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 The software our forums run on is just too out-of-date and it poses a significant security risk.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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PassPorter's Free-Book to Walt Disney World It’s hard to believe anything is free at Walt Disney World; but there are actually a number of things you can get or do for little to no cost. This e-book documents over 200 free or cheap tips to do before you go and after you arrive. You could save a considerable amount of money following these tips. Perhaps more importantly; you can discover overlooked attractions and little-known details most people whiz by on their way to spend money. Click here to see free sample pages from the e-book! Get this popular e-book free of extra charges when you join the PassPorter's Club for as little as $4.95. A club pass includes access to all our other e-books; e-worksheets; super-size photos; and more! This e-book is also available for separate purchase in the PassPorter Online Store for just $5.95.
Thank goodness you checked everything out and were able to deal with those issues before you left.
Originally Posted by Grammy Grumpy
I love your TRs! So glad you found out about the damage to the tent. Would not have been fun to find it out once you were on the road! Safe travels and I'll be following to hear all about your adventures. DH, myself and DD/family are doing a two week road trip this summer - destination SC. Maybe I should do a traveling TR too!
What a great trip yall will have! You should definitely do a TR!
Originally Posted by pamcarey
Good thing you found the holes in the tent before you went to use it!
Originally Posted by Colexis Mom
Good luck getting everything together!
Originally Posted by Cam22
Glad you've already begun to check everything out, and made the necessary purchases. In fact, it sounds like you've gotten a great start to being ready!
Originally Posted by HollyH
Signing on to hear about your adventure!
Thanks for following along!
Well, I've got a LOT done. But I've also got a LOT left to do. A LOT!
I was making good momentum these last several days, but today all the little things from errands, to cleaning the house, to packing just seem to be taking FOREVER. Here it is nearing 8pm and I can't even see the light at the end of the tunnel!
At this point in the day, I'm DONE and seriously considering going to bed soon and finishing up tomorrow before heading out.... But right now I'm giving myself a break (hence, posting here) and maybe it will rejuvenate me to get some more done....
Not sure that I'll get to check back in before we leave tomorrow morning! But hopefully I'll be able to post my first few days report Tuesday.... or as soon as I can....
Day 1 and 2 June 1st and 2nd My goal was to leave around 7am. However, despite staying up very late the night before working on getting things ready, there were still a ton of things to do before we could head out. I wanted to leave early because our first destination- Congaree National Park has first come, first come campgrounds meaning we were unable to make a reservation. We woke up around 5:30am, but it was a little after 8am before we got out the door. My sister and her three boys were going with us as well, but driving separately. They left a good bit before us and stayed ahead of us the entire ride. We had planned to lunch together, but by the time lunch came around- she was nearly an hour ahead of us. So, we ate Wendy’s and they ate somewhere else. We ate a quick lunch and she took a leisurely lunch allowing us to catch up. Before getting to Congaree we stopped to pick up canoes. Congaree offerse free guided canoe trips. Unfortunately, they only offer them on Saturdays and we were arriving on a Sunday, so we had to rent canoes. My sister had a trailer hitch, so they hitched a trailer with four canoes on the back of her vehicle and then we were off to Congaree National Park. Upon arrival, we quickly found the campgrounds. We need not worry about getting a camp site as there was only one other family camping when we arrived… (and only one other came during our stay). We quickly set up camp and then started dinner- BBQ chicken and potatoes. Wesley did the cooking and we all enjoyed our meal. We quickly learned that the park visitor center was closed on Sundays and Mondays which was a REAL disappointmentL. We usually love the national park visitor centers as they are a wealth of information plus my kids are really into getting the junior park ranger badges. With the visitor center closed, we just hung around camp for the evening getting settled. This campground was not “car camping”, it was walk-in camping. So, rather than park at our campsite, we had to haul all our gear a good bit to the campsite. This was exhausting. Also, this campground had no bathrooms- just one set of porta potties in the parking lot. During the first night, I had to use the bathroom during the night- I made the mistake of not taking my flashlight and just took my cell thinking I didn’t need much light… I was wrong. On the trail to the bathroom, I spotted a snake. It scared me but I kept going. However, after using the bathroom I was terrified to go back… because of my limited light and knowing the snake was there I was worried I was going to step on the snake. So, every five feet I would shine my cell phone up ahead to keep an eye out for the snake. Well, my light shined on an animal and it hissed and snorted at me! Scared the daylights out of me and I quickly turned back toward the parking lot. (I *think* it was just a raccoon or possum) Well, I tried calling my sister and the boys to come rescue me, but they were all asleep and didn’t notice their phones ringing. Finally another camper pulled in and I asked them to shine their headlights down the trail- I explained to them about the snake…. And they were so kind they walked me all the way back to my campJ. Lesson learned- never ever leave camp at dark without a flashlight!
The next day, we awoke early and headed to find where we could put our canoes in. Again, we had to park and CARRY the very heavy canoes down a trail to put them in the water. The water was very murky and swamp like. We were a little scared, but up for the adventure. Winston and Madilyn shared a canoe with me. My sister and her two youngest shared a canoe. Dillon and Austin shared a canoe. And Wesley shared a canoe with my sisters other son. We all had a GREAT time! It was so much fun! We did see some snakes and had to navigate around some down trees, but it was truly an absolute blast! I highly recommend canoeing in Congaree NP.
After the canoe trip, we headed back to camp to change clothes and clean up. My sister then went to return the canoes (we had a 24 hour rental). Most of the children stayed at camp with me where we grilled grilled cheese for lunch. After lunch, my sister laid her youngest son down for a nap while the rest of us cleaned up around camp and just relaxed. After napping about an hour, they got up and we all headed to the Boardwalk Trail which is behind the visitor center. It’s a 2.4 trail, it’s a very easy and nicely shaded trail. We really enjoyed the trail.
While there, I also realized the visitor center had their passport stamp out despite being closed. So, I was able to get a passport stamp in my passport book. I was excited to do so, but still disappointed the kids would miss out on the junior ranger program.
Once back at camp, Madilyn grilled hotdogs and let the little kids help her. After dinner, we had a fire and made smores. We cleaned up camp and tried to make sure we were all ready for bed before it got dark…. The next morning we would be off for our next destination- Myrtle Beach.
Here is the video for this leg of the trip:
Great start! Unfortunately, I can't watch the video on my phone, but I'll catch up on the video tomorrow. I've never heard if Congaree National Park. Sounds like the walk-in camping and wildlife on dark trails at night would not be my favorite thing. Canoeing sounds like fun (except for seeing snakes).
The Smokey Mountains are a great place to see. If you are in Asheville, you are not too far from Cherokee (an hour away at most)- there is an outdoor drama there called Unto These Hills which is great. They also have a Cherokee Village there.
Biltmore House is a great place to visit. The tickets can be a little high. But remember, the estate is still privately owned and they do not receive any government funding to keep the house restored. To save money at Biltmore, they do have a picnic area available. It is located near the Deerpark Restaurant (you have to drive from the house to this area) They have covered picnic tables available.
There are lots of other things to see and do there....They have a farm area that is really neat. (They actually grow some of the food that is served in the restaurants there).
There have been several movies filmed there. If your kids have not seen the movie Richie Rich, it was primarily filmed in the house.
I actually did two culinary internships there and have done the behind the scenes tours several times and have taken numerous schools tours through the house, so I can help you if you need more assistance. (I am only about an hour away)