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Old 06-12-2012, 11:24 AM   #1
megan511
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Jedis, Pirates and Extended Family! A May/June 2012 TR Update: Lunch @ H&V

Hello and welcome to my trip report! I hope I can be as helpful as the reports I have read on this board. This was our family's 3rd trip to Disney World but our first with extended family along. We had some great times this trip and some funny stories along the way including a nature call before fighting a Sith lord, a "terrifying" cruise with pirates and a Dalek meeting it's demise in the UK. Oh, and of course the more people you bring along the more "fun" for all!

In all seriousness it was an absolutely amazing trip. We had a lot of first time experiences and I am excited to share them all.

When: May 25 - June 4
Where: Caribbean Beach Resort with a brief appearance by the Courtyard Marriott
Why: We have been fortunate enough to make Disney our annual vacation for the past two years. This year we decided to go and celebrate our son's 5th birthday at the World.

Here is a pic from our trip last year. I have ordered my photopass cd but it hasn't arrived yet.




Who: I guess I should do some introductions now!

Me: My name is Megan and I am a stay at home mom. This was my 5th trip to Disney World and I have been to Disneyland twice. I have been crazy about Disney for as long as I can remember. My favorite part about Disney is the theming. The attention to detail is mind-boggling. I have definitely become a planner thanks to these boards and I am so grateful for all the tips and information I have gathered from other TRs and reviews.
Favorite Ride: Tower of Terror

DH: My husband's name is Chad and he works hard so that I can stay home and we can go on these terrific vacations. He works a crazy schedule sometimes so our vacation and family time is really important to us. He caught the Disney bug after our first family trip in 2010. His favorite part of Disney is the food. This was his 5th trip to Disney World.
Favorite Ride: Maelstrom

DS: My son's name is Anthony and he turned 5 on our trip. We scheduled this trip around his birthday because it fell right in the middle of Star Wars Weekends. Anthony is a Star Wars nut. He knows every character and every planet. I am a pretty big Star Wars fan but I have to ask him about it sometimes. So we thought this was a great event to attend and celebrate his birthday too.
Favorite Ride: Big Thunder Mountain Railroad

DD: My daughter's name is Tessa and she is 3. She loved all the rides we put her on but she is afraid of the characters! She doesn't mind them from afar, but when they got close it was all over. Tessa was diagnosed with autism last year and she doesn't really talk yet. She says Mama and Daddy but the rest of her communication is a combination of pointing and signs. She has made so much progress in the last year and is our sweetie.
Favorite Ride: Kilimanjaro Safari

Now that you have met our family I will tell you a little about how this trip came to be. We went to Disney last August/Sept and had an amazing time. We decided to try and go back for Star Wars Weekends in 2012 and celebrate DS's birthday. We booked for May 26th through June 3 at Caribbean Beach Resort with the regular Dining Plan. We had free dining last year and we (especially DH) fell in love with it. I don't think we really are saving much but we love the convenience. We also decided to purchase the PhotoPass Plus this trip and I will give you my thoughts on that as well.

After we had booked our trip my mom asked if it would be okay for her and my dad to go along too and stay at a condo off-site. Once my parents decided to go they invited my siblings to come along and stay with them. Now we were all a little apprehensive. The last time we all went to Disney was in 2005 and let's just say there were some not so magical moments.
In fact I believe "never again" was said more than once by numerous people. I never thought I would see my dad step foot on Disney property again!

My sister and brother in law and their three kids had just been to Disney in November 2011. They have two boys ages 12 (C) and 9 (E) and a girl age 5 (M). The boys are into the bigger rides and Star Wars. My niece is into the princesses and fairies. This was their first Star Wars Weekend too.

My parents and brother hadn't been to Disney since the aforementioned trip in 2005.
My mom wanted to go experience Disney with all her grandkids. She does have some mobility issues as she has a bad hip. It's not bad enough for her to want an ECV but she does have to take it slow. My sister and I were a little worried about how she would hold up in the heat and with all the walking but she did great!
My mom ended up joining us for 4 park days.
My dad was most excited about golfing and eating at Margaritaville. He also entertained the idea of driving to the Everglades to try and look for the Big Foot that supposedly lives there but he decided against it when he realized how far away it was. My dad was only doing one park this trip, AK.
My brother is a big Star Wars fan too so he decided to join us for one day of SWW. My brother hates the heat and he really HATES crowds. So, of course he wants to visit Disney World in June!

So now let's move on to our actual trip! Here is the rundown of where we were each day and some of the things we did.

Friday May 25 - Travel Day
Saturday May 26 - Legoland and Epcot
Sunday May 27 - DHS
Monday May 28 - MK and Pirate and Pals Cruise
Tuesday May 29 - Epcot and date night!
Wednesday May 30 - AK
Thursday May 31 - MK
Friday June 1 - DHS
Saturday June 2 - DHS
Sunday June 3 - MK
Monday June 4 - Travel Day

I will also include some dining reviews. Here is a list of the places we ate and if I can figure out how to do links I will try and link these with the review/pictures.

Katsura Grill
Tangerine Cafe
Old Port Royale
Earl of Sandwich
Cape May Cafe Clam Bake
'Ohana Breakfast
T-Rex Cafe
Les Chefs de France
Drinking/Eating around the World Showcase
Tusker House Breakfast
Margaritaville
Columbia Harbour House
Crystal Palace Dinner
Kona Cafe
Hollywood and Vine lunch
Chef Mickey's Dinner
Wolfgang Puck Express

Okay, I think that's everything! Now let's get started
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Old 06-13-2012, 12:41 PM   #2
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Friday May 25th

This was our travel day.



*That is the Dalek enjoying I-95. The Dalek is from the BBC sci-fi show Doctor Who. The Daleks are villains and as you already know the Dalek does not make it home.*

We drive to Orlando and it's about a 12-13 hour drive. We didn't leave until 9am because Chad's family was in town for Anthony's pre-school graduation the day before. I won't bore you with details of our drive down other than that is was fairly uneventful. We got to Orlando around 10pm and were checked into the Courtyard Marriott at 1030. We rented a double stroller from Orlando Stroller Rentals and it was fabulous. I would highly recommend them! If anyone has any questions about it feel free to ask. We got to our room and all fell asleep quickly. We had to be ready for our first day in Florida!


Saturday May 26th

We were up and ready to go by 8am this morning as we were going to Legoland which was opening at 9am. We ate a free breakfast at our hotel. It was nothing special but they did have Mickey waffles! I did not take my camera to this meal so no pictures. I may write a one day TR about Legoland on the Orlando attractions thread, if I do I will post a link.

Legoland TR

We left Legoland around 2:15 and headed to check into our hotel!





We were eager to check out our pirate room!











We loved this room. I loved the theming and my son declared it the best room ever. The pirate rooms are located in Trinidad South. There was a small pool right outside our building. Trinidad South is WAY out at the end of the resort. One morning I was going to walk to Olde Port Royal to fill mugs and I got lost. We always have our car so we would just drive to where we needed to go but if we didn't have the car this would have been more challenging. I did see internal resort buses running quite frequently though.


After settling in a bit I called to check on the rest of my family. My sister's family had arrived at the condo and were at the pool. My parents were scheduled to arrive later that evening. We decided to go to Downtown Disney to eat. If it was packed we would head to a park and add a day to our MYW tickets. When we got to DTD parking lots 1 and 2 were full so we decided we would rather go to a park and my husband is not a huge fan of DTD anyways. We let Anthony decide where to go and he picked Epcot. We got to Epcot around 5pm.


There were still topiaries out from the Flower and Garden Festival. I had thought we would just miss them.





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Old 06-13-2012, 03:48 PM   #3
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Katsura Grille and Tangerine Cafe

We needed food so we headed to the World Showcase. Chad and Anthony wanted to eat in Japan so we headed back that way.

*Just a quick note about Tessa. Like I said before she has autism and has sensory issues and is a very picky eater. Most of our time at Disney when we were eating CS Tessa was eating foods I packed for her. We ended up with a lot of extra CS credits this way.*

Katsura Grill is really beautiful. There is a koi pond and steps leading up to the building. They have a lovely outdoor seating area with paper lanterns draping over the tables.







Tessa really loved this outside area and wanted to walk around. While Tessa and I explored the boys went inside and ordered their food.



All menu descriptions come from Allears.
DH had the Shogun Combo - teriyaki chicken and beef - $10.99 with Green Tea Ice Cream for dessert - $3.99

DS had the kids Teriyaki Chicken with rice and vegetables, soft drink, and served with cookie - $6.99



They both really enjoyed their meals. DH said the green tea ice cream was good but I don't think he ate much of it. They both said they would eat here again.

After they finished eating it was time for me to decide where to eat. I decided to go somewhere I had seen reviewed a lot on the DIS, Tangerine Cafe.

I decided on the Chicken Schwarma Platter - served with side of Hummus, Tabouleh and a Tangierine couscous salad with fresh Moroccan bread $11.99. The dessert offered with the dining plan was baklava.



This was as good as advertised. I really liked everything on the plate. I would definitely order this again and it was a huge portion. The baklava was okay, it seemed very hard. I have never had baklava before so that may just be the way it is. I really enjoyed my meal here and would definitely order this again! Tessa ate a dinner I had packed her so we were all full and ready to ride some rides now.
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Old 06-14-2012, 03:37 PM   #4
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I am going to be honest in my TR and include our "real" moments. The kids had not been in a great mood up until this point. Anthony perked up a bit after he ate but Tessa was more of a challenge. Tessa is usually the happiest child but it had been a long day. Chad and I felt like people were staring at us. Tessa really doesn't have any other way to voice her frustration though so we just had to try and guess what was bothering her. It turned out she was tired of the stroller so Chad and I took turns carrying her and she calmed down a lot walking around Japan. We thought if we could get to some rides she would be fine. Tessa loved the rides last year but at Legoland she had freaked out on the first ride we put her on. When the lap bar came down she lost it and refused to sit so I had to take her off the ride. Chad and I thought it was the lap bar that spooked her and if we could have stayed on the ride long enough for it to start she would have been ok. I was really nervous about how our trip was going to go if Tessa was scared of the rides this year. We decided to see how she did and hope for the best. If she was still unhappy we would just head out.

We also don't have a lot of pictures from this evening because all the pictures were looking like this...



We headed towards Future World to ride our first Disney ride of the trip.



Anthony fell in love with this. It would be the first ride of many. He is still singing "With F-I-G-M-E-N-T you can see things differently." Tessa did great! We had a bit of a time getting her to sit but once the ride started she was totally fine. What a relief!

After Figment, and since everyone was in a good mood, we decided to try a ride we have never done before. We headed for the Land and walked onto Living with the Land. I liked seeing all the different plants and looking for the hidden Mickey's. Tessa seemed to like it as well but Anthony said it was too long.





After Living with the Land we headed over to Nemo.



Anthony, Tessa, and I all loved this ride last year. Chad is not a big fan because once we got stuck in the EAC room and it made him nauseous. I rode with Tess and the boys rode together. Tessa really loved it. Every time she would see Marlin, Dory or Nemo swim by she would get so excited. Even though Chad doesn't care for the ride he loves the song at the end. He sang, "It's a Big Blue World" for the rest of the evening. So thanks for that, Nemo.

Anthony said he wanted to ride the "Golf Ball Ride" so we decided to head toward the front after one more stop. This was another first for us and something Chad was really looking forward to. It took us about 15 minutes before we found out how to get here but we finally made it.








We had a lot of fun with this. We tried the sodas from Mozambique (like ginger ale), Germany (just tasted like Coke to me), Israel (it tasted just like Sprite to me except with stronger flavors, Chad hated it though) Mexico (this was really good) and Costa Rica (really good too.) Then Chad poured him some Beverly. I decided not to try it because I read a TR where the person actually got sick from it. As soon as Chad poured it a kid ran up to him and said, "that one's really gross." We assured him that we knew but I think he just wanted to watch someone try it. I really wanted to get a picture of Chad's "Beverly face" but I was holding Tessa and didn't have my camera out. Well it would have been a boring picture because he said it wasn't bad! Chad says, "I kind of liked it. Israel's soda was much worse." So that was disappointing. Chad and Anthony's favorite was Mozambique and I liked Mexico. Tessa will not drink soda, I don't think she likes the carbonation.

After Club Cool we headed towards Spaceship Earth. We told Anthony if the line was long we would just do it Tuesday. The line was 20 minutes but Anthony looked at it and decided he didn't want to wait. As we were leaving Chad went into the PhotoPass store to upgrade us to PhotoPass Plus. Oh my word, he was in there forever! It was a long line and Chad said a lot of people didn't seem to understand PhotoPass at all. He said he was impressed with the CMs because they were VERY patient. He also surprised me with a Mickey IPad case which is super cute.



We then headed out and went over to where my family was staying. We made a plan for the next day then headed back to CBR.

We had a busy day tomorrow with some Jedis and Siths so after much needed baths we got to bed!

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Old 06-14-2012, 05:53 PM   #5
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We were there May 26-June 2 so I am keeping an eye out to see if we are any of your pictures. How sweet that your DH bought you an IPad case. Your babies are adorable and I can't wait to read about your adventures.
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Old 06-14-2012, 09:21 PM   #6
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We were there May 26-June 2 so I am keeping an eye out to see if we are any of your pictures. How sweet that your DH bought you an IPad case. Your babies are adorable and I can't wait to read about your adventures.
Thank you so much! So happy to have you reading along.

Oh you will definitely have to let me know if you turn up in any of my pictures. That would be too funny.

It was very sweet of DH. I really needed one and I love it.
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Old 06-15-2012, 08:11 AM   #7
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Good trip report, look forward to more, when we went Oct last year we did Pirates and Pals Firework Voyage and loved it, we also did Pirates League which again I thought was great
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Old 06-15-2012, 09:52 AM   #8
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Good trip report, look forward to more, when we went Oct last year we did Pirates and Pals Firework Voyage and loved it, we also did Pirates League which again I thought was great
Thank you so much!

Wasn't the Pirates and Pals cruise great? And we may or may not have done Pirates League as well.

I'm so happy to have you reading along!
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Old 06-15-2012, 09:56 AM   #9
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Old Port Royale

I forgot about Chad's late night meal Saturday night. We went to Olde Port Royale around 9pm and Chad got a Philly Cheesesteak with chips.



I tried this and thought it was pretty good. I really liked the chips. I usually could care less about chips but these had a really good flavor.

I also got my first cupcake of the trip. I had no idea what flavor it was, I just saw that it was a cupcake and grabbed it! Cupcakes are my weakness and it is very rare for me to find a cupcake I don't like.




It turns out that this was a yellow cake with banana filling and peanut butter icing. I love banana and peanut butter so this was right up my alley and a very pleasant surprise. It was really good and a great start to my cupcake crawl.

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Old 06-15-2012, 10:54 AM   #10
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Joining in on the fun! We were at the CBR at the same time!
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Old 06-15-2012, 11:14 AM   #11
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Sunday, May 27th at DHS

Sunday May 27


This was our extra Disney day! Originally we had planned to arrive late Saturday and go to Legoland Sunday but since we ended up driving down Friday we had an extra day. Chad wanted to go golfing with my dad, brother and brother-in-law. I decided to go with my sister and her family to DHS.

I had to take Anthony over to DHS around 730am to get him signed up for Jedi Training with two of his cousins. Originally we were going to sign them up on Friday, June 1 but my sister decided to sign her kids up both days. I knew Anthony would be upset if his cousins were up there fighting Vader and he wasn't. We signed them up and got the 1045 show. Anthony and I left to go pick up Chad and Tessa and went to my parent's condo. We dropped off Chad and picked up my mom who would be going to her first Disney park in 7 years this morning. I was a little worried because I didn't think my mom realized how crowded and how hot the day was going to be.

My mom and I got to the park around 10am. I had no plan for this day other than Jedi Training because I hadn't planned on being here at all. Whatever we did today was extra in my mind so I was just doing whatever my mom felt up to. We met up with my sister who had just waited an hour to see Chewbacca. We decided to hop in a short character line and then head over to check into Jedi Training.



Who would be our first meet and greet of Star Wars Weekends?



Queen Amidala. The boys were thrilled.

After meeting the Queen my sister took Anthony and his cousins (E is 9 and M is 5) to check in for Jedi Training.



My mom, my nephew (C is 12), Tessa and I went to get a spot to watch. This was Jedi Training take 2 for Anthony.

*Here is the backstory. Anthony LOVES Star Wars as I've said before. When we came on our trip last August we signed him up for JTA. He marched out with the kids and they lined them up to go on stage. He was the shortest one so he was first and right next to the speaker. Well the music started blaring, the Jedi Master came out, Anthony freaked and ran to me. He said it was because he didn't have his sunglasses but I think he got scared. This year he was determined to fight Vader and I thought with his cousins along he would have no problem.*

The kids marched out and Anthony, E and M were all lined up to go on the stage and given their Jedi robes. (During Star Wars Weekends they allow double the usual amount of kids in each show, half are on stage the other half are below the stage.) The music started and the kids went on stage and found a training circle.







Anthony's on stage! We made it further than last year!



The kids are each given a Lightsaber and taught a short routine. Then there is a disturbance in the force.



Vader comes out and tries to convince the kids to join the Dark Side. Since there are double the kids at Star Wars Weekends they need double the villains too. Darth Maul came out next to fight the kids below the stage.



Darth Maul was creepy! My sister and I were both glad that Anthony and M got Darth Vader. The kids were then lined up taller kids in the front to fight. I think they let the bigger kids go first so the younger ones can see what happens and don't get scared.

E was one of the first to go.



There were a lot of kids and Anthony and M were both towards the back. We were watching and waiting for them to get their turn when I see a CM letting a boy out of line and down the ramp. Oh no, it's Anthony! I thought he must have got scared again. I ran over to where he was coming down the ramp and he says,

"I have to go to the bathroom."

What? We asked him SEVERAL times to go to the bathroom before JTA. I took Tessa at least twice and he could have gone with me either time. But he said the classic kid words, "I didn't have to go then." I explained to Anthony that it was almost over and if he didn't go back up there he would miss his chance as we didn't have time to go and come back. So he said he could hold it, that he had to fight Vader. I walked him back up the ramp but it was too late. Vader was going back in and the kids were getting their certificates.

Anthony was sooo disappointed. He cried all the way to the bathroom and in the bathroom. He was so upset he didn't fight Vader. My sis and mom said to see if we could get him back in Jedi Training later. I was 100% sure that would be impossible because I knew from the Dis that JTA spots fill up within the first 30 minutes of SWW but I went to check anyways. The CMs at the JTA desk said to wait for a manager (I can't remember his title so that may be wrong) who may be able to help. Over comes this amazing CM who started talking to Anthony about what happened. He says,

"Well Anthony all the Jedi Training spots are filled. But do you know what the Star Wars Motorcade is?"

Um yes, I do! It's the parade that people claim spots for up to 2 hours in advance with every SW character marching to the hat stage.

So he asked us how many were in our party and gave us all wristbands to be in the parade!



It was such an amazing pixie dust moment.

They certainly didn't have to do anything for us because Anthony had to use the bathroom but they went out of their way to cheer up a little boy. We were so excited to get this chance. We didn't have much time before it was time to check in for the parade so we hung around the Star Tours area. My mom took Anthony into Tatooine Traders to build a droid but it was way too crowded she said. We just headed back to the parade check-in.



Then we got to go "backstage" and wait for the parade to start. We were not allowed to take any pictures so I'm probably not supposed to say what happened back there. There were a few fun surprises for the kids and then we all lined up to walk out. The kids go in front with their Jedi Master and the parents follow behind.

It was AH-Mazing! To have those big gates open and see the swarm of people and then follow Mickey out onto the street was a feeling like no other. The dad next to me pulled out his Iphone and recorded walking in the parade. I wish I would have thought of that!

After you reach the hat stage the kids get to stand in front of the stage while the parents go to a roped off area. They kept showing the kids up on the big screen on the stage and all the characters in the parade walked right up to them before heading on stage. My mom started crying that she was so happy the kids got to experience this and it made the whole trip worth it.






All the kids got a certificate saying they had been in the parade. It was after 1 now and we tried to decide what to do next. My sister and her kids were going to go ride some rides but my mom was tired. She was ready to go so I told her we could leave and grab lunch in Downtown Disney. So we said bye to my sister and headed out of DHS.


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Old 06-15-2012, 12:12 PM   #12
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Joining in on the fun! We were at the CBR at the same time!
Thank you so much for reading!

How fun that you were at CBR at the same time! We really loved it.
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Old 06-15-2012, 02:27 PM   #13
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Glad to know what happens when you get picked to be in the parade but sad too. My two boys got picked on Friday, June 1st. They were so excited...until the rain started. And never stopped. They allowed us to wait in the holding room until they decided what to do. When they cancelled the parade, my boys handled it well. I think I was more disappointed than they were. I had hoped that they would let the kids get a picture with a character backstage but they didn't offer it. They gave them the Jedi certificates which we laugh about now. It has become a joke about the certificates for being in a parade that never happened.
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Old 06-15-2012, 02:34 PM   #14
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Glad to know what happens when you get picked to be in the parade but sad too. My two boys got picked on Friday, June 1st. They were so excited...until the rain started. And never stopped. They allowed us to wait in the holding room until they decided what to do. When they cancelled the parade, my boys handled it well. I think I was more disappointed than they were. I had hoped that they would let the kids get a picture with a character backstage but they didn't offer it. They gave them the Jedi certificates which we laugh about now. It has become a joke about the certificates for being in a parade that never happened.
Oh no! I'm so sorry that happened to your boys. I'm glad they handled it well though. They really should have done something special for those that had to miss out because of the rain. They definitely could have done some indoor meet and greets with some of the characters for the kids.

We were at DHS that day too. Maybe we passed each other!
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Old 06-15-2012, 03:34 PM   #15
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That is great you were able to be in the SWW parade, what Pixie Dust! My DH and I were there last year for SWW and had a blast! It is such a special time to go. We currently do not have any children, but we have stopped to watch the JTA a few times. DH said that would have been the most amazing thing for him to do as a kid and wishes he could have participated. I am looking forward to reading your TR. Happy belated birthday to your son.
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