If you’re planning a trip to Epcot, the key to making the most of your day is a well-planned strategy. Gone are the days when you could just wander into the park and spontaneously decide on your day’s adventure. Today Disney parks demand more forethought. If you want to beat the lines, maximize your day (and park ticket), and create magical memories – you’re going to need a plan. So grab your Minnie Mouse ears and let’s dive in!
- Understanding the Epcot Experience
- Epcot Strategies and What to Prioritize
- Epcot Strategy 5: Mobile Ordering
- Attractions That Commonly Have Little to No Wait
- Exploring World Showcase
Understanding the Epcot Experience
Epcot is not your typical theme park. It’s a park about discovery, innovation, and culture. It’s about experiencing new things – food, snacks, cultures, shows, and more. There’s more to do than roller coasters, but they’ve got a couple of those too!
Epcot Strategies and What to Prioritize
Even with the different experiences at Epcot, rides and attractions are still at the top of everyone’s list. While waiting in long lines is most certainly not. There are a few ways to make waiting in line an enjoyable and memorable part of your trip. But we’ve got a few tricks to avoid them altogether.
Epcot Strategy 1: Rope Drop
There’s nothing quite like being the first guest in the park. With low crowds and short lines, Rope Drop is our favorite strategy. Tick off those must-see attractions before the park gets busy. Plus, you get to start your day ahead of the crowds. That’ll put a pep in your step! These are our top choices to prioritize for Rope Drop at Epcot.
Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure
As one of the newest rides in Epcot, this attraction has one of the most horrendous wait times. A large portion of the queue is outdoors, and the ride breaks down constantly. There’s a good chance you could wait in line for an hour and still not be able to ride. This happened twice on my last trip. Because of the popularity and the nature of its breakdowns, we can only recommend this attraction for rope drop or the end of the night (preferred). This way it’s not unbearably hot in the Florida sun yet. And if the ride does break down complimentary Genie+ reservations are usually dispersed. So you can always come back later and cut the line, without the extra fee.
Despite being one of the older attractions in Epcot, Test Track still draws a big crowd. Most of the queue is indoors, which is very much appreciated, but there’s no point waiting if you don’t have to. There’s a height requirement for Test Track, which is why we recommend it in the morning. Our theory here is that there will be more big kids, and adults, looking to maximize time after dark than in the morning. You can also get a unique view of the nighttime show if you time it out right.
Frozen Forever After
Despite my absolute disdain for the Frozen Franchise, I actually like this ride and recommend it to anyone visiting the parks. Not that I need to recommend it though.
Because the wait time is proof that everyone is already planning to check it out. This ride is predominately themed for small children, who will sing “Let it Go” on repeat the entire time you are in line. The line during rope drop will be shorter than it is for most of the day, but we’d recommend planning this for later in the night when most families will be heading back to their rooms.
Early Morning Entry for Guests Staying in a Disney Resort
If you’re staying on property, at a Disney World resort or partner resort (Disney Springs, Swan and Dolphin) you’ll be able to enter the parks up to one hour early. Since there are so many resorts that qualify for this perk, it doesn’t provide much of an advantage. However, if you are staying in the Epcot resort area or at a Skyliner stop you’ll be able to utilize the secret International Gateway entrance for the park. The International Gateway is located between the UK and France pavilions, which will put you even closer to Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure and give you a head start over most.
Epcot Strategy 2: Genie+ and Should You Buy It?
Genie+ is the latest cut-the-line tool provided by Disney. You can purchase the service for a varying price, starting around $20 per person per day. Once purchased, you can access Genie+ through the Disney World app to book a return window for most of the rides in the park. As a general rule, you can not hold more than (1) Genie+ reservation at a time – but there are some Genie + tips and tricks to ensure you get the full value.
At first glance, Genie+ might seem like a magical solution to line waiting woes. However, since most rides in Epcot do not have huge lines, we do not recommend purchasing Genie+. If you’ve already decided to purchase this ticket add-on, be sure to check out our full Genie+ Guide for Epcot.
Epcot Strategy 3: Individual Lightening Lane
Now, if you’re a thrill-seeker and desperate to get on Guardians of the Galaxy Cosmic Rewind, the Individual Lightening Lane might be your golden ticket. Starting at $16 per person per day, this service reserves a spot on this coveted ride for a 1-hour window.
While we don’t always recommend purchasing Individual Lightening Lanes, this attraction is worth the splurge. There is currently no stand-by line for Cosmis rewind. The only other strategy to experience this attraction (and you should) is to try and join the virtual queue at 7am or 1pm. The virtual queue is extremely competitive though, and does fill up in 1-2 minutes of opening.
Epcot Strategy 4: Nighttime Hours
There’s a popular belief that Disney is just for kids and families. This is, obviously, not the case but the fact that most guests are traveling with families can be an advantage. For the majority of park guests, the day ends with dinner and a show (or fireworks) – meaning the crowds start to thin fast around 6pm. Groups start gathering to stake a spot for these shows, leaving queue wait times dwindling. If you’re okay with skipping these shows and staying afterward, you’ll find similar wait times at the end of the night as you would for rope drop. Alternatively, you may consider dining packages, which provide reserved viewing areas, for a fee. Here are the rides we recommend prioritizing during this window.
Remy’s Rattatouille Advenutre
Evening and late night, if you’re able, are the absolute best times to queue for Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure. The sun is down, the heat of the day is gone, crowds are low (especially low during extended hours), and if the ride breaks down late enough you might get a free Genie+ reservation – for the next day. If you are not in a situation that will allow you to come back to Epcot the next day, stick with early morning for this one. But, if you will have another opportunity to revisit the park then plan to queue for this attraction as your last possible activity.
You’ll either wait in a moderate line and ride at the end of the night, or the ride may break down and you’ll likely be given a Genie+ Reservation to use on nearly any attraction for any time at any park on the following day. This means you can hop over to Epcot at any time, walk on to this attraction, and go about the rest of your day. Either way, it’s a win.
Frozen Ever After
As previously noted, this attraction is geared toward the younger crowd who will likely be in bed at this hour. If you have the flexibility for you and your group to stay later in the evening, you’ll be able to avoid this often 2-hour wait.
Soarin’ Around the World
Tucked away near the entrance to World Showcase Soarin’ Around the World resides in The Land Pavilion. With a queue that is completely indoors, this attraction makes for an excellent afternoon adventure – even with a long wait (hello air conditioning!). If you haven’t gotten a chance to ride during the day, make sure to prioritize at the end of the night as this ride is not to be missed!
Extended Hours for Deluxe Resort Guests
If you are staying at a Disney Deluxe resort, or the Swan and Dolphin property, you’re in luck. Guests of these hotels are able to stay up to three hours after a park closes, for select nights. This takes our nighttime strategy to an extreme, as the crowds are even thinner and you can hop on virtually any ride in under 20 minutes.
Epcot Strategy 5: Mobile Ordering
One of the best ways to save time at any Disney Park is mobile ordering. This allows you to order your food right from your phone and pick the window of time you’d like to pick it up. You can even change your arrival window if your plans have changed. While there are just four locations in Epcot that accept mobile orders, it’s a good trick to keep in mind as you venture through the park
Attractions That Commonly Have Little to No Wait
Epcot is home to some of the most unique attractions at Disney parks. Many of these fan favorites are underrated attractions that rarely see a line. If you’re using these strategies you should find a lull in the early afternoon hours that provides the perfect opportunity to explore some of these cult classic attractions.
- Living with the Land: Embark on a calming boat ride through the canal of a massive greenhouse. As you float along, you’ll learn about the different technologies being employed to increase yield. Fun fact – everything grown in Living with the Land is used at on-property dining locations throughout Disney World.
- Journey Into Imagination with Figment: As the unofficial Epcot mascot, Figment hosts your tour of the Sensory Labs. But this host with the most is about to take things off the rails. With a tune catchier than Small World and a few memorable sensory experiences – you can’t go wrong.
- Spaceship Earth: Housed in Epcots true mascot, the giant geodesic golf ball, Spaceship Earth is a must-do. Climb aboard for a trip around the sun, back through the history of communications. If you’re reading this, thank a Phoenician.
Exploring World Showcase
Last but not least, remember that a day at Epcot isn’t just about rides. In fact our favorite part of Epcot is World Showcase, where you can snack and drink around the world in a single day. For legal reasons – just because you can have a drink at each of 11 international pavilions, doesn’t mean you should. 😉
Is Epcot worth a whole day?
Absolutely! From enjoying its unique attractions to savoring world cuisine and trying out the ‘drink around the world’ challenge, Epcot offers more than enough to fill a day, if not two!
What’s the best strategy for Epcot?
Arrive early for rope drop, use Genie+ and Individual Lightning Lane strategically, take advantage of mobile ordering, and save the evenings for re-rides and experiencing attractions with shorter lines if you have access to extended hours.
What’s unique about Epcot?
Epcot is all about exploration and discovery. It’s a blend of future possibilities and cultural experiences. It’s where you can ride a spaceship, watch innovations come to life, and even have a French pastry for breakfast!
Why do adults like Epcot?
Epcot offers a more mature and diverse range of experiences compared to other Disney parks. From the educational and immersive attractions to the food and drink offerings, there’s something for every adult to enjoy.
What’s the EPCOT transformation?
Epcot is undergoing a multi-year transformation to make it more Disney, more family, and more timeless. It involves a reimagining of Spaceship Earth, the introduction of new attractions like Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind, and much more!
These Epcot strategies can make your visit a magical experience. From prioritizing rides during Rope Drop and Early Entry to leveraging the benefits of Individual Lightning Lane, these strategies help ensure that you spend more time enjoying the park and less time waiting in lines. We’ve barely scratched the surface of what Epcot has to offer, though. Interested in immersing yourself in the culture and tastes of Epcot? Check out one of Epcot’s infamous festivals:
Remember, Epcot isn’t just about the rides – it’s about the unique experiences! We’d love to hear about your experiences and tips, share them in the comments below!