Trouble creating touring plan (2 day 2 park w/ EE and EP)

Hi, everyone! We are headed to Universal the 28th/29th of December and 31st as a bonus day…possibly the busiest days of the year, I know. I nabbed the one last “normal” room at Portofino for a ridiculous, but at least not heart-stopping, price, in order to get 2 full days of EPs. We did something similar in July of 2016, and we loved how easy it was to do everything we wanted thanks to EP! So thanks to all the regulars on this board who have been providing us advice for years!

I am having trouble with the “optimize” setting of the Touring Plans, or perhaps I’m just stubborn and think I know better. We will have early entry to both parks, and I’ve marked that and created the plan at the right time, as well as marking “express pass unlimited” on the plan.

My thought was that the EE time would be best used for exploring the WWoHP in each park while 30K of my closest friends aren’t there yet, and then hopping in line for Gringotts or FJ right at the end of that hour. However, in both parks, the TP has us doing the ride first (and says it uses EP) and exploring much later…as in, before we get on HE to hop to the other park. When I look up the wait times for both rides, standby shows as over 40 minutes even right away at EE open.

I assume that EP doesn’t work until official open, and maybe that’s a bad assumption. If so, am I better off trusting my gut, going with the TP, or a third option I haven’t thought of yet? (I’m planning on ME as we enter UOR for EE, too).

Thanks, all-knowing-ones!

You’re right about EP not working during EE.

We usually do ride straight away, it’s usually a very short wait, and then explore, and we come back later as well. But you could start your plan at 9.30 and explore then do the ride if you prefer. I haven’t actually been at Christmas.