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 The software our forums run on is just too out-of-date and it poses a significant security risk.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’ll backtrack a bit here and start with the night before we headed out, because I think some explanation is called for. Everything was going very well with the preparations up until then. The woman I car share with was very impressed with everything I’d got done to date, but I wasn’t quite done.
I had a horrible realisation as I was talking to her that day that I hadn’t actually ordered our Go Chicago cards. I had meant to and had honestly thought that I’d done it the previous weekend, but then it hit me. I meant to do it… did I? No, I didn’t. Guess what I ended up doing that evening? And actually this forgetfulness turned out to be a good thing. I went to order my three day card and what did I find? There was a 15% discount on it, taking it down from $110 to $93. Not bad going.
The other horrible realisation came, as usual, when we came to pack the cases. It was all going so well until we got to the big case out of the three we were planning to take. The other two were coming in well below the 23kg limit that would be imposed on us for the JetBlue and Southwest flights inside the US (Virgin Atlantic are much more generous and give a 32 kg limit). The first was just 14 kg, perhaps the lightest case we’ve ever packed and the other was 21 kg. The big one though was a different matter. It came in at 26 or 27 kg, not even fully packed. We tried decanting it into the other two cases, but that just wasn’t working too well, so in the end the decision was taken to ditch the big case and take two small ones instead. That would mean a full compliment of four cases for the two of us, but my goodness, it was definitely the right thing to do. All four cases came in way under the weight limits, but looking at them stacked up in the hall that night…
… it did cross my mind that was a lot to carry with us to five different parts of America, on two international flights, three internal flights and a lengthy car journey. Still, that was what we ended up with.
And by then, it was about 10pm and definitely time to head to bed, as the taxi would be picking us up at 4.30am in the morning…
Thursday 16 October – part one: the weather’s not meant to be like this!
The alarm went off at 3.55am and I wasn’t impressed. It wasn’t Mickey and Stitch yet and, to my mind, that’s what I want to hear when I’m being woken up at that time of the morning.
We were quickly up and about and I took the opportunity to quickly log on to the boards and finish some last minute jobs that had been forgotten about – a chance remark from Mark about how poor one of the plants at the front of the house was looking reminded me that they needed watering. Quick save… then our taxi was there nice and early.
No worries about fitting all the luggage in. We’ve used this company before and they obviously know us very well, as he turned up in a huge people carrier, so there was no problem with getting all four cases and the hand luggage in, as well as us! An hour later and we were at Heathrow Airport. Unfortunately, at 5.30am, there aren’t many things open and that appeared to include bag drop for Virgin Atlantic, as one rather snotty employee told us. Apparently it didn’t open until 6am.
I took that opportunity to go and double check on some of the cream I needed to take with me for my lips to see if it would be OK to go through security and they couldn’t thank me enough for checking. One, the prescription cream and therefore the more important one, was fine to go through, while the other had to go into the case, which I did. We then noticed that they had opened up bag drop, not with the snotty lady, but two other ones and we were quickly seen, all bags weighed and checked in and we were off through security.
The other side, we discovered that about the only thing open that early was the duty free shop and, despite the fact that the airport website claimed that TGI Friday was due to open at 6am, it didn’t. We had another half hour to wait beyond that, so we wandered round the shops, as some started to open at 6am, but to be honest, there really wasn’t much to see at all. It’s pretty poor, compared to Gatwick, which we usually fly from.
Once TGI Friday opened up, we were in there and ordered breakfast, but that wasn’t straightforward. We were told that the steak and eggs were off, as was the egg muffin that I fancied the look of. Well, that meant I’d just have to go for the pancakes and maple syrup. I was not impressed when our server, who was very sweet, came back to say the pancakes were also off. Fortunately, it turned out that it was the maple syrup they had run out of, not pancakes, so at Mark’s suggestion, we compromised and I had pancakes and honey. Different and not bad, but maple syrup would’ve been better.
Another hour or so browsing the shops and passing the time reading and then our gate number was up. For once, it was one of the nearest ones – this just never happens to us. We quickly got seats and settled down to wait again and we had quite a wait, as we didn’t start boarding until 9.25am and we were due to leave five minutes later. Having said that, everyone was quickly on board and they pulled out all the stops to get us airborne as quickly as they could and we were off to the runway just 15 minutes late. Pretty good going.
We were travelling Premium Economy again – we are now spoilt officially. This is the way to fly.
Exchanging our fruit and cheese
The donkeys attached to my suitcase that travel everywhere with us!
As well as breakfast and lunch, which was excellent, we also watched a couple of films – Vantage Point, which we loved. I was especially taken by the thrills and spills in it and would love to see the full screen version at some point. Mark went for Hancock for his second movie, while I went very upmarket with Kung Fu Panda. Well, why not? We also both managed to get some sleep in, which was no bad thing, as we’d been up at the equivalent of 10.55pm last night New York time and we probably wouldn’t be getting to bed much before 8pm or 9pm tonight, so that would be 24 hours on the go.
The flight was pretty smooth, with just a couple of patches of turbulence and we had a very attentive and pleasant cabin crew, who did a very good job of looking after us.
We touched down about 25 minutes late, but soon made up for that, as we speeded through immigration. The second the guy asked us if this was our first visit to the States and we told him no, it was the 12th for me and the 11th for Mark, he was fine with us and we were through.
We only waited a few minutes for our four cases and then they all appeared very close together and we were off. We got a taxi and headed into New York City texting Sue, Sharon and Angie on the way. We quickly had a call from Angie to say that she was in the city and would be at our hotel in about 15 minutes. It took us another 25 minutes or so to get there and, on the way, we got some lovely glimpses of Manhatten.
As we neared the hotel, I did wonder about the neighbourhood that we were in. However, it seemed to be more 29th Street than anything else and we wouldn’t be walking along long stretches of it, so I figured it would be fine.
No Angie when we arrived, so w checked in and our room was ready, thank goodness, as we were tired and just wanted to put our cases down. Our room was 1116 on the 11th floor and it was small, as you’d expect in New York. You opened the door and it immediately hit something behind it, which was just like the last time we stayed in the city. Still, it was nice enough and with the air conditioning on, it gave us some respire from the heat and humidity. Yes, you read that right. It was so humid today. It had hit us the second we had got out of JFK and it was quite a surprised to us, as we weren’t expecting that sort of weather here.
The view from the room was pretty cool with a glimpse of the Empire State Building to the right.
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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?
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I'll catch up on the PTR as I read this one!
Early in the morning or late at night in an airport.... you'd think at least the restaurants would be open so you could sit down with a cup of coffee or tea.
nice start, Cheryl!