Epcot FastPass+ Tiers Changing in January

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2015-06-26 at 09-32-34One month ago, Disney officially announced that the mega-popular Epcot attraction Soarin’ will be closing for a long refurbishment. Starting January 4, 2016 one of Epcot’s few major rides will be closed, so it was expected that Disney would be shifting around their Epcot FastPass+ designations to compensate.

For reference, guests are allowed 1 FastPass+ from Tier 1 and 2 from Tier 2.

Currently, Epcot uses the following FastPass+ tiers:

The upcoming closure of Captain EO will simply remove one FastPass+ option, but the removal of Soarin’ from the rotation of attractions will have more a trickle down effect. To replace Soarin’ in Tier 1, Mission: SPACE will move up, making the new FastPass+ tiers look like this:

What This Means for Park Touring

Right now, the three most commonly use FastPass+ reservations at Epcot are Spaceship Earth, Soarin’, and Mission: SPACE Orange. What that means is that most people choose those three as their FastPass+ attractions since one is in Tier 1 and two are in Tier 2.

We do not expect Spaceship Earth’s FastPass+ popularity to change at all, but with Soarin’ out of the picture and Mission: SPACE moving on up, we think the other two spots are likely to change. What we expect is that the current 4th most popular Epcot FastPass+ reservation, Test Track, will take Soarin’s vacated spot. The current 5th most popular FastPass, The Seas with Nemo & Friends, may also move up as the new Tier 2 option.

As soon as we roll the calendar over to January, TouringPlans will update the Epcot tiers so that you can optimize your Touring Plans. Until then, it will continue to show Mission: SPACE as a Tier 2 attraction. Never fear, we have a way to help!

How to Choose Your FastPass+ Reservations

After you create and add attractions to your personalized Touring Plan, open the FastPass+ options and set both numbers (shown in photo 1 below) to 0. Then Optimize your plan. After the optimization, simply pick the attraction with the highest wait time from the revised Tier 1 and the 2 highest from Tier 2 and reserve FastPass+ for those attractions. Once January comes you will be able to re-optimize using those FastPass+ reservations for maximum efficiency.

What we expect is that, like in the example (photo 2) below, Test Track will almost always be the best choice for a Tier 1 FastPass+ reservation. If you also want to ride Mission: SPACE and use your initial 3 FastPass+ reservations, we expect that Mission: SPACE will be a reasonably easy 4th FastPass+ to grab.

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Brian McNichols

In addition to blogging, I also do some analyzin' here at Touring Plans. I am a travel nut, planning nut, Disney nut, wall nut. Husband of 1, father of 2. Hilariously funny in my own mind. Find me on Twitter @YesThatBrian if you like really dumb jokes.

15 thoughts on “Epcot FastPass+ Tiers Changing in January

  • November 17, 2015 at 2:58 pm

    Is the illuminations fp ever worth it? I want to see it with my kids, but don’t want to wait for hours to hold a spot. Not sure what that fp offers.

    • November 17, 2015 at 3:12 pm

      Not really. With it you get into a reserved section, but unless you arrive towards the beginning of the window (around 30-40 minutes early) you’ll likely be behind people anyway. Since the lagoon is so big, you can usually get a decent spot 30-40 minutes out anyway.

      Besides, if you pick Illuminations for one of your initial 3 FastPasses, you’ll never be able to get a 4th one. You can only get a 4th after you use the other 3 that day, and you won’t use the 3rd if it’s Illuminations until 9pm, when Epcot is closed.

  • November 17, 2015 at 3:43 pm

    When does the new Frozen attraction open that replaces Marlstrom? Will it be Tier 1? I thought I heard it was opening early 2016.

    • November 17, 2015 at 4:01 pm

      Early 2016 is the most specific date I’ve seen, and Disney seems to just say “2016.” I didn’t include it because I didn’t know when it would be operational, although I’m sure Disney would love to have it take some of the Soarin’ crowd while that ride is down.

      I imagine that it would be a Tier 1 and, if it is and Soarin’ gets the rumored new movie, that would create quite a quandry for many guests.

  • November 17, 2015 at 3:56 pm

    I just ran into this change when doing my FP+ picks for January this past weekend. I had planned to do Test Track, Mission Space Green, and Spaceship Earth. With this new change, I ditched Space and picked Nemo since the other options were even less enticing. I really wish Living with the Land was Tier 2. We’re going on a holiday weekend, so it could be busy.

    • November 17, 2015 at 4:04 pm

      I also wish Living with the Land was a Tier 2. It used to be, but we think they changed it because so many were picking Soarin’ and Living with the Land as a 1-2 punch, creating longer lines at Living with the Land. Now Spaceship Earth is getting that Tier 2 line, but short of dropping Tiers there’s not much more they can do.

      • November 18, 2015 at 4:52 am

        Well, there is something they could do, build more attractions so the availability is more like Magic Kingdom where there are no tiers.

        Imagine if Body Wars was still open or if more countries had rides….

  • November 17, 2015 at 9:18 pm

    If I don’t want a FP+ for any of the tier 1 attractions, can I schedule 3 tier 2’s?

    • November 18, 2015 at 9:07 am

      Hi Adam, no, unfortunately not. Pick a FP+ from Tier 1 early in the day and let it expire. Once the times for all three of your FP+ expire, then you can go to a kiosk and pick another one. Someone correct me if I’m wrong!

      • November 18, 2015 at 4:03 pm

        Better yet. Cancel the tier 1 FP+ you don’t want. You’ll have to first complete the FP+ selections then you can go back in and cancel the unwanted FP+ reservation. You can only cancel individual FP+ on the website, not the app.

    • November 18, 2015 at 10:14 am

      Jennifer is correct, you cannot pick three Tier 2 FastPasses. Of course, most of the Tier 2 attractions don’t have much of a wait, even on busy days.

  • November 18, 2015 at 11:51 am

    Are we not thinking that the replacement for Captain EO, the Disney/Pixar Short Film “Attraction” will not take any Faspass+ reservations in Tier 2?

  • November 19, 2015 at 12:27 pm

    Tier 1: Everything that actually needs or may need a FP+

    Tier 2: All other attractions

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