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 The software our forums run on is just too out-of-date and it poses a significant security risk.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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Battered, bruised, and a little bit intoxicated - a Transatlantic Crossing updated 02/13/18
Well, I never got around to doing a PTR, but I am going to give every effort to a TR now that weíre home.
So, just some details to get this started.
Me: Iím Colleen, 51 years old, and this was my 10th DCL cruise (hello, Platinum status!). I love Disney, but lately, think I may enjoy cruising more than trips to the World. Things there have just gotten too crowded, too expensive, and too complicated to prepare for. Plus, itís easier on my DH to cruise, for reasons Iíll explain shortly.
My travel partner, and life partner, Mike: 54 years old, and a true kid at heart. Mike has some health issues that have made any kind of travel more of a challenge. He passes out with no warning, somewhere between 6 and 10 times a month now. Weíve seen every specialist under the sun, and there is no explanation for this, which also means thereís no tried and true treatment. (And I am not looking for any suggestions of ailments at this point, believe me, weíve exhausted everything, and thatís not it. )
We have been DVC members since 2004, and now have 600 points. Our kids are now 21 and 17, with the older one in his third year of college, and the younger one in her senior year of high school. Over the summer our son had an internship (paid!) and our daughter had a Scouting trip sailing around the Virgin Islands, so a summer trip wasnít really in the cards for us. After a lot of debate, Mike & I decided weíd use our points to do the Westbound Transatlantic Cruise! It meant leaving our daughter on her own for a fairly extended time, but weíd left her on her own last year for just under a week and she did fine. We reasoned that sheíll be leaving for college soon, and giving her a bit more responsibility wasnít a bad thing. Plus, sheís a good kid and we trust her. (And we have neighbors and friends we knew would be keeping tabs on her!)
So, we knew the dates of the cruise (Sept 16-27), and that weíd need to find our way to Barcelona by the 16th, and home from New York City on the 27th.
We started looking at lots of one way flight options, and in doing so, came up with a bit of a detour to start the trip. Iceland!!! Having read Cherylís two TRís from their time in Iceland, and hearing from a few friends whoíd been, we were anxious to see it for ourselves. And we didnít know if weíd ever have a time where weíd go there on its own (although weíve changed that thought after our visit - but Iím getting ahead of myself here).
We also wanted a few days in Barcelona prior to sailing. Mike had never been, but Iíd been to Barcelona in 2012 when I was chaperoning my sonís soccer team and they went to Italy & Spain to play in some tournaments. I loved Barcelona, and wanted more time to see some of the things I missed on my first trip.
So, after the initial planning, hereís the general itinerary of our trip:
Monday, Sept 11: Fly from DC to Reykjavik
Sept 12: Explore Iceland
Sept 13: More exploration, prior to flight to Barcelona
Sept 14 & 15: Barcelona
Sept 16: Embarkation day!
Sept 17: At sea
Sept 18: Cadiz, Spain
Sept 19: Lisbon, Portugal
Sept 20: at sea
Sept 21: Ponta Delgada
Sept 22 & 23: at sea
Sept 24: St. Johnís, Newfoundland, Canada
Sept 25 & 26: at sea
Sept 27: Arrive New York City
Since we live in Washington DC, it was easier/less expensive/faster for us to just take the train home, so we booked that as well.
So, thatís the general outline of the trip. Weíve been home a week and I have yet to find time to download pictures from my camera, but hope to get to that SOON. Iím a little nervous about finding a photo platform that will work with the TR - in the past Iíve used Photobucket, but I do know thatís no longer an option. So, I guess itís time for me to try my hand at Flickr.
Yay - I am so pleased that you're doing this! I obviously know some bits and pieces from Facebook, but I can't wait to hear all the details.
I finally decided to bite the bullet and do it, as I was reading your Scotland report this morning, knowing just how much work it is to do these, but then thinking about how much I enjoy reading them. And besides, a lot of my trip is thanks to you and your Iceland TRís, as well as the various transatlantic TRís Iíve read over the years (Principessa and Dr Dolphin - Melanie and Terry - come to mind). Figured itís payback time for me.
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OK, here's hoping I may have figured out the picture thing.....
So, let's start back at our flights. Iceland air runs pretty inexpensive flights between DC and Europe, and they allow up to a 7 day stay in Iceland on the way. So that was the first place we looked. However, we found they don't fly directly from Iceland to Barcelona, so the idea of using them to break up the flight into 2 shorter legs was defeated. I was so disappointed, as I had my heart set on stopping in Iceland. I decided to keep looking, and at some point I had the realization that I wasn't looking for roundtrip, since we'd be ending in New York, and that gave me an idea! I could look at one way tickets from DC to Iceland, and then one way tickets from Iceland to Barcelona - and they didn't have to be on the same carrier!
I should insert here that we asked about doing air through DCL, and were quoted $1400 per person for the air from DC to Barcelona..... OUCH!
After looking at millions (or seemingly so) of options, we settled on Iceland air to Reykjavik, and then WOW air to Barcelona. For those two flights, for two of us, the total fare was about $900! Versus the $2800 we'd pay with DCL - sold!
September 11 was travel day - a little strange given the anniversary, and more so when we realized we'd fly right over Gander, Newfoundland - where so many flights were grounded on September 11, 2001. But I'm a big believer in fate, so didn't let the date bother me.
My mom dropped us at the airport around 10:30 am - more than enough time for our 2 pm flight, but she had to drop us before she went to work. That was OK with us, as we'd always prefer to be early. We found out the fact that we have TSA pre-check is meaningless if we use a non-US carrier, so that was also a factor - we thought it would take ages to clear through security......Nope. Not even close. We were dropped at the curb of Dulles at 10:30, and by 11 am we'd found our gate!! So in that half hour we checked our bags, cleared security, took the train to our terminal and walked to the gate.
We decided to have some lunch, and given how much time we had, we opted for a sit down. We went to Wolfgang Pucks. We wanted to make sure DH had eaten more protein than carbs, so he had the meatloaf with mashed potatoes and vegetables on the side. I had a chicken burger and a salad. Both were DELICIOUS! I thought I had pictures, but maybe I took those on my phone? Anyway, the meal was perfect, and best of all, it killed a fair amount of time.
We made our way back to our gate and found an outlet so we could make sure our electronics were all fully charged. We loved the gate we were at, and I don't know if the airline chooses the music, or the airport does, but it was all 80's music! At one point, a good percentage of those at the gate were singing along to whatever song was playing.
We'd purposely selected seats fairly far back on the plane, so we'd be near the bathrooms. DH has passed out on a plane before, and that causes a lot of excitement that we hoped to avoid. Making sure he doesn't have far to walk from his seat to the bathroom is important. When we'd checked in, they'd given the option for us to move closer to the front of the plane but we declined, assuming the front bathrooms were for first class passengers. As we were waiting at the gate, the crew that had been working check in at the main terminal came over to our gate to handle boarding (I guess Iceland Air doesn't have a huge staff at Dulles). The person who'd checked us in came over to let us know there WAS a bathroom at the front of the coach seating area, and said she'd gone ahead and moved us up front. How nice of her!!! (We were traveling with a wheelchair, so it was clear we needed extra assistance)
Before long, we were boarding the plane - we were able to get on during pre-board. As you entered the plane, the flight attendants were handing out bottled water, and were so friendly in their welcomes. Great start!
We'd been given the option to pre-order our food for our flight at a discounted price, so that's what I'd done. The choices weren't very extensive, and I was trying not to have only carbs, but some protein as well. But I also figured we were eating prior to the flight, and the flight was only 5 1/2 hours, so we didn't need much.
I ended up selecting 2 of each Skyr yogurt (made in Iceland, and HEAVENLY!!!), and the ham & cheese baguette. P1000001 by Colleen McLain, on Flickr
I'd kind of hoped we could pick when they'd serve us, but alas, no. Service started an hour or so after we'd taken off. The sandwiches were warm and smelled SO good! I thought about waiting until I was hungry to eat it, but the smell won out. I did wait a little longer to have the yogurt, though. P1000003 by Colleen McLain, on Flickr P1000004 by Colleen McLain, on Flickr
We had lots of entertainment options to choose from - TV shows, movies, and some "commercials" for Iceland. I watched all the Iceland information first, as I found that helpful and informative, and got me even more excited for the couple of days we'd have there. Then I watched a couple of movies but forgot to write down what I'd watched and now I don't remember. Sorry!
Before we knew it, we were ready to land in Reyjkavik!
NEXT: Will we find a way to get out of the jetway?! :EEK: