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PassPorter News Brought to you by PassPorter Guidebooks
November 22, 2012 * Issue 9.47

In This Newsletter 

From the Founders: Happy Thanksgiving!

Travel Feature: Finally Forty Inches (Part 2)

Disney Feature: There is More to Disney Than Rides

Updates: What's New and Changed

Tips: Penny Press Tip, Pipe Cleaners for Crafting in Line, Locating Luggage as Easy as Bibbidi Bobbidi Boo

Captain's Corner: Pass On Your Tips!

PassPorter PhotoPick: Tiara and Roses from My Husband - Magic Kingdom

Q and A: 8 night Galveston 1/18/13

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What's New and Changed

This week we have 2 news bulletins:

Grand Floridian Spa to Open December 17 Senses - A Disney Spa, located at Disney's Grand Floridian Resort, will reopen after a lengthy closure. The spa will now be owned and operated by Disney, and will feature new decor and new treatment options. The Spa at Saratoga Springs will be closing in mid-January 2013 and will reopen in Summer 2013 as a second Senses - A Disney Spa location. Also in January, all the other spa and fitness facilities at Walt Disney World will be directly owned and operated by Disney. If the "Senses" name seems familiar, the spas on the Disney Dream and Disney Fanasy cruise ships debuted Disney's use of the name.
Comments: 49

This updates page 215 of PassPorter's Walt Disney World guidebook

Taste of Hollywood to Go Holiday Fantasmic! Dinner Package Holiday crowds make seating, whether in restaurants or at attractions, a precious commodity. Disney's Hollywood Studios is addressing the issue this year with the Taste of Hollywood to Go Fantasmic! Dinner Package. As with the traditional Fantasmic! dinner package, your meal includes seating at that evening's Fantasmic! show (your choice of shows, based on availability). The twist is that your meal is a picnic, so you can eat when and where you wish, such as the seating areas at the park's counter service restaurants. Adults choose from five cold meals: fried chicken, cold cut-style roast beef, Cajun shrimp salad, tuna sushi roll, or a veggie sandwich. All come with two side items, soft drink, and dessert. The kid's meal features a turkey and American cheese wrap. Meals can be picked up at Min & Bill's Dockside Diner between 11:00 am and 8:00 pm. Adult meals are $15.99, kids meals $5.49, and can be purchased with one Disney Dining Plan quick-service credit. The package is available for dates between December 22, 2012 and January 5, 2013, and can be reserved now at 407-WDW-DINE (407-939-3463). A credit card hold is required with reservation, the 24-hour cancellation penalty is in effect, and full payment is made at meal pickup.
Comments: 1

This updates page 243 of PassPorter's Walt Disney World guidebook

Tip: Need more news? Read, sort, and search all the PassPorter news bulletins at the PassPorter News Desk!

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Disney Tips:
From Fellow Readers

Our readers deliver a wealth of information! Send us your tips! You may see them in this newsletter and win a copy of PassPorter! And you never know -- your tip could even appear in a future edition of a PassPorter guidebook.

'I've seen many tips about pressed pennies, but none of them mention what type of pennies to use! Starting in mid 1982, pennies were being made of both copper and zinc. If you use these newer coins you might have the zinc showing through giving you a streaked marble look. If you want to avoid this, check the date on your pennies!'
-- contributed by Dawn
Save This Tip

'When waiting in line or waiting for a parade or the fireworks, to keep our kids occupied (and any other children around) I brought different sized and colored pipe cleaners from the dollar store. We "built" different things, made flowers, and I made a giant purple spider that was a big hit with the boys. It kept them busy and happy while we waited. Since my grandaughter and I were leaving the next night, the other children from the group we gathered were given all that were made so they could break them down to make new creatures for the next several days they would be there. It was very inexpensive and the payback was huge!'
-- contributed by Melissa
Save This Tip

'To make finding your luggage as quick as possible in the sea of black & brown luggage, I would suggest a couple of ideas. (Bibbidi) First you could create your own luggage tags by printing a photo/picture of your choice along with your name & cell phone number and have it laminated. (Bobbidi) Second you could tie distinctive ribbons on the handles of your luggage so they stand out. (Boo!) Third you could buy adhesive initials from a home improvement store's reflective letter section (normally with the mailboxes) and stick them on the back of your luggage, they are weatherproof and should stand up to a beating. Any or all of these tips should prove priceless in providing you with a quicker escape from the airport.'
-- contributed by Anjalee
Save This Tip

Want more Disney tips? Look for the concierge bell icon in future newsletters and throughout the site. When you see the bell, tap it to view and save the tip to your personal tip collection!

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 or the PassPorter store. 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.

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PassPorter PhotoPick
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:

Tiara and Roses from My Husband - Magic Kingdom

Photo by cutiepi66

(click the photo or link to see a larger photo with details)

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.
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Q and A: With Jennifer and Dave

minnie gici asks: "I think we are the first 8-nighter out of Galveston so perhaps no one really knows what to expect……Thiis is our first Disney cruise! We are 3 young grandmoms smiley for ;) scoping it out for a future trip to take our grandkids! smiley for :D Plus we need a magical getaway after the holidays… Curious if anyone with more experience than us knows how they determine the dining rotation? Guess we won't find out till we get our key card at check in????? We booked Palo for dinner the first evening - do you think that is a mistake? We booked the brunch for the last sea day…. ANY advice/tips will be helpful! We hate to miss a show on board and thought that hopefully the first evening might not be one of the best shows so we booked Palo.... + I read there is only one 'musical' dinner in the Antimator's Palate (?????true_) and hoped again that it would not be the first night....."

Dave Marx answers: "Welcome to PassPorter! Sorry, there's no way to determine dining rotation in advance. If you had kids along, I'd consider Palo on the first night to be a mistake, as dining together (and meeting your severs together) is a nice way to start the cruise. Since there are no kids involved... First night for Palo is just fine, as far as I'm concerned. Your regular dining room servers will give you the regular "welcome aboard" treatment on the next night instead. There's certainly nothing wrong with having Palo brunch on the last sea day. smiley for :) You're right about the first night's show in the Walt Disney Theatre. It's the Welcome Aboard show, rather than one of the three headline shows. Yes, on the Magic and Wonder there is only one "show" night in Animator's Palate (the Fantasy has two different shows). You do have a one-in-three chance of missing that show by dining at Palo on the first night. If it turns out that you are assigned to Animator's Palate on the first night, you can try to reschedule your Palo booking soon after you board."

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

Have a question? Post questions at -- 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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From the Authors: Happy Thanksgiving!

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

Happy Thanksgiving to our fellow Americans! We are so very thankful for many things, and particularly thankful to our readers and community members. You continue to amaze us with your ideas, delight us with your experiences, and surprise us with your generous contributions of tips, photos, posts, and more! Thank you for being the best community ever!

PassPorter's Club UpdateMore than 1500 vacationers are now enjoying access to all our e-books, e-worksheets, and super-sized photo archive images. Thank you for your continued support!
  • A revised version of PassPorter's Disney Speed Planner e-book is ready for download. One of PassPorter's very first e-books, PassPorter's Disney Speed Planner: The Easy Ten-Step Program to a Perfect Walt Disney World Vacation by Justine Fellows, now has new tips, ideas, and pricing! The new version has ten new pages and interactive worksheets that you can use to help you plan a great vacation, simply and quickly. If you have already purchased PassPorter's Disney Speed Planner from the PassPorter Store, you can download the revised version for FREE by logging into your account, locating the e-book in your order history, and clicking the download link. PassPorter's Club Passholders can download the latest version using the Concierge Desk.

In this issue, PassPorter Guest Contributor Brian Rawson shares information on Finally Forty Inches (Part 2). Then PassPorter Featured Columnist Cheryl Pendry gives us a glimpse into There is More to Disney Than Rides. 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:

Finally Forty Inches (Part 2): Disney California Adventure Attractions for Little Ones
Brian Rawson, PassPorter Guest Contributor

This is Part 2 of our two-part series, Finally Forty Inches: Part 1 outlines our Disneyland Park experiences, while Part 2 is our review of Disney California Adventure.

Our first thrill ride after entering Disney California Adventure was Radiator Springs Racers. My daughter grudgingly tolerated the 45-minute line first thing in the morning, but her eyes got big as we got closer to boarding. It's an awesome ride. There are a couple scary bits in the indoor section, including Frank the combine, but the rest of the ride was a lot of fun for us. During the race part of the ride, my little girl held her hands in the air and cheered all the way.

Out in Paradise Pier, she wanted to ride California Screamin', but she's a long way from meeting the 48-inch height requirement. As it has a 40-inch minimum, she could ride the Silly Symphony Swings in a tandem chair, sitting beside me. She won't be able to have a chair to herself until she's 48 inches tall. I loved the swings when I was young, but they don't have the same appeal to my daughter. She could take them or leave them.

Her favorite corner of Paradise Pier was the "magic triangle of fun" connecting Jumpin' Jellyfish, Golden Zypher, and Goofy's Sky School. We absolutely had to repeat all of them, she was so excited! Jumpin' Jellyfish is a fun drop ride, with a slow line, but she loved it and wanted to ride it repeatedly. I used Jumpin' Jellyfish as a bargaining tool to ride Tower of Terror. Goofy's Sky School had me a bit nervous. It's an intense, wild mouse-style roller coaster. My daughter loved it even more than Big Thunder Mountain Railroad. It's distinctive lack of darkness or monsters really appealed to her. Golden Zephyr was the sleeper attraction. It has a relatively fast loading time, and the ride is much more spectacular than it looks, especially in the evening, before it closes for World of Color.

While it doesn't have a height requirement, guests should pay special attention to the swinging gondolas on Mickey's Fun Wheel. There's no doubt that riding in the swinging gondolas is a thrill ride, perfect for my thrill-seeking girl.

Grizzly River Rapids has a height requirement of 42 inches, significantly higher than the 38-inch requirement for the similar Kali River Rapids in Animal Kingdom. My daughter loved Kali River Rapids, and was looking forward to Grizzly River Rapids. There was a very nervous 6-year-old boy riding with us. He hated the huge drop in Splash Mountain and after riding Grizzly River Rapids, decided that the rapids were much more fun than the log flume. My daughter preferred Splash Mountain because of the drop, but she also appreciated the lack of villains on Grizzly River.

Soarin' was the only big ride where I didn't warn her about anything. She's used to ski hill chair lifts and has no fear of flying. So she walked in, buckled her seatbelt, and took off on an amazing ride. She was cheering and shouting at the top of her lungs when she saw the fireworks over Disneyland. Several times on our vacation, she asked to go back to "that flying ride."

The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror was the biggest challenge, and one we approached very carefully. I actually rode it first by myself, and reported back to her exactly what the frightening elements were. But try as I might, I just can't think like she does. I prepared her for the darkness and breaking glass in the library. The ghost actors in the elevator were just pretend. And the drops were just like Jumpin' Jellyfish, only a little faster. But who could have predicted that the thing that would scare the willies out of my little girl was the video image of herself and the rest of our elevator, waving to ourselves, and then our image being distorted and twisted away. My daughter was upset. "Daddy, why did we wave good bye to ourselves? Why did our video go fuzzy and disappear?" Unsatisfied with my "it's just pretend" explanation, she vows never to ride it again.

Here's a quick summary of my daughter's favorite rides. Most are fast-paced outdoor attractions.
• Jumpin' Jellyfish
• Goofy's Sky School
• Golden Zephyr
• Radiator Springs Racers
• Mater's Junkyard Jamboree
• Mickey's Fun Wheel (swinging gondolas)
• Heimlich's Chew Chew Train
• Francis' Ladybug Boogie
• Soarin'
• Grizzly River Rapids

The following attractions were too frightening for her to experience more than once. Frightening characters dominated her experience:
• It's Tough to be a Bug
• Twilight Zone Tower of Terror (the video of herself scared her)
• Disney's Aladdin - A Musical Spectacular
• Monster's, Inc. Mike and Sulley to the Rescue

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About the Author: Brian Rawson is a single dad, now living near Calgary. His father took him on the Matterhorn Bobsleds when he was five, and since then, he has traveled extensively to feed his roller coaster addiction. He has ridden around 200 different roller coasters and experienced all the "Disney Mountains" in Florida, California, France, and Japan.

Questions, feedback, or corrections about this article, or just want to give kudos to the author? Share a comment here or e-mail us at Also check out our Article Collection for more great information!

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Note from Jennifer: Lovely resort! Awesome spa, too!

Disney Feature:

There is More to Disney Than Rides: Enjoying Disney Without the Attractions
Cheryl Pendry, PassPorter Featured Columnist

Whenever you go to Disney, you go for the rides, right?

Well, not necessarily. It may sound like an alien idea to you, but it's perfectly do-able to go to Disney and not ride an attraction!

We ended up doing exactly that by pure accident on one of our trips. The first couple of days we didn't get as far as any attractions because we spent all our time just exploring the parks and spending time with our friends. It was about day three before we even realized that we hadn't been near any of Disney's many amazing rides. Since then, it's happened to us a number of times like that, and actually it's no bad thing. So how on earth do you manage to avoid almost everything a Disney park has to offer?

First off, let's just step back a moment, and look at that statement. "Almost everything a Disney park has to offer," is one way of describing the rides that make up the park, but is it fair? I'd personally argue not. Of course, Soarin', Splash Mountain, Expedition Everest, and the Tower of Terror are major pulls whenever you head to Walt Disney World, but in all honesty, they’re no longer the main reasons we head to Orlando.

If you're a first-time visitor, then they will doubtless be one of your first ports of call of the day, but by the time you've been to Disney a few times, we find that the need to jump on every ride lessens. Sure, there are the old favorites that you just have to go, and see, like the Haunted Mansion, Pirates of the Caribbean, and It's A Small World. Otherwise, it wouldn't really be a Disney trip, would it?!

However, outside of those, we're now in the fortunate position of being able to take things a little easier. So what else is there to do? A simple answer is, lots! In fact, to quote a certain Disney movie, there's a "whole new world" to discover out there.

First, have you ever taken the time, and be honest here, just to stop and people-watch in the parks? It’s an absolutely fascinating thing to do. It's also really heart-warming to see the faces of children, and sometimes adults, as their eyes light up with wonder at their surroundings. There are lots of places to just sit and take in the atmosphere, and particularly if you visit during the cooler months, this is a very pleasant thing to do. Since I've had chronic fatigue, I've become very good at spotting seats, and you'll find there are more than you first think.

So where are some of our favorite places to just sit and watch the world go by? Top of our list is Epcot's World Showcase. There are just so many wonderful details to take in in any of the countries around the lagoon. It's always fun to sit out at the back of the United Kingdom, or in the peace and tranquility of Japan. Another place I personally like to sit is on the edges of the raised flowerbeds just in front of the entrance to Impressions de France.

In Magic Kingdom, one of my favorite "sports" is anywhere along Main Street, although on a hotter day, it's just as pleasant to find a spot near Aloha Isle in Adventureland, and enjoy a Dole Whip to help cool you down.

Over at Disney's Hollywood Studios, Hollywood Boulevard and Sunset Boulevard are both great spots to just sit and enjoy the sights. While at Animal Kingdom, where better to kick back and relax than in one of the animal exhibits? On many occasions, I've settled down to just watch the animals (and sometimes people!) along the Pangani Forest Exploration Trail, or the Maharajah Jungle Trek.

It's not just all about sitting it down and taking it easy. Outside of the attractions, there are parades and shows to enjoy at each of the parks, and I'm not necessarily talking about the Studios' Beauty and the Beast, or Animal Kingdom's Finding Nemo shows, as these are attractions in their own right. What I mean are the afternoon parades, night-time entertainment, such as Wishes and IllumiNations, and the shows and roving entertainers that take place during the day. To me, there's nothing better than stumbling across DiVine in Animal Kingdom, seeing some of the World Showcase performers, or perhaps catching a show on the stage in front of Cinderella Castle. They're all extra elements that just add to your day at Disney.

Another major draw of Disney for us is the dining. There are just so many wonderful places to head for to enjoy a good meal, with all of them having wonderful theming as well. Of course, you can also argue that some of the meals at Disney are attractions in their own right, particularly if they boast characters, although some are so good on the food front, I'd say that they're just as good as any attraction in the parks.

Something else that we love to do outside of the attractions is just to wander through the shops. As well as offering you the chance to empty your purse, sometimes there are wonderful little details to find. We've learned to explore, and to look around. The best bits can even be on the ceilings, as some of the shops at Disney's Hollywood Studios prove. Be sure to take those extra few seconds to look around whenever you're shopping.

And then, of course, there's a multitude of things to see and do outside of Disney's four main theme parks. Just think of Downtown Disney and all the various resorts, and how much they have to offer. But that's probably another article (if not more than one!) all on its own.

Of course, the traditional Disney attractions are always going to be a huge draw for most visitors to the parks, but the next time you're in Disney, think about it, and perhaps you'll find that you have a morning, afternoon, or evening when you don't actually hit any. If that's the case, I'm willing to bet that you'll still have a great time at Disney, regardless of whether you're actually riding something.

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About the Author: Cheryl is the author of the e-book, PassPorter's Walt Disney World for British Holidaymakers, and is the co-author of PassPorter's Disney Vacation Club Guide: For Members and Members-To-Be. Cheryl and husband Mark live in England and love to travel, particularly to Disney, and they have travelled around the world, visiting every Disney theme park on the way.

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