A late arrival at Epcot is similar to Hollywood Studios in that FastPass+ is tiered, resulting in difficulty riding both Soarin’ and Test Track with short waits. Fortunately, Epcot’s show schedule is much less of a concern and Test Track’s single rider line is much more viable than Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster’s.
Tier 1 (Choose One)
- Test Track
- Character Spot
- IllumiNations (not available every night)
Tier 2 (Choose Two):
- Mission: SPACE Orange
- Spaceship Earth
- Living with the Land
- Mission: SPACE Green
- Turtle Talk with Crush
- The Seas with Nemo and Friends
- Journey into Imagination with Figment
- Captain EO
Tier 2 FastPass+ isn’t going to save us much time after 6pm, but it does guarantee we’ll basically walk on whatever attractions we choose. The bigger decision is which Tier 1 FP+ to use. Soarin’ makes more sense because Test Track offers the single rider line. To experience both without much of a wait, you could FP+ one and ride the other by getting in line five minutes before close, but then you give up IllumiNations. With two days, you can easily FP+ one on day one and the other on day 2 and rock two late arrivals if you wish.
At 6:10pm on April 28th, Spaceship Earth has a five minute posted wait. FP+ saves us about two minutes in line.
Innoventions admits its last visitors at 7pm just about every night. On days without evening Extra Magic Hours, Ellen’s Energy Adventure, Living with the Land, Circle of Life, Captain EO, and Journey into Imagination close at 7pm. This is about a 20-minute wait for Sum of All Thrills at 6:35pm. You ideally want to get in line as close to 7pm as possible to minimize waits.
We elected to give Ellen’s Energy Adventure a whirl – an attraction I experience every other year or so.
It’s best in the afternoon as a slow-moving, nicely air-conditioned diversion.
The experience lasts about 45 minutes, which is an awful long time for people with limited time at the Park.
The majority of the time is spent watching Ellen and Bill Nye on screen, but there’s a short ride by dinosaur animatronics in the middle.
The animatronic section is short and shouldn’t scare most children.
The flashing light sequence is a little disconcerting. I am not sure what people prone to seizures do at theme parks.
You’re not missing much by skipping Ellen, but it’s worth doing if you’re otherwise twiddling your thumbs or it’s raining.
Character Spot waits remain short after 7pm. It’s 7:25pm with a 10-minute posted wait.
Epcot could potentially add a squirrel attraction to the Park’s lineup and it would instantly become the third or fourth most exciting thing in Future World.
The Seas with Nemo and Friends with a 10-minute posted wait.
FP+ might save 30 seconds.
And bypasses a somewhat cool queue. If you’re interested in Mission: SPACE Orange it would be prudent to use FP+ there and save a few more minutes over there instead. After 7pm is a great time to do The Seas and Turtle Walk with Crush, which runs through 9pm.
Garden Grill is/was not rotating, resulting in this unmagical wall hastily installed in front of it for a little privacy.
A 40-minute wait at Soarin’ is actually closer to 15 at 7:45pm.
Sunshine Seasons remains one of the best quick services in any Disney theme park. This is the Tamarind Vegan Beef with Fried Rice (Substituted for White Rice) – $7.99. It’s a boat load of food for the money at $4 less than the similar Mongolian Beef with Vegetable Fried Rice – $11.79. The flavor was similar – spicy with more mushrooms and pea pods mixed in. I’m not sure this appeals to most carnivores, but I was surprised how much I enjoyed it and it’s potentially just as much food and fewer calories than the beef. Certainly a great vegan choice.
Lisa’s Oak-grilled Fish with Smoked Paprika Green Beans and Roasted Potatoes – $11.79 was excellent as well – a much heartier and more flavorful fish than what’s served at Columbia Harbour House for similar money. The sauce and meal overall are not particularly photogenic here, but you can’t do much better than Sunshine Seasons either in terms of selection or food quality. It’s a no-brainer for lunch if you plan to be in the area of The Land.
$6.49 worth of cheese and fruit from the chilled section.
At 8:07pm, Soarin’ is still posted as 40 minutes, though there’s less than 200 people in line. Actual waits would be closer to 15. To experience as short of a standby wait as possible, arrive as close to 9pm as possible. If you’re planning to see IllumiNations too, get in line around 7:30pm to guarantee you’re off in time. Disney is purportedly filming new scenes for a “Soarin’ Around the World” attraction this week with an advisory out that Epcot cast members are to stay indoors before open on May 6th and 7th before 7am. Filming won’t otherwise affect a theme park visit.
Canada isn’t a bad place to catch IllumiNations and one spot that gets virtually no hype is the upper floor in the vicinity of the red phone booth. We arrived at 8:55pm for the 9pm show and there were three other people back here.
Depending on wind, this area may see some fallout from the fireworks.
The poor guy next to us found his beer full of ash shortly after the show began.
World Showcase remains visitable for at least 90 minutes after the Park “officially” closes with most restaurants taking diners up until 9pm.
While the stores all close and the attractions aren’t operating, it’s a fun opportunity to take pictures and enjoy the architecture.
The Wind Down events scheduled on the weekends haven’t affected anyone else’s ability to enjoy the same empty pavilions.
In under three hours in the Park we did:
- Spaceship Earth
- Ellen’s Energy Adventure
- The Seas with Nemo and Friends
The only place we waited more than a minute was Soarin’ where the wait after the merge point can be significant. Expect Soarin’ to take a minimum of 25 minutes. We could have picked any Tier 2 attractions to walk on and could have fit in Test Track single rider if we wanted to.