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Old 09-12-2007, 06:33 PM   #1
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Leave the kids at home - we're off to WDW alone!

This is my first trip report so bear with me . ..

First, a little history. This was my third trip to WDW. This trip is unusual in that my husband and I went sans children. We have been on two prior Disney trips with one or more of our children. Our first trip was in 1998 when we took our oldest dd at the age of 5. We stayed off property in a two bedroom villa which was a great experience. Our vacation was early December. We had a fantastic time and became instant Disney fans. We had three girls at that time and our family eventually grew to five girls.

Early 2006 I was looking into a another Disney trip when I discovered that at the magic age of 10 our dear little ones became adults in the eyes of Disney. Yikes! I had one turning 10 in Jan. of 2007 and one already over the line. Fortunately free dining came out and we quickly put together a September 2006 vacation for all seven of us. Although we originally booked Pop Century, I later changed our reservations to CSR. Wow! What a great trip. We enjoyed the parks, the dining and CSR.

Ok, back to present time. My husband and I have been married just about 16 years and our last trip alone was TEN years ago! Thankfully, the free dining promotion came around again and we booked a stay at the Pop Century again. I was determined this time to let my reservation stand and see how we enjoyed a value resort.

We took an early morning flight on 9/4 and touched down in Orlando around 10:45. Using Magical Express was painless and smooth. We arrived at Pop within about an hour of landing and were able to get a king (handicapped) room immediately. We updated our one day tickets and made a quick dining reservation for that evening. After checking out our room we headed to the bus stop. We were inside MGM within two hours of landing.

Our first stop was the Tower of Terror. Somehow, I had escaped this ride on the last two trips and this was my self initiated challenge. The ride was a walk on so I didn't have to wait too long. After asking my husband a million questions (I don't like to be surprised), we were underway. I must say, I loved this ride! I was very apprehensive as I generally hate vertical drops. I had ridden a drop ride at our local amusement park which I hated. Of course, that ride was outside with your feet dangling to the wind. The TOT was a great experience.

Next we headed to Star Wars. Again, walked on. Just as fun as I remembered. We then headed to the Indiana Jones show which we had never seen before either. Cute show. Next was a dining reservation at Sci Fi. My expectations weren't super high but we did want to have the opportunity to experience this location. We split some onion rings and an extremely wilted salad. Next we shared a reuben sandwich was quite tasty as well as a shake which was nice.

After this we headed to the Narnia venue. It was interesting but not overly impressive. The Stunt Show was next on the list and we meandered over that direction. Again, this was an attraction we hadn't taken the time to do in the past and it was a fun experience. We had completed our list of must dos for the day so our plans were up in the air. We decided to do another turn at the TOT and again, great experience.

On our way back up on the street from the ride we decided to stop and talk to the DVC rep. We ended up leaving and taking a tour of the DVC models for Animal Kingdom which are located at SSR. Very nice amenities and a great low pressure sales approach. If you're curious about touring, don't hesitate. It's nothing like the high pressure sales at most time shares.

Next we headed to DTD. Although we originally had ADRs at Spoodles we had cancelled and gotten reservations for Raglan Road. I had read so many positive reviews and we knew we would enjoy the live music. We were not disappointed! We were originally shown a table back in a quiet corner and asked the hostess if we could have something closer to the band. Well, closer we got! We were right next to the band. It was a bit loud but we enjoyed the show. The food was amazing. I had the steak salad appetizer which was my favorite of the entire trip. My husband had the goat cheese appetizer which was also nice. DH ordered the ham entree and I ordered the Shepard's pie. Both were well prepared and tasty. I must say the food is very well presented here - just beautiful. We were stuffed and so took our dessert to go. I had the Dunbrody Kiss and DH had the Bread Pudding. WE ate these the next morning for breakfast. All I can say is WOW! Both were great but I kind of wished I had ordered the bread pudding as well!

At this point we were exhausted from traveling and a pretty full day and so headed back to collapse. We made a quick trip into the food court to buy a mug for morning coffee and then hit the hay.
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Old 09-12-2007, 06:59 PM   #2
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Great update. My sister and I took a trip to WDW last year, and it was wonderful to spend that time alone with her. Even though I love spending time at WDW with my kids, it was still nice to have some alone time. Makes me a better mom in the long run.
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Old 09-12-2007, 08:40 PM   #3
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It's definitely a different trip without the kids.

I have a few more days worth of fun to add as I have time including a little interaction with "The Dream Squad!"
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Old 09-13-2007, 09:29 PM   #4
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Day Two - 9/5

We were off to an early start after a quick trip to the food court
for coffee to wash down our desserts from last night's Raglan Road
dinner. We took the bus to Epcot. Having never used bus service on
previous trips I didn't realize how far the bus stops were from the
front of Epcot - now I understand what other have complained about.
However, we had plenty of time so the walk wasn't an issue.

We arrived at the turnstiles and waited for things to open. After a
bit we were let through the turnstiles and headed to the rope drop.
We got a few close ups of characters and witnessed the family of the
day. Once the rope dropped we followed the herd toward Soarin. We
noticed the entire group went toward Soarin and no one turned toward
Nemo. We quickly decided to hit Nemo first and let the crowd settle
at Soarin. The Nemo ride was cute. I was surprised how dark is was
and couldn't help but think my four year wouldn't like it for that
very reason. Although she has a somewhat adventurous spirit - she
has a strong distaste for dark rides.

Next we were off to Soarin. The crowd was not an issue and we walked
right into the ride. After our preflight briefing we were seated
front middle row! Everytime I ride this I like it more and more -
what a fun adventure. Before exiting the building we walked onto
Living with the Land. This ride was down on our last trip when they
were adding that taped narration.

After this we headed across the park for some serious thrill rides.
We walked onto Test Track. I love that you can now put your ride
photos on your photopass! Next we hit orange Mission Space. That
takeoff nearly takes my breath away but I still love the trip. At
this point we needed some cool refreshment so headed to the Cool
Station. We sampled the coke varieties with the exception of the
Beverly. I did try it last trip and it wasn't quite as bad as I
expected but certainly not something I really 'enjoyed'.

The World Showcase was just getting started and we were determined to
make the most of the day. On past trips with children World Showcase
tended to be a whirlwind visit from one Kidstop to another. We
watched the film in Canada for the first time. We were told it was a
new film that had just previewed the prior Friday. I enjoyed the
film although my neck was a bit stiff from standing and trying to
view all the screens. We next stopped and shared an order of fish
and chips in the UK. Although these were good, I wasn't sure they
stood up to all the hype I had read about them. We enjoyed them
nonetheless.

France was our next stop. We viewed the film about France and
visited the shops. WE also shared a cheese plate from the counter
service location. Next we toured Morroco and then headed to Japan.
The candy lady was giving a demonstration which we enjoyed. We made
it through America, Italy and Germany. We watched the China film for
the first time which was also enjoyable. In Norway we made a stop
for School Bread which we had tried on our last trip. After passing
Mexico we headed back to the front.

We stopped and sent email postcards to all the girls back home. We
also rode the Segways which was so much fun. Made me want to own
one! Off Kilter was playing so we stopped and enjoyed them next. We
had missed them in the past and they were amazing to watch. I didn't
realize you could make a bagpipe sound like that! Wow!

We decided to ride the boat to the Boardwalk. Yet another first. We
checked out the resort and shops and then headed back to Epcot. We
caught the Mo'Rockin show before heading to dinner in France.

Our dinner was at Le Chefs de France. I ordered the cheese plate.
I'm not sure what I was thinking, I guess I didn't expect it to be
identical to the one we had shared earlier in the day from the CS
location. Still, I love cheese so I enjoyed it. DH had the salmon
tartare which was phenomenal. For dessert I had the creme brulee
which was excellent and DH had the apple crepe which was also quite
good.

Exhausted from a full day we headed back to the resort to chill out
and prepare for our next day at Animal Kingdom.
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Old 09-14-2007, 06:33 PM   #5
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i'm in! great reporting so far!
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Old 09-14-2007, 07:33 PM   #6
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HI! Followed you from the peep thread! Gotta support a Peep!
DH and I are going on a kidless trip in January so this report is just what I need.
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Old 09-14-2007, 08:27 PM   #7
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Wow, I actually have people reading my report! Thanks!!

I'm hoping to get day three up tomorrow. I have a full day of activity to get through first but I'll do my best!
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Old 09-16-2007, 10:00 AM   #8
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Day three! Animal Kingdom/Epcot

It's Animal Kingdom day! Another early start. We didn't have to wait long for bus and arrived before entry yet again. We probably waited for the turnstiles to open about ten minutes then headed to the rope drop. We lined up on the Everest side and watched the opening ceremony.

We got to Everest with the crowd which wasn't super heavy. It was pretty much walk on. I noticed the dream squad at the unloading area. I pointed them out to DH and told him they were there waiting to award me the castle suite. When we approached the unloading one of the dream squad members welcomed us back and said we were winners. Ok, so no castle suite but we did get lanyards! I was very excited. After reading so much on the boards I really prepared myself to get nothing so a little surprise was fantastic! We headed back through the entrance and walked on again. This is really one of our favorite rides - what a great coaster. I don't like super high, super big drop roller coasters so Everest is perfect for me, just enough excitement but not overly scary to me.

Next we were headed to Dinoland for the Primeval Whirl. Today was the day we were 'officially' celebrating our anniversay so we wore our anniversary buttons we had picked up when leaving Epcot last night. The attendant saw the buttons and let us have our own car even though we could have ridden with two other individuals. She also gave us a tip that we should sit on the far side of the car together if we liked to spin. We were game so we loaded the far side of the car. Yep, lots of extra spinning! When we got back to the loading area there wasn't a line so we asked to ride again - and our request was granded.

After regaining our equilibrium we hit Dinosauer next. DH dropped his sunglasses as our car was leaving the loading area. He had forgotten they were on his hat which he was removing from his head. When we finished the ride we asked about them and although they could see them, the attendants could not go off their platform to get them but gave us instructions on lost and found and said they would be turned in at the end of the day.

Time to hit the fruit stand at the opposite side of the park. One of my favorite snacks is the fresh pineapple! Yum! DH got a giant pickle. We stopped and enjoyed the acrobatic group. We then wandered over to the Safari. This was the longest line we stood in all week - maybe about 20 minutes. Not bad and the line moves along. We were able to see quite a few animals. I didn't take any pictures as we have quite a few from other trips. We just sat back and enjoyed the ride. When we were unloading we again saw the dream squad. They took some of the people off our truck aside and I believe awarded them dream fast passes. I felt pretty fortunate because I really prefered the lanyard since crowds were low enough that waits weren't an issue.

Now at this point I could have left the park completely satisfied. I had done the few things I came to do. My husband, however, has an interest in becoming a naturalist when he can retire at 50 so this park holds alot of interest to him. We took the time to explore the Pangani Forest Exploration Trail. Once on the trail, I was glad I had relaxed and let my commando personality go. The animals are beautiful and the walking through the trail is relaxing. We took lots of pictures since we had skipped the trails last year with the girls. Our girls are all interested in nature and animals but got hyperfocused on rides last Sept.

Now my stomach was telling me it was lunch time. Because my all time favorite Tusker House is under reimbursement we needed a plan B. We tried Flame Tree BBQ and shared a rib meal. Since BBQ is a big deal here in the KC area I wasn't setting my expectations too high. I was actually pretty surprised how much I enjoyed the ribs. After filling our tummies we explored the Maharajah Jungle Trek. Another beautiful leisurely walk with another set of pictures. We stopped on our way out and talked to a CM about some of the monkeys in that area. She was very interesting and we talked to her about her experience working at Disney.

Now that lunch had settled we headed back to Everest. The line was a bit longer but I don't think the wait was more than 20 minutes. We decided to use the cards we got from our DVC tour and get two immediate fast passes. We walked right on and enjoyed another trip to see the Yeti. Next a return trip to Primeval Whirl. We were loaded in a car with a mother and daughter who I believe had never ridden this before. They didn't speak English so though we tried we couldn't communicate. I really thought the mom was going to lose her lunch. I kept pushing my bag over by DH just in case. We managed to make it through the ride with no incidents!

By this time it was feeling a bit more crowded and warm so we headed for the bus stop. Once back at the Pop we stopped at the food court for drinks and picked up a little food to share. The cheesesteak wrap we shared was fantastic.

Around 4 pm we headed toward Epcot. We stopped at the email postcard station in Innovations since one of the girls didn't receive our previous email. We picked up a fastpass for Soarin to use later in the evening and then crossed to walk on both Test Track and Mission Space. Our Test Track car was the two of us and one other guy.

On our way to dinner we stopped in China to pick up some fun chopsticks for the girls we had spotted earlier in the week. Dinner was a Restaurant Marrakesh in Morroco. Our wait was short and the venue is beautiful. We both choose the Jasmina salad for our starter. It is a fantastic salad full of fresh vegetables. DH chose the Mediterrean Seafood Platter which was good but not great. I chose the Night in Casablanca. I was really disappointed in my meal. The chicken kabob was really dry and I did not care at all for the lamb. I took about three bites and decided to leave it. I don't know if I have ever had lamb or what it is supposed to taste like so I have nothing to compare it to. By the end of the meal I was really feeling full and uncomfortable. At this point I wished I had cancelled this meal for Raglan Road instead of Spoodles.

After a somewhat disappointing dinner we stopped to use our fastpasses at Soarin. We ended up front and center again. We rode next a girl and her mother. The girl was celebrating her birthday. The ride attendant made an announcement of her birthday and our anniversary before the flight. The mother and daughter really enjoy this ride and have a lot of fun. They were really fun to ride with. They encouraged me to lean forward on parts of the ride. Did I mention I am extremely fearful of heights? Well, completely out of character I did indeed lean forward a few times. Kind of fun . . .

Our initial plan for the evening was a trip to Adventurer's Club but we were both a bit uncomfortable from our meal. We decided to just chill back at the hotel for the evening which worked out pretty good for me since I like to watch Big Brother and it was on that evening. I could really have used a bottle of Tums but managed to survive whatever was irritating my stomach and get a decent night's sleep.
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Old 09-16-2007, 11:09 PM   #9
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Great update! Ya'll did alot in one day.

Sorry your dinner was a disapointment.
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Old 09-17-2007, 07:38 AM   #10
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As I sit and write my reports I am surprised how much we did in a day especially compared to the trips with children. And I really didn't feel like we were rushing. The crowds were relatively low which definitely helped. That, and not having to make a million trips to the restroom!
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Old 09-17-2007, 09:13 AM   #11
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We'll be making our first trip without kid in January since our honeymoon, so I'm really enjoying your report! Sorry you had a bad dinner experience. Raglna Road is one of our ADR's and I'm looking forward to it!
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Old 09-17-2007, 09:37 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HMHunters View Post
We'll be making our first trip without kid in January since our honeymoon, so I'm really enjoying your report! Sorry you had a bad dinner experience. Raglna Road is one of our ADR's and I'm looking forward to it!
I think you will love Raglan Road. I like to try new places whenever we go but Raglan Road will definitely be a repeat. I am headed to WDW in a few weeks with my 14 y/o DD and am considering hitting RR on that visit as well!
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Old 09-23-2007, 08:50 AM   #13
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I'm finally back to wrap this report up! Since I leave in the morning for the World - I need to finish this up so I can start my next adventure!

Day four - Friday Sept. 7

Magic Kingdom

Today is a Magical Beginnings morning. We aren't traveling with little ones like last year so I triple check the "requirements" for early entry. We are Disney property guests so it looks like we're qualified. It does feel a little odd going in without children but we enjoy watching everyone else's children see the characters that on hand.

Before entering the park we stop by Guest Relations to get our Southwest boarding pass for tomorrow's flight. We get an A pass which we are happy about since I had forgotten about getting my pass on the way into Florida and ended up with a B pass. Boarding pass in hand, it's time to head into the park.

The crowd seems relatively light and most of the children are having a ball playing games with the characters. We make it on the first Dumbo ride which Stitch is also riding. We then hit Snow White, Peter Pan, Small World (the first load here as well), Pooh and the teacups. We have completed most of Fantasyland in about 45 minutes. We head to the rope drop at Tomorrowland and visit with the CM there while we wait.

We defy 'normal' crowd patterns and head first to Astro Orbiter. I have never ridden this so I am anxious to see the view from the ride. What a great ride. The ride isn't all that thrilling but I loved the vantage point. We then stroll over to Space Mountain and walk on. This is my husband's choice of rides. For some reason I am was thinking I really don't like this ride but enjoyed it more than I remembered. I think this is due to past rides when I was riding with children and I am more stressed worrying about them. After checking the wait time at the Laughing Floor we decide to hit Buzz Lightyear next and walk on again. My score while better than my husband's wasn't super impressive. I don't remember the exact number.

We then go to the Laughing Floor which is getting ready to open again. We have a very short wait in the area outside the theater doors. The crowd is very light so most people leave space between them and the guests in front of them. While waiting I was surprised at the people who just come in and walk in front of guests waiting. I guess they feel since there is room they should just fill it. I don't understand the logic. We don't even have enough people to fill a third of the theater but it must be really important to them to get in the doors ahead of everyone else. The show was cute.

We are ready to leave Tomorrowland and head for Frontierland. We stop by the castle and have our picture taken (even got a Tink picture!).

When we arrive at Splash Mountain we find it temporary down so we hit BTMRR. This is one of my favorite rides. Just enough speed and action to have fun. We check on Splash again, still down. So we head to Adventureland. We have a very short wait (maybe a few minutes) at both Pirates and Jungle Cruise. We're headed to get a Dole Whip when I spot the Swiss Family Robinson tree house. Ok, I really must have been touring commando style on my previous trips because I never saw this. I know, you're thinking how could you miss this gigantic tree! But I did. We took the whirlwind tour of the tree. It would be fun to take more time but the crowd you are amongst kind of dictates the pace. I guess we could have moved over and let people pass but I was looking forward to my pineapple float!
DH and I share a float and head back to check the time on Hall of Presidents.

The next show isn't for about 20 minutes so we step into Columbia House to check out the menu. That half float just eaten we're aren't really hungry but have some time to kill. We share a lighthouse sandwich which was really good. If you like hummus give this sandwich a try. We arrive at the Hall of Presidents just as they are getting ready to shut the doors. With a full stomach it's kind of hard not to doze off during the show. I didn't enjoy this show as much as the American Adventure in Epcot but I'm still glad I took the time to finally watch it.

My next mission is to find Cinderella at the request of my daughters. Somehow we managed to miss her last September and the girls really want her signature. We get lucky as she is one of the characters in the tent at Toontown. This is one of the longest lines we have stood in all week. I would estimate 20 minutes or so. There are three princesses in the line, Cinderella being the first. Once we get her signature and a quick picture we skip the other princesses (sorry girls) and head out. We ride the Barnstormer which is shorter than I remember.

Off to Tomorrowland for a repeat of Space Mountain. We ride Tomorrowland Transit as DH hasn't ridden it in the past. When I rode last September my 3 y/o cried everytime it went into a building (hates the dark!). Much more enjoyable with DH this year. As we are headed back toward the center of the park the rain commences. Wow, this was a bit more than a sprinkle, it's actually raining! My husband has a hat so he's content. I whip on a handy dandy poncho and we make a stop for new bandaids (blisters) at the First Aid Station.

Midafternoon coupled with rain is pushing a bit of the crowd toward the entrance so we decide to browse in the shops. We decide the line in the photoshop is too long and slow to worry about redeeming our coupon for a free 5 x 7. We get a piece of fudge in the candy shop which was quite yummy.

By this time the rain has pretty much diminished and the masses leaving have thinned. We monorail over to Lost and Found near the TTC. Fortunately they indeed have DH's sunglasses from yesterday's Dinosauer adventure. We monorail back to MK and hop on the resort bus. When we get back to the Pop we have a nice balloon bouquet along with a Mickey & Minnie card for our anniversary. We take a quick nap and clean up for dinner.

Our ADR is for Kona so we take the bus to MK and monorail to the Poly. We are seated within a minute or so. For appetizers I get the crab cakes and DH ordered the potstickers. Both are fantastic. Our entrees were the filet and the mahi mahi. Wow, great food, great presentation. We also try a Kona beer which was good. Dessert was the torte and the macadamia nut tart. Both were good but we were SO FULL we couldn't even finish them.

We had again contemplated a trip to DTD for the evening but we have an early flight in the morning and don't want to come home to face five children if we're overtired. Instead we monorail to the Grand Floridian and the Contemporary and hit the penny presses for the girls' collection. The GF is really a pretty hotel.

Once back at the Pop we begin the packing process. We do hit the food court before it closes and use up our left over counter and snack credits. We get some fun bagged snacks to take home to the girls. We also get a sandwich and fruit for our breakfast in the morning. After returning the fridge and coffeepot (from swaps) to luggage services we settle down for a short night's rest.
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Old 09-23-2007, 09:03 AM   #14
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Last day!

Saturday, 9/8

Our Magical Express trip to the airport is scheduled to leave at 4:45 AM. We make it to the front of the hotel by 4:30 and wait for the bus. The bus pulls up just before 4:45 and we sit and wait for the other guests scheduled for the bus.

We have printed boarding passes and aren't checking luggage so once at the airport we have ALOT of time to kill. We eat our breakfast and just wait for the plane.

Remember how I got those coveted A passes? Well, I shouldn't have even worried. There were less than 40 people on our flight. The plane held around 130. I have never ridden on such an empty plane!

It was nice having lots of space. Most people laid down and took naps. DH and I watched a movie on the computer which was just about done when they announced to turn off electronic devices. Talk about bad timing!

Final thoughts - This was an absolutely enjoyable trip. What a great vacation. It is such a different experience without the children. I love taking my children to Disney and love watching them enjoy all the fun. I also very much enjoyed spending the time with DH and creating our own Disney memory.

Pop Century - This is a fun, lively hotel. I know my children would have loved it. However, I really enjoyed CSR last year because it had a more relaxed feeling which was also nice after touring the parks with FIVE girls. I think the food court is excellent. They have a nice variety of hot food as well as grab and go items. We didn't swim this time but toured all the pools. There were always quite a few people swimming - much more crowded than the CSR pools. Housekeeping did a good job in our room and we found the staff to be friendly and helpful. I wouldn't hesitate to recommend this to other families planning trips.
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