As of January 1, 2019, we have closed our forums. This is a decision we did not come to lightly, but it is necessary. The software our forums run on is just too out-of-date and it poses a significant security risk. The server software itself must be updated, and it cannot be without removing the forums.
So it is with a heavy heart that we say goodbye to our long-running forums. They came online in 2000 and brought together so many wonderful Disney fans. We had friendships form, careers launch, couples marry, children born ... all because of this amazing community.
Thank you to each of you who were a part of this community. You made it possible.
And a very special thank you to our Guides (moderators), past and present, who kept our forums a happy place to be. You are the glue that held everything together, and we are forever grateful to you. Thank you aliceinwdw, Caldercup, MrsM, WillCAD, Fortissimo, GingerJ, HiddenMickey, CRCrazy, Eeyoresmom, disneyknut, disneydani, Cam22, chezp, WDWfan, Luvsun, KMB733, rescuesk, OhToodles!, Colexis Mom, lfredsbo, HiddenMickey, DrDolphin, DopeyGirl, duck addict, Disneybine, PixieMichele, Sandra Bostwick, Eeyore Tattoo, DyanKJ130, Suzy Q'Disney, LilMarcieMouse, AllisonG, Belle*, Chrissi, Brant, DawnDenise, Crystalloubear, Disneymom9092, FanOfMickey, Goofy4Goofy, GoofyMom, Home4us123, iamgrumpy, ilovedisney247, Jennifer2003, Jenny Pooh, KrisLuvsDisney, Ladyt, Laughaholic88, LauraBelle Hime, Lilianna, LizardCop, Loobyoxlip, lukeandbrooksmom, marisag, michnash, MickeyMAC, OffKilter_Lynn, PamelaK, Poor_Eeyore, ripkensnana, RobDVC, SHEANA1226, Shell of the South, snoozin, Statelady01, Tara O'Hara, tigger22, Tink and Co., Tinkerbelz, WDWJAMBA, wdwlovers, Wendyismyname, whoSEZ, WildforWD, and WvuGrrrl. You made the magic.
We want to personally thank Sara Varney, who coordinated our community for many years (among so many other things she did for us), and Cheryl Pendry, our Message Board Manager who helped train our Guides, and Ginger Jabour, who helped us with the PassPorter-specific forums and Live! Guides. Thank you for your time, energy, and enthusiasm. You made it all happen.
There are other changes as well.
Why? Well, the world has changed. And change with it, we must. The lyrics to "We Go On" for IllumiNations say it best:
We go on to the joy and through the tears
We go on to discover new frontiers
Moving on with the current of the years.
We go on
Moving forward now as one
Moving on with a spirit born to run
Ever on with each rising sun.
To a new day, we go on.
It's time to move on and move forward.
PassPorter is a small business, and for many years it supported our family. But the world changed, print books took a backseat to the Internet, and for a long time now it has been unable to make ends meet. We've had to find new ways to support our family, which means new careers and less and less time available to devote to our first baby, PassPorter.
But eventually, we must move on and move forward. It is the right thing to do.
So we are retiring this newsletter, as we simply cannot keep up with it. Many thanks to Mouse Fan Travel who supported it all these years, to All Ears and MousePlanet who helped us with news, to our many article contributors, and -- most importantly -- to Sara Varney who edited our newsletter so wonderfully for years and years.
And we are no longer charging for the Live Guides. If you have a subscription, it's yours to keep for the lifetime of the Live Guides at no additional cost. The Live Guides will stay online, barring server issues and technical problems, for all of 2019.
That said, PassPorter is not going away. Most of the resources will remain online for as long as we can support them, and after that we will find ways to make whatever we can available. PassPorter means a great deal to us, and to many of you, and we will do our best to keep it alive in whatever way we can. Our server costs are high, and they'll need to come out of our pockets, so in the future you can expect some changes so we can bring those costs down.
Thank you, thank you, thank you for your amazing support over the years. Without you, there's no way us little guys could have made something like this happen and given the "big guys" a run for their money. PassPorter was consistently the #3 guidebook after the Unofficial and Official guides, which was really unheard of for such a small company to do. We ROCKED it thanks to you and your support and love!
If you miss us, you can still find some of us online. Sara started a new blog at DisneyParkPrincess.com -- I strongly urge you to visit and get on her mailing list. She IS the Disney park princess and knows Disney backward and forward. And I am blogging as well at JenniferMaker.com, which is a little craft blog I started a couple of years ago to make ends meet. You can see and hear me in my craft show at https://www.youtube.com/c/jennifermaker . Many PassPorter readers and fans are on Facebook, in groups they formed like the PassPorter Trip Reports and PassPorter Crafting Challenge (if you join, just let them know you read about it in the newsletter). And some of our most devoted community members started a forum of their own at Pixie Dust Lane and all are invited over.
So we encourage you to stay in touch with us and your fellow community members wherever works best for you!
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PTR: The Dunning Family's Triumphant Return to the World
I am having trouble figuring out exactly how to start this PTR, not because I don’t have a lot to say, but just because I’m having difficulty coming up with the words to express how insanely excited I am to be returning to Walt Disney World after an agonizing three year hiatus! So, for now, I’m just going to jump right into the basics and introduce the cast of characters, and I’m sure you’ll pick up on my mind-numbing excitement as time goes on.
WHEN: September 10th-18th 2016 (I know I’m starting this early, but oh my GOODNESS I could not contain my excitement anymore and simply had to start writing my PTR!)
WHERE: Art of Animation Resort, Finding Nemo Family Suite
WHY: Why not? (I’ll get into our official reasons as the PTR progresses, as there are a lot of them!)
CAST OF CHARACTERS:
First, there is me. I’m 27 years old (28 at the time of the trip), and I was bitten by the Disney Bug when my Aunt and Uncle got married in the Great Movie Ride (Wizard of Oz section) when I was 9 years old. One ride on Splash Mountain and I was hooked. My first trip as an adult was March of 2009, when we went for our (6 month delayed) honeymoon, and then David and I returned every September from 2010 to 2013. I’m an obsessive planner, but have relaxed just a tiny bit since having my kiddos...funny how becoming a parent changes things. My favorite Disney Princess is Belle, because she’s just like me - a little different (I’ve never felt like I really fit in, no matter the crowd), avid reader, and she has a big heart. I also adore Tinkerbell, because she’s a sassy little thing, which I like to pretend I am, on occasion. I’ve got many other favorite characters, but those hold my two top spots!
My DH! He is also 27 (28 at the time of the trip), and he will tell you, 9 days older than me. (He used to tease me about that, but since we are nearing our big 3-0 the teasing has slowed down quite abruptly.) We met when we were 13, starting “going out” when we were 14, and married when we were 20, on the 6 year anniversary of the day we started dating. His first trip to the World was our honeymoon in March of 2009, followed by our yearly September trips from 2010 to 2013. We will be celebrating our 8 year wedding anniversary while on this trip! David mostly likes to follow along with my plans, but he has firm ideas about restaurants we cannot skip, and occasionally puts his foot down when I get a little bit too crazy with my planning. He’s a great daddy to our two little girls. His favorite Disney Character is Goofy.
My darling oldest daughter is 2, but will be 3 at the time of the trip. (She will actually be nearly 4 by the time we go...yikes!)She came into our lives in November of 2012 and has been making our world go ‘round ever since. She’s highly intelligent, incredibly sassy, and melt-your-heart sweet, all rolled up into one wonderful package that makes everyone she meets fall in love with her almost instantly...And I’m not biased at all...oh, no! She has been to Disney World once before, when she was just 10 months old, back in September of 2013. She is currently a big fan of the movies The Princess and the Frog, Frozen, Lion King, Beauty and the Beast, Finding Nemo, and Up. She also loves Sofia the First. If I had to pick her favorite character...I honestly don’t know. She’s been more into Tiana than Elsa lately, and she also really loves Sofia and Tinkerbell. So how about we just go with she likes Princesses and fairies, but also lions and beasts and “fishies,” because you know...she’s two.
The newest addition to our family was just born June 5th, 2015! She will 15 months old when we go on her very first trip to Disney! She is currently only two months old and therefore has no preference for Disney characters.
Anthony, more commonly known as AJ
I am SO excited that AJ is coming on this trip with us. We have known AJ since we were sophomores in high school and he started as a freshman. He and David played in band together, and as time went on he became both of our (David’s and mine)best friend. I truly and honestly consider AJ to be my brother, if not by blood then by choice. In some ways he has been more of a brother to me than my biological brothers ever have. He is also our daughter's godfather, and Briana refers to him as Uncle AJ. He is 26, and will be 27 at the time of the trip. He says his favorite Disney character is Gaston, “Because he’s so ridiculous, but still like...I KNOW guys like him!” AJ is weird. It makes him loveable.
We have been trying to get him to come on a trip with us for about five years now, but his finances have never allowed it. This time, way back in March, I told him, only half-kidding “Start saving now, dude, because if you don’t come with us in September of 2016, I’m never making you cookies again.” I figured with more than a year to plan and save, he would make it happen, especially if he knew how important it was to me. He asked about budgeting and what expenses to expect, we sat down and did some math, and he shrugged and said “I can totally do that. Let’s go to Disney World...You’ll make me cookies now, right?”
At which point I started practically jumping up and down in my seat and gave him a huge hug and yelled at David (who was in the kitchen) “AJ’s coming to Disney with us! AJ’s coming with us! WOOOHOOOOOO!” And David and AJ both shook their heads at my childish reaction and laughed at me, and Briana looked at me like I had lost my mind. (To be fair, I did look absolutely ridiculous, as I was 7 months pregnant with Chelsea at the time…) Ah, well. They can laugh all they want, AJ’s coming to Disney with us!
Two first time visitors! SO exciting!
A Little Bit of Background
We haven’t been to Disney World since 2013 because life just kept throwing hard punches and curveballs every time we turned around. It really felt like every time I would scrabble and scratch my way out of one disaster, another would be waiting at the top of the hill to throw me back to the bottom. There was David’s breakdown, which I’ve talked about here before, and then a miscarriage right as we were losing our apartment and moving in with my in-laws, and then David was diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder II...Getting him the proper doctors and care and figuring out our new normal took a while.
We got our own apartment again and things seemed to be getting better - I found out I was pregnant again back in September, and David was going to work every day and doing SO well...and then, BAM, he got laid off in December, along with 30 or 40 other people in his department. After everything else that we had been through in the past couple of years, it was the straw that kind of broke MY back. I didn’t let David see it, but I was seriously depressed and felt like the Universe needed to find someone else to pick on. I definitely let myself feel a little bit “woe is me, whine whine whine.”
But David didn’t. He buckled down and started looking for work right away. I know he had bad days, but he never let it stop him from turning in applications and hunting down every possible opportunity he heard about. And then, in March, he finally got a new job. It was a good job. And then in April, he got another interview, with an even better company. Which turned into five more interviews with the same company, and a job offer. THIS was our turning point.
I told him that we needed to celebrate. He said “How should we celebrate?” And I said “We need to go back to our Happy Place.” He kind of hesitated, and I said “Not this year, but definitely next year. We’ll give ourselves that long to make sure we are financially stable. But I’m betting that by September of 2015 we will be able to book it.” And I was right…
So here we are. Heading to Disney World again after a really crummy couple of years, and we are SO SO ready, so INCREDIBLY ready, to walk down Main Street and smell those lovely Main Street smells, see that Castle at the end of the road, ride our favorite rides...We’re ready to go home.
Great start, Jessica! I am so excited for your little family plus AM to have a magical, happy vacation, even if it is a year away. Can't wait to hear all you planning and kiddo stories between now and then.
Great Start Jess, Welcome back. I'm not on Face book or anything so I have been wondering how you have been doing. My son went through a hard spell too and was finally diagnosed with ADHD and now that he is on medicine it is like a little miracle. I'm sure you felt the same. So happy life is turning around for all of you and that you are finally able to head back to your happy place.
I'm so glad to hear life is treating you all better! We have been through 2 layoffs in a year as well so I know how you feel. I'm ready for my turning point as we speak!
Those little girls make everything bearable don't they though?!
And so exciting that AJ is coming with this time!