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 The software our forums run on is just too out-of-date and it poses a significant security risk.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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Dates: Thursday 16 October – Sunday 1 November Adventurers: Me, Cheryl (35) and DH Mark (43) Itinerary: Thursday 16 – Friday 17 October:
New York (Express by Holiday Inn, Madison Square Garden) Friday 17 – Friday 24 October:
WDW (Beach Club Villas and BoardWalk Villas) Friday 24 – Sunday 26 October:
Chicago (Express by Holiday Inn, Magnificent Mile) Sunday 26 – Wednesday 29 October:
Disneyland (Grand Californian) Wednesday 29 October – Sunday 1 November:
Las Vegas (Bellagio) Meets: Lots at our various destinations with various PassPorters! Celebration:
Touring the States – returning to some of our favourite destinations and taking in one new one!
Pre-trip report – part one: you’re going where in two weeks?
I guess the first thing I should do is introduce ourselves. I tend to forget that bit when it comes to trip reports, which really is a bit rude, so I’m going to rectify that this time around.
I’m Cheryl and I live for travelling – especially if it involves Disney in some way. There’s a standing joke at work that, whenever I announce where I’m going – Hong Kong and Japan spring to mind – our Chief Executive will say to me “is there a Disney park there?” and I usually nod and smile. How well they know me there! For me, travelling gives me something to look forward to and to work towards, especially as my job can be a little stressful at times, shall we say. It’s good to know there’s something on the horizon, waiting to take me away from all of it.
I’ve been married to Mark for almost nine years now (we’ll celebrate our anniversary in November) and I’m lucky enough that he shares my love of Disney. We went to Disney World – and Washington DC and New York – on our honeymoon and we both loved it there. We particularly fell in love with the Beach Club, which we visited during our stay, and then, when the Disney Vacation Club built villas there, we were sold and bought in. That was the start of our very regular trips over the pond – much more regular than I could’ve ever anticipated.
So here we are together on our most recent escapade over to Spain to visit Mark’s parents at their villa. You can read about that trip report here.
So that’s us – I’m very much the planner and Mark pretty much leaves it all to me to get on with. To be honest, I wouldn’t want it any other way, as to me, the planning of a vacation is at least half the fun – that way, you can live it out for months beforehand and with this trip, that was certainly the case, as it definitely took a lot of planning.
If you’ve read any of my previous trip reports (and if you haven’t, don’t worry – I won’t put you through that torture), then you may already know that not only do I love to travel, I also love to cram in as many destinations in a break as I possibly can. I didn’t start out with the intention of going to five different places in 16 days when I originally started to plan this – honest! So how did this start out? Well, let’s back up a bit – two and a half years to be precise.
It was after our 2006 trip to California and Vegas that I realised that we needed to go back to both Disneyland and Vegas, as there were so many things that I felt we’d missed in both places. Now we always go to Walt Disney World whenever we head to the States, as I need my regular dose of Disney – and I can’t get enough of Epcot. So, the idea was sewn that perhaps on our 2008 trip, we could do a double dip of Disney parks.
We decided quite early on that we wanted to go back in October, as we had really enjoyed the Food and Wine Festival and the Halloween Party in 2006 – much more than we thought we would. It’s now become one of the three main times of the year for us to visit WDW, along with Christmas and May time for the Flower and Garden Festival.
For some time, I’d been thinking that it would be a good idea to see Chicago – it was one of the few big cities in America that I really wanted to see that we hadn’t made it to yet and I figured that we could always head up on there on the way to the west coast. After all, October would be a perfect time to visit. It wouldn’t be too cold and there would still be a lot of seasonal things – like harbour cruises - still operating then. So why not add Chicago in? Fine, set.
So how on earth did New York end up in the itinerary as well? That had something to do with an airline called MaxJet, which offered business class only travel. It operated into New York, Los Angeles and Las Vegas and the prices were coming out at about the same price as it would be to fly Premium Economy with Virgin Atlantic, so I figured we’d give it a go and connect from New York down to Orlando. I mentioned this to a few people on our Christmas trip and the agreement was made that we’d have a PassPorter meet in New York.
About a week later, news seeped out while we were still in Disney that MaxJet had gone into administration, so obviously we wouldn’t be flying with them. Now what? I was quite taken with the idea of spending a day in New York and meeting up with friends, especially as some of them couldn’t make it down to Disney in October to see us. So I decided that I’d stick with our plans and we’d just fly with Virgin. And besides, we hadn’t been back to New York since our honeymoon nine years ago and I figured it was about time we paid it a return visit.
All our destinations were finally set. It took a lot of working out to ensure that we could get between each and had enough time in each place – and even now, I know that six days isn’t long in Disney. I really don’t know how you guys do such short trips there. It’s been a revelation trying to work everything out. We are literally allowing one day per park, plus a day to visit the Kennedy Space Centre and a day at Typhoon Lagoon. As a result of our shortened time at Disney, I’ve abandoned plans to re-run our balloon ride in October, instead figuring we’d save that for Christmas 2009, as that’s when we hope to return and we hope it will again be a lengthy stay... potentially up to three weeks and with a road trip to Miami, although that will be dependent on the economic situation for us over the next few months...
The end plan was as follows:
Fly in, arriving one afternoon and then fly down to Orlando the next night, giving us about a day and a half there. Walt Disney World
Arrive late at night, so stay at the airport, then head for Disney early the next day. Six days on Disney property, then off to the airport early to head for Chicago. Chicago
Arrive mid morning and then stay for essentially two more days, flying out in the evening of the third day. Disneyland
Arrive late in the evening, then have two full days there and a full morning, before driving to Vegas, leaving early in the afternoon. Las Vegas
Arrive in Vegas early in the evening, then have two full days to see the Grand Canyon and Death Valley and a full morning, before heading to the airport for our afternoon flight.
So that’s how the itinerary came about. The next challenge was changing it from a dream to a reality – and at a price that wouldn’t bust the bank completely!
I started to actively look for airfares when we got home from Disney at the end of December and I wasn’t too impressed by what I saw. It seemed that airfares had gone up stupidly since I’d last booked any around a year ago. Suddenly I was getting prices for Premium Economy of around £900 each (about $1500), whereas 12 months earlier, I’d been getting £750 each (about $1320). It wasn’t what I wanted to see. I waited and I waited and then I waited a bit more, just to see if the prices would go down at all. Sadly they didn’t, so I decided to bite the bullet and purchase – and it’s just as well I did, as they shot up to over £1,000 each (about $1750) not long after I did.
With the remaining money in our holiday savings account (not as much I’d hoped due to the high airfare), I then booked us in for one night at the Express by Holiday Inn in Madison Square Garden (not Gardens, because I’ve been informed only tourists say that – and I wouldn’t want to think I was a tourist! ) and three nights at the Bellagio in Las Vegas. We had adored this hotel the last time we visited and had said that we would stay there on our next visit and would ensure we had a view of the fountains, so that’s exactly what I went for.
Soon it was time to make Disney bookings, as the 11 month window opened up for DVC points, allowing me too book most of our stay at the Beach Club Villas in a studio. I was hoping to swap to a one bedroom villa at the seven month mark, using some of my Saratoga Springs points, but there was nothing I could do about that until March... I also booked us at the Grand Californian at Disneyland, something I was really looking forward to. I was so excited to finally be staying there, as we’d desperately wanted to stay there on our last visit to Disneyland, but sadly there was no room at the inn. Fortunately, there was this time and I went for a theme park view. I know, it’s probably an extravagance, but having seen other people’s photos of this view, it looked stunning and something worth paying the extra points for.
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Yeah! You started. I've been anxiously waiting for you to start this PTR. Looking forward to more.
Oct '99: CSR ~ May '02: CR ~ Nov '04: SOG ~ May '06: SOG ~ Dec '07: Solo @ Pop ~ May '08: Pop w/friends ~ Oct '08: SOG ~ Dec '09: Pop w/LeAnn ~ Sept '10: Solo @ Pop ~ Spring '11: AKL ~ Jan '12: Pop for 1/2 Marathon ~ Sept '12: 1st trip for DL 1/2 Marathon? ~ Feb '13: Pop w/pals? ~ Mar '13: Tokyo Disney w/PP's?