Strategy: Riding Both Test Track & Soarin in One Day

The new Test Track is much improved!

The new Test Track is much improved!

With the newly redesigned Test Track a much improved version (see my video), crowds for this ride now rival and could surpass that of Soarin’, in terms of wait times. With that said: Is it possible for a normal family to ride both Test Track and Soarin’ attractions in one day at the Epcot theme park in Walt Disney World?  It can be done! But, it is not easy, nor always totally enjoyable.  Let me give you some tips based on my experience there in June 2013 to get the best possible Test Track/Soarin’/Epcot experience! 

June is a busy time – despite the Touring Plans “5.4” out of “10” ranking (in terms of crowd level) the day we were there, it seemed quite stunningly crowded.  I could not imagine a 10 and would guess that the answer to the question is NO you can’t ride both of these rides in one day at Epcot if you are there on a 10 out of 10 crowded day.  Unless, that is, all you did were these 2 attractions, and I would NOT recommend that.

Still, there is a strategy that in my opinion you need to stick by to be able to take both these attractions in without exceeding the level of frustration that makes you go postal.

First, I would arrive early.

This means, 15 minutes BEFORE the park opens.  And due to the likelihood of your arrival being delayed due to unforeseen circumstances, plan on arriving 30 minutes early if not more.

New test track

The reimagined Test Track is better but brings bigger crowds

After getting through ticketing, go straight to Test Track.

Forget pictures, snacks, breakfast, coffee, characters, restrooms, shoelaces, lost flip flops, “the big golf ball”, cast members, and fountains. If you have to, hurdle slow people, strollers, wheelchairs, scooters, fat and/or wandering people, and just get there quick.

You will be able to ride Test Track in a short wait.  If you can’t make it here within 30 minutes of the opening time, we’ll need to develop another strategy – see Late Arrival Strategy at the bottom of the page.

Why Test Track first and not Soarin’?  I’ll explain, and this could change based on your preferences.  For me, I don’t like Universe of Energy nor Mission Space and have no desire to see either attraction ever again.  This plays into my strategy.  Test Track is a really great improved version and I highly recommend it but NOT if the wait is over 90 minutes (perhaps you can fast pass it) and DON’T wait too late in the afternoon as Florida (in the summer) can have lots of PM showers and showers tends to close Test Track.  So do it first, do it early and have fun.  In addition, Soarin’  has (in my opinion) better attractions around it that you can spend your time in while waiting for your fast pass admission time.  If your preferred rides differ from mine, you may want to reverse this strategy.  Which brings us to our next step:

Soarin' Fast Passes go quickly

Soarin’ Fast Passes go quickly

After riding Test Track, head immediately over to Soarin’ (or send one of your party with all tickets) to obtain Fast Passes. 

True, getting to Soarin’ around 9:45 (estimated time of arrival with park opening at 9:00 and following above procedures) will likely delay your Fast Pass time to after 2:00 or 3:00 pm.  But, you have gone on Test Track and now you have really the rest of your time to enjoy Epcot.  No stress, no worries, you can actually relax (sort of).

Let your family catch back up with you, grab a breakfast either in The Land Pavilion or head over to France for their delicious bakery.  If you ate early, other options include The Land boat ride, Finding Nemo, Imagination, Captain EO, Innoventions, and Spaceship Earth.  You can do some or all of these attractions while waiting for your Fast Pass time.

Soarin' Crowds Build Early

Soarin’ Crowds Build Early

Depending on your time, you may even be able to eat lunch in one of the World Showcase restaurants, just about every one of which is really fantastic.

Check in at Soarin’ during your Fast Pass time and enjoy the rest of your day!

View my Soarin’ video as well.

Oh, one other note, there are a lot of fun interactive activities post ride at Test Track, but with this strategy above, you will blow it if you stay and play.  Move on, and come back later in the day, when its hot, you can bypass the ride and enjoy these interactive activities if you want.

Late Arrival Strategies & Tips: The strategy for late arrivals is difficult.  You are going to have to wait for one or both of the rides.  Perhaps you have small kids that may not like Test Track.  Then, go straight to Soarin and get whatever fast pass time you can.  Test Track can be ridden by the older kids and adults using the single rider line with a much shorter wait (but please note single riders do not get the interactive component of the attraction and may not really understand what is going on.

If Fast Pass distribution is out, you have 3 choices: 1) come back another day 2) wait for whatever length of time is necessary 3) skip the ride.  I would choose #1 but perhaps that is not an option for you. My last choice would be #3.  Perhaps you could grab lunch and prepare to wait a long time for Soarin’.  It is an interactive queue but do be prepared to wait a long time.

An alternative to all of this is for Disney resort guests, and they may want to take advantage of Extra Magic Hours (EMH).  However, I find the a.m. EMH would not be too much of a value.  You may be able to get Soarin’ and Test Track done in that first hour, but the rest of the park would be more crowded than normal.  I have not done EMH in the p.m. at Epcot and that may be a better option.

I hope you have enjoyed these tips and I look forward to additional comments.

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