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 The software our forums run on is just too out-of-date and it poses a significant security risk.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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Now, what was a bit weird about the Red Lion was that you check in at the bar. Yep, I know, very strange… I had a bit of a wait, then I was greeted by a really nice guy, who not only checked us in, but booked us in for dinner in 20 minutes’ time. I asked if we needed to book, and he recommended we wait a little, as the kitchen were trying to deal with a group of 16, and he reckoned by 8:45pm, they’d have been served, which would speed things up a fair bit.
I headed back outside to find Mark just parking up, so we grabbed the cases and headed inside. We went upstairs, and walked through ancient corridors, which weren’t exactly level shall we say, due to the history of the building. Mark joked that the place should be called “Mind Your Head” not the “Red Lion”, as that’s what all the signs everywhere said, and there was some truth in that!
When we got to our room, which was literally at about the furthest point you could get to it was certainly compact and bijou, with a very small bed, given that we’re used to a king size bed. Having said that, it was only £35 ($52) for the night, so you can’t say too much.
We settled in, then a few minutes later, it was time to head down for dinner. I found the same guy who’d checked me in, and he took us to our table. Despite the fact that it looks deserted in these photos, it was actually very busy, although it never felt loud, even with the table of 16.
Mark got a beer, while I had the spring breeze cocktail, made up of Cointreau, Archers, cranberry juice and orange juice, and it was very nice.
As it was now past 8:30pm, I really wasn’t that hungry, so I just went for an appetiser dish, the deep fried Somerset brie wedge, although I substituted the apple and cinnamon jam, as I’m allergic to apples, with cranberry sauce, which was perfectly fine. This was cooked to perfection, with the Brie oozing out as soon as I cut into it – just how I like it.
Mark was going to have just an entrée originally, but after hearing the group behind him chomping away on the free-range Suffolk pork crackling with homemade apple cider jelly, he decided to get some of that…
Of course, his main course then arrived about five minutes later. He was on a complete Piglet overdose, and went for the slow roasted rolled pork belly, stuffed apple, red onion and smoked bacon with Colcannon mash.
I checked early on in the meal on the availability of my dessert, as there wasn’t much on the main menu that I could have with my allergies. Why was I checking? Well, we were warned that the starter and main on the specials menu weren’t available any longer (something to do with the table of 16, I’m guessing… ), and I wanted to make sure that didn’t happen with the dessert. Fortunately I was fine, and had the Belgian milk chocolate tart, served with fresh strawberries and fresh vanilla Chantilly cream, although you may notice something slightly amiss in this photo:
Yep, you’ve got it – no fresh strawberries tonight, so they subbed it out with strawberry jam, which was a shame, but it was still very enjoyable.
Mark went for the apple and blackberry crumble with custard…
I need to say a word here about the service, as it was excellent. The guy who’d checked us in was our main server and he was very attentive. We were also served by a woman, and she was telling us about the times she’d finished over the last few. I think the earliest finish she’d had was around 1:30am!
The Red Lion
Appetiser 9 N/A
Entrée N/A 8½
Dessert 8½ 8½
Service 9 9
Atmosphere 9 9
Value for money 8½ 8
Average score: 8.70
We finished up about 9:45pm, which is really late for us, and headed back to the room, trying to stay up as long as we could to allow dinner to settle, but we only made it to about 10:30pm, and then we were both absolutely beat.
The weather today was dry, but cloudy with temperatures in the low 50s. The best thing today was dinner. The worst thing today was the lines at the services. The funniest thing today was all the “mind your head” signs everywhere! Today we tried staying at the Red Lion And the result was although the room was small, it’s got a lot of history, charm and style. The most magical moment today was arriving at the Red Lion and seeing what a charming old place it was!
Wow, that IS a tiny bed! Not sure it even looks as big as a double.....
But the inn does seem very quaint. And isn't that authentic - checking in and getting the key from the bar?
They do give fair warning on "mind your head", don't they?! One picture seemed to have it nearly half a dozen times!
I won’t say I slept well, as in truth, it was a stupidly small bed, and I was right up against the wall. I did sleep better than I thought I would, given those parameters, but it also didn’t help that the room was stupidly hot. I woke up just before 6:00am, and then snoozed again until just after 7:00am, at which point I got up, and cleared the obstacle course, known as getting out of the bed. I can tell you, once I was up, I was not going back to bed!
The room was baking, as I’d put the radiator on maximum last night, and my goodness, we were cooking on full gas now, shall we say? I threw open the window to get some air in, and saw the lovely houses across the road…
We got up and got going, as breakfast, which we’d decided last night we’d pay for here, started at 8:00am. When we got downstairs, I took some photos of the original bar area…
… and the view out towards the garden area at the back of the hotel…
There was only one other couple in the breakfast area, which turned out to be where the table of 16 had eaten last night, when we arrived. It’s obviously a new addition to the pub, and it’s very light and airy in here.
There was a good selection of cold items available, although the breakfast cereals were all a little too healthy for me, shall we say? I like the kiddies’ ones, i.e. chocolate or lots of sugar!
You could also order hot food, as well as the cold selection they had out, and the menu was quite comprehensive. Mark went for the full English breakfast (no surprise there ) with two free-range eggs any style, local sausages, bacon rashers, grilled tomato, chestnut mushrooms and toast.
I immediately knew what I wanted as soon as I saw the menu – the smoked salmon and scrambled eggs, so I put my order in, and the waitress went off, only to return a couple of minutes later, full of apologies, as the kitchen had just told her they didn’t have any smoked salmon. Now you know when you see something on a menu and you really fancy it? Well, that was me. I was so disappointed. In a very dejected, Eeyore type voice, I told her I’d go for the eggs-any-style on toast, and it was Ok, but (you know what I’m going to say here ) it wasn’t the smoked salmon and scrambled eggs… oh well. Sigh. It’s only me…
We headed out just before 9:00am, settling up our bill for the dinner from last night, and our breakfast this morning. We made our way out, and I decided that I’d call the number that I noticed last night had phoned my mobile (cell) phone. It was a Norwich number, so I figured it might be the boatyard and I was right, it was. Apparently our boat was already to go whenever we wanted to get it, and the woman suggested 11:00am, but as we had a few things to do first, we told her we’d be more like between midday and 1:00pm instead.
We made our way over to Ely, and I got some photos on the way, including some of Ely Cathedral in the distance, as I’d read it could be seen from some distance away. These were taken from about five miles away. It’s a bit like approaching the Disney Dream or Fantasy in Port Canaveral in that respect.
When we got closer to Ely itself, we had a bit of a discrepancy between the GPS and the road signs. The signs were telling us to go one way for the cathedral, and the GPS insisted it was another way, so we followed the GPS. We found the cathedral fine, but of course parking was another issue. In the end, we decided to follow the signs, as we knew they’d take us to a car park. Even though it seemed like it was some distance away, it was only about a five minute walk, and amazingly, it was free. We were really shocked. If you stopped here before 8:30am, you could only stay an hour and a half, but after that time, you could stay the whole day. Wow, if only all towns and cities were like this!
We lucked out and found one of the last parking spaces, as apparently there’s a festival taking place here this weekend, which explains why it’s so busy. Thank goodness we hadn’t left it any later.
We made our way over to the cathedral, passing through some of Ely on the way. There are lots of historic buildings around here.