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 The software our forums run on is just too out-of-date and it poses a significant security risk.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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Another nice breakfast again at Captain Kidd’s and we cross the street to the Disney entrance. On the way, I pick up our ART (Anaheim Regional Transportation) bus passes for our trip to Knott’s Berry Farm tomorrow. I am told they to get them at a small self-serve kiosk on the right hand side before you get to security. Small is right; about the size of a little ATM machine. (I figure it out ok though. ) Through security, we head to the California Adventure Park and are through the turnstiles before 9:00.
This time we assume that Toy Story Midway Mania is not open to 10:00, so we go straight to Carsland so I can ride Radiator Springs. It’s a blast once again. Next, I ride Soarin’ again – smooth and awesome!
About 9:45 we head to the entrance of Paradise Pier for Toy Story Mania. The entrance to the pier bridge is roped off, but they let a few small groups through because they promise they are only going to the nearby gift show and then they will be back. We are at the front of the rope, and at 10:05 they let us across the bridge. At the line entrance –- stunner! -- we find all the “shoppers” who promised they would return. Well, anyway, we are on the ride within a few minutes. I scored better than last time, but my daughter gets high score in vehicle once again!
We now look to take a ride on the Red Trolley. Our timing is off, but eventually we track it down for a nice quiet ride. Shortly afterwards, we watch the entertaining and lively Red Trolley News Boys.
Next up is the Blue Sky Cellar building, which is hosting a detailed layout of the re-theming of Pixar Pier. We spend a fair amount of time there, as there is an informative video and many beautiful exhibits. Very well done!
Some brief window shopping as we head back to the park entrance, where we meet a couple “Citizens of Hollywood” ladies. We take a couple of nice pictures. (There are not nearly as many “Citizens of Hollywood” in Disneyland compared to WDW. Also, I did not see them do any skits, but just chat with guests walking by. This was disappointing , as I really love the antics of the WDW “Hollywood Citizens.”)
It’s only about 11:30, but we leave for the long walk to Trader Sam’s for lunch at the Disneyland Hotel. (We were at the hotel earlier in the trip for Goofy’s Kitchen brunch.) Not even noon when we get there, but a loud group on the patio have clearly gotten an early “start.” We go inside and there are plenty of tables. The theming is wonderful, and the special effects are fun when someone orders a certain drink like the “shipwreck.” I have the Sweet and Spicy Asian Wings, my wife has the Island-Style Hot Dog and my daughter has the Angus 1/3 lb Hawaiian Cheeseburger (w/o the pineapple). We all enjoy our food.
Afterwards, the family heads back to the hotel, but I go back to the California Adventure Park. With MaxPass, I ride Guardians of the Galaxy again – I could ride this all day! (I then use the Disney App to get a MaxPass for the Matterhorn at the Disneyland Park for early evening.)
I head to the end of the park to once again ride the Silly Symphony Swings (as I said before, love the ride, but wish it was longer). Next, it’s the charming Pixarmonic Band for another full set.
Switching parks, I go to Disneyland and now ride the Matterhorn Bobsleds again. Fun, but I decide that it’s not to be a fave, as it’s a bit jerky and rough.
I meet the family near the entrance to “it’s a small world” as planned at 4:30. The line looks long, but it moves fast, and soon we are all enjoying a family favorite.
We do some ride repeats: all of us ride Alice in Wonderland, then I ride Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride while my family rides Pinocchio’s Daring Adventure.
We find a spot for the 6:00 Pixar Parade. The view is good, but since we never get to a parade spot more than 10 to 15 minutes early, we don’t always have good sight lines to take good pictures. The parade is colorful and fun and enjoyed by all. The attention to detail is amazing.
Time for supper! We will be eating at the Golden Horseshoe. Crowd is light and when I get to the counter, I ask when the next show is. “The last one was at 5:15,” she says. Oops! When I adjusted our meal time for the parade, I forgot to recheck the show times. Well, let’s hope the food is good. I have the Chicken Wings, my wife has the Fish & Chips, and my daughter also has the Chicken Wings. Yes, the food is good!
I ride Thunder Mountain again. Yeehaw! We all do a repeat of Haunted Mansion – always new details to look for.
We all head to the Tiki Birds. It’s a relaxing, colorful, and enjoyable show. (I still can’t believe WDW tried the “Under New Management” redo for a few years until the mysterious fire. )
Last ride for the day is a lap on the Disneyland Railroad. It’s funny how the seating is different (all facing out) than WDW. Of course, the scenery is different too. All these differences we notice over the 9 days helps to make a trip to Disneyland worthwhile.
I agree about the jerkiness of the Matterhorn. My back does not allow me to ride that. But RSR!? Love it! Guardians of the Galaxy wasn’t open yet when we were last at DL, in fact they’d only shut down ToT a few weeks before our trip. So I am really looking forward to riding, as I was not happy to hear they were changing ToT.
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After another good breakfast at Captain Kidd’s, we cross the street with our ART bus passes in hand and begin looking for bus stop 18 in the Disney lot. Sure enough, there it is. Another small family is waiting too. The bus arrives just before 9:00. Off we go in a reasonably comfortable bus. The driver slows down for a few designated stops, but there’s no one at these so they are all drive byes. We get to the drop off point near Knott’s Berry Farm at about 9:30.
We walk, following the signs. Before we get there, we see Mrs. Knott’s Chicken restaurant and few gift shops, all to visit later. We are at the entrance by about 9:40; the park opens at 10:00. Opening is on time, and our first stop is for our Fun Pix card, prepaid, for professional pics during the day. Snoopy is nearby so we are off to a good start with some family pics .
First up is a big roller coaster, called the Silver Bullet. The long ride is a blast with full loops, corkscrews and rolls. Woo-hoo!
We wonder around the Ghost Town, but the headliner, a roller coaster called Ghost Rider, is down for refurbishment . We visit a nice gift shop.
I jump on a log ride called Timber Mountain. It’s fun, but pales in comparison to Splash Mountain at Disney . As we walk around the park, we enjoy seeing many "Peanuts" signs and comic strips on a few walls.
Well, it’s time for lunch at Mrs. Knott Chicken Dinner Restaurant . It’s outside the park, so we all get our hand stamped as we leave. We want to get there right at 11:00 to beat the crowd since we were unable to get a reservation at Open Table. Well, we certainly beat the crowd, only 2 groups of 7 people total are ahead of us. We are seated quickly. My wife orders chicken with baked potato. My daughter and I each order the Chicken and Dumplings. I am picturing fried chicken and, on the side, dumpling in gravy. NO. It turns out to be a big plate of chicken (without skin) and dumpling all in a (bland) gravy. Oops! (I mildly complain later, but I guess it’s my fault for assuming.) My daughter likes hers anyway. My wife’s chicken is good, but the drumstick looks a bit scrawny to me. My wife has pie, which she enjoys, as well as her entire meal. As we leave, attendance is still light, so it’s so odd that we could not get reservations through Open Table despite many, many tries starting at 63 days out – I came to assume before our trip that they must be booked solid.
After lunch, we walk back into the park and all head to the Butterfield Stagecoach. The line is short but very slow moving. As we are finally moving forward, some guy says we are cutting in line. What?? We ignore him and press on. We end of riding inside instead of on top. (For on top, we would have needed to wait for the next one.) The ride is ok, slow, seating is cramped, but you get a decent tour of the park. The Calico Railroad is nearby, and we are able to climb aboard right away. This is more like it! Seating is comfortable, and we get the brief thrill of a fake train robbery . It’s a nice tour of the park, too.
After we watch some fun-looking activity at several cute kiddie rides, I then ride a couple of small roller coasters, including the Jaguar (fun) and the Coast Rider (boring). Fortunately, the Side Winder, a wild-mouse type coaster, which zips long while spinning, is a blast. (Knott’s newest roller coaster, Hang-Time, will not be ready for a few weeks.)
It’s time for Camptivities at Camp Snoopy Theatre -- with Charlie Brown, Lucy, and Snoopy. Charlie and Lucy come out, hand most of the kids some small props, and lead them in song. Next, similar to “Simon Says,“ Charlie Brown plays “Charlie Brown says” with all the kids. Snoopy then enters for some additional entertainment. The entire show is for parents and small children, but we enjoy it enough.
I now ride the relaxing Wave Swinger (similar to the Silly Symphony Swings at Disney). Fun!
We wonder back to the Ghost Town area. We enter the cool-looking Bottle House, constructed mainly of bottles – we love it. Next in Ghost Town is the Calico Saloon Show. Unfortunately, seating is surprisingly limited so we end up mostly standing. We get some refreshments, including a Boysenberry Beer that has no boysenberry flavor at all . The show is a western comedy centered upon a forlorn courting couple arguing over commitment. I thought it was pretty funny . My wife not so much.
The last show we are to see today is the “Mystery Lodge.” We enter the pre-show and sit in the back, enjoying the A/C. The preshow discusses the Native Americans in the area from decades ago. Hmm, I thought this was going to be some kind of “whodunnit.” Well, the main show is an elder, audio-animatronic Native American giving a long monologue about his memories and the importance of family, which included some brief special effects such as lightning and fire. Ok, an important message, but not at all what we were expecting – overall quite disappointing.
Last ride for the day is the Big Foot Rapids. I ride alone; it’s fairly long and quite enjoyable with no water damage . We all then head out of the park and stop at a big gift shop outside the entrance. I get some boysenberry cookies; my daughter gets some boysenberry jam.
Overall, we certainly enjoyed Knott’s Berry Farm. However, we probably would not go back again any year soon – just not enough for my family to do, and the shows are not so repeat worthy.
The 5:30 bus is right on time. A relaxing ride gets us back to the hotel by about 6:00.
After about an hour break, we head to Downtown Disney for our evening meal at Naples Restaurant e Pizzeria. We are waiting for indoor first floor seating, but we end up upstairs and outside . View is better, but it is breezy and a bit cool. They bring over this big heater but near the end of our meal, it is too hot; my face is getting flush with heat. I had the BBQ chicken pizza, absolutely delicious . My wife enjoyed a margherita pizza, and my daughter enjoyed a pepperoni pizza.
Afterwards, my family heads back to the hotel. I hang around downtown and go check out the Downtown Disneyland Bandstand. It’s a country band this time, and although I’m not a big country fan, I liked their songs and the energy of their set. Next, I stopped at Splitsville for their band duo and some refreshments, and then called it a night.
We went to Knott’s Berry Farm exactly one time when we lived in LA. Back then pricing was comparable to a one day DL ticket, but the park really couldn’t compare. I often wondered how they remain in business being so close to DL.
Today we go to both Disney Parks again. This is our last full day, as we leave early tomorrow morning for home.
A nice breakfast again at Captain Kidd’s and we cross the street to the Disney entrance. We head to the Disneyland Park and are through the turnstiles a little before 8:00. Today we are using our one Extra Magical Hour that come with the 5-Day Parkhopper.
First up is Hyperspace Mountain. I love this ride . As I said earlier the bigger vehicles, theming, and sound track make this a much better ride than the WDW version.
We wander through Fantasyland, and head to the Storybook Land Canal Boats. Line is moderate, but it takes about 30 minutes to be aboard. It’s a gentle boat ride through various miniature scenes from Disney movies – we all enjoy it , especially since there is nothing equivalent at WDW.
While the ladies shop, I watch the vibrant Disneyland Marching Band. They play Disney-themed songs of course, and Belle and the Beast drop in for a brief dance. Quite a collections of instruments and it’s all very special.
We backtrack to Adventureland so I can ride the Indiana Jones Adventure. It’s new to me so I am really looking forward to it. It’s certainly fun and very well themed, but I don’t find it quite as exciting as I was hoping.
Now, we all head to Fantasy Faire for the Beauty and the Beast show. Just like the Tangled show we saw here earlier in the trip, the focus is on the humorous aspects with quirky modifications of the plot. We love it!
We go back to Main Street and visit the Main Street Cinema. It’s hard to tell if it’s open, but we squeeze past the faux ticket booth and find ourselves in a large room with Disney cartoon films playing on all the walls. We all pick out different ones to watch for a while – all good fun.
Time for lunch at Plaza Inn on Main Street. We get there at 11:45 and there is a big line. Oh, it doesn’t open until noon. We’re a bit concerned about the line, but once it opens, it moves quite fast since it’s cafeteria-style service. All 3 of us had the Plaza Inn Specialty Chicken with mashed potatoes, biscuits, and vegetables -- and the food, especially the chicken, was marvelous! Décor was beautiful. We wish we could have sat closer to the windows, but those seats were all reserved (I believe for Disney hotel guests).
Some brief shopping, and the family heads back to the hotel. I walk to the California Adventure Park to get paper FastPasses for Midway Mania. On the way out, I stop and again watch the lively jazz act, Five & Dime – so good!
Back at the hotel, I try to get all my stuff together to start packing for the trip home tomorrow. I don’t want to wait until late tonight.
At 4:00, we head back to the California Adventure Park. We ride Toy Story Midway Mania and my daughter get best in vehicle again – no surprise. I actually had my best score of the trip.
We eat at Smokejumpers Grille. I have the BBQ Jackfruit Sandwich with bear paw slaw, pickles and crispy onions, my wife has the Cheeseburger, and my daughter has the Bacon Cheeseburger. We all love our food.
Afterwards, I ride the Grizzly River Run. This time it does not go as well and a big wave of water hits my left side. I never get completely dry the rest of the evening. Oops.
My family heads off to ride the Monsters Inc taxi ride again, but I am going to the Anaheim Gardenwalk to see the magician, Kip Berry. (My family does not want to see it.) When I get to the Anaheim Gardenwalk, there is a “big event” going on. It’s open to the public if you have a ticket. But if you don’t, then you are grilled about where you are going and then you are escorted through the event to get to other shops or venues. What a hassle. (It’s even worse coming back.)
Well anyway, I still make it to the magic shop on time for the pre-show. I sit, receive the free popcorn , and watch these funny gag videos for about 30 minutes. It turns out there are only 3 of us here to see the show!? Magician Kip Berry steps out and personally thanks all three of us for coming tonight. He also says last night’s show was sold out. I’m skeptical, but OK . The show is comedic and fun with some interesting props and great sleight of hand. Of course he needs audience volunteers, so we all get to participate in that. Overall, it’s quite enjoyable. I chat with Kip afterwards and he is very personable and down-to-earth. All in all, an interesting adventure.
I manage to get to the House of Blues without being hassled by the “big event.” I see HOB has a small live band – great! But, just as I’m ready to sit down, they announce their last song. Good grief . I decide to go back to Downtown Disneyland to check out some music. To get out of the Anaheim Marketplace, I have to cut through the parking garage, take and elevator, and still cut through the event. (My hand is stamped from the first escort through earlier. I should have tried grabbing some food .)
At Downtown Disneyland, I first go to the see what music the Downtown Disneyland Bandstand has. Alas, it’s a rap group. Some kids are liking it. I cover my ears and walk away quickly . I end up at a now familiar place, the patio at Splitsville. The band duo is good and, as recommended by the waitress, I try a couple of Fig & Berries margaritas – excellent!
Well time to call it a day – another great day!
(In a couple days, I will post the trip home and a brief recap of overall thoughts.)