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PassPorter News Brought to you by PassPorter Guidebooks
  December 13, 2005 * Issue 5.22
In This Newsletter

From the Authors: Home From MouseFest

Travel Feature:  Prince Edward Island 

Disney Feature: Disneyland - A Happy Homecoming

Updates: What's New and Changed

Tips: Face Photos, Light The Night, Security Speed-up

Captain's Corner: Treasure Hunter's Club

Q&A: Do we need a bike lock for our stroller?

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What's New and Changed

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

Celebrate New Years' Eve at Walt Disney World! The Magic Kingdom will be open from 8:00 am - 1:00 am with extra parades and fireworks. Epcot will also be open late (until 1:00 am) with an additional showing of IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth and different music around the World Showcase. Disney-MGM Studios will also get in on the celebration with a special fireworks show, "Lights, Camera, Fireworks!" as well as extended hours. (Park open until midnight.)

The new Pop Gallery store has opened in the spot of the former Guitar Gallery in Downtown Disney West Side. Jennifer and Dave "popped" in and found it full of interesting (if pricey) wall and glass art from contemporary artists.

The Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party events on December 18 and 20 have sold out. 

Splash Mountain will close and undergo a quick rehab  from January 23 - 27, 2006. 

>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:

"Take lots of pictures of your children's faces during the parade. My most treasured possession is a photo of my son waving at Mickey in Animal Kingdom. The excitement and wonder in his eyes was priceless. (And to think I almost just took another picture of a Mickey on parade.)"
-- contributed by Kenny White (kenny@...)

"When staying in a Cat 10, 11, or 12 inside cabin on a Disney cruise it is very dark with the lights off. Keep the bathroom light on and close the door while napping during the day or sleeping at night. You get enough light from under the door to move around and the bathroom door stays closed unlike the sliding closet doors. Glow necklaces work well and give kids a little light close by to make them comfortable if they wake up during the night."
-- contributed by Carol D. 

"To get through the theme park bag check lines quickly, get your bags ready by opening every compartment up and get your camera out. Also make sure that everything in your bag is plastic and that there no glass and nothing sharp."
-- contributed by Matt Chenuz (m.c.chenuz@...) 

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

Want more Disney tips? We've collected 500 of the tips submitted by readers over the past six years -- most have never been published before. All have been edited for accuracy and categorized. The "Disney 500" are available in e-book form for immediate download. For details, visit the PassPorter Store

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Captain's Corner:
Treasure Hunting Game

Play our fun and quirky treasure hunting game, hosted by Captain Jack Skatt from our upcoming 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 treasure from Captain Skatt's Journal:

I've been ruminating on the notion of an exclusive treasure hunter's club for my fellow hunters. Wednesday evenings work well for me, but where could we all meet? I did stumble upon another odd little club last week, which appeared to have recently opened. If I'm not mistaken it was a drinking club. There was even an unusual ritual involving someone named Beverly, I believe. Perhaps this club would be a good spot for my meetings. It was called ... (rest of text obscured by a sticky substance with a bitter smell that appears to have been spit out)

So what is the name of the club?

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

Congratulations to Terrie Braun who was the winner of last newsletter's treasure hunt game last week! Terrie correctly identified the shop as "It's a Wonderful Shop." To view the original clues, see the last newsletter.

If you enjoy treasure hunts, we've got an entire book with over 100 distinct treasure hunts and over 1500 questions, complete with clues and contributions from Captain Skatt. We expect to release the book -- "PassPorter's Treasure Hunts at Walt Disney World" -- in early 2006. Watch this space or http://www.passporter.com for more information!

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Q & A:
With Jennifer and Dave

Shawn S. asks: "Someone suggested bringing a bike lock to lock your stroller to something when you go on rides so nobody steals it. I thought about it, mainly because if it does go missing, whether on purpose or honest mistake, I am greatly inconvenienced. Anyone ever do this? "

Jennifer and Dave answer: "I've never heard of it, never seen it, and we haven't thought of doing it ourselves. In all my time 'covering' Disney I can't recall one complaint about a stolen privately owned stroller (rental strollers get 'swapped' from time to time, which is why you should keep your receipt with you). Strollers don't always stay where you put them, though. Cast members move strollers into and around the stroller parking areas while folks are on attractions. 

Ultimately, do what makes you comfortable. If that means running a bike lock through the wheels of your stroller so they won't turn, go ahead. That'll be enough to stop any accidental and nearly all intentional 'incidents.' I don't recommend trying to lock it to a fixed object, though. As I mentioned, cast members need to move strollers around, and if it's a matter of public safety (like making space for crowd movement), I wouldn't count on finding your lock in one piece when you return. 

A theme park is a lousy place for this kind of theft, as all thieves must exit through a very secure 'choke point.' It's not like someone can stuff a stroller into a backpack to evade discovery."

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!


Home From MouseFest

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

A white Christmas seems all but a sure thing here in PassPorter's Michigan offices, where we can already stare out our windows into the snow-covered woods beyond. And we can gaze with a good bit of satisfaction, as PassPorter Walt Disney World 2006 is in stock and shipping, and MouseFest 2005 was a huge success!

Every pre-order of our 2006 guide has gone out, and new orders are shipping on the next business day. We're feeling so good that we've even created a special gift-giving deal (see below).

Meantime, MouseFest 2005 exceeded our every expectation. The many participating communities put together a great roster of events, and wherever we went at Walt Disney World people wearing MouseFest buttons were having a great time. Over 1,000 folks attended at least one meet, over 250 people gathered to view the Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party fireworks on December 1 (so many that we needed two meeting places to fit everyone), over 500 came together at the Mega Mouse Meet on December 3, and at least 150 joined us for a cruise on the Disney Wonder.

The PassPorter community made an especially heartwarming appearance, with several hundred attendees that included over a dozen of our message board Guides. Check our Trip Report Forum for lots of reports and lots of pictures! Our thanks to everyone who came, and especially to all those volunteers who organized meets and worked so hard to make the Mega Mouse Meet such a rousing success. 

Is it too early to start thinking about MouseFest 2006? Nope! Mark your calendars now: December 3-12, 2006. The four-night cruise on the Disney Wonder sails December 3-7, and land-based events at Walt Disney World take place from December 7-12. Whether you add MouseFest to your regularly-scheduled Disney vacation plans, or schedule your vacation so that it coincides with MouseFest, we hope to see you then!

In this edition of the newsletter, guest contributor Michelle Kosloff spreads her love for Canada's Prince Edward Island. (She sure has seafood-loving Dave convinced!) Then Michelle Mangio shares memories of her happy Disneyland homecoming. Captain Skatt is also back again with a new treasure hunt game to solve. Good luck!

Happy Holidays,
Jennifer and Dave
PassPorter Travel Press



Did You Know? PassPorter Holiday Gift-Giving Special!

The 2006 edition of PassPorter Walt Disney World is beginning to appear on book store shelves, all pre-orders at our online store have been shipped, and new orders are now being shipped the next day! This is the very first time that the new edition of PassPorter Walt Disney World has been ready for holiday gift giving, so we're going to celebrate with....

The PassPorter Holiday Gift-Giving Special! If you've always hoped to give loved ones (including yourself) the gift of a new-edition PassPorter Walt Disney World (or any other PassPorter guidebook), we've created a special deal just for you!

Buy two or more PassPorter guidebooks (any titles, in any combination) between now and 11:59 pm on Thursday, December 15 and you'll get 35% off on your order. That's the best deal we've offered all year!

To take advantage of the offer, all you need to do is put two or more books into your online shopping cart at the PassPorter Store,  and when you check out, use this special "coupon code": holiday35 (typed just as you see it, all lower-case, no spaces; just type the code into the Coupon Code box and click the Apply Code button). You can also place your order by telephone at 877-929-3273.

Why does the deal end so soon? We want to be able to ship all these orders by Friday, so they'll arrive in time for Christmas and Chanukah.

Order your books today at:

PassPorter Titles:
PassPorter Walt Disney World 2006
PassPorter's Field Guide to the Disney Cruise Line 3rd Edition
PassPorter's Walt Disney World For Your Special Needs
The above titles are all in stock and make great holiday gifts. Our popular e-book, PassPorter's Disney 500: Fast Tips for Disney World Trips is also available for immediate download from our online store!

 Shop at http://www.passporterstore.com/store

Travel Feature:

Prince Edward Island
by Michelle Kosloff, Guest Contributor

I love to go to Walt Disney World. When we were little, my grandparents were snowbirds and every year they would go to Florida and we often went with them for a couple of weeks. More often that not, we made a trip to Walt Disney World. Sadly my grandmother passed away some years ago and my grandfather sold their Florida house so our trips to Disney World have become much less frequent and more expensive. With two growing children involved in many activities, it’s a double whammy to our finances.

So because I love to vacation, I had to find an alternative. That turned out to be vacationing locally. It helps that I live in an area to which tourists flock every summer. I live on beautiful Prince Edward Island (PEI) in Canada. It is the smallest Canadian Province but one of the most beautiful.

This island, unlike its neighbors Nova Scotia and Newfoundland, has sandstone as its foundation rather than granite. So its beaches are all sandy and soft.  The coastline doesn’t have the same rugged beauty, but is more soft and romantic. 

In the summer with the hoards of visitors you might not see this tranquil beauty, especially if you hit the touristy areas of the north shore. In the winter, the wind and the blizzards would certainly cause you to miss it.  However, in the shoulder season – June and September, you will see this island in another light.  

In June, the world is new and the grass and all the trees glow green. The red soil is so fertile that people don’t have to sod their lawns when they buy a new house, they just throw down some grass seed. Lupines grow wildly in all the ditches. You can walk along the beach and not meet another soul for miles. In September, it may be cool, but the autumn leaves are beautiful and you still have all the beaches to yourself.

Do you love seafood? This is the place for you. You can mosey down to one of the many docks around the island and get the best fish and chips from a little fish and chip stand. Restaurants specializing in lobster are all over. Lobster is best in the shoulder season in any case because they molt in the summer and are fished in the spring and fall.  

Mussels are also cultivated in the island waters in abundance. I remember going into a restaurant and ordering their special, which was a plate of mussels with your entrée for around $2. I expected 10 or so mussels. The plate they brought was heaped so high with delicious, fresh mussels, that by the time I got to my meal I was already too full to eat any of it. Often restaurants will have these special prices in the spring and fall to entice locals to their restaurants.

Since this is a prime tourist area, the accommodations are plentiful. While your dream location has probably been booked months in advance for July, it’s probably available at a discount in the shoulder season. You can get anything from a fancy hotel to a lovely little B&B. Many of the accommodations will put you right up close to water (it is after all an island). The government of PEI has the best directory of accommodations I have ever seen anywhere. You can order a tourist guide, but everything in it is searchable online. 

For our wedding anniversary one year we visited a little B&B.  We were the only ones there other than the owners. It felt like we had the whole place to ourselves. During the day we would wander along deserted beaches, finding all the marvels of the ocean. During the evening we ate lobster and at night we slept in luxury (at a reduced cost, of course).  It was one of the most romantic anniversaries ever.

If you are a sun lover and love to just lie in the sun and swim in the ocean, this might not be the vacation for you. Even in the summer the water can be chilly, but for an intimate, romantic getaway, give PEI a try, especially when you can have it all to yourself.

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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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Disneyland Feature:

Disneyland - A Happy Homecoming
by Michelle R. Mangio, Guest Contributor and Owner of Magical Escapes Vacations

As all Disney fans know well, 2005 marks the 50th Anniversary Celebration of the Disneyland theme park. All Disney properties across the world, on land and sea, are participating in this Happiest Celebration, in honor of the beginning of it all.

If you are like me, then this party is the perfect reason to revisit Walt Disney World, and participate in the celebration. For many of us where I live, out here on the East Coast, there really is no contest in our minds which U.S. Disney theme park to visit. If you’re going to make the trip to Disney, why go all the way out to California, to visit a smaller version of our beloved theme park, when you can head right on down to Florida and visit it all?

I’ll tell you why. Because there is no place more magical to celebrate this most special of Disney occasions.

Whenever we think of visiting Disney, it’s always to Walt Disney World that we are drawn.  To us, WDW is our Disney home.

That is - until this year. I knew when I first heard of the upcoming “Happiest Homecoming on Earth” celebration that I wanted to visit Disneyland again. And it wasn’t until after I had gotten there that I knew for certain there was no better place to be.

And luck was with me. A conference I was attending was held in Long Beach, bringing me right to Disneyland’s backyard. And what kind of Disney travel agent, not to mention Disney fan, would I be if I didn’t stop by for a peek? Two days wasn’t near long enough, but it was enough time to imprint a memory I’ll always treasure.

The fact is, Disneyland is different than Walt Disney World. WDW grew from Disneyland, but it was here that the magic was first given life. You’ll see familiar sights and rides, yet it’s more intimate, cozy, like wandering back into your childhood days. But the emotion of the past 50 years will catch up with you from the moment you walk in.

The city of Anaheim has done a great job cleaning up the city in the last eight years since my previous visit, making it all the more pleasant to visit Disneyland. The Disney resort hotels are beautiful, and nothing can beat the Grand Californian’s private entrance right into the middle of Californian Adventure park – especially after a long day when you just want to get to your bed, or soak in a pool. But even many of the off-site resorts are right within walking distance (a few right across the street!), giving you many options to choose from.

I first walked into Disneyland after dark, when the entire park was lit up – what a grand way to feel as if you were walking into a childhood memory again.There was Sleeping Beauty’s Castle down the end of Main Street, all brilliant pink and shining gold crowns. Just the sight had me positively giddy.

I wandered into City Hall to look at the memorabilia on display, including many of the original tickets issued for Disneyland. It truly was a walk down memory lane, and had me nostalgic for all the things – theme parks and movies, TV shows and cartoons – that I grew up with and love so much about Disney.

But what was most special about that first evening – and what is the reason every Disney fan should make it to Disneyland before the Happiest Homecoming ends – was the fireworks show, “Remember…Dreams Come True.” There are many reasons to visit Disneyland this year, but if you need only one reason – this is it.

If you’ve been to Walt Disney World in the last year or so, then you are probably familiar with its new fireworks show, “Wishes.” It’s a fabulous new display that combines an astonishing array of fireworks with story, song, and the heartfelt wishes of children and Disney characters.

“Remember…Dreams Come True” takes the best parts of “Wishes” and makes it even grander. I don’t want to give away the show, but think of “Remember” as blending the best things of “Wishes” and “Illuminations.” It goes beyond just fireworks and song to tug at your heartstrings with laser, lights, and more, engaging most of the Main Street area in its dazzling display.  It will take you on a journey down memory lane to all the Disney things with which you fell in love, from your favorite attractions to television shows and Disney classic movies.

Before “Remember” was even halfway through, I quite literally had a tear in my eye and the warmest feeling in my heart. But what I remember most was all the people around me, the many Disney fans who were swept away in the show, laughing and remembering and, yes, crying. When the show ended, my eyes met the woman next to me, and we both shared a crazy grin as we realized that the other also had tears on their face.

There is something truly magical about this new fireworks display at Disneyland… but it’s also the emotion of the moment, surrounded by thousands of other fans, here where the Disney theme park dreams began, in front of the glittering gold crowns of Sleeping Beauty’s Castle. I’ve said it already, but I’ll say it again: if there is one thing you shouldn’t miss during the Happiest Homecoming Celebration, it is the “Remember… Dreams Come True” fireworks display in Disneyland.

Of course, there are many other reasons to visit Disneyland before the end of 2006. The new “Walk in Walt’s Footsteps” Tour is a great way to see Disneyland and learn more about this park. Walt Disney never lived to see the opening of Walt Disney World in Florida, so this is an experience you just won’t be able to find anywhere else.

Throughout the park, you will find mosaics of Disney characters and classic scenes, all comprised of photos of families who have visited Disneyland over the years. Fifty hidden “Mickey 50 Ears” are hidden throughout the Park as well – can you spot them all?

Sleeping Beauty’s Castle has been transformed into a “Golden Tribute” to its 50 years – from golden turrets and drapes, to the Crown Jewels on its main towers. It’s a beautiful and stunning transformation. The original rides which opened in 1955 are celebrating as well, as one vehicle in each ride is now golden.  Buzz Lightyear’s Astro Blaster has made its way from Florida, and Space Mountain has been revamped with all new special effects.

Then hop on over to California Adventure to check out the Block Party Bash – a high energy parade and show that will have you dancing in the streets. The performers are always full of energy, even in the sweltering heat, and their enthusiasm is infectious – it’s hard not to get swept up in the dancing. Then head to the animation building for a conversation with Crush (from Finding Nemo), in the new “Turtle Talk with Crush” show.

As you can see, there is much excitement going on in Disneyland this year. This is Classic Disney at its best, mixed with the energy of all that’s new – and the dreams of all that’s to come. Any Disney fan will not be disappointed in a trip to the original Disney theme park – just don’t forget to bring your handkerchief when the inner child within you brings those tears of joy and nostalgia to your face.

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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 holiday plans.

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