EPCOT Morning Strategy: Rope Drop Tips, Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind, Genie+

Mornings at EPCOT are the best time to take advantage of some of Walt Disney World’s newest and most advanced attractions. Our EPCOT Morning Strategy includes how to avoid crowds as you prepare to ride the newest Walt Disney World rides like Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind and Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure.

While once thought of as a park with few options for younger guests and also light in the “thrill” department, recent additions have made EPCOT one of the most popular destinations in Walt Disney World.

Keep reading to find out why you need a good plan to have a successful day at at Walt Disney World with our EPCOT morning strategy!

My Disney Experience App

Epcot Morning Strategy- Spaceship Earth

Before you start thinking about how to best approach your EPCOT Morning Strategy, make sure you have the My Disney Experience app downloaded and linked to your park tickets. This can be done long before you arrive in Orlando, even from home, and will save you precious time when putting together a successful EPCOT Morning Strategy. While you’re at it, take some time to get comfortable with how the app works. The more familiar you are with all the ins-and-outs of the My Disney Experience app, the easier it will be to navigate all aspects of your trip, from dining reservations, checking-in to your Disney resort, wait times within the park and much more.

In addition to downloading and familiarizing yourself with the My Disney Experience app, you’ll want to make sure you have a Park Reservation for each day you plan to visit the park. Park Reservations are now required in addition to park tickets and can be made through the My Disney Experience app or online.

The Park Reservation should be made for the park you plan to visit on that calendar day (or the park you plan to visit first if utilizing a Park Hopper ticket). If you’re planning on using the EPCOT Morning Strategy, you’ll want to make sure that each person in your party has a Park Reservation for EPCOT in advance of your trip.

EPCOT Morning Strategy: Rope DropEpcot Morning Strategy- World Showcase

EPCOT will generally allow park guests into the park 15-30 minutes before the park opens. Once inside, these early birds are held at a location just within the park entrance by a rope, which limits the ability to access the rest of the park. For those that use the main entrance, you will be held by a rope near Spaceship Earth. For those that choose to enter via the International Gateway, you’ll be held near the entrance to the France pavilion.

The rope is attended by Cast Members that, when the time comes, will remove the rope and allow guests to begin their day enjoying all the fun and attractions EPCOT has to offer. This is called “rope drop” and is a huge advantage for those that can manage to get out of bed a little earlier.

While rope drop usually occurs shortly before the official park opening time, if you wait to show up until then, you’ll find yourself behind a sea of people who showed up long before rope drop. For that reason, we recommend arriving at security about 1 hour before the park opens to ensure you are near the front of the line and able to use our EPCOT Morning Strategy and access as many attractions as possible on your day at EPCOT.

For those staying “on property” at one of the official Walt Disney World Resorts, you have the added benefit of Early Disney World Theme Park Entry, or access to the parks 30 minutes before the park officially opens, so even earlier than non-resort guests. For you, “rope dropping” means locating the Cast Members and rope for Early Entry, which is usually a separate line marked by “Early Entry” signage. If you are planning on doing Early Entry, it is again suggested to arrive earlier than the advertised time – in other words, arriving at the park 1 hour before the Early Entry start time, or about 90 – 120 minutes before the park’s official opening time.

Early Entry “ropes” are located further into the park and will become more strategic based upon which attraction you decide to prioritize.

  • If Test Track is first on the list, you want to hang left once you are verified for Early entrance access and line up in the breezeway near Mission Space.
  • If you decide to get to Remy or Soarin’ first, you head right once in the park and line up at the rope near The Seas with Nemo and Friends.
  • Entering through the International Gateway? You’ll be held near the entrance to France, unless you decide NOT to prioritize Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure, in which case you line up near the Canada pavilion.

Pro Tip: Plan to bring breakfast with you to eat while you wait in line. This will save you time, but it will also give everyone in your party something to do while you wait for the rope to drop!

Also read our 1-day Epcot itinerary for tips and strategies.

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EPCOT Morning Strategy 2023Epcot Morning Strategy- Epcot Ball

EPCOT can get very busy especially with the crowds that flock to the park throughout the year for the park’s famous festivals. Fortunately, much of the festival traffic comes for the food, and the festival booths don’t usually open until 11:00am, meaning the first hour or so after the park opens sees less foot traffic. As of this writing, and since about Spring Break 2022, EPCOT has also shifted the opening time from 10:00am to 8:30am on most days, meaning the morning is truly a perfect opportunity to use the EPCOT Morning Strategy below and maximize those early hours.

Pro Tip: Disney has been known to change park opening times without announcing the change. Make sure to check your My Disney Experience app the night before and/or morning of your visit to make sure you know what time the park officially opens so you know exactly when to put your EPCOT Morning Strategy into action.

What about Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind and the EPCOT Morning Strategy?Guardians of the Galaxy Cosmic Rewind

One of the newest attractions at Walt Disney World now calls EPCOT home. Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind opened over Memorial Day weekend 2022 and will surely bring more interest and energy to the park.

In spite of this new addition, the attraction has not had a huge impact on EPCOT Morning Strategy – at least not yet. That is because, in spite of its popularity, Cosmic Rewind is currently only accessible via a virtual queue or through an Individual Lightning Lane a la carte purchase. So the people lining up at Rope Drop aren’t there for Cosmic Rewind (or shouldn’t be). As a result, the EPCOT Morning Strategy can be generally used in parallel with your plans to ride Cosmic Rewind.

However, as we learned with Rise of the Resistance and Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure, the virtual queue system likely won’t be utilized permanently. If those experiences are any indication, once the initial popularity of Cosmic Rewind wanes, the virtual queue may be retired and become a bigger influence to the EPCOT Morning Strategy – so keep checking back!

EPCOT Morning Strategy Without Genie+Epcot Morning Strategy- World Discovery

The Walt Disney World FastPass system has been permanently replaced with the new Disney Genie and Genie+. Genie+ is the closest similar option to the advantages that guests used to get using the FastPass system (i.e. specific return times and the ability to “skip” the Standby line) and costs $15 per person per day. However, you don’t have to buy Genie+ to have a great day at EPCOT – you just need a good EPCOT Morning Strategy!

Before getting into the specifics of the EPCOT Morning Strategy, there are a few things you should keep in mind:

  1. First, arrive early. In this situation, the old adage that “early is on time and on time is late” rings very true. If you show up to the park at the posted opening time, this strategy may not be helpful.
  2. Second, have a game plan. The most popular attractions at EPCOT are Test Track, Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure, and Frozen Ever After. The majority of guests will be headed toward one of these three rides, so plan accordingly (even if the plan is to be one of those people).
  3. Third, don’t forget there are two entrances to EPCOT: the main or front entrance (where Spaceship Earth is) and the International Gateway, or back entrance, located between the UK and France pavilions. The entrance you choose can have a huge effect on how to approach your EPCOT Morning Strategy.
  4. Fourth, be realistic. EPCOT is a large park and can take quite some time to get from one end to the other. Don’t expect to walk onto every major ride. Instead, pick your priority rides and focus of them.

Keeping all of this in mind, the approach you take has everything to do with what you want to do most. Since the most popular rides are spread out, and since EPCOT is so large, we suggest one of four routes for your EPCOT Morning Strategy.

Route 1: I Need SpeedEpcot Morning Strategy- test Track

If Test Track is high on your priority list, it is best to start from the main entrance. This will put you closer in proximity to the attraction and increase your chances of being one of the first in the Test Track line. However, keep in mind that you will not be alone. Even if you are first in line, many people rope drop Test Track, but arriving early and being at the front of the line means you will likely get to walk right on. One thing to keep in mind is that, with the pre-show/vehicle customization stage included, Test Track is one of the longer ride experiences. So if you don’t arrive early enough to skip the line, you will have spent a good amount of your advantage at Test Track.

Once finished at Test Track, head toward Frozen Ever After, the nearest of the more popular rides. There may be some wait, but if you were early enough, it shouldn’t be too bad.

After that, most attractions will have some Standby lines, so we’d suggest heading toward some of the rides with lower wait times to maximize the number of attractions you get to experience. It might be a good time to head to World Nature, where you can ride Soarin’, the Land and Journey to Imagination before the lines hit their midday peak.

Once park hopping is available at 2:00pm, many attractions will see a minor dip in wait times through the standby line, so keep an eye on wait times using you’re my Disney Experience app and be ready to make a move.

Route 2: I Need to CookRemy Epcot Morning Strategy

If you are excited to check out one of Walt Disney World’s newest attractions, Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure, then you don’t want to line up for rope drop at the main entrance or you’ll find yourself speed-walking for nearly a mile and a half and still not beat the crowds. Instead, find your way to the entrance at the International Gateway. This is especially handy if you are staying at one of the EPCOT area resorts like the Boardwalk, Swan, Dolphin, Yacht Club, Beach Club, or any of the resorts on the Skyliner (Riviera, Caribbean Beach, Art of Animation or POP Century). However, even if you aren’t staying in the area, you can still use the International Gateway entrance.

Pro Tip: Getting to the International Gateway entrance can be tricky if you aren’t staying at a Walt Disney World Resort hotel in the EPCOT area. There are many options: you can try taking a cab or rideshare to the Beach Club or another resort on the Boardwalk and walk from there, take Disney bus transportation to one of the EPCOT area resorts, or go to a location where you can ride the Skyliner directly to the International Gateway entrance. We usually take a ride share to one of the resorts. Security may ask where you are going, but tend to let you be dropped off at a resort hotel with little resistance.

Assuming you arrived early (again, 1 hour before the posted park open or at least 45 minutes before the beginning of Early Entry if you are staying on property), you should easily make Remy’s before any significant wait. Remy’s also is able to handle guests relatively quickly, so if you really wanted to do so, you may be able to ride twice! While utilizing the International Gateway and starting in France is great for riding Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure, it does put you somewhat far from the other major attractions. We’d suggest heading from France to Norway and getting the Standby queue for Frozen Ever After. There will definitely be a wait by now, but likely under 30 minutes. Another option would be to head to Test Track. While the normal Standby line is surely busy by the time you arrive, you might consider riding in the single rider line instead.

After that, most attractions will have some Standby lines, so we’d suggest heading toward some of the rides with lower wait times to maximize the number of attractions you get to experience. It might be a good time to head to World Nature, where you can ride Soarin’, the Land and Journey to Imagination before the lines hit their midday peak.

Once park hopping is available at 2:00pm, many attractions will see a minor dip in wait times through the standby line, so keep an eye on wait times using you’re my Disney Experience app and be ready to make a move.

Route 3: I Need to Let it GoFrozen Epcot Morning Disney World

For families with younger kids or Frozen fans, rope drop may mean making a bee line for Frozen Ever After in the Norway Pavilion. For this option, you’ll probably want to rope drop from the main entrance. You’ll make it to Norway with plenty of time to take advantage of a shorter wait.

Pro Tip: If you enter through the International Gateway entrance and are heading toward Norway, make sure hang left to go through the UK rather than taking a right into France. It is a little quicker.

Assuming you are catering more to a younger crowd, from here you could make your way to World Nature, where you can ride Soarin’, Living with the Land and Journey to Imagination before the lines hit their midday peak. Another option would be to head to Test Track. While the normal Standby line is surely busy by the time you arrive, you might consider riding in the single rider line instead.

Once park hopping is available at 2:00pm, many attractions will see a minor dip in wait times through the standby line, so keep an eye on wait times using your My Disney Experience app and be ready to make a move.

Route 4: I Need to Do My Own ThingFigment Epcot Morning Strategy

If you don’t want to race for the popular attractions, or if you arrived at the park a bit later than planned and at the back of the rope drop crowd, you could easily knock out nearly every other attraction before any major wait times settle in. We’d suggest heading for Soarin’ to start, then Living with the Land and Journey to Imagination, before heading to Spaceship Earth and Mission Space. Once you’ve done those attractions, you can likely walk into the Seas and Three Caballeros whenever you’d like, as these attractions tend not to have long waits at any time of day.

Once park hopping is available at 2:00pm, many attractions will see a minor dip in wait times through the standby line. This may be your opportunity to access Test Track or Frozen Ever After with shorter wait times, so keep an eye on wait times using My Disney Experience app.

In our experience, Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure wait times tend to hover at 60 minutes plus once the crowds have settled in. For this reason, if you would like to experience Remy’s and do not plan on using Genie+ or Individual Lighting Lane “a la carte” service, we think Route 2 EPCOT Morning Strategy may be the best bet.

EPCOT Morning Strategy Using Genie+Epcot Genie+ Strategy

If you decide to utilize Genie+, your EPCOT Morning Strategy may shift a bit from the strategies above. Before getting into the specifics of the strategy, be sure to spend some time reading about Genie+ and how it works. We have a great guide to Genie+ at Walt Disney World, updated often with the Genie+ service updates.

It is important to understand that Genie+ does not allow Lightning Lane reservations for the following attractions:

  • Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind

Understanding the three most popular attractions at EPCOT (leaving Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind out of the mix for now) are Test Track, Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure and Frozen Ever After, we suggest rope dropping either Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure or Frozen Ever After (whichever makes the most sense for your crew). This is because (a) the vast majority of guests still prioritize Test Track when they arrive at EPCOT, meaning more competition, and (b) Test Track is a slower loading attraction that frequently breaks down. You are better off snagging a Genie+ for Test Track and using your EPCOT Morning Strategy more efficiently by rope dropping one of the other popular attractions.

Regardless of whether you decide to start with Remy’s or Frozen:

  • Get a Genie+ for Test Track once inside the park.
  • Head to Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure or Frozen Ever After.
  • If the wait time for the one you didn’t choose (Remy or Frozen) is less than 30 minutes, go to ride that next.
    • If wait times are more than 30 minutes, you could trek to World Nature to ride Soarin’. However, knowing that once Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure’s wait time reach 60+ min, they stay there, you may take the opportunity to wait for Remy if the posted wait is under an hour.
    • Keep in mind, to successfully ride all three of the most popular EPCOT rides with a low wait, you will likely need to have the advantage of Early Entry or be willing to use an a la carte Individual Lightening Lane pass for Remy or purchase Genie+ to access the full list of attractions to ride Frozen.
    • Pro Tip: Frozen is now included in your general Genie+ price so I recommend prioritizing riding Remy so you don’t have to pay for a Lighting Lane individual pass!
  • Ride Spaceship Earth.
  • Ride Test Track with Genie+. Grab Genie+ for Soarin’.
  • Ride Mission Space.
  • Grab restrooms and a coffee at Connections Café as you head back toward World Nature.
  • Ride Living with the Land.
  • Ride Soarin’ with Genie+. Grab Genie+ for a remaining attraction or consider Genie+ for a different park in using a Park Hopper.
  • Ride Journey Into Imagination with Figment.
  • If you have some time, check out the Seas with Nemo and Friends.
    • Pro Tip: This is a great spot for the young and young at heart, and can actually be a great time filler while checking out all the sea life in this aquarium style attraction. If you are running short on time, this attraction tends to be a walk-on any time of day, so keep it in the back of your mind for later.
  • Grab some lunch from a festival cart on your way to Mexico.
  • Ride Gran Caballeros.
    • Pro Tip: Gran Caballeros also tends to keep very short stand by times throughout the day. This attraction is located within the pyramid in the Mexico pavilion, so it is also the perfect place to cool-down in the AC while wondering around the plaza or ducking into La Cava del Tequila for an adult beverage.

By this point in the day, most rides will have reached their peak stand-by queues. Consider starting your tour of the World Showcase. Each pavilion can take 30+ minutes to really explore. China, France and Canada each have their own unique cinemascope attractions, or theaters showing short movies about the location in a theatre in-the-round style presentation. These attractions play every 15-30 minutes and tend to be walk-on (with no wait). While not every pavilion has its own attraction, each “country” has shops and experiences that you don’t want to miss.

Is Genie+ Worth it?

Genie+ will increase your chances of being able to experience all of EPCOT’s attractions in one day. However, Genie+ is not absolutely necessary in EPCOT, especially if you are employing the one of the EPCOT Morning Strategies above. Aside from the fact that many different factors may influence success (time of year, crowd levels, weather, etc.), we think Genie+ is worth it if:

  • You absolutely want to have the best chance of riding all the most popular rides.
  • You only have a partial day in EPCOT.
  • You plan to parkhop in the afternoon and want to make sure you get the best chance of experiencing all the most popular attractions before you hop.

On the other hand, if you plan to be in EPCOT from rope drop to close and use the EPCOT Morning Strategies listed above, you can likely get everything done without using Genie+.

EPCOT Beyond the Main AttractionsSoarin Epcot Morning Strategy

Don’t forget that EPCOT is much more than Test Track, Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure and Frozen Ever After. In fact, EPCOT is split up into 4 distinct neighborhoods: World Nature, World Discovery, World Celebration and the World Showcase.

World Celebration is the center concourse connecting the front entrance to the World Showcase. This where you will find Guest Relations, Creation Shop (the main gift shop), Connections Cafe (i.e. Starbucks), Club Cool (a great place to try CocaCola products from around the world) and will be the future home of Moana’s Journey of Water (currently under construction).

World Nature, to the right after passing Spaceship Earth, is a great place to return to in the afternoon. Journey to Imagination with Figment, Living with the Land and the Seas with Nemo and Friends are great places to spend time with the little ones and perfect for later in the day. With the exception of Soarin’, stand-by wait times tend to tank later in the afternoon to 20 minutes or less.

World Discovery, to the left of Spaceship Earth, is experiencing a boom in traffic (in addition to the Test Track popularity) with the opening of Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind. However, World Discovery is also home to one of the most thrilling attractions at EPCOT: Mission Space. It is also where the new Space 220 restaurant is located, and definitely worth trying to get a table for an out-of-this-world meal.

Of course, you cannot visit EPCOT without exploring the World Showcase. This area of the park houses 11 pavilions representing different countries of the world: Mexico, Norway, China, Germany, Italy, USA, Japan, Morocco, France, the United Kingdom and Canada. Make your way from pavilion to pavilion trying authentic “local” cuisine, beverages, novelties and character meet and greets.

Once you’ve used the EPCOT Morning Strategy to conquer all the big attractions, you can easily enjoy the rest of the day exploring and learning around EPCOT.

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If you are ready to put these strategies to the test, be sure to sign up for our FREE Newsletter! The Newsletter gives you exclusive access to vacation planning information, special Disney deals and the lowest ticket prices you can find. Find more information here.

  1. Walt Disney World 2022 Planning Guide
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  3. Walt Disney World Single Rider Lines
  4. Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind Ride Review 2022
  5. EPCOT at Walt Disney World Attraction Guide

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About Drew Collins

Drew is a former attorney turned talent management professional with a passion for people, writing and photography. He has loved all things Disney since he was a kid — especially Pluto — but it was his first trip to Walt Disney World as an adult that hooked him for good. He is now a Walt Disney World Passholder and Disney Superfan, making as many trips to the Disney parks as he can. When not blissfully wondering by down Main Street USA, sitting by the Uzima Springs pool or contributing to Mickey Visit, Drew likes to take and edit Disney photos for his own photography blog, www.leiuremouse.com.

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