Epcot touring plans for 2016

by Shannon Albert 48 comments Like the Facebook page

(Article last updated: May 31, 2016)

epcottouringplans2015squareTouring Epcot is fairly easy once you have an effective touring plan and have made good FastPass+ selections.

Like Hollywood Studios, there are tiers in place when making FastPass+ selections, so that does limit your options a bit but it's fairly easy to figure out.

Let's take a look at how to tour Epcot with FastPass+...

FastPass+ opportunities

FastPass+ attractions are split into tiers at Epcot.

You can pick one from Tier 1 and two from Tier 2. You can't pick 3 things from Tier 2 as an alternative.

Tier 1 - choose 1 of these

  • Soarin’*
  • Test Track*
  • Frozen Ever After*
  • IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth

Tier 2 - choose 2 of these

  • Turtle Talk with Crush*
  • Spaceship Earth*
  • Character Spot
  • Disney & Pixar Short Film Festival
  • Journey into Imagination with Figment
  • The Seas with Nemo & Friends
  • Mission: Space
  • Living with the Land

* means I think this might be a good use of a FastPass+ reservation (more info below)

How to make FastPass+ reservations

All guests – whether they’re staying onsite or offsite – can make 3 FastPass+ reservations per day in 1 park ahead of time beginning at 7 a.m. eastern time. All guests can also make use of kiosks in the parks to make or change FastPass+ reservations.

However, there are some differences between onsite and offsite guests:

  • On-site guests can make FastPass+ reservations (3 per day in 1 park) using the My Disney Experience app or website up to 60 days in advance. On-site guests can also make use of the kiosks in the park.
  • Off-site guests can make FastPass+ reservations (3 per day in 1 park) using the My Disney Experience app or website up to 30 days in advance. Off-site guests can also make use of the kiosks in the park.

FastPass+ priorities

You can make 1-3 FastPass+ reservations ahead of time.

Top priority for Epcot

  • Tier 1:
    • Soarin'
    • Test Track
    • Frozen Ever After
  • Tier 2:
    • Spaceship Earth
    • Turtle Talk with Crush

Second priority (FP+ not recommended for these)

  • Tier 1:
    • IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth
    • Living with the Land
  • Tier 2:
    • Disney & Pixar Short Film Festival
    • Journey into Imagination with Figment
    • Character Spot
    • The Seas with Nemo & Friends
    • Mission: Space

You can't make your first 3 FastPass+ reservations for the same ride twice.
Your first 3 FastPass+ reservations must be for all different rides.

However, you can get more FastPass+ reservations after you use the first 3.
Once your first 3 FastPass+ reservations are used or expired, you can use the My Disney Experience app or go to a kiosk and get a 4th. Once your 4th FP+ is used or expired, you can get a 5th. These additional FastPass+ reservations can be in the same park or a different park and can be for the same ride over and over, if you want.

Don't use FastPass+ reservations unnecessarily.
If you arrive at an attraction to use a FastPass+ reservation and the standby line is short (5 or 10 minutes), skip the FastPass+ line, get into the standby line and then change that FastPass+ to something else to use later. You can make the change on your phone or at a FastPass+ kiosk.

Link your tickets

All guests should make FastPass+ reservations online ahead of time. In order to do that, you need to have tickets on your My Disney Experience account. If you are staying on-site and bought a package for your trip (which includes a hotel and tickets), they'll already be in your account.

If you are staying off-site and/or bought tickets separate from your on-site hotel room, you need to link them by going to MyDisneyExperience.com, logging in and then clicking "Link Existing Reservations and Tickets."

linktickets

You can also use the My Disney Experience app on your phone to link your tickets to your account.

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After making FastPass+ reservations, you will be able to scan your MagicBands or RFID-enabled park ticket when you arrive to an attraction at your FastPass+ time (you can be 5 minutes early or 15 minutes late for a FastPass+ time).

What times should you make reservations?
You should plan to show up at rope drop (arrive at least 30-45 minutes before park opening) and ride several things in the first couple of hours without FastPass+, make use of FastPass+ for late morning/early afternoon, and then get additional FastPass+ reservations for later in the day, if needed.

I've included suggested times for FP+ reservations in the touring plans below.

After you've made your initial selection of 3 FastPass+ reservations, you can go into each individual reservation and modify the time if you want.

Epcot touring plans

I like to organize my touring plans by hour because minute-by-minute touring plans can make you feel like you’re running from place to place without any flexibility, but grouping them by hour can give you some sense of timing as you plan.

Here are some possibilities:

General Epcot touring plan (make FP+ reservations ahead of time for Soarin', Spaceship Earth and Turtle Talk with Crush)

  • Arrive 30 minutes before park opening (park often opens about 10 minutes early)
  • First hour: Test Track, Sum of All Thrills (this doesn't have a FP+ option and lines build up), Mission: Space
  • Second hour: The Seas with Nemo and Friends, Explore The Seas pavilion, use FP+ at Turtle Talk with Crush (may not be needed; suggested FP+ time 9:30-10:30)
  • Third hour: Living with the Land, use FP+ for Soarin' (suggested FP+ time: 10:45-11:45), Lunch (I suggest Sunshine Seasons which is in the same building as Soarin')
  • Rest of the day:
    Gran Fiesta Tour
    Use FP+ for Spaceship Earth - may not be needed as lines are often short after lunch (suggested FP+ time: anytime in the afternoon or evening)
    Explore Innoventions East
    Disney & Pixar Short Film Festival
    Journey Into Imagination with Figment
    Explore the World Showcase
    Ellen's Universe of Energy (takes 45 minutes)
    Illuminations (at night)

Epcot with little ones (w/FP+ for Living with the Land, Turtle Talk with Crush and Spaceship Earth)

The 2 main attractions here - Soarin' and Test Track - both have 40" height requirements and they're fairly mild and non-scary (as long as your child can handle a car traveling at a high speed for a lap around the track on Test Track). If your child is at least 40", use the regular touring plan above but maybe skip Mission: Space (which has height requirement of 44" and could scare some kids).

If your child is under 40", follow a touring plan like the one below.

  • There isn't a big need to show up early here (especially if visiting during a less busy time of year) so you could use this as a late arrival day if you're touring with little ones. The earlier you show up, the easier everything is, but it's not super important in this case. I'll assume a park opening arrival for this plan but feel free to adjust as necessary.
  • First hour: Visit Character Spot if interested in characters, The Seas with Nemo and Friends, Explore The Seas pavilion
  • Second hour: Turtle Talk with Crush (use FP+ if needed but probably won't be), Living with the Land (use FP+ if needed but probably won't be), Journey Into Imagination with Figment
  • Third hour: Taste sodas from around the world at Club Cool, explore Innoventions East, Lunch
  • Rest of the day:
    Gran Fiesta Tour
    Use FP+ for Spaceship Earth - may not be needed (suggested FP+ time: any time in the afternoon or evening)
    Ellen's Universe of Energy (takes 45 minutes)
    Explore the World Showcase
    Illuminations (night show)

What about Rider Switch (sometimes called Child Swap)? That still works the same that it always has. Please read my Rider Switch article so you can see how to ride big rides even if you have little ones who can't or won't.

Want to show up late?
If you want to arrive to Epcot a bit later in the day but still want to do nearly every attraction, just make sure you have a FastPass+ reservation for Soarin' and then ride Test Track in the single rider line. The only thing you'll probably have to miss by showing up late is Sum of All Thrills which doesn't have a FastPass+ option.

WDW Prep Members

Level 2 and 3 WDW Prep Members have touring plan tools to put together their own plans. The attractions indicate height requirements, if it's a good use of FastPass+, illustrations of ride vehicles so you can see how many people will fit (especially handy if the kids outnumber the adults), and when to visit each attraction.

And as you build your touring plans, they are grouped by hour (for the first 3 hours) and then your whole plan is plotted on a map at the bottom of the page so you can see how it all lays out.

⇢ Get access to Level 2 tools ⇠

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Epcot is fairly easy to tour once you have the 2 popular rides figured out. Hopefully this info will help you come up with a plan for your Epcot day.

What questions do you have? Please share them in the comments.