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 The software our forums run on is just too out-of-date and it poses a significant security risk.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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Pre-trip report – part one: a Christmas present that leads to a weekend away….
Dates: Friday 15 – Sunday 17 June Adventurers: Me, Cheryl (45) and DH Mark (52) Destinations: Bath and Sidmouth for the Donkey Sanctuary Resorts: Tracy Park Country Hotel and Meets: DSIL Sara and Anne and DBIL Sean Celebration: using up the Bath Spa voucher we had from Jan spending time with family and enjoying some donkey time
This trip started in back in December 2017, when we gave Mark’s sister Anne a birthday present of vouchers for the Thermae Bath Spa. We’d done this the year before and she and one of Mark’s other sisters, Sara, had loved their visit to the Bath Spa. Sara’s birthday is February and I think it’s fair to say she wasn’t surprised when she got a voucher as well….
The last time we did this, we went with them to the spa, as we just love visiting. In fact, I’ve lost count of the amount of times we’ve been, that’s how much we love it.
Now we were going to pay for our spa session, but we were due to visit at Easter and, as anyone who read that trip report will know, it didn’t happen. Why? Something to do with an operation on the tendons in my right ankle about three and a half weeks beforehand. I got out of plaster 10 days before we were due to go to the spa, but I was still in a support boot and on one crutch. Although my consultant told me I’d be fine to go, I didn’t feel confident enough. The last thing I wanted to do was slip as I made my way around on a wet floor.
A couple of days beforehand, I rang them to explain the situation and they told me that the voucher we were going to use, which we’d kindly been given by Jan, Bill’s widow (again many of you will remember Bill aka LizardCop from the boards – he was tragically murdered a couple of years ago) could be used at a weekend. Phew – it wouldn’t go to waste.
Jan came to stay with us on the second anniversary of his death in September 2017, as she couldn’t bear to be at home for the day, understandably enough, and to thank us, she bought us spa vouchers, as she’d had such a great time there – now that was saying something, given she’d never been to a spa in her life before.
The original plan was that we’d take Anne and Sean down for the day, but Anne said the last time we visited that her husband Sean would love it at the spa, so we knew there was a chance that they’d be making their own way down and so it turned out to be. It turned out that there was a party that night for Sean’s parents’ golden wedding anniversary, so they had to be home for that.
That left us free to come and go as we pleased in our own car. As a result, I knew I could plan a side visit in to see my beloved donkeys. For those who don’t know, Mark bought me the most amazing present a few years ago now – he adopted two donkeys for me at the Donkey Sanctuary in Sidmouth. Sadly, both (Teddy and Gareth) have now departed to the donkey heaven, but I have others – Bonnie and Ruby, who are beautiful and I have a soft spot for all the miniature donkeys, especially Gareth’s best friend (donkeys pair bond for life) Benji and love going to visit all of them.
It helps that we’ve also fallen in love with Sidmouth as a place. We just find it so calming and beautiful there, so we’ll be heading to Sidmouth after the spa, spending the night there and spending time both in the town and in the donkey sanctuary and then making another visit to the donkeys the next morning before heading home.
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The original plan was to travel down to Bath first thing tomorrow morning, but I managed to find a deal for a place that looked amazing – a country club and hotel. At first, at the weekend, it was £110 ($145), but by Tuesday night, it had gone down to £85 ($110), so I went for it. Surely we couldn’t go wrong for that price?
I figured we’d leave later in the rush hour to avoid the traffic, but it didn’t pan out like that. I was working from home and Mark said he’d try and get home a bit earlier. Ok, that works. I thought maybe we’d leave about 4:30pm. After all, I was supposed to be working a full day.
When I got downstairs this morning, I discovered we had no Internet. I checked online with my phone and discovered it was a massive problem by the looks of it – one of those where the providers has an update on their website, saying they know about it and basically it’s affecting everything and they’re working on it. Even worse, the fix time was 4:00pm! Ok…
I decided that I’d still work, despite being very limited on what I could do. I worked on offline documents and did what I could with a BlackBerry and, for anyone who has a BlackBerry, you know that’s not much. For goodness sake, the darned thing doesn’t even do predictive text. Do you have any idea how long it takes to write emails without that? I’ll give you a clue…. A long time!
Anyway, I stopped work about lunchtime, as it was all just getting so frustrating and then spent the afternoon photographing the garden and watching Doctor Who. I was going to do something more useful and weedkill, but I didn’t have what I needed.
Mark called me about 1:15pm and said he should be home by 2:45pm, so we could get on the road earlier. Ok, that works. He actually arrived back about 2:20pm, so he made very good time.
We were off and on the road about half an hour later. At first, we had a good run and even along some of the M25, which is notorious for traffic jams. However, I knew it wasn’t going to last, as I was keeping an eye on Google Maps. Sure enough, the western side was clogged up, as it seems to be all the time, and we just crawled along. I think Google told me that it added 20 minutes to our journey. Not what we needed!
Finally we got to our junction and we were off and running again. There was a lot less traffic on this motorway, so we stayed on it for some time. Google kept changing its mind about where we needed to come off, which was fine with me, as the longer we stayed on, the better, considering it was moving.
I knew that there were problems on the M4, which is the motorway that takes you to Bath, although thankfully one of the accidents had cleared by the time we got there.
However, then there was the Rolling Stones issue. By this, I mean the fact that they were playing in Cardiff. Now you might be thinking “but Cardiff is in Wales”. Yes, it is… but the M4 takes you into south Wales and eventually on to Cardiff. We’d been hearing since about 4:00pm that the whole of Cardiff was gridlocked, literally every street, and that was spreading further and further back along the M4. At first, we kept hearing that it was just beyond the Bath turning – excellent, but the closer we got, the more the traffic seemed to be spreading back until Google Maps told us to get off at the exit before.
It took us through the country, thankfully not through any narrow lanes, which I hate, so I was relieved about that… well that was until we got to a major turning. Google then said the tailback on the main road was about eight minutes so we headed down a very narrow lane, which wasn’t a lot of fun, but it did the trick. When we got to the roundabout, we could see the massive line of traffic, which we’d managed to miss out. Result!
We got to our destination and this is what greeted us at the entrance. Oh wow!