Another bit of data.
Some (maybe all) travel agents can get you early entry if you buy the tickets through them. I’m on a Universal planning facebook page and the travel agents that run that can do that. I can’t verify from personal experience since I ended up buying our passes at Sam’s Club.
I consider the early entry a worthwhile thing. The first hour will be mostly walk-in. And, when the park officially opens you’ll be in the back of the park, because you’ll be in Harry Potter land. I don’t need to explain to a liner how nice that is.
For example, when we were there the first time (pre-covid), we’d do Minions first because it is so cheering. Then we go to Gringhott’s and ride it twice as a family. Then I’d ride it twice more as a single rider before the park opened. If it is the other park, you get first crack at Hagrid’s.
Something else to consider since you are driving. The onsite hotels will charge you for parking. $25-30, I forget. Most of the offsite ones won’t. Drury didn’t.
p.s. I’ll be planning too. I mentioned to the family that our passes were extended another two months. DH said, why don’t we go early next year since our Disney trip was postponed.