Dealing with Epcot Crowds is Simple and Fun with a little Magic
That's a pretty bold statement Dad. Dealing with Epcot Crowds is Simple and Fun?
Are you serious?
Of course I'm serious. Aren't I always? (Hey, Mrs. Mom, quit laughing.)
It does take a little bit of Magic to avoid the crowds at Epcot, but with some professional help I think we can manage.
Beating Epcot Crowds
Beating Epcot Crowds is all about 3 attractions. That's it. If you get through those 3 attractions without standing in line, you'll probably beat the crowds. Pretty simple, right?
Now all we have to do is figure out how to get through those 3 attractions. It's OK, Dad knows ...
Choose the best time to visit
Before we get to the Big 3, there are a couple more things that will really help us get past the crowds at Epcot.
The Number One way avoid crowdsanywhere at Walt Disney World is to choose the least busy time possible to visit.
Dad is really big on choosing the Best Time to Visit WDW. It's really amazing how the crowds can change from week to week and even day to day. Just a couple of days can make a huge difference in the amount of time you stand in line.
The first step in any Magical WDW Vacation is to choose wisely...
Get to Epcot Early
Do you want the number two secret to avoiding Epcot Crowds?
The number two secret for dealing with the crowds at Epcot or any other park is...
This might be more important at Epcot than at any other park.
It's really big.
What's is it?
The number two way to miss the crowds in Epcot is to get to the park early. Be there when the parks opens. First thing.
What? On vacation? Want to sleep?
I understand, but just so you know what the consequences of sleeping late are...
The first 3 hours of the day are the least busy. That's a fact. Just look at what happens on, say, Soarin' for example. You can ride Soarin' in the first hour after the park opens, without really waiting in line (maybe 10 or 15 minutes). By noon the wait time will be 90 minutes and by mid-afternoon it will be 120 minutes. That's a fairly normal day for Soarin'.
It just makes sense. Not everyone arrives at park at the same time. The parks tend to reach their highest capacity in mid-afternoon. The crowds will start going down around dinnertime. That means the best time to get through the lines is early in the morning, so come on, get out of bed and let's have some Fun.
There is a Starbuck's right across from the big fountain.
Have a plan
Epcot is a big place. It's over a mile walk from the front gate back to the American Adventure. Unlike the Magic Kingdom, there is not a central hub which makes it easy to get across the park. Backtracking from the World Showcase to Future World is not really very practical. That's why Dad always recommends you have a plan.
Your Plan to beat the Epcot Crowds can be pretty simple. Epcot is very easy to get around in. It's very linear, especially the World Showcase. You will need a plan on how you are going to tackle the "Big 3" (we'll talk about that in a minute). Other than the "Big 3" you'll just go to the next pavilion.
The World Showcase plan is pretty easy. You just start at one side or the other (it really doesn't matter) and make your way around the lagoon. (We like to start on the Canada side because we love eating lunch at Yorkshire County Fish Shop.)
If you don't have a plan, get one.
Extra Magic Hours
Disney's Extra Magic Hours are a great way to avoid Epcot Crowds. Extra Magic Hours allow guests staying in one of the Disney Hotels to get in the park one hour before it opens or two hours after it closes. These hours are prime touring time.
There is a drawback to Extra Magic Hours. The park tends to be a little busier on EMH days than on non-EMH days. If you have the park hopper option, you might want to take advantage of EMH then leave the park or come late and stay late.
Start in Future World
Your day will start in Future World (duh) for three reasons. First, that's probably where you'll come in. Unless you are staying in the Boardwalk area, you'll come in the front gate which opens into Future World.
Second, it's where the "Big 3" are located (see The "Big 3" below). The third reason is probably the biggest. The World Showcase doesn't open until 11am so if you are following Dad's get to the park early recommendation, you will have to stay in Future World because the World Showcase won't be open.
The "Big 3"
The "Big 3" rides are ... Drum Roll Please ... Soarin', Test Track and Mission Space. I'm sure you'd already figured that one out. The line for Soarin' and the new Test Track will approach 2 hours almost every day. Mission Space isn't quite as bad, but it will still have a 90 minute wait at times.
These are the 3 biggies. If you get through these lines without much delay you'll be in good shape. So how are we going to get through the "Big 3" without waiting in lines?
FASTPASS+ is the primary tool for bypassing Epcot Crowds on the "Big 3" rides, but it's a bit tricky. All 3 of the attractions have FASTPASS, but because of the time rules, you probably won't be able to get more than one pass. So here's what I would suggest ...
As soon as you arrive in the park walk directly to Soarin' and get a FASTPASS. Then go over and ride Test Track and Mission Space (in that order). By the time you finish it should be about time to go back over to Soarin'
Single Rider Line
One really nice way to avoid the lines at Test Track is to use the Single Rider Line. This doesn't work for everyone, but if your party can spit up then you'll save a ton of time standing in line by using the Single Rider Line. Usually the wait time on the single rider line is less than 15 minutes.
The Green Line
The way to save time on Mission Space is to use the Green Line (it's Dad's favorite). The Green Line is for people that have motion sickness problems. You won't feel the G-forces, but you do still get a great experience.
While avoiding Epcot Crowds is all about the "Big 3" there are some other things that you need to know.
- Spaceship Earth is busiest in the middle of the day. You might try first thing in the morning or late in the evening.
- Journey to Imagination and The Universe of Energy are rarely busy. You almost never have to wait in line for those attractions. (The Universe of Energy is a great place to cool off. It's 45 minutes or more in air conditioning.)
- Lines can build up a bit for The Three Caballeros ride first thing after the World Showcase opens or during dinnertime.
- Usually you don't have to wait too long for the movies in the World Showcase.
Dad's Bottom Line
Avoiding Epcot Crowds is a noble and time honored goal. Even during the busiest times it can be done. Make a plan, be ready to improvise and don't skip the extras. You'll have a ball (yeah, a big sliver ball).