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Old 01-05-2013, 07:26 AM   #16
Gina-Gina-Bo-Bina
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Originally Posted by tgropp View Post
Gina....you and your husband are very lucky that your child still likes the family vacation. We are also if we pay, but I dont mind that.

One thing that really stood out. I noticed the tshirt that your son had on ...."the swamp". I have that same tshirt as I am a die hard gator fan. Is your son also or did he just like the shirt?
We are super grateful he still loves to travel with us. Absolutely blessed. In so many ways....he is a wonderful young man.

Jake isn't so much a Gators fan exclusively, he is a college basketball fan on the whole......I swear that kid has a shirt for every university team out there!!! He ususally picks up a few on every vacation to the states. The deals on clothing are so much better than we get here. I think he got the Gators one at the Nike Clearance Outlet in Kissimmee on our August trip for something silly like $8. Gosh, I wish we had those kind of deals here!!!

He added another 10 tshirts to his bulging closet on this trip. He has enough clothes for a dozen teenagers .
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Gina and her two guys ...conquering awesome Orlando, one offsite attraction at a time!

Jan. 2009....onsite at POR: all 4 Disney Parks
Jan. 2012....offsite on I-Drive: Universal Studios, IOA, SeaWorld, & Discovery Cove
Aug. 2012...Westgate Lakes Resort & Spa: Aquatica, Discovery Cove, and more
Dec. 2012...onsite at SW! Christmas week at SeaWorld, Aquatica, Gatorland, airboats, & holiday fun
**Christmas 2012 Trip Report: http://www.disboards.com/showthread.php?t=3041415
Aug. 2013....Sheraton Vistana Resort: Blizzard Beach, Typhoon Lagoon, Cocoa Beach & more! **August 2013 Trip Report: http://www.disboards.com/showthread.php?t=3167818


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Old 01-05-2013, 07:43 AM   #17
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Oh Pigletto.....when the cheese gets stretched, you must take a photo and PM me so I can show Jake how bad of an influence he is being on today's youth .

My heart went into my stomach when I read your Airtran experience . OMG! Its a wonder with your past air travel and cruising issues that you are willing to go anywhere!!!! That would have sickened me on flying FOREVER....I don't like it now, and I've had no real issues thus far (except for airsickness).....but that kind of an experience? Lord, help me. I'd have had a heart attack right in the seat.

We didn't end up getting the Buffalo wings after all . We decided to get our fannies moving and back across the border to our hotel in Niagara Falls. Good thing, too, because we had an hour wait at the border this time as traffic was backed up all the way over the Rainbow bridge and through the toll booth. Sigh. I knew we couldn't get lucky twice!



We are very close to you, actually......we live in the Quinte region. The snow must have started in the east and moved westward! We are in Belleville and got more snow than my mom did in Trenton (which is just 20 minutes down the highway).....and I know Ottawa and Kingston got nailed. So maybe things started earlier and heavier toward the east. I just wish it would now all disappear!! lol

Ironically, while we had an amazing time, both DS and DH said they would like to be home for Christmas next year. It was fabulous being in the sunny south, but we missed our families on the actual holiday (weird and all as they are). We also missed going to church on Christmas Eve.....its been a family tradition since I was small and we really, really missed that aspect of the holiday season. And quite honestly, the busy-ness of Christmas week did us in. It was insanity at times. So we may do another trip in lieu of Christmas gifts in future years, but taken at a different time. Your kiddos may come around yet....remember, my son is almost 17. He would not have wanted to trade his Christmas for a vacation at 13 either! (its amazing how much they grown and mature in a few years)

lol, we were VERY busy on this trip, as we are on all trips. But we did manage some down time too . Admittedly, we like to squeeze as much into our vacations as we can while we are there.....and we are happiest when we are busy (though Jake may argue that one...he likes to sleep in). Sleep? Who needs sleep? We will do that on the plane on the way home .
R u guys talking about the Buffalo Wild Wings in Orlando? We loved it last year. We did 40 wings, a kids meal, a salad for a starter, 2 pop, and a pitcher of beer, total cost $32.00. Loved it!
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Old 01-05-2013, 08:46 AM   #18
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Originally Posted by Gina-Gina-Bo-Bina View Post
Oh Pigletto.....when the cheese gets stretched, you must take a photo and PM me so I can show Jake how bad of an influence he is being on today's youth .

My heart went into my stomach when I read your Airtran experience . OMG! Its a wonder with your past air travel and cruising issues that you are willing to go anywhere!!!! That would have sickened me on flying FOREVER....I don't like it now, and I've had no real issues thus far (except for airsickness).....but that kind of an experience? Lord, help me. I'd have had a heart attack right in the seat.

We didn't end up getting the Buffalo wings after all . We decided to get our fannies moving and back across the border to our hotel in Niagara Falls. Good thing, too, because we had an hour wait at the border this time as traffic was backed up all the way over the Rainbow bridge and through the toll booth. Sigh. I knew we couldn't get lucky twice!
I will absolutely take a picture of cheese stretching

As for our perilous vacation experiences, I guess it sounds worse than it feels. One hospital stay, a few clinic visits, one bad flight and one Hurricane cruise.. but believe it or not the majority of them have been completely uneventful. I just realized the Hurricane cruise was almost a decade ago! So luckily there's been many good trips in between

My parents and siblings (I am the oldest and often didn't join them) travelled 2 or 3 times a year. They have one story about coming into Toronto from Europe in the middle of one of the worst thunderstorms I have ever seen that make my story look laughable. My brother who was 16 at the time has flatly refused to get on a plan in the 5 years since!
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Old 01-05-2013, 09:08 AM   #19
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Originally Posted by Gina-Gina-Bo-Bina View Post
Ironically, while we had an amazing time, both DS and DH said they would like to be home for Christmas next year. It was fabulous being in the sunny south, but we missed our families on the actual holiday (weird and all as they are). We also missed going to church on Christmas Eve.....its been a family tradition since I was small and we really, really missed that aspect of the holiday season. And quite honestly, the busy-ness of Christmas week did us in. It was insanity at times. So we may do another trip in lieu of Christmas gifts in future years, but taken at a different time. Your kiddos may come around yet....remember, my son is almost 17. He would not have wanted to trade his Christmas for a vacation at 13 either! (its amazing how much they grown and mature in a few years)

My DD is 12 and asked for a trip to Florida for Christmas, maybe because she is an only child and has everything she needs. We've been to Disney, SeaWorld, Universal a couple of times (the week BEFORE) Christmas and the crowd levels were very manageable. This year, because of the school calendar, that week was not possible for us.

So, we surprised DD with a trip during the upcoming MLK weekend for Christmas! She was shocked! And we are all excited about our long weekend getaway... helps me cope with the post-holiday blues.

I hope at 17 she is will still want to travel with us. I think its great that your son still enjoys traveling with you guys! I am just waiting for the day that sehe asks to bring a friend...
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Old 01-05-2013, 10:28 AM   #20
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The Residence Inn sounds very nice and looks great. I especially love the SeaWorld photo behind the front desk. And the spitting fish in the pool area. Really puts one in the vacationing mood. (My husband says I need to stop reading trip reports. )

I do have a few questions though if you don't mind.

What kind of breakfast is offered?
What are the "Quick Queue" passes? For the shuttles?
Does the shuttle run often to the parks? Does it take a long time?
Pizza Hut? They have Pizza Hut?? Mmm....

I need to look up this place, it's location and pricing. If we end up taking a Universal Studios, SeaWorld, Aquatica and Busch Garden vacation, this might be better than staying at Bonnet Creek. Though on the other hand... I keep reminding myself I have two kids who tend to argue.

I have never had fried cheese but it's now on my list of must have's.
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Old 01-05-2013, 10:30 AM   #21
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Originally Posted by tgropp View Post
One thing that really stood out. I noticed the tshirt that your son had on ...."the swamp". I have that same tshirt as I am a die hard gator fan. Is your son also or did he just like the shirt?
Is THAT what it is? I showed the photo to my husband last night, asking him what a "wamp" is. I never saw the "s".



Yes, I would like to stay home for Christmas with our family. But I would love to skip all the present hula between hubby, the kids & I and instead arrange a trip for early spring. Ah well, one of these days. And I agree with sleep can come later. I made sure hubby, the kids & I were getting enough sleep & well rested a month before our Disney vacation as with my schedule - it was late to bed and up early in the morning! LOL

Last edited by Disney Addicted; 01-05-2013 at 10:37 AM.
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Old 01-05-2013, 10:40 AM   #22
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As for our perilous vacation experiences, I guess it sounds worse than it feels. One hospital stay, a few clinic visits, one bad flight and one Hurricane cruise.. but believe it or not the majority of them have been completely uneventful. I just realized the Hurricane cruise was almost a decade ago! So luckily there's been many good trips in between

My parents and siblings (I am the oldest and often didn't join them) travelled 2 or 3 times a year. They have one story about coming into Toronto from Europe in the middle of one of the worst thunderstorms I have ever seen that make my story look laughable. My brother who was 16 at the time has flatly refused to get on a plan in the 5 years since!
Sounds like you could tell a few stories! I think I would prefer my vacation experiences a bit quieter.
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Old 01-05-2013, 06:41 PM   #23
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I'm here and enjoying your report once more!
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Old 01-05-2013, 07:07 PM   #24
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I'm coming over to read this one too. Just have to remember to check in here every now and then to read about it.
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Old 01-05-2013, 08:03 PM   #25
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R u guys talking about the Buffalo Wild Wings in Orlando? We loved it last year. We did 40 wings, a kids meal, a salad for a starter, 2 pop, and a pitcher of beer, total cost $32.00. Loved it!
Actually, we were talking about the Buffalo wings at the Anchor Bar (home to the original Buffalo wings, pigletto tells me ). We did eat at Buffalo Wild Wings in Orlando on our August trip, though, and the boys loved it. Me, well, I'm not really a wing girl. Give me a grilled chicken breast with a fork and knife any day over sloppy wings that get sauce all over my face (and shirt, and fingers, and............).

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So, we surprised DD with a trip during the upcoming MLK weekend for Christmas! She was shocked! And we are all excited about our long weekend getaway... helps me cope with the post-holiday blues.

I hope at 17 she is will still want to travel with us. I think its great that your son still enjoys traveling with you guys! I am just waiting for the day that sehe asks to bring a friend...
Yay for your upcoming trip!!!!!!! I hope you guys have a great time and fabulous weather!!!

We have taken a friend of Jake's on vacation several times, and we've always had a great time with them. It puts a different dynamic on things, for sure, but the friends have always been great and good sports about all the stuff we plan. I find the boys are almost always up for anything as long as they are well fed!

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I will absolutely take a picture of cheese stretching
I seriously cannot wait to see that!!!

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Originally Posted by Disney Addicted View Post
I do have a few questions though if you don't mind.

What kind of breakfast is offered?
What are the "Quick Queue" passes? For the shuttles?
Does the shuttle run often to the parks? Does it take a long time?
Pizza Hut? They have Pizza Hut?? Mmm....

I need to look up this place, it's location and pricing. If we end up taking a Universal Studios, SeaWorld, Aquatica and Busch Garden vacation, this might be better than staying at Bonnet Creek. Though on the other hand... I keep reminding myself I have two kids who tend to argue.

I have never had fried cheese but it's now on my list of must have's.
I don't mind at all!! Ask away!

Breakfast was awesome. Daily there was 4 kinds of cold cereal, grits, oatmeal, 2 different kinds of muffins, bagels, toast, yogurt, mixed fruit (pineapple, melon, grapes), orange juice, apple juice, cranberry juice, coffee, tea, hot chocolate, and 8 kinds of soda/pop. In addition to those items, there was a variety of hot items daily. One day was homefries and shredded cheese, scrambled eggs, buscuits, sausauge gravy, and sausage rounds. One day was the same except there was sausage rounds AND sliced ham. One day they had eggs, sausage, buscuits and gravy, and waffles. One day they substituted waffles for pancakes. One day they had hard boiled eggs instead of scrambled. The breakfast buffet was AWESOME and HUGE. The best included breakfast we've ever had. And the breakfast staff were super friendly. We never had a problem getting a place to sit, the area was super clean, and the buffet was always kept full.

As for the Quick Queue passes, they are front-of-the-line passes for various rides at SeaWorld. They included the Polar Express, Manta, Kraken, the Sky Tower, Turtle Trek, Journey to Atlantis......I think that was all of them. There was literally a one hour wait posted for the Sky Tower and we walked on. Same with the coasters (Manta and Kraken). Once you have done SW with Quick Queue, its hard to do Disney with Fastpasses. QQ passes are worth $24.99 pp per day, so these are a GREAT inclusion.

Location is excellent. Just off I-Drive on Westwood Blvd. Made it a quite location but seconds away from all restaurants and I-Drive fun. Minutes (like less than 5) from SW and Aquatica. There's a CVS Pharmacy on the corner.

Not exactly sure how often the shuttle ran, as we never did take it, but I saw a list and there were a TON of times on it.

The hotel has a Pizza Hut Express right onsite. More expensive than a regular Pizza Hut, of course, but the regular Pizza Hut will deliver to the hotel if you call (we did one night).

Quote:
Originally Posted by Disney Addicted View Post
Sounds like you could tell a few stories! I think I would prefer my vacation experiences a bit quieter.
lol, I am with you! Poor pigletto has had her fill of vacation excitement.

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Originally Posted by pooksma View Post
I'm here and enjoying your report once more!
Welcome to the party, pooksma! Glad to have you back!

Quote:
Originally Posted by EastYorkDisneyFan View Post
I'm coming over to read this one too. Just have to remember to check in here every now and then to read about it.
Welcome, welcome! Another reader, woot!
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Gina and her two guys ...conquering awesome Orlando, one offsite attraction at a time!

Jan. 2009....onsite at POR: all 4 Disney Parks
Jan. 2012....offsite on I-Drive: Universal Studios, IOA, SeaWorld, & Discovery Cove
Aug. 2012...Westgate Lakes Resort & Spa: Aquatica, Discovery Cove, and more
Dec. 2012...onsite at SW! Christmas week at SeaWorld, Aquatica, Gatorland, airboats, & holiday fun
**Christmas 2012 Trip Report: http://www.disboards.com/showthread.php?t=3041415
Aug. 2013....Sheraton Vistana Resort: Blizzard Beach, Typhoon Lagoon, Cocoa Beach & more! **August 2013 Trip Report: http://www.disboards.com/showthread.php?t=3167818


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Old 01-05-2013, 08:20 PM   #26
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December 24th, 2012.......its Christmas Eve! But you would never know it. Oh my heavens, was Mother Nature being kind to us. Highs were forecasted to be in the low 20's, so we were elated that our plans to visit Aquatica were full speed ahead!



After a hearty breakfast at the hotel (the Residence Inn has a simply awesome breakky ), we were off and running. The park opened at 10 a.m., and we were there by 10:05. No problem parking, the lot was nearly empty. Apparently many folks don't visit the waterparks "in the winter".





In fact, this was about how "crowded" it was during most of the time we spent there:



It was heaven. Really, it was. After being there on a two hot days in August when lines were long and crowds were heavy, this was like paradise.

First stop was to get our cabana. With our annual passholder discount, we snagged a cabana (booked prior to our trip) for $30. While we didn't expect to use or need it as much as we did in August, when it included towel rentals, a locker, and 12 bottles of water, it more than paid for itself.

We had Uluwatu cabana #5:





After dumping our stuff in the cabana, it was into our suits and off to enjoy the park!



Dolphin plunge, which had between a 30 and 60 minute wait in the summer, was a walk-on.



But wait....ALL the rides were walk ons! The boys literally did every slide in the park (some a couple of times) in the first hour we were there. All but the multi-person racing slide, as it was closed for refurbishment but the quick access to the rest of the slides more than made up for that one disappointment.

Photobucket is being a pain.......so there's more photos to come! Stay tuned!
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Gina and her two guys ...conquering awesome Orlando, one offsite attraction at a time!

Jan. 2009....onsite at POR: all 4 Disney Parks
Jan. 2012....offsite on I-Drive: Universal Studios, IOA, SeaWorld, & Discovery Cove
Aug. 2012...Westgate Lakes Resort & Spa: Aquatica, Discovery Cove, and more
Dec. 2012...onsite at SW! Christmas week at SeaWorld, Aquatica, Gatorland, airboats, & holiday fun
**Christmas 2012 Trip Report: http://www.disboards.com/showthread.php?t=3041415
Aug. 2013....Sheraton Vistana Resort: Blizzard Beach, Typhoon Lagoon, Cocoa Beach & more! **August 2013 Trip Report: http://www.disboards.com/showthread.php?t=3167818


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Old 01-05-2013, 08:46 PM   #27
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So....where were we? Oh yes. The slides. Steve was shooting out of Dolphin Plunge.



Anyone need a tube for the next slide? There's no shortage today!



We had free all day dining at the Banana Beach Cookout as part of our vacation package, so we were able to snack and nibble between slides to our heart's content.



All in all, it was just a most amazing waterpark experience. Like having the park to ourselves for a private party. Here are an assortment of photos taken throughout the morning and early afternoon. I dare you to find a line, a crowd, or even a cluster of people.











By about 1:30 in the afternoon, I started to feel a little green around the gills and opted for a lay-down int he cabana. Soon afterward, the boys fell victim to the same thing . By around 2:30, we opted to call it a day (the boys had done all the slides multiple times, we had floated around Roa's for numerous rotations, and we certainly didn't feel as if we missed out by not staying later.....though we would have, if the tummies weren't revolting). Before heading out, we shopped for some family members back home at the gift shop:



then headed for the parking lot. Within a few minutes, we were back at the hotel and the swimsuits were hung to dry.

And then it happened. We hit the wall. And oh, lord, it wasn't nice.

To this day, I don't know if it was something we ate. Or the effects of the sun. Or the accumulated excitement/exhaustion/overstimulation of the previous few days. Or maybe it was a flu bug? But the boys were SICK. And I was definitely not well either .

We had reservations for Santa's Fireside Feast that evening at SeaWorld that were prepaid and we were so excited for. We tried Gravol. It didn't help . With both guys over a bucket, I called SW at 4 pm to let them know we would not be coming (hoping that some other family of 3 might be able to take advantage of our cancellation to enjoy some holiday fun on an otherwise sold-out night, since this was the last time this dining event was being held for 2012). I was honest with the SW phone rep, and told them I knew that we were not entitled to our money back due to the late notice. She asked me to hold, then came back to say they would be refunding me the full amount due to the extenuating circumstances. We were so grateful and touched by their kindness.....just another reason why we love SW customer service .

I wish I could say our Christmas Eve improved, but honestly....we crawled into bed and stayed there. We ordered pizza delivered (in case we recovered later that evening and needed food after most other places closed for the holiday), but it remained uneaten. Thank goodness for a full sized fridge. We were in bed to stay by 7 o'clock. Poor Jake and Steve (who very much had the worst of it) apologized profusely and repeatedly for de-railing our special plans for the evening. I told them there was no other place I would rather be on Christmas Eve than with my boys.......even if we were all in bed, sick as dogs.

Another dose of Gravol for all, and it was lights out for this trio. Tomorrow was Christmas , and we desperately wanted to feel well enough to enjoy our planned day at SeaWorld. Thankfully, a good night's sleep appeared to be just what the doctor ordered, and the rest of the vacation was smooth sailing.

The next update................Christmas Day with Shamu!
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Gina and her two guys ...conquering awesome Orlando, one offsite attraction at a time!

Jan. 2009....onsite at POR: all 4 Disney Parks
Jan. 2012....offsite on I-Drive: Universal Studios, IOA, SeaWorld, & Discovery Cove
Aug. 2012...Westgate Lakes Resort & Spa: Aquatica, Discovery Cove, and more
Dec. 2012...onsite at SW! Christmas week at SeaWorld, Aquatica, Gatorland, airboats, & holiday fun
**Christmas 2012 Trip Report: http://www.disboards.com/showthread.php?t=3041415
Aug. 2013....Sheraton Vistana Resort: Blizzard Beach, Typhoon Lagoon, Cocoa Beach & more! **August 2013 Trip Report: http://www.disboards.com/showthread.php?t=3167818


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Old 01-05-2013, 08:58 PM   #28
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I am totally enjoying your report......that is until this last part where you are all sick on Christmas Eve!!!!! You poor things!! That is my biggest worry right now - trying to keep us all healthy for our trip and then praying we will all be ok while we are there.

Waiting for the next chapter.......
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Old 01-05-2013, 09:01 PM   #29
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Oh Gina! I'm so sorry to hear you were all sick on Christmas Eve! That stinks!

Love all the photos - Aquatica looks like fun ... definitely deserted!

I have a question. I haven't read your other TRs ... do you always stay at SW as opposed to WDW? I love the look of the Residence Inn.
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Old 01-05-2013, 09:05 PM   #30
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WOW!! That is one empty park. I know where I'm going if we ever do a Christmas trip!! That must have been wonderful!!!

And I'm sorry to hear you got sick. So easy to pick up a 24hr bug when you are contact with so many people in airports or planes. And it sure was that time of year. We avoided it but knew a lot of people sick over Christmas.

I'm glad it was over quickly for you. You have me interested in Seaworld now! I am not a big waterpark person but would happily read a book in that Cabana. DH and ds LIVE for waterslides. Dd and I are creatures of comfort
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