Epcot begins exclusive use of FastPass+ on Thursday, marking the official end of the original FASTPASS system at Walt Disney World. We think it would be appropriate tomorrow to recognize the occasion.
We’ve updated of our Epcot touring plans to use only FastPass+. Each plan now lists the suggested FastPass+ start times for the attractions that will save you the most time in line, like this:
Suggested start times for FastPass+ reservations:
Mission: SPACE (Orange) = 9 AM
Soarin’ = 10 AM
Spaceship Earth = 11 AM
The updated plans are very efficient, with the average wait in line under 9 minutes per attraction on most plans. In fact, because the plans are so efficient, we’ve added Agent P’s World Showcase Adventure and other attractions to many of the plans for teens and adults. (We also really like the game.) And some touring plans only use 2 of the 3 FastPass+ reservations you’re given each day, which means you have 1 more to revisit a favorite attraction (that you’ve not already used FastPass+ on that day) or try a new ride.
When we updated the plans, we kept track of how many times each attraction was identified as needing FastPass+. As we did for the Magic Kingdom’s FastPass+ priorities, here’s Epcot’s chart:
Epcot offers FastPass+ for 13 different experiences, and it was a little surprising to see that FastPass+ was useful in at at least some circumstances in more than half of the attractions. Read on for a detailed explanation of why these attractions show up most frequently in our Epcot touring plans.
Epcot’s Tiered FastPass+ Attractions and Their Impact on Touring Plan Strategy
The first thing to note about Epcot is that its FastPass+ attractions, like the Fastpass+ attractions at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, are grouped (or “tiered”), and Disney limits how many FastPass+ reservations you can make for each group. Here’s the tiering:
Group A (Choose 1 attraction)
Group B (Choose 2 attractions)
A lot of our Epcot touring strategy is dictated by the first group, which includes both Soarin’ and Test Track. Since you can’t get FastPass+ reservations for both, the basic strategy is to visit one as the first step in a touring plan, and then use FastPass+ for the other.
Another thing that affects an Epcot touring plan is that Sum of All Thrills, where you design and ride your own virtual roller coaster, does not participate in FastPass+. (Probably because its can handle only a few hundred guests per hour, so it doesn’t have enough capacity to allocate to reservations.) Sum of All Thrills appears on our ‘tween, teen and adult touring plans. Sum of All Thrills is in Innoventions East, near Test Track and Mission: SPACE, so our one-day touring plan for adults avoids the capacity constraints at Sum of All Thrills by putting it as the fourth step of the day, in between FastPass+ reservations for Test Track and Mission: SPACE:
Adult 1-Day Touring Plan for Epcot
2. Living with the Land
3. Test Track – make FastPass+ reservation for 9:15 AM to 10:15 AM
4. Sum of All Thrills
5. Mission: SPACE (Orange) – make FastPass+ reservation for 10:15 AM to 11:15 AM
You should get to Test Track in the second half of your one-hour FastPass+ time window. By the time you’ve finished Test Track and been through Sum of All Thrills, your FastPass+ window for Mission: SPACE (Orange) will have started, and it’s a short walk from Innoventions East. So this strategy saves you both time in line and walking.
Why FastPass+ Is Recommended More At Soarin’ Than Test Track
You’ll notice that our touring plan software recommends FastPass+ for Soarin’ more than twice as often as Test Track. Both have 40″ height requirements, but Test Track is a more harsh ride, with sudden stops, turns and acceleration. For that reason, Test Track doesn’t appear on many of our touring plans for parents with small children or our touring plans for seniors, and it doesn’t appear as often in the chart above.
The second reason is that Test Track has a single rider line, but Soarin’ does not. Test Track’s single-rider wait times are typically less than half of the standby wait times. If you’re willing to have your group ride separately, Test Track’s single rider line is a good way to mitigate its standby waits.
Attractions That Never Need FastPass+ In Our Epcot Touring Plans
These Epcot attractions never require FastPass+ in our touring plans:
Journey Into Imagination with Figment
IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth
Epcot Character Spot
Mission: SPACE (Green)
Waits for Captain EO and Imagination are almost always under 10 minutes, so they’re not a good use of FastPass+. Similarly, the waits for the non-spinning Mission: SPACE (Green) are almost always lower than the spinning (Orange); the spinning version is more popular and that’s what we have in our touring plans.
IllumiNations is more popular, and FastPass+ gets you into a special viewing area for the show. But there are so many other good viewing spots along World Showcase Lagoon that it’s difficult to recommend FastPass+ for IllumiNations, when the consequence is an hour-long wait at either Soarin’ or Test Track.
Finally, the Epcot Character Spot doesn’t require FastPass+ in our touring plans for parents with small children. Because you can get a FastPass+ for Soarin’ (if your children are old enough), and because Test Track and Mission: SPACE aren’t on our plans because of their intensity and height requirements, our touring plan software usually puts the Epcot Character Spot as one of the first steps in your touring plan.
The Best Times for FastPass+ Reservations at Epcot
Now that you know which attractions most need FastPass+, the next question is when you should make your FastPass+ reservations. Here’s a chart showing the times our Epcot touring plans use FastPass+ to avoid long lines (yellow=morning times, orange=afternoon):
Another thing worth noticing is that the average FastPass+ reservation time is before 1:30 PM in our touring plans. Every FastPass+ ride except Norway’s Maelstrom is in Future World, and World Showcase doesn’t open until 11 AM. This, coupled with typical guest arrival patterns at Epcot, means that crowds will be concentrated in Future World through early afternoon.
What To Do If You Have Other FastPass+ Attractions or Times
If you can get a FastPass+ reservation for the attractions shown, anywhere near the times listed, the touring plans will work exactly as shown, and your waits in line will be minimized. If you need to choose other FastPass+ attractions or times, our free computer-optimized touring plan software will incorporated those.
Here’s the process I usually follow to create an optimal Epcot touring plan with low waits in line:
- Select all of the attractions I want to visit during the day, and enter in all of the meals and breaks I want to take. I don’t enter any FastPass+ times at this step, because I first want to see what the Optimizer identifies as the attractions with potentially long waits.
- Click the “Optimize” button and wait for the touring plan to be optimized.
- Find the first attraction with a wait over 30 minutes, and see if a FastPass+ reservation is available for that attraction around that time. If I find one, I enter in the FastPass+ time that’s available, and re-optimize the plan.
- I repeat Step 3 for the two FastPass+ eligible attractions with the highest wait times throughout the day. I re-optimize the plan after each attraction, because saving a bunch of time on one attraction may allow the Optimizer to uncover other ways to save you time throughout the day.
I’ll also manually re-arrange some of the World Showcase steps in a plan, especially if they’re not automatically oriented into a clockwise- or counter-clockwise tour. The folks in our Lines Chat forum are especially helpful in making suggestions for efficient touring plans too.