Welcome to Part 6 of our early summer 2019 Walt Disney World trip report. This post covers a morning at Epcot, including morning Extra Magic Hours.
This was my second visit to Epcot this trip, having visited during the afternoon in Part 4, including evening Extra Magic Hours. Like Part 4, this will be a shorter post, as it only covers a few hours.
About This Trip Report
This trip report covers our May 2019 visit to Walt Disney World. It’s designed to provide a final set of notes for visits in summer 2019 before August 29, 2019 when Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge opens. This trip report will be in six parts (links open in new tabs and will go up as content goes up):
Part 6 - Epcot Half Day (with morning Extra Magic Hour) (this post)
And two additional review posts:
We’re heavily into Extra Magic Hours and After Hours this trip, so some reports might not be as valuable for guests who won’t have access to Extra Magic Hours. Our next Walt Disney World trip report will probably be the opening of Galaxy’s Edge. That report will cover post-Galaxy’s Edge strategy.
I was headed to Epcot only for the morning, but I’d still like to link to some content for those of you planning a full day (note that Part 4 of this trip report covered an afternoon at Epcot—I don’t recommend only spending a half day here). If you’d like more background, you should consider the following posts (links open in new tabs):
What’s New At Epcot
Before we get to how I spent the morning, I want to talk about some other happenings at Epcot.
Ratatouille / France Construction Continues. I grabbed this shot from the walkway over to the Boardwalk. The ride is rumored to open April 2020. You can also see the Skyliner. (We mentioned another ride construction, the Guardians of the Galaxy coaster, in our earlier Epcot report.)
Skyliner Construction Continues. Also by the Boardwalk entrance, work continues on the Skyliner, which is expected to open this summer. (Update: The walls have now come down at this station, so we recommend stopping by to check it out while you’re visiting the World Showcase.)
New Ticket Booth(?). I believe this is a new ticket booth that’s coming to the Boardwalk entrance? I’m guessing that with increased Skyliner traffic they wanted a new ticket booth better positioned to serve just guests of the Boardwalk hotels.
Smoking Ban. With smoking inside the parks banned, there is a smoking area over here as well (by the Boardwalk entrance).
Riviera Resort Merchandise. The Imagination Pavilion (home to the DVC lounge) is selling merchandise for the not-yet-opened Riviera Resort.
Flower and Garden Festival. I already covered this somewhat in Part 4 of this trip report, so go there for more looks and merchandise. But here are some shots from today (use the arrows to scroll).
Epcot Morning Extra Magic Hour
I was going into this morning without any FastPass+ reservations because I wasn’t planning on sticking around. As of 8:05AM, every ride except Frozen Ever After had FastPass+ availability. If I needed three, I would have chosen Test Track, Spaceship Earth, and Mission: SPACE.
I continued my trend of pushing for late arrivals, catching a 7:46AM bus at Pop Century and arriving at 8:02AM—two minutes after the start of the morning Extra Magic Hour. Looking back at my rope drops this week, my arrival times were:
Hollywood Studios — 6:57AM — 63 minutes before start of Extra Magic Hour
Animal Kingdom — 7:29AM — 31 minutes before start of Extra Magic Hour
Magic Kingdom — 8:39AM — 21 minutes before park opens (no Extra Magic Hour)
Epcot — 8:02AM — 2 minutes after start of Extra Magic Hour
We have a full post on Epcot Rope Drop Strategy, in case you’d like more details than this post offers.
This was a May visit, so it lacked the crowds that June, July, and August will have. During those months, I’d definitely aim for an extra 15 to 30 minutes for Animal Kingdom, Magic Kingdom, and Epcot.
Test Track was down when I arrived, which at least makes for a semi-interesting morning. Test Track is my recommended place to start the morning at Epcot, so I already had to make a change.
There were evening FastPass+ slots available for Test Track, and I would have gladly grabbed one if I were sticking around. Morning Extra Magic Hours allows you to easily visit Frozen Ever After and Soarin’, so there’s no need to hold onto those Tier 1 alternatives.
Generally I avoid late FastPass+ time slots because I like to grab more FastPass+ throughout the day (and you need to use your first three to do that), but with Extra Magic Hour I wouldn’t have an issue getting through a huge chunk of Epcot’s rides.
Anyways, I headed to Frozen Ever After with pretty much everyone else who was in the park. At 8:18AM the posted wait was 25 minutes, and I was on at 8:34AM.
At 8:50AM, there was already a 9:15AM Frozen Ever After FastPass+ available, and Test Track was no longer available. People obviously made the change to their reservations when they saw Test Track was down.
Guests were lining up to meet Anna and Elsa already, too. This seems like a fine decision if you’ve ridden Frozen Ever After and have a FastPass+ for Test Track.
After Frozen Ever After the only reasonable choice was Soarin’, as Test Track was still down. At 8:57AM the posted wait was 15 minutes. I was on the ride at 9:08AM.
From there I stuck with The Land pavilion, riding Living with the Land with no wait at 9:20AM.
And then over to The Seas with Nemo and Friends. The posted wait was 15 minutes at 9:38AM and I was on at 9:45AM.
I closed out the morning with a walk on to Journey Into Imagination With Figment at 9:57AM.
If you were sitting on FastPass+ reservations for Test Track, Spaceship Earth, and Mission: SPACE having completed this morning, you’d be in great shape.
Here are some closing shots of Epcot. Not the most beautiful I’ve taken, but Epcot is always beautiful.
Recapping the Morning at Epcot Extra Magic Hours
Here’s what the morning looked like:
8:02AM — Arrive (Test Track Down)
8:34AM — Frozen
9:08AM — Soarin’
9:20AM — Living with the Land
9:45AM — The Seas With Nemo and Friends
9:57AM — Journey Into Imagination With Figment
Honestly…not much to say about this. With three rides that rarely have waits in the morning or evening, Epcot’s lineup just isn’t so deep that you need to stress about it.
The most challenging aspect of Epcot, which I didn’t really attend to this trip, is balancing the entertainment schedule around the World Showcase. Most pavilions have either an indoor theater or outdoor streetmosphere performances. In my ideal day, I’d spend about 11AM to 6PM visiting these over the course of two loops around the World Showcase.
Unfortunately this trip didn’t allow for that challenge. Even so, Epcot remains the easiest park as far as ride strategies go, and I was happy to have had two satisfying days in this great park.
All Your Other Disney World Planning Questions Answered
Don't be overwhelmed by Disney World planning! Take a second to check out our most important content and you'll not only be an expert, but you'll save big $$$ along the way.
Just starting out? Check out our Walt Disney World planning guide! If you're still picking dates, we've got everything you need to know about Disney crowd calendars. For picking your hotel, check out our Walt Disney World hotels guide.
When it comes time to book we’ll help you find discount Disney World tickets. Decide whether you need a dining plan in our Complete Guide to Disney World Dining Plans! And at 180 days out it's time to book those Disney World Advance Dining Reservations!
Don't forget to master your Disney World FastPass+ strategy a few months in advance. We'll keep you out of long lines so you can maximize the magical time in the parks! We've got park-specific guides as well: Magic Kingdom FastPass, Epcot FastPass, Animal Kingdom FastPass, and Hollywood Studios FastPass.
Know what to ride with our guides to: Magic Kingdom rides, Hollywood Studios rides, Epcot rides, and Animal Kingdom rides! Plus learn about the water parks with our guide to Blizzard Beach and our guide to Typhoon Lagoon! And for some some fun prep, check out our Ranking of Every Ride at Walt Disney World.
Finally, before you head out, be sure to check out our to-the-point packing list, 10 essentials you forget to pack for every Disney trip. And if you're interested in saving, there's no better list than our 53 Ways to Save on your Disney trip from start to finish.