Epcot Strategy input wanted - FPPs in 22 days!

OK all you experts! I have been delaying actually getting my Epcot day strategy nailed down, but I do my FPP selections on 9/29, so I want to at least get a rough draft done, lol.

I am starting work on my actual TP tonight, which I can then share for feedback…

Before I get started I have one question about WS vs FW hours at Epcot…I thought I’d seen FPP times prior to 11am for FEA…how is this if WS does not open until 11? Or am I remembering incorrectly? Or do they just have FEA open, but not the rest of the WS?

We were planning to hit MK in the early morning at RD in hopes of getting a 7DMT ride, maybe BOG breakfast (which we have not gotten, but I DO have it later in the week so not as important now…) and then taking the mono to Epcot. We are now thinking we’ll get up and head straight to Epcot as we have other MK days planned and just this one Epcot day. Possibly for RD but not guaranteed. We are staying at WL so I’m thinking bus will be the most efficient route, not boat to MK, then mono to Epcot. Thoughts?
Epcot hours the day we’re going:
FW - 9-9:30 (EMH 9:30-11:30p)
WS - 11 - 9:30 (EMH 9:30-11:30p)
The evening EMH concerned me at first regarding crowds, but it turns out it is a CL5 (as opposed to CL2-3 before update) and the other day we were considering Epcot is also a CL5, so no big deal, especially if I am armed with a TP! And that’s where all of your help comes in, lol… :smile:

Here are the plans so far for that day:
Lunch - Akershus, 1:30 (CLP package for 6:45 show)
Candlelight Processional, 6:45
Dinner - Biergarten, 7:45

Our must do rides are FEA and TT, although we’d like to work Soarin’ in too. Epcot is the biggest thorn in my side for FPP…darn tiered structure.
What would be the best plan, taking our Akershus lunch into consideration…Perhaps RD (or as close to RD as possible…and start in Future World, hit TT and/or Soarin’…then probably The Seas w/ Nemo (we like that one, so cute), enjoy that side of the park for a while, then head over to WS for our lunch at 1:30, and hopefully a FEA FP after that? Then we’re already over there enjoying WS before we go to CLP, then Biergarten for dinner? Then of course Illuminations. Thoughts? Suggestions?

Also - Illuminations…never seen it and would love suggestions on where to view from.

Thanks so much for the input!!!

Tagging a few who have given me insight before but anyone please jump in with your input! :smiley:

@PrincipalTinker @Outer1 @bswan26 @OBNurseNH @Sam2071 @AuntB_luvsDisney @Frozen_Norwegians @missoverexcited @DarthDopey

FEA opens before the rest of WS, although I think some food places in Norway and Mexico are also open. I don’t know about Summerhus (the Anna & Elsa M&G). There was a discussion elsewhere about whether there are FEA FPP before 11; I don’t know what the answer was, but I don’t think I’ve seen them.

The ideal plan would be FP for FEA some time that you’re in that neighborhood anyway, rope-drop Test Track, and I don’t know about Soarin’. Maybe after Test Track?

If you can’t get the FP for FEA, things get rather bleak. What I’ve seen in that case is to stand in a long line or try to sneak in at the end of the night (which may mean missing Illuminations). Rope dropping it does not look like fun, and if you’re not at the front of the pack, it’s a long line anyway.

The tiered structure is a pain. It’s much less painful if you have a second day.

WS is opening at 9AM for Mexico & Norway now to accommodate FEA. I think optimal is likely to FP+ FEA, rope drop Soarin’ and then quickly ride TT single rider. If single rider is a no go, then you might rope drop TT instead. FEA has had some breakdown issues and on a bad day they’ll revert to FP+ only. Plus it’s going to be the destination for most rope droppers so going against the flow will help.

I think bus would be most efficient to Epcot from WL. To monorail you’d need to boat to MK, then boat/monorail back to TTC and then finally hop the monorail to Epcot. Fun transportation adventure, but not efficient time wise.

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I agree -not at all interested in rope dropping FEA, as it seems to break down quite a bit still. I’ve seen IG photos of people at the “front of the line” for 2 hours+ due to a breakdown lol.

FEA opens when FW opens.

I would agree.

Not sure how the CP will work with your Biergarten reservation as I’m not familiar with CP at all. Hopefully someone else can chime in on this.

I would do this. We were there on Saturday. It was predicted CL2 and turned out to be CL6. The park was quite navigable and only felt busy in bottleneck areas. We never saw FEA under 120mins (I checked periodically, mainly out of curiosity than anything else). I would definitely grab FPP for this, especially if it is a priority.[quote=“haylekk, post:1, topic:27461”]
Also - Illuminations…never seen it and would love suggestions on where to view from.
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We were able to snag a FPP for this after exhausting our first 3, so we did. I was more than a little dismayed that there was a HUMONGOUS line at the FPP entrance that people began lining up at about an hour ahead. We did some shopping instead of lining up, and even with the huge line we were able to get a center-stage spot. There were some frustrated moments where I wasn’t sure whether to stay the course and use the FPP or bail and find somewhere else to sit, but I was pleasantly surprised by our ability to get a good seat after the line passed through and we joined up at the end of it. All this to say, if you can snag the FPP, do it and even if you don’t want to get in line with the masses an hour ahead (which IMO defeats the purpose, right?!), you will still have a great spot in the FPP area. BTW we snagged that FPP around 2:45, again on a CL6 day.

Thanks for this info. I will probably try to FPP this after our lunch which will hopefully work out!

GREAT tip, thanks!! I was wondering if FPP would be available, we’ll check for it. And I couldn’t agree more about camping out/lining up an hour before defeating the purpose of having a FPP!!

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From my research, CLP is about 40-45 minutes, so we should be done about 15 before our Biergarten dinner. Even if we arrive a few minutes late…grace period, lol. But we should be fine.

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Exactly why I don’t want to risk not having FPP for FEA!

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I’m leaning towards this…Single rider is not an option for us and TT and Soarin’ seem to flip flop with which has the longer wait…

You didn’t say, but I’m going to guess you are staying on-site, and you are booking FPP at 60 days out (since Candlelight processional starts late November). When is your EPCOT day in relation to your check-in date? You can get an idea how much FEA availability you might see using the TouringPlans FastPass availability page: https://touringplans.com/epcot/fastpass-availability/

You plug in a day within the next 60+10 days, and it shows you how many FastPasses were available early this morning (before the 7 AM EDT rush). What I saw in the runup to my 60 days mark was there was good availability at 60+6 or 60+7 days, OK availability at 60+3 or 60+4, and not much or none at 60+0. This is for resort crowd levels from 6-9. If you EPCOT day is the 4th or 5th day of your vacation, you have a better chance of picking your FP time. If it’s early in your trip, you might not get one right away (but keep checking; I got nothing at 60 days, but at about 44 days to go, I was able to exchange my Test Track for a FEA).

Our strategy is breakfast at Akershus with a standby ride on FEA after, if it is running. But we do have FPs for later in the day just in case (this is a must-do for us). After FEA we will see Anna & Elsa (Royal Sommerhus opens at 9.00), and head for TT. According to our TP, TT will have a 24 minute wait at that time, which is acceptable for us.

We have opted for two half-days in Epcot instead of one full day to be able to get 2 Tier 1-FPs. So we have FP for Soarin’ the evening before. This was the only way I was able to make sure we get to see FEA (even if it breaks down when we are in the standby line), Soarin’ and TT with minimal wait.

I did our FPs 60+5 days before our last Epcot day. The earliest FP option for FEA was then 1.30 PM. I would therefore recommend that you make a TP which lets you be in the vicinity of FEA in the early afternoon, at the earliest. If your Epcot day is even closer to 60 days out when you make your FPs, you may only get FPs for the evening.

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I’d have to have a FEA FPP in case the thing breaks down; hopefully, the day in question is toward the end of your trip as that’ll give you a leg up on a FPP. I’d then Rope Drop Soarin and boogy over to TT where I might jump in the single rider if standby is more than 20-30min.

Another resource to look at on touringplans is the projected wait times based on ride/time/date:
https://touringplans.com/epcot/wait-times/date/2016-11-30

You can also drill down on the ride to see the 9AM prediction in graph form. I randomly picked a day close to your date based on your FP+ 60 day mark, but you can look at exact day - at a glance I think it’s more efficient to rope drop Soarin’ in all probability…

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We did Soarin’ as standby right after Illuminations on an EMH evening on a CL8 day. We watched Illuminations from a spot on the north side, near the sidewalk that goes to the west side of FW, then walked quickly to Soarin’. Very short line!

I like that idea!

Definitely!

You’ve got the right idea. We always do FW in the morning and then spend the rest of the day getting lost in WS. Actually we normally spend 2 or 3 days in WS lol. Def FPP FEA in the afternoon when you’re already in the area.

I think your timing for CLP and Dinner will work out fine but keep in mind that’s a decent amount of food. Akershus is all you care to enjoy and Biergarten a buffet so I would avoid any snacking that day.

I would also head to TT first and then Soarin’. With the third theater times have dropped dramatically and are usually 30 mins or under.

As for illuminations there are lots of good places but in reality because of the way WS is setup you can see it from anywhere. There isn’t really a bad spot so to speak. Since you haven’t seen it I highly recommend it. It’s not as sentimental as wishes but we really enjoy it.

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This sounds like the best plan to me. We’ve never strategized much for Epcot (only been the last two trips) and we always get so excited to wander around WS and then start to think “Oh let’s do TT or Soarin’” and check wait times and have to get over to FW etc…this way seems to make more sense.

Definitely no snacking that day, lol!! I had to work this out for one of them to be our CLP package, didn’t care which we just love doing Akershus (as do my kids) and DH really wants to try Biergarten. If something closer to 12:30 opens up for lunch at Akershus we’ll move it up but having that at 1:30 and Biergarten at 7:45 at least spaces it out by 6 hours, whereas before we had like a 3.5 hour gap between the two until I cancled/rebooked CLP and switched Akershus/BG for lunch/dinner… :joy:

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