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

Want to see how the touring plan works with over 100 pictures and explanations of each step? See this post.

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

Epcot Cheat Sheet – Through January 3rd when both Soarin’ and Test Track are operating

General Touring Philosophy: Because of its massive size and the long length of many of its attractions, Epcot is best experienced over two days. There are exactly two morning priorities – Soarin’ and Test Track. Because they are about ten minutes away from each other and each takes about 20 minutes to experience even with a minimal initial wait, it’s best to focus on one or the other over two separate mornings. This way, you significantly cut down on the amount of walking necessary and you won’t run into waits longer than a few minutes all day. On your Test Track day, visit Future World East and the World Showcase Pavilions from Mexico through the U.S. On your Soarin’ day, hit Future World West and the Pavilions from Canada through Japan.

With just one day, things are a bit more complicated. Fortunately, FastPass+ reservations cut down on walking. There are a few ways to make it work. First, Test Track has a single rider line with actual waits that are often shorter than standby or even FastPass+. However, your group won’t ride together and you won’t have an opportunity to design a car in the regular preshow. You can enter the single rider line later in the day and find waits of 10 to 15 minutes. Second, you could use FastPass+ at Soarin’ or Test Track to minimize afternoon waits. Third, if you’re planning to skip IllumiNations, you could visit either Soarin’ or Test Track in the morning and then the other right before close. Waits will be relatively short at the end of the night and you won’t be wasting valuable touring time since the park is closed. As long as you’re in line before official park close, you’ll ride, regardless of the posted wait.

With Maelstrom in Norway closed and its successor not expected to reopen until May 2016, there are no World Showcase attractions that typically see long lines. You may otherwise need to wait a few minutes for the next show to begin in China, France, and Canada. They are all worth seeing. You generally get out of World Showcase what you put in – spend some time exploring and you’ll get much more out of it than someone that simply walks past the Pavilions.

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 Soarin’ and Test Track in the morning, visit Character Spot right after park open. Most other characters will have 5 to 15 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 is used by those arriving from the BoardWalk, Beach Club, Yacht Club, Swan, and Dolphin resorts. 30 minutes before official 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 walk guests slowly toward Test Track and Soarin’. If you’re headed to Test Track, stay as far to the Future World East side as possible. For Soarin’, stay as far to the Future World West side as possible. Spaceship Earth will begin operating 15 minutes before regular open, but only ride if you’re not headed to Test Track or Soarin’ or you’ll be behind everyone headed to those priority rides.

FASTPASS+ AT EPCOT

FastPass+ at Epcot is divided into two tiers. Guests may initially select only one Tier 1 experience. Soarin’ is prioritized because its location makes it more convenient to visit in the afternoon with FastPass+ and Test Track offers a single rider line that reduces waits.

There are seven options for Tier 2 and you may initially select two of them. Most guests will want to initially select two of the top four choices. Note that Mission: SPACE does not require selecting Orange or Green in advance, but Orange waits are routinely longer and those that prefer the more intense version will save more time and thus, Orange FP+ is recommended higher.

FastPass+ Priority:

Tier 1 (Choose One)

  1. Soarin’
  2. Test Track
  3. IllumiNations
  4. Living with the Land

Tier 2 (Choose Two):

  1. Spaceship Earth
  2. Mission: SPACE Orange
  3. Character Spot
  4. Mission: SPACE Green
  5. Turtle Talk with Crush
  6. Journey into Imagination with Figment
  7. The Seas with Nemo and Friends

4th FastPass+ Selection Availability

Test Track and Soarin’ will most likely be unavailable by 11am or have limited availability with return times late in the evening. IllumiNations is also unlikely to be available, though you can run into availability due to cancellations. 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. Options are better when crowds are lower, but Soarin’ and Test Track openings remain extremely limited by noon.

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 set up in Norway along the lagoon.

TWO DAY TOURING PLAN

Two Day Plan, Morning Day 1

Use FastPass+ at Turtle Talk with Crush (10am – 11am) Character Spot (11am – 112pm), Soarin’ (12pm-1pm)

  1. Ride Soarin’: 9am – 9:25am
  2. Ride Living with the Land: 9:30am – 9:45am
  3. Ride Journey into Imagination with Figment: 9:55am – 10:15am
  4. Ride The Seas with Nemo and Friends: 10:20am – 10:40am
  5. See Turtle Talk with Crush with FP+ and Look Around the Seas: 10:45am – 11:30am
  6. Visit Character Spot with FastPass+: 11:35am – 11:50am
  7. Ride Soarin’ with FastPass+: 12pm – 12:30pm
  8. Have lunch at Sunshine Seasons in the Land or up in World Showcase

Two Day Plan, Afternoon and Evening Day 1

You have a lot of options depending on what you want to do and where you plan to have dinner. Consider heading up to World Showcase beginning with the Canada Pavilion. Even though there aren’t waits at the attractions in Canada, France, etc. touring the area in low crowds means you’ll have an easier time perusing the shops and fewer people in front of you at the various acts. Consider returning to Future World around 5pm. You’ll be exiting World Showcase when crowds peak there and returning to Future World where waits will be short for everything other than Soarin’ and Test Track.

Two Day Plan Morning Day 2

Use FastPass+ at Test Track (9:30am-10:30am), Spaceship Earth (10:30am-11:30am), and a third attraction.

  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 Test Track with FastPass+: 10:20am – 10:45am
  5. Ride Spaceship Earth with FastPass+: 11am – 11:20am
  6. Experience a third attraction with FastPass+

Two Day Plan, Late Morning and Evening Day 2

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 Soarin’.

ONE DAY TOURING PLAN

Use FastPass+ at the following attractions: Character Spot: 11am – 12pm, Soarin’: 12pm – 1pm, and Spaceship Earth: 1:30pm – 2:30pm.

Morning and Early Afternoon Plan

  1. Ride Test Track: 8:55am – 9:20am
  2. Ride Sum of All Thrills: 9:25am – 9:45am
  3. Ride Mission: SPACE Green or Orange: 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. Visit Character Spot with FastPass+: 11:20am – 11:40am
  7. Have lunch at Sunshine Seasons: 11:50am – 12:45pm
  8. Ride Soarin’ with FastPass+: 12:50pm – 1:20pm
  9. Ride Living with the Land: 1:25pm – 1:55pm
  10. Ride Spaceship Earth with FastPass+: 2:05pm – 2:30pm
  11. Check 4th FastPass+ at Innoventions West Kiosk across from Character Spot
  12. Ride Journey into Imagination with Figment: 2:45pm – 3:05pm

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

TWO DAY LATE ARRIVAL TOURING PLAN

A late arrival is relatively straightforward over two days by using FastPass+ at the priority attractions on one side of the park each day. Future World crowds thin after 5pm as most people move up to World showcase for shopping, dinner, and IllumiNations. Most nights, Journey into Imagination, the Disney Movie Preview, Innoventions East and West, Living with the Land, and Circle of Life close at 7pm.

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)

  1. Arrive between 10:30am and 11am
  2. Ride Spaceship Earth with FastPass+: 11am – 11:20am
  3. Visit Character Spot with FastPass+: 11:30am-11:50am
  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), Soarin’ (1:15pm – 2:15pm),

  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 Soarin’ with FastPass+: 1:20pm – 1:50pm
  6. Ride Living with the Land: 1:55pm – 2:25pm
  7. Ride Journey into Imagination with Figment: 2:30pm – 2:50pm
  8. See Disney Movie Preview if desired: 3pm – 3:25pm
  9. Tour World Showcase from Canada – United States
  10. Enjoy dinner in World Showcase or back in Future World
  11. See IllumiNations or get in line for Soarin’ 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. Deirdre says

    I have just purchased the easy Guide to your Walt Disney World Visit 2017 on my Kindle. It refers me here to get colour, printable copies of the touring plan cheat sheets for each park. However, the Epcot plan here has not been updated to match the book. Can you let me know when this will be available in a printable, colour format?

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