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PassPorter News Brought to you by PassPorter Guidebooks
 September 15, 2005 * Issue 5.16
In This Newsletter

From the Authors: 10,000 Miles Later....

Travel Feature: Harry Potter's Great Britain

Disney World Feature:  Shades of Green: Part 1

Updates: What's New and Changed

Tips: Neck Light, Night Lights; Radio Raves; Goofy Gifts

Q&A: Read all about Jennifer & Dave's crossing of the Panama Canal

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What's New and Changed

Here's a few of the new developments at Disney·

The Annual Passholder (AP) Best Rate Program which has been being tested over the past few months has been made official. AP special rates will no longer be offered. Instead AP holders can now book rates up to 60 days in advance and receive the best rate available in the computers at that time. Rooms must be booked online and a one night's deposit is due at time of booking. Also you may not pay off the balance of your room until you actually check-in. 

Another "test program" that appears to be here to stay is staggered dining times onboard the Disney Wonder. Cruisers still have the option of early or late seating but within this times, you will be assigned seating times of 5:45 pm, 6:00 p.m. or 6:15 p.m. for the early seating and 8:00 p.m., 8:15 p.m. or 8:30 p.m. for the late seating. 

You can view our page-by-page list of updates and corrections for PassPorter Walt Disney World 2005 and PassPorter's Field Guide to the Disney Cruise Line Third Edition at http://www.passporter.com/

>Things To Do: Hear some news? Send it to us at

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Disney Tips:
From Fellow Readers

Our readers deliver a wealth of information! Here are the winners in this month's tip contest:

"The glowing necklaces sold at night in the parks (or pre-purchased at a discount store) make great night lights! When we returned to the hotel with them each night we hung one on the wall near the kid's bed and placed one in the bathroom. They provided just the right amount of light to keep the "Villains" at bay and show the way to the bathroom in an unfamiliar place." 
-- contributed by Laura N. 

"I have a tip for families who drive to Walt Disney World. We do, and we are always looking for ways to make the miles pass more quickly. Before you leave, visit the web site for Radio Disney. When you click on the states you'll be driving through, you can note the call numbers of Radio Disney affiliates in the major cities in those states. When you begin your trip and get near a specific city, you'll know where to tune in Radio Disney. I now keep the list in the glove compartment permanently. The music is fun (especially for children), and there are interviews and live broadcasts from WDW. It's a great way to get even more excited about the trip South." 
-- contributed by Colleen Costello (colleencostello@...) 

"Hand a character a small toy without your child seeing you and ask the character to give it to your child. That 50 cent ring from the gum ball machine at the grocery store now becomes a beloved treasure." 
-- contributed by Diane 

>Notes: Send us your tips ! You may see them in this newsletter and win a copy of PassPorter!

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Q & A:
With Jennifer and Dave

Jennifer and Dave spent two weeks onboard the Disney Magic as it made it's way back to Port Canaveral from California. Check out their detailed trip report complete with photos and video on www.passporter.com

Have a question? Post it 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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Future Newsletters:
Want To See Your Name in Print?

We're on the lookout for guest columnists 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. 

For details and our article submission guidelines, please e-mail news@passporter.com. Articles about Disney and general travel are welcomed!


From the Authors: 10,000 Miles Later...

Hi, {{user("firstname")}}!

We're baaaack! (and we bet you didn't even notice we were gone). Yep, we had the great pleasure to sail on the Disney Magic as it made its 14-night journey from Los Angeles back to its home port of Cape Canaveral Florida. Not only that, but we did a true Castle-to-Castle journey by paying visits to Disneyland (the newly refurbished Space Mountain is fantastic!) and Walt Disney World (where we went "Soarin'" right back to California). While we were in Los Angeles we even took a one night "cruise" on that Grande Dame of the seas, the Queen Mary. The ship may be firmly moored to a pier in Long Beach, but for that night we traveled back more than half a century, to a time when a four-night itinerary could take you from New York to London in utter luxury.

One of the most amazing aspects of this trip was just how many people recognized us and came over to chat! Whether it was at Disneyland, on the Magic or at Walt Disney World, not a day went by without folks coming up to tell us how much they enjoy our books. Our thanks go to everyone who took the time to say hello. Most of the time we're in our offices working away at our computers, with little face-to-face contact with our readers. It really helps to know that folks appreciate what we do.

It's also amazing that it has been nearly a month since the debut of "PassPorter's Walt Disney World For Your Special Needs" by Deb Wills and Debra Martin Koma of AllEarsNet.com fame. The response to the book has been wonderful, and "the Debs" deserve a big round of applause for a job well done! The Special Needs book is in-stock at Amazon.com and at the PassPorter store, and is beginning to appear on the shelves at local bookstores. If your favorite store doesn't have it yet, ask for it (ISBN 1-58771-018-8), or you can order your copy today at the PassPorter Store.

MouseFest 2005 plans are shaping up wonderfully! The schedule is already crammed with interesting events and meets and MANY celebrity authors and guests! We'll be sending our our first MouseFest newsletter in the coming days, so if you aren't already subscribed to the MouseFest mailing list, please visit the MouseFest.org site and sign up!

And now to matters a little closer at hand. In this edition of the newsletter, Julia Elzie takes Harry Potter fans for a ride on the Knight Bus to show us the real English sights and sites that make up Harry's magical movie world. All we can say is, "We wanna go back!" If only we had some floo powder or a portkey.... Then, Betsy and Eric Walton describe the many ways that you or someone you love may qualify for lodgings at Shades of Green, the armed forces recreation facility just a stone's throw from the Magic Kingdom. Do you make the grade? Betsy and Eric will be back in our next newsletter to tell you how to make your reservations and what pleasures lie in store.


Jennifer and Dave
PassPorter Travel Press



Did You Know? All PassPorters Ship Next Day!

The current editions of all our PassPorter guidebooks are in stock and shipping. PassPorter Walt Disney World 2005, PassPorter's Field Guide to the Disney Cruise Line 3rd Edition, and PassPorter's Walt Disney World For Your Special Needs are shipping next business day when ordered by 8:00 pm ET the night before. (We should note, however, that we're down to the last hundred copies of our PassPorter WDW 2005 edition, but we just re-stocked on our Disney Cruise Line edition because the first printing sold out in just two months!) If you've been waiting to order your copy, now is the perfect time!

Everyone gets a 15% discount and if you've already got a copy of PassPorter, you can register it to get a discount coupon good for 30% off the list price of any PassPorter guidebook.

Order your copy today at:

Travel Feature:

Harry Potter's Great Britain
By Julia Elzie, Guest Contributor

Many people have been swept away by the magical stories of Harry Potter and his friends, Hermione and Ron. We stay up all night reading the latest book and cry at the loss of a member of the Hogwarts family. In the midst of it all, is England, the mystical home of Harry Potter. 

So, you have read all of the books and seen all the movies? You can never get enough Harry Potter? While Harry’s world doesn’t REALLY exist, it is possible to peer down Diagon Alley and maybe even catch a whiff of ButterBeer or see the steam of the Hogwarts Express as it heads off to school. 

The British are famous for their respect for their history and tradition. These lovely British traits can be found throughout the Harry Potter books within countless references to the history of Hogwarts, generations of Hogwarts graduates or the annual tradition of the Sorting Hat. Tradition and heritage are very important parts of Harry Potter's British Adventure and there are many different ways to catch a glimpse of the ends of Harry's Hogwarts robes. 

J.K. Rowling's imagination created the magical Hogwarts, but after extensive research, the producers of the Harry Potter movies discovered Hogwarts in Northumbria, England! Actually, it is Alnwick Castle (pronounced Annick). The castle was used for the outdoor scenes of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, but it is actually the ancestral home of the Duke and Duchess of Northumberland. During your visit, admire the spectacular fountains and the magnificent waterfalls of the estate. Be sure to stop at the green at the castle to see if anyone is attending Quidditch practice. 

Oxford University, just outside of London, provided the setting for the school scenes. Oxford's Christ Church houses the staircase where Professor McGonagall greets the children, while the Great Hall is where Hogwarts students eat their meals. (By the way, for those who are fans of the Lord of the Rings or the Chronicles of Narnia, J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis were on the faculty of Magdalen College at Oxford in the mid-1900s.) 

Moaning Myrtle can be found at the Cathedral of Gloucester, which originated with the Normans and has been a place of worship for more than 1300 years. Most of the ghost scenes, talking pictures scenes, and the mysterious red writing on the wall were filmed at the Cathedral of Gloucester. Tour guides lead groups to see the towers and crypts grounds of the cathedral and they will also point out various Harry Potter scenes were filmed. The Cathedral's Lacock Abbey was also used for school scenes in the movies. 

Train travel is very common in Europe because it is cost-efficient and affordable. The students of Hogwarts take the Hogwarts Express to school. The Hogwarts Express departs from Platform 9 ¾ at the Kings' Cross Station in London -- of course, Muggles cannot see the train or the platform, but you might catch a glimpse of the steam as it departs the station. Be sure to have your picture taken with the baggage cart that British Rail cut in half and attached to the wall between platforms - just for Muggles! The Hogwarts Express ends its journey at Hogsmeade Station, which is also known as Goathland Station in the Yorkshire Moors. The station house opened in 1865 and has not been changed since its opening. The surrounding countryside is a classic English pastoral setting with lovely green valleys, rugged landscapes, and the 70 foot Mallyan Spout waterfall. 

London itself provided many locations for the Harry Potter movies. Harry learned to communicate with snakes at the London Zoo. After some snake communication of your own, be sure to spend some time watching the herons and wildfowl at the lake, play on the playgrounds or enjoy some outdoor performances at Regent's Park. A city tour will offer the best glimpses of other Harry Potter film locations, including Big Ben, the River Thames and Parliament Square. Leadenhall Market in London doubled as Diagon Alley where Hagrid and Harry did Harry's school shopping for his first term at Hogwarts. Australia's High Commission welcomed Harry into the spectacular Exhibition Hall at Australia House and provided the location for Gringotts Bank, run by goblins, in the first Harry Potter movie. Since the Australia High Commission conducts business in the hall, take a quick peek from the outside on Melbourne Place. 

If your Harry Potter British Adventure is your first trip to Europe, Great Britain is a great place to start! We speak the same language and the culture is very similar to our American culture, yet the ambiance of the country is very different from the United States. Staying in bed-and-breakfast inns (called B&Bs) is a marvelous value for your money and an excellent glimpse into the unique British life. In different locations, you may stay in a private home, a country cottage, a manor house or an ancient castle. B&B's are not as fancy as hotels and while many will have a bathroom in your room, some will offer a bathroom near to your room. Breakfast will be very large, so much so that lunch may not be necessary--expect typical breakfast fare along with regional favorites such as soda bread, smoked haddock or kippers. In any case, you will get to know the British people and they will give you insights into their daily lives and backdoor advice on local sights and attractions. You can choose to pre-book your accommodations and an experienced travel agent can assist you in assessing B&Bs, manor houses or castles, along with making reservations and planning your itinerary. It is recommended that you make reservations ahead of time if you plan to travel in July or August, because those months are prime Europe vacation travel times. 

Of course, car rental is always an option (make your car rental reservations before leaving home), but remember, the British drive on the "wrong" side of the road! London probably isn't the best place to learn to drive on the other side of the road! As in the rest of Europe, train travel in Great Britain is efficient, affordable and comfortable and allows you to travel between large cities and small towns in first class or second class sections. 

With a bit of help from sympathetic Muggles, it is possible to catch a glimpse of Harry Potter and the other students of Hogwarts, hear the flutter of the wings of Hedwig and the other owls or a puff of steam from the Hogwarts Express throughout Great Britain. Along the way, it is a great opportunity to get to know the wonderful British people and experience their lovely way of life. 

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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.

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Walt Disney World Feature:

Shades of Green: Eligibility & Pricing (Part 1 of a 2 part series) 
by Betsy & Eric Walton, Guest Columnists 

In the midst of Walt Disney World lies a hidden gem, the Shades of Green Resort. Previously known as the Disney Inn, this resort was purchased by the United States military for use as an Armed Forces Recreation Center and opened as the newly renamed Shades of Green in February 1994. 

When Shades of Green re-opened its doors in March 2004 after a lengthy renovation, the hotel contained amenities equivalent to a Disney deluxe resort. Its 586 guest rooms are some of the largest in Walt Disney World, providing a great deal of space for visiting families to relax. The resort lies surrounded by two of Walt Disney World's PGA championship golf courses -- the Magnolia and the Palm, making it a favorite destination for golfers. Guests at Shades of Green can enjoy the same Disney benefits as those guests that stay at a regular Walt Disney World resort, including the use of Disney transportation and Extra Magic Hours. 

Could you be eligible to stay at Shades of Green? You might be surprised! If you are an active duty member of one of the branches of the United States military (Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines or Coast Guard), you can stay at Shades of Green. Members of all of the "Ready Reserve" Forces of the United States (the Army Reserve, Navy Reserve, Marine Reserve, Air Force Reserve, and Coast Guard Reserve) are also eligible. Last, but not least, all members of the Army and Air National Guard are welcome as guests of the Resort. 

Members of the military aren't the only ones who can stay on-site. Some military veterans can stay at Shades of Green. Those who retired from any military service (active or reserves), 100% disabled veterans with an honorable discharge, and those brave men and women who have won the nation's highest medal, the Medal of Honor, or have previously been Prisoners of War may stay at the hotel. 

If you are a civilian who currently works for the Department of Defense or are a retired Department of Defense employee, you are also eligible to enjoy Shades of Green. If you are a contract worker with a private company working full-time at a military post within the U.S. or any length of employment outside the U.S., you are eligible. If you are a member of one of those civilian organizations that support our armed forces (typically, the American Red Cross, Young Men's Christian Association (YMCA), or United Service Organization (USO)) and are with U.S. troops overseas, you can stay on-site at Shades of Green. 

Specific family members may also be able to stay at the resort in their own right. The spouses of active duty or reserve military personnel, or spouses of service members currently Prisoners of War or Missing in Action are eligible. Surviving spouses of military personal who died on active duty or those spouses who survive the death of a military retiree may stay at Shades of Green until they remarry. Children under 21 years old who are orphans of military personal may also stay at the hotel. Former (i.e. divorced) spouses of military personnel who served at least twenty years are also eligible until they remarry. Finally, spouses of Department of Defense civilians can also stay at Shades of Green. 

There are a few groups of people who don't fall in any regular grouping that may still enjoy Shades of Green. U.S. Federal employees assigned outside the United States and any uniformed member of the Public Health Service or National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration are eligible. So are Federal employees who work on a Department of Defense installation. Finally, members of the general public and cadets of the Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) may stay at Shades of Green under certain specific circumstances. (See the Shades of Green website at http://www.shadesofgreen.org/service.htm for details.) 

If you are a member of any of the eligible groups above, you may make reservations at Shades of Green. The resort will inquire upon your reservation if you meet one of the above requirements but will accept your word to make the reservation. Please note that when you actually check into the hotel, you must prove your status. Often this requires simply an identification card like those produced by the Department of Defense. If you are a member of the more unique categories (like someone with the USO serving overseas), inquire with Shades of Green staff when making your reservations as to what specific documentation will be required at check-in. 

What if you still want to stay at Shades of Green and don't meet any of the above requirements? Don't worry; all hope is not lost yet. Do you know anyone who is a member of any group listed above? Is your father a retired veteran? Is your daughter serving on active duty? If so, take a trip to Disney World with them! 

Each member of the above group may sponsor up to three rooms for guests. There are only a few requirements to be met. First, the sponsor (i.e. the person who is in one of the above groups) must be a registered guest at the same time. Second, the sponsor must also accompany their guest during the purchase of tickets at Shades of Green. Finally, the sponsor must insure that their guests follow all resort rules. 

Shades of Green also has a policy that allows the dependent spouses of military (active or reserves), retirees, or Department of Defense employees to also sponsor up to three rooms. These rooms are in addition to the rooms mentioned above. Thus, a guest who is an active duty member of the military can reserve three rooms and his or her spouse may reserve an additional three rooms. That is a total of six rooms for non-eligible guests who may now enjoy Shades of Green! There is one exception to this rule. During Shades of Green "Hollydays" (i.e. during the Christmas through New Year period), a dependent spouse may not reserve any rooms. Other members of the above listed groups can still reserve their three rooms as normal. 

Prices at Shades of Green are dependent on which of the above categories you fit into. Those guests who are currently serving in the military or retired from the military holding a rank from E-1 to E-5 will pay $72 per night for a standard room ($76 after October 1). Guests who are currently serving or retired from the military and held a rank of O-4 to O-10 or CW-4 or CW-5, current Federal employees at levels GS-11 to SES or NF-4 to NF-6, and all retired Department of Defense employees will pay $104 per night for a standard room ($106 after October 1). All other members not specifically mentioned in the two above groups fall in the middle and will pay $97 per night for a standard room ($99 after October 1). Guests of a Shades of Green sponsor pay at the sponsor's rate. (Additional Shades of Green room rates can be found here: http://www.shadesofgreen.org/PDFgallery.htm). 

Shades of Green is the only resort on Disney property that requires its guest to meet certain criteria before allowing entry. If these requirements are met, guests will be repaid with accommodations equal to a Disney deluxe resort for a price equivalent to a Disney value resort. It's a hard deal to beat if you are a deserving member of one of the above eligible classes. Staying at Shades of Green will allow guests to concentrate on the true purpose of their visit; experiencing all the magic available throughout Walt Disney World. 

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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 planning your Disney vacation.

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