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 The software our forums run on is just too out-of-date and it poses a significant security risk.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've been starting up one trip report just after finishing another, so it seems fitting to get going on my Alaska Pre-Trip Report.
The story behind the title to this thread:
"90" is the number of days until we leave for what we hope will be an incredible visit to Alaska.
"60" is how old I'll be just after we arrive in Alaska. This trip is my birthday present - originally booked by my DH (Lou), but now the planning is up to me.
"30" is approximately how many days we'll be spending in Alaska ...
The majority of our time will be spent onboard a small ship cruising through the Inner Passages. We will be sailing with Un-Cruise Adventures (Innerseas Discoveries & American Safaris). We are booked on the Ultra Adventure - 21 nights. This itinerary is actually 3 x 1 week cruises.
Week No. 1: Juneau to Ketchikan: Inner Reaches Eastern Coves
Week No. 2: Ketchikan to Juneau: Inner Reaches Western Coves
Week No. 3: Juneau to Sitka: Northern Passages & Glacier Bay
Week No. 4; Land Package: Fairbanks to Denali by Train, 2 Nights in Kantishna/Denali, Train to Anchorage
We'll be on the Wilderness Discoverer for the first two weeks, then switching to the Wilderness Explorer. Both ships hold 76 passengers and these are billed as "Adventure Cruises" - meaning accommodations and meals should be fine, but it's not a luxury liner.
A photo from the Un-Cruise website of the Wilderness Discoverer:
I'll fill in more details on our plans in the upcoming weeks. But a brief explanation of why I'm starting this PTR early. 1st, of course, is to get ideas from other PassPorters about plans for Alaska. 2nd is a selfish one; I've committed to getting in better shape for this trip. After reading the inspirational stories of our Disney Runners here, I've started the "Couch to 5K" training program.
I won't be doing any 5K runs in Alaska (and maybe never), but I do want to be able to feel comfortable hiking. My fitness level has deteriorated over the years; it's easy to blame it on a bad knee; but the fact is, I've just been lazy. I push myself when on a trip (like to Disney World), and notice I actually feel better when I get home than I do after a week of being a couch potato. So, it's time to do something about it.
By putting my commitment to the C25K program here in writing, I hope it will add that extra incentive. I'll give regular updates on my progress, but will spare you the details (that is, this won't be a diary of a runner...) In fact, I may be doing more walking than running - but at least I will be off the couch! Have shoes, ready to go:
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This sounds like a dream vacation. Being on one of the smaller ships and able to get in close to the shore should be incredible. Congratulations on your fitness program! Looking forward to hearing more details of the trip.
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Thanks, everyone! We are very excited about the trip.
Real Life Update: Our 7am flight from Phoenix to Florida was cancelled today. After we were all on board (got up at 4am to make the flight), they announced the flight was cancelled due to maintenance issues. The pilot announced " You'll need to get off the plane and check with the gate agent to see what the plan is ... If there is a plan." There was no plan. They passed out tickets with the 800 number on it for people to change their reservations.
We are now booked to leave at noon, going to Jacksonville, Florida - a 4.5 hr drive from our house. But, that's where Natasha is, so we will rent a car and drive home tomorrow, saving our friends the drive. It could be worse - we could have been stuck on the Carnival Cruise like those poor souls on the Triumph.
The most recent photo of Natasha - sent by "Aunt Kathy." She appears to be enjoying her visit.
This debacle confirms our choice to fly to Juneau 2 days before our cruise departs...
Departure Travel Plans:
May 16th, Thursday: Depart Bangor, Maine at 8:30am; Arrive Juneau, Alaska at 9:30pm
Travel time will be about 16 hrs from Maine to Juneau, taking into account the time zone changes. We will have two nights in Juneau at the Goldbelt Hotel, with one full day for sightseeing.
No definite plans for Juneau - see the Mendenhall Glacier, ride the Mt. Roberts Tramway, walk around town - all subject to weather and jetlag. Also hoping to score a good dinner, preferably Alaskan Halibut.
May 18th, Saturday: Board the Wilderness Discoverer on Saturday afternoon.
We are booked in an Explorer cabin, which is on the top deck and has a bit more room than the middle and lower deck cabins. From the photos on the website, it appears to be basic, but spacious. No private veranda, but both the large window open, as well as the door that goes directly out onto the top deck for better viewing.
The first week's cruising plan looks like this (more details to come later):
Coming Up Next: How we came to select this Adventure
Sorry about the flight cancelation-- you'll be exhausted when you get home, but you and Natasha will be home!
Definitely a good idea to schedule your flight well in advance of the cruise departure. Bangor is easier to get out of than Owls Head (which is where I always flew from when I lived in Camden) because it has less fog, but flying is always risky for delays. The cabin looks very spacious and light. I love the look of your itinerary for the first week. The hook you take going through the fjords and Rudyerd Bay behind Ketchikan is where I sailed on an excursion and it was absolutely beautiful. Definitely something you couldn't do on a larger cruise ship.
Laurie - I hope the smaller ship works to our advantage. There don't seem to be many flight options out of Owl's Head. Bangor is definitely closer than Portland.
We arrived in Dallas at 3:30pm - now waiting for our 6:30pm flight to JAX. The good news is, there's no where we have to be at a certain time. And, the airport has free wi-fi. I'm entertaining myself reading Frommer's Alaska.