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 The software our forums run on is just too out-of-date and it poses a significant security risk.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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Friday 10 January – part one: how much longer are we going to have to wait?
It was a full day at work for us, and I think it’s fair to say, it was full on for both of us too, so we were both very relieved to be home, and ready to set out for the airport.
We left about 6:30pm, and as we left home, the weather seemed fine, like it had been all been all day long, cold (in the high 30s, so probably very warm to my friends across the pond, who’ve had much colder temperatures than this so far this winter…), but to us it was cold, given the mild, albeit cold weather we’ve had in recent weeks.
A couple of miles down the road, the rain started. It was only a few drops at first, then it got heavier, and within a few more miles, it was a downpour. Ok, the weather forecasters hadn’t predicted this.
Thank goodness it was quiet on the roads, as the weather, bad as it was, really didn’t affect our journey that much. The M25 was wonderfully quiet when we reached it, and we sailed through the roadworks, which is always a relief, as they can easily add a lot of extra time to the journey.
When we were 10 minutes out from Gatwick, we phoned the valet parking company, exactly as instructed to do on the information they had given us. The guy told us he was despatching a driver and would meet us at the passenger drop off point. Sounds fine so far…
We pulled up at 7:25pm, and bearing in mind we’d called at 7:16pm, I thought we’d timed things quite well. There was no sign of a driver, so as the drop off point was right outside the hotel we’d be staying at for the night, Mark suggested I head inside and check in…
Reception was two floors up, and it was very modern, with computer terminals to check in, but staff to help you out. I was quickly checked in, and assigned our room number on the seventh floor. You have to use your room key in the elevator to get up there, and I did that, and punched in the seventh floor. There were two guys in there, who didn’t do anything, so I assumed that they were getting off there, but when we stopped, they stayed in, so goodness knows where they were going. That was something that happened a lot, so I guess most people don’t get the idea of swiping your room key, and then travelling up….
The room was very close to the elevators, and very nice. Premier Inn are one of the cheaper chains in the UK, but while their prices are cheap, they’re also known for being of reasonable quality, and it was very much the case here. Our room had cost £70 ($115), which I thought was good. I would point out that the pound is currently doing very well against the dollar, as if I’d been converting a couple of months ago, it would’ve been more like $105.
By the time I was done with taking photos, and headed back to the car, I found Mark still waiting for the meet and greet driver to show up, which really shocked me, as we’d been more than 10 minutes now. I rang them up to ask what was going on, and was told the driver would be there in “two to three minutes”. I’d say it was another five minutes, which didn’t impress me at all. In fairness, we have used this company before with no problems, so I guess they were just having an off night.
I took the opportunity to get some photos…
The monorail going into the North Terminal … and passing between our hotel and the one next door
The guy was very thorough with his check of the car, which always inspires confidence, so we left her in his trusty hands, and headed into the North Terminal.
I have to say here that I have never seen this place so dead. Literally there were about two other cars around. It was the same story when we got inside the terminal.
We made our way over to Easyjet, which was supposed to have its bag drop open from 8:00pm to midnight, but there were already staff there, so we dropped our bags off, and chatted to them. As we did, Mark happened to mention I’m a travel writer, and they told us that they hoped they and Easyjet would get a good write-up. Well, they were very pleasant. I told them that my judgement on Easyjet would have to wait until after tomorrow morning’s flight.
We headed off to find something to eat, which proved to be more of a problem than you’d think. Literally, there was only restaurant still open, and when we went in there to ask about food, he told us that the kitchen had closed five minutes earlier.
Ok, then back to the hotel, I guess it is then… except that wasn’t exactly easy. We came out of the departures area, and both the moving walkways were coming up. Tempted as I was by running down with them (heck, there was literally no-one around ), common sense prevailed. We headed for the elevators down, but I thought the stairs would be a more healthy bet, although when I took them, they took us down to the emergency exit. I guess it’s the elevator then…
Finally, we made our escape and headed over the road and back to our hotel, which had a restaurant in it. We walked up to the podium, and were asked if we’d booked. because genuinely I thought there’d be lots of choice in the terminal building. The guy then asked if we’d like to get a drink in the bar, and our table would be about 15 minutes. I genuinely just wanted food by this point. It was now about 8:10pm, and I was getting really hungry, and a bit irritable, as our flight was leaving early tomorrow, and we’d need to be up around 4:00am, and I really didn’t want to be eating this late. I asked if the area we were standing by was still serving food, and at that point, he said he’d take us through.
Honestly, this restaurant was like a TARDIS, and for those of you who don’t know what that is, then a) shame on you! and b) it means it’s bigger on the inside. It really didn’t look that big from the podium area, but it sprawled way back inside the building, and just went on for what seemed like forever. I think it really was a line he was selling us about getting a drink, as the place was pretty empty, with lots of tables available.
We were served by Jin, who was lovely, and very attentive, and earned herself a good tip for her work.
I got a glass of wine, and Mark got a beer, and then we set about perusing the menu, and my goodness, what a menu it was too! There were pages and pages of mouth watering options, and we both struggled to decide what to get. In the end, I decided to go for the fully loaded pizza, which was essentially a fancy name for a “create your own”, but they had a vast array of choices, and you could pick as many as you wanted for one price, which I thought was great value. The second I saw that they did prawns, I was sold, as I love prawns on pizza, but all too often, when we do takeout pizza, they never seem to have prawns. As well as that, I had Camembert and “hot smoked” salmon flakes, neither of which I’ve ever seen as an option for a pizza topping, along with my favourites mushrooms and pineapple. When it arrived, as Mark said, it looked very light, and it was. It was one of the best pizzas I’ve had in a long time, and a very good choice.
Mark went for their classic house burger, and even though I’m a veggie, when it turned up, the first thing I thought when I saw it was that it looked juicy, and Mark soon confirmed that was indeed the case. He was just as pleased with his choice, as I was with mine.
As we sat eating, we were also watching the couple who had arrived near us. Honestly, the whole thing was one of the most bizarre things we’ve seen in a long time. Let’s just say that visually you wouldn’t put them together. She was a leggy blonde, and he was a larger, older guy. Whenever they weren’t eating, they were sitting next to each other on the padded seating that ran all along the wall…
A view of their table before they sat down to give you an idea of what I mean…
… and couldn’t keep their hands off each other. However, it was the conversation that was perhaps the most intriguing. From what we could hear (and we heard quite a lot of it, as we weren’t talking much, we were both intently listening! ), they really knew absolutely nothing about each other. As I say, it was bizarre, and we came to the conclusion that maybe they’d just bumped into each other in the bar a few minutes beforehand.
Anyway, by the time we’d finished eavesdropping on their conversation and had finished our main courses, we decided that we both still had room for dessert. I knew what I was going for. I’d known the second I’d seen a photo of it in the menu – the choc-o-lot delight sundae, which was chocolate and vanilla ice creams with chocolate brownie squares, chocolate sprinkles, and swirls of chocolate flavour fudge sauce, topped with a whip of cream, chocolate flakes, and curled wafers, and it was every bit as good as it looks….
… and sounds. I polished the whole thing off very happily!
Mark surprised me by going for the trifle sundae, made up of vanilla and strawberry ice creams, with layers of vanilla and chocolate chip muffin pieces, strawberry flavour jelly, custard, and mixed berries, topped with raspberry sauce, a whip of cream, and curled wafers.
Given that Mark isn’t that good with dairy products – too much and he’s got a stinking headache – that’s why I was surprised by his choice, but he seemed to enjoy it, and best of all, it didn’t seem to have any lasting effect on him either.
All in all, this had been a superb meal, and we were both very pleasantly surprised by the quality of it, given that it was a hotel restaurant. I suspect we’ll be back here for dinner before we head out for our Med cruise on the Disney Magic in July.
Entrée 9½ 9
Dessert 9 9
Service 9 8
Atmosphere 8½ 8
Value for money 9 8½
Average score: 8.75
By the time we were done with dinner, it was about 9:25pm, which was later than I’d have liked, given that the alarm was going to be waking us up in about six and a half hours time, so we headed back to the room, which was freezing when we got there. Mark turned up the heating to a toasty 28 degrees (Ok, I just realised I did Celsius there, not Fahrenheit, so don’t freak out that that’s cold, because in fact, it converts to 82 Fahrenheit )… remember this!
The weather today was dry and cold with temperatures in the high 30s, although with heavy rain as drove to the airport. The best thing today was our dinner. The worst thing today was the North Terminal not having any restaurants open. Today we tried staying at the Premier Inn at the North Terminal And the result was we were very impressed with it.
Not the smoothest of starts, with the valet parking delay and then no restaurants at the terminal, but everything worked out for the best, as you'd never have known about this hidden gem of a restaurant and your room looks very nice-- and a bargain. Your meal looks wonderful and has me craving pizza even at this hour! No comment on the "couple" sitting next to you!
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