You’ve seen our excellent coverage of the Spaceship Earth beacons and you’ve decided that you need to see them for yourself. You booked a trip for October because those lights are just calling to you. And you figure, if you’re going to go to EPCOT to see the lights, you might as well ride some attractions while you’re there. This is all really solid decision-making.
But then … Disney announces that Genie+ is rolling out on October 19th. And lucky you, EPCOT is potentially the most confusing park for using Genie+. If you pick up the wrong reservation at the wrong time, you could be hiking for miles around construction walls and in between the new “neighborhoods” to try to follow what the Genie is telling you to do. And even if you don’t use Genie+, your chances of getting a Remy boarding pass have gone down significantly because now they’re going to be saved for those that purchase Individual Lightning Lane Access. And if you do get a boarding pass, you don’t know when it’ll be called, so you can’t really effectively plan your day. Yay!
Never fear, we’re here to give you some strategies to make the most of your EPCOT day (and night)! One strategy will assume that you want to avoid using Genie+, which is generally a solid plan since there are few attractions that offer it. The other will attempt to assist you to use Genie+ to save as much time as possible while touring EPCOT. Neither will assume that you need to purchase Individual Lightning Lane Access for Remy or Frozen Ever After. If you decide to do that, just skip those steps. These strategies are based on predicted crowd levels for the week of the 19th. Obviously, conditions could change, so use these as guidance, but utilize the Lines App while in the parks for the most up-to-date suggestions and data about potential waits.
How do I tour EPCOT without Genie+?
Fun story – even if you don’t want to purchase Genie+, and even if EPCOT isn’t opening until 10, you still get to wake up before 7 am to try to get yourself a boarding pass for Remy. Isn’t that fun? If you’re successful, celebrate with more sleep, or with a slow-paced breakfast. And just use that pass when your boarding group is called. We won’t call that out as a step in the strategy, because there’s no way to know when you’ll be called. If you’re not successful, not all hope is lost – you can try again at the 1 pm drop.
Once you’re eligible to enter the park, head straight for Test Track. This should work especially well if you have early entry. And crowds are likely to only back up later in the day as more people ride, or in case inclement weather rolls in and the ride goes down. After Test Track, if you’d like to experience Mission: SPACE, go ahead and do that while you’re in the area.
After completing the “World Discovery” neighborhood, make your way to the World Showcase and get in line for Frozen Ever After, followed by Gran Fiesta Tour. EPCOT typically has the slowest crowd ramp-up of any park, so you should easily be able to accomplish these four steps before lunch. We recommend hanging out in World Showcase and experiencing some things there until you’re hungry, and then eating lunch at one of the many good locations on that “side” of EPCOT. It’ll still be Food and Wine Festival (because when isn’t it Food and Wine Festival anymore), so grabbing a bite from some booths is a good option too.
After lunch, you could wash down lunch with a visit to Club Cool, and then hop in line for Spaceship Earth, which ideally will still have every little line. If you didn’t get a boarding pass for Remy in the morning, try again at 1 pm. If you’re unsuccessful again, that’s when you could consider springing for the Individual Lightning Lane Access, if it’s still available. And then you can make your way over to World Nature (I can’t get over these names) for the early afternoon. You could check wait times to see whether you’d rather do the Land or Seas first. But generally we’d recommend starting at the Seas (the ride, the exhibits, and Turtle Talk with Crush). Then you can head over to the Land to ride Soarin’ and Living with the Land. Finally, go on a little Journey Into Imagination with Figment on your way back to the World Showcase.
If all goes well, you’ll still have plenty of time to just relax your way around the world before dinner and Harmonious. Catch a few shows, do a table-service dinner if you want, or go and re-ride a couple of favorites. Grab your spots for Harmonious a little early (a straight-on view of the big circle is best), and then as you make your way out, just sit or stand in front of Spaceship Earth for a while and watch it twinkle. It’ll be the best part of your day.
How do I tour EPCOT with Genie+?
If you read the strategy for without Genie+, you know that your day is going to be just fine without it. There is plenty of slack there such that even if wait times double, you’ll be able to accomplish everything. Wait time savings for almost everything with FastPass+ were negligible on low crowd days, except for Test Track and Frozen Ever After. But let’s say you want to try out Genie and just really avoid any waits possible. Okay, you can do that.
You still get to wake up at 7 am. And now you get to try to do two things at once at 7 am. I recommend attempting to get a boarding group for Remy first, and then making your first Genie+ reservation as quickly as possible after that. At 7, you should probably try for a Test Track return time, ideally around 10:30 or 11. Then at 9 am, before the park opens, you can get another Genie+ reservation. This time, try for Soarin’. If you get those two reservations before the park opens, you’ve likely mostly maximized any wait time savings you’ll be able to get out of Genie+ for the day.
When the park opens, your two Genie+ reservations will allow you to go rope drop Frozen Ever After. Then you can ride Gran Fiesta Tour before heading over to your Test Track return time (hopefully). If that hasn’t opened, go ahead and ride Mission: SPACE before you enter the queue. At 11 am (or when you enter the Test Track queue), you’ll be eligible for another Genie+ reservation. You can try for any of the attractions in the second “tier” of time-savings, whichever works best with your schedule. Those would be Spaceship Earth, Journey into Imagination, or Living with the Land. Yep, your pickings are already slim.
Now’s a good time to peruse some Food + Wine booths for lunch and downtime between attractions. After lunch, you’ll probably be able to use your Soarin’ reservation, and then experience Living with the Land (with or without a Genie+ reservation). At 1 pm, or when you enter Soarin’, you’ll be eligible for another reservation. I’d try for Spaceship Earth this time. Then, head over to the Seas to ride The Seas attraction, view the exhibits and experience Turtle Talk with Crush.
Hopefully you’ll be able to use your Spaceship Earth reservation next. If not, spend some time at the Imagination Pavilion first. After finishing up The Neighborhoods Formerly Known As Future World, you are free to spend the rest of your afternoon and evening in The Neighborhood Still Known As World Showcase. You’ll probably still be able to pick up more Genie+ reservations, but they won’t do you much good in World Showcase. If you feel like walking back over to the other part of the park to use them, or re-ride other favorites, you could. Otherwise you have a long time to eat, drink, and explore all around the lagoon before eating dinner and watching Harmonious.
Are you planning on being in EPCOT the week of October 19th? Do you have any ideas about whether or not you’ll try out Genie+? Let us know in the comments!
Good news – only one park to go! I’m a pretty strict two-blogs-a-week gal, and these 5 posts in a row have my fingerprints disappearing like some sort of person trying to avoid the law. Tune back in tomorrow to see if I can make it through a write-up for Animal Kingdom.