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Pre-Trip JZSquared Takes On the World


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Original Poster
Hey Y'all, sorry I'm not creative as some of you all are when it comes to thinking about trip titles. :inlove:

Let's start with the introductions:


I'm Lyssa, and my better half is Justin:

Also know as JZSquared because after getting married, our initials are both JZ, so it's JZSquared, like I said we're not very original :p

We're both teachers. I teach special ed preschool [ages 3 to 6] and Justin teaches high school students AP Calculus BC and AP Computer Science. We're also crazy cat people and have five cats [all strays I've rescued from the streets, including a new kitten I rescued during Hurricane Harvey]. We live near Houston, TX.

I am OBSESSED with Disney, and even had an Alice In Wonderland themed wedding [which was on super pi day BTW 3.14.15, that's what you get when you marry a math teacher]. I haven't been to Disney World since 1995, and I was 11 and thought I was way too cool for the world. Justin hasn't been to Disney World since 1997, and he was there for a science competition and he claims they didn't even get to ride on any of the rides and even stayed off world.

Though we did go to Disney Land during our 2015 Summer West Coast Road Trip and we both had a great time there, even DH, who questioned my choice to go to Disneyland had an awesome time.

I've been trying to plan a Disney World Trip for years [rather convince DH to agree to one for years] and they always fell through. I think he finally got tired of my begging and agreed to it mostly to get me to leave him alone ;). But also, we're planning on defrosting our child [I had uterine cancer about three years ago, and needed a full hysterectomy to get rid of it, and before that we went through fertility treatments to freeze and embryo, we did manage to freeze one] this spring, and we decided we wanted a Disney Trip to enjoy before we actually have a baby, so we can do what we want and just enjoy being in the world without worrying about a baby. So I think that was also a deciding factor.

Anyhow I love writing about vacations [as evidenced by my other travel blog http://adventuresofjzsquared.blogspot.com/] and taking pictures, though I'm not nearly as talented as some of the photographers I've seen on some of y'all's trip reports :p and I can't wait to share stories about our trip here with everyone.


Since we're teachers, we have a limited time period we can actually go to Disney World. We also hate heat [and yes we live in Texas, but we're both from the east coast! I'm originally from NJ and DH is originally from Pennsylvania.] Therefore we decided to go during the BUSIEST time of the year, we'll be there from New Year's Eve [Dec 31st, 2017] to January 5th, 2018. We're also planning on driving to Florida from Texas because we really like road trips, and for us, it was much cheaper than flying, and worth it for the adventure. :)


We're staying at Pop Century Resort because we liked the price, and really don't plan on spending much time in our hotel room.

We're planning on spending 4 days in the world, and 1 day at Universal Studios, where we'll be taking a VIP tour, so we can try to cram AS MUCH HARRY POTTER in as possible in one day before we have to drive back.

Looking forward to writing more about this trip and meeting new people in this forum ;) I've really been enjoying all of your pre-trip reports and trip reports, and they're helping me get through the one hundred something days till our trip!!!!



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I hope you have a wonderful trip! You have so much to look forward to in the next year!!!


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Original Poster
Name Change... An actual quote from my conversation last night:

Justin [or DH]: Why did you call it JZSquared vs The World?
Me: Well, we're JZSquared, and The World is you know... Disney World and everything
DH: But it makes us sound like terrorists... Like JZSquared is going to take over the world.
Me: Like Pinky and The Brain? [cue me: start singing the theme song]... What's wrong with that?
DH: Just change the name
Me: JZSquared meets Disney World?
DH: I like that better


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Original Poster

December 29th/30th: Our road trip from Texas to Orlando. Originally we were going to leave on the 30th and get to Disney sometime on the 31st, but because traffic sucks and I don't want to have a shortened Day 1, we decided we'll just leave a day earlier and get a hotel somewhere in Orlando on the 30th, so we can get to Pop Century, as early as possible, even if our room isn't ready, and have a full day at a park.

New Years Eve/December 31st: We plan to hit up Animal Kingdom. I figure most people will be at the other parks because they have firework shows and things, Animal Kingdom doesn't, and I feel like it'll be the least crowded. Maybe we'll even be able to ride an Avatar ride more than once [okay probably not]. We don't really have any plans to be in a park to celebrate the New Year. I wanted to have the kitchen sink at Beaches & Cream instead since it's our 6 year anniversary that day, but that place has been booked solid since even before I made dining arrangements. So instead we'll probably just go back to the hotel after AK closes, and maybe ring in the New Year while swimming in a pool or something or watching a ball drop on TV. Neither of us really like crowds so big that you can't breath, and fighting like it's a Smash Brothers match to score a good firework viewing spot or to go to and from the bathroom. So our NYE will be very quiet and peaceful.
New Year's Day/January 1st: Planning on hitting Epcot. No real plans other than that, and no ADRs for that day either, we'll probably just wing it since Epcot has so much delicious food. I just know I want to ride all the rides, and explore the World Showcase, and maybe do some light drinking around the world. Epcot has always been my favorite park and there have been so many additions to it since I was last there. I also need a Figment souvenir. I'm hoping the park won't be that crowded since so many people will have been up the night before partying.I'm looking forward to Spaceship Earth because that was my grandfather's favorite ride when he used to take me when I was little. I'm excited about FEA even though I remember Maelstrom well. Figment has always been a favorite. The Living Seas with Nemo is a new one I'm excited to check out, as well as The Land, which I don't think I've ever ridden. My grandmother always loved The Gran Fiesta tour because she grew up in Mexico and it reminded her of home. I'm excited to compare the new Soarin' to old Soarin', which we rode in California Adventure. I want to check out Mission Space eve though we'll have to do green since DH gets very motion sick. And I'm excited about riding TT, though I've never ridden the older one, so I can't really compare the new one to the old one. But I think I'm definitely the most excited about Epcot :)
January 2nd: Hollywood studios Day. We have an ADR for Sci-Fi Drive In. My dad and I always loved cheesy science-fiction movies growing up [think Killer Klowns from Outer Space] and old cartoons [and really cheesy Martial Arts movies, we used to get this amazing kung foo channel that showed like the worst "bad" movies and we loved it and were so sad when cable took it away, but alas I digress], and I think DH will really like it. I chose not to go to the "Primetime Cafe" because DH is a bit sensitive, and even though the jabbing is all in good fun, I think it would ruin the meal for him [and probably me too. Who am I kidding? I'm an INFJ]. Ride wise, I mean there are only so few rides, but I'm excited for Rock N Roller coaster, which didn't exist when I last went there [when it was still MGM studios!], Toy Story Midway Mania, which we both loved at California Adventure [even though DH won], Tower of Terror [which I have 3 months to convince DH to ride], Star Tours, and The Muppet Show, which I'm sure is dated, but will bring back happy memories of being little and watching it with my family, and the Frozen Sing Along because even though he'll never admit it , I know DH loves "Let It Go" and knows all the lyrics! Depending on what time we finish all the things we want to do, we'll probably hop to another park, or explore Disney Springs, or do both.

[my accuracy was better,. but his score was better]

I'll continue this later ;)
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Original Poster
The first day of school was tough [as it always is when you teach special needs students, including some 3 y/o's, who have never been in school before] but I got through it by thinking about Disney. [and the best part is my TA is a Disney freak too :) ]

January 3rd: This is our Disney day. Other than a BOG ADR for lunch, I haven't really thought much about Disney. I def want to ride 7DMT since last time I was there, Snow White's Scary Adventure and Mr. Toad's Wild Ride were still there! Space Mountain is always a favorite [it's the one roller coaster DH absolutely loves]. Actually all 4 mountains are on my must ride list. It's a Small World is always a classic [even though I think the DL version is better], I love Haunted Mansion and Pirates [RIP Red Wench] and People Mover, and basically I want to ride all the rides and see HEA.I refuse to ride Dumbo though. When I was little, my grandpa took me on Dumbo, and the ride stopped working while I was stuck at the top, and I'm still traumatized to this day. I'd also love to take a trip around the world and check out many of the resorts because I don't think I've ever explored them other than All-Star Sports, which we stayed at when I was little.

January 4th is HARRY POTTER DAY. [I am the biggest POTTER Head ever]. We actually went ahead and booked a VIP Tour at Universal [a group of 7 people and you get to ride on whatever rides you want and not wait in line] because we only have one day to dedicate to Universal/IOA and it's going to be one of the most crowded days at the parks thanks to the holidays, we just figured that was the best way to check out Universal and see everything we wanted to see. I want butterbeer and I want to try Three Broomsticks and have some bangers and mash or cottage pie.

January 5th is when we check out and have to start going back to reality :(

I was thinking of trying to fit an ADR for Ohana somewhere in our schedule because everyone on here seems to go to Ohana and all your pictures of the food look incredible ;)

I'm also really hoping I can get a last minute Beaches & Cream reservation somewhere during the trip.

Anyways 111 days to go :) I'm hoping it will go by fast ;)


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I am along for the ride
Taking on the World is a good title for a trip at this time of the year

"Cry havoc and let slip the dogs of war"

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Original Poster
I am sooooo excited. I obsessively check dining reservations every day. And today when I got back from school, I checked them and Ohana was open for January 2nd at 9:45, I am so excited we got a reservation for it ;) now if only beaches and cream would open up lol. I showed my DH the menu for it, and even he seemed excited :)


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Original Poster
We're down to double digits ;) 97 days to go!!!!

It's the only thing currently keeping my mind off the fact that our AC died last night [and in horrible Texas humidity nonetheless], well that, and the Pixar marathon we're having [just finished Wall-E, currently on Up]


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Original Poster
I finally found a way to convince DH to go on TOT with me.

Me: I'll buy you a mickey pretzel or ice cream bar if you ride it with me.
Him: Ok
Me: Ok? That's really all it took. The promise of food?
Him: Yep


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Original Poster
The travel agent who planned our Disney trip sent me an email today telling me we get to start choosing our Fast Passes on November 1st, so the trip is really coming up! I think there are only 70 something days left... CRAZY!

The plan is:
AK: Flight of Passage [and I find it really cruel how you can only book in Avatar fast pass :cry:], Kilimanjaro Safari, and Dinosaur [we're hoping we can do single rider for EE]
EC: FEA, Spaceship Earth, and Nemo
HS: Rock N Roll Roller Coaster [we've both done TSM in California Adventures, but have never ridden Rock N Roll, which is why we chose that] and then Tower of Terror [Justin can't wait] and Star Tours [Justin loves Star Wars more than anything]
MK: Space Mountain [Justin's favorite ever ride], Peter Pan's Flight [which I don't think I've been on since I was 4], and Seven Dwarves Mine Train

We'll see if I get all the fast passes I want since we're coming at such a crowded time!

On a completely unrelated yet related note, I finally got time to play with my new mirrorless camera [birthday present from Justin] and I was thrilled with the pictures:

[these were without any editing in lightroom or photoshop because I was just playing with the camera]

And I think it'll be the PERFECT camera for our Disney Trip :) It's the perfect size and it's super quick! I just want to invest in a second lens before the trip ;)


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Original Poster
I cannot believe that today is fast pass day! There are only 60 days til our trip, which is just so CRAZY to me. I remember telling Justin that I wanted to go to Disney in July and it was SOOO many days away and now soon I actually need to start planning what I want to pack.

Justin and I decided to book a hotel about an hour away from Orlando on December 30th, so we can get to AK as close to rope drop as possible. We were planning on trying to book on the road, but we were worried that since it was NYE time that we wouldn't find a safe and decent hotel or that we'd spend way too much money for just a single night. We found a good one about an hour away and it was 1/2 the price of anything in the Orlando area, and Justin promised me he would get up at 6 am, so we could drive on our merry way to Disney and make it as close to rope drop as possible [that was my stipulation for staying so far away!], so we're mostly prepared for the journey down there. [I think we'll be fine finding lodging on the road at some random place the night before we're planning on arriving in Orlando]. I can definetly tell you, THERE WILL BE MORE THAN ONE WAWA STOP IN ORLANDO [oh Wawa how much I miss you]

Anyhow, without further adieu, our fast past reservations [and no regrets about taking a "sick day" at school, so I could book them as soon as they became available today, especially with us visiting at such a crowded time, and the fact I haven't a single day off since school started].

New Year's Eve: [this will be my first time ever visiting AK!]
Kilimanjaro Safari: 11:15-12:15 pm
Dinosaur: 1:25-2:25 pm
Flight of Passage: 5:30 -6:30 pm
[Plan is to rope drop Navi River Journey, and try to do single rider for EE]
After those rides, depending on how much we've ridden or what sort of mood we're in, we might resort hop, or we might stay at AK for longer, but we have ice cream plans at Beaches and Cream around 8:30, and I'm sure roads will be awful, so we might just leave for Boardwalk after the rides, so there's no chance of missing our ADR, and we plan on getting back to our hotel WAY before midnight and maybe ringing in 2018 in the pool or something :p

New Year's Day:
Nemo & Friends: 10:05-11:05 am
Spaceship Earth: 11:15 am to 12:15 pm
FEA: 2:15-3:15 pm
[Plan is to rope drop either Soarin' or Test Track]
We don't have any ADRs that day, so other plans just include having drinks around the world, and finding random things to photograph throughout Future World and World Showcase for our first day in 2018.

January 2nd, Hollywood Studios
RNRC: 9:40-10:40 am [excited about this, it wasn't even there last time I went to HS, and it was still called MGM back then]
ToT: 11:00-12: pm
Lunch @ SciFi: 12:10 pm [though I'm might end up canceling this ADR because we're going to Ohana's for dinner, but I suppose we don't actually have to get food for lunch, we could just get milkshakes and share an appetizer, which might work better than eating two full sit down meals that day]
Star Tours: 1:40-2:40 pm
[Plan is to try to rope drop Toy Story, but if we don't make it, no biggie, we rode it in Disneyland, and there are also EMH's at HS this day]
After our last pass, we'll probably park hop to MK and see what we can ride there or what fast passes I can make after we use ours at HS, and we'll just chill there until around when the park closes since it closes at 9, and then hop on the monorail to the Poly
Dinner @ Ohana: 9:40 pm

January 3rd, Magic Kingdom
Seven Dwarves Mine Train: 10:05-11:05 am [also a new ride to me, so exciting]
Lunch @ Be Our Guest: 11:45 am
Peter Pan's Flight: 1:00-2:00 pm
Space Mountain: 2:40-3:40 pm
[We plan to get there by rope drop, but don't have any specific rides we want to try to get on for rope drop]
MK has extended hours that day so it's open till 11 with the EMH, so hopefully we can ride our favorites, and I'll see what FP's I can make on the app after we use ours ;)

January 4th: Universal Studios/IoA day [all the Harry Potter!]

I can't believe how soon the trip is now!!!! I'm already excited ;)


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Original Poster
OMG, our trip is in 30 days!!!! I swear I was just choosing my fast passes! I cannot wait :) I just need to get through the next three weeks of school with very overexcited prek kiddos!!! I think I need to start packing now!

So excited this pretrip will eventually turn into an actual trip report pretty soon :)

ps: anyone know when magic bands get shipped?


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Original Poster
Our trip is in the single digits... umm how did that happen?

We're leaving Friday to start our drive to Disney. We're going to try to make it a little past Pace, Florida [I'm thinking around Milton because I have a friend there, not that I'll be seeing aforementioned friend since she'll be away] on the first day, which is about 8ish hours of driving, which really isn't a lot considering, we went from Houston to Amarillo in one day, several times, and it was about an 11 hour trip with all of our random stops.

On Friday, we'll be going to Orlando, but not the Disney area... Like an hour away from Disney, just so we can be in Orlando on New Year's Eve. We plan to leave the hotel extremely early, drive to Pop Centuary, and then immediately hop on the bus to Animal Kingdom and worry about checking into the room later.

We've already got our fast passes, we have an ADR for ice cream at 8:45 at Beaches&Cream, and then we want to beat the crowd and get back to the hotel and maybe bring in 2018 in a swimming pool.

Crazy, the next trip report I make will be an actual trip report and not a pre-trip report ;)

[I'm still sad Justin wouldn't get any fun color and insisted on the boring gray. I offered to change his magic band color to pink, but he wasn't having it]

HAPPY 2018 EVERYONE, if I don't update this before that ;)