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Disney World’s FastPass+ system makes it possible to ride popular attractions with minimal wait times. There are, however, some tips and strategies that differ for each park. Let’s discuss an effective Epcot Fastpass strategy.
What is FastPass+?
Let’s start with the basics. FastPass+ is the system in place at Disney World in Orlando (in contrast, Disneyland is still on the older Fastpass system without the PLUS). It is linked to either your park ticket or your magic band – whichever you have. Use My Disney Experience from home to add your ticket number to your profile. Once that is set, you can request your Fastpasses.
Disney gives you 3 Fastpasses per day. They are free, you do not buy them. A Fastpass allows you to enter a ride or attraction through a separate line that is usually much shorter than the standby line. It is a timed entry ticket with a one-hour window.
Select your initial Fastpass attractions on My Disney Experience. Those staying at a Disney resort (also the Swan, Dolphin and some Disney Springs hotels) can make reservations 60 days before arrival date (at 7 am Eastern). You can also make your selections for your entire stay.
If you are staying offsite, you can reserve your FastPasses 30 days out, one day at a time. You would need to login to My Disney Experience each day to make your reservations for the entire trip.
You can buy your Disney World tickets ahead of time at Undercover Tourist for the best prices – then link them to your account!
Epcot Fastpass+ Strategy
Not all rides and attractions are eligible for Fastpass. In addition, they are not weighted the same.
Epcot’s Fastpass rules allow you to pick one attraction from tier 1 and two attractions from tier 2.
Epcot 1st tier rides (select 1):
- Frozen Ever After
- Illuminations: Reflections of Earth (nighttime fireworks show)
- Meet Disney Pals at the Character Spot
- Test Track
Epcot 2nd tier rides (select 2):
- Disney and Pixar Short Films
- Journey into Imagination with Figment
- Living with the Land
- Mission: Space
- Spaceship Earth
- The Seas with Nemo and Friends
- Turtle Talk with Crush
There are height requirements for some of these rides. Epcot currently has restrictions on the following:
- -Soarin’ 40”
- -Test Track 40”
- -Mission: Space (Green) 40”
- -Mission: Space (Orange) 44”
Take these into account if you have younger children and are trying to plan your day. One of my all-time favorite Disney guidebooks is the Unofficial Guide to Disney World. Here, read descriptions of each ride to see if it’s right for your child.
Epcot Fastpass+ Tier 1 strategy
This is tough no matter how you look at it. When my daughter was younger, it had to be Frozen so that’s what we did. It is a fairly new ride that is very slow to load, therefore the wait times are very long. The standby line always seems to be 90 minutes.
I am not waiting 90 minutes in line. If there is the remotest chance your child wants to ride this, then I suggest getting this as your Tier 1 FastPass.
The dilemma is if your kids want to meet Mickey and friends (at the Character Spot) for pictures and autographs (remember to include a Sharpie on your Disney packing list so the fur characters can sign more easily!). This line also gets long, although I haven’t seen it as long as the Frozen standby line.
Test Track was a 25-minute wait the morning we were last at Epcot. That is much more tolerable of a wait. Soarin’ was similar.
Epcot ride tips:
- If you have young children, get a Fastpass for Frozen for early afternoon. Once you arrive in the morning, head to the Character Spot, then ride Nemo and see Turtle Talk. You can even ride Nemo again because there will not be a long line (yes, we have done this).
- If you have young children, but also adults that want to ride the more intense rides, still get a Fastpass for Frozen in the early afternoon, but in the morning head directly to either Test track or Soarin’. The lines shouldn’t be that long. You could even use the single rider line which is always shorter. Then, stop at the Character Spot and head to Nemo.
- If no one cares to ride Frozen and you don’t need to see the characters, then I suggest getting a Fast Pass for Test Track in the early afternoon. Upon arriving, head straight to Soarin’ and walk around that side of the park first.
Epcot Fastpass+ Tier 2 strategy
I find the Tier 2 items to be rather mediocre – I guess that’s why they are Tier 2!
Mission: Space and Spaceship Earth are the two that I recommend. There is a height requirement for Mission: Space, so if your child is not 40”, grab one of the other ones.
Spaceship Earth always seems to have a long line that wraps around continuously, plus you are outside in the sun. That’s one of the main reasons I always get a FastPass for it although the load times go rather quickly.
We had late breakfast dining reservations at The Garden Grill one time and I used our FastPass for Living with the Land since it is in the same building. This worked out well for us because, after our ride, we headed straight to the restaurant.
If you head to Nemo and that side of the park first thing in the morning, you will not have a wait and can cross those items off your list rather quickly.
Epcot tips – More Fastpasses
As with any Disney park, once you use your initial 3 passes, you can log in to your Disney World app (download this ahead of time) or head to a FastPass kiosk and request another. Most likely they will be gone for the major attractions such as Frozen, but any FastPass you can snag will save time.
Actually, once you have scanned your 3rd FastPass in line, you can request a new one via the mobile app. If you find yourself waiting in a small line for your FastPass ride – may as well request your next pass!
There are 3 FastPass kiosks in Epcot where you can request another pass instead of doing it online:
- Near the Character Spot in Future World West
- Near Mission: Space in Future World East
- At the International Gateway to World Showcase
Epcot tips – 2 entrances
Keep in mind that Epcot is very large. It is more than twice the size of Magic Kingdom. Therefore, you will do a lot of walking. Group items together in one area of the park and do all those at the same time.
Another thing to note is that Epcot has two entrances. If you are staying in the Epcot area of hotels (Boardwalk, Beach & Yacht Club, Swan, Dolphin), you will enter via the International Gateway by France.
All others, including drivers and those taking the monorail, will enter through the main entrance with Spaceship Earth being front and center when you arrive.
Here is Disney’s map of Epcot if you want to get a layout of the park before going.
Truthfully, I used to think Epcot was only for adults. However, after having taken my daughter several times, I realized there is a lot for kids as well. Now, if we are only at Disney World for one weekend, we head to both the Magic Kingdom and Epcot only.
With so much to plan for your Disney Trip, you need a Disney planner and organizer! Read my Disney planning guide for a free printable that keeps track of your FastPasses and dining reservations. Or sign up here to get it now.
What are your thoughts on Epcot? Do you do anything differently? Please let me know in the comments!
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