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PASSPORTER NEWS

News, Announcements, Updates, and Tips

March 12, 2009 * Issue 9.11

PassPorter.com - http://www.passporter.com

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Welcome to PassPorter News, an online newsletter about PassPorter travel guidebooks, the Walt Disney World Resort, and Disney Cruise Line.

PassPorter News is available by free subscription to all readers and friends of our labor of love -- PassPorter Travel Guidebooks.
Learn all about them:
http://www.passporter.com/aboutpassporter.htm


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In This Newsletter:
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From the Authors: Decade of Dreams Meets Announced

Travel Feature: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Disney Feature: Amazing Disney Cruise Line

Updates: What's New and Changed

Tips: Pack That PassPorter, Make Room For Medicine, Overdosing on Disney,

Cool Links: Disney Stuff and Services

Captain's Corner: Lookin' Up

PassPorter PhotoPick: Downtown Disney - T-Rex Restaurant

Q and A: What is the minimum age for the cooking demonstrations on the Disney Cruise?

Our Sponsors: We Recommend...


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FROM THE AUTHORS: Decade of Dreams Meets Announced
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Hi, {{user('firstname')}}!

Decade of Dreams WDW Meet Schedule Posted
Our tentative listing of meets for the Walt Disney World segment of our Decade of Dreams tour is now online! Events things like "PassPorter's Sentimental Journey Quest," "Stardust Dinner at Cosmic Ray's," "In the Mood Lounge Meet at Port Orleans Riverside," and the "Goodnight Sweetheart Goodnight Wishes Fireworks." You can view it and leave ideas and comments at http://www.passporterboards.com/forums/passporters-decade-dreams-tour-headquarters/187340-tentative-walt-disney-world-meet-schedule-discussion.html

Decade of Dreams WDW Package Prices Lower!
We're pleased to report that the prices are now LOWER due to recent deals unearthed by the Decade of Dreams travel provider, Mouse Fan Travel. It's now a pretty amazingly great price ... and includes admission to our exclusive Fantasmic! Dessert Party and a Dream Pass to the PassPorter's Club, too! For example, you can now stay four nights at Disney's All Star Movies Resort for just $171 per person, based on double occupancy. To learn more, visit our Decade of Dreams Walt Disney World package page at http://www.passporter.com/decade-of-dreams.asp

New Weddings & Honeymoons E-Book
PassPorter's Disney Weddings & Honeymoons: Dream Days at Disney World and on Disney Cruises is a complete guide to planning a Disney wedding, and is based on Senior E-Book Editor Carrie Hayward's recent Walt Disney World wedding.

The 274-page e-book is now available for sale and immediate download in the PassPorter Store at just $7.95 (using our standard 15% discount). You can also use your regular coupon code as a newsletter subscriber (scroll to the bottom of this page for your code), message board member, registered owner of a PassPorter guidebook, etc. for an even better deal. The best deal of all goes to members of PassPorter's Club -- the e-book is available for no-cost download as a regular club membership benefit (now would be a great time to join)!

Broadway Evening in New York City
Alas, all theater tickets for our May 30 Broadway Evening in New York City are spoken for! We are maintaining a waiting list, in case someone can't join us as planned. If you're interested in being on the waiting list, please send e-mail to Dave at dave@passporter.com. The evening features the Saturday Evening performance of Disney's Mary Poppins at the New Amsterdam Theatre, but even if you can't join us for the show, you're welcome to join us before the show -- we'll be gathering to socialize and dine nearby the theater, starting at 5:30 pm. Visit our Decade of Dreams forum to join the New York City discussion and to let us know you're interested in joining us.

Disney Cruise Line in Pre-Order
The 2009 edition of PassPorter's Disney Cruise Line and its Ports of Call is now available for pre-order in the PassPorter Store! As always, this year's edition will be fully updated, including full port-of-call information for this year's Special Itinerary cruises, which will bring the Disney Magic to Tortola and St. Croix for the first time. We'll also take a peek ahead at the 2010 European itnineraries for the Magic. As always, the guidebook will be available in paperback, in a Deluxe Starter Kit in our popular six-ring binder, and as a refill kit for those who already have a PassPorter deluxe binder.

Decade of Dreams Tour Information
What is PassPorter's Decade of Dreams Tour? PassPorter is celebrating its 10th anniversary this year in a year-long celebration from coast-to-coast! Everyone is invited and all are warmly welcome to join us at all or part of our celebration. We are combining small parties (meets) with grand, multi-day trips, including a 7-night Disney Cruise, a 4-night stay at Walt Disney World, and a Disneyland visit. See our Tour Schedule for the latest details.


PassPorter's Club Update

In this issue, PassPorter Guest Contributor Ann Smith shares tips on Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Then PassPorter Guest Contributor Kim LaPaglia gives us a glimpse into Amazing Disney Cruise Line. Finally, Jack Skatt is back with a brand-new Walt Disney World Treasure Hunt.

Jennifer and Dave Marx
PassPorter Founders and Authors


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TRAVEL FEATURE: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
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by Ann Smith, PassPorter Guest Contributor

When a lot of people think of Pittsburgh, they think of a smoggy, smoke-filled steel city. That image is long gone along with the steel mills of the 1980s and has been replaced with a center of cultural and fun things to do in the city.

Pittsburgh is nicknamed "Three Rivers" due to the fact that the Ohio, Allegheny, and Monongahela rivers meet at a very picturesque point. First-time visitors from out of town are in awe of the beautiful skyline that greets them as they drive from the airport and come through the Liberty Tunnels. One of the focal points of this skyline is the Duquesne Incline. The Duquesne Incline is a cable car railway that scales Mount Washington. The Incline was originally built to carry cargo up Mt. Washington, now, it is primarily used as a tourist attraction and one cannot visit Pittsburgh without taking a ride on the Incline.

There are many things to do in Pittsburgh and the surrounding areas. Each part of town has its own unique characteristics. There is the South Side of Pittsburgh. South Side's Carson Street has an eclectic variety of shops and restaurants from the Cuckoo's Nest Magic Shop to Groovy's, where you can find all kinds of retro toys and clothes (I bought an old Osmond brothers lunch box there once), to Mario's pub, home of the yard-long beer glass.

Right across the river from the Incline is the North Shore (north side) of Pittsburgh where our sports stadiums are located - PNC Park where the Pittsburgh Pirates play baseball and Heinz Field where the Super Bowl champion Pittsburgh Steelers play football. To get to the north side from the South Side, you could walk or drive over one of the many bridges. Pittsburgh is second only to Venice in the number of bridges within the city limits – several hundred in fact! Another mode of transportation is to take one of the riverboats that are in operation year-round. During Steeler and Pirate games the riverboats transport fans to and from the games. The riverboats also offer scenic tours and dinner cruises as well as fun, kid-friendly cruises on weekends.

The North Side also is home to the Andy Warhol Museum, the Pittsburgh Children's Museum (which is housed in a turn-of-the century post office), the National Aviary (home of many endangered and exotic birds), and the Carnegie Science Center with its current exhibit, UPMC SportsWorks. The Science Center combines science and fun while the SportsWorks exhibit is all sports and fun! There is also a unique place called the Mattress Factory in the North Side. You'd think with a name like that, they made mattresses, right? Nope, it is a hands-on art museum!

Another bustling part of the city is Oakland (east end). The main population of Oakland consists of graduate and undergraduate students from the two main universities --Pittsburgh University and Duquesne University. Two main attractions are the Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium. The Pittsburgh Penguins also play hockey at the Civic Arena in Oakland.

I bet you're hungry after all this sightseeing! Let's lead over to the Strip district, and grab a bite to eat at Primanti Brothers restaurant, home of the famous Primanti sandwich. A Primanti sandwich is grilled meat (usually beef) on thick sliced Italian bread, topped with a mound of French fries, tomatoes and sweet and sour cole slaw.

I could never talk about Pittsburgh without including my neighborhood. I live in West Mifflin, which is in the South Hills of Pittsburgh. It's home to my second favorite amusement park in the world - Kennywood Park. I could write an entire article on Kennywood itself. Kennywood is one of only two amusement parks listed in the National Register of Historic places. The park boasts several world famous wooden roller coasters, but the main reason I visit Kennywood is for the Potato Patch Fries. They are like no others I have ever tasted.

There are many other interesting things to do in Pittsburgh. I feel I've only touched the surface of what this fine city has to offer. I hope you are ‘inclined' to visit soon!


About the Author: Ann Smith is a PassPorter Message Board Guide and previous contributor to PassPorter News. She lives with her family in West Mifflin, PA and is a proud "Six Pack Steelers" fan.

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Did you enjoy this article? Have questions? E-mail us at news@passporter.com or visit http://www.passporterboards.com to discuss your travel plans. Also check out our Article Collection for more great information!

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DID YOU KNOW?

Mouse Fan Travel - Celebrate the Decade of Dreams and Save!
Visit them at http://www.mousefantravel.com/?apid=ptpn

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Official Travel Planner for

PassPorter’s Decade of Dreams



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DISNEY FEATURE: Amazing Disney Cruise Line
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by Kim LaPaglia, PassPorter Guest Contributor

In my last article, I just might have mentioned how I sang my favorite song -- When You Wish Upon A Star -- to my family after securing a coveted spot on the Inaugural Walt Disney World Moms Panel.

It's truly amazing the difference one year in your life can make. For me, that tune has really come to represent this New Year as well. Just as I was preparing to look for my next adventure, I was offered the opportunity to stay on the Moms Panel for an additional year in order to help guests smoothly sail through the stages of planning a cruise. Working with Disney Cruise Line, you can't help but hear "When You Wish Upon A Star" as you begin your voyage!

Recently, I embarked on a 7-night training cruise aboard the Disney Magic. This was a solo trip so that I could soak in all the magic of the Disney Cruise Line (DCL).

I'd like to share some of my fun and informative experiences, hosted by Disney Cruise Line's Public Relations Director, Jason Lasecki.

During my cruise, I was given the opportunity to meet with Officers and other crew members to discuss aspects of the Disney Cruise Line that I felt would be important to guests planning a cruise with DCL.

I chatted with the Hotel Director in his office. What a view! Mats Oskarsson confirmed that suite occupancy rates are very high and in fact there are usually waiting lists for suites before the new itineraries are even announced. Clearly, Disney Cruise Line is fulfilling dream vacations. Out of the passengers aboard our cruise, approximately one-half of them were repeat cruisers with DCL.

Next, we stopped at the office next door. There, I was introduced to Brent Davies, the Cruise Director. Impressively, DCL goes to "Infinity and Beyond" in order to provide guests with incredible entertainment. The popularity of the Pirates in the Caribbean Night is one example. Sometimes the Captain will try to position the vessel so the fireworks are able to be shown even in less desirable conditions.

Our next meet and greet took place in Sessions where we chatted with Jason Ward, the Shore Excursion Manager. DCL strives to create shore excursions that meet the expectations of their guests, thus guest feedback is taken very seriously. Popular excursions such as dolphin experiences tend to sell out and it is recommended to book excursions in advance. When signing up for shore excursions, please note the age limits as they are for safety reasons. Choosing age-appropriate activities will allow the entire family to experience a memorable adventure.

The Youth Activities Manager chatted with us as well. After touring the clubs, I also stopped by Flounder's Reef Nursery. The staff is hired specifically to work in the nursery, where there is a 1:6 staff/toddler ratio and a 1:4 staff/infant ratio with a maximum of 30 children at a time. It's a quiet, serene place for the youngest of cruisers. Parents may book up to 10 hours of nursery time on line prior to their cruise. On the second day of sailing, once all passengers have been given a chance to secure times, parents can then inquire about booking more nursery sessions.

I was also treated to a private tour of the galley. Martin, the Executive Chef from England, was very kind in answering my questions. DCL guests enjoy "fresh to order" cuisine as only basic prep such as sauces and soups are made prior to orders being taken by the servers. Each restaurant has its own galley with a separate children's line near the front. This helps the servers bring the food out quickly to the children in the dining room! Best of all, new menus will be unveiled in March. You'll see some of your old favorites along with many new selections.

The Backstage Theater tour gave me a huge appreciation for the cast's ability to perform nightly on a stage at sea. As I stood near the Disney Dreams set, the ship was rocking and I worried about keeping my balance while standing still. Shows have only been canceled due to rough seas on rare occasions. It's more likely that a show night will be switched with a movie night to accommodate any safety concerns. The cast of 30 spends two months in Toronto training before they spend a two-week transition adapting to the ship's stage. During this transition, the old and new cast will work together. The old cast then departs and the new cast spends the next eight months entertaining DCL audiences.

Before departing for Castaway Cay, I was also given a tour of the Bridge. Captain Tom Forberg, from Norway, has been with Disney Cruise Line since the Magic's maiden voyage on July 30, 1998. How does he steer the ship into ports? With a computerized joystick, of course! Captain Forberg has helmed ships for 30 years, including his time as a navy officer. Captain Forberg states "I'm not a Viking any more," as he has become accustomed to and enjoys the warmer weather.

If you are in need of some sunshine and warm ocean breezes, go to disneycruise.com to order your free planning kit. While there, explore the itineraries. For me, the most difficult part of a cruise is deciding which itinerary to choose.

Sometimes it just eases your worries to ask a Mom who has "been there, done that." Thus, my new role on the Walt Disney World Moms Panel consists in not only answering Walt Disney World questions that are directed to me but also Disney Cruise Line questions.

After all, it's a bit intimidating to take your family aboard a ship for the first time. You know what to expect from a Walt Disney World resort. But you may have zillions of questions about what to anticipate aboard a Disney Cruise. And you may feel completely uncomfortable calling your travel agent again and again.

If so, you can submit all of your questions to me at http://www.disneyworldmoms.com. And, you do not even need to be a mom. At the Moms Panel, we answer questions from moms, dads, and solo travelers too. We are helping grandparents and young adults alike to make the most of their WDW and DCL vacations.

I can't wait to continue to share with you my personal experiences aboard the Disney Magic and the Disney Wonder. It'll be fun to answer your questions as well as to research the questions that even a Castaway Club Member (repeat DCL cruiser) may need to follow up on.

I have a passion for reading, writing, research and Disney. Let me help steer your family toward a magical vacation!

You can read a full report of Kim's DCL training cruise on her blog: http://stopamoment.typepad.com/


About the Author: Kimberly LaPaglia was selected as a member of the 2008 WDW Moms Panel. This year, she continues her role on the Panel helping guests with Disney Cruise Line questions and any Walt Disney World questions posed directly to her. Kim has stayed at nearly all of the WDW resorts and enjoys sailing with Mickey. As a Disney bride for her 10th anniversary vow renewal, her family rode in Cinderella's Coach to the Wedding Pavilion.

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Did you enjoy this article? Have questions? E-mail us at news@passporter.com or visit http://www.passporterboards.com to discuss your travel plans. Also check out our Article Collection for more great information!

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WHAT'S NEW AND CHANGED
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Here are a few items of relevant news:

New Disney Ship Names Announced. It's official! The newest ships in the Disney Cruise Line now have names - Disney Dream and Disney Fantasy. Bob Iger, President and CEO of The Walt Disney Company, announced the official names this week at the 2009 Annual Meeting of Shareholders in Oakland, CA. The Disney Dream is scheduled to launch in 2011 with the Disney Fantasy following close behind in 2012. This updates page 029 of PasPorter's Disney Cruise Line guidebook

D23 Mystery Revealed. After many months of hints and teases, Disney announced this week the significance of "23" in D23: The Official Community for Disney Fans. The 23 refers to 1923, the year The Walt Disney Company was founded. Members of D23 will get a backstage look at the inner workings of The Walt Disney Company, a glossy quarterly magazine (Disney Twenty-Three), access to the official web site and a new collectibles line designed just for members. A one year membership is $74.95. More information at http://www.Disney.com/D23 This updates page 006 of PasPorter's Walt Disney World guidebook

Race Dates Announced. The Expedition Everest Challenge, a 5k run, obstacle course and scavenger hunt through Disney's Animal Kingdom, will take place on Saturday, September 26, 2009. The Race for the Taste 10k and 3k will take place Sunday, October 11, 2009 at Epcot. And the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror 13k and 5k will take place Saturday evening, October 24, 2009. Registration for these events is expected to open soon. This updates page 258 of PasPorter's Walt Disney World guidebook

Our thanks to AllEars.net and MousePlanet.com from which we get some of our news leads.

Hear some news? Be a 'PassPorter Reporter' and send it to us at http://www.passporter.com/report.asp


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DISNEY TIPS FROM FELLOW READERS
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Our readers deliver a wealth of information! Send us your tips! You may see them in this newsletter and win a copy of PassPorter! Visit: http://www.passporter.com/customs/tipsandstories.asp

PACK THAT PASSPORTER
'I order the PassPorter Walt Disney World Deluxe Edition every year! My favorite part is the listings of all the restaurants. I highlight, tab and use all the helpful information up until the day I leave. I then take out the pages I won't need on my trip and carry it with me every day in my backpack. This way when my family wants something specific for a snack or lunch I pull out my PassPorter and flip to the 'Feasting' section fast. It keeps us from wondering around in search of the perfect snack to satisfy my families craving. I even had other vacationers noticing me doing this and asking about restaurants for themselves.'
-- contributed by Heather

MAKE ROOM FOR MEDICINE
'During our trip in June of last year, I wound up on the third day with a head cold. I didn't have anything to take. It would be good idea to pack a few medicines for head cold, stomach upset, etc. just in case. But should you find yourself there with no medicines, I found out that most stores keep some medications behind counter. But it's expensive so you would be better off to pack some in your suit case.'
-- contributed by Teresa

OVERDOSING ON DISNEY
'We are so excited about our upcoming trip to Disney. We've been reading books, all the websites and looking at the Walt Disney World web site almost daily. It's a lot to plan for...lodging, dining, character meals, flights. Those of you that have been or are planning a trip of your own, certainly understand. But my extended family said "enough." They have put a limit of two minutes for me to discuss anything Disney with them. Who knew Disney could turn anyone off?! So I became more attentive to what I was saying and how often. They were right on. In my excitement and desire to share all of my excitement, I was only speaking Disney"ese." So now I save my Disney talk for dinner time, when my family makes plans that affect US!'
-- contributed by Joan

>>Want more Disney tips? For Walt Disney World fans, we've collected 500 of the best tips submitted by readers over the past six years. All have been edited for accuracy and categorized. For details, visit the PassPorter Disney 500 info page at http://www.passporter.com/wdw/disney500.asp

>>For Disney Cruise Line fans, we have an e-book with 250 cruiser tips, as well as a special cruise line comparison section and seven customized packing lists. For information, visit the Disney Cruise Clues info page at http://www.passporter.com/dcl/cruiseclues.asp


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COOL LINKS: Disney Stuff and Services
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We encounter many Disney- and travel-related products and services. From among those we try, a few are good enough to use ourselves and recommend to you:

KidsFlySafe.com: CARES FAA-approved safety harness for planes -- you can visit them at http://www.kidsflysafe.com/?utm_source=PASPTR&utm_medium=affiliate&utm_campaign=affiliate



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CAPTAIN'S CORNER: Treasure Hunting Game
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Play our fun and quirky treasure hunting game, hosted by Captain Jack Skatt from our book, "PassPorter's Treasure Hunts at Walt Disney World."

The Captain makes a study of the delightful details -- sometimes hidden, sometimes in plain sight but often overlooked -- at Walt Disney World and aboard the Disney Cruise Line. Using notes from his journals, he will lead you to this "treasure" at Disney with clues, questions, photos, or riddles. Your challenge is to discover the answer by searching your memory, visiting Disney, or even just looking really hard on the Internet. If you think you've found the answer, e-mail it to jackskatt@passporter.com -- the first person to correctly submit the FULL answer will receive a free PassPorter enamel pin or PassPorter name badge pin.

Here is this week's journal entry:

"St. Paddy's Day is almost upon me. So last night I did a tour of all the available bars, pubs, and other drinking establishments in Walt Disney World. I did this so I would know just where to go on the big day, of course. Well, what with all the sampling and testing, I found myself two sheets to the wind before the evening was out. At one promising pub, I leaned back in my chair to clear my head and fell flat on my back. But as I laid there, sprawled out and slightly embrassed, I happened to spy a lovely sight ... the ceiling! I even snapped a photo of it so I could admire it later with a clearer head. Isn't she a beaut?"


Click here to see the photo larger
Where in Walt Disney World will you find this ceiling?

For bonus credit, locate the photographic evidence in the PassPorter Photo Archive and post a comment with the photo!

Congratulations to Renee S. who was the winner of last week's trivia contest! Renee was the first person to identify the location of Placid Palms Resort as Typhoon Lagoon, it's actual name as Leaning Palms and it functions as an eatery. Bonus credit goes to SteveandDeb as the first person to locate the photo in our PassPorter Photo Archive. To view the original clue, see last week's newsletter.

Send your full answer to jackskatt@passporter.com -- the winner will be notified by e-mail and announced in a future newsletter, along with the correct answer!


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PASSPORTER PHOTOPICK
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Each issue we choose a special photo from the PassPorter Photo Archive which highlights something beautiful, interesting, humorous, or timely at Disney or around the world. Here is this issue's PassPorter PhotoPick:

Downtown Disney - T-Rex Restaurant
Photo by chezp
Photo Link: http://www.passporter.com/photos/showphoto.php/photo/12403

You can nominate photos as a PassPorter PhotoPick by giving ratings in the PassPorter Photo Archive (you'll need to be logged in to do this). If you'd like to contribute your own photos to the Photo Archive and be considered as a PhotoPick, please read our Photo Upload Guidelines for details and benefits.

Top 5 Photo Contributors
chezp - 2830 photos
Meggera - 711 photos
akleos - 568 photos
Dopey007 - 512 photos
DyanKJ130 - 503 photos


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Q & A WITH JENNIFER & DAVE
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CAVA Magic asks: "On our last cruise, my mom and I went to several of the cooking classes and enjoyed them very much. I tried to take my 15-year-old daughter but they would not let her stay. Does anyone know what the age requirement is and why there is one? I understand that the little ones might be a distraction but 15? She's going to be 16 by our next cruise and my mom and I want to enjoy this again and I really want to share it with her."

Dave answers: "The minimum age for this kind of activity is normally 18. That goes for the Art of Entertaining, Disney Navigator Series, Disney Behind the Scenes, and the galley tours. Let's look at it this way -- you can't participate in the Teen program activities, either. ;)"

Did our message board members agree with Dave? To see other answers that CAVA Magic received, check out the rest of the thread on the PassPorter Message Boards..

Have a question? Post questions at http://www.passporterboards.com/ -- and if you're lucky, you may find that folks have already asked and answered the same question that's on your mind!


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WANT TO GET PUBLISHED?
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PassPorter News is published weekly and we're always on the lookout for good quality Disney and travel articles! We seek guest columnists who want to contribute articles to this newsletter. No professional writing experience necessary, just a desire to share your experience with others! Not only is this a great way to give something back to the PassPorter community, but you get to see your name in "print" and receive a $25 gift certificate.


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OUR SPONSORS: We Recommend...
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PassPorter only accepts advertising from services of the highest quality -- we recommend these companies because we use them ourselves. Please support our sponsors and, in turn, support this newsletter! This week's sponsors are (in order of appearance):

MouseEarVacations.com - Walt Disney World Buy 4 Get 3 FREE offer Visit them at http://www.mouseearvacations.com/web/

Mouse Fan Travel - Celebrate the Decade of Dreams and Save! Visit them at http://www.mousefantravel.com/?apid=ptpn

Quicksilver Tours & Transportation - $5.00 off airport round-trip town car Visit them at http://www.quicksilver-tours.com/

Thank you, sponsors!

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