How Changes to Epcot’s FastPass+ Tiers Affect You

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t_logo_fbOn June 16, Epcot’s Living with the Land will join Soarin’, Test Track, and IllumiNations as Tier 1 FastPass+ attractions. (Living with the Land was previously a Tier 2 attraction). Guests making advance FastPass+ reservations will be able to choose one of these attractions before arriving at the park. (You’ll be able to get more FastPass+ reservations from any tier once you’re in the park and have used your set of advance Fastpass+ reservations.)

Also, the Epcot Character Spot and Maelstrom will move from Tier 1 to Tier 2.

Here’s the complete lineup of Epcot FastPass+ Tiers:

Tier 1 (Choose One)

Tier 2 (Choose Two)

With this change comes two questions:

  • How does this affect our Epcot touring plans?
  • What are my FastPass+ priorities at Epcot now?

Effect on Epcot Touring Plans

Ten of our 24 Epcot touring plans required changes with this latest FastPass+ shuffle. In most of them, the change was to drop Living with the Land and add Maelstrom as a FastPass+ attraction.  Our touring plan software typically moved the Living with the Land ride to slightly earlier in the day, when crowds will be lower, and suggested a FastPass+ reservation time of around 2 PM for Maelstrom.

Your FastPass+ Priorities at the Epcot

The 3 highest-priority FastPass+ attractions at Epcot are Spaceship Earth, Soarin’, and Mission: Space Orange, for families who want a complete tour of the park. Those attractions are the same as before this tier change:

Epcot Fastpass+ priorities

Maelstrom is now recommended in about 1/3rd of our touring plans, and Living with the Land is not recommended at all (nor is the Epcot Character Spot).  IllumiNations is suggested exactly once, for an afternoon touring plan of World Showcase. And Test Track, The Seas with Nemo and Friends, and Turtle Talk with Crush remain good secondary choices.

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):

Epcot Suggested Fastpass+ times

Our touring plan software recommends Soarin’ and Mission: Space Orange before noon (the median suggested reservation time is 10:30 AM for Soarin’ and 10:15 AM for Mission: Space). Doing that allows you to head for Test Track first thing in the morning, and a quick ride on Sum of All Thrills before heading for Mission: Space. After that, most touring plans suggest Living with the Land prior to riding Soarin’.

As for Maelstrom, the median suggested time for a FastPass+ reservation is 2 PM, with an average time of around 3 PM. That means you’ll be touring World Showcase in a clockwise direction, from Mexico to Canada. The good thing about that strategy is that there are plenty of good viewing spots for IllumiNations on the Canada side of World Showcase, so you won’t need a FastPass to see the show.

 

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Len Testa

Len Testa is the co-author of the Unofficial Guide to Walt Disney World, and has contributed to the Disneyland and Las Vegas Unofficial Guides. Most of his time is spent trying to keep up with the team. Len's email address is len@touringplans.com. You can also follow him on Twitter: @lentesta.

9 thoughts on “How Changes to Epcot’s FastPass+ Tiers Affect You

  • June 13, 2014 at 10:47 am
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    What if you made your FP+ selections before this change, so for example I have FP+ scheduled for Living with the Land, Test Track & Spaceship Earth. Will both Living with the Land and Test Track still be honored because I made them before the change?

    Reply
    • June 13, 2014 at 11:21 am
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      Yes, they will still be in effect as originally reserved….or you could trade the Living with the Land FP for another Tier 1 (e.g. Soarin’) and essentially have two Tier 1’s on the same day.

      Reply
  • June 13, 2014 at 11:05 am
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    I wonder why these changes were made? Not being a statistician or mathematician I don’t even know how to start answering this question. I was tinkering around with our touring plans last week and Test Track always had a higher wait time than Living with the Land. Why stop people from being diverted away from those attractions with the higher demand?

    Reply
  • June 13, 2014 at 12:47 pm
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    I had something odd happen when setting up my Fastpass+ this morning for an August vacation. Since we are staying at the Beach Club we will be visiting Epcot a few times. So, the first day I made sure to select Maelstrom as one of our FPs. On subsequent days, Maelstrom was never listed again as an option for a FP. Is that a glitch? Or on purpose? Anybody have this happen?

    Reply
    • June 13, 2014 at 1:22 pm
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      It may mean that it’s sold out already for those days, though it’s highly likely that it will become available if you keep checking.

      Reply
    • June 15, 2014 at 9:12 am
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      It depends on the time of day. If (for example) you tried to get a FP+ For Maelstrom at 10amt would not work as that attraction doesn’t open until 11am (I believe).

      Reply
  • June 13, 2014 at 2:10 pm
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    Sad state of affairs that either Living with the Land is considered a Tier 1 (and that Maelstrom previously was Tier 1). If Disney were to add few decent attractions at Epcot, they wouldn’t need a tier system there.

    Reply
  • June 13, 2014 at 2:19 pm
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    Living with the Land moving to Tier 1 –

    Len, I thought this was a joke when I first read it, perhaps an April Fools style joke on Friday the 13th.

    Alas, it’s not…

    Reply
  • June 16, 2014 at 12:09 pm
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    Wait, just to make sure I am thinking of the correct ride: LwtL is the boat ride that you also go through the growhouses, correct?
    This was moved to a Tier 1? I find that crazy. Does its popularity soar in summer – b/c we walked on – or is Wdw just hoping there are enough people lacking knowledge about Epcot to choose this and not Soarin or TT?

    Reply

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