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In this post we discuss how to use Fastpass+ successfully at Epcot in 2018 (and beyond), including the best rides for Fastpass at Epcot and how Epcot Fastpass should fit into your Walt Disney World planning. We suggest also reading our full Walt Disney World Fastpass+ strategy for a complete understanding of the system. For our opinions on the rides, check out our Epcot rides and entertainment guide.
The Basics of Epcot FastPass+
Again, you'll want to check out the full Walt Disney World Fastpass+ strategy post to make sure you really understand FastPass+, but we want to give those of you who are just looking for the basic a quick intro.
FastPass+ Allows You to Skip the Lines at Walt Disney World
With FastPass+, a person can book an hour window to come back to certain rides and skip the lines. Since waits for some rides at Epcot can get to three or more hours (even six hours on New Year's Eve), FastPass+ is an important part of planning your day at Epcot.
You Can Book FastPass+ 30 or 60 Days In Advance
Guests at Disney hotels can book FastPass+ for their entire stay 60 days in advance of the first day of their stay. If you're not staying at a Disney hotel, you can book FastPass+ 30 days in advance. You can make bookings on the My Disney Experience app or online via the Disney website.
Advance Bookings Are Limited (And Go Fast)
When booking FastPass+ in advance, you can book three rides each day. Those three rides must be at the same park. At Epcot, you can book one Tier 1 attraction in advance and two Tier 2 attractions in advance (or three Tier 2 and no Tier 1). Tier 1 bookings often fill up 30 to 60 days in advance, though you'll see sporadic availability pop up even on the same day.
Tap / Grab / Modify Gets You The Most Out of FastPass+
Once you've used your three advance FastPass+ bookings, you can get new FastPass+ reservations throughout the day. You simply:
- "Tap" your Mickey at the start of the line to use your last FastPass+
- Open the My Disney Experience app on your cell phone and "Grab" a FastPass+ for the next ride you want to ride
- "Modify" that FastPass+ to the best time you can find
Tap / Grab / Modify will keep you out of lines all day long.
Epcot Fastpass Tier 1 Attractions
The 12 Epcot attractions are split into two Epcot Fastpass tiers, five rides in Tier 1, seven rides in Tier 2. We'll start by discussing the Epcot Fastpass Tier 1 attractions. When selecting your three advance reservations for Epcot, you can only pick one of Tier 1 attraction. The five Tier 1 attractions at Epcot are:
- Frozen Ever After
- Test Track
- Illuminations: Reflection of Earth
- Epcot Character Greeting
There's no two ways about it: the best ride to Fastpass at Epcot is Frozen Ever After. Frozen should get your Tier 1 slot.
Frozen Ever After is among the most popular Fastpass reservations in Walt Disney World, and the line is consistently long. If you can't get a Fastpass reservation for Frozen, then you should definitely head there at rope drop. Frozen Ever After is one of the two rides we note as anchoring how you schedule your park days at Walt Disney World.
If you do get that Frozen reservation, we suggest starting your day at Test Track, preferably but not necessarily in the single rider line.
The key here is that Test Track's line moves much more quickly than Soarin'. If you go to Soarin' first, you'll wind up letting the Test Track line get too long. This is actually okay if you're planning to use the single rider line at Test Track, but in most cases it's a mistake you'll want to avoid.
Epcot Fastpass Tier 2 Attractions
Epcot has seven Tier 2 attractions. When making your advance reservations, you can reserve two of these (or three if you don't reserve a Tier 1 attraction). The seven attractions are:
- Mission: Space
- Spaceship Earth
- The Seas with Nemo & Friends
- Living with the Land
- Pixar Short Film Festival
- Journey Into Imagination With Figment
- Turtle Talk with Crush
There's little to discuss here — Mission: Space and Spaceship Earth are the best rides to Fastpass at Epcot with your Tier 2 slots. There's no reason to overthink this. Those rides are really the only two of the seven that get meaningful lines and for which you might (might) struggle to find a same-day Fastpass.
If you can book Frozen about an hour after park open and book two of these afterwards, you're in a great position. But you'll have to take Frozen when you get it. Either way, put your first and second Fastpass about an hour after park open.
Epcot Fastpass+ After Your First Three Reservations
While we always recommend using Disney's official, free My Disney Experience app to snag Fastpass+ reservations, the physical kiosks are located at:
- At the character spot on the way to Future World West (where Soarin' is)
- Outside Mouse Gear on the way to Future World East (where Test Track is)
- At the "back" entrance to the park between the France and U.K. pavilions
We suggest checking the Walt Disney World website to confirm kiosk locations in case they change before we update this post.
If you managed to put Frozen first, once you use it you can probably modify your second two reservations to speed up your day. Sometimes it will even be worth it to cancel them altogether to ride Soarin', Test Track, or Frozen again if you're so lucky as to find an open reservation.
This is especially true if you get off Frozen and the waits for Mission: Space and Spaceship Earth are short, as will often be the case. Epcot is a pretty easy park to cover.
If you want to avoid any lines, you can usually grab Epcot Fastpass Tier 2 reservations pretty easily throughout the day. Instead, we suggest walking around the World Showcase (or waiting in short lines) and checking the My Disney Experience app for bonus Epcot Fastpass Tier 1 reservations.
Epcot's World Showcase
Speaking of Epcot's World Showcase, what do you need to know about fitting it into your day? First of all, World Showcase usually opens a few hours after the park opens (hours vary by day). This means that you'll have time in the morning to knock out your rides before heading to World Showcase.
There are 11 countries in the World Showcase. You can easily spend 30 minutes at each just meandering through. If you stop for snacks or drinks at each, you could spend an hour at each easily.
If you're a first time Epcot visitor, we suggest prioritizing the main three Epcot Fastpass Tier 1 attractions and Spaceship Earth, followed by the World Showcase, followed by the other attractions. This doesn't mean you have to do those four attractions before visiting the World Showcase, just that you should have a plan for visiting them before you embark on the a trip around the world.
Rope Drop at Epcot
At Epcot, Soarin', Test Track, and Frozen Ever After are the three Tier 1 rides, so rope drop will focus on riding the two you don't book in advance.
Soarin' can have a very long load time. While the volume can make up for it, we usually find it to be a bad use of time immediately on entering the park.
Frozen Ever After is located a hike away from the rest of the rides. Because Soarin' and Frozen Ever After have these challenges, the quickest ride to get out of the way will often be Test Track.
If you're willing to split up your group and ride Test Track as single riders, then you can start your day by heading to whichever of Soarin' and Frozen Ever After you didn't book in advance. If you didn't book either, start with Frozen Ever After.
If you're not interested in using the single rider line, it comes down to what you booked in advance with Fastpass+:
- If you booked Frozen, start your day with Test Track and then head to Soarin'
- If you booked Soarin', start with Frozen then Test Track
- If you booked Test Track, start with Frozen then Soarin'
If you're staying at a Boardwalk-area resort (Yacht & Beach, Boardwalk Inn, Swan & Dolphin), you'll be in a better position to rope drop Frozen than Soarin'/Test Track, as those resorts can enter the park through the World Showcase.
How To Fit Epcot In Your Walt Disney World Trip
Since you can only schedule advance Fastpass+ reservations for one park on a day, you may wind up on a shorter trip needing to pick what parks to skip Fastpass+ at (at least until you're at the park and can grab whatever Fastpass+ slots are available). This is really only a problem for trips of fewer than five days. Anything five days or more and you want to give each park at least one day of advance Fastpass+ slots.
This analysis is partly subjective, too. If riding Frozen is more important than anything else you'll do at Walt Disney World, prioritize Epcot as high as you'd like.
As of the opening of Toy Story Land on June 30, it is best to prioritize all three other parks over Epcot. This means Epcot shouldn't get a Fastpass+ day unless you have at least four days at the parks.
An exception can be made if you really want to ride Frozen Ever After but wouldn't mind some difficulties fitting in Test Track and Soarin'. In that case, you could book a Tier 1 FastPass+ on Frozen Ever After and plan to rope drop Hollywood Studios to see Toy Story Land.
Finally, the best Disney crowd calendars seem to expect that Toy Story Land will bring crowds to all the other parks as well, so you might expect Epcot to be a little more crowded this year than it was during your past trips, especially during summer.
Epcot 2018 Events
While not strictly relevant to your Epcot Fastpass+ selection, you should know when Epcot will be having events that will draw higher crowds (dates are from AllEars.net):
- Feb. 28 to May 28 - Flower & Garden Festival
- March 9 to March 11 - Steve Harvey Filming
- August 30 to November 12 - Food & Wine Festival
Generally, you don't need a full strategy for Fastpass+ planning around these events. Here are some quick tips, though:
- Fastpass+ selections will be harder to get for these days since more people will be planning to go to Epcot, so be sure to grab as soon as booking opens.
- Prioritize getting attractions done if this is your only trip for a few years. Epcot can be easily conquered in a day, so get the rides out of the way, then enjoy the World Showcase and special attractions.
- Don't drink too much wine before Soarin' or Test Track.
Beyond that, you'll just want to stick to the above and have a magical time!
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. 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.
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.
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.