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 The software our forums run on is just too out-of-date and it poses a significant security risk.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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BAYS, BURROS, BEACHES, BUTTERFLIES AND BOTANICAL GARDENS-pre trip report
BAYS, BURROS, BEACHES, BUTTERFLIES AND BOTANICAL GARDENS
WHO: Don Willis (aka duck addict) 64 Y.O. Male Where: Southern Caribbean Medley on the Star Princess
When: Spring 2011
Why: I looked at my current countdown and it said “since” instead of until (and I had saved up enough for another trip). I had done an inside passage Alaska cruise in May, and a quick weekend jaunt to Disneyland in early October, but the wander lust (and lack of countdown) put me on the internet searching for new vistas.
I got notice today that my TA was mailing my cruise documents , so I thought I ought to start my pre-trip report.
I love Disney cruises, but they are not port heavy : (I love visiting other lands ) so I searched several cruise lines for itineraries that looked promising. In addition, as much as I love DCL, it can be pricey. The cruise portion of this trip is $250 less than DCL’s eastern, and is 3 days longer.. I read a LOT of cruise reports and finally decided on Princess cruises (I have a good friend that has done 25+ and highly recommends them) and was ready to book. I called my trusty TA ( Jo Vagos) and she did some research and emailed me several options. I really liked the look of the Southern Caribbean Medley. She then noted that if I took the earlier (by 10 days) cruise, I would also get an onboard coupon book, and lower deposit amount, and onboard credit of$85.00.
Two days later I booked the earlier (with room credit ) cruise, inside stateroom) on the Star Princess.
Ahead of me are:
Fly day ahead , includes hotel and transfers from airport to hotel, and hotel to port (Fort Lauderdale). I no longer fly the day of the cruise, as I (1) don’t sleep on planes , and (2) arriving the day before there is not the mental worry about getting there on time, and I am rested before the cruise starts (Did a red-eye once and was worthless the first day of the cruise)
Two sea days
St Thomas, US Virgin Islands
Princess cays (their private beach in Bahamas)
Transfers to airport.
I chose to book entire package through the cruiseline but using my TA.
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In honor of my boarding pass and luggage tags arriving today, here is part two of planning.
Now it was time of observe the Passporter tradition of Uber Planning.
To do adequate planning, one needs multiple sources. I first went to my local huge chain bookstore and perused the books on the Caribbean. I chose Caribbean Ports of Call (Eastern & Southern Regions) by Kay Showker with Mary Brennan. On to the internet, my yahoo searches yielded lots of results on each island, and I ‘joined’ cruise critic and began reading the forums on Princess Cruise line, registered in a ‘roll call’ for my particular cruise (so far there 13 rooms communicating and we have a sail away party meet scheduled ), and ventured further into the forums on each port. On top of that I was reading many reviews (no matter what the cruise line) on the Caribbean islands and itineraries.Spending daily (yes, daily) time visiting on the various forums, I got my first surprise. Princess cruises had added a new ‘perk’. They added a special ‘veterans’ onboard credit. It went into effect on Veteran’s day 2010 (two weeks before I booked) and gives a $50, $100 or $150 onboard credit (depending on cruise length) to active duty military, retired military or veterans with an honorable discharge and at least two years active duty. I applied and received a $100 onboard credit , in addition to the $85 I already had. The only limitation is that it cannot be used for tips. (I guess I will have to have a FAB or two on the cruise).
Being retired, I do not book a new venture until I have enough $$ set aside to pay for it when I book it. Reservation in hand, I paid off the cruise immediately. This opened up my planning door more, as I could now download the excursion list (an almost 60 page PDF file). I printed the book, as well as maps of each island so I could start more research. Princess is nice in that you can pre-reserve spaces up to 5 days before the cruise, and are not charged until on board. You confirm your reservation onboard, or make changes. Changes, for the most part, are allowed up to the closing time onboard for a given port’s excursions. My biggest surprise is the cost. There were MANY excursions in the $40-60 range.
Oh this sounds like a fun trip! on all the ship board credits and other bargains. Looking forward to more.
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?
BAYS, BURROS, BEACHES, BUTTERFLIES AND BOTANICAL GARDENS-part three
BAYS, BURROS, BEACHES, BUTTERFLIES AND BOTANICAL GARDENS-part three
So where did my planning take me? That is answered with the title to my TR.
Though I worked doing property taxes, (am trained as a lawyer)(boos and hisses as to my occupations are accepted ) , I got my bachelor’s degree in botany. I have a great love for trees, flowers, animals, etc., so as I plan those features attract my attention. I am also fascinated by the geology and physical geography of places. I am not a big activity (i.e. parasailing, zip line) person: , nor a great lounging on the beach type. However, love to look at and try to figure out why beaches are different from each other.
After reviewing the available excursions, my guide book, and internet sites for each stop, I found these items that interested me. Bays: Many of the bays provide great beaches, as well as grand vistas. Megan’s bay on St Thomas, and Cruz and Trunk bays on St Johns attracted me (I picked an excursion to St Johns that visits several bays)
Aruba-some white sand and some black pebble beaches
Bonaire-White, pink and black sand beaches
Grenada-White sand at Grand Anse
Dominica-Black sand beaches (volcanic)-as well as swimming at waterfalls in the interior (going to the inland falls and then a black sand beach)
St Thomas-see ‘bays’
Princess cay-typical Bahamas sand beach
Burros: wild burros in the countryside and a donkey sanctuary on Aruba and Bonaire (got to take pictures of eeyore's cousins for my dear friend Chezp )
Butterflies: Butterfly gardens are on Aruba, Bonaire, Dominica (in the botanical gardens) and St Thomas
Botanical Gardens: St Peters Great house and Gardens in St Tomas, In Roseau, Dominica, and in Grenada-spice farms and gardens, as well as Bay gardens in the capital. Grenada will be a botanical day as I visit two spice gardens (okay, a rum factory, too )
Sounds like some wonderful options Don!! Can't wait to hear which ones you chose! You will like FLL and Port Everglades - easy to get in and out of. Do you know your hotel? I can tell you what is in the area.