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Old 05-10-2011, 12:33 PM   #31
Captain_Oblivious
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Very nice strategery with the Christmas gifts turning into a WDW trip. Did you get a psychology degree?

I do agree wholeheartedly that experiences > material things.
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Old 05-10-2011, 04:10 PM   #32
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Originally Posted by nat1234 View Post
I like the pictures of your Nation's Capital. One day I would love to go to the Smithsonion (sp?) and Mount Vernon.
Thanks. That trip was one of the best I’ve had the opportunity to take. It’s kind’a like an “American History Disneyland”. Too much to see and do in one trip and the attention to detail is exquisite.


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Originally Posted by nutz2notz View Post
Really enjoying your report so far and love the DC
pictures.

I won't judge you on taking the kid out of school as I have been known to do that more than once myself!

Looking forward to your next update.
Welcome aboard. Glad that you’re enjoying my ramblings.
I’m still surprised that anyone is following along al all.

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Originally Posted by mkandjpsmom View Post
Great trip report so far! The DC pictures are great. We took a trip to DC about 9 years ago and loved it. I can't wait to hear about Christmas at WDW!
And another Welcome is on order.
I’ll get to the actual Disney stuff very soon.
Just got to finish off Chapter three and then it’s on to POR.

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Originally Posted by afwdwfan View Post
Looking good so far. I've been to DC a couple of times and absolutely love the history and significance of everything there. I had the honor of spending some time there for work when I was with the USDA. It was in July/August and was hotter than hot, but it was awesome walking outside after a day at work and seeing the Washington monument right in front of me. I love the pictures!
Thanks. So long as I wouldn’t have to drive, I’d like to live up that way as well. We were there in late June of last year. They were in the middle of a record heat wave. Needless to say, we tried to stay indoors as much as possible.

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So, what exactly is the selfish part?
Don't know anything about that

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Originally Posted by afwdwfan View Post
Diabolical is the best kind of plan!
No sense in having one otherwise.

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Originally Posted by afwdwfan View Post
That is awesome! Great strategic play there.
That is kind of what our plan is for this year. We're just going to do Disney as our gift to each other.
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Originally Posted by Captain_Oblivious View Post
Very nice strategery with the Christmas gifts turning into a WDW trip. Did you get a psychology degree?
Well… Errrrr… Yah…. I kind’a did go about that in a rather sneaky way.
Some times it’s more important to ask the right question and then use that answer to know which questions no longer need to be asked. Similar to the way a flow chart works (and I’m plenty old enough to have actually had to draw my share of “flow charts”)


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Originally Posted by Captain_Oblivious View Post
I do agree wholeheartedly that experiences > material things.
This is one of the great lessons in life.
You can’t learn it soon enough (and I didn’t).


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Originally Posted by nat1234 View Post
I know how you feel about pulling your child from high school. My youngest just started high school and I can't imagine pulling her out right now. Great start so far. I can't wait to read more.
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Originally Posted by afwdwfan View Post
Eh... to each his own. I don't even get why people argue about it. I personally probably wouldn't pull my kid out for vacation, but a half a day never hurt anybody. And if you wanted to pull him out for a week, that'd be between you, him and the teachers, not somebody on a message board that doesn't even know you.
I wasn’t worried too much about the half a day. If he didn’t have an exam that day, we’d have left in the morning. But I just can’t justify the better part of a week out of school, at this stage. Even though I’d have saved a good bit of cash, and the parks would not have been near as crowded (a little bit of foreshadowing there).
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Old 05-10-2011, 04:39 PM   #33
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Chapter 3 / Part 2: Rainman…

Interstates are boring. Shocked to hear that, aren’t you. There is no shortage of beauty in this country, but if you’re driving, you really can’t spend much time looking at it, and the road that you are trying to pay attention to is just one long monotonous never ending line of dark gray… Zzzzzzzzz… I’m AWAKE!! Really... This drowsy state started to set in a few hours into the trip as the afternoon sun was beating down on the car and everyone else was either watching DVDs in the back or catching a cat nap in the front. Under these conditions your peripheral vision starts to narrow and the eyelids just start to get heavy, but sometimes nature has a way of solving your problems four you. And when you’re driving, that salvation usually manifests itself in the form of rain.

I don’t believe that I have ever driven over 400 hundred miles at a single stretch without getting rained on at least once. But sometimes Momma Nature just decides to rip open one great big ‘ol hole in the sky and absolutely drench everything in sheets of uninterrupted liquid havoc. Around home we’d call it a “frog strangler”. That’s what we encountered. This downpour started about midway through GA and continued for the next 200 miles or so. Now... I was awake, and very tense. With the visibility down, and most of the other cars speeding up rather then slowing down, the drive became a whole lot more, shall we say, exciting. When dinnertime approached we just grabbed burgers at a drive through and kept moving. The only good thing (if you can call it that, is that this kind of rain kept a lot of the Highway Patrol officers busy handling the myriad of driver errors (not that I could do very much speeding in those kind of conditions). Another good thing was deciding to take FL Route-9A as the bypass for downtown Jacksonville. If you don’t use this route, I recommend it. Better roads, fewer exits (which means less sprawl) and the chance to cross one really fine bridge at Dames Point. The view is breathtaking and the structure itself is spectacular.

(These were actually taken on the way back home)


(Yah, they aren’t the greatest images)


(Taken from a moving car and all, but you get the idea)


Trust me, if you were there looking out the window and up the St. Johns River, it was spectacular.

Somewhere near Daytona, the rain finally stopped. The rest of the drive on I-4 was fairly uneventful and I now had my second wind. We decided to stop at a Hampton Inn just northeast of “The Big O” for the night. I trust this particular chain, and they generally don’t let me down. They had a good room available, and warm cookies sitting out for the guests. The coffee, however... That was tepid at best and had been setting out a long while (win some, loose some), but the cookies were good, the bed was queen size, clean and soft, and in nothing flat we were all fast… a… sleeeeeee… Zzzzzzzzzzz…


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Old 05-11-2011, 07:25 PM   #34
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Chapter 4: Day-1

Part-1 - Rain… Not just rain, but rain rain…



The sun had risen. You surely couldn’t tell that this astronomical event had occurred, but according to the alarm clock and my vague recollections of science classes past, there should have been a large yellow-orange disk dominating the sky and warming the ground beneath us. What you could see instead was rain. Not just rain, but rain rain…” It was that steady ceaseless type of winter precipitation that just makes your bones ache.

This had the potential to become a problem as we were planning to spend the day at Animal Kingdom. AK is one of the largest parks physically and is set up so as to have very little cover as your traveling from one area to the next. As a method of aiding the financing of this trip, we did not go for either the “Park Hopper” or “Non-Expiring” options on our tickets. We’d only be there four days and the package included five days worth of park entrances, so our thinking was that if need be we’d consider burning two of them in one day. We also planed to start at AK, because we can generally see and do most of the things we really like there in a bit less then a day in the first place.

Such is life, and there is precious little anyone can do about the weather in the first place. So… We got ready, ate some of the free breakfast offered in the grand lobby of our accommodations and jumped back in the car. The drive through Orlando was a bit congested and the rain wasn’t helping matters, but we made our way down to exit-67 and onto the property with no real trouble. Even in the midst of a dreary winter rain, there is still something very magical about actually crossing under or by any of the welcome gates at Disney.



The trek to POR was smooth and by 9:30 we were tip-toeing our way around all the standing water and trying to get into the main lobby of the resort. I had done the on-line check in, so we hopped in the designated queue and other then realizing that I’d forgotten to bring my “Disney Visa Points – Rewards Card” (which would have helped pay any of the extra expenses we encountered) we were good to go. Well sort of. Our room wasn’t ready yet. As y’all know, this is not that uncommon (especially during busy times of the year). They knew we would be staying in the “Acadian House” in the Magnolia Bend section of the resort, but that was all the info that was available at the time. However, they offered to text us when the room became available and that our cards would work at that time, so there would be no need to check back in at the front desk later in the day. Fair enough.


Part-2: What to do, what to do?

One of my wife’s favorite phrases perfectly supplied the title of this little section. So here we are, now what? The rain was just too heavy to really be able to enjoy AK at that point. Of course, when you’re at Disney, there are lots of options. We decided to give the weather a bit more time to work itself out and headed over to Downtown Disney for a bit. Depending on how long we were there, we might get a little lunch and we certainly wanted to spend some time looking around. So we moved the car around to the Acadian House parking lot, made the short walk to the North Depot, and in less then ten minutes, we were sitting on the DTD bus.

(This pic was actually from a little later in the trip, but you get the idea)


One of the first shops you come to from the bus stops at DTD is the Christmas Store. Needless to say, we indented to hit that one anyway, so in we go. After a little bit of poking around, Tamara had found the precise ornament for that year’s expedition. No sooner do we complete that transaction then there’s a buzz on her cell-phone. It’s the front desk at POR… Room 8110 is now ready! One top of that, we walk outside and discover that the rain was finally starting to let up a bit. So we thought about it for a moment and decided to take the boat back up to our resort (because at the PO resorts you can do that) and then load all our gear into the room. Maybe by then the rain will have finally dissipated.

Last edited by GoofyIsAsGoofyDoes; 05-11-2011 at 07:31 PM.
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Old 05-12-2011, 09:26 AM   #35
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[QUOTE=GoofyIsAsGoofyDoes;41060331]
I don’t believe that I have ever driven over 400 hundred miles at a single stretch without getting rained on at least once. But sometimes Momma Nature just decides to rip open one great big ‘ol hole in the sky and absolutely drench everything in sheets of uninterrupted liquid havoc.{/QUOTE]
You know what, I've never thought about it that way, but you're right. Seems like everytime we drive somewhere for vacation we always go through a downpour that looks to be of Noah's Ark proportions at some point in the trip.

Quote:
Originally Posted by GoofyIsAsGoofyDoes View Post
We decided to stop at a Hampton Inn just northeast of “The Big O” for the night. I trust this particular chain, and they generally don’t let me down.
Yep, typically can't go wrong with them... and the breakfast ain't half bad for a free one.

Quote:
Originally Posted by GoofyIsAsGoofyDoes View Post
Not just rain, but rain rain…” It was that steady ceaseless type of winter precipitation that just makes your bones ache.
Sounds like spring has been around here... get through with one storm today and then another hits tomorrow.

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Originally Posted by GoofyIsAsGoofyDoes View Post
Even in the midst of a dreary winter rain, there is still something very magical about actually crossing under or by any of the welcome gates at Disney.
A crappy weather day at Disney is always better than a sunny day at work.

Hopefully the rain calmed down for you... the way this thing was starting out I thought you were going to tell us you went to the sports store in DTD to see if they had any Kayaks or Canoes available.
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Old 05-12-2011, 10:34 AM   #36
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[QUOTE=GoofyIsAsGoofyDoes;41076089]


Rob - I'm really enjoying the report. Your narration is excellent, and that picture above really captures the day.

The boat ride to/from POR & POFQ really are nice, aren't they? Nice smooth water and beautiful views. Hard to beat that!
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Old 05-12-2011, 12:38 PM   #37
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Quote:
Originally Posted by afwdwfan View Post
You know what, I've never thought about it that way, but you're right. Seems like everytime we drive somewhere for vacation we always go through a downpour that looks to be of Noah's Ark proportions at some point in the trip.
That’s just something I noticed. I’ve done a fair amount of driving, but every time we’re in the car for longer then about 4 hours, you can just about count on encountering rain somewhere. There are exceptions, but usually this is consistent enough to win a bet off of someone that doesn’t pay as much attention,

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Originally Posted by afwdwfan View Post
Yep, typically can't go wrong with them... and the breakfast ain't half bad for a free one.
Agreed, they’re very consistent. You can save $20 or $30 at other places, but the condition of the facility is always a crap shoot (with rather long odd associated with it). Traveling is hard enough on the body, so I’ll pay a couple of bucks for a known commodity.

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Originally Posted by afwdwfan View Post
Sounds like spring has been around here... get through with one storm today and then another hits tomorrow.
The spring weather has been rather frightful nearly everywhere this year. La Nina years are always extra wet, and some folks have had a real hard time of it. We’re even in the process of replacing our roof due to sever hail damage. I’m also anticipating a fairly active hurricane season this summer as well (and SC is just about due for one - historically speaking), but hopefully, the big storms will hold off until after we go cruising in a few weeks.

Quote:
Originally Posted by afwdwfan View Post
A crappy weather day at Disney is always better than a sunny day at work.

Hopefully the rain calmed down for you... the way this thing was starting out I thought you were going to tell us you went to the sports store in DTD to see if they had any Kayaks or Canoes available.
If I’d have thought of it, a kayak might well have been a good purchase. Things do start to dry out shortly and be sure that we did have a good time down there. An unconventional trip (some would say), but a lot of fun none the less.

Quote:
Originally Posted by FreezinRafiki View Post
Rob - I'm really enjoying the report. Your narration is excellent, and that picture above really captures the day.

The boat ride to/from POR & POFQ really are nice, aren't they? Nice smooth water and beautiful views. Hard to beat that!
Thank you sir... Coming from a master author of Dis-TRs with the wide following you have garnered on these boards… That is unexpected high praise indeed.

Here’s the funny thing, this is actually a bit of an experiment on my part. In the past few years, I’ve had a number of different unrelated instances where someone has told me that they thought I had a knack for writing. However, this assessment flies directly in the face of nearly ever word that ever cross the lips of America’s army of English teachers in reference to my abilities of communication, so I never really took the comments to heart. But recently, I’ve been thinking about trying to put a few ideas and experiences to pen (just ‘cause I want to), so this TR is kind’a like my first foray into the realm of the written word. I’m still surprised that anyone is reading along, but It’s giving me the confidence to continue (of course that also means, that you now share at least a small part of the blame for mindless dribble that I will be unleashing on society in the future ).


Now… About that boat ride… (to be continued)
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Old 05-13-2011, 11:10 PM   #38
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Chapter 4: Day-1

- Part-3: Up the Sassagoula, and into the Acadian


The let up in the rain (from driving to light) had two immediate effects. It brightened our spirits, and it allowed me to finally pull the camera out of my pocket (which means form this point forward, you’ll generally have a few pictures to go along with my otherwise unnecessary commentary).





Although this was our first stay at Riverside, we’ve stayed at POFQ several times (it’s one of my favorite resorts), so we’ve made this river passage before. I just love to be aboard any type of ship or boat for any length of time regardless of the destination, and my family generally allows me to indulge this addiction (and that indulgence now insures that you have to scroll through a series of pictures from this little micro-cruise).

Nessie from behind


A little bit of SSR


A couple of shots of the Tree House Villas
(These look like they’d be fun, I’ll have to add them to the list of places to stay)


(Yah… it’s still raining a bit.)


Lazy River


Poseidon at the POFQ


Parterre Place - POR



Oak Manner – POR



Sassagoula Steamboat Company (Downtown POR)




Once we arrived at the docks at Riverside, we walked the pathways over to our building
(so as to figure out the best route for retrieving coffee & drinks latter on).







Acadian House


Even in the wintertime, this is one of the prettiest resorts on the property.

We had asked for a room on the ground floor (just for convenience) and quickly found the spot that was to be our home away form home for the next few days. First step: pictures and a general hunt for Hidden Mickeys (we just love finding these).

Our Welcome Mickey


A little trip around the room




Max made the mistake of sitting still long enough for Tamara to get a picture




Hidden Mickey’s in the fabric of the comferters and side chairs


And another one to boot



Next step, move the car a bit closer and load the bags & gear into the room. Third step: Realize that the rain had finally slowed to a mere drizzle and jump on the bus over to Animal Kingdom!

Last edited by GoofyIsAsGoofyDoes; 05-13-2011 at 11:49 PM.
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Old 05-13-2011, 11:47 PM   #39
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Subbing and looking forward to your next installment.
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Old 05-13-2011, 11:55 PM   #40
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Subbing and looking forward to your next installment.
Welcome aboard, and thanks for deciding to tag along.

I’ve gotten the rest of this chapter written. I just need to organize the pictures and get them uploaded to the host site, so I should have some more updates fairly soon.
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Old 05-14-2011, 01:10 AM   #41
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Ooh, really like this recent batch of photos. We'll probably never make it past the values, so it's nice to see how the "upper class" lives.

On DW's and my honeymoon trip, we stopped in the Grand Floridian and the Boardwalk, looking for Japanese language maps for my brother. I felt sooooo out of place!


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Old 05-14-2011, 07:56 AM   #42
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Thank you sir... Coming from a master author of Dis-TRs with the wide following you have garnered on these boards… That is unexpected high praise indeed.
(Wanna hear my secret? Shh....I make it all up as I go.)
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Here’s the funny thing, this is actually a bit of an experiment on my part. In the past few years, I’ve had a number of different unrelated instances where someone has told me that they thought I had a knack for writing. However, this assessment flies directly in the face of nearly ever word that ever cross the lips of America’s army of English teachers in reference to my abilities of communication, so I never really took the comments to heart. But recently, I’ve been thinking about trying to put a few ideas and experiences to pen (just ‘cause I want to), so this TR is kind’a like my first foray into the realm of the written word. I’m still surprised that anyone is reading along, but It’s giving me the confidence to continue (of course that also means, that you now share at least a small part of the blame for mindless dribble that I will be unleashing on society in the future ).
Well, it seems to be working so far. Follow your dreams! (That seems like a pretty Disney-TR-Appropriate thing to say here...)


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A couple of shots of the Tree House Villas
(These look like they’d be fun, I’ll have to add them to the list of places to stay)
Yes, yes you do.
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Once we arrived at the docks at Riverside, we walked the pathways over to our building
(so as to figure out the best route for retrieving coffee & drinks latter on).
Pre-planning and advanced scouting - nice call!

Love the pictures. We've never stayed at either PO resort, but I think we'll need to schedule some time on a future trip to hang out and explore it.
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Old 05-14-2011, 09:52 AM   #43
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Ooh, really like this recent batch of photos. We'll probably never make it past the values, so it's nice to see how the "upper class" lives.

On DW's and my honeymoon trip, we stopped in the Grand Floridian and the Boardwalk, looking for Japanese language maps for my brother. I felt sooooo out of place!
Not a thing wrong with the Values. They’re just as much fun as any other resort on the property. We’ve done more of the moderates then anything else. The high end resorts are a bit out of our league most of the time as well. One trick we’ve used is to split the stay between a couple of resorts. One trip we spent a few days at Beach Club and them moved over to Pop Century for the rest of the stay. You get to experience the different styles and enjoy the atmosphere and amenities without it taking so much of a hit on the resources.

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(Wanna hear my secret? Shh....I make it all up as I go.)
I suspected as much. That’s why I chose the same method as my SOP Shh….

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Pre-planning and advanced scouting - nice call!
That’s what you do. I defiantly married up and women of that caliber need to be spoiled, and spoiled often… And by somebody who knows how. Planning is a definite must.

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Originally Posted by FreezinRafiki View Post
Love the pictures. We've never stayed at either PO resort, but I think we'll need to schedule some time on a future trip to hang out and explore it.
The entire resort is very relaxed. The grounds at POR are absolutely gorgeous. Some of the themeing at POFQ is a bit kitschy but it’s one of my favorite places to stay. Very quite and intimate. Even if they put you in the last room in the last building, you’re still only a minute or two from everything else on site.

Another good thing to know is that although FQ generally shares buses with Riverside, they will stop at FQ first. Which means that your DW and smaller young’ens will likely be able to grab a seat. The same is true for the return trip meaning that although your dogs may be aching, you don’t have all that far to go or long to stand before you’re back at the resort.

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Old 05-14-2011, 12:27 PM   #44
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Loved seeing your pictures of your boat trip up the river. My first trip to Disney, I also stayed at POR and stayed in the same building that you did. We were on the second floor at the back, facing this lovely courtyard and close to the quiet pool. It is a beautiful resort.
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Old 05-15-2011, 09:40 PM   #45
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Loved seeing your pictures of your boat trip up the river. My first trip to Disney, I also stayed at POR and stayed in the same building that you did. We were on the second floor at the back, facing this lovely courtyard and close to the quiet pool. It is a beautiful resort.
Thanks and I’m glad you’re enjoying the slide show. POR is a very relaxing resort. For all its size there is a whole lot of quite and even more beauty. I’ll be posting a good deal more images from the grounds in a few chapters.


(but for now, it’s about time I got back to AK...)
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