Epcot Park Opening Procedure Changes

by on September 13, 2011 28 Comments

Filed under: Recent News, Trip Planning

Epcot will no longer allow guests into the center of Innoventions plaza for the rope drop prior to the park’s scheduled opening time. Instead, guests will be held at the front entrance gates until the park formally opens. We had heard early murmurs of this change last week when guests reported not being allowed to the center of the park for rope drop from the International Gateway. Apparently that change has been extended to both entrances of the park for the foreseeable future.

Further, the small show with the free-roaming Test Track vehicle and the family-of-the-day has reportedly been discontinued entirely.

More details on these changes as they become available.

Posted on September 13, 2011

28 Responses to “Epcot Park Opening Procedure Changes”

  • We had so much fun when we were picked as the family-of-the-day during our visit. Bummer!

  • We participated in the innoventions plaza rope drop on Mon Sep 12th.

    We came in from the International Gateway side, but there were plenty of people lined up from the normal entrance as well. They did the normal pre-show with the characters from the picture spot, and the pre-show mentioned something about a test track GM vehicle, but I did not see one.

    • Although, Caleb didn’t see the Test Track vehicle, I did…it was on Test Track side of the fountain and we were on the Soarin’ side.

  • REALLY?!?! What a dream come true!

  • So sad! I hope they replace it with something better!!

  • I guess this is just happening? When we ran Ultimate Epcot on 9/11 we got to do the Welcome Ceremony.

  • Why might this be happening? It seems like an unintended consequence will be a even longer Soarin’ stampede from the front gate, not just from Innoventions Plaza. Talk about a long, stressful haul with much jostling and heel-clipping…

  • The last day was allegedly today (September 12). Due to walking times, I guess the attractions will open up a few minutes later. Something similar happened at Animal Kingdom over the past 2 years: rope drop used to be in front of the Tree of Life, but no more. Now the welcome show is just in front of the turnstiles.

    For what it’s worth, I thought Epcot’s was the lamest of the WDW opening shows, but I would have loved to be family of the day. Epcot could still do the family of the day sans Test Track car; I saw this done during Marathon Weekend this year when the usual waiting area was overtaken by runners. The family just threw some confetti, and that was the entirety of the welcome show.

    • by Lauren Sullivan on September 13, 2011, at 8:39 pm EST

      This is true, but the show is over before park opening time. You get to enter as soon as the show is over, but they hold you at the attractions until 9AM. The last two times we have visited AK, we waited at the entrance of Expedition Everest until 9:00 AM (after entering the park when the opening show finished). I wonder if they will open the turnstiles at Epcot at 9 sharp or allow guests in a little before.

      • by Lauren Sullivan on September 13, 2011, at 8:41 pm EST

        Also, you go through the turnstiles to get to the show area, so you are already in the park when you watch the show.

      • THAT would be nice. Then at least its a real first come first serve process and not so much a stampede.

        • Yes, if Disney does not allow anyone through the turnstiles until the official opening time, that changes the game and makes Epcot’s process very different from what’s at the other parks right now.

    • I hate that about AK now. It was nice to stroll around and look at some of the animals before rope drop. Now it’s a mad rush to ‘Africa’. The poor critters up front don’t receive any morning love from guests now. 🙁

    • We were there the first week of sept. what i thought was weird was they had a “confetti family” at the turnstiles, then there was the “test-track family”(totally different people) at the fountains.

  • I don’t like this if they keep you at the turnstiles. You’re at the whim of a bad CM, broken turnstile, or inept guests that can’t find their tickets that mess up the line you are in.

    • Nothing worse than getting there early to be at the turnstile, then when they turn them on there’s a technical malfunction and they tell you to move to another turnstile. Of course, you either get in the back of a long line or “merge” into another turnstile and get the stink eye from other guests.

      Ugh. My guess is this is yet another accounting move at the expense of the guest experience.

  • These changes make it even more important to arrive at the park early. There’s a huge advantage once you’re past the turnstile just after park opening, for the reasons Cabin Fan lists.

  • This seems like a disadvantage for anyone staying at one of the resorts near the Int’l Gateway because it’s a longer walk from there to Soarin’ than from the front gate.

    • This is something I will have to consider for my 2012 trip. We are planning on staying at the Boardwalk Villas due to the proximity to Epcot as it is our favorite park. Hopefully, this will not effect our touring plans too much.

      • I’m thinking it gives an advantage now to the IG arrivals. In general, but shouldn’t there be less people at that gate, hence the ability to get the last person in line INTO the park much faster than someone mid-way back in the front entrance?

  • We experienced this in July. It is a mess. It took forever to get through the turnstiles. It did lead to less of a mad dash to Soarin. Len is right the people at the front of the crowd have a huge advantage.

  • I don’t think I’ve ever been there early enough for opening ceremony, I’d have to say I was oblivious. Honestly it’s not as important to me, we walk around a lot and just enjoy the scenery…if we want to ride a ride, we look at the wait time and decide…or get a fast pass if have a real hankering that day. Of course, it did help that we lived in Orlando and had passes 3 out of the 5 yrs there. Now we live in SC, and I’m counting the days til our trip! Woo…

  • We have been to the WDW resort 50+ times and have never caught an opening ceremony at any of the parks. from reading these it seems like I have been missing out on alot.

    • The best one is the Magic Kingdom! That’s fun. The rest are what’d I’d call smaller shows, but the big deal with them is being able to get to the rides fast at 9:00 (and either ride or get a fast pass). Especially for Soarin and Toy Story Mania.

  • We had an amazing morning there in August. We were family of the day at the turnstiles (no confetti but we did the countdown) THEN Test Track Family of the Day! The best part of that is the picture with the Fab 5 and being driven to Test Track was pretty awesome too. That is really too bad- that was most definitely the highlight of our trip! Too bad others wont get that experience anymore.