visit Character Spot: 8:55am – 9:15am
  2. Ride Living with the Land: 9:25am – 9:45am
  3. Ride Journey into Imagination with Figment: 9:55am – 10:15am
  4. Ride The Seas with Nemo and Friends: 10:25am – 10:45am
  5. See Turtle Talk with Crush with FastPass+ and look around The Seas: 10:47am – 11:30am
  6. Ride Spaceship Earth with FastPass+: 12pm – 12:20pm
  7. Ride Test Track with FastPass+: 12:35pm – 1:10pm
  8. Visit Innoventions East, West, Ellen’s Energy Adventure, or another desired anytime attraction.

Later Afternoon and Evening: Visit World Showcase beginning with Mexico or Canada.

TWO DAY PLAN – ONE ROPE DROP AND ONE LATE ARRIVAL

With Soarin’ closed, it makes the most sense to do one early arrival and one late arrival.

Two Day Plan, Rope Drop Arrival

Use FastPass+ at Spaceship Earth (9:30am – 10:30am), Character Spot (10:30am – 11:30am), and Test Track (11:30am – 12:30pm)

  1. Ride Test Track: 8:55am – 9:20am
  2. Ride Sum of All Thrills in Innoventions East: 9:25am – 9:45am
  3. Ride Mission: SPACE: 9:50am – 10:10am
  4. Ride Spaceship Earth with FastPass+: 10:20am – 10:40am
  5. Visit Character Spot with FastPass+: 10:50am – 11:10am
  6. Visit Innoventions West, Innoventions East, grab a snack, or any other anytime attraction
  7. Ride Test Track with FastPass+: Anytime during your return window
  8. Have lunch. Electric Umbrella in Future World is close and there are lots of options in World Showcase.

Late Morning and Evening

You have some options depending on what you plan to do in World Showcase and whether you’re planning to head back to Future World. Now would be a fine time to visit Ellen’s Energy Adventure or anything in Innoventions East other than Sum of All Thrills. But those are lengthy attractions that could be kept for a 5pm return. Consider heading up to World Showcase beginning with the Gran Fiesta Tour in the Mexico Pavilion. You can stay in World Showcase or take the boat in Germany back to Future World around 5pm when crowds thin. Standby waits will be short for anything other than Test Track, which has the single rider line, and potentially Mission: SPACE. See IllumiNations if you like from the Mexico/Norway area.

Two Day Plan, Late Arrival

Use FastPass+ at Spaceship Earth (11:30am – 12:30pm, a second repeat attraction if desired, and Test Track (7pm – 8pm)

  1. Arrive between 11:30am – 12pm or earlier and enjoy lunch (or later with less time in World Showcase).
  2. Ride Spaceship Earth with FastPass+: 12pm – 12:20pm
  3. Tour World Showcase beginning with Canada.
  4. Return to Future World by 5pm.
  5. Ride Journey into Imagination with Figment: 5:15pm – 5:30pm
  6. Ride Living with the Land: 5:40pm – 6pm
  7. Ride The Seas with Nemo: 6:10pm – 6:25pm
  8. See Turtle Talk with Crush and look around The Seas: 6:30pm – 7:15pm
  9. Ride Test Track with FastPass+: 7:30pm – 8pm
  10. Have dinner and/or see IllumiNations

TWO DAY PLAN – TWO LATE ARRIVALS

Two Day Late Arrival Plan, Day 1

Use FastPass+ at:

  • Spaceship Earth (10:30am – 11:30am)
  • Character Spot (11:30am – 12:30pm)
  • Test Track (5pm – 6pm)

The Plan:

  1. Arrive between 10:30am and 11am
  2. Ride Spaceship Earth with FastPass+: 11am – 11:20am
  3. Visit Character Spot with FastPass+: 11:30am-11:45am
  4. Ride Gran Fiesta Tour: 12pm – 12:15pm
  5. Have lunch. There are lots of options in World Showcase
  6. Explore Mexico through Italy and take boat or walk back to Future World by 5pm
  7. Ride Test Track with FastPass+: 5:15pm – 5:45pm
  8. Ride Ellen’s Energy Adventure or explore Innoventions East: 5:50pm – 6:40pm
  9. Ride Sum of All Thrills: 6:45pm – 7:15pm
  10. Ride Mission: SPACE: 7:20pm – 7:50pm
  11. Have dinner. Electric Umbrella is nearby in Future World or head up to World Showcase.
  12. See IllumiNations or get in line for Test Track at 8:55pm

Two Day Late Arrival Plan, Day 2

Use FastPass+ at:

  • The Seas with Nemo (10:15am – 11:15am)
  • Turtle Talk with Crush (11:15am – 12:15pm)
  • Test Track (2pm – 3pm)

The Plan:

  1. Arrive between 10:30am and 11am
  2. Ride The Seas with Nemo and Friends with FastPass+: 11:10am – 11:25am
  3. See Turtle Talk with Crush w/ FastPass+ and look around Seas Pavilion: 11:25am–12pm
  4. Have lunch at Sunshine Seasons: 12:15pm – 1:15pm
  5. Ride Living with the Land: 1:20pm – 1:45pm
  6. Ride Journey into Imagination with Figment: 1:55pm – 2:15pm
  7. Ride Test Track with FastPass+: 2:25pm – 3pm
  8. Tour World Showcase from Canada – United States
  9. Enjoy dinner in World Showcase or back in Future World
  10. See IllumiNations or get in line for Test Track at 8:55pm

IllumiNations: IllumiNations is the nightly entertainment at Epcot, scheduled at 9pm most nights. For the best spots, arrive 30 to 45 minutes before the start of the show. The problem you may run into when looking for a spot is that certain sections are roped off for private parties that have spent big bucks to get a prime spot on the water. So you may need a backup plan.

Best spots: 

  1. Base of the World Showcase directly across from the United States Pavilion. This “front of house” view is elevated with a direct view of the globe and fireworks. Parts of this area are reserved for FastPass+.
  2. The next best spot is the bridge connecting the UK and France. It can’t be reserved and the IllumiNations cruisers will stop below you, enjoying a similar view.
  3. The Italy Isola, or raised section across from Italy. Parts can be reserved, but the viewing location behind the seated guests is almost as good.
  4. The stretch from Mexico to Norway is good. Areas closer to Norway have fewer people.
  5. Other options: There’s limited space outside Tokyo Dining on the second level in Japan. Limited viewing is available along Canada into the UK. There are areas to the right of the UK down stairs that are good locations, but they may be reserved for private events.
  6. Rose & Crown has patio seating and a reserved platform for those dining inside prior to the show. La Hacienda de San Angel also has indoor viewing, but only some of the tables face the windows. It isn’t a great choice if you’re looking for a guaranteed view. Consider a meal that begins after 7:45pm.

After IllumiNations, hang out for 20 to 45 minutes and let others exit in front of you.

Wait Times By Crowd Level



Comments

  1. Drew C. says

    How do you expect the Frozen ride in Norway to effect the FastPass+ tiered system and your touring plan recommendations?

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