As a family we were really surprised by how much we love Epcot. It is often thought of as a more adult park but it is great for families. Read about our best Epcot FastPass Recommendations plus an example of an Epcot Itinerary that is great for families.
Epcot started as a look into the future. It opened in 1982 as Walt Disney World’s second park. Epcot is an acronym for Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow but it is now known more for the festivals and food than a look at a future of tomorrow.
My first visit to Epcot was as an adult. I didn’t really know what to expect on our visit other than the big ball that symbolizes it. This “ball” is Spaceship Earth and there is an attraction within it. Epcot is divided into two distinct areas: Future World and World Showcase.
Future World is all about technology and innovation. It also has two of the most popular attractions: Test Track & Soarin. It is also set to open a Guardians of the Galaxy attraction in 2021 for Epcot’s 50th anniversary.
At Epcot you can travel around 11 countries in the World Showcase. The World Showcase has amazing dining and a few attractions. They also have the Frozen Ever After attraction and the Anna and Elsa Meet & Greet.
What is a FastPass
A FastPass, known as FastPass+, is a free virtual line reservation system that is available to anyone with a park ticket. It reserves an arrival time window and you enjoy shorter wait times and more time exploring the park. For a full in depth step-by-step guide check out How To Use FastPass at Walt Disney World.
How A Visit to Walt Disney World Has Changed
A visit to Walt Disney World has changed in the last 20 years. It is important to plan your day and make reservations before you arrive at the parks.
I highly recommend making FastPass reservations when you visit Walt Disney World because of the large crowds and the long wait times. It will take a bit more planning before your vacation but you will be more prepared and less chaotic during your visit.
Things To Know for Making Epcot FastPass
Purchase your tickets and link them to your My Disney Experience account before you sit down to make your FastPass reservations.
Epcot has tiered attractions. This means you must pick 1 attraction from group A and 2 attractions from group B. More on the tiers below.
Research what attractions you and your family wants to ride and create a ranked list of attractions.
You can book 3 FastPass attractions per day in advance. After you use all 3 FastPass you can book a 4th, use it, book a 5th, use it, etc.
On-site guests can make FastPass reservations 60 days in advance beginning at 7:00 AM Eastern. This starts on the day you check in to your resort. If you arrive on a Saturday but do not go to a park until Sunday you can start making reservations Saturday. Read this post about why staying on-site at Walt Disney World is a good choice.
Off-site guests can make FastPass reservations 30 days in advance. This is from the day you will arrive at the park.
FastPass are connected to your MagicBands.
FastPass are hourly. You can’t reserve two in the same time period. So for example you can reserve a 9:00am-10:00am window and a 10:00am-11:00am window, but not a 9:00am-10:00am and a 9:30am-10:30am.
You may arrive at a ride that you have a FastPass for and find a short wait. If the wait is 20 minutes or under, ride in the regular line and change your Fastpass while you wait.
Read this article for more Disney World FastPass Tips.
Epcot FastPass Tiers
Choose 1 from Group A
- Test Track
- Frozen Ever After
- IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth
Choose 2 from Group B
- The Seas with Nemo and Friends
- Journey Into Imagination with Figment
- Disney and Pixar Short Film Festival
- Living with the Land
- Mission: SPACE
- Turtle Talk with Crush
- Meet Disney Pals at the Epcot Character Spot
- Spaceship Earth
Epcot FastPass Recommendations
Only reserve a FastPass for attractions you and your family are interested in. There is no point making reservations if you are not wanting to ride it.
A few attractions do not typically need a FastPass reservation and they are most of Group B. When choosing your FastPass reservations from Group B go with what interests you most and what times fit into your day.
If you plan on riding Mission:Space this would be a good FastPass option.
Group A has the best attractions at Epcot and you will need to decide based on your family’s interest. Research the rides and height requirements. If you have a Frozen fan I would highly suggest booking that.
Frozen Ever After is located in the World Showcase. If you booked a 10:00 am- 11:00 am FastPass you could ride Test Track or Soarin first and then walk back to Frozen Ever After.
Inside the Mexican Pavilion there is a boat ride, Gran Fiesta Tour Staring the Three Caballeros, it features Donald Duck and my kids always enjoy it. There is not a FastPass option for this and wait times are typically short.
Inside the World Showcase countries are shops, dining, shows and often exhibits, movies, or areas to explore. Take your time to enjoy these areas of Epcot.
Epcot is a park to explore and I always plan my day with open time. Take a look at the Epcot park map when planning your day. You want time to explore the countries at World Showcase and you don’t want to be walking back and forth all day. It is a large park!
In the World Showcase you can meet many characters. They are:
- Anna & Elsa in Norway
- Alice and Wonderland Friends in United Kingdom
- Belle in France
- Donald Duck in Mexico
- Mulan in China
- Princess Jasmine in Morocco
- Snow White in Germany
You can also meet characters in Future World:
- Joy and Sadness from Inside Out
- Mickey & Pals
- Daisy Duck
- Wreck It Ralph and Vanellope (Starting November 21st)
Throughout the year Epcot is a host to many festivals and events.
- Epcot International Food & Wine Festival (Fall)
- Epcot Flower & Garden Festival (Spring)
- Candlelight Processional (Holiday)
- Epcot Festival of the Arts (January/February)
If you visit during these times expect larger crowds on the weekends. The festivals are well worth a visit. We have visited during the Epcot Flower and Garden Festival and are always impressed with it.
Epcot Itinerary for Families
I always start planning our Disney vacations with a worksheet and pencil. Then I go through and plan each day. This is an example of an ideal day at Epcot.
7:30-7:45: Take the bus from Resort to Epcot. We always decide the time we need to leave the night before. Remember to consider drive time, walking to entrance, and other things you may need…like coffee!
8:20-8:30: Line up at Epcot entrance. We usually eat granola bars and cereal while we wait for the gates to open.
9:00: Park Opens!! This is the order we did all the rides including our Fastpass and meals.
- Test Track
- The Seas with Nemo and Friends
- Journey Into Imagination with Figment (10:30am-11:30am)
- Living with the Land
- Lunch: 11:15 am Garden Grill Character Meal (Need Reservations)
- Start World Showcase in Canada (Stay to the Right)
- World Showcase: Canada, United Kingdom, France, Morocco, Japan, America, Italy, Germany, China
- Frozen Ever After(FastPass 2:00pm-3:00pm)
- Mexican Pavillion
- Any Attractions we missed or wanted to ride again
You will also want to make a point to meet and greet characters at Epcot. Check out the park guide when you arrive at the park to plan your day. You may want to use a FastPass to meet Mickey & Pals if meeting characters are high on your list.
This plan also requires a bit of back and forth to ride Soarin and Test Track. There is no way around this unless you don’t mind a longer wait time. We usually finish Test Track and quickly walk to Soarin!
Epcot is definitely worth a visit with your family when you are visiting the Walt Disney World Resort. I hope these Epcot FastPass recommendations help your family plan a great family vacation.
Leave a comment if you have a question or just want to chat!
Next Post: Hollywood Studios FastPass Recommendations + Itinerary for Families (Coming Soon!)
More Walt Disney World Planning Tips:
- What to Expect at ‘Ohana Breakfast at the Polynesian
- Everything You Need to Know for Your First Visit to Walt Disney World
- Why You Should Plan a Non-Park day during your Disney Vacation and What to do