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EPCOT touring plans and Genie+ suggestions (minimize your waits!)

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EPCOT touring plans and Genie+ suggestions (minimize your waits!)

Worried about long waits for EPCOT attractions?

Having well-organized touring plans that make good use of Genie+ is key to avoiding long line waits during your Disney World trip, including at Epcot.

Below, find EPCOT touring plans, along with Genie+ suggestions, to make sure you’re maximizing your time.

Let’s take a look…

EPCOT Rides and Attractions

EPCOT used to be broken up into 2 main areas: Future World and World Showcase, but as a part of all of the updates being done there, Disney changed things up a bit.

Now, EPCOT is divided into 4 worlds:

Not counting the entertainment that you can see in the World Showcase, there are about 19 total rides and shows at EPCOT.

In this guide, we’re first going to give you a list of all the available major attractions you’ll find at EPCOT. And don’t worry, if you need additional information, we’ll link off to more detailed descriptions of each.

Next, we are going to give you a brief description about Genie+, including why we sometimes recommend it for EPCOT. This is important to understand before you start creating your touring plans.

Then, we’ll dive into the meat and potatoes of this post – the touring plans. You can use them as is or, just use them as a basis to customize a trip that is perfect for you and your traveling companions.

Note: This list only includes characters who offer Genie+. Please refer to our Complete Guide to Characters at EPCOT for the full list of available character meet-and-greet opportunities.

Genie+ basics

If you are already familiar with Genie+ feel free to skip down to the next section. Otherwise, keep reading and we’ll go over a brief overview. If all of this is new to you, though, we recommend you check out some of our other Genie+ resources to help get you all caught up on how this service works.

Disney Genie+ is the new FastPass+ system at Walt Disney World. Like the old FastPass+ system, Genie+ lets you cut the waits at the most popular attractions by allowing you to enter through a special line called a Lightning Lane (bypassing the longer Standby Line).

But, unlike the old FastPass+ system that was free, Genie+ costs extra; it uses a date-based pricing system, with busier times of the year being more expensive.

Currently, Genie+ starts at $15 per ticket, per day (plus tax) but the price has gone all the way up to $35 per ticket. Unfortunately, there isn’t a way to know ahead of time how much Genie+ will cost on the day of your visit. Instead, you will see the price when you go to purchase it inside the My Disney Experience app.

Why we sometimes recommend you use Genie+ at EPCOT

Genie+ will make touring EPCOT easier during busy times of the year, but if you are traveling during a less busy time of the year, and you don’t mind standing in some lines (and possibly skipping breaks) you can get a lot done without it.

With Genie+ you will definitely find it a lot easier to get everything accomplished in 1 day, though.

Consider also purchasing an Individual Lightning Lane selection

EPCOT currently has 1 Individual Lightning Lane attraction:

  • Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind: $14-$17

If it is in the budget, purchasing an Individual Lightning Lane for Cosmic Rewind will guarantee you a ride. Plus, it is the only way you can select the time you ride.

If you want to ride twice (or if you want to save some money), or you don’t care what time of day you ride, you can also try for a spot in the Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind Virtual Queue. The virtual queue is free.

Best Times to Ride Graphic To Save to Your Phone

We have a handy graphic that can help you see the recommended times to visit the attractions at EPCOT.

We suggest you save this image to your phone, so you can reference it on your trip:

epcot best times to ride

How touring works with Genie+:

If you are purchasing Genie+, you’ll often hear people talking about “stacking” and “churning”.

The reality is that on most days – no matter how busy it is – you’ll find yourself doing both.

You’ll see what that looks like in the touring plans we have provided below, but keep reading to learn what stacking and churning actually mean.


Stacking simply means prioritizing the grouping of Genie+ reservations together for later in the day when the standby lines are the longest.

Some people like to stack for late morning or early afternoon, but you can also stack reservations for the evening. Stacking works well if you are planning to spend all day in 1 park, but it is also a popular technique to use if you are planning a late start or if you are hopping to a different park.

Stacking Genie+ reservations works best during less busy times of the year, when Genie+ reservations at most attractions last the longest.

This includes anytime Genie+ can be purchased for less than about $25 per person, per day.

Here’s how stacking Genie+ reservations works:

  • At 7 a.m., book an attraction that runs out of Genie+ reservations the fastest, regardless of what that return time is. You can see what we recommend in the graphic above.
  • Use Early Entry to ride at least 1 of the available popular attractions (onsite guests only)
  • Plan to ride several things in the first couple of hours without Genie+, unless, of course, your first Genie+ return time is during those first 2 hours. If it is, ride it as soon as possible, and then select your next G+ for an attraction that has the return time already pushed into the time of day you are trying to stack for. (Early afternoon until evening works best.) The goal is to stack your Genie+ reservations back-to-back. They can overlap, just make sure you allow enough time to get from one attraction to the next.
  • As the standby lines build, ride some of the “anytime” attractions listed in the graphic above or meet characters and continue selecting Genie+ reservations with return times as close to your already stacked Genie+ reservations as possible.
  • When the time comes, start using your stacked Genie+ reservations, keeping in mind that it may be possible to fill any gaps by churning attractions with Genie+ reservations remaining.


Churning simply means focusing on snagging Genie+ reservations as close together as possible. You should still prioritize the most popular attractions, but your primary focus is selecting rides with return times as close as possible to the current time, vs. stacking them up for later in the day.

Churning Genie+ reservations works best during the busiest times of the year, when Genie+ reservations run out at all attractions faster and when the lines for even the least popular rides are long.

This includes all major holidays and anytime Genie+ prices creep up over $25-$30 per person, per day.

Here’s how churning works:

  • At 7 a.m., book an attraction with a return time as close to park opening as possible
  • Use Early Entry to ride at least 1 of the recommended attractions (onsite guests only)
  • Continue selecting Genie+ reservations with return times as close to the current time as possible, filling in gaps by riding “anytime” attractions or meeting characters
  • Eventually, you may find that all return times are pushed several hours out. Make sure to prioritize your must-dos and begin stacking return times for later in the day.
  • Keep an eye on the wait times for popular attractions you were unable to get a Genie+ reservation for, and jump in those lines once they drop to an acceptable level.

IMPORTANT: We’ve included example return times for G+ reservations in the touring plans below, but, keep in mind that you can NOT select your return times for Genie+. Depending on the time you make your selections and the overall crowd levels, your return times may be earlier or later.

For that reason, you’ll need to stay flexible when you get to the parks and be ready to pivot or adjust your touring plan on the fly.

Early Entry at EPCOT (Arrive before park opening)

To make the best use of your time, arrive at EPCOT about 45 minutes before park opening.

If eligible, you’ll typically be allowed in about 30 minutes before Early Theme Park Entry begins.

Guests entering at the International Gateway are typically held near the bridge to France, while the exact spot(s) where guests are held at the front of the park can vary. 

At EPCOT, there are 3 attractions we recommend you head towards first for Early Entry:

  • Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure (if entering at the International Gateway)
  • Frozen Ever After (if entering at the front of the park)
  • Test Track (if entering at the front of the park)

Which one you should choose will ultimately depend upon how you plan to spend the rest of your day touring. Keep reading for help with that.

Depending on which attraction you are headed to first (Frozen Ever After, Test Track, Remy’s, etc.), there will likely be different holding areas for guests. Make sure you go towards the one that is on the path to whatever attraction you are heading to first. If you are unsure where that is, there will be Cast Members nearby to assist you.

Get more information about how Rope Drop works

How to get to EPCOT for Early Entry

Here’s our advice on what time you should be heading to the parks based upon how you plan to get there. If your goal is to be at the very, very front, we recommend you err on the side of following the earlier times listed:


While we used to recommend arriving at the bus stop 60 to 75 minutes before Early Entry begins, after testing the timing out many times, we now recommend 90 minutes. That 90-minute window is especially important if you:

  • want to be on the first bus (which we recommend), or
  • if you are staying at a large resort like Art of Animation, Pop Century, or the All-Stars, or
  • if you are staying at a resort with multiple internal stops, like Caribbean Beach or Coronado Springs.

Expect the first bus of the day to arrive between 1 hour to 75 minutes before Early Theme Park Entry starts. The goal is to be on the first bus of the day, and the lines for the buses will get very long, very fast. Arriving 90 minutes before Early Theme Park Entry will get you to the front of the pack, and likely on that first bus.


When traveling by car, plan to arrive at the parking lot entrance about 70 minutes before Early Theme Park Entry. If the parking lot booths are not open at that time, you should be able to just wait for them to officially open up. But, don’t show up too early because they may not let you wait for the booths to open and instead will force you to turn around and come back closer to opening.


For the Disney Skyliner, aim for 75 minutes before Early Theme Park Entry begins if you don’t have to transfer, and 90 minutes if you do. Both the Hollywood Studios and Epcot lines start up about 1 hour before Early Entry begins.


Plan to get to your monorail stop about 60-75 minutes before Early Theme Park Entry. For reference, the Resort Monorail Loop goes:

  • Transportation and Ticket Center
  • Polynesian Resort
  • Grand Floridian Resort
  • Magic Kingdom
  • Contemporary Resort


If traveling by boat, 60-75 minutes before Early Theme Park Entry is probably good.


Walking? You’ll have it the easiest!

Guests that walk are typically allowed to line up at the tapstiles around 60 minutes before the park opens for Early Theme Park Entry. If you want to be at the front of the pack of the walkers, plan to arrive ahead of that. (If you arrive before they begin allowing people to line up at the tapstiles, you’ll be held back by security.)

Important things to know about touring EPCOT

  • Genie+ can come in very handy if you are traveling during a busy time of the year. Make sure you review our Genie+ recommendations before you make your first selections
Epcot Genie Plus Priorities graphic
  • 2 of the main attractions here – Soarin’ and Test Track – both have 40″ height requirements, but 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″, it may be worth giving them a try, but maybe skip Mission: Space which has a height requirement of 40″ and could scare some kids.

EPCOT touring plans

We are in the process of updating all of our EPCOT touring plans. Look for updated plans to be coming soon!

Links to our other touring plans

Planning to visit the other 3 parks? Check out our touring advice for those below:

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