Managing your FastPass selections is one of the most important parts of planning a Disney World vacation. The ability to skip lengthy waits for the most popular attractions is a power that should be used strategically. Epcot is a particularly unique park as it requires you to plan your FastPass selections based on tiers that separate the rides.
Other theme park FastPass guides:
Complete Disney World Vacation Guide
Hollywood Studios FastPass Guide
Here’s a solid strategy on how you can optimize your selections to hit the most popular attractions. Things will change as Disney brings their new Guardians of the Galaxy and Ratatouille rides online, but this approach will work until that time.
As of December 2018, here’s the tier structure for the FastPass attractions in Epcot.
Tier 1 (Can only select one)
Frozen Ever After
IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth
Disney & Pixar Short Film Festival
Journey Into Imagination with Figment
Living with the Land
Meet Disney Pals
The Seas with Nemo & Friends
Turtle Talk with Crush
And here’s the strategy.
Book FastPass selections ASAP
The most obvious tip is to book your FastPass selections as soon as you can. It’s amazing how many trips are booked where guests wait too long and are then surprised a FastPass for a popular ride is no longer available.
Pick Frozen Ever After in Tier 1
Due to its low capacity and the fact its still relatively new, Frozen Ever After attracts some of the largest crowds and longest waits. We recommend booking a FastPass for Frozen Ever After around lunch time (like 1pm).
So, why wouldn’t I want to pick Test Track, Soarin’ or Illuminations? More on that below.
Pick Spaceship Earth in Tier 2
Tier 2 has a lot of options, but many don’t require a FastPass. Spaceship Earth breaks some of those rules as its location just beyond the main park entrance attracts big crowds early in the day. These lines die down later in the day, but you’ll likely still want a FastPass if you want to take a journey through time.
We recommend booking Spaceship Earth in the evening.
Your Final FastPass
Book this around your Spaceship Earth FastPass in the evening or at night. Just don’t overlap the time you’ll need to find a spot for Illuminations. There’s a lot of flexibility here, but if you aren’t planning on a lengthy dinner, you can use your third FastPass and then book a fourth for one of the other Tier 2 attractions.
Now, here’s what you need to do during your day in Epcot.
Arrive at Epcot early
Ideally, you’ll start your day before the park opens. If it opens at 9am, plan to be at the gates at 8:30am. Your plan involves using the standby line for two popular attractions, so your best bet is to arrive early.
Head to Test Track at park opening
Most of the crowd at park opening will be heading for Frozen Ever After. Your goal is to head to Test Track as it opens. With some luck, you’ll have a 15ish-minute wait for an attraction that sees big wait times as the day progresses.
Head to Soarin’
After you leave Test Track, head for the Land Pavilion and Soarin’. Wait times here will vary as the crowds have been building while you were at Test Track. Still, you should find a sub 30-minute wait. That wait goes by pretty quickly thanks to the trivia that’s playing in the standby line.
Travel Around Epcot / Lunch
After Soarin’, you can easily cross Living with the Land off of your list as its located within the same pavilion. Or, you can travel around Epcot and hit some of the other low-wait attractions off of your list.
Lunch comes into play at this time too. We always have lunch at the quick service location in Mexico before heading to Norway.
Use the Frozen Ever After FastPass
Use your FastPass and enjoy the fact you don’t have to wait in what will be an enormous standby line. You’ll likely still have a decent wait, but it’ll be considerably shorter than if you didn’t have a FastPass.
Break / Resort Time / Relax in Epcot
Your preference will vary here, but we like to head back to our resort following Frozen Ever After with the intention of returning late in the afternoon or early evening. It may depend on your resort location, but the break from the theme park crowds is a welcome one and energizes everyone for returning at night.
Taking a break, particularly on hot days, is the best piece of advice we can give. Epcot is at its best at night, so we make sure to always take a couple hours off before returning so we can be well-rested at night.
Return / Use FastPass Selections
When you return to Epcot, you’ll use your final FastPass choices and have the option of seeing what’s available for a fourth and even a fifth FastPass. Just plan accordingly so you’re not stuck on a ride or in a line during Illuminations.
Now that the sun is setting (or has set), Epcot comes alive and is fun to just walk around and take in the sights and smells of World Showcase.
Illuminations: Reflections of Earth can be viewed from all around World Showcase. There’s really no need to use your Tier 1 FastPass for a show that can be seen in great locations without a FastPass.
We recommend watching from the special pavilion across the bridge in the Italy pavilion. This area is sometimes used for special events, but if it’s open, it’s a great location with a perfect view. If that’s unavailable, there’s some great spots near France as well.