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 The software our forums run on is just too out-of-date and it poses a significant security risk.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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Feature Article: My Neighbor Mickey - Living Near Disneyland
My Neighbor Mickey - Living Near Disneyland by Andee Zomerman
"Mom, let's go to Disney today," my eldest said one morning after our recent move to the Seattle area. "Oh, Honey, we live very far from Disneyland now. Did you know some kids have never been to Disneyland?" Her confused expression made me aware that we had raised our children in a different reality than most. As new residents of the Pacific Northwest, we would all have to get used to the Disneyland Resort as a vacation destination rather than a meeting place for our weekly play dates.
I am frequently asked what it was like living 15 minutes away from Disneyland. Did we go often? (Yes.) Didn't we get tired of it? (No.) Sure, a Disney vacation is hard to beat, but being at Disney for a day when you live so close carries it's own magic. There was no worry about rushing to the next attraction. No stress over how much money is budgeted for food. If my 4-year-old wanted to ride "it's a small world" over and over again, we could plan an afternoon around it. Mickey wasn't a novelty, he was our neighbor. When I look back on our time living in Orange County, there are a few memories that will stay close to my heart.
Play dates: Our school district had an early-release day every Wednesday, so we were able to be at the resort by 2:00 pm. Most of our friends also had annual passes so our kids could spend hours together in a single land. The Redwood Creek Challenge Trail at Disney's California Adventure was their giant playground. Hot days were spent at the water play area in Bountiful Valley Farm. Cooler days were spent learning to draw in the Animation Academy or kickin' it with Crush in Turtle Talk. When the crowds were heavier, we could stop in for a story with Snow White in Fantasyland, have interactive time with Jasmine and Aladdin in Frontierland, or learn to be Jedis in Tomorrowland. Sometimes we'd just get a corn dog on Main Street, U.S.A. and wait for the next parade. Fireworks: Some evenings we'd head to Disneyland for the nighttime firework spectacular. But a better memory? Stepping out on our front porch to watch the show from afar.
Date Night: Adult time rates high on my Disney list. I loved when the babysitter arrived to get the kids down for the night. I'd meet my husband after his work-day was finished for dinner at Downtown Disney. Then we'd wander over to Disney's California Adventure for California Screamin' and then to Disneyland for Space Mountain. Nothing could top the date on our 10th wedding anniversary -- a night out at Club 33, the exclusive restaurant above Pirates of the Caribbean in New Orleans Square. That night, romance was defined by eating our filet mignon, drinking our bottle of wine, and watching Fantasmic! from our window view.
The Whole Resort: A few times, we needed even more of the Magic, so we would book a night at one of Disney's fantastic hotels. This was an opportunity to relax by one of the themed pools and to be a part of the Disney nightlife. One summer hotel stay, we wore our swim suits into both parks and did every water attraction. This time, our daughters weren't squirming after Splash Mountain. They were ready to get to Grizzly River Run!
Holidays: Is there anyplace better to celebrate an occasion than at a Disney park? We had Mother's Day brunch with the Princesses at the Plaza Inn. Our eldest daughter celebrated her birthday with Goofy at Goofy's Kitchen while my youngest daughter preferred to have her cake with The Little Mermaid at Ariel's Grotto. While others were standing in line at the mall for their pictures with Santa, we visited with him while he was wearing his California surf wear at Sunshine Plaza. Of course, the next year we visited him at his cottage in Frontierland. There, he was in his traditional red suit and Mrs. Claus was hosting a party where we were able to make our own Christmas cookies. We were even able to get up close and personal with eight reindeer getting ready for their big night out!
I have so many happy memories of our time living by the Disneyland Resort. But I think the most special would be:
July 17, 2005: Disneyland's 50th birthday. The resort was celebrating the event for over a year. At first, we thought we wouldn't attend on the actual day. We knew the crowds would be heavy. People would be lining up in the wee morning hours to get their special pin commemorating the day. I love all things Disney, but I wasn't sure I was ready for the chaos. Besides, we had plans to be in San Diego that weekend. But on Sunday evening, as we were headed back home on I-5, I turned to my husband and said, "Should we?" He didn't need me to clarify. He knew what I was asking. We drove past our freeway exit and continued 15 minutes north to our destination. Parking was easy that evening -- a sign! We strolled right into an empty entrance gate, bewildered that there were not more people. The Cast Member told us that the morning had been crazy, but once people obtained the special items they were looking for, they left. Our little family was ecstatic to be handed golden mouse ears with the unique date imprinted on the back, a free gift to everyone entering that day.
We dined at the French Market restaurant and devoured our birthday cupcake that came with each meal. Then, as our own tribute to Walt Disney, we hopped on board the train that was so dear to his heart. We rode the whole route, taking note of how the park had changed and what had stayed the same. I pointed out to my daughters what I remembered when I was their age while sitting on the same train. I told them stories about what their grandmother experienced when Disneyland was brand new.
As we got off the train on Main Street, U.S.A. and exited the Park, I was flooded with years worth of memories. Recollections came from my childhood, my teen years and my college years, our engagement with Mickey giving his consent, when I realized ... I grew up here. And I realized how truly fortunate I was to be living next to The Happiest Place on Earth.
I've often thought I'd like to live closer to WDW, but then thought it wouldn't be the same - that it wouldn't be as special, and well, MAGICAL as a destination vacation. But now I will have to rethink that thought!
What a wonderful tribute to Disney, it brought tears to my eyes that anyone could be so lucky to "just drop by Disneyland for an afternoon or evening."
We live in Michigan and love both DW and DL, but they are truely destination trips. I hope you enjoy your new home in the NW, my son is moving close to Seattle for the next few years. I am hoping to visit DL sometime when we visit the NW!
That was an absolutely wonderful article! I was planning on feeling very jealous of you when I started reading LOL but instead, I'm truly grateful to you for sharing all of your special memories. You put a tear in my eye!! I hope you get back to visit often since it is so close to your heart
I teared up! And got chills, and still have the goosebumps! What a wonderful way to express the magic that is Disney! So many of my friends wonder how I can go back time and time again, and it's so hard to explain that Mickey is my Feng Shui - just the simple black Mickey icon makes me feel at peace. To leave that close, and have that many memories of growing up like that is magic indeed! Thanks so much for sharing
What a nice article! Being from the Sacramento area, we visit as often as possible, but can't touch the convenience of having daily access to the park. I'm sure you miss that greatly (and how do you cope with the rain in Seattle? OY!). We have made a lot of memories with out kids (and without) in the parks and continue to "love all things Disney" as you do. Thanks for such a heartfelt and well-written piece.
What a great story and how envious it makes me! We anxiously anticipated taking our kids on our annual treks from New York to Walt Disney World. Now we're getting ready to retire and have just bought a home right near the parks so that our future grandkids can visit us and Mickey!