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?