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Touring EPCOT (with Genie+)

Touring EPCOT (with Genie+)

When putting together touring plans for EPCOT, you’ll have several things to consider. First, like at all the Walt Disney World parks, you’ll need to think about which attractions you’ll want to ride. However, EPCOT is unique in that it has two entrances – one at the front of the park, and the other in the back at the International Gateway. Therefore, you’ll also need to determine which entrance you’ll use, as it will dictate where you begin your park touring for the day.

If you enter from the front, you’ll be closest to popular rides like Frozen Ever After, Soarin’, and Test Track. On the other hand, if you use the back entrance (International Gateway), you’ll find yourself nearest to Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure.

Recently, we spent the day touring EPCOT, where we started our day entering at the International Gateway. One of us (me) had the advantage of using Genie+, while the other (Felicia) did not.

With a little advance planning, we both got a lot done, but you’ll see below just how easy of a day I had because of Genie+ and my Individual Lightning Lane for Guardian’s of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind.

Here’s how my day at EPCOT using Genie+ went:

How we put together our EPCOT touring plans

We used our guide on How to Tour EPCOT (without waiting in lines) to put together today’s plan for touring Epcot.

There, you’ll find everything you need to create a touring plan for your day at EPCOT, too, including a detailed breakdown of each attraction with insider tips on the most strategic times to ride.

In addition, there are user-friendly graphics that can be easily saved to your phone, providing you with the necessary information to make informed, real-time decisions throughout the park.

epcot touring graphic for touring plans

If you’re interested in comparing what a day at Epcot would be like with and without Genie+, read also about our experience on the same day Touring Epcot without Genie+.

Overview of our day

This morning, I set out to tour the parks at a pace similar to what the average family might. My aim was to avoid dashing from one attraction to another and instead, take my time, pause for restroom and refreshment breaks, and walk at a moderate speed. In other words, I attempted to maintain a normal pace and take short breaks whenever necessary.

Having Genie+ and pre-purchasing an Individual Lightning Lane for Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind made “slowing down and smelling the roses” so. much. easier.

I was never too worried about the lines getting too long while I was enjoying a cold drink or snack, and when attractions went down, I wasn’t stressed about not getting to ride.

On my visit to EPCOT, while using Genie+ and purchasing an Individual Lightning Lane for Cosmic Rewind, I was able to accomplish 10 attractions before breaking around 1 p.m. for our lunch reservation.

Here’s a summary of what I was able to do:

If I had stayed after lunch to tour more, here’s how I would have spent my time:

Before We Left the Room

I started the day by buying Genie+ for myself. This is available to purchase starting at 12 a.m. on the day of your park visit. I was already asleep by then, so I bought it in the morning at 6:30 a.m.

Because we are staying on-site at Art of Animation, I was able to purchase an Individual Lightning Lane at 7 a.m. for Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind. There were plenty of return times when I was booking, so I had no issue getting a time that worked with my plans for the day. I chose a return time of 1:45 to 2:45 because I knew I wanted to ride shortly after lunch.

At 7 a.m., I was also able to make my first Genie+ selection. My first selection was for Test Track. Because there aren’t a ton of attractions at EPCOT and Test Track is known to go down a lot, I wanted to snag a Genie+ for it to make it a bit easier for me to ride without (hopefully) long lines. I was very hopeful that I’d get a return time that was early in the morning, and I did. My return time was 10:10 a.m. – 11:10 a.m., which was going to be just about perfect.

Getting to Epcot

From Art of Animation, the best way to get to EPCOT is on the Disney Skyliner.

One of the best parts about staying at Art of Animation is the convenient location to the Disney Skyliner. It makes getting to both Hollywood Studios and Epcot a breeze.

We got in line at 6:45 a.m., and there were probably about 20 people ahead of us. They started letting us board the Skyliner at 7:00 a.m. and after we transferred at Caribbean Beach, we were unloading at EPCOT right at 7:13 a.m.

Tapstiles

When we arrived at the International Gateway, there was already a small line of people who had walked over from the nearby resorts. We jumped in line and had time for one of us to run over to the restrooms. The lines were very orderly, but they did grow quickly after we arrived.

They let us through security at 7:47 a.m. and we were then allowed to line up at the tapstiles.

While we waited at the tapstiles, they brought out the Family of the Day to help open up the park. The Family of the Day doesn’t always happen, but when it does it is cute to see. The group selected gets to lead the crowd over to Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure and be the first to ride it.

They officially opened the tapstiles at 8:00 a.m.

Early Entry

Early Theme Park Entry at the EPCOT International Gateway was extremely calm. Unlike Magic Kingdom, there was no running and everything remained orderly.

Every park does Early Entry a little bit differently, and at EPCOT they scan your Magic Bands for Early Entry after you go through the tapstiles. From that entrance, most people entering at the International Gateway head over to Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure in France, but if you want to ride any of the other open attractions, you can do that, too. Just know you’ll have a long, long walk around to get to them.

That’s why if you are staying at a resort that uses the International Gateway AND you are purchasing Genie+, we recommend that you make your first Genie+ reservation for Test Track.

As shown below where we go through hour by hour, if you enter through the International Gateway and are among the first to arrive, it is quite easy to experience both Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure and Frozen Ever After before the Standby lines become excessively long.

After I had scanned my MagicBand for Early Entry, I walked over to the bridge to France (it is a very short walk) and joined the line. We were maybe about 10–15 people back.

When they started moving us into the queue, we were technically about 15 minutes before the actual start of Early Entry.

Attraction 1: Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure

  • Posted wait: N/A
  • Time entering line: 8:13
  • Time boarding: 8:23
  • Time exiting: 8:29
  • Actual wait: 10 minutes
  • Notes: While it is nice that we were able to board and ride before Early Entry even officially began, this isn’t always the case.

If you are entering at the front of the park, your best bet for Early Entry is either Test Track or Frozen Ever After. But, from the back of the park, the absolute best choice is Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure.

Be warned that although this attraction has no height requirements, it is known for making people who are sensitive to motion sickness a little queasy (or worse). There are a lot of screen elements, and the 3D effects and motion of the “cars” just amplify everything.

Attraction 2: Frozen Ever After

  • Posted wait: 25 mins
  • Time entering line: 8:43
  • Time boarding: 8:55
  • Time exiting: 9:00
  • Actual wait: 12 minutes
  • Notes: We barely snuck in boarding before the crowds from the front of the park made it to the attraction.

The walk from France, which is where Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure is, over to Frozen Ever After in Norway is an absolute delight at this time of day. No, it isn’t a short hike, BUT the crowds will be nearly nonexistent, and it can make for some lovely pics of nearly empty pavilions.

If possible, the goal is to enter the Frozen Ever After line before the non-Early Entry crowds enter the park. Doing that will make your total wait here even less.

But, even if you don’t beat the non-Early Entry crowds, if you were at the front of the pack for Remy’s you’ll likely finish up here quickly.

1st Hour

Attraction 3: Mission: SPACE (Green)

  • Posted wait: 5 mins
  • Time entering line: 9:23
  • Time boarding: 9:27
  • Time exiting: 9:43
  • Actual wait: 4 mins
  • Notes: This attraction has 2 sides – Green (less intense) and Orange (more intense). The Orange side nearly always has a longer line than the green side. It is also more likely to make you queasy if you are prone to motion sickness on attractions.

Once I finished riding Frozen Ever After, I considered joining the line to meet Anna and Elsa. However, the queue for that meet-and-greet was already quite long, so I decided to proceed towards World Discovery, where attractions like Test Track and Mission: SPACE are situated.

Since I had some time before my scheduled Genie+ reservation for Test Track, I headed over to experience Mission: SPACE through the standby line. I chose this option because I didn’t want to stray too far from Test Track, and conveniently, Mission: SPACE is located right next to it.

At this time of the morning, Mission: SPACE has a very short line, so I barely waited at all before I was in the pre-show.

Attraction 4: Test Track (Single Rider)

  • Posted wait: 35 mins
  • Time entering line: 9:54
  • Time boarding: 9:58
  • Time exiting: 10:05
  • Actual wait: 4 mins
  • Notes: Single Rider line is great if you don’t mind having your party split up. The earlier in the day typically, the shorter the Single Rider line at Test Track will be.

After my trip into space, I was still a bit too early for my 10:10 am Genie+ reservation. Since I had some time to kill, and I was a little bit queasy from Mission: SPACE, I grabbed a pretzel and a Diet Coke, which I promptly spilled. After cleaning up, I decided to go ahead and see how long it would take to ride Test Track twice – once using the Single Rider line, and another time using my Genie+ reservation.

My first ride was using Single Rider. It legit took me exactly 4 minutes from the time I walked into the building until I was boarding in my car. It was so fast.

Second Hour

Attraction 5: Test Track (with Genie+)

  • Posted wait: 65 mins
  • Time entering line: 10:08
  • Time boarding: 10:23
  • Time exiting: 10:30
  • Actual wait: 15 mins

Between the time I boarded with Single Rider and when I got back into the line for my Genie+ reservation, the posted Standby Line wait time increased by 30 minutes.

It took me slightly longer to go through the queue in the Lightning Lane using Genie+ compared to the Single Rider option. The reason is that in both Genie+ and the regular Standby Line, you experience the complete pre-show where you can customize your car. However, in the Single Rider line, you can still customize your car (usually), but the process is continuous and you don’t have to pause specifically for customization if you prefer not to.

As soon as I tapped in for the second time at Test Track, I opened up the My Disney Experience app and snagged my next Genie+ reservation, which was for Soarin’. The return time I got was going to make it possible to go directly from Test Track right over to Soarin’ without having to wait.

This was the way it worked for me for my entire time at EPCOT: After my first Genie+ reservation, for all my subsequent reservations I was able to select return times that were immediate, churning Genie+ reservation after Genie+ reservation.

Attraction 6: Soarin’ (with Genie+)

  • Posted wait: 20 mins
  • Time entering line: 10:40
  • Time boarding: 10:52
  • Time exiting: 11:01
  • Actual wait: 12 mins
  • Notes: Soarin’ is inside The Land Pavilion which is a great place to head to if it looks like rain because inside under 1 roof you’ll find 3 attractions and both table service (Garden Grill) and quick service (Sunshine Seasons) dining options.

It honestly felt as if I waited a bit longer for Soarin’ than I actually did. I think part of that reason is that the queue for this ride is so. very. long.

Soarin’ used to be the most popular attraction for Rope Dropping, but in the past few years they’ve expanded the capacity and opened up newer attractions, and while Soarin’ is still very popular, it isn’t nearly as important to rope drop as it was.

While heading towards Soarin’, I noticed that the queue for Living with the Land, which was my next destination, was completely empty. I considered getting a Genie+ reservation for another attraction, but all the attractions I intended to visit that morning had return times available at that moment. Therefore, as soon as I checked in for the second time at Soarin’, I decided to secure a Genie+ reservation for Living with the Land, even though I wasn’t entirely sure if I would need it. (Spoiler, I was happy I had it).

Third Hour

Attraction 7: Living with the Land (with Genie+)

  • Posted wait: 25 mins
  • Time entering line: 11:11
  • Time boarding: 11:14
  • Time exiting: 11:33
  • Actual wait: 3 mins
  • Notes: Highly recommend pairing Living with the Land with a ride on Soarin’.

By the time I exited Soarin’ and made the short walk over to Living with the Land, the posted wait had grown from 5 minutes to 25 minutes. I don’t think 25 minutes was accurate, but I was very glad I had my Genie+ reservation because it kept me from having to wait at all.

Again, as soon as I tapped in here, I snagged my next Genie+ reservation. This time, I went with Journey into Imagination with Figment and because my return time was immediate, I was able to walk right over to the Imagination Pavilion (which is next to The Land Pavilion).

Attraction 8: Journey into Imagination with Figment (with Genie+)

  • Posted wait: 20
  • Time entering line: 11:44
  • Time boarding: 11:45
  • Time exiting: 11:53
  • Actual wait: 1 min
  • Notes: The lines here are rarely very long, so while it was nice to have Genie+ to skip the small line, it isn’t usually necessary.

Even though there was a small line here, I was able to just walk right up from the entrance to the area where you board and get right on. Again, as soon as I tapped in, I snagged my next Genie+ reservation, this time for The Seas with Nemo and Friends.

If I wasn’t short on time, I would have gone ahead and stopped at the Magic Eye Theater which is right next to the exit to Journey into Imagination to either watch the Disney & Pixar Short Film Festival or meet Mickey Mouse (or both).

But, because we were closing in on lunchtime, I went ahead and skipped those for now with plans to check them out in the afternoon when I was sure I would want a chance to sit in the air conditioning.

Fourth Hour

Attraction 9: The Seas with Nemo and Friends (with Genie+)

  • Posted wait: 25
  • Time entering line: 12:06
  • Time boarding: 12:09
  • Time exiting: 12:14
  • Actual wait: 3 mins
  • Notes: The Standby queue here is really long, and I also think it is kind of dark, especially after coming in from the bright sunshine.

The walk from Journey into Imagination over to The Seas with Nemo and Friends is just a few minutes. The standby wait here is rarely as long as what the posted wait says. This attraction is continuously loading – so they can move a lot of people through quickly.

As soon as I tapped in here, I snagged one more Genie+ reservation before lunch – this time for Spaceship Earth.

Attraction 10: Spaceship Earth (with Genie+)

  • Posted wait: 20
  • Time entering line: 12:22
  • Time boarding: 12:23
  • Time exiting: 12:43
  • Actual wait: 1 min

What better way to wrap up a very successful 4+ hours of touring than with a ride on Spaceship Earth?

Even though there was a bit of a line, I was up to the front quickly and soon I was traveling through time.

At this point, all the available return times for Genie+ were either when I was planning on eating lunch OR when I had already booked my ride on Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind, so I just set a reminder on my phone to check for possible Genie+ spots after lunch.

Lunch and the rest of the day

After my traveling back in time, I headed over to the Royal Banquet Hall at Akershus where we had lunch reservations. By this time, I was hot, tired, and ready to just sit for a bit.

Typically, we recommend you try to eat around 11:00-11:30 a.m., but because we knew we weren’t going to have time to tour much after lunch, we opted to dine a bit later.

By this point in the day, I had accomplished a ton and I had very few things left that were “must do” rides for me (aside from my Individual Lightning Lane for Cosmic Rewind). That meant I was going to have lots of time to spend my afternoon strolling the World Showcase and soaking it all in.

How I would have spent the rest of the day

Had I continued touring, here is how I would have spent the rest of the day. I did eventually secure the Genie+ reservations you see below, however, because we had other things we needed to do in the park, I wasn’t able to use them.

  • 🧞 Turtle Talk with Crush
  • ⚡ 1:45-2:45 Cosmic Rewind
  • Pixar Short Film Festival
  • Enjoying the World Showcase
    • Gran Fiesta Tour
    • Beauty and the Beast Sing Along
    • Canada Far and Wide
  • Characters
  • Festival food booths

Final thoughts

Touring EPCOT with Genie+ was an absolute breeze, and because I was able to get through so much in the morning, that meant my afternoon was free for me to take it slow and do some exploring in the World Showcase.

But, I also think that if you are looking to save a few dollars, and you are willing to tour for longer AND you don’t mind standing in a few lines, you could absolutely skip buying Genie+ at EPCOT.

But, if you are looking to make your day less stressful or if you plan to arrive later in the day (and skip Early Entry), buying Genie+ will make touring EPCOT that much easier.

VIDEO: How to tour EPCOT with (and WITHOUT) Genie+

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