Epcot doesn't have many rides, but the few good ones they have can get very busy, so FP+ is great for these. Unlike the Magic Kingdom, Epcot does have Tier 1 & Tier 2 FP+ options. What this means is that you can only choose 1 FP+ from the Tier 1 list and your other 2 will have to be from the Tier 2 list. (For more about how FastPass+ works, check out my post on the FastPass+ Rules.) As you will see below, pretty much the only rides at Epcot worth going on are in the Tier 1 category.
I have some suggestions on how best to approach Epcot. Keep in mind, this is from the point of view of planning a trip with young children. If you have older children or going as adults, the way you approach Epcot is completely different. In general, I would say that Epcot is a great park hopper option if you are going with kids. But would make a great park to choose for two adults celebrating an anniversary to spend an entire day in. Epcot's annual special events such as the International Festival of the Arts, International Flower & Garden Festival, and the International Food & Wine Festival are very popular among adult Disney fans.
Now for your Epcot strategy and ride info...
What to use your FP+ on:
Test Track: This was a surprisingly fun ride. Even though you don't really get to create your own car, my kids enjoyed pretending they did and had a blast. They immediately asked to go again, which we could not do because the line was over 90 minutes by that point. If your goal is to ride as many rides as possible at Epcot before park hopping, my suggestion would be to use a FP+ on Test Track. The reason for this is that Test Track has a bad "track" record of closing off and on throughout the day for repairs, so the lines get backed up and very long. To assuage any fears you might have about the safety of the ride, according to former Epcot employees, the ride's computer system is overly sensitive and complex so it gets frequent error codes that they have to work through.
Here is an interesting fact... should Test Track (or any other ride that you have a FP+ for) be temporarily closed during your FastPass+ time, after 15 minutes has passed from the beginning time of that FP+, your FastPass+ will automatically become eligible for ANY ride ANY time before the park closes that day (including, of course, the one you initially had the pass for, Test Track in this case). You don't even need to visit a cast member for this to happen. It will "magically" change on its own and show up as a "Multiple Experience FP+" in your plans.
There are some caveats to this special FP+, however. For instance, if you get a MEFP+ at the Magic Kingdom, it will include all rides EXCEPT for the Seven Dwarfs, unless of course it was the Seven Dwarfs that you were on to begin with. This type of exemption would be in place at the other parks as well (i.e. Avatar in Animal Kingdom or Slinky Dog in Hollywood Studios). At Epcot, Frozen Ever After is excluded from the list.
Frozen Ever After: If you have a little princess or Frozen fanatic in your party, use your Tier 1 FP+ on this one instead of Test Track to make sure you do not miss it. And if you have little brothers whining saying, "Not Frozen, again!" make them go anyways. The animatronics are the best in Walt Disney World and a few surprise dips make it fun for everyone. Just so you know, this is another ride that frequently dawns the "Temporarily Closed" label. Again, there are no safety issues. Water rides are just notoriously finicky and this one sees a lot of action. If you select this as your FP+, I would suggest heading straight to Test Track with the rope drop.
Soarin': Even though this is a Tier 1, you should be able to time Soarin' when the wait is short. The downside to waiting for this one is that there is nothing interesting about the queue line for little ones. However, it is a very wide walkway, the crowd sprawls out, and the line moves at very segmented times. I would say to pick this ride to wait in line for, but make sure to bring something special to engage your kids (and yourself for that matter) during the queue. Large groups of people get on the ride every few minutes, so your kids will even have a little time to sit and rest their legs. Just bring something for them to do and wear SeaBands if you are prone to motion sickness. My oldest and I both get motion sick but with our SeaBands on, we were just fine. Also, if you download the Disney Play app, you'll have the opportunity to answer some trivia questions while in line, which is kinda fun.
Mission: Space: I cannot speak from personal experience on this ride because once I read the reviews, I knew this one was not for me or my family. If you are claustrophobic, this ride is a no go. The other complaint I have read is about the G forces. The ride is supposed to simulate a space shuttle take off and the imagineers were very successful in making it feel real... too real apparently. There is a green track that is milder than the orange track and some have had success with this one. Just do your research to decide if this is right for you and take the warnings on the ride seriously. I like what this woman had to say about it on Trip Advisor:
I'm a 50 year old woman who considers herself a bad a$$ so I was up for the challenge of the Orange Mission with my husband. It was the first and last time I will ride that ride. The claustrophobia didn't bother me, the G force did. It felt like an elephant sat down on my body and my organs were being rearranged. It was hard to breathe through it. The disorientation was rough too with the movie playing on the screen. I just concentrated on the letters on the buttons on the console and kept reading them to myself. This seemed to keep me from getting too nauseous. The best part was walking out of the ride and seeing young men laying on benches and sitting along the walls with their head in their hands. My bada$$ status is intact.
Spaceship Earth: Do not get Mission: Space and Spaceship Earth mixed up. This ride is the opposite of what you will experience on Mission: Space. You know the iconic 180 ft Ball at Epic? Did you know that there is a ride in it? Well, Spaceship Earth is the ride. It is a classic ride, kinda of like Epcot's version of It's a Small World. And it is worth doing for the history of the ride alone (check out the ride description for some interesting facts). Also, if you go during the summer, utilize this ride to cool off. The ride is inside with air conditioning... a hot commodity on a sunny, summer day in Florida. Plus, it is one of the longest rides (15 minutes long), so it will give you and your family a chance to rest your feet. If the line is short, you may find yourself wanting to go again just for a break from walking. For this reason, and the ride's proximity to the Sunshine Seasons dining area, your ideal time for this ride would be around lunchtime.
What NOT to use your FP+ on:
The Seas with Nemo & Friends: This ride feels half-assed (pardon my language) and I was mad that we waited even 30 minutes in line for it. They used the same open clam shell seats used on the Ariel ride in M.K. but put no effort into any animatronics. It feels like they let the B team imagineers take a crack at making an attraction. Skip the ride and go straight to the SeaBase instead where you can tour the aquarium and take a picture with Bruce the Shark.
Living with the Land: Like Spaceship Earth, this is a good place to cool off and rest your legs. It is very slow and even longer than Spaceship Earth (20 minutes long). This is not a ride to take if you are park hopping, but if you are spending an entire day in Epcot and want to chill and rest your feet, this may be for you.
Pixar Short Film Festival: This is not a ride. You sit in a movie theater and get to enjoy some of Pixar's short films in 4-D. The Film festival is about 15 minutes long so, again, this is an attraction for people who are spending an entire day in Epcot.
Journey into Imagination with Figment: We have not been on this ride because we park hopped in Epcot, but if you have young kids that love science it sounds like it would be worth a stop. Check out this review for some interesting information about the ride. It never has a wait, btw so it would be a waste of a FP+.
Turtle Talk with Crush: This attraction also rarely has a wait. If your kids are insisting on doing something Nemo related skip the ride and come here instead. This is fully interactive. Kids can ask Crush any questions they want and he may even refer to your kids by name. Pretty cool for young kids.
Epcot 2019 FastPass+ Strategies
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