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 The software our forums run on is just too out-of-date and it poses a significant security risk.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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Merry, Magical, and Bright: Late Fall Adventures of Cam & Luke Updated 3/12
Day 1, Part 1: Sunday, November 5 Travel Day
Luke’s phone alarm sounded early, but it was not bright, not at 4:30 AM. At 2:00 AM Kentucky moved from Central Daylight Time to Central Standard Time, which to our benefit, permitted an extra hour of sleep. The first words out of my mouth were “What do you mean low battery?” My frustration at my iPhone for failing to charge overnight had Luke immediately laughing. I discovered that the plug was loose, but it charged easily on our drive down south. After getting ready, finalizing the packing, and loading four suitcases and two carry on bags into the Edge, we were pulling out of the garage at 5:55. The weather in Owensboro was cloudy and 69 degrees, unusually high for an early morning in Kentucky in November. Orlando was actually a degree cooler at 68 and foggy. The weather forecast the night before predicted the potential for severe weather in Kentucky as a cold front moved in late morning/early afternoon. The forecast was quite ominous, including high winds, hail, and even tornadoes. I remember thinking at least we’d been much further south when all of this bad weather came through. And we indeed we were, but that didn’t mean we wouldn’t still feel the weather’s impact.
Before leaving the house, Luke and I had used the Keurig to brew a coffee for him and a hot chocolate for me, making for a cozy start to our journey. The first part of our travel day involved a two-hour road trip to Nashville, Tennessee, and provided us with a bit of magic when we noticed a family of deer off to the right about 20 minutes into the trip.
We did not stop until just past the Tennessee line at a rest stop that we have always found to be very clean and well-maintained. As we were walking to the front doors, suddenly a wee chipmunk ran right in front of us and straight into an area of shrubs. I grabbed Luke’s arm and squealed, “Chipmunk.” My excitement was noted by several other guests at the rest stop. Really that little chipmunk was so cute! At some point on the journey, we heard the train whistle on Luke’s phone announcing a text message. But neither of us checked out the text, must have been too excited that we were heading to Disney. I didn't get a photo of my little friend, but once we were back outside, I did get a few shots to prove we'd been here.
We made really good time, arriving at Executive Travel & Parking with plenty of time to shuttle over to the airport. We were dropped at the Southwest terminal where we used the Self-Tag Kiosk, checking in and printing the tags we placed on the four bags that would be checked. I noticed on the screen that our flight was delayed. Luke just shrugged his shoulders and said we’d check after we were at our gate. I’m not sure he understood me as he left me behind while I was checking the big screen to see if a new time was posted. He turned around and noticed I was missing. I caught back up quickly and repeated that our flight was delayed. Nothing to do about it now as we were already here, so we made our way through security. I had TSA pre-check so I took all the electronics with me.
Once we were both through security and Luke had gotten his shoes back on, we made our way to Gate 18. After we found seats, we took turns using the restrooms that over the course of this day we’d both become very familiar with. While I was gone, Luke checked his phone and discovered the text he received at 7:30 had been from Southwest letting us know that our flight was delayed. I had had a premonition a few days before the trip that we might experience a flight delay. This has only ever happened to us once before with Southwest, but I just had this feeling.
We were both hungry and now had an extra hour to wait for our flight, so we hauled our bags back up the terminal to a Burger King for some breakfast. Luke got an Eggnormous Burrito with a Coke while I opted for the Bacon, Egg, and Cheese Croissant with a Dr. Pepper. We also got an order of hash browns to share. We sat for a while at the Burger King because while we were eating around 9:20, Luke received a second text that our flight was now delayed by 2 ½ hours. And thus, the flight delay saga begins. We returned to our gate only to discover that another flight’s folks were taking up all the seats. We moved to Gate 17 as we could still see our gate and the screen with the latest on our flights from there. I charged my phone while finishing a novel on my Kindle.
Once the flight boarded at Gate 18, we moved back over. At 11:00, another delay was announced, making it 3 hours past our original departure time. At 12:00, another delay, now at 3 ½ hours late, and an announcement told us our plane was currently taxing for take off from Chicago. The problem was bad weather south of Chicago that kept pushing back the departure of our plane from Midway. Between Nashville and Chicago were the strong band of storms our weather forecaster had predicted last night. Quite a bit of the area was under tornado watches, and eventually, there were several tornado warning. At 1:00 we were now at a nearly 5 hour delay, and then at 1:30 a SWA plane pulled up to our gate. Initially, everyone was excited. But then an announcement was made that we would not be boarding this flight. Instead we would be moving gates. Boo! At least it wasn’t far, just down past the restrooms and across the hall. We’d be getting a new plane and a new crew because the crew on the plane that had just arrived had maxed out on their hours. We were told both a plane and crew were right outside, waiting to board us all. But not so fast, another announcement was made that the new plane had arrived with some “scratches” that would require photos being sent to Boeing officials to determine if this plane was still flight-worthy. My confidence level at this point was not too good. Who wants to fly on a plane with “scratches” that require photos for inspection? At this point we were also told that if we were further delayed due to this planes issues, we would possibly be getting vouchers. My initial thought was I’d rather be in Disney, but then Luke reminded me that those vouchers could pay for our fall 2018 flights. That sounded pretty good for all our waiting. In the end the newly arrived plane was not found worthy to fly, and we did get the vouchers.
Over the wait, I canceled all three FastPasses one by one when I could tell we’d not be making it in time. Both of us took and endless number of restroom breaks. With all the delays, we kept putting off lunch as we felt we would be boarding any moment. But at 2:15, I purchased a banana for us to share. Nothing else that we could get near our gate was appealing to either of us. I went back later and bought an Almond Joy and Raisnets for us to snack on. Finally, at 3:53 I made a note that we were settled on the plane in Row 10 Seats D and E. Hallelujah! At 4:15 our plane was in the air. Porg and I watched almost the first half of Meagan Leavey on my Kindle. I was really liking it, but when the pilot announced that we were begin our descent into Orlando, I eagerly shut it down in preparation for stowing everything for landing. We were going to make it to Disney World today. Now on Eastern Time we landed at around 6:30. After a quick restroom stop, we walked straight through a Disney Magical Express queue and onto a bus for Saratoga Springs. Unfortunately, our bus did not pull out for another 11 minutes, but at least, we had seats for this wait. Port Orleans guests were dropped off first and then we arrived at our resort at 7:55, five minutes past our ADR at Chef Art Smith’s Homecoming.
First off, those trees at the restroom stop are absolutely beautiful. I bet those colours are gone now.
I followed your saga with the flights on Facebook at the time, but it doesn't make reading this any easier. I still found myself hoping that you'd be in the air sooner than you were - always the optimist I guess. Wow, your premonition certainly came true and in bucket loads. Ugh, what a start to your trip.
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