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 The software our forums run on is just too out-of-date and it poses a significant security risk.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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It's been a while since I've really done a trip report, and after feeling awful for having to cancel our intended WDW trip this past June because of the extended school year (too many snow & cold days), unexpected car repairs and life in general, we finally decided to make several "mini vacations"
The main cast of characters:
Me, Melissa, planner, over-analyzer and "cruise" director as my husband jokingly refers to me. I work two part time jobs, and hold down the fort for our three kiddos. I also turn 41 mid-adventures
Brian, aka "Coach" who values family vacations because he never really had any growing up - one trip to WDW when he was five, and several trips to his grandparents cottages in the Irish Hills of Michigan and in Canada. He was really bummed about Disney and not very excited about our replacement park, Cedar Point, because he's not a "ride" person That changes by the way.
Nolan, 9. He has two trips to WDW under his belt and is avidly saving and planning for a return trip next summer. He LOVES to read - and LOVES anything about history, and science. The side trip he was looking forward to the most? Our trip to the Great Lakes Museum of Science in downtown Cleveland. He's a very cautious person and needs to study things before he decides to ride them. In fact, we had to carry him on to Peter Pan on our first WDW trip because he was afraid the ride would fly to high
Patrick, 6. He barely remembers his first trip to WDW, and still talks about the amazing pool at the Beach Club he experienced on our 2nd trip. He is my dare devil and will ride anything we let him. At 43 inches, he isn't going to be tall enough for the "big rides" at Cedar Point, but can't wait to try out the smaller roller coasters. He's also a Lego nut - he can glance through the instruction booklet, close it and build from memory.
Cullen, 4. He doesn't remember much about our WDW trips. He has been diagnosed with PDD -NOS, and a pretty significant language delay in the area of expressive speech. His receptive language is "off the charts" according to his doctors, and his hearing beyond perfect - equivalent to someone with 20/10 vision. Loud noises can prove problematic, as can over stimulation and changes in his schedule.
My younger two also have a severe milk protein allergy, so part of this report will be talking about how the various places we visit handle or accommodate not only the food allergies, but Cullen's special needs.
We had to plan our extravaganza in two separate trips because of my teaching schedule at the college. The first trip was over the July 4th holiday, and included Memphis Kiddie Park and The Great Lakes Science Center. the 2nd trip was July 31st - August 1st and focused on Cedar Point.
I've attached a more recent picture of the boys, taken at the start of the summer at our local swimming pool.
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We left home on July 2nd and it was H.O.T. - Florida hot with temps in the upper 80's in the morning. We had "the great debate" part 1 trying to decide which route to take. Generally, we travel up I-75 to Bowling Green, Ohio then head west on Route 6 weaving our way to Fremont and the Turnpike, but the winter had done a number on I-75 and from Shelby County through Lima, it was one, giant construction zone. Because I'd had to teach first, we weren't leaving until the afternoon, which meant we'd hit Columbus during rush hour if we traveled I-70 West to I-71 north. Finally, about ten minutes before we left, we decided to take our typical route because we knew we'd need to stop and feed the kiddos on the way.
Notice how I said it was hot? We left home wearing shorts and tank tops, but by the time we arrived in Cleveland 4 hours later, a cold front had moved through and the temps were in the upper 60's Luckily, I'd packed the kids and I sweatshirts and long pants. Coach refused stating it was July and because it was July, shorts and t shirts should only be worn.
The drive up was uneventful - minus the traffic delays on I-75 and we arrived at my parent's house around 6:30 that night.
Dad LOVES chalk art, and always makes a drawing for the boys that depicts something that we'll be doing. This time, he was most looking forward to fireworks on the 4th.
While Coach unpacked the Van, the boys rode their bikes and met the neighbor kids from across the street. It was an uneventful night and our first adventure was set to begin early the next morning.
Cool chalk art! How fun that your dad did that!
Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk 2
Originally Posted by lauriep
Your dad is great to do the chalk art to greet the kids! What a nice welcome.
Thanks! The boys really look forward to it and it helps them pass time once we swing off the turnpike onto I-90 for the last 30 minutes of our drive. They spend it speculating what Papa will have drawn for them
We woke up early on July 3rd, and unfortunately, my mom was really under the weather. She has a weak immune system after her most recent surgery this past winter - she'd had to have her thyroid removed after a routine screen showed a cancerous growth. My mom had already been through one bout with cancer in the fall of 2012, so I was really worried. We altered our plans for that day, and my Aunt came to take Mom to her doctor and we took Dad with us to the Science Museum. Why the split? Dad doesn't handle doctor visits with mom very well at all so it makes a tough situation even more stressful for everyone involved.
After Mom (aka Lala) and Aunt C. left for the clinic, we piled into the van and made the short drive to the Great Lakes Science Center. The boys were excited by the glimpses of the lake and of Downtown Cleveland. It was a gorgeous morning, though cool enough to feel like a really nice fall day.
As we drove, we decided to purchase just the general admission tickets. . General admission is $14 for adults, and $12 for youth ages 2-12. My Dad also qualified for the youth price using his Golden Buckeye Card. So, for the three adults and three children, it was $76 to enter for the day of fun. General admission also included the special Lego Travel Adventure Exhibit which was on loan from the Indianapolis Children's Museum.
There are several other ticket options which include an Omnimax movie and or the William G Mather Steamship Museum which is docked on the lake between the Science and Rock N Roll Hall of Fame Museums. We'd already visited the steamship on an earlier trip, and the boys had seen the Omnimax movie, Islands of Lemurs of Madagascar, narrated by Morgan Freeman, at the zoo during the previous summer.
Parking can create a bit of confusion - particularly if there are events happening downtown. On this occasion, the Tall Ships were also in port, and the Indians had a home game. The lot attached to the museum was charging $15, but we were able to get our parking validated for a reduced rate with our museum admission for $8.00 on that visit. This was a bargain considering other lots nearby were charging $20.00.
The parking lot does connect to the basement of the museum and this began our confusion. It had been 7 years since I'd set foot in the museum and wasn't sure where to go. The first area we stumbled on in the basement was the Lego exhibit and the attendant told us we needed to go to the ticket counter to purchase our bands. Somehow we missed the signs and stumbled into the 2nd basement area - which is under construction as it is to become a S.T.E.M. high school. A kindly contractor helped us backtrack to the very LARGE escalator that we all somehow didn't notice.
After I purchased our wristbands, we had a bit of a wrestling match with Cullen because he didn't want to wear anything. We finally got him settled, banded up and entered the first exhibit. It was an interactive musical floor. As the kids stepped on the "white cells" they were working to make a "person" healthy.
The next nook we came to after destroying the germs, was a really cool exhibit on loan from the Glenn NASA research center in Cleveland. It showed the history of space exploration, had a life size model of Mercury One and had several displays of very large Moon rocks. There was also a station where you could try your hand at landing a space shuttle. We all tried, and failed miserably. It's a good thing I'm not in charge of space travel, my space shuttle ended up crashing.
Up next: Hands on activities and the "tiny tike" area