8/7/19 Update: Updates to the map, touring strategies, FastPass+ priority, touring plans, etc.
The information below is available in an easily printable PDF here. Consider downloading it to your smart device for easy referencing.
Epcot is Changing: Epcot will be undergoing many changes over the next couple of years. The Disney Skyliner gondola system will transform how most guests relying on Disney transportation and staying at the Pop Century, Art of Animation, Caribbean Beach, and Riviera Resorts travel to and from Epcot. The Skyliner will pick up and drop off guests at the International Gateway entrance/exit in between the France and United Kingdom Pavilions, rather than the main entrance. Guests staying at the BoardWalk, Beach Club, Yacht Club, Swan, and Dolphin Resorts also use this entrance/exit when walking or taking the boat. With thousands more guests arriving at the International Gateway every day after the Skyliner opens on September 29, 2019, Disney is expanding security and the number of touchpoints at this entrance. It remains to be seen what changes, if any, we’ll see at park opening beginning September 29. The International Gateway is farther away from Test Track and Soarin’ than the main entrance, which puts guests entering from World Showcase at a disadvantage first thing as they’ll need to walk farther and eventually arrive later than most of those entering from the main entrance. The International Gateway is closer to the Frozen ride in Norway and eventually, the Ratatouille ride in France after it opens in 2020.
IllumiNations will be shown for the last time on September 30, 2019. Epcot Forever, the interim show with a similar scope, will take its place on October 1. A new show will take over on a more-permanent basis in the middle of 2020. We expect that Epcot Forever will be a little more popular than IllumiNations, but the viewing advice should remain mostly the same as the show will take place in the same location on and above World Showcase Lagoon at the same time of night. In the text that follows, substitute Epcot Forever for IllumiNations if you’re visiting beginning October 1.
Innoventions and Character Spot will close September 8, 2019. Mickey and Goofy will move to the Innoventions West area and Minnie will move to World Showcase Gazebo, on the Mexico side of World Showcase. Joy will move to an undermined location, with the expectation that Sadness will no longer meet. Baymax is also expected to end his regular meet and greets at that time. Those changes should begin September 8th. The Fountain of Nations is also expected to close September 8.
Before 2019 ends, Electric Umbrella, a major quick service, is expected to close temporarily with a new eatery opening in its place in the future. MouseGear, a major store, will also close temporarily for a refurbishment. Fountain View Starbucks is also slated to close later in 2019 with a temporary location offered, probably in the Odyssey building. Pin Central, Art of Disney, and the Camera Center will also close for refurbishment with temporary offerings available elsewhere in the park.
A new restaurant with an as-yet-to-be-announced name is expected to open later in 2019 in between Test Track and Mission: SPACE, loosely themed to the inside of a space station. Patina, the same restaurant group that oversees dining in the Italy Pavilion, will operate the restaurant, which is expected to seat more than four hundred people on multiple levels. We expect the sleek new establishment to prove popular and improve the dining landscape in Future World.
Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure will open in the France Pavilion sometime in mid-2020, along with a new restaurant serving crepes. The trackless dark ride is expected to be just about the same as Ratatouille: The Adventure from Disneyland Paris.
Fortunately, many of our touring strategies will continue to work and those that don’t will be updated. In the near term, guests planning to visit Character Spot should be inconvenienced by the upcoming closures more than others. At worst, any changes to the park opening procedures after the Skyliner opens should make for a playing field similar to the one we’re already experiencing.
General Touring Philosophy: Because of its massive size and the long length of many of its attractions, Epcot is best experienced over two days. This is particularly true with priority attractions in three different areas of the park. By visiting the attractions in roughly half of the park on two separate days, you 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, riding Frozen with FP+ in the early afternoon. On your Soarin’ day, hit Future World West and the Pavilions from Canada through Japan, using FastPass+ again at Frozen or elsewhere.
With just one day, things are more complicated if you want to try to do Soarin’, Test Track, Frozen, and IllumiNations. The best way to accomplish that is to ride Test Track at rope drop, use FastPass+ at Frozen, ride Soarin’ around 7pm, and then see IllumiNations. If you’re willing to forego seeing IllumiNations, Frozen typically sees an actual wait under 20 minutes at the very end of the night, but the ride may not be operational. If you’re willing to risk it, ride Test Track or Soarin’ first thing, use FastPass+ at the other, and get in line for Frozen about five minutes before park close. Those skipping Frozen can also do this and instead enjoy IllumiNations. Test Track single rider is a viable option with actual waits typically under 20 minutes all day.
Characters: Through September 7, 2019, Joy and Sadness, inside Innoventions West, are the highest priority, and see waits of 30 to 60+ minutes. Visit first thing if possible or late at night. Mickey, Minnie and Goofy at Character Spot also see 30 to 50 minute waits. Use FP+ or visit in the first or last hour of operation. Note the character changes on the first page if you’re visiting beginning September 8. The Princesses in World Showcase can see substantial waits. Wreck-It Ralph and Vanellope inside ImageWorks in the Imagination Pavilion typically sport 20 to 30 minute waits. Most other characters will have 5 to 20 minute waits. Random characters may also appear in between the Canada and United Kingdom Pavilions and to the left of Liberty Inn in the U.S. in the afternoon.
Rope Drop: Epcot has two entrances – Guests arriving via 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. Beginning September 29, guests using the Skyliner from Pop Century, Art of Animation, Caribbean Beach, and Riviera will use this entrance.
At the main entrance, Disney typically starts letting guests enter the park between 20 and 40 minutes before official open. Guests are then held at Spaceship Earth typically until 10 to 15 minutes before official open and then allowed to freely head to the attraction of their choice.
From the International Gateway, Disney typically lets guests enter the Park 20 to 40 minutes before official open. Guests are held at the top of the hill in front of Yorkshire Fish in the UK Pavilion until 10 to 15 minutes before official open and then allowed to freely head to the attraction of their choice.
If you’re headed to a priority ride from the main entrance, arrive at least 45 minutes before open to be among the first to enter the park. From the International Gateway, arrive at least 30 minutes early.
The International Gateway entrance is typically better for Frozen, but will put you at a slight disadvantage at Soarin’ or Test Track due to how far away it is. Those with pre-opening breakfast reservations at Akershus in Norway have an advantage at Frozen Ever After if they are able to finish breakfast and be outside by 8:50am.
FASTPASS+ AT EPCOT
FastPass+ at Epcot is divided into two tiers. Guests may initially select only one Tier 1 experience. Test Track is the highest priority because waits are longest, they are the hardest FP+ to acquire, and FP+ makes it easier to ride should the attraction go down for technical difficulties. Frozen gets the nod now that capacity at Soarin’ has increased and waits are down. Test Track is typically more convenient to ride in standby first thing, so some guests may still elect to use FastPass+ at Frozen instead. Those willing to ride Test Track in single rider may also favor using FP+ at elsewhere. Character Spot is currently a smart 4th FastPass+ selection.
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/Mars or Green/Earth in advance, but Mars waits are routinely longer and those that prefer the more intense version will save more time.
Tier 1 (Choose One)
- Test Track
- Frozen Ever After
- Character Spot (Only offered for the Mickey/Minnie/Goofy side through September 7)
- IllumiNations through September 30. Epcot Forever beginning October 1.
Tier 2 (Choose Two):
- Mission: SPACE
- Spaceship Earth
- Living with the Land
- Journey into Imagination with Figment
- The Seas with Nemo and Friends
- Turtle Talk with Crush
- Disney & Pixar Short Film Festival
4th FastPass+ Selection Availability
Tier 1 selections will be limited by noon and only cancellations may be available. Refresh the app as often as possible for the most availability. Lower Tier 2 priorities will have plentiful availability for most of the day and may save a handful of minutes at each, though it’s usually easy enough to see the attractions in standby during a recommend time.
- 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
TWO DAY TOURING PLAN
Two Day Plan, Morning Day 1
Use FastPass+ at The Seas with Nemo (9:30am – 10:30am), Turtle Talk with Crush (10:30am – 11:30am), Frozen Ever After: 1pm – 2pm or whenever is available
- Ride Soarin’: 9am – 9:25am
- Ride Living with the Land: 9:30am – 9:45am
- Visit Character Spot or other characters if desired: 9:55am – 10:10am
- Ride Journey into Imagination with Figment: 10:15am – 10:30am
- Ride The Seas with Nemo and Friends with FastPass+: 10:40am – 10:55am
- See Turtle Talk with Crush with FP+ and Look Around the Seas: 11am – 11:45am
- Have lunch – something in World Showcase makes the most sense: 12pm – 1:15pm
- Ride Frozen Ever After with FastPass+: 1:30pm – 1:45pm
- Book a 4th FastPass+
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. Most people will want to enjoy World Showcase. 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 selection.
- Ride Test Track: 8:55am – 9:20am
- Ride Mission: SPACE: 9:25am – 9:45am
- Ride Test Track with FastPass+: 9:50am – 10:15am
- Ride Spaceship Earth with FastPass+: 10:25am – 10:45am
- Experience a third attraction with FastPass+ (Mission: SPACE again or something from Day 1?)
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. Consider heading up to World Showcase beginning with the Gran Fiesta Tour in the Mexico Pavilion or in Canada, depending on which way you walked on Day 1. 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: Spaceship Earth (10am – 11am), Journey into Imagination (11am-12pm), Frozen Ever After (Whatever is available, ideally earlier in the day).
- Ride Test Track: 8:55am – 9:20am
- Ride Mission: SPACE: 9:25am – 9:50am
- Visit Character Spot or other characters: 10am – 10:40am
- Ride Spaceship Earth with FastPass+: 10:50am – 11:10am
- Ride Journey into Imagination with Figment with FastPass+: 11:20am – 11:35am
- Tour World Showcase – Start on the Mexico/Norway side if you have an earlier Frozen FastPass+ time. Start with Canada/UK if it’s later. Have lunch and check for additional FastPass+ availability after riding Frozen: 11:45am – 5:30pm
- Ride The Seas with Nemo and Friends: 5:35pm – 5:50pm
- See Turtle Talk with Crush or look around The Seas: 5:55pm – 6:30pm
- Ride Living with the Land: 6:40pm – 7pm
- Ride Soarin’ standby unless you are able to acquire FastPass+: 7pm – 8pm
- Have dinner at Sunshine Seasons or grab snacks in World Showcase: 8:05pm – 8:45pm
- See IllumiNations: 8:50pm to 9:15pm (IllumiNations is sometimes at 9:30pm or 10pm)
TWO DAY LATE ARRIVAL TOURING PLAN
Frozen Ever After complicates late arrivals on two days as there are now three high priority attractions that all see long waits and most guests will only be able to initially select one Tier 1 FastPass+ experiences. Try to book Soarin’, Test Track, or Frozen as a 4th FastPass+ on both days and you’ll have an easier time. Otherwise, ride one at park close to experience short waits.
Two Day Late Arrival Plan, Day 1
Use FastPass+ at Spaceship Earth (10:15am – 11:15am), Mission: SPACE (11:15am – 12:15pm), Frozen Ever After (Whenever available, ideally around 1pm)
- Arrive between 10:30am and 11am
- Ride Spaceship Earth with FastPass+: 11am – 11:20am
- Ride Mission: SPACE with FastPass+: 11:30am – 12pm
- Ride Gran Fiesta Tour: 12:10pm – 12:25pm
- Have lunch. There are lots of options in World Showcase
- Ride Frozen Ever After with FastPass+: 1pm – 1:20pm
- Meet Anna and Elsa at Royal Sommerhus if desired: 1:20pm – 1:45pm
- Check FastPass+ availability for a priority attraction with a return time around 8pm
- Enjoy World Showcase through the United States or Japan Pavilions.
- Have dinner in World Showcase and walk back to Future World around 8pm
- Use the 4th FastPass+ at the attraction of your choice: 8:15pm – 8:45pm
- Ride Test Track: 8:55pm – 9:20pm
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)
- Arrive between 10:30am and 11am
- Ride The Seas with Nemo and Friends with FastPass+: 11am – 11:15am
- See Turtle Talk with FastPass+ and look around Seas Pavilion: 11:20am–12:30pm
- Have lunch at Sunshine Seasons: 12:40pm – 1:30pm
- Ride Soarin’ with FastPass+: 1:35pm – 2pm
- Ride Living with the Land: 2:05pm – 2:30pm
- Ride Journey into Imagination with Figment: 2:40pm – 3pm
- See Disney Pixar Short Film Festival if desired: 3:05pm – 3:30pm
- Tour World Showcase from Canada – Japan and enjoy dinner
- See IllumiNations or get in line for Soarin’, Test Track, or Frozen at 8:55pm
IllumiNations: IllumiNations is the nightly entertainment at Epcot, scheduled at 9pm most nights through September 30, 2019. For the best spots, arrive 15 to 30 minutes before the start of the show. Plan a backup spot in case your first choice is booked for a private event or there is little front row space. Beginning October 1, 2019, Epcot Forever will take over in its place. We expect the viewing advice to be similar.
- 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+.
- 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.
- 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.
- The stretch from Mexico to Norway is good. Areas closer to Norway have fewer people.
- 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 downstairs that are good locations, but they may be reserved for private events.
- 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. With people eating dinner for 90+ minutes after Epcot officially closes, you can enjoy World Showcase’s atmosphere and architecture freely during that time.
Wait Times By Crowd Level