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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 The software our forums run on is just too out-of-date and it poses a significant security risk.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.

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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 -- 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, 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 . 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!

Best wishes for a wonderful and magical new year!

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Old 10-09-2004, 11:39 AM   #1
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IllumiNations Cruises: A Truly Remarkable Experience

by Mary Albright, Guest Columnist and Disney Addict

Showing nightly at Epcot, IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth is, oddly enough, an almost unearthly experience. Since the Millennium Celebration, people have poured into the World Showcase to witness this firework and laser light show which tells the story and progression of mankind. It isn't uncommon to see people staking out prime spots two hours in advance of the show.

Since my daughter's seventh birthday fell during our trip, I wanted to do something special. Rather than fight the crowds for this popular show, I decided I would try to secure an IllumiNations Cruise.

continued in the next post...
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Old 10-09-2004, 11:42 AM   #2
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Re: IllumiNations Cruises: A Truly Remarkable Experience

What is an IllumiNations Cruise, you may ask? There are five boats that can be reserved each night. Four pontoon boats seat up to 10 adults (12 people total) and The Breathless speedboat seats fewer. These boats dock under the bridge between United Kingdom and France in the World Showcase, offering a unique unobstructed view of IllumiNations.

The beauty of this arrangement is you don't have to stake out a prime spot hours before hand. But you also pay for the privilege. It costs $120 per boat.

I happened to find a few friends on the DISboards who were at Walt Disney World during our stay, so we all decided to go together and share a boat. We met at the Yacht & Beach Club Marina around 8:00 pm. Our captain, Aaron, explained that we would leave no earlier than 8:15 pm and that all children under 12 would be required to wear a life jacket. We had three children in our group and that was no problem. We suited up the kids and boarded our pontoon boat. Aaron had thoughtfully draped the seats with towels so we all wouldn't stick to the seat covering.

We then took a tour around Crescent Lake, while Aaron pointed out some of his favorite places around the boardwalk. He was quite a character and very entertaining, full of stories about the resorts. After touring Crescent Lake, we headed down the waterway towards Disney-MGM Studios, passing by The Swan and Dolphin resorts and The BoardWalk Villas.

It was so relaxing to just sit on the boat on a nice evening, talking with our new cyber friends, not worrying about where we needed to camp for a great view of IllumiNations. The kids started singing the theme from Pirates of the Caribbean as we floated down to Disney Studios. Everyone on the boat had the same silly grin as they listened.

After turning around at Disney Studios, we headed back down the waterway, into Crescent Lake and under the bridge between United Kingdom and France. All the pontoon boats tie up to each other, and those near the bridge supports tie in there as well, so the boats don't move.

Aaron and the other captains asked if there were any birthdays on board. We pointed out our daughter. He said, "You see those torches?" (Referring to the torches around the World Showcase Lagoon). She nodded. "Those are your birthday candles for tonight. When I say go, you blow real hard and see if you can blow them out." Of course, when the time came to start IllumiNations, he gave my daughter the signal, she (and the other birthday people) blew and, magically, the torches blew out.

IllumiNations from the water was just breathtaking. I had seen it before, and the story grabs me each and every time. But from the water, the view made the experience for me. I highly recommend that anyone who can experience an IllumiNations Cruise do so.

How to secure an IllumiNations Cruise?

It's just as hard as getting a priority seating for the Cinderella's Royal Table character breakfast. Start calling at 90 days out from the date you want. If possible, have some alternate dates in mind, because this event seriously sells out fast. I was on hold early but by 7:02am, all boats were gone for a Monday night in November. Lucky for us, my husband had a faster speed dial. Here are the steps:

*Call 407-WDW-PLAY
*Immediately Press 5
*Stay on hold. Once you get in the queue, you have a better chance than if you redialed again.
*As soon as you get a cast member, tell them you want an 8pm Specialty Cruise and hope to see IllumiNations.
*You will need a credit card to hold the reservation, but you can pay however you like the night of the cruise. There is a 48 hour cancellation policy.

If you don't get a cruise the first day, continue to call back. The cast members themselves encourage this as they get cancellations all the time. Another option is to try and share a cruise with some other visitors. Some message boards (including PassPorter) have trip planning forums where you can see who else may be traveling the same time as you. Good luck and happy cruising!

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Old 10-09-2004, 06:00 PM   #3
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Re: IllumiNations Cruises: A Truly Remarkable Experience

My husband, son and I are going to be in WDW Nov 28-Dec2 if anyone is interested in sharing a boat, I know it's late to try to get a reservation but I hear that is a very slow week.
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Old 10-11-2004, 09:33 PM   #4
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Re: IllumiNations Cruises: A Truly Remarkable Experience

I have a pontoon booked for 12/1/04 if you want to join us. My group has 3 adults, and my travel agent has already found another group of 3 to join us (2 adults and 1 child). We were hoping to find another group of 3.
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Old 10-12-2004, 12:42 PM   #5
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Re: IllumiNations Cruises: A Truly Remarkable Experience

Have been trying to make reservation for Thursday, August 21st which is my 21st wedding anniversay. We have 4 adults, 2 children and 1 infant in our party. Arrive on the 16th and leave morning of the 23rd. Only evening plans Mon 18th and Wed 20th (MNSSHP). Staying at OKW. Anyone out there need some company?
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Old 11-02-2004, 12:05 PM   #6
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Re: IllumiNations Cruises: A Truly Remarkable Experience

How cool is the trip since it's over water in October? I was thinking about the trip, but I have a 1 year old. Would it be too cool for her?
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Old 11-04-2004, 10:17 PM   #7
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Re: IllumiNations Cruises: A Truly Remarkable Experience

October in Florida? It's not New England. The average high is 85, the average low is 65. Even in November, the averages are a high of 79, low of 59. Around Michigan, we'd call that summertime weather. Certainly it can get cooler, and you should be prepared for a cool breeze on the water, but it's nothing an extra blanket can't fix.
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Old 11-05-2004, 11:50 PM   #8
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Re: IllumiNations Cruises: A Truly Remarkable Experience

Let me just add a comment. I wanted to book an Illuminations cruise for my DH's birthday. I was too late. Instead I booked a Celebrations cruise which held the 11 of us, and gave us a wonderful vantage point for watching Wishes. My thanks to the CM who suggested this.
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