New Epcot Touring Plans for 2016 and 2017

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Spaceship Earth in EpcotNow that we have a month of wait times after Sum of All Thrills closed in Innoventions East, we’ve got enough information to update our Epcot touring plans for the rest of 2016 and into 2017. In this blog post I’ll explain which Epcot touring plan strategies work best with Epcot’s current attraction lineup, and the trade-offs in those strategies. I’ll also explain which strategies don’t seem to work at all.

One quick note: I’m focusing on comprehensive Epcot touring plans for this blog post, including Test Track. Our Epcot touring plans for parents with small children use a different touring and FastPass+ strategy.

Epcot Touring Plan with Sum of All Thrills

For comparison with the new plans, here’s the initial part of our last Epcot touring plan to feature Sum of All Thrills. The predicted wait times shown are for November 26, 2016 – the day after Thanksgiving. We’re predicting a crowd level of 9 (out of 10) on our Disney World Crowd Calendar:

Attraction Arrival Wait Duration Free Time Walk Time
 Soarin’ 9:12 am 29 6 0 12
Test Track 9:59 am 19 4 0 6
Sum of All Thrills  10:28 am 37 15 0 6
Mission:Space Orange
Use FP+ for 10:15 am
11:26 am  5 15 0 12
Living with the Land 11:58 am 15 14 0 1
Eat lunch 12:28 pm 0 30 0 1
The Seas w/Nemo 12:59 pm 20 4 0 8
Spaceship Earth
Use FP+ for 12:45 pm
1:31 pm 2 16 0 8
: (steps not shown)
Frozen Ever After
Use FP+ for 7:30 pm
7:50 pm 10 5 0 3

There were several advantages in putting Sum of All Thrills as Step 3 in the plan. One was reduced walking time, because you were already in Future World East when you visited Test Track in Step 2.

Another advantage was a shorter wait at Mission: Space Orange, because you could schedule a FastPass+ reservation around the time you expected to be done with Sum of All Thrills. That left you with a FastPass+ for Frozen Ever After. If you got a Frozen Ever After FastPass+ reservation for evening (as our plan suggested), you’d follow a counter-clockwise tour of World Showcase starting in Canada. And if your Frozen Ever After Fastpass+ was in early afternoon, you’d follow a clockwise tour of World Showcase starting in Mexico.

Epcot FastPass+ Tiers

When building these new Epcot touring plans, I used our touring plan software to evaluate every possible set of choices in Epcot’s two FastPass+ tiers. Recall that, like Disney’s Hollywood Studios, Epcot’s FastPass+ rules use a two-tier system to divide the park’s very popular and less popular rides:

Tier A  – Choose 1 attraction  – Popular rides

IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth
Frozen Ever After
Soarin’
Test Track

Tier B – Choose 2 attractions

Disney/Pixar Short Film Festival
Journey Into Imagination With Figment
Epcot Character Spot
Living with the Land
The Seas with Nemo & Friends
Spaceship Earth
Turtle Talk with Crush
Mission: SPACE Green
Mission: SPACE Orange

For example, I built Epcot touring plans that chose Soarin’ as the Tier A FastPass+ reservation. I also tried different reservation times, such as 9 a.m., 10 a.m., 11 a.m., and so on. Then I tried Test Track and Frozen Ever After the same way. And with each of those basic parameters, the touring plan software tested different times of day to visit the other top-tier attractions.

New Epcot Touring Plans

Two different strategies stood out in those Epcot touring plan tests, although both of them take about the same amount of time to complete. One strategy has slightly more walking to avoid waits in line. The other strategy has slightly longer waits in (air-conditioned) line, with less walking and slightly more free time. The right strategy for you depends on your preference. (For all plans, I used the “relaxed” walking speed – one notch slower than average.)

The plan that we picked as the new One-Day Epcot Touring Plan for Adults is the one with less walking and almost an hour of afternoon free time:

Attraction Arrival Wait Duration Free Time Walk Time
 Test Track’ 9:12 am 24 4 0 16
Soarin’ 9:56 am 35 6 0 2
Living with the Land 10:39 am 8 14 0 8
Journey into Imagination 11:09 am 8 6 0 5
The Seas w/ Nemo 11:28 am 13 4 0 11
Spaceship Earth
Use FP+ for 11:30 am
11:56 am 6 16 0 1
Eat Lunch 12:19 pm 0 30 0 1
Mission: Space Orange
Use FP+ for 12:30 pm
12:50 pm 11 15 0 13
Mexico Pavilion 1:29 pm 0 10 0 3
Gran Fiesta Tour 1:42 pm 8 7 0 5
Norway Pavilion 2:02 pm 0 10 0 2
Frozen Ever After
Use FP+ for 2:00 pm
2:14 pm 12 5 0 12
Agent P’s World Showcase Adventure 2:43 pm 2 30 0 14
Reflections of China 3:29 pm 8 14 0 2
China Pavilion 3:53 pm 1 10 0 5
Germany Pavilion 4:09 pm 1 10 0 3
Italy Pavilion 4:23 pm 0 10 23 4
American Adventure 5:00 pm 15 29 0 4
Japan Pavilion 5:48 pm 0 10 6 1
Eat Dinner 6:05 pm 0 60 0 1
Morocco Pavilion 7:06 pm 0 10 0 5
Impressions de France 7:21 pm 8 18 0 2
France Pavilion 7:49 pm 0 10 0 4
United Kingdom Pavilion 8:03 pm 0 10 0 7
O Canada! 8:20 pm 8 15 24 8
IllumiNations 9:15 pm 15 12 0 13
Totals (minutes) 183 53 152

 

The best Epcot FastPass+ times for this plan seemed to be Spaceship Earth around 11:30 a.m., Mission: Space Orange around 12:30 p.m., and Frozen Ever After around 2:00 p.m.

An Alternative Epcot Touring Plan

Here’s the alternative touring plan, with less waiting in line and more walking. The big differences between this plan and the one above are: (1) it uses Soarin’ as the top-tier FastPass+ choice; (2) it visits Frozen Ever After before lunch and before finishing all of Future World; (3) it backtracks to Future World during the evening, when Future World crowds are low, before heading back to World Showcase for IllumiNations.

Attraction Arrival Wait Duration Free Time Walk Time
 Test Track’ 9:12 am 24 4 0 10
Journey into Imagination 9:50 am 5 6 0 9
Soarin’
Use FP+ for 9:30 am
10:10 am 8 6 0 9
The Seas w/ Nemo 10:33 am 7 4 0 12
Mission: Space Orange
Use FP+ for 10:30 am
10:56 am 10 15 0 17
Frozen Ever After 11:38 am 38 5 0 1
Eat Lunch 12:22 pm 0 30 0 1
Norway Pavilion 12:53 pm 0 10 0 3
Mexico Pavilion 1:06 pm 0 10 0 3
Gran Fiesta Tour 1:19 pm 8 7 0 10
Agent P’s World Showcase Adventure 1:44 pm 2 30 0 14
Reflections of China 2:30 pm 8 14 0 2
China Pavilion 2:54 pm 1 10 0 5
Germany Pavilion 3:10 pm 1 10 0 3
Italy Pavilion 3:24 pm 0 10 0 4
The American Adventure 3:38 pm 7 29 0 4
Japan Pavilion 4:18 pm 0 10 0 3
Morocco Pavilion 4:31 pm 1 10 0 3
France Pavilion 4:45 pm 0 10 0 3
Impressions de France 4:57 pm 8 18 0 24
Living with the Land 5:47 pm 8 14 0 14
Spaceship Earth
Use FP+ for 6:00 pm
6:23 pm 2 16 0 1
Eat Dinner 6:42 pm 0 60 0 1
O Canada! 7:43 pm 8 10 0 7
United Kingdom Pavilion 8:08 pm 0 10 49 8
IllumiNations 9:15 15 12 0 13
Totals 161 49 183

 

Epcot Touring Plan Strategies That Didn’t Work

If you want to see Soarin’, Test Track, and Frozen Ever After in a one-day tour of Epcot, don’t start at Frozen Ever After, even if you have a FastPass+ for it. No matter what I tried – different FastPass+ strategies, different lunch times – I couldn’t fit all of Epcot’s attractions into a one-day tour that started at Norway. The problem with starting an Epcot tour at Frozen Ever After seems to be that by the time you walk back to Future World, the lines for Test Track and Soarin’ are long. And by the time you’re done with those two, lines at secondary attractions such as Journey Into Imagination and Living with the Land are long, too.

What’s Next for Epcot Touring Plans

Ellen's Energy Adventure in EpcotWe’ll continue seeing how wait times shape up through the winter, including whether Frozen Ever After’s wait times moderate. There’s also a rumor circulating that the 20-year old Ellen’s Energy Adventure attraction will close in early 2017 as part of either a major refurbishment or re-theming. We removed the attraction from most of our Epcot one-day touring plans earlier this year because of low ratings. If Ellen’s does close, we’ll see how that affects traffic patterns in Future World East.

Len Testa

Len Testa is the co-author of the Unofficial Guide to Walt Disney World, and has contributed to the Disneyland and Las Vegas Unofficial Guides. Most of his time is spent trying to keep up with the team. Len's email address is len@touringplans.com. You can also follow him on Twitter: @lentesta.

7 thoughts on “New Epcot Touring Plans for 2016 and 2017

  • October 24, 2016 at 9:51 am
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    Is there really a chance FEA is only a 40 minute wait at the mid-day point Thanksgiving week? I’m actually going through this now – we have a FEA 8 PM FP+ on Thanksgiving day itself and I’m trying to figure out how to fit everything in – EMH might help with the 8 AM opening; hit Soarin’ and LWTL first, then head over to TT by 9? But I never even considered the possibility of doing FEA without a FP+.

    • October 24, 2016 at 12:06 pm
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      Yeah, a 38 minute wait for FEA near noon sounds way to optimistic for that week. It’s noon right now, and FEA has a posted wait of 75 minutes and expected wait of 61 minutes…and Epcot is a crowd level ‘3’ today.

      • October 24, 2016 at 4:22 pm
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        I had the same thoughts. How many days have there been when the ride had that low of a wait at midday?

        • October 24, 2016 at 4:29 pm
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          Between 6/21/16 and 10/18/16, the lowest posted wait at noon that I can see is 45 minutes, and that has only happened 10 times. For most September days, it was between 60 and 90 minutes.

  • October 24, 2016 at 11:09 am
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    What are the chances that you’ll include the character meets, particularly for Joy/Sadness and Baymax in future touring plans? Your personalized plans have always been helpful to me, but since you don’t gather wait times on those meets it leaves a lot of guesswork when planning an Epcot day.

    I realize tracking the wait times for the characters around World Showcase is difficult, since they come on stage and take breaks at different times throughout the day, but since the Character Spot meets run all day, it would be great if you let users (and your researchers) start collecting data on those!

  • October 24, 2016 at 6:31 pm
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    I don’t think lunch followed by Mission Space Orange is such a great idea. I suspect if you just moved lunch a bit later it might produce lunch after mission space, which honestly I think works better as it would open up much better options than electric umbrella (only option I see for lunch that works with that touring plan). In particular if lunch is between Mission Space and Mexico….

  • October 26, 2016 at 11:51 pm
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    Have two small children and couldn’t get Frozen FP+ (I know….worst parent ever!)

    Is the mad morning dash to Norway really that debilitating for the rest of the Touring Plans?

Comments are closed.