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 The software our forums run on is just too out-of-date and it poses a significant security risk.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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What a great couple of updates Chez!! Valencia looks to be an absolute delight--once you get out of the roundabouts. Did you guys have the "look kids, Big Ben, Parliament" moment from National Lampoon's European Vacation??
So glad that you decided to visit....what a beautiful aquarium. Your pictures are beautiful....the fish are so colorful. This must have been a great expereince. Lunch sounded very light and filling as well....
Wednesday 17 September – part three: a rare sighting
From there, we descended below ground again to view the sharks again and this time we got a heck of a lot of sharks – unlike the day at the Monterey Bay aquarium, where we’d walked the whole way through that exhibit and been very disappointed, only having seen a few. No such problem here. There were some huge species as well, happily showing off their big teeth for us! We also came across what we later learnt was a sunfish and it must rank as the ugliest fish ever. We were fascinated by the thing and couldn’t stop watching it.
Next, we headed to the Arctic pavilion and that was the highlight of the day for myself and Mark. The main stars were the beluga whales, the only two belugas in the whole of Europe. We could’ve stood there and watched them for hours. They were so graceful when they moved and they just seemed to glide with ease. It was fascinating to see. We’ve seen belugas before in SeaWorld, but usually they’re just lying there not doing very much, so to see these two so active was a real treat. The pavilion was also home to a couple of walruses and again, they were enjoying life, with twists and turns as they swum around.
Eventually we had to leave there, although we did linger a long time, particularly in front of the belugas. We finally made our way into the neighbouring Antarctic pavilion, which I thought would be another highlight, as it contained penguins, but no such luck. The darned things were all standing there, looking miserable as anything, staring at the rock wall. Trust me, there is not much entertainment in viewing penguins from behind when they’re not moving.
Not your "run of the mill" aquarium, huh? More great pictures, Cheryl!
How long did you guys stare at that rock wall trying to see what the penguins were staring at? It must have been very interesting to a penguin!
Can't wait for the dolphins, especially since we will be "up close and personal" with some Mexican dolphins in a few days....
Wow! What a neat aqaurium. I would've been glued to the whale as well. Love the architecture of the building. It really looks like money well spent. More please.
Oct '99: CSR ~ May '02: CR ~ Nov '04: SOG ~ May '06: SOG ~ Dec '07: Solo @ Pop ~ May '08: Pop w/friends ~ Oct '08: SOG ~ Dec '09: Pop w/LeAnn ~ Sept '10: Solo @ Pop ~ Spring '11: AKL ~ Jan '12: Pop for 1/2 Marathon ~ Sept '12: 1st trip for DL 1/2 Marathon? ~ Feb '13: Pop w/pals? ~ Mar '13: Tokyo Disney w/PP's?
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So, is this aquarium actually a whole complex of buildings? The ones I've been to are all housed in one building and are basically all the same. This one looks very nice, I agree that it appears to be worth the price of admission. That whole area looks so interesting.
Wednesday 17 September – part four: dolphins at play!
It was back out into the sun again – and it was really starting to heat up again by now from the cloudier start that we’d had to the day. We headed next for the Dolphinarium, not knowing what we’d see there. We hadn’t been given a times guide when we got our tickets, so we had no idea when any of the shows were today and of course, we were there at the wrong time for the dolphin show. It was 2.45pm and there’d been two already and the final one of the day wasn’t until 4.30pm. We certainly weren’t going to wait around for that.
We noticed that there still seemed to be a lot of people going inside the stadium, so in we went, thinking that there might be something to see – and there certainly was. We were treated to one of the best shows that we’d ever seen, even though it wasn’t actually a show. There must have been about ten dolphins in the main pool in front of us and there were about another four pools behind, with at least another five or six dolphins in those and boy, they were all active.
After watching for a while, we ended up noticing all their different behaviours and even naming them. There was Billy No Mates, otherwise known as Jaws, who literally would glide towards the front of the pool silently, as if he was a shark. Then he would just sit there, looking very hopeful, as if he thought he was going to get food from the watching visitors. No such luck, so after a while, he would loop round and do the whole thing again. He was hysterical to watch.
Then there were the three, we assume one female and two males. The female spent a lot of time on her back, trying to keep the two males away from her. We assumed that she was in season and the males were trying to have their wicked way, but she was having none of it. :
Then there was the single dolphin who would leap out of the air at the left of the pool…
It got even better after about 20 minutes, when one of the trainers came out to feed the dolphins in one of the back pools. They were leaping out of the water and doing various tricks with her, including waving their tails at her.
Another four trainers and what we assume to be a doctor came out to look at the dolphins in the main pool. We were enthralled to see how much care they took with each of the animals. It was clear that they were all very well looked after.
Then the trainers began to test out a few of the tricks that I would imagine the dolphins perform during the show, including riding on their backs, them walking backwards on the water and even one of the trainers being thrown out of the water by two of the dolphins. Just look at these photos to see what I mean:
It was a superb sight and I’m so glad that we went in there and stayed as long as we did. We were there about 40 minutes and we certainly got a great show during that time.
We headed out, stopping to get a few final photos on the way:
Then it was off to visit the obligatory gift shop, where I got the obligatory fridge magnet and a book about Valencia. I would’ve bought a book about the aquarium, but it was terrible and didn’t really cover what we wanted, things like how they built it and facts about the place, which was a shame. We were asked to fill in a questionnaire about our visit and we were very complementary about it, as we’d had a great day there. The only downside was the lack of signage there, but apart from that, it was all wonderful.
We headed out to catch the bus back to the city centre and only had a 10 minute wait. On the way back, we saw some more beautiful scenery:
To give you an idea of the type of bus we were on
On our arrival back at the square we’d started at, I mentioned the lovely ice cream stall that we’d seen this morning and Dave decided to join me with an ice cream. He had a donut one and I had a Ferrero Rocher one – beautiful. We got a few final photos.
Once that was finished, it was back to the car and out. We were pleasantly surprised to find out that the car parking was only $12.85 (about £10) – much cheaper than we’d seen out at the aquarium and not bad for the centre of a major city.
I really loved Valencia and especially the aquarium. As we left there, I knew that we’d have to come back here whenever we returned to the villa – my thinking is already to fly back into Valencia, then spend a couple of days there, before driving down to the villa. Perhaps next September. We’ll have to see.
The journey back was fine. Getting out of Valencia was simple enough and it wasn’t long before we were on the toll roads and on our way back.
We were back at the villa by about 5.30pm, and apart from a quick stop at the local supermarket to get a newspaper, some items for dinner (and a bottle of sangria for me to take home with us! ) and get my postcards sent, we had a quick night back at base, enjoying a toasted baguette with tomatoes and cheese on top and very nice it was too. Strangely enough, after a long day out, we didn’t last long this evening and it was an early night.
Today we walked 2.27 miles. The weather today was cloudy at first, but sunnier later with temperatures in the low 80’s. The best thing today was going to Valencia. The worst thing today was the drive to and from Valencia, as it was pretty long. Today we tried the Oceanografic And the result was it was superb and definitely the best aquarium we’ve ever been to and worth the admission cost. The most magical moment today was seeing the beluga whales.