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Marcus & fam’s July WDW trip – PREP284

Marcus & fam’s July WDW trip – PREP284

Marcus, his wife, and their three children went on a long 9 day vacation to Walt Disney World. They stayed at the Beach Club, enjoying the location and amenities, had wonderful experiences navigating food allergies, and enjoyed their July 2021 trip.

The Basics

Marcus, his wife, and their three children (twins who are 12 years old and a a 9 year old daughter) flew from New Jersey to Orlando. Their trip was from July 17-26. They stayed in a standard room at the Beach Club Resort.

Marcus’ twins have multiple food allergies (peanuts, tree nuts, sesame, and coconuts) so they planned their meals and did things around their meals. Marcus provided a lot of information and helpful hints for families with food allergies.

This was not their first trip but it was the first time that the kids were involved in the planning of the trip. They watched a lot of YouTube videos in preparation.

Arrival Day (July 17)

Marcus and his family flew out of Newark at 6:20 a.m. and arrived in Orlando around 8:25 a.m. They were in line for Magical Express by 9:13 a.m. and on the bus by 9:26 a.m. 

They arrived at Beach Club at 10:19 a.m. and picked up their grocery order. They used a furloughed case member, Deliveries by D, and were very pleased. 

Their room wasn’t ready yet but they left their groceries and luggage with bell services. They went over to Ale and Compass for breakfast. They had a 10:50 a.m. reservation but made it without any problems. 

They had a private corner of the restaurant which was really nice. They spoke with Chef Marilyn about the food allergies for Marcus’ children. It was a wonderful start to their trip. 

After breakfast they headed over to Disney Springs. They’d never been there before and wanted to check it out. They also hoped that they could get some of their souvenir shopping done on the first day of the trip! 

They arrived at the bus stop at 12:14 p.m. and the bus arrived quickly. They were at Disney Springs by 12:41 p.m. They did some shopping at World of Disney and were able to use Mobile Checkout. Mobile checkout was a wonderful feature and went very quickly.

The kids were tired and hot so instead of exploring Disney Springs, they headed back to the hotel. Their plan was to go to D-Luxe Burger because it was Disney-owned and they feel comfortable with the food allergy options.

They left Disney Springs at 2 p.m. and didn’t have to wait at all for a bus. They got back to their room and had bell services bring all of the bags and groceries up to their room. 

They went swimming at Stormalong Bay and had Ale and Compass for dinner. Marcus’ wife ordered takeout for dinner. They went to bed early to get some rest before the next day! 

Magic Kingdom (July 18)

They were up at 6 a.m. and at the bus stop at 7:15 a.m. They arrived at Magic Kingdom at 7:50 a.m. The bus was standing room only, so they were glad that they arrived early to the bus stop

The park opens at 9 a.m. They were in the main gates at 8:16 a.m. and their plan was to “embrace the queue”. They knew they were going to wait so they expected it.

It worked really well to have the kids help in the planning. It made everything go very smoothly. They opted to rope drop the ride they really wanted to ride. Then they chose one ride that was worth waiting for. Between those two rides, they would ride whatever ride had the lowest wait times. 

They went directly to Seven Dwarfs Mine Train. This was their rope drop ride today. Space Mountain was the ride that they decided was worth the wait. This also worked because they would wait in the Space Mountain queue inside. 

They were in line for Seven Dwarfs Mine Train by 8:20 a.m. and the line was already very long. The ride was not running. They were in the queue by 9:02 a.m. and off the ride at 9:27 a.m. This was a very good decision for them. 

Big Thunder Mountain Railroad had a posted wait time of 10 minutes at 9:35 a.m. so that was their next stop. They were on and off Big Thunder by 10 a.m. and went directly to Pirates of the Caribbean. There was almost no wait and were off Pirates by 10:26 a.m. 

Marcus’ kids watched a lot of ride videos leading up to their trip. This made waiting in the queues much more enjoyable because they were able to look for things and recall information from the videos. 

The plan was to hit lunch on the earlier side to beat the crowds. They stopped for lunch at 10:43 a.m. They watched two cavalcades before heading to Pecos Bills Tall Tale Inn & Cafe. The restaurant was empty and they had a wonderful experience. 

At the Quick Service restaurants, Marcus learned that there were Allergy Trained Cast Members. They enjoyed this experience. Their food was out at 11:01 a.m. 

They rode PeopleMover at 11:45 a.m. and were off by 12:09 a.m. This was the first time they broke out their umbrellas to block the sun. They went to Tomorrowland Speedway and were on and off by 12:46 p.m. Wait times were not quite as long as the posted wait time.

They walked over to Haunted Mansion at 1:23 p.m. The posted wait time was 50 minutes but they were in and out in 30 minutes. In order to continue riding with the lowest wait times, they walked back over to Buzz Lightyear Space Ranger Spin and were off by 2:33 p.m. 

It was time to wait for Space Mountain! They walked over at 2:38 p.m. and the posted wait time was 60 minutes. They were off the ride by 3:40 p.m. The umbrellas came in handy here as well because the queue started outside.

They went over to Carousel of Progress to cool off and rest a bit. They did the Mad Tea Party at 4:30 p.m. They waited just less than the posted wait time of 20 minutes.

They went to it’s a small world next and were on and off the ride by 5:49 p.m. Just in time for their Liberty Tree Tavern reservation at 6 p.m.

They really love Liberty Tree Tavern. They sat in the overflow area in Diamond Horseshoe. They waited a bit to be seated but their server was incredible. They spoke with Chef Baron and were very pleased. 

They were too tired to stay for the fireworks, although that was their original plan. They opted to try and catch the fireworks another night. 

They left after their dinner, caught the bus, and were back to their room to get ready for Day 3!

Animal Kingdom (July 19)

They were up to get reat at 5:30 a.m. and got to their bus stop at 6:20 a.m. The bus arrived at 6:40 a.m. and they were through security by 6:59 a.m. 

Today their rope drop ride was Flight of Passage. Animal Kingdom is normally not a full day park for them. The ride worth waiting for was Expedition Everest, but they ended up riding it without any wait! 

They were allowed through the gates at 7:12 a.m. The official park opening was 8 a.m. They went to the right and found this to be a very good strategy. They were at the very front of the line when they got to the cast members holding them. 

They were on and off of Flight of Passage by 8:04 a.m. It was fantastic! They went immediately to Na’vi River Journey next and they rode it (for the first time!) without a wait! 

By 8:21 a.m. they’d done both rides in Pandora. Expedition Everest had a posted wait time of 10 minutes, so they rode that next. They were able to ride twice in a row without any wait. 

After that they went over to Kali River Rapids and were off by 9:20 a.m. They wore an extra pair of flip flops on the ride and put their regular shoes on afterwards.

They get a snack before heading to the Kilimanjari Safaris. The posted wait time was 50 minutes. Marcus knew they’d need to wait, so he bought a Disney Trivia book that he kept in his bag. While they waited in line, they did Disney Trivia. It was a great way to pass the time! 

They were off the Safari by 11:20 a.m. and went to Satu’li Canteen for lunch. This is one of their absolute favorites. They were able to talk to a chef about the allergies and they had a great meal. 

Marcus and his girls did Tough to be a Bug while his wife and son waited. They were off by 1:12 p.m. 

At this point, they were done with most of the rides they wanted to ride, so they took some time to wander around. They walked around the Tree of Life and took in some sights. They’d planned to do the Gorilla Trails but it started raining. They opted to go to the Festival of the Lion King. It was a little early, but they were able to go into the queue out of the rain.

Festival of the Lion King was good but was definitely missing something with the paired down show. After the show, they took the train over to the Animation Experience. They did the petting zoo area in Conservation Station

They took the train back and walked to Gorilla Trails. There was great interaction and they really enjoyed this experience.

They took another quick snack break and left the park to head to Epcot! 

They got to Epcot by 6:27 p.m. They went straight to La Cantina de San Angel for dinner for the kids and Marcus’ wife. Marcus opted to get food from the Food and Wine festival booths for dinner. 

They were tired after eating, so they went back to their room. While his wife and the kids went to their room, Marcus explored the Beach Club Resort

Hollywood Studios (July 20)

Marcus and his family were headed to Hollywood Studios today! They walked from their resort to get to Hollywood Studios.

They left their resort at 7:35 a.m. and through security at 8:05 a.m. They were able to get a Rise of Resistance boarding group before leaving for the park. They got Boarding Group 16. 

Their rope drop ride today was Slinky Dog Dash and their ride worth waiting for today was Rock ‘n’ Rollercoaster.

They were held before Toy Story Land and stayed to the right to get in line for Slinky Dog Dash. Before they even got on the ride, the posted wait time was 80 minutes. They were off the ride by 8:47 a.m. There was almost no wait at all! 

They went over to Toy Story Mania! immediately and then did Alien Swirling Saucers. They had done all 3 Toy Story Land rides by 9:20 a.m. 

They went over for the Rise of the Resistance Boarding group and were on and off the ride by 10:07 a.m. It was a phenomenal ride that they all enjoyed.

They were saving the rest of Galaxy’s Edge for their Star Wars day later in the week, so they went to Rock ‘n’ Rollercoaster next. The posted wait time was 70 minutes and Marcus and the kids got in line. Marcus’ wife opted to wait in the shade. They were off the ride by 11:23 a.m. making the entire experience at less than an hour.

They decided to stop for lunch at 11:35 a.m. at PizzeRizzo. It was a wonderful place for food allergies. The cast members were incredible. 

They went to the store at the end of Star Tours to build a Rey Lightsaber. After that, they waited for Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway. They were really excited to ride this because they’d never been on it before. Their umbrellas came in handy because most of their wait was outside. 

They loved this ride and knew they’d need to ride it later in the week to experience it again! Marcus went to get a Millenium Falcon popcorn bucket next. This was the one souvenir he wanted from the trip. 

They decided to take a midday break back at the hotel at this point. It was just after 2 p.m. Marcus and his girls took the skyliner back and Marcus’ wife and son took the Friendship boats

When they got back to the hotel, they swam at Stormalong Bay before heading back to Hollywood Studios via the Friendship Boats and Skyliner again.

They took some photos at the front of the park before checking into their reservation at Hollywood’s Brown Derby. This was Marcus’ favorite meal of the whole trip.

Chef T was their chef and he was wonderful because he has kids with food allergies as well. It was just a fantastic experience. They all loved the food and the experience, so good in fact, that they tried to get another reservation for the next time Chef T was working! 

It was raining, so they put their ponchos on and took the Friendship Boats back to the hotel. 

Epcot (July 21)

They had a Kona Cafe reservation at 8 a.m. so they opted to take a Lyft from their hotel to the Polynesian Resort by 7:46 a.m. for their reservation. This strategy worked great for them.

They ordered (and loved) the Tonga Toast and had a great experience. It was worth the trip to the Polynesian for the Tonga Toast! 

After breakfast, they took the monorail (it had just reopened a few days before!) from the Transportation and Ticket Center to Epcot. They ended up opening the line around 9:45 a.m. to get on the monorail for an 11 a.m. opening at Epcot. 

They were off the monorail by 10 a.m. and through the tapstiles by 10:16 a.m. Their rope drop ride today was Test Track. For ropedropping Test Track, be sure to be a little bit to the left. 

They were on and off Test Track by 10:53 a.m. and went straight over to Frozen Ever After. The posted wait time was 40 minutes. Marcus got in line first while his family had a restroom and snack break. They were on by 11:45 a.m.

It was getting very hot so they decided to do Living with the Land before heading back to their hotel. They freshened up, swam, and headed back to Epcot for their 5 p.m. Garden Grill reservation.

They got there a bit early and were seated right away. They had an incredible cast member experience. Everything went really well with the allergies except the options were fairly limited because of the multiple allergies.

The Seas with Nemo & Friends had almost no wait, so they did that after dinner and spent some time in the aquarium area. They decided to take some photos in front of Spaceship Earth as well.

They decided this would be the night that they went back to the Magic Kingdom to watch Happily Ever After. They took the monorail over to the Magic Kingdom. They also were able to get some Loki Ears for his kids at the Emporium! 

Their whole purpose was to see the fireworks and potentially ride a ride afterwards. They decided to go to the left of the castle around 7:20 p.m. and then walk straight over to Splash Mountain when the fireworks were over. 

Waiting for the fireworks was very crowded, which was difficult after so much time away from people. Marcus and his family opted to remain masked because people were getting very close. 

The fireworks show was magical, but the crowds were difficult. As soon as the show was over, they started running toward Splash Mountain. People were all running around them, so they switched course to go to Big Thunder Mountain Railroad. It was still very busy, so they changed again and went to The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh

They got in line at 9:54 p.m. and it was a walk-on. It was the perfect ride to calm everyone down. 

They left the park by 10:18 p.m. and they were back at the Beach Club by 11 p.m.

Break Day (July 22)

Today was their break day! Everyone slept in a bit while Marcus got up early to get a spot for his family. They were unable to get a Cabana so Marcus went down about 30 minutes before Stormalong Bay opened. 

Because of rope dropping Stormalong Bay, he was able to get a table with an umbrella that they enjoyed all day! They had breakfast at the Marketplace and were eating out by the pool at 11:05 a.m.

Unfortunately the lazy river wasn’t working while they were there, but they really enjoyed the incredible pool. They spent the majority of the day at the pool relaxing and going down the slide. 

You are welcome to bring your own pool toys and a soft cooler in the pool area. This is especially helpful if you are driving! 

They swam and enjoyed the pool until about 4:30 p.m. and had a reservation at Beaches and Cream around 5:30 p.m. They had Chef TJ, a wonderful allergy-friendly chef that they’d met on a previous trip. 

Chef TJ made an incredible dessert for Marcus’ kids, which was absolutely wonderful. They had a great experience and wonderful food. 

Marcus also used the laundry facilities this evening. He used the app LaundryView to determine when the washers and dryers were open. It was a wonderfully relaxing day in preparation for their big Star Wars day the next day!

Hollywood Studios Star Wars Day (July 23)

They woke up at 6 a.m. and got a Rise of the Resistance boarding group before heading to Hollywood Studios at 7:08 a.m. They got boarding group 56. 

They were one of the first people in line at security. Their rope drop ride was Millennium Falcon: Smuggler’s Run. They were through security by 7:47 a.m. and went straight to Galaxy’s Edge. 

They were walked into Galaxy’s Edge by cast members right around 8:30 a.m. They were in the queue for Smuggler’s Run by 8:41 a.m and they were off the ride by 9 a.m.

After that, they walked through Galaxy’s Edge to get to Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway. While they were in line, the wait time shot up so they got out of line and got into line for Star Tours and rode that instead. 

They were off Star Tours by 9:33 a.m. and went to the Mickey’s Shorts before taking a snack break. After their break, they went to the Frozen Sing-Along. It was so fun.

By 11 a.m. they were ready for lunch. They went back to PizzeRizzo because they were so good with allergies. It was another great experience.

They did Muppet*Vision 3D after lunch and were done with that by 12:30 p.m. They were ready to officially do Star Wars Day! 

Their Boarding Group for Rise of the Resistance was called after lunch and were in the queue by 12:48 p.m. They were excited to ride from a different perspective. 

After Rise, they were ready to explore Galaxy’s Edge. They took a lot of photos and walked around. They had some really incredible interactions with the characters. It was a very special part of the day.

They went to Oga’s Cantina and the atmosphere was incredible but Marcus’ kids didn’t have a whole lot of food options that fit with their allergies. The kitchen is very small so they cannot guarantee cross-contamination. 

They spent a good bit of time walking around, checking out the stores, and enjoying Galaxy’s Edge. At 3:40 p.m. they left Galaxy’s Edge and went to Walt Disney Presents. Marcus was pleasantly surprised at how much his kids enjoyed this.

After that it was time for Marcus and his son to experience Savi’s Workshop. This was a wonderful experience for the two of them to do together. Marcus shipped the Light Saber home from the Marketplace at Beach Club. 

They got in line for Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway and while the posted wait time was 35 minutes, the ride broke down while they waited. They didn’t have anything else to do, so they waited. They were on and off by 6:41 p.m. 

Their 50s Prime Time Cafe reservations were at 6:45 p.m. so they raced over there and got in just before the rain started. They had a great experience and were done by 7:53 p.m. 

They thought about getting on another ride, but they opted to get back to their room. They took the Friendship Boats back to their hotel. 

Hollywood Studios (July 24)

They got boarding group 26 for Rise of the Resistance and walked to Hollywood Studios at 7:18 a.m. They were into the park by 8 a.m. to rope drop Twilight Zone Tower of Terror.

They were held at Sunset Boulevard and were first in line for Tower of Terror! Unfortunately there was only one elevator working, but they were done by 8:50 a.m.

Marcus and the kids went over to Rock ‘n’ Rollercoaster next and were off by 9:24 a.m. They walked down to Lightning McQueen’s Racing Academy after that.

At this point, they had done everything they wanted to do at Hollywood Studios. They wandered around, took photos, and enjoyed Hollywood Studios. 

Their boarding group was called and they get in line just before 11 a.m. It was just as exciting as the first time. 

At noon they left the park and took the Friendship boats back to their resort. They really enjoyed the others times they had Ale and Compass so they decided to order takeout again. 

Unfortunately, they were worried that their order was wrong and after some back and forth, they did get the correct meals, just a little bit later than they expected. 

They spent the afternoon swimming at Stormalong Bay until about 4 p.m. It was a lovely, relaxing day. 

They opted to go to Epcot for dinner. They went to Soarin’ at 6:52 p.m. and rode that with almost no wait. After that, they went right to Spaceship Earth. They went to Regal Eagle Smokehouse for dinner and it was okay. 

After dinner, they walked through World Showcase and watched Epcot Forever. They really enjoyed those fireworks and walked out the International Gateway back to their room. 

Magic Kingdom (July 25)

Marcus and his family planned to make their last park day a day at the Magic Kingdom! They got to the bus stop early at 7:15 a.m. for a 9 a.m. park opening. The bus arrived at 7:48 a.m. and they were through security by 8:09 a.m. 

Their plan was to rope drop Splash Mountain and wait for Peter Pan’s Flight. (This was a great idea because Peter Pan’s Flight has a great indoor queue!) They went toward Adventureland and were held until 9 a.m. 

They got to Splash Mountain by 9:05 a.m. and they were ahead of most of the crowd. They were the second family to ride for the day! 

After getting off of Splash Mountain they walked across to Big Thunder Mountain Railroad and there was a posted wait time of 15 minutes, but they were on and off in 10 minutes. 

Jungle Cruise was their next ride and they knew they would need to wait. The posted wait time was 40 minutes and they were off by 10:30 a.m. 

They walked across the park to Voyage of the Little Mermaid next and were on and off by 10:55 a.m. They crossed the park trying to ride the rides with the lowest wait times. That brought them to Dumbo the Flying Elephant next and they were off the ride just after 11 a.m.

They stopped for lunch and decided to split for lunch. Marcus’ wife and kids went to Cosmic Ray’s Starlight Cafe and Marcus went to Tomorrowland Terrace and got his lunch. He mobile ordered his meal and it was very quick! 

Marcus was able to bring his food and meet his family inside Cosmic Ray’s. Everyone had what they wanted and everyone was happy.

After lunch, it was time to wait for Peter Pan’s Flight. The posted wait time at 12:30 p.m. was 55 minutes. They were on and off in just less than an hour. They really enjoyed that queue! 

They went to Mickey’s PhilharMagic next and enjoyed the air conditioning and the show. They had a snack break next. 

After their snack break they went to Country Bears Jamboree. They were done by 2:18 p.m. before walking through Swiss Family Treehouse

They did the Tiki Room followed by Big Thunder Mountain Railroad and were off 4:30 p.m. They love Big Thunder! 

They decided to ride Pirates of the Caribbean again to kill time before their 5:30 p.m. Be our Guest reservation. 

They always end their trip at Be Our Guest. They requested a seat in the ballroom and sat near the windows. They love the ambiance there and it’s a wonderful tradition.

They have always had a wonderful experience with the kids’ allergies there and this experience was no different. When they finished their meal, they took some photos, and started their walk out of the park. 

They took the bus back to the resort to swim at the pool before calling it a day. 

Departure Day (July 26)

They got up and had breakfast at the Marketplace. They took Magical Express back to the airport. There weren’t any issues at all. 

They really like to have a slower paced departure day and not try and do a park that day. 

Key Takeaways

  • Get to the bus stop early if you plan to rope drop.
  • You are welcome to bring your own pool toys and a soft cooler in the pool area. This is especially helpful if you are driving! 
  • Marcus and his family got their groceries from Deliveries by Dee

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Friday 29th of October 2021

My daughter and I loved your trip report! Such awesome details!


Thursday 23rd of September 2021

Awesome trip report by Marcus! I appreciate all of the detail that he provided, including the wait times and the actual time spent waiting for rides. Thanks Marcus!


Friday 3rd of September 2021

My daughter and I absolutely LOVED Marcus' trip report. He was so organized, and gave great details that really have helped in my own planning. Marcus - you should start a podcast - I would listen!


Wednesday 11th of August 2021

Great podcast! Loved Marcus' level of detail and the idea of "rope drop & wait for it" touring plan. Thanks for sharing!


Monday 9th of August 2021

I listen to all of your podcast episodes/trip reports and this trip report has been one of my favorites! Marcus' family has similar interests to our family and they tour the parks very much like we did when our kids were younger! Also appreciated all the allergy info. related to the different dining locations and chefs. Thanks Shannon & thanks to Marcus & family.