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Old 06-09-2012, 03:23 PM   #61
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You only saw a fraction of Balboa park by the sounds of it, we really enjoyed our trip there.
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Old 06-09-2012, 03:26 PM   #62
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You only saw a fraction of Balboa park by the sounds of it, we really enjoyed our trip there.
I think we probably did, but we loved what we saw. It is always good to have something to get back for. Last year Graham was adamant that our October trip would be the last west coast trip. Now we have a bunch of stuff planned for future trips and there is no more talk about not going back.

Corinna
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Old 06-09-2012, 04:07 PM   #63
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What a lovely update, those buildings are gorgeous! Your friends sound wonderful, I'm glad you were able to spend some time with them

I had felt the same way about Moneyball, but really enjoyed it also.
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Old 06-10-2012, 09:39 AM   #64
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Enjoying your TR! Great pictures!
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Old 06-10-2012, 12:13 PM   #65
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Lovely relaxing day
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Old 06-10-2012, 12:23 PM   #66
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Just catching up on the last few installments. The photos are amazing, I have always wanted to go to the West Coast, I wish I went when I had the opportunity a few years back.

I look forward to the next installment
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Old 06-10-2012, 12:45 PM   #67
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Great updatesI've been away from the Dis on our NYC 8 day Disney cruise..just home..the Magic was fantastic and I wanted to catch up here. Oh and Corinna I had DM'd you a few months ago about cabin 6521 on the Magic and you said good things about it..turned out you were so right!!! We loved it. It was a great room Looking forward to more of your TR..
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Old 06-10-2012, 12:54 PM   #68
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Great updatesI've been away from the Dis on our NYC 8 day Disney cruise..just home..the Magic was fantastic and I wanted to catch up here. Oh and Corinna I had DM'd you a few months ago about cabin 6521 on the Magic and you said good things about it..turned out you were so right!!! We loved it. It was a great room Looking forward to more of your TR..
I am glad that you enjoyed your cruise and that you liked "our" stateroom.

Corinna
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Old 06-10-2012, 05:35 PM   #69
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Another fabulous update Corinna, it looks beautiful there, I will get to the West Coast one day
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Old 06-11-2012, 11:00 AM   #70
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Wonderful report Corinna...I enjoyed it as always. Looking forward to next one
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Old 06-11-2012, 03:54 PM   #71
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Back in 2007 david and I took a cruise out of San Diego to Hawaii, and we spent an entire day at Balboa Park, and I know that we still did not see everything, so no worries, you still have plenty to see...


We went to see Moneyball, now we are both avid baseball fans, and I am a mathematician, so I have to tell you that I enjoyed it a lot. BUT I kept looking at Brad Pitt and thinking, Mann he is looking old!
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Old 06-12-2012, 01:30 AM   #72
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Sounds like you had a wonderful day in San Diego, but that's a LONG drive there and back in one day! I don't blame you for falling asleep in the car. I'm not sure i've done much of anything in Balboa Park, ever. We keep talking about going down to do the Titanic exhibit.

I love dining in Old Town although we have not been to the Coyote Cafe, we normally go to the places "inside" the square, but I've never had a bad meal or a Margarita there!

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We went to see Moneyball, now we are both avid baseball fans, and I am a mathematician, so I have to tell you that I enjoyed it a lot. BUT I kept looking at Brad Pitt and thinking, Mann he is looking old!
Yet another thing we have in common, no wonder we are soul sisters! Though I chose a degree in music, math or computer science would have been my alternate path. My parents got their degrees in Math from MIT. I do Math and Logic Problems as relaxation!
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Old 06-12-2012, 02:30 AM   #73
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Double post
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Alison ~~~~ She said it wouldn't be Boring! | Our Disney Dream Home|Sleepy and Grumpy Visit Tatooine |Keep Your Eyes on the Road | I do get to go to WDW this year! | Expo 2013 | ...It's How You Play the Game | We need a little Magic... | TR - Pinch me... | Destination D-75 TR | It'll be a WONDER ... | Cheating on Mickey w/ Harry, PTR | D23 Expo 2011 TR | D23 D40 WDW in Detail | DCA F&W Review | Jan 2010 DR Visits 2015: VGC, VWL, DCL 2014: VGC, CSR, VGF, DCL 2013: VWL, BCV, DCL, AKL, BLT, VGC, 2012: VGC, DCL, 2011: VGC, BLT, OKW 2010: THV, AKV, VGC, 2009: BWV 2008: SSR, 2007: AKL & GF, 2001: AKL, BC & DCL 1997: DXL & WL 1993: GF, DL Too many to count since 1973!


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Old 06-12-2012, 10:18 PM   #74
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Yet another thing we have in common, no wonder we are soul sisters! Though I chose a degree in music, math or computer science would have been my alternate path. My parents got their degrees in Math from MIT. I do Math and Logic Problems as relaxation!
me too.....

we are soul sisters!
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Old 06-14-2012, 04:50 PM   #75
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Day 5

I was awake at the crack of dawn and this time I did not even have the dawn chorus to blame it on. I was just plain excited. I got up and checked my emails and responded to a few things on Facebook and on two forums and then decided to go back to bed and try to get some more sleep. I had seen a few posts stating that the Wonder had arrived in port. When I got back to bed, Graham was awake, too and we chatted for a bit before going back to sleep. We then slept through until our alarm went off. At that stage we got ready, sorted out our hand luggage and I retrieved our stuff from the dryer and packed this.

When we went to the living room, one of our friends was already up, too. He offered us breakfast, but I was too excited to eat and Graham was not hungry either. So we just had a cup of coffee and chatted for a bit. Soon it was time to head for the port. We said goodbye to one of our friends and got into the car. On a Sunday morning there was not much traffic and we got to the port quickly. On the way, our friend pointed out various landmarks to us. I got very excited when I saw the Wonder for the first time from the top of a bridge. There was quite a bit of traffic at the port as there was another ship, the Norwegian Pearl, in port as well. Still, it did not take long for us to reach the terminal. As soon as we got there, a porter whisked away our luggage and we said goodbye to our friend.

They checked passports and cruise documents at the entrance of the port. We were then sent upstairs, where we were intercepted to fill out the health questionnaire. While I did this, Graham quickly used the bathroom. When he got back, we proceeded straight to check in as there was no line at all. Check in went very smoothly even though we had the usual issue with the nationality not auto-populating for me. I was once again relieved that this was probably the last cruise with my German passport. We were given our Key to the World cards, a Navigator and our Gold lanyards and then we were told to proceed through security. There was a short line at security, but we cleared this very quickly. We bumped into some people that we had cruised with previously while waiting for our turn. Once we came through security, we were asked if we had been given a boarding number at check in, which we had not. We ended up with number 12. I was not overly happy about this as we had the earliest possible check in slot and people who had been given their boarding number at check in seem to have lower numbers. I had asked for a boarding number at check in and was told we would get them after security. Still, we would be on the ship for 15 nights so in the grander scheme of things, an extra 15 to 20 minutes did not make any difference.

I had spotted some mouse ears at the back of the waiting area so I left Graham with the hand luggage and went to explore. It turned out to be Minnie and she was wearing a nautical outfit that I had not seen previously. The line was not too long so I had my first photo taken. On the way back to where Graham was sitting, I spotted the people who had organized the group lanyards. So I stopped to say “hi” and picked up our lanyards. I headed back to join Graham for a bit and then decided to take another walk to see if I can find some people I know. There were a number of people what I we have cruised with before. I said “hi” to a couple of families that I knew from before. It was quite amazing to see all our special Hawaiian shirts, which we had made for the group, around the terminal.







Around the time that they normally start boarding people, there were some announcements that the boarding process had been delayed. I suppose the Wonder arriving into port later than usual had a knock on effect. About 20 minutes later, they started the boarding process. The first boarding groups took forever to clear. They always board concierge guests first and then Platinum Castaway Club members are usually the second boarding group. This time round there were so many Platinum Castaway Club members that they had to split them over 3 or 4 boarding groups, which were still huge. Once all the platinum members had boarded, the rest of the boarding process went quite swiftly.

While we were waiting for our turn to get on the ship, somebody came up to us. I knew that I know this person, but could not quite place him. Suddenly the Penny dropped. This was one of our table mates from the Panama Canal cruise. Shortly afterwards, we were also joined by his partner. We had lost contact as they are not on Facebook, whereas I sort of have kept in touch with everybody else via Facebook. During the Panama Canal cruise, I had mentioned this cruise as I had found out about bookings for the Wonder in Hawaii a long time before the cruise was officially announced. We had said that if this cruise got announced, we would be on it. So they knew to look out for us. It was great to see them again. They had a lower boarding number than us and we said goodbye and promised that we would catch up on the ship.

Shortly after this, Graham saw Mickey Mouse in the distance. As I figured it would be a little while yet before our boarding number would be called, I decided to go and have my photo taken with Mickey, too. I normally only manage to get a photo with either Mickey or Minnie. I had expected that they may have Stitch at the terminal considering where the cruise was going, but no such luck. Anyway, I was very happy to get a photo with Mickey, especially as he was wearing his blue captain’s uniform. I had seen this on the Disney Cruise Line website, but had never actually seen this on the ships. The closest that I had come was at California Adventure last year, but the captain’s uniform that Mickey wears there is not exactly the same. The line was a bit longer than the one for Minnie, but it was still manageable and moved quickly.







Shortly after I came back from meeting with Mickey, our boarding number was called. We got in line and a couple of minutes later our Key to the World were swiped. When we stepped out of the terminal, there was a huge line. Initially we thought that the line was caused by the embarkation photos. I really wanted an embarkation photo this time round as we were both wearing our special Hawaiian shirts. When we looked closer, there were two lines and the long line was actually for those people not wanting the embarkation photo. As soon as we entered the line for the embarkation photo, we were called forward to have our photo taken. Once this was done, we rejoined the main line, but nearer to the front then we would have been if we had tried to avoid the photo. It still took a while until we actually got as far as the ship. We did however have a special treat while we were waiting. When we got on the gangway that runs alongside the ship, I saw something in the water. I initially thought that they were dolphins, but they were actually sea lions. I wish that I had my camera to hand.





Eventually it was our turn to get on the ship and we were announced. I normally get quite emotional when I even see the ship in the distance, but I had done really well up to that point. However, once I got the first look of the atrium, I did well up a little. I had a quick look at the display and ice carvings that they had set up outside Triton’s, but then we headed straight to Parrot Cay for some lunch. When we got there, they advised us that there was a waiting list for Parrot Cay, but that we could head up to Beach Blanket Buffet, where there would be open seating. We had to have lunch at Blanket Buffet on embarkation day on our last cruise and swore that this was never to be repeated. We had actually agreed that if we could not get into Parrot Cay, we would just get something from the food outlets near the pools. We asked to be added to the waiting list.





Remembering what had happened when were put on the waiting list on the Panama Canal cruise last year, I figured I had all the time in the world. I headed to the bathroom and then went to the atrium to take some photos of the welcome display. On the way I bumped into some people I know and said "hi". All in all, I was probably gone 10 to 15 minutes, but when I got back, we just had been called. The hostess was still rounding up other people as well, so there was no harm done. When everybody was found, we went inside and were seated. Parrot Cay was by no means full and all tables had just a single party at it. This had been the same problem on the Panama Canal cruise. The irony was that for the rest of the cruise, we were often asked if we would mind sharing, but for some reason not on the first day.

As soon as we were seated, our server came to the table to pour us some water and offer us something to drink. Graham just stuck with the water, but I had a Ginger Ale. We then headed to the buffet. Graham had Peel and Eat Shrimp, Chicken Breast, Salad, Roast Beef and Peach Cobbler with Custard for dessert. I had Chilled Strawberry and Mint Soup, Vegetable Rice, Pork Schnitzel, Macaroni Cheese, Mini Corn Dogs and Cookies and Cream Ice Cream for dessert. The Pork Schnitzel particularly was delicious and I had to go for seconds.

Near the end of the meal, another server came up to us to and asked if we were the family who was looking for Daniel. I confirmed that we were. Daniel had been our server on the Panama Canal cruise and was hands down the best server we ever had. I had heard that he had been promoted to Head Server shortly after that cruise and I had requested to be in his section for this cruise. She told us that he had left the Wonder to go back to the UK at the end of last year to look after his sister. I was a bit sad that we would not see him. What had not sunk in at the time is how downright bizarre this conversation was. I have no idea how she made the connection between us and Daniel. They did ask us for our name to put us on the waiting list, but she had actually misunderstood us and had put our name down as Paul. They normally ask for the stateroom number at breakfast and lunch before seating people, but they had not done this for this meal. We also had not been talking about Daniel so it was not even that somebody could have overheard something. The only reasonable explanation that I have is that they made the link because of our accents as there were hardly any people from the UK on board this time round. Still, this was the first of a number of bizarre conversions and I have come around to the way of thinking that the Mouse really sees and knows everything.

By the time we finished lunch, the cabins were ready. So we headed down to our cabin to drop off our hand luggage. I admired the new Castaway Club gift, which consists of a black and blue backpack, Mickey pretzels and another savoury snack in Chip and Dale packaging and a new style of keyring. Graham tried out the bed for size and I put up our Fish Extender and the magnets. I had so many magnets this time round that they did not all fit on the outside of the door so I put a small number on the inside.













Once this was done, we headed up to the spa to sort out our passes for the Tropical Rainforest Room. We were hoping that they were doing the same kind of deal that the had on our Mexican Riviera cruise, where they offered a couple's pass with one session of the Exotic Rhassoul thrown in. They did the couple's pass without the add on and when we asked about booking the Exotic Rhassoul separately, we were told that this was fully booked for the whole of the cruise. We got out Rainforest Room passes and then headed into that general direction. On the way, we were intercepted by a member of staff who was promoting the signature treatments. We had some of them before, but the seaweed wrap with full body massage sounded heavenly. They had a very generous discount if you had the treatment that day so we decided to go for it. We managed to get an appointment for a couple's treatment at 18:15.

By the time this was all sorted out, it was nearly 15:00 and time for our meet in the Promenade Lounge. I had to head back to our cabin as I had been instructed to bring Pink to the meet. We have four soft toy bunnies that always go travelling with us and one of them is Pink. So I went back to the cabin to pick her up. On the way to the Promenade Lounge, I had to go past Wavebands, which was the location to make changes to the dining arrangements and also to make reservations for Palo. The line looked huge and I was just about to move on when somebody in the Palo uniform was coming towards me asking if I was interested in a reservation for Palo. It turned out that the long line was for changing dining arrangements for the main dining rooms. I had managed to get dinner at Palo online on the night we were in Oahu, but I had not been able to get a brunch for both of us and I was rather hoping for a second dinner on Pirate Night. In the end I walked out with nothing, but we had been added to the waiting list for both.

When I got to the Promenade Lounge, a lot of people were already there. I spotted somebody who I knew from previous cruises and joined her. She asked me if I had brought Pink, who was sitting in my backpack. I got Pink out. She had made a sunhat and a friendship bracelet for Pink. Shortly afterwards somebody else came by with a lanyard for Pink. I had not seen the person who had asked me to bring Pink. I walked around a bit to say "hi" to people who I know from previous cruises. I saw a lot of familiar faces, but not everybody who I had expected was there. I also had a chance to meet people for the first time that I had communicated with online for the past year. Suddenly somebody came over to me saying that somebody had been looking for me. It happened to be the person who had asked me to bring Pink. She had made a gorgeous dress for her out of the same fabric that was used for our shirts. I got Pink so that she could try her new dress on.

All to soon it was time to get ready for the safety drill. I headed down to our cabin. Our suitcases had arrived and were inside the cabin, but there was no sign of Graham. He arrived shortly afterwards. He had stayed in the spa and chilled out on the heated tile loungers in the Rainforest Room. Normally you can't use this until after the safety drill, but I think they figured having Graham there so obviously enjoying himself was good advertising.

Shortly after Graham had arrived, the alarm that signals the beginning of the safety drill went off. You no longer have to take the life vests to the safety drill so we just went upstairs. Our assembly station was inside the Walt Disney Theater so this made it really civilised. One of the crew assigned to our assembly station checked our Key to the World cards, crossed us off the list and pointed us to two empty seats. The family sat next to it was complaining as they were still waiting for two people so we just sat down in the row behind. The whole process seemed to go a lot quicker than usually, but that may just have been perception as we were sitting all in an air-conditioned room instead of trying to fit in a very tight space in the heat outside. Soon we were dismissed.

Neither of us enjoys the sail away party, but I wanted to be out on the open deck when we actually set sail to hear the horn. On previous cruises I have walked past the adult pool during the sail away party and the area was deserted. So I suggested that we head there and have a drink at Signals. This is what we did. At first we were the only people there, but then other people joined us. Graham had a Virgin Piña Colada and I had a Melon Mojito. We both enjoyed our drinks. Once we finished our drinks, we found ourselves a couple of loungers and relaxed. A few people who I know came past and said "hi". One couple had picked up an extra lei with an Inaugural Hawaii Cruise medallion for me. We stayed there enjoying the sunshine until we had heard the horn and we were under way.

I headed back to the cabin and I started to unpack. I wanted to send my evening gowns out for pressing and as the first Formal Night was already the next day, I had to make sure that the laundry bag was ready for when our stateroom host came to do the turndown service. I got about 80 percent of my unpacking done when it was time to head to the spa.

We had to be at the spa a little early as we had to fill out some paperwork first. Once this was done, we were sent to the changing rooms to get changed into dressing gowns and plastic slippers. I passed on the plastic slippers as they are normally tight on the top of my feet. When one of our beauty therapist came to get me, she actually found me some slippers that fit. We were then taken to the couple's spa villa where we were given some disposable underwear to change into. Once we were changed, we got on the massage beds and covered ourselves with the sheets . Once the therapists came back, we were then covered in a seaweed mask and wrapped in tin foil. While the seaweed did its job, we received a foot and scalp massage. I normally do not like anybody touching my feet and I was not looking forward to this part of the treatment, but I actually really enjoyed it. After a little while, we were unwrapped and sent out to the veranda of the spa villa to shower to get rid of the seaweed mask. The shower was way too hot for my taste, but it had to do. Once we were clean and dry, we came back inside for the next part of the treatment, the full body massage. This was utter bliss and my massage therapist worked out some knots that I did not even know were there. It was so relaxing. Once the treatment was finished, our massage therapists left us to get up and put our dressing gowns back on while they got us some water. They had told us that when they came back, they would give us some recommendations about products to use at home. I made it pretty clear that I would be happy to listen, but would not buy anything as the Elemis products that they use are significantly cheaper at home and would not take up luggage space. They respected this. As it happens we had all but two products already at home anyway.

Once we had paid, we headed back to the changing rooms. I had realised that I had missed some of the seaweed wrap earlier so I had another shower. This one had a more pleasant temperature. I had brought the dress that I was going to wear for dinner up to the spa so I could get changed for dinner up there. When we were both done, we headed back down to the cabin. Graham still needed to get changed as he had been wearing shorts, but that did not take long. We were still a little bit late, but people were still waiting to be seated so it did not matter.

Dinner that night was at Triton's. When we were taken to our table, I got this sinking feeling. Even from the distance I realised that this was a table for four. I had a fair idea what this would mean. Sure enough, when we got there, there were only two place settings. I had been so disappointed when we had a table to ourselves on the Mexican Riviera cruise and had been optimistic that this would not happen on this cruise. Still, there was nothing we could do.

Shortly after we were seated, our server Anthony from Jamaica and our assistant server Jack from Thailand came to introduce themselves. They were both fantastic. As far as Jack is concerned, I could swear he was Tigger in a previous life. He just bounced. With introductions out of the way, Anthony introduced the menu. We had the Let the Magic Begin menu that evening. Once we had placed our order, it suddenly occurred to me that nothing had been mentioned about my allergy. I was not concerned as I know this menu well and know that there is nothing on there that would put me at risk, but it seemed kind of strange to me. So when our server brought out the appetizers, I decided to ask if he was aware that I had a severe allergy to bananas. He was obviously shocked. It was very obvious that shoreside had not passed the information on. Now it was my turn to be shocked. Essentially by not passing the information on, they were playing Russian Roulette with people's lives. Anthony promised that he would pass this on to our head server and the chefs and that they would keep me safe. He then went to check if everything that I had ordered was safe for me to eat and when he came back with the next course, he advised me that all was well.

Graham, true to form, told our server that he did not intend to order his own food, but would prefer if Anthony chose for him. He gave him the run down on some dislikes and they were good to go. A lot of our servers on previous were a bit taken aback by this, but Anthony seemed to be really excited by this. Graham ended up with Seafood Soup, White Bean and Rocket Salad with Chorizo and Paprika Croutons, Sirloin Steak with Double Baked Monterey Jack Potato, Broccoli and Peppercorn Sauce and a side of Seafood and Asparagus Risotto. I had Chicken Bastella with Almond Vegetable Slaw, Chilled Cucumber Soup, Sirloin Steak with Double Baked Monterey Jack Potato, Broccoli and Peppercorn Sauce and Kona Coffee and Pistachio Mousse for dessert.

We had decided that we were going to have a 7 night wine package this time. We did not fancy any wine that night, but had told Jack what our intention was and that we were going to have a bottle of wine the following night. At the end of the meal, he brought the wine list and asked if we wanted to pre-order so that he could have it ready for us the next day. We decided on the Enchanted Rose sparkling wine.

When we came out of Triton's, Captain Mickey was in the atrium with hardly any line. There were maybe two or three parties in that line. I asked the person in charge of the line if Mickey's line was closed and he told me that it was open. So we got a couple of photos with Mickey. They also had the white backdrop out so we had some photos taken with this.













Once the photos were taken, we headed for our cabin. There was another surprise on our bed, our Gold Castaway Club gift. This has also recently changed and as well as some note cards and a luggage strap in a different colour, we got a beautiful leather-bound journal with a pen. I was well and truly ready for bed. I took a quick photo of our towel animal, which was some kind of bird, and then got ready for bed.



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