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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 The software our forums run on is just too out-of-date and it poses a significant security risk.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.

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There are other changes as well.

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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.

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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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Old 02-07-2017, 07:36 AM   #31
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Glad you could get that cruise with your points! That's awesome.
It's always good to stay at old-to-you resorts again. That should be fun!
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Old 02-07-2017, 09:10 AM   #32
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Wow - that was quite suspenseful but I'm glad that it all worked out for you!!! I know how much you enjoy traveling on Virgin Airlines, not only for the points but the service is so great. I'm excited that you're staying in some resorts that you haven't been to in a while. I hope to stay at the new Boulder Ridge Villas in 2018 when they're completed.
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Old 02-07-2017, 12:40 PM   #33
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Sounds like a great trip so far!
We just stayed at Boulder Ridge last month. There's definitely construction all over, but it never really bothered us. The only inconvenience was that we had to go through the main building to get to the boat dock. The outside path was blocked by fencing.
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Old 02-07-2017, 01:01 PM   #34
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I'm glad that the Black Friday sale worked out for you! Great selection of resort stays you have planned!
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Old 02-07-2017, 01:25 PM   #35
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Originally Posted by disney_duke View Post
Glad you could get that cruise with your points! That's awesome.
It's always good to stay at old-to-you resorts again. That should be fun!
I hope so!
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Old 02-07-2017, 01:29 PM   #36
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Wow - that was quite suspenseful but I'm glad that it all worked out for you!!! I know how much you enjoy traveling on Virgin Airlines, not only for the points but the service is so great. I'm excited that you're staying in some resorts that you haven't been to in a while. I hope to stay at the new Boulder Ridge Villas in 2018 when they're completed.
Ah but will you be staying at the Boulder Ridge Villas or the Copper Creek Villas and Cabins? It is going to take some getting used to - the fact that there'll be two differently named DVC resorts there eventually.
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Old 02-07-2017, 01:30 PM   #37
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Sounds like a great trip so far!
We just stayed at Boulder Ridge last month. There's definitely construction all over, but it never really bothered us. The only inconvenience was that we had to go through the main building to get to the boat dock. The outside path was blocked by fencing.
That's good to know.
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Old 02-07-2017, 03:33 PM   #38
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Oh, almost missed this one as you started while we were in Disneyland!
Great plans so far! We like using points for cruises. That's how/why we're doing the WBTA in September. I know there are those who think it's better to rent out the points and use cash for the cruise booking, but having never done that, it seems risky. Plus, you'd have to book someone else's stay, and I don't want to go through that for someone else's trip.
You do have quite a selection of resorts! I hadn't heard about the new names for Wilderness Lodge.
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Old 02-07-2017, 08:13 PM   #39
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So happy for you all that the fares came down for your flights! A very nice assortment of resorts for this trip. We're hoping to stay at Boulder Ridge Villas this coming November, so I'll enjoy reading your review on this part of your stay.

BTW -- As long as Luke takes care of the international flights, I'll be happy to fly across the pond.
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Old 02-07-2017, 08:30 PM   #40
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So glad the flights came down and that you were able to book all your accommodations except the first night! It sounds like the cruise ship will be very quiet!
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Old 02-08-2017, 01:20 AM   #41
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Oh, almost missed this one as you started while we were in Disneyland!
Glad you found it! Welcome aboard!

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Great plans so far! We like using points for cruises. That's how/why we're doing the WBTA in September. I know there are those who think it's better to rent out the points and use cash for the cruise booking, but having never done that, it seems risky. Plus, you'd have to book someone else's stay, and I don't want to go through that for someone else's trip.
I'm with you. It does seem like a lot of work and responsibility and if I've got the points, I'm happy to just use them to cruise.

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You do have quite a selection of resorts! I hadn't heard about the new names for Wilderness Lodge.
I don't think it's been widely promoted. I don't know if there will be three names and the Wilderness Lodge will stay. I suspect it might. Then there are the two different villa names for the DVC accommodations, and from what I'm reading, they will be sold separately as two different resorts, which will be interesting, given all Saratoga Springs points were sold for the same resort.
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Old 02-08-2017, 01:25 AM   #42
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So happy for you all that the fares came down for your flights! A very nice assortment of resorts for this trip. We're hoping to stay at Boulder Ridge Villas this coming November, so I'll enjoy reading your review on this part of your stay.
I'll be sure to do a detailed review for you.

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BTW -- As long as Luke takes care of the international flights, I'll be happy to fly across the pond.
You mean you won't be doing that? It's really not that hard - when you come to it, give me a shout and I'll be happy to help out in whatever way I can.
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Old 02-08-2017, 01:26 AM   #43
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So glad the flights came down and that you were able to book all your accommodations except the first night! It sounds like the cruise ship will be very quiet!
I certainly hope so!
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Old 02-08-2017, 01:27 AM   #44
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Pre-trip report – part four: what about our first night’s accommodation?

So when I left you last the accommodation was all but done… all except for the first night. I think it’s fair to say that I kept checking back on the Disney Vacation Club Member website almost every day to see if anything was available. At one point, even the waterfront bungalow at the Polynesian disappeared, and I thought all hope was lost.

Then it appeared again, followed by a grand villa that sleeps up to 12 people at Saratoga Springs. It was cheaper in terms of points – a mere 125, but still a bit much I think!

I kept checking back, but nothing more than that, until one night when I’d had a terrible journey to and from work. I checked the resort availability, and couldn’t believe it when a studio, near the Hospitality House at Old Key West turned up there. Oh wow!

Now the only problem was I needed to get out of the resort availability system, and into the online booking system to snag it before anyone else did… I swear I pretty much held my breath the entire time I went through the booking process, half expecting it to time out any second, and tell me it was no longer available, but my luck held, and once the booking was completed, I let out a huge cheer! Poor old Mark, who’d been having a nap, was woken up by that… oops!

A few days later, we got an email telling us that the main Sandcastle Pool area and waterslide at Old Key West would be out of action during our stay. The leisure pools at Old Turtle Pond, South Point and Miller’s Pond will still be available, and you can obviously go over to Saratoga Springs as well. I like the way that the email then went on to say that if you needed any further assistance with your reservation, to contact your booking agent. It didn’t say it in as many words, but I think they were essentially saying if you’re not happy with this news, contact them, and they’ll see what they can do.

Update 1 February 2017: The latest All Ears newsletter is now saying the Sandcastle Pool will be closed until 24 February, so that should mean it’s open for a couple of nights of our stay at least!

But wait… it gets better! On 27 February, we move over to the BoardWalk Villas, and we’re there until 3 March. Guess what? I read in one of the All Ears newsletters that the Community Pool there would be “closed briefly for routine maintenance” from 27 February – 1 March. You just couldn’t make this up could you?

Thank goodness there doesn’t seem to be anything about the Wilderness Lodge or Animal Kingdom Lodge… yet anyway!

Why does this matter? Well, I do love my swimming. I try and swim two or three times a week, depending on my health. I have suffered from chronic fatigue for many years, so I have to listen to my body, and if it’s not in the mood, or I’m too tired, I have to just let it go… as a famous Disney movie once said! Ironically though, I tend not to swim that much on vacation. I think it’s because a Disney vacation involves so much walking and exertion. When we get back to the room, I just want to flop in a heap, and relax for a while.

Fast forward to January, and guess what? I get another email from Disney. This time, it’s about Wilderness Lodge… oh and the newly renamed Boulder Ridge Villas, as that’s what they’re now calling the Disney Vacation Club accommodation there. It told us that there would be construction work taking place during our stay, which frankly, was nothing new to me. I’ve known that for some time, thanks to keeping up to date with developments there, so that doesn’t bother me. At least they assured us we wouldn’t hear any construction noise in our room until after 9:00am, which is fair enough. By then, I would imagine a lot of people will be on their way out, if not already at the parks, and I doubt we’ll ever sleep in that late on vacation.

It did warn us about closures, and I’m sure you won’t be surprised to know that this involves the pool. I was just not meant to swim this vacation obviously! The leisure pool, the Hidden Springs Pool, which is of course the closest to the DVC villas, will be closed during our stay, but at least the Silver Creek Springs Pool, the feature pool, will still be open, and we can use the leisure facilities at both Fort Wilderness and the Contemporary. I guess that’s something.

The other news the email contained was about dining, and apparently Geyser Point Pool Bar and Grill will be open during our stay, although that’s something to do with Roaring Fork and Trout Pass Pool Bar both being closed. Territory Lounge will also offer a continental style breakfast. My interest in Geyser Point was piqued though when I read on DVC News that apparently it will be both quick service and table service. Hmmm…. Another table service option to try. Now that could be interesting and could alter our plans….

Anyway, moving on…. Let’s talk about transportation and how we’re going to get around. I know a lot of people often debate whether it’s worth getting a rental car for a Disney trip. For some people, I accept it’s not worth it, but we like the freedom it gives us. We’ve taken Disney’s Magical Express a couple of times before, and it’s proved to be not-so-magical, shall we say? We’ve been the last drop off out of a bunch of hotels, which is a real pain, especially when you sat on an empty coach, waiting 20 minutes for it to fill up.

We’ve been to a lot of airports over the years, and trust me, Orlando is one of the easiest for picking up rental cars. Trust me, it is no fun at San Francisco or Boston’s Logan, where both have the rental car pick-up located a monorail ride away from the arrivals terminal. As if that wasn’t bad enough, you then often encounter long lines when you get there. Thankfully, in Orlando, you literally walk across the street to the parking garage, once you’ve been assigned your car at one of the rental car desks, and usually the wait isn’t too bad. We have even been known to split up, with me getting the luggage, and Mark heading for the rental car desk to speed things up even more.

For many years, we used to rent with Avis, and we never had a problem with them. That was until a couple of years ago when we rented a car from them for our road trip around Italy. We had no end of problems, which culminated in a large bill from them of around £200 (c. $240) because we failed to return the car petrol tank full. I disputed this, as we picked it up around half full, and we were never told to bring it back full, and usually you are. In the end, Avis refused to refund the money, and sent me paperwork, allegedly showing that we were told to fill it up. The only problem was it was in Italian, and even though I have a qualification in Italian, I couldn’t read it. I was livid at that, and sent them a few very strongly worded emails, protesting at how unfair that was. I got nowhere, and in the end, told them in no uncertain terms, they had lost a customer, which was a shame, as we’d happily used them for many years.

We’ve tried Dollar since, and thought they were Ok, and then on our last visit to the States, we used Budget, and were very impressed with them, so we’re staying with them this trip too. Their prices are very reasonable, and include all the insurances we need as foreign drivers. We also found they didn’t do any hard sell with us, which was very welcome. There is nothing worse than having to deal with that when you’ve just got off a nine and a half hour flight to Orlando. We also liked the way they sent us copies of our receipts in the post, so it was waiting when we got home, and last time, we didn’t have the option to pay up front. They asked when we got the car, whether we’d rather pay now or when we returned it, which was another nice touch.

We’ve gone for a large car, as we always do. I know there’s only two of us, but it gives us a bit more room for luggage. This is the one thing we always struggle with when we get rental cars in the States, we find the trunks are pretty small, compared to ours here. We can comfortably fit in four cases, and two pieces of hand luggage with no issue, yet that’s been a real problem with some of the rental cars we’ve had over the years.


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Old 02-08-2017, 06:58 AM   #45
Poobah7206
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Sorry about your pool closures...they do need to be maintained and this time of year seems perfect as Floridians can't fantom anyone wanting swim in February--too cold.
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