Epcot is notorious for hosting special events such as the Food and Wine Festival, the Flower Show, business conferences, and concerts. Even though this park has less rides than the other parks, there is still much to explore. The 11 countries represented at Epcot give viewers an inside look at the traditions, culture, and art that make each country unique.
While there are several performances that take place throughout the World Showcase that are highly impressive, the attractions located on the other side of the park draw the largest amounts of people. Since Epcot is so diverse, it is a popular park to visit, meaning that the wait times for attractions won’t be short.
With FastPass+ reservations, you will be able to avoid waiting in long lines, resulting in more time for you to explore other attractions at the park. The best thing is that FastPass+ reservations don’t cost you extra money; they are included in the fee of your park ticket. So why wouldn’t you make the best of your money spent?
In this article, I will be sharing some tips for Disney World FastPass+ selections, along with general information about tiering systems and which rides I believe that are worth booking a FastPass+.
- Editor’s Note: Disney has begun phasing out their popular FastPass system. You can learn more about how to use the replacement for FastPass, which is Disney Genie+ and Lightning Lanes.
What is a FastPass+?
A FastPass+ is a reservation that you make through Disney that allows you to avoid waiting in the stand-by line for a ride or attraction. Reservations can be made either online, through the My Disney Experience mobile app, or at any of the kiosks located at various locations in the four parks.
Did you know that there are several benefits when you book your FastPass+ selections? Some of these include:
You can book your FastPass+ tickets in advance, giving you more selection from attractions that are on your must-do list. If you are staying at a Disney World hotel, you are able to start booking these tickets 60 days prior to your arrival. If you are not staying at a Disney World hotel, you can reserve your tickets 30 days in advance.
FastPass+ reservations are a great way to get everyone out the door in the morning. If you have kids, you know it is a struggle to get the whole family to leave on time for things. But, if you have a reservation for a popular ride planned earlier in the day, this is motivation enough for anyone to get moving!
You are allowed to book three FastPass+ tickets per day. Once you use up these three tickets, you are able to book another FastPass+, and once you use that one up, you can book another, and so on. This is something that not too many people know about or utilize. But, if it means you get to go on your favorite rides at least one time and possibly several, take advantage of this amazing perk!
If something came up in your agenda and it looks like you will not be able to get to one of your FastPass+ reservations, you are able to change it to a different time, a different ride, or cancel it. Life sometimes gets in the way of plans you have made, and Disney understands that! That’s why it’s simple to edit your reservations either with the My Disney Experience app or with a cast member at a FastPass+ stand located in the park.
Since FastPass+ tickets allow you to skip waiting in lines, you will be able to use that saved time doing other things like attending shows and parades, meeting more Disney characters, going on other rides, etc. Since you already paid for your admission ticket, why would you spend half of the day waiting in lines that exceed well over 30 minutes? Time management is a major key in making your Disney vacation a successful one.
The FastPass+ Tiering System
When selecting your choices, there are two groups to choose from, Tier 1 and Tier 2. Tier 1 consists of the attractions that are the most popular at the park and have the longest wait times. Tier 2 is every other ride that offers a FastPass+.
As stated earlier, you are only allowed to book three tickets, with a maximum of one Tier 1 option and two Tier 2 options. When you have used up all three FastPass+ reservations and would like to book more for the day, then you are able to pick any ride from either Tier 1 or Tier 2.
At Epcot, Tier 1 and Tier 2 are as follows:
- Tier 1:
Frozen Ever After, Soarin’, Test Track, Illuminations: Reflection of Earth, Epcot Character Greeting
- Tier 2:
Spaceship Earth, Mission: Space, Living with the Land, The Seas with Nemo & Friends, Turtle Talk with Crush, Journey into Imagination with Figment, Pixar Short Film Festival
Keep in mind that the World Showcase area opens an hour or so after park opening. Frozen Ever After is located in the Norway pavilion, so this ride will still be closed when the park opens.
In order to ensure a successful day centered on going on as many rides as possible, plan to schedule your first reservation an hour after the park opens (not including Frozen Ever After). Lines will be relatively short when you are first able to enter the park, so waiting in the stand-by lines won’t be that bad.
After about an hour is when lines start to pile up. My recommendation for you is to book the first FastPass+ for any ride except Frozen Ever After (since it would just be opening) an hour after park opening. Then, book your second and third tickets relatively close in time to each other.
This means that you will be able to use up your three FastPass+ reservations early, leaving you with the rest of the day to choose several other rides to use a FastPass+ with if there is availability.
Frozen Ever After
This boat ride includes detailed animatronic characters and popular settings from the Disney movie Frozen. Frozen Ever After is an entertaining and relaxing attraction that takes you through the magical world that Elsa and Ana exist in, arriving just in time for the “Winter in Summer” celebration.
Classic songs are featured throughout the ride, making it almost impossible not to sing along. At the end of the ride, there is a small drop, but nothing that any child wouldn’t be able to handle. Frozen Ever After is still only two years old, so waiting in line can still take a while.
The lowest stand-by wait time I have heard of is around 40 minutes and the highest is around 140 minutes, but the average ranges from approximately 60 to 100 minutes. If you have any children who are Frozen fanatics, getting ahold of a FastPass+ for this ride is essential. Compared to a 60 to 100 minute stand-by line, you will probably only have to wait around 5 to 15 minutes if you use a FastPass+.
Test Track lets you design your own car and takes you through “inspections” and different road tests. Towards the end of the ride, your vehicle is propelled outside on a track that loops around the building, reaching up to (and sometimes slightly over) 60 mph, making this the fastest ride at Disney World.
Test Track offers three separate lines: the stand-by line, a single rider line, and the FastPass+ line. While the single rider line tends to be shorter than the stand-by line, it is not by much, since these riders are only picked when a party has an odd amount of people. Plus, it is nice to enjoy this ride with your family instead of being separated. Expect wait times that range from 70 to 120 minutes. I
have only waited in the stand-by line once for Test Track and I will never do it again. With a FastPass+, you will be in line significantly less, averaging around 10 to 15 minutes. When you go to Epcot, Test Track should definitely be at the top of your list for rides to get a FastPass+ for.
Mission: Space is designed so that it feels like you are blasting off into space to land on Mars. It is a simulation to what an astronaut might experience in a mission to Mars. While sitting in the space shuttle, you will be referred to as either navigator, pilot, commander, or engineer and asked to press certain buttons and steer the shuttle at different times.
There are two options that you could pick from before entering the ride: the orange mission that is supposed to be suited for people who don’t get queasy with spinning, and the green mission which is less intense. If you are stuck between choosing which side to pick, my suggestion is to choose the orange side, which is much more exhilarating and feels more realistic compared to the green side.
To view more information about both missions and to see if your health could potentially be at risk if you go on this ride, visit the Disney World page for Mission: Space and then click “read more” under the orange and green missions. The orange side usually has longer wait times, averaging around 30-40 minutes, whereas the green side is usually 10 minutes shorter.
If you decide to get a FastPass+ for this ride, you will have a wait time of maybe 5 minutes, which is next to nothing especially if you want to experience this ride at least once. When you book a FastPass+ for Mission: Space, you can go on either the orange or the green side; you don’t need to choose when reserving the tickets.
Climb aboard your hang-glider and fly to numerous destinations all over the world! Soarin’ Around the World depicts videos filmed at different stunning locations to make it feel like you are flying. Initially, you are lifted up in the air for takeoff, hovering in front of a curved IMAX screen. Special effects, such as fans and scented sprays, make the experience even more believable.
This ride is designed for all the members of your family, young and old. With light swaying motions and tilts, it really does feel like you are hang-gliding around the world. Stand-by wait times are normally long, averaging around 60 to 80 minutes depending on the time of year you are visiting.
A FastPass+ will allow you to skip past the stand-by line, where your wait time will be significantly reduced to a maximum of 20 minutes. Soarin’ Around the World is a ride that is not to be missed and has a general consensus of being one of the best Disney World rides. It should definitely be included in your initial three FastPass+ ticket reservations.
Spaceship Earth is located in the famous Epcot dome. Your vehicle spirals around the dome, showing you key turning points from history that have shaped the future. With the use of animatronic robots and realistic layouts, this slow-moving narrated ride is perfect for slowing down the pace of your day and catching up on some history lessons you might have been asleep for in high school.
This ride is appropriate for children of all ages and has a fun interactive video where you can design your future towards the end of the ride. When the park has higher concentrations of people, the wait time can be around 30 to 45 minutes. On days that have less people, expect wait times of around 15 to 20 minutes.
Just like with Mission: Space, if you have a FastPass+ for Spaceship Earth, you won’t be waiting for more than 5 minutes. This is a great FastPass+ option for later on in the day when you want to take some time to relax and catch your breath.
Epcot offers some amazing attractions, tying in valuable educational lessons that are fun and memorable. The majority of FastPass+ reservations are made for the five rides listed above, due to their popularity. If you have any questions regarding your FastPass+ selections while you are at the park, visit any one of the three FastPass+ kiosks to talk to a professional.
Click here to find out where they are located. Make the most out of your time at Disney World and schedule your FastPass+ tickets in order to check off the must-do attractions!
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