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 The software our forums run on is just too out-of-date and it poses a significant security risk.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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I agree with Kenny, the interstates were built for speed, not sight-seeing! We have the US routes, designated scenic routes, and etc. for that. We also have a lot political wrangling as well as environmental regulations that they might not have elsewhere that require the superhighways to be built one place instead of another.
What a wonderful last day at the villa...even with the changing weather glad you got some swimming and sun time in before heading out to what looked like a fantastic meal...that crepe with asparaus looked so good.
Beautiful scenery along your route to Barcelona...sorry though that the naviagation got you caught up in siesta traffic....hoping to hear you found the resort soon.
That would have driven me crazy not being able to find the hotel. As handy as those navigators are they can be quite frustrating at times. Yet I still feel better having one...false sense of security?!
Friday 19 September – part two: are we ever going to find the hotel?
Although we didn’t have an address now, we knew the rough area that the hotel was in and the fact that it should be visible from one of Barcelona’s biggest roads, so we drove up it. We saw nothing and then came to a junction – and in hindsight – that’s where it all went wrong. We later found out that all we needed to do was just carry on along that road, but we turned off one way and couldn’t see anything. Then we managed to get back to the original road – that again took forever because of the traffic and tried another route, but still no sign of the hotel.
By now, we’d spent about an hour and a half looking for the thing and were starting to get desperate. It was 3pm and we’d been in the car for six hours and hadn’t eaten since breakfast. Wouldn’t you know it though? You can never find a darned McDonald’s when you want one. Isn’t it always the way? We were hungry and needed the toilet, but nothing was in sight at all.
I had been playing with my BlackBerry in the meantime and had managed to get what I thought was directions from the airport, so I figured that maybe we’d be able to work our way back from there, so that was our next plan. We drove out there and it only took about 20 minutes, but we saw that the traffic back into the city was nose to tail the whole way, so we knew it would take forever to get back in there. We got to the airport and, again, no sign of anywhere to eat. By now, we were even talking about forgetting the hotel and just finding another one – anything. But, wouldn’t you know it, no sign of any hotels either. Honestly, this must be the oddest airport I’ve ever come across in my life – usually most airports have places littered around them. This one didn’t. It was just in the middle of nowhere with no sign of life anywhere around. At least, I guess on the plus side, we knew where we would have to come to tomorrow night.
Armed with our directions, we sat in more traffic, but the directions just didn’t make any sense. We tried taking one junction and then another and got just as lost as before. We later discovered the reason those directions made no sense is because there was just one tiny, but very vital, piece of information missing from it. Typical.
Anyway, our next plan of action was to head for a tourist attraction that we’d already programmed in, as we figured we could park up, go to the toilet and get some food. We headed for Park Guell, as that was to the north of the city and we thought it would be the perfect location. Once again, guess what, it took forever to get there. They were also digging up the roads on the way there, so we ended up on a massive diversion. Finally, we were there and this time, there was no parking in sight anywhere, so we had to give up on that idea.
We decided next to try a tourist information place. Yes, I know, that’s probably something we should’ve done hours ago, but it was the first time we’d thought of it. We found our way there through the city centre streets and, once again, hit every traffic light at red and also hit the traffic that was now returning from siesta time. Yes, we’d been at this for about four hours by now. Unbelievable.
We found the tourist information place and they gave us new directions – or so we thought. Feeling a lot more confident that soon this nightmare would be over, we set off again and crawled down the same road for about the third time. It was painful. We followed the directions we’d got and guess what? They took us nowhere near any hotel. By now, I think it’s fair to say that we were both pretty much in pieces. Our nerves were frayed from lack of food and being trapped in the car for so many hours.
We had seen a hotel earlier and decided to go back there and see if they could help. We were also thinking that maybe we’d just stay the night there. However, as we got closer, we could see that it was out of our league. It was a five star place and was beautiful. Yes, we were desperate, but even so, I don’t think our wallets could stretch that far. We found a really helpful woman, who explained the situation to the guy at the desk and got us more directions, only these ones seemed to make sense and took us down a different motorway at that darned junction. They were even able to describe the building we were looking for, which is more than anyone else so far had been able to do, so at least they knew what we were talking about.
We were able to use the toilets there, so at least we could get some relief. We did enquire about a room for the night, but we were talking more than £200, so it was well out of our league. For the last time, we got back in the car and felt that we were finally at the end of this nightmare. Again, it was a slow crawl along that same darned road that we were, by now, absolutely sick of seeing. This time, we carried straight on and suddenly the directions made sense. We saw the signs that we’d been looking for earlier and turned off the motorway and then we saw the hotel that had been described to us.
I cannot begin to tell you how relieved we were to see that sight. I have never been so happy in my life to see a hotel…. Ever. Period. By the time we pulled up, it had been five hours since we had first entered the city and it was now 6.30pm. We hadn’t eaten since breakfast and we were tired and hungry, but just so relieved to finally be here.
I think that, if we’d entered the hotel and had been a complete flea pit, we would’ve enjoyed it and just been delighted to be there. However, it was far from that. It was a four star hotel and very much aimed at the business market. The lobby was very sumptuous and we were greeted quickly by a woman in Spanish, so I replied in Spanish and probably managed the first three or four exchanges of the conversation, before I finally had to give in and go back to English. Still not bad!
Surprise, surprise, our room was ready and waiting for us and was on the second floor. We took the elevator straight up and what a beautiful room it was. It was impossible to believe that we’d only paid £44 to stay the night here.
The view from our room – not great, but heck the rest of the room more than made up for it!
We settled down to just unwind from our terrible day and just relaxed for an hour or so, then hunger drove us downstairs. Wouldn’t you know it though? The restaurant didn’t open until 8.30pm, another 40 minutes away. There was a bar with snacks, but after not having eaten all day, the wonderful menu at the restaurant did look good, so we wanted to go for that. We literally headed back downstairs dot on 8.30pm and the doors to the restaurant were still closed. Not fair. Fortunately, we walked along the corridor and, by the time we came back, they were opening up.
We were straight through the door and were greeted by a very friendly and attentive server. Again, I managed a couple of exchanges in Spanish, before I had to give up and go back to English, but as the evening wore on, we did have a couple of words in Spanish, particularly when I explained to him the type of wine that we prefer.
It was a beautiful restaurant, with some lovely theming to it.
Mark tells me this is a distillery... used to make alcohol!
Now that’s what I call a good choice of wine!
We took ages agonising over the menu, it was all just so good. In the end, for appetiser, I went for the fresh pasta with asparagus and clams and Mark had the grilled vegetables with tempura romesco sauce and crusty ham. Both were superb.
For main course, I went for the tuna fish steak with truffle oil and that was just perfect. There was so much of it though! Mark had the hot stone large steak, but he had a bit of a shock when it turned up – it was still raw and he had to cook it. They brought a circular cooking dish and off he went. It was a bit off putting, having him do that in front of me, but he had no idea that was how he was going to come out.
We were stuffed by the time we finished our main courses, but our server had dessert in mind. We weren’t convinced, but the dessert trolley had to be seen to be believed and we did get talked into trying the orange pudding between us. Once again, it was beautiful, although with a very unusual taste.
[b]Sorry, we’d already started it when we remembered to take the photo!
Courtesy of our lovely server
Fully satisfied, we paid the bill (91 Euros – about £75, which included a bottle of wine between us) and headed back to the room. It had been a long and trying day, but at least it had had a good ending to it.
Today we walked miles. The weather today was cloudy with a little bit of rain with temperatures in the 70’s. The best thing today was dinner. The worst thing today was spending five hours looking for the hotel. Today we tried the restaurant in our hotel And the result was it was first class. The most magical moment today was finally seeing the hotel.
Oh my gosh, Cheryl. I can't even imagine being lost in a foreign country, tons of traffic, hungry, and needing to go to the restroom for 5 hours. What a day! So glad that you found the hotel (finally) and that it wasn't a flea bag and that you finally got something to eat. I'll bet you both were exhausted.
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?
When I started reading the update, I wanted to say that I feel your pain, that I've been there when you know you are following the directions you were given to the letter.... but you still can't find the #$%&@ place!!!
But you just kept going and going and going.... I don't think, even I, have had that much trouble before!!! I'm glad you finally found the hotel and restauraunt !!! and that they were "top notch"!
Well, now you can say you have an intimate knowledge of Barcelona.
Great updates - I've had some catching up to do! Sorry about the whole hotel direction fiasco. Glad that you were pleased with the hotel once you were able to find it. Hopefully the rest of your stay in Barcelona is more pleasant!
Saturday 20 September – part one: please don’t inspect us!
We had a well deserved lie-in today, after the traumas of yesterday. We’d decided to pay for breakfast when we checked in yesterday at a reduced rate of 13 Euros (about £11) per person. Yes, it’s a heck of a lot of money, but we figured that at least we could fill up, as it was a buffet and we could eat as much as liked. Well, I wasn’t expecting that much, especially as we were told it was a continental breakfast buffet, but we were in for a real treat. Not only were there pastries, cereals, fruit juices and the fresh fruit that you’d expect, there were also about six different types of cheeses, a series of cold meats, salad items like tomatoes, along with a small selection of hot items, including sausages, eggs and vegetables. We went up about four or five times and really filled ourselves up. It was a superb selection of food and a great start to the day.
We checked out and left our luggage and headed off for the tram station. We had a rough idea of where it was and found it easily enough. It was about a five minute walk away, but the next tram was 13 minutes away, so we had quite some time to kill before it arrived. Unfortunately, I didn’t realise that before purchasing two single tickets. We didn’t have much of an option, as the ticket machine wouldn’t accept our credit card and it was coins only, no notes. And guess what? We didn’t have much coinage on us.
Still, we got our tickets, got on board and then it was only halfway down the line that we suddenly twigged that people were validating their tickets when they got on board and there was a fine if you didn’t. We just sat there and I personally prayed that no ticket inspector would get on. No-one did and we escaped on to the subway.
This is where we ran into more problems. We weren’t doing badly for seasoned travellers. We went to purchase one day passes, but then I realised that they were asking for which zones we wanted them. I didn’t have a clue and my pigeon Spanish with the attendant didn’t seem to be working. Mind you, she was on the phone, having a very intense discussion with someone. Fortunately, after she got off the phone, she came out and explained that all of Barcelona was zone 1. Ok, zone 1, it is then.
Then the next challenge was getting through the turnstile. I put the ticket in and the thing didn’t work. How was I to know that you insert it on the opposite side to the one we use at home? The stations we’d visited last time weren’t like this, I’m sure. It wasn’t turning into a good day…. We got on board the train and about 30 minutes later, got off.
Our first stop of the day was going to be Park Guell, which we’d tried to get to by car yesterday. I thought the car would be easier, as I knew that it was quite a walk from the nearest station and we knew that a lot of it would be uphill from the drive out here. The first 1,000 metres or so weren’t too bad, but my goodness, you knew about the hill up there. Unfortunately, it was already pretty warm out, so my plan to go early in the morning, as it wouldn’t be too hot didn’t really work. We kept going and we were rewarded with the most amazing sight when we got to the top of the hill.
Park Guell was designed to be a new garden city and Gaudi was commissioned to design and build it. Unfortunately the money ran out and all that was completed were two buildings and the entrance staircase, but that’s enough to make it well worth a visit. It’s almost overwhelming to the senses when you first get there, as you just can’t take in all the colours and the vibrant designs. It was also absolutely packed with people. I guess a couple of coaches had probably just let people off, judging by the numbers around. Trying to get photos wasn’t exactly fun with everyone scrabbling for the same shot at the same time.
We walked up the grand staircase, taking in all the details at each level.
Then we reached the area underneath the main square, which was beautiful. It was also so nice to be out of the sun and the heat. It was pretty unbearable.
Next we made our way upstairs into what was designed to be the village square. It’s got some beautiful views over the city and would have been a lovely place just to sit and take it all in, were it not for all the people clambering to get the perfect photo. We sat next to a woman reading a book for a few minutes and the amount of rude people who came over to poke cameras across us was just unbelievable. I felt sorry for her, as she was obviously trying to enjoy the area.