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 The software our forums run on is just too out-of-date and it poses a significant security risk.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!
Welcome! We're happy you've found the PassPorter Community -- the friendliest place to plan your vacation to Walt Disney World, Disney Cruise Line, Disneyland, and the world in general! You are now viewing the PassPorter Message Board Community as a guest, which gives you limited access. As our guest, feel free to browse our messages by selecting the forum you want to visit from the list below.
To post messages and ask questions, join our FREE community today and you'll get access to tools and resources not available to guests, such as our vacation countown timers, "living" avatars, private messaging system, database searches, downloads, and a special PassPorter discount code. Registration is fast, simple, and completely free. Just click the Join Our Community link.
We left the airport heading out of Lisbon on the A1 towards our destination, Viana do Castelo, located on the Atlantic ocean near the border of Spain in the northern part of Portugal. We stopped at 10:51 for some lunch, grabbing 2 sandwiches, an orange Fanta and Pasteis de Nata (a custard tart that is famous in Portugal).
All the major highways in Portugal have service stations with gas, convenience stores and restaurants. They are very clean and easy to pull into from the highways, which are well taken care of. People drive really fast, most people flew past us and we were doing about 120 km per hour. We stopped for gas at 12:26; our car was diesel and we had no trouble finding gas throughout our trip.
Our Car picked up a hitchhiker
We paid our toll; many of the main highways in Portugal are toll roads. They also now have electronic tolls - when you drive on a stretch with an electronic toll a camera snaps a picture of your license plate, you then have 5 days to get to a post office or a fine is added to your charge. Also it takes a few days for the post office to have the information, so you sometimes have to go in twice to pay, once for the beginning of your trip and once more if you travelled on the toll roads a few days later. We only found this out because we have family in Portugal who explained it to us, really the car company should have let us know. I can imagine a lot of tourists get home and then get charges on their credit card for these tolls and additional fines. Most of the locals avoid the toll roads and take the back roads; they take longer but are free.
Toll sign and toll plaza
We continued on towards Viana do Castelo, I could see a beautiful building up in the mountain and I said wouldn’t it be nice if that was our hotel, I was getting more excited the closer we got. We headed off the highway and soon were climbing a very circular road high above the city, right towards the beautiful building. It turns out it was the Church of Santa Luzia right in front of our hotel. We checked in at 3:30 pm, we had now been awake for 28 hours.
Continued from previous post, I hope that the pictures are ok for sizing, I am using photo bucket and resized them all before linking. Some days I have a lot of pictures so I will break up those posts.
The beauty of this hotel amazed me; everything was marble, all the floors and stairs and benches. We had a small room but the view was out of this world, over the town to the ocean. We also had a balcony with two chairs. According to the website Monte de Santa Luzia was built in 1918 as a hotel, it was later fixed up to the beauty it is today.
Outside of hotel
Bathroom complete with bidet
For some reason we were a little tired so we had a short nap. We then walked around the hotel, looking at the artwork and different rooms; we sat on the patio and ordered some beers, which they served with a side of nuts. We headed to the dining room for dinner at 8 pm. Most of the people in Portugal eat late, often not until 7 or 8 pm, this takes some getting used to as we normally eat at 5 or 6 pm. The dining room was very fancy, with a limited menu and French service. Most Portuguese restaurants start with a couvert, it can just be some bread and cheese or it might include olives, sliced meat and shrimp. The thing to know is that you pay for what you eat. If you don’t want any of it simply ask the waiter to take it back, you can also return some for example the shrimp but keep the olives. We always kept the olives, as I love them (any type, colour or flavour)! Sorry no pictures of dinner tonight.
The couvert at this restaurant was bread, olives, bites of pork, fried mushrooms and Chorizo (Portuguese sausage). We ate it all up! I had the bife pimenta (steak covered in gravy), it came with a side of cauliflower, broccoli, beans, and wedge cut fries. My DH had rabbit stew with potatoes. DH also had a glass of red wine. It was good, and we were too full to have dessert. We then headed to the room and to bed as we had not had too much sleep in the last 34 hours.
Another note, the waiters in Portugal are mostly men and they are very formal, I had to remember this was the way it is in Portugal as sometimes they appeared sort of rude, but it is just their way. Also tips are mostly included on bills, since this is not what we are used to we often forgot and tipped.
Tigger you are everywhere.
Lunch: €11.70 euro
Dinner: €62.20 euro
Beer: €3.00 euro
Internet: €14.00 euro
Gas: €73.00 euro for 44.95 L (at €1.624 euros per L)
Tolls: €20.95 euro (plus €16.13 paid later at post office for 3 days of electronic tolls)
Tips: €12.00 euro
We woke up at 7:00am refreshed and ready to start our day. We headed down to the dining room for our free breakfast. I had cheese, ham, chorizo, bread, fruit, yogurt and juice. DH had fruit, cakes, and juice; it was very nice and filling.
We wanted to explore Parque Nacional da Peneda Geres, a 271 sq mile National Park. Since it is such a large park we did not really have an address to input into the GPS, but we managed to find one online, set the GPS to ‘scenic route’, and off we went. Once we got off the highway and into the park, it turned into one of the most memorable drives I have ever taken. We drove up and down mountains, on very tight curvy roads - luckily there was not any other traffic as in many places only one car could fit on the road at a time. We were able to pull off the road often and take pictures as we drove along. It was very beautiful, the landscape was lush and at times we were so high that we were in the clouds. We came across what I thought were wild horses, only later to find out that the farmers lead the horses up into the mountains and leave them there until fall and then bring them back down. We also saw Minho cattle; these are cows with very long horns. We drove through one village and there were dogs lying right in the middle of the street. You could not drive around them as the road is too narrow, as you got closer the dogs would stand up and move, and as soon as you passed they would lay back down in the middle of the road.