Feedback on end-of-August (no-longer-pre-Star Wars) plans?

Oh wow, your 'Ohara experience sounds magical and perfectly timed. And thank you for your insight and advice!

Since I posted my kids declared a strong interest (and willingness to wake up crazy early and be in crowds) in being at opening day for Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge and my husband and I decided it was worth setting things up so that it’s possible. We’re now planning to leave on our road trip a day earlier, skip our extra nights in DC and Savannah, and arrive in Orlando on the Sunday instead of the Thursday. We’ll start at Universal, move over to the existing reservation at CBR, and then move to the Dolphin from Aug 26 to 30th. If we decide to brave the madness on the 29th we can walk over to Hollywood Studios very very early, and if not then we’re well positioned for the first day of Food&Wine.

I had Bonvoy points that cover the stay at the Dolphin and the additional day or two of park tickets for Disney are only costing $50 or $100 for the 4 of us, the extra Universal days come with our tickets. So the only real increase in cost is the extra night at a Universal hotel, which will actually be a savings if we give up the included express passes and change to Cabana Bay instead of Royal Pacific Resort. I’ll look at that after the FP+ are booked.

For now I’m keeping all the ADRs but will probably make changes once I get our FP+s on Sunday. Boma is scheduled for the day we move over from Universal, which won’t be a Disney park day, and we’re planning some time for animal watching at AKL. But there’s a MK after hours night that night that we might do instead of EMH the next morning.

My new rough plan:
Sun Aug 18: arrive at Universal hotel, if we get there early enough and are motivated we will upgrade the kids’ and DH’s tickets to Seasonal Annual Passes and go to the Passholder Appreciation party that night.

Mon Aug 19: sleep in, pool and resort exploration time, WWOHP evening not too late
Tues/Weds: Early morning/evenings at USF and IOA, afternoon pool/rest breaks

Thurs Aug 22: morning at USF/IOA if we want more time there, move over to CBR, possible pool time, leave bags if room isn’t ready and go explore AKL and dinner at Boma. Possibly DAH at MK otherwise early bedtime.

Fri Aug 23: If DAH previous night, sleep in, resort day until late afternoon, otherwise MK EMH rope drop. Either way, afternoon pool time and then head to Epcot for the evening picking up same day FPPs and exploring, possibly staying for Illuminations. (first park day on Disney package)

Sat Aug 24: PPO breakfast at Garden Grill, Epcot until whenever. Evening might be H&V dinner and Fantasmic or maybe we spend more time at Epcot or monorail over to MK and watch Happily Ever After…we will do Epcot without Fast Passes if I get any good ones at HS or MK for that night. (second park day)

Sun Aug 25: Maaaaybe HS EMH, if I get SDD Fast Passes, otherwise probably sleep in/pool time until around lunch time. Maybe have lunch at one of the monorail resorts and explore before early dinner at 'Ohana, then evening at MK (staying for Happily Ever After only if we haven’t seen it yet). (third park day)

Mon Aug 26: Animal Kingdom, maybe rope dropping EMH, maybe not. Staying all day until Rivers of Light. (fourth park day)

Tues Aug 27: Pack up our bags and either leave with Bell Services to transfer to the Dolphin or put them in our car. PPO breakfast at BoG (unless I get a lunchtime slot for the 23rd or 25th), touring MK without FPs for a few hours. Evening: TSL at HS, saving the day’s FPs for here since it seems like our best chance for SDD FPs. We’re going to child swap ToT and RRR since DS7 hates drops and going upside down, so maybe we use our 3rd FP for Fantasmic! For now I have yet another Fantasmic! H&V dinner booked for this night. I should have a good idea if the kids love character meals in lots of time to cancel the ADR if another one won’t be appreciated (they both love buffets, more than the GG/'Ohana style all-you-care-to-eat approach, so H&V will appeal even if the food’s mediocre.) (fifth park day)

Weds Aug 28: Rope drop HS if we haven’t done Jedi Training yet and the kids want to, otherwise resort day, pool and explore boardwalk area. Very early night. (possibly 6th park day)

Thurs Aug 29 Walk over to HS around 4am if we’re that keen, otherwise play the day by ear. (6th or 7th park day)

With the extra days, there’s a lot more potential down time and flexibility, and the maximum early mornings in a row is no more than 4, potentially less, making catching all of Illuminations/HEA/F!/RoL more feasible.

I’m putting 6 days of park passes on our CBR booking, but 60 days out I’ll only be able to book them for (up to and including?) the day we check out of that reservation, right? And if we do want to go to a park on the 28th as well as the 29th, increasing the park days to 7, will it be easy to add that on at Guest Services on the 28th, so it’s there when we get to the gates on the 29th?

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I have a trip beginning 8/11 and completed FPs just last week. Based on that experience, I would say that your FP goals from the original post are a little ambitious for 7D/FOP/SDD. You can probably get them on the days you want, but likely not before lunchtime, so I would advise having a backup plan when doing your bookings. Also ToT is heavily reduced capacity and you should not expect it to be available as a day-of.
Good luck

Yes, I’ll still try for 7D/SDD earlier in our stay but am not counting on them and am now thinking we’ll ride those in the evening (at 60+3 for 7D and 60+5 for SDD). I’m really glad I looked at The Dibb’s calendars (linking for anyone else who hadn’t seen them) and got a reality check before FP booking day.

I’ll be trying for FOP at 60+4 days so am hoping that the slightly lighter end of August crowds mean that’s feasible. If not, I’ll book Na’vi and try to modify. Since we’ll be at AK all day I can make most times for FOP work, though right at 9am or around dinner time would be preferable.

I hope you got good FPs that work with your TPs!

I can share my experience of booking FP this morning for my August trip. Hotel reservation is Aug 18-26, but park days are Aug 19-25. So the first day I wanted FP for was actually 60+1. I had hoped that extra day of buffer would help, but I’m not sure it did. I didn’t get everything I’d hoped we’d get, but we’re there long enough (and we’re paying to do two Disney After Hours events) that I think we’ll still get to ride most things we want at least once. This was my experience, booking for family of 4:

SDMT: none on 60+1, and none until nearly 5 pm on 60+2 (a day with MNSSHP, where MK closes at 6 pm). I didn’t check past 60+2, but would guess it would be better on 60+3
FOP: none on 60+4. I didn’t check other days
SDD: none on 60+3, then only 7 pm on 60+5 and 1 pm on 60+7 (seriously, I thought by 60+7 I’d be able to get a morning one!)
TOT: only evening on 60+3, but better choices on 60+5

And for the easier to get FP, like Space, Splash, Thunder, it was a little tricky to get exactly the times I wanted. I booked the closest to what I wanted, and then came back and modified to get slightly better times for a few of them - so don’t freak out when, as you’re booking, you end up with less-than-ideal times. You will be able to shuffle them a little bit.

Hope that helps!

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That is helpful, thank you. I’m glad you were able to modify things into better times and sorry about the ones you didn’t get. That seems kind of crazy that even on 60+7 there was no morning SDD. I wonder if capacity is down because late August is lighter volume or if more people moved their bookings to before SW:GE and it’s going to be a busier time.

Our AK day is also a DAH night so if we don’t get FOP FPs or rope drop it I guess we have the option to spring for DAH if it’s not sold out. I’m still thinking about MK DAH too, but on top of the $535 it seems like such a late night for the kids even with being able to sleep in the next day.

Aiming for two evenings of FPPs at HS (at 60+2 and +6) and 1 at MK (60+3) means one sleep in morning and two mornings (one Epcot, one MK) where we’ll tour without fast passes. If that proves miserable we can dump the evening FPs and start the tap/grab/modify cycle but I think it’ll be fine.

My fastpass day was Tuesday and I was booking for 6. On 60+1, I got 7DMT for 4:45 and was even able to modify until 3:15. On 60+4, I got FOP for 2:00. On 60+5, I got SDD for 3:20. Both FOP and SDD were later in the day than I had hoped, but since we are a party of 6 and I had checked the Dibb, I was expecting non-ideal times. I figure that I will be grateful that I got everything and occasionally try to modify for earlier or check for same day FPP drops.

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I do think that mid-late August is going to be much busier than usual. When I went 5 years ago, I was able to get 7DMT in the morning on all the days that I wanted including 60+1. When I checked the Dibb, some of the big ticket rides still have afternoon/evening availability earlier in the summer, but none left during my trip.


Yeah, the anticipation of crowds is one of the things that’s making me consider the after hours events. I wish any of my family was good at napping, as it really seems like weather-wise and crowd-wise the ideal schedule would be rope drop and a couple of hours after, and then Evenings until late. Ah, well.

Your FPs sound pretty good given the availability patterns lately! And may good modifying/same day drop fortune smile upon you.

I’m taking it as an indication that crowds are not going to be low at all. I think this week is full of people (like me) who rebooked their trips to be before the SWGE opening. I was originally going to be at WDW Aug 25-31 and Universal the week before, but swapped my weeks around to go to Disney first, Universal second.

At least now I’m feeling more reassured in my decision to get tickets to both the AK and MK After Hours events. I had been wondering if I really needed them, or even if they were a mistake - the late nights really eat into the next day, and I had to rearrange plans to make them work. But I have teenagers and a husband who all prefer a later night than an early morning, We did have Toy Story EMM booked but dropped it in favour of the After Hours events - can’t do everything. There was still availability when I looked yesterday for the Toy Story EMM, so that’s something to consider if you’ve got younger kids who are more amenable to early mornings!


My kids are fairly amenable to early mornings, but won’t be if we want to see the evening shows too. If we’re going to try opening day of SWGE it’ll be better to stay in the habit of getting up early most days.

Your decision to get the tickets to both after hours events makes total sense, and in general the after hours sounds better than EMM to me. The MK one sounds particularly fun if everyone is up for staying up late.

I was on a field trip yesterday with DS11’s class and noticed one of his classmates had a Mickey print backpack. I asked her about it and she went to Walt Disney World last August. Her favourite part was Pandora (“you should go on the Avatar ride. We went twice and I was sad we couldn’t ride it again. And you should take lots of pictures, it’s really pretty.”) and all the mountains in Magic Kingdom. She also advised having a fan and mister for the heat, so basically validated all my planning and confirmed that we haven’t waited too long for the kids to enjoy it. :laughing:

Whew, Fast Passes booked. The earliest FoP on 60+4 was 4:25pm, and there was a fair amount of afternoon availability for SDD on 60+5, but not later evening as I’d hoped. I figured if we were going to do it later it would be fun to do it close to sunset but we have

By the time I was done, it was showing that on 60+1 along with 7DM being fully distributed (which it already was at 7pm), Peter Pan’s Flight & Splash were also out of FP+s. But I managed to modify our Splash Mountain from 9:05am to 9:55am, which works better. BTMRR is later in the day than I’d hoped (both it and Peter Pan were unavailable until around 12:30pm) but we can either hit it at the post-EMH rope drop or hope to modify the FP+ on the day.

And I just realized that I can book for up to 3 days after we check out from CBR. Day 60+7 is August 29th and this is what Tier 1 is looking like for a party of 4:

Musing in another thread reminded me that I need to do a sanity check on our revised plans. This is how the last half of August is looking now. I’ve bolded the early mornings and italicized the late nights.

Fri Aug 16: hit the road early, probably drive to around Charlotte NC

Sat Aug 17 drive to probably St Augustine, have an afternoon/evening at the beach

Sun Aug 18 short drive to Orlando, leave bags and car at Cabana Bay (room probably not ready yet) – late night if we manage to get same-day tickets to the Passholder Appreciation Party otherwise some time in the Harry Potter parts of both parks

Mon Aug 19 sleep in/pool morning, late afternoon/evening at USF/IOA without express pass, back to hotel after dinner

Tues Aug 20 – leave bags to be transfered to Royal Pacific Resort, rope drop, now have express passes. Afternoon break at RPR, dinner in parks but not super-late night

Weds Aug 21 – Probably rope drop (maybe the Hagrid’s ride), afternoon break at hotel. Stay for the fireworks if we didn’t see them yet. Pack up ready to transfer to Disney next day.

Thursday Aug 22 - option to visit Universal again in the morning if we’re still keen. Back to hotel and check out by 11am. Head over to Caribbean Beach Resort, leave bags with Bell Services. Evening in Hollywood Studios – QS/snacks for dinner, FPP for Star Tours 3:30pm, Rock n Roller Coaster 5pm (hoping to switch this to 2 on RnRC, 2 on ToT, and DH and DS11 can ride both while DS7 and I check out less thrilling things), TSMM 6:15pm, heading back to CBR by 8pm at the latest. I’m not sure if we’ll drive or take the bus to/from HS.

Fri Aug 23 (maybe late night) – RD Space Mtn for EMH at MK, FPP 9:50am Splash 12:35pm PP 1:40pm BTMRR but hoping to move it earlier or RD Frontierland after EMH. Leaving park by 2pm at the latest, probably spending afternoon at AKL
Dinner at Boma 5:15pm
If people still have energy, head to Epcot for wandering WS and Illuminations after dinner

Sat Aug 24 (maybe late night) PPO Garden Grill, FPP SE 9:15am, MS (probably Green) 10:30am, TT 11:35am Afternoon some combination of WS or heading back to the pool at CBR
Optionally heading to MK around 5pm until HEA

Sun Aug 25 (maybe early morning) If we feel like it, head to HS for EMH and sign up for Jedi Training. Anything on my TP for this morning is duplicated on another. If we don’t feel like it, sleep in, pool time. Arrive at MK around 2pm, FP Mickey/Minnie M&G 2pm, take boat or monorail to Poly by 3pm, 'Ohana dinner 4:05pm, boat/monorail back FP JC 6:10pm, 7DMT 7:50pm Maybe leave before HEA, maybe during, we’ll see.

Mon Aug 26 (later morning if not motivated) probably RD Navi at AK EMH, FP EE 9:30am, ADR Tusker House + RoL viewing 10:30am, FP KS 12:15 (in case we don’t RD and go there after Navi), FoP 4:25pm (hoping to modify earlier), QS Satuli or Flametree for dinner, RoL 8:30pm

Tues Aug 27 (earlier evening if not motivated) Last day on Dining Plan Have bags ready for bell services to move to Swan, PPO BOG breakfast (there’s EMM so we won’t have totally empty park but hopefully beat the RD crowd to 7DMT), no FPPs and just re-visiting anything we want after 7DMT and using up snack credits. Long break at the Swan pool, then walk or boat over to HS. FP 2:45 for Indiana Jones, ADR H&V with F! (will drop this on the 24th and replace with lunch at Skipper Canteen if the kids are less than enthusiastic about character dining after our GG breakfast) FP SDD 5:35pm ToT 6:50pm, F! is at 8:30pm.

Weds Aug 28 nothing booked, enjoy Boardwalk area, Swolphin pools, Disney Springs, and/or walk over to HS early to sign up for Jedi Training if we didn’t do it Sunday and the kids care, in which case we’ll need to add another day to our tickets. At only about $12 each for the extra day I’m ok with just going for Jedi Training and then leaving. Oh, I also kind of want to meet Emile and Remy at MK, but not enough to go just for that so it will depend on what everyone else wants.

Thurs Aug 29 wait and see which way the winds are blowing. Maybe get up ridiculously early to queue for the opening of SWGE. Maybe do a 4 park challenge. For now I have NRJ & KS FPPs mid-day.

Fri Aug 30 sleep in, check out by 11am, head back north.
Sat Aug 31 keep driving, stop near Fallingwater
Sun Sep 1 tour Fallingwater, keep driving, arrive home.

Now that we know the Skyliner won’t be ready I need to come up with a better sense of how we’ll get to/from the parks from CBR, but the plans are feeling both more solid and more flexible. Through reading trip reports and adding notes to the TPs I now have the park maps semi-memorized. We’re probably still avoiding any princess M&Gs and rides, and it’s possible that other than the Mickey/Minnie M&G FP we’ll just see characters at our 3(or 2) character meals. I do hope to fist bump Baymax though.

Anyway, any more feedback? Everyone was very helpful before. With an extra 3 nights and 2 park days at WDW it feels like we have a lot more breathing room. The two days in a row of early morning/nighttime show on Aug 26 and 27 aren’t ideal but we can drop the early morning part of Aug 26. If on the 27th one kid wants to stay for Fantasmic! and the other has reached his limit the hotel is walking distance and one adult can stay in the park and while the other heads back early.

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I love Ratatouille!!! I’m not big into many meet and greets, but I would do this one given the opportunity. We’re only planning Mike & Sully and Ralph & Vanellope. We do a lot of character meals though.

I’m better at looking at a spreadsheet than trying to get a sense of schedule while reading, but I think it sounds good. You’re flexible and you have backups. Just remember that even the best laid plans don’t always come to fruition.

This is one of the benefits of all the planning. You have your plans, but you are also better equipped to handle the hiccups now too.

I’d have a hard time choosing between SWGE and the 4 park challenge. Both seem like so much fun!! Shoot, get there early enough and maybe you can do both!!

With the 6am HS opening, the 4 park challenge seems very doable if we can get in and visit Batuu and ride the Falcon by 9 or 10. But who knows if that will happen, certainly not me! It would be a pretty epic day to end on though.

Yes, right now we have 3 character meals and Mickey is at all of them. I’m much keener on Pixar characters and Baymax and some of the ones that are rotating at the MK flagpole – I’m kind of sad our day at AK conflicts with Prince John, and don’t care at all about the Sunday and Tuesday characters. We’ll see how keen the kids are on meeting characters, I have other things in the TPs we can drop if they want to. I know Princess M&G’s aren’t happening but Kylo Ren and Chewbacca and BB-8 probably are.

Yes! I do keep reminding myself of that but it’s still helpful to hear. This is totally my vacation M.O. anyway – I plan and research like crazy to set up a framework which allows for a lot of potential great adventure. Then we experience 50-70% of the planned options and they’re 100% awesome and in the moment my FOMO is usually dormant. The research and planning are more involved for this trip but I’ve also gone into it knowing that if a hurricane is looming we’ll cancel the whole thing. My fingers are crossed for an uneventful hurricane season for all.

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We got these in during the Star Wars Dessert Party…highly recommend if it’s available.

This is what I experienced on our trip last year. Once we got to the bubble I was calm. We did most of what was on my plan, but when things went off track I was oddly okay with it.

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This morning I noticed in a TP update email that MK hours had changed from 9pm to 10pm on Saturday August 24th. My immediate thought was “that’s another hour of 7DMT FPPs that might be available” so I opened up MDE and sure enough, there were.

I gave up our Epcot morning FPPs for the day and basically duplicated our Sunday evening MK FPPs on Saturday. I still think we’ll want the 2 evenings at MK so I’m keeping the ones for Sunday and will modify if we want to do different rides, but if in theory Sunday could be just a resort day plus early dinner at Ohana. Now I need to look at how Epcot with no FPPs will be.