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 The software our forums run on is just too out-of-date and it poses a significant security risk.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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Park Guell looks like a very interesting place to visit with so much to see, all the details and everything. It sounds like your day is a good one, if only the crowds had been lighter. Enjoying the photos!
Saturday 20 September – part three: the Spain of years gone by
We headed towards the National Museum of Catalonian Art, which is housed in a stunning building, as you can see:
Even more stunning is the lead up to this building. We walked down the stairs – definitely the right way to go. Last time, we’d given up at the prospect of walking up those steps, so we knew how daunting they could be.
Our final stop of the day was to be Poble Espanyol. This was established for an international festival in the 1920’s and showcases architecture from across Spain. I had heard that this was excellent and not to be missed, but it was up another darned hill and we were very tired. We almost didn’t go, but decided to persevere and I’m so glad we did. The second we walked in, we were just overwhelmed with all the different types of architecture we could see before us.
There’s one huge square at the entrance and then you can wander through a series of side streets. Each of the buildings is home to either craft workshops, shops or restaurants. It’s a really creative place and we got to see glassblowers at work. We were so impressed by the cow that the guy created that we ended up buying one.
The glassblower at work
And the cow he produced, which we ended up buying one just like it
We also bought a few presents and a couple of treats for ourselves in another shop, all in the Gaudi mosaic style. We’d been really taken with this style, much more than on our last visit. This was a beautiful place, but it’s also a dangerous place, as you could end up spending so much money here.
We sat for a while and took in the beauty of the main square, before finally heading out and back down to the underground. Why is it that when you’re tired the walk underground at the station always seems to take forever? It’s something that always seems to happen to us. The journey back to the hotel was much easier than this morning, with a tram turning up just minutes after we got to the stop.
I'm just getting all caught up. I don't know how I missed so much.
What an ordeal you had getting to your hotel. I'm sure you can look back on it now and laugh.
With all those hills and stairs you're climbing your legs must be in great shape.
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Saturday 20 September – part four: the nightmare flight home
We went back to the hotel and spent some time there, just freshening up, before driving to the airport, stopping to fill up on the way. Good grief, fuel isn’t cheap in continental Europe any longer. OK, so it’s no way as bad as it is in Britain, but even so, 55 Euros (£45) to fill the car up is not cheap.
We made it to the airport quickly enough and handed back the car, then it was in line to check in for our flight. It didn’t take that long to get through, even though the lines looked horrendous at first. Our suitcase weighed exactly 32kgs, the absolute weight limit, which wasn’t bad going. The guy who checked us in was impressed with the way we did that, but as I told him, I doubt we’d manage to do that a second time.
We were quickly through security, although interestingly, I had to take my watch and pedometer to get through, both of which went through the security machine just over a year ago. We were getting hungry, only having had a snack since breakfast. There were a few options, but none really appealed, until we saw a restaurant which looked like it had some nice choices. We settled down to look at the menu and then our server explained that we could opt for either the hot or cold buffet instead. A quick look at that showed lots of fish and vegetable choices, so we both went for the hot buffet and very good it was too. It was exceptionally filling with a paella and pasta dish amongst the choices and I don’t doubt that was their intention, so that we didn’t eat too much. Along with a piece of strawberry cheesecake as well, it was a good meal and we were set for the night… or so we thought.
We wandered around the various shops for a while and then headed for the gate. There was a flight showing up for 9pm that was just boarding when we got there. That was fine, as ours was due to leave at 10.50pm. I started to get an inkling that all might not be well with that a little earlier, as every Easyjet flight into the UK that night seemed to be late in leaving, but was optimistic that maybe we’d escaped. However, when a flight to Dublin showed up at 10pm, we began to think that this might be cutting it a bit close. Sure enough, the words “delayed” soon showed up next to our flight, but heck until 11.08pm. We could live with that.
A change of gate later and the time ticked past. It was soon 11pm and it was clear that we wouldn’t be leaving at the time they reckoned. A woman went and told the member of staff that in no uncertain terms. Apparently she works at London Gatwick airport turning planes around and she immediately told the staff member that it wasn’t possible to do it in less than 40 minutes. Interesting. Perhaps she should go and see how Southwest operate…
Finally, the plane came in just after 11pm and it seemed to take an age before we were able to start boarding. When we did, we were amongst the first and snagged seats near the front of the plane, but we soon realised how bad those seats were, when the two kids behind us began to scream their lungs out. It was horrendous and we weren’t the only ones feeling it. A number of the people around us were soon shooting the parents grim looks and they didn’t seem to care. Mark concluded in the end that perhaps they were deaf, as they didn’t seem to hear the kids at all and they also seemed to ignore safety regulations, getting up when the seatbelt signs were on. They were certainly a piece of work.
Even after everyone boarded, we still didn’t move. Apparently, there was a problem moving the stairway leading to the plane and, at one point, Mark heard a stewardess say that if someone didn’t come to move it a.s.a.p, they’d do it themselves. What a nightmare.
Eventually we took off an hour and a half after schedule. We were shattered and tried our best to sleep the whole way back, although it didn’t help that we were woken up by turbulence halfway back and the steward telling us that he needed to see our seatbelts were fastened, which they were. All in all, it wasn’t a good flight, although thankfully the kids managed to quieten down, until we came into land, when the screaming started again. I don’t think I’ve ever been so glad to get off a plane before!
We were quickly through customs and then we played the waiting game for our luggage for about 20 minutes. That’s how long we stood there, waiting for the carousel to start up. By the time it did, I think every single person was off our plane and many of them were complaining about the wait. I mean, let’s be honest, it was stupidly late by now. We’d been late leaving, late arriving and then this. I was so relieved when we finally saw our case, could grab it and head out.
We headed for the taxi office and ordered a cab back to the hotel, which fortunately came pretty quickly and the driver was very good at getting us back there fast. I guess he must’ve picked up on the vibe that it had been a long day!
When we arrived at the hotel, we walked into the middle of a massive row between an American woman, who was obviously a guest at the hotel, and her taxi driver. We couldn’t quite work out what was going on, but they were shouting at each other and we heard her offer to pay him in dollars, but he was having none of that. He declared that he was going to call the police and the woman went off to her room. Just as we left, we saw two policemen arrive, so goodness knows how that one ended up being resolved!
We weren’t best pleased when the staff couldn’t find our car keys at first. The woman we saw first kept telling us that they weren’t down under today for collection or even yesterday – after all, it was the early hours of the morning, so I wondered if that’s where they’d been put. I think it’s fair to say that we were both getting worried and were on a pretty short fuse with the day we’d had. We managed somehow to keep smiling and eventually they found our keys. They’d helpfully been filed under Wednesday for collection – great. Soon we were reunited with our car and on our way back home.
At least there was one benefit of the late hour – the roads were deserted as we drove home and we walked in the door at 3am. Yes, 3am. By then, unbelievably, we were hungry again, so after a quick snack, it was finally off to bed and our Spanish getaway was over.
Today we walked 8.12 miles. The weather today was very hot, cloudy at times, with some bright sunshine and some light rain and temperatures in the 80’s. The best thing today was finishing seeing everything in Barcelona that we didn’t get to see last time. The worst thing today was the flight home. Today we tried going to Park Guell And the result was it was stunning and well worth a visit. The most magical moment today was stepping into Poble Espanyol for the first time.