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 The software our forums run on is just too out-of-date and it poses a significant security risk.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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Feature Article - Signature Dining - Disney Dining at its Best
Signature Dining - Disney Dining at its Best by Cheryl Pendry
One of our great delights whenever we're at Walt Disney World (WDW) is enjoying the multitude of dining opportunities on offer. It's always interesting to see people's faces when we talk about the places that we've eaten, especially when it comes to Signature Dining. I can understand the confusion people feel – after all, WDW has four theme parks, so surely that must be a recipe for burgers, hot dogs and fries? Nothing could be further from the truth, if you know where to look. If you want fine dining at its best, then all you need to do is head to any of Disney's Signature restaurants, as they're now called. If you're on the Disney Dining Plan, eating at these places will cost two dining plan credits per person. Although it may not be the best possible use of your credits, it's something we love to do, knowing that we don't have to worry about the charge at the end of the meal, which can easily head into three figures, even for just the two of us.
The majority of the Signature Dining restaurants are located at Disney's deluxe resorts, with two exceptions. Cinderella's Royal Table in the Magic Kingdom is perhaps the one restaurant most out of keeping with the other Signature experiences, if only because the price you pay to dine there has just as much to do with the appearance of Disney princesses and its location in Cinderella Castle, as the food being offered. Sure, the food is very palatable here, but it's definitely not one of the better deals on the Dining Plan.
The other theme park signature eatery is the Hollywood Brown Derby at Disney's Hollywood Studios, and it too isn't the best value on the Dining Plan, coming in cheaper (on average) than most other Signature restaurants around Disney. Having said that, the atmosphere is wonderful here, taking you back to the golden era of Hollywood, with some wonderful dishes to sample, especially the famous Cobb salad, which everyone should try at least once. It's a real break from the park outside, taking you away to another era completely. To get an experience that really is away from it all, you're best heading for one of the resort Signature restaurants, and there are plenty to pick from, with the majority located at the resorts near to the Magic Kingdom. Perhaps the most spectacular is the California Grill, located on the 15th floor of the Contemporary Resort, offering stunning views towards the Magic Kingdom and over the Seven Seas Lagoon. One of the big draws here is being able to watch Wishes fireworks from your table, but don't worry if you can't get a coveted window seat, you can always stroll outside onto the balcony to watch it from there. The food here, as you'd expect from the name, is Californian and the main draws for us are the sushi and the flatbreads, although Valrhona chocolate cake is a particular favorite of mine as well!
Moving out towards Bay Lake, the next Signature restaurant you come to is Artist Point at the Wilderness Lodge. I think what I love most about this place is how homely and warm it feels, thanks to the beautiful dark woods here. It's also home to another famous dessert, the Artist Point Cobbler, made with berries and house made black raspberry ice cream, which is quite something to experience. Another famous dish here is the Cedar Plank Roasted Pacific King Salmon. If you're a fish lover, this is something you have to try. It's also the place to sample buffalo, something that doesn't appear on menus very often.
Taking a trip across the Seven Seas Lagoon, the Grand Floridian is the most exclusive resort on property and, as such, it's no surprise that it's home to two Signature restaurants. The first is Narcoosee's, which may take the prize for most romantic location, situated in a building just by the boat dock, offering beautiful views of the Magic Kingdom and Wishes. We adored the food here – the crab cakes and scallops still stick in my mind – but sadly we found it to be noisier than we would've liked.
The second is Citrico's, which blends the flavors of Florida and the Mediterranean. I'll be honest here, it's the only Signature restaurant at Disney which hasn't gelled with us to date. Our meal there wasn't good, but in fairness to it, I'm sure we'll give it another try one day, as I've heard very good reports from many others.
[Ed. - The Grand Floridian is also home to Victoria and Albert's, Disney's finest restaurant, which does not participate in the Disney Dining Plan, so it is not on the official list for Signature Dining.]
Another place that we didn't have a good experience with at first was the Flying Fish Cafe at the BoardWalk. Similarly to Citrico's, having heard nothing but wonderful things from other people, we gave it another shot and were similarly enchanted with it. As a non-meat eater, this place is wonderful for me, with the accent on fish. However, if you're not a fish eater, you'll still find plenty for you on the menu. I went for the Chef's Thunder recommendation, a group special menu items that change regularly. We were particularly impressed with the desserts here, which we felt were more unusual than are often on offer at Disney and again, these seem to change regularly.
Across from the BoardWalk, the next Signature dining location is the Yachtsman Steakhouse at the Yacht Club, and despite my fears, I was able to find plenty on the menu to keep me satisfied. The scallop appetizer was an absolute stand-out for both of us and my husband was in heaven, with so many meat choices in front of him. I found a fish and vegetarian choice on offer, although the menu changes regularly and both the items we enjoyed are no longer to be seen there. It very much reminded me of Artist Point in terms of setting, with beautiful mahogany wood everywhere, which again gave it a very homely feel.
The final Signature Dining restaurant on Disney property is Jiko at Animal Kingdom Lodge, which is very different to all the other offerings, with its accent on African food and wine. The flat breads and the soups here are superb, and there's a good choice of both meat and fish dishes on the menu. On both our visits here we've found it to have a quiet and relaxed atmosphere.
If you haven't yet sampled any of the Signature Disney restaurants, don't leave it too long, as all have something special to offer guests. To us, it wouldn't be a Disney vacation without a visit to at least one of these great restaurants.
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