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 The software our forums run on is just too out-of-date and it poses a significant security risk.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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Once we landed, we headed down to baggage claim. The bags weren’t coming yet, so I stepped outside….it was hot…and when I came back in Mom had already pulled all 4 of our bags off the belt. That was fast!
Originally we were going to take the complimentary shuttle to Fairfield Inn, but a few days prior I thought better of it and decided to check on car rentals. Since we had a day and a half on our own, it might just be easier to have a car than to rely on shuttles and taxis. I think the car price was just over $52 with a free upgrade to a midsize. I figured we could easily pay that in taxi fares.
We headed to Alamo and it was basically deserted. The lady said something about having an economy and I told her no, I had a free upgrade and that was it and I signed away and all was fine.
We walked out and were point to the midsize row. We walked down and found a Chevy Cruze and stopped there. That would be our car. I drive a Cruze at home and I knew at least I would be somewhat familiar with how it drives.
We loaded the bags and I went in to start, but there wasn’t as key hole. It had the push button start. It must be a 2014 as it was a little fancier than mine. It did however have a sun roof! (For those that know me, one of the requirements when I got my car last year was a sunroof).
We programmed Siri to get us to the Fairfield Inn. It was a very easy and close drive and soon I was checking us in. We were given our room number and we toted a couple of bags up and I did my duty and took a few pictures of the room.
I then went down and made a few trips lugging up our bags. Mom is recovering from a broken arm from a few months ago and though she is pretty much healed, her arm will never have the same mobility again.
I spotted this little guy outside…..Our first Florida lizard sighting of the trip!
I texted it to my sister who was also in Florida, but at Disney World and she texted back a picture of their first lizard sighting. Yeah, we get really excited over lizards in Ohio. LOL!
We just kind of chilled out for a little bit. We decided to look for a place to eat. I looked on the Fairfield website to see what was nearby and recommended. It had a couple listed that didn’t seem too far away. We got on each of their websites and looked at the menus. We hem hawed around but finally decided on the Islamorada Fish Company.
We headed back out to the car and programmed Siri to get us there. Well she failed miserably. She took us right and then left, then all of a sudden she tells us to park our car along the road and walk to the destination. Um…there is no parking along this road????? We just started laughing. So we went further on, with Siri yelling at us to pull over and park. I did pull over eventually and went to google maps on my phone and typed in the address. That gave us better directions and mom read them off. We still were not sure where the heck we were going, but then I saw a Bass pro shop and I knew we were in the area as I had read this restaurant was part of a Bass Pro.
We parked and walked up and saw another lady who asked if the restaurant had its own entrance or if we had to go through the Store. We had no clue, so we all just walked in the store and found the entrance there and were seated promptly.
Our waitress came over right away and made some suggestions. The menu had a lot of options and it was really hard to decide, but with her suggestions we narrowed it down.
The bread was fabulous. It had a sugar coating and I really could’ve made a meal out of that.
This place was decorated really neat.
Loved the old truck turned into a table.
This fish tank reminded me of the one at T-rex in Downtown Disney.
I am thinking I ordered a bowl of clam chowder, but if I did, I did not take a picture of it…..I know…what was I thinking????
For my main course I ordered the scallops with a side of garlic. The garlic was strong…..but oh so good.
That would be my bud light in the background.
Mom also got the scallops, but she had a different seasoning on hers.
Needless to say, we were extremely full when we were done. We rolled on out and then took a gander in the store. Mom bought a few things, mostly junk food type stuff to bring home for dad. I bought a diet coke to take back to the hotel.
We made our way back to the car and took a different way out. This was so much easier and it was basically just around the corner from the hotel. Actually it was probably walking distance. BUT….I am not too sure how safe this area is. I never felt in danger, but I did notice the gas station down the road had bars on its windows. So that usually is not a good sign.
Back at the hotel I took a few more pictures.
This is the seating area for breakfast…which is free each morning.
A small snack area in the lobby.
The pool, which always seemed to have at least one person in it at all times.
I then headed back to our room. I called home and talked to Claire and Skip. Mom had called dad, who was already missing her. I got on my laptop and edited some pictures and looked over emails. We turned the Big Bang Theory on and just chilled out and talked. I could tell mom wasn’t going to last long as her responses were getting slower. And sure enough by 8:20 my mom was sound asleep. I guess the travel day really wore her out. I continued to watch tv and chat with some friends online and I think I actually stayed up close to midnight. Finally I gave in and went to bed. The mattress was comfy but it had a slight slant that wanted to make me roll off to one side. That was a bit annoying, but when you are tired, you can make due and not complain. At least it was a comfy slant.
I always wake up early while on vacation. It’s just in my blood. I have this feeling I am missing something if I sleep too long. I know its pure craziness, but I never said I was sane!
I believe I got on my computer for a bit and wasted some time while mom slept in. I took a peek out the window and saw we were above the pool.
And there was someone already out there getting ready to get in, but I tried to take the pictures without them in it.
I am one who needs to eat right away for the most part, so I headed down to check out the breakfast options.
Not too shabby for a free breakfast.
I was so excited. They had Passion Orange Guava juice which is basically like the Jungle Juice they serve at some restaurants at Disney.
It was darn good too!
I had a couple of glasses of this wonderful stuff.
Sausage, eggs, yogurt and some milk as well.
I think I went for a walk outside since mom was still sleeping. I decided to take a picture of our rental.
Very similar to mine, only mine is red.
Walking along the backside of the hotel.
And back around to the front.
The lobby area.
I went back to the room and got ready for the day. Mom was now up and I went down with her so she could get breakfast and coffee (I don’t touch the stuff).
We had some casual plans today. When we decided to stay in Ft. L an extra night I went online and also asked suggestions for things to do in the area. I got a ton of replies and many sounded great. At the time we were still going with the taxi idea, but the Everglades were singing out to me as the top choice of things to do. I googled Everglades….wow that is a big area. I found one park that wasn’t too far away and seemed to have good reviews. It offered an airboat tour and an alligator show and the price wasn’t too bad either. I also calculated the taxi ride, which wasn’t too bad either….but then when I calculated how much a rental was, it was about the same price and to me worth it to get the car.
We set Siri with the address. The street name was the same as the road the hotel was on, so I was surprised when she has us going on the highway. My guess is that the highway was faster and the street had a lot of stop lights and speed controlled areas.
The highway was pretty much deserted and we were surprised to see express lanes. I am guessing during the week this road is busier? We also found out Ft. L drivers are HORRIBLE! So many going so fast…and I wasn’t going slow either. So many swerve lanes with no notice or cut you off. We got behind a pickup truck as we got closer that was then only going 35 mph. I passed him and I was probably was going 60 or so. All of a sudden he picks up speed and tailgates me. It was really strange.
We finally got closer and they had signs directing us where to go and we pulled in to Holiday Park. The parking lot was practically empty.
I think we arrived around 10:30 AM.
A little local wild life.
We asked where to buy tickets and they directed us inside.
I was able to get a discount using my AAA card. We bought the ticket for the airboat which also included the alligator show, then we hit the restrooms and went to our designated waiting area.
There were a few people waiting already, but not too many.
It was already getting really hot, but still manageable. The scenery was very nice though.
We saw some people gathering at the edge of the shore and pointing, so I headed over to see what the fuss was. A baby alligator…..our first sighting.
So you now have two Lizard sightings for your trip. OK, so it was a small alligator. They still look alike. Are you sure that the first one wasn't a distant cousin of the second. Your day in the glades looks like it may be fun. Your start to the day looked to be great as well. The larger hotels can surprise one with the breakfast offerings. Sure beats a donut and a drink.