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Old 01-23-2013, 07:20 PM   #1
PippiDancer
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A Very Magical Graduation Trip *Completed*

Hello Everyone!
Welcome to my very first trip report!

This TR is about our second trip to Disney World. The first one was back in 2004 when I was in 8th grade, and as you probably know lot of things have changed since then. If you want to know more about the planning process you can read my PTR here. I fell in love with the magic of Disney World on this trip and I already want to go back, unfortunately it most likely will be a very long time until I'm able to.

Now, let's get down to business (to defeat the huns)
It's time to introduce everyone!

First there is me...


I'm Jess. I'm 21 years old and I'm a college senior. I'll be graduating in May with a degree in Early Childhood Education, which is the reason for our trip. I'm student teaching this semester and I'm also an RA, so I'm always very busy. I am such a kid at heart and I love pretty much anything Disney. I've been obsessed with planning our trip since we decided on going and I've kind of fallen in love with the planning process while doing so.


Then there is my parents...


My mom, Patsy, is a Customer Service Representative at a bank. She was also really big into planning our trip, but I don't think she was quite as obsessive as I was. She doesn't like any sort of fast motion rides, so she sat out while we went on them.

My dad, Mike, is the Facilities Manager at a preschool (the same one that I work at in the summers). He was excited for our trip, but wasn't into any of the planning, actually I'm pretty sure he got really tired of hearing us talk about it all the time.


We were there for 7 days (which we all agreed wasn't enough time) on January 6-13. We stayed at Port Orleans Riverside and were on the disney dining plan (which we got for free with our package. Score!)

I hope you enjoy reading about our trip! Please let me know if you are here and leave lots of comments!
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Graduation Trip, January 2013: PTR, TR (completed!)

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Old 01-23-2013, 07:21 PM   #2
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Chapter Links

Sunday, January 6

The Obligatory Travel Post (Part 1)
The Obligatory Travel Post (Part 2)
Finally at Disney! And a Magical Surprise!
Exploring the Resort
A Night at Magic Kingdom (Part 1)
A Night at Magic Kingdom (Part 2)

Monday, January 7
Dining with Royalty
Epcot Day
Dinner in France and Meeting Some Friends in the UK
Illuminations: Reflections of Earth
Extra Magic Hours Around the World

Tuesday, January 8
Seaworld and Shamu
Sea Lions and Pirates and Sharks, Oh My!
Conquering the Kraken
It's a "24 Hour Splash Zone" for a Reason

Wednesday, January 9
Giraffe Crossing
A Wild Morning
A Day at Animal Kingdom
A Royal Disappointment

Thursday, January 10
Breakfast with Some Old Friends
A Magical Day
Be Our Guest
Celebrate a Dream Come True
A Little Pixie Dust and Wishes
Main Street Electrical Parade


Friday, January 11
Disaster Strikes
Lunch at Mama Melrose
Pixar Parade
Afternoon at Hollywood Studios
Fantasmic!
More Fantasmic! and Downtown Disney

Saturday, January 12
The Beginning of our Last Park Day
Shopping, Shopping, Shopping!
Lunch at Portobello
Some More Shopping
World Showcase in Daylight
Disney Quest


Sunday, January 13
A Very Sad Morning
Return to Reality


Final Thoughts




Real Life Update: Graduation
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Graduation Trip, January 2013: PTR, TR (completed!)

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Old 01-23-2013, 09:01 PM   #3
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I'm here!

My DD is graduating this May, and I'll also be finishing up with my schooling, so we are hoping to get a graduation trip planned soon! So, I can't wait to hear all about your trip!
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Mom/Daughter Graduation trip: June 2013 http://www.disboards.com/showthread.php?t=3211306
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Mom/Daughter Christmas TR! 2011http://www.disboards.com/showthread.php?t=2851142
Mom/Daughter PTR: Christmas Trip! 2011 http://www.disboards.com/showthread....2#post42724982
Mom/Daughter Trip Report June 2011: Disney Dream! http://www.disboards.com/showthread.php?t=2744972
Mom/Daughter Trip Report: Disney & Sea World 2010
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Old 01-24-2013, 06:34 PM   #4
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The obligatory travel post

**Note: This post isn't going to have many pictures in it because I didn't really start taking any until we actually got to Disney. But don't worry, I took exactly 1,111 pictures (not sure how I mangaged that one) and I also have all of the pictures that my mom took. So there will be plenty of pictures in later updates.


Saturday was the day when our journey began, even though we weren't leaving until Sunday. We live about and hour and a half away from the airport and we decided to drive down the night before and stay at a hotel so we didn't have to drive at 3am. It was also a lot cheaper to leave our car parked at the hotel all week and take a shuttle to the airport than it would have been to park at the airport.

We spent most of the day Saturday finishing up packing everything. We left our house around 3 and got the hotel a little before 5. We checked in, made thing everything was all set with the airport shuttle, and moved all of our luggage into our room. Then we decided to get some dinner and went to Cracker Barrel. After a slightly disappointing meal we went back to our room and relaxed for the rest of the night. The shuttle was picking us up at 5:15am for our 6:50am flight so we were planning on getting up around 4. Since we knew we were going to have a short night, we wanted to go to bed early. We watched some American Pickers and Big Bang Theory and went to bed around 9:30. Now, I am such a night owl, I'm used to going to bed around 1am and never go to bed before 11 unless I'm sick, so as you can imagine 9:30 is super early for me. I knew I should sleep but wasn't even remotely tired and I never sleep very well in hotels because the beds are so uncomfortable. I tossed and turned for hours, which woke my mom up, I think it was about 2 am before I finally fell asleep and woke up several times after that.

I was not happy when the alarm went off at 4am. I am definitely not a morning person at all and the not even 2 hours of sleep I got was not enough. The only reason I didn't refuse to get out of bed was because DISNEY! We got ready, made sure everything was packed, and made it to the lobby a little after 5. Mom checked online and found out that our flight got pushed ahead 10 minutes, so it was a good thing we were ready to leave early.

We got to the airport and checked our luggage with no problem. Since we were on one of the earliest flights, the airport wasn't that busy at all. We got through security pretty qucikly, but the line was moving at such a fast pace that it was really stressful because we didn't really know what we were doing (we hadn't flown since 2004). We went through the body scanners and it picked up something in my hair so they had to check my pony tail. It wasn't a big deal, I actually thought it was kind of funny because I have no idea what it could have possibly picked up on, I was even wearing a no-metal elastic.

We found our gate, grabbed seats, and Mom and I went to Starbucks to grab breakfast. We got coffee for my parents (I don't drink coffee), bagels with cream cheese for Mom and I, and a muffin for Dad. While Mom was fixing their coffee, I dropped the food off at our seats (which were like 10 feet away) and went to the little gift shop because I really wanted some apple juice and Mom wanted some water. Of course they didn't have my juice so I got Mom a $4 bottle of water (which I drank like half of) and went back to eat. They started boarding not long after we finished eating. We got to our seats and noticed that it had started snowing sometime after we got to the airport. After sitting there for quite a while, they announced that there was a problem with the check in system so they were still waiting for people to get to the gate and board. We ended up sitting at the gate for almost an hour. It was starting to snow harder and with every minute that we sat there I got more and more nervous. Having our flight cancelled because of snow was my biggest fear in planning the trip, I didn't want our time at Disney to be cut short by even a minute.


It seemed like forever until they announced that everyone had boarded and we were able to leave the gate. But then we had to stop and de-ice the plane. At this point I was getting really antsy. I was afraid that they would announce that the flight was cancelled at the last minute and I knew my mind would be at ease until we took off and were in the air. It was about 7:30 when we finally took off. I was hoping to sleep on the plane, but that didn't happen. They brought the snack cart around and I was finally able to get my apple juice, along with airplane pretzles.





I spent the rest of the flight looking out the window and watched half of We Bought a Zoo on my laptop. I was starting to feel a little light headed and watching the movie was making it worse, so I turned it off. The flight seemed to take forever and I was very relieved when they announced that we were beginning our decent into Atlanta.

Continued in next post
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Old 01-24-2013, 08:01 PM   #5
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The obligatory travel post (part 2)

We landed in Atlanta and went straight to our gate to make sure we knew where it was and to check that our flight information hadn't changed. We had a 3 and a half hour layover, so as soon as we found our gate we went on a search for food. We walked the entire length of the terminal, didn't see anything we liked, so turned around to search the other side of the terminal. We finally found a map and decided that Pizza Hut Express was the most promising option. Dad got a pepporni pizza, I got a cheese pizza and some breadstick. Mom had seen a wrap place on the way over and decided that she would rather have that. We walked back over and found a table in the seating area right next to the wrap place. Dad and I started eating while Mom went to order, the line was really long so she decided on getting chinese food from the place next door. The food was ok, for pizza that had been sitting under a heat lamp for who knows how long. But thats about as much as you can expect from airport food.

After we finished eating, we headed back over to our gate and didn't have to wait too long before they started boarding. We took off on time and had a pretty good flight, it seemed super short compared to the last one.

As soon as we landed in Orlando I switched to my little-kid-excitement mode. I kept pointing out the window and saying things like "oooh, look palm trees!" and "look, look, look, a Magical Express bus just drove by" I'm sure the people around us thought I was crazy.

We got into the airport, went straight to the fake-orail, and followed the signs to Magical Express. I was so excited that I was speed walking through the airport, I'm pretty sure my parents were at least 10 feet behind me.

We got to Magical Express and got into line 5

There wasn't anyone in our line, so we went straight to the ropes and a few seconds later they were telling us we could get on our bus. On the way out one of the CMs (are they CMs at Magical Express?) complimented my Pooh shirt. It was so good to feel the Florida heat once we got outside, it was in the high 70s and muggy, so it felt hotter than it probably was. I almost forgot it was January, it felt more like July! They were finishing loading everyone's carry on bags onto the bus, we must have just made that bus.

I was very excited to see that the first row was completely empty, I wanted to have a good view of the sign! The bus was practically empty, I thought it was funny that there weren't actually any kids on the bus, it was just adults.



The back of the buses are so cute!

It wasn't long before we were on our way! We were so close to Disney, I couldn't believe I was actually there!
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Old 01-24-2013, 10:54 PM   #6
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Finally at Disney! And a magical surprise

It wasn't long before we saw this beauty


We were finally there! We were in Disney! It was the most amazing thing ever!

We were the first stop and pretty soon we caught the first glimpse of our home for the next week.




We grabbed our carry on bags from the bus and went to check in. The lobby is gorgeous!



While we were checking in the CM said "I have something for Miss Jessica" and gave us all I'm celebrating buttons and gave me a letter from Princess Tiana.


This is basically what it said, it is actually a picture of our table top, but it says the same thing.


I read it while we were still checking in, I got to the part where it says Royal Guest Room and realized that those aren't the typical room. I thought that we had been upgraded and sprinkled with a little pixie dust because we put my graduation on the reservation. I pointed it out to Dad and he got this weird smile on his face and said "oh, really?" That's when I knew that they were up to something. Dad said something to Mom about it and she got the same weird smile on her face, they were trying to play dumb but weren't doing a very good job at it. Finally Mom said "Surprise! Happy graduation!" Apparently, they decided to suprise me with getting a Royal Guest Room. They knew how much I wanted to be in Magnolia Bend (not Alligator Bayou) and it turns out that with the package we got there was such a small difference in the price that it didn't make sense not to do it, as Dad said. I'm pretty sure I had the biggest smile on my face. The CM said "You didn't know, what a great surprise. You are going to love that room" She seemed to be so excited for me, only at Disney.

We finished checking in and the CM told us where to go. Once again, I was so excited and was speed walking across the resort. I had to stop a few times to let my parents catch up. I couldn't help it, I was so excited to see our room! We were in Oak Manor, we had a second floor corner room with a view of the river.


Right before we saw our room for the first time

Our room was so gorgeous! There were so many little Disney details all over the room. I was running around the room taking pictures and pointing out everything.






The headboards had fiber-optic fireworks






Like I said, I was very excited.










Magic Carpet from Aladin was worked into the carpet


One of the walls


This was the view from directly outside our room.


Zoomed in


Right around the corner from our room.
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Old 01-26-2013, 07:35 PM   #7
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Exploring the resort

After I took pictures of every inch of the room, Mom decided to rest and I wanted to explore more of the resort. I changed into shorts, then Dad and I headed out while Mom laid down. We checked out the leisure pool by our building, the arcade, the food court, the main pool, and looked at the other buildings.


The front of Oak Manor










This tree was planted on April 23, 1991, which is exactly 2 days before I was born. I thought that was pretty cool.




I think this is Acadian House, I thought it was really pretty.

Dad and I just wandered around and ended up behind the buildings where the parking lots are. We couldn't figure out where we were and which buildings were which since there aren't signs behind the buildings. We eventually found our way back about a half hour after we left the room and found Mom standing on the balcony.

While we were gone a CM had brought our checked luggage, but mine wasn't there. Uh oh. The CM said it probably ended up at another resort and we should get it that night, but I was getting nervous. It was about 5:00 at this point and we were hungry, so we decided to eat at the resort before heading to the parks. We found places in the room to stuff all of our bags and just as we were heading out the door, we spotted a CM wheeling a bright pink suitcase down the path. They found my luggage! It was perfect timing.

We headed over to River Mill to get some food, it was pretty empty.



Mom and I both got make your own pasta and garlic bread. Mine was with shrimp, alfrado sauce, spinach, mushrooms, prosciutto, and parmesan cheese. Mom also got alfrado and shrimp, but I don't remember what else she got in it.

It was delicious! It had a really good sauteed flavor and the sauce was just perfect. The garlic bread was good, but you could tell that it wasn't that fresh.
Dad got carved ham with vegetables and mashed potatoes (I think, I'm not sure about the sides). He said it was good, but the ham was a little salty.
Dad and I both got brownies for dessert and Mom got red velvet cake. Mom said the cake was very good and moist. The brownie was ok, but kind of dense and not very flavorful. It reminded me of the brownies from my school caferteria (which isn't a good thing). I only ate about half of it since I was full, and it just wasn't worth it. We also picked up our mugs, and since we had those and the meal came with a drink (with the dining plan) we all got drinks to bring back to the room and put in the fridge.

Once we finished eating, we went back to the room to drop off our mugs and drinks and to grab our park bag. Then it was time to go to our first park! Hmm... which park would we choose?
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Old 01-27-2013, 08:54 PM   #8
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Your excitement is infectious! I bet you would be an awesome person to visit Disney with! I'm so glad you didn't have too much trouble with your flight. I leave in a few weeks and I'm really nervous about potential snow too.

I adore POR, it's where we stayed for our honeymoon. We were also in Oak Manor, but not a Royal Room. I'm dying to stay in one! Your pics of it look amazing, and I love the letter from Princess Tiana! You've made me want to book there instead of POP for our August trip (even though we can't afford it!). Well, hopefully for a future trip
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Old 01-27-2013, 10:19 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by librarygeek View Post
Your excitement is infectious! I bet you would be an awesome person to visit Disney with! I'm so glad you didn't have too much trouble with your flight. I leave in a few weeks and I'm really nervous about potential snow too.

I adore POR, it's where we stayed for our honeymoon. We were also in Oak Manor, but not a Royal Room. I'm dying to stay in one! Your pics of it look amazing, and I love the letter from Princess Tiana! You've made me want to book there instead of POP for our August trip (even though we can't afford it!). Well, hopefully for a future trip
Aww, thank you! I love POR, it is just so gorgeous. The royal room was so beautiful. I never thought that we would be able to stay in one, which is probably how my parents actually managed to surprise me without me suspected something.
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Old 01-30-2013, 01:37 PM   #10
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Night at Magic Kingdom

Of course the first park I wanted to go to was Magic Kingdom. And it was open until midnight for EMH, what could be more perfect.

As we were walking to the bus stop, we saw the Magic Kingdom bus pulling into the resort, so we half ran to get to it in time. Which we didn't need to do since we had plenty of time while it was unloading. But we were very glad that we caught the bus right away and didn't have to wait for it. I spent the bus ride with my eyes glued to the window, I wasn't going to miss my chance to get a glimpse of the castle!

Pretty soon, we got our first glimpse of Magic Kingdom!


The Christmas Tree was still up


It was a little before 7 by the time we got into the park. There were a ton of people lining the sidewalks for the Main Street Electrical Parade, which was about to start. We didn't know that the parade was happening that night and none of us felt like watching it after a long day of sitting on an airplane. And since we had plans to watch it later in the week, we decided to skip it for the night. I spotted the Chapaue store and we went in so I could get some Minnie ears. I was very disapointed that they didn't have the ears I wanted. I wanted the classic ears, just plain black with the red polka dot bow, but all they had were the sequin ones and ones with crazy patterns and feathers. So we left empty handed.

We headed down Main Street and I finally got to see the castle up close!

It is so pretty! Especially with the icicle lights still up. It was such an amazing moment, I couldn't believe that I was actually there!

Unfortunately, because of the parade crowds, we didn't get to stop and just admire the castle or walk down Main Street and get pictures.

I wanted to stay away from the parade route until it was over because I didn't want to see any of the parade until we were actually watching it. So, we went to Tomorrow Land. On our way there, we did find a spot to stop and take some castle pictures.




We spotted Buzz Lightyear Space Ranger Spin and decided it would be a great first ride. I think the wait time was 15 minutes, but we walked right on.

I rode by myself and my parents went together. I don't think my blaster was working right because I got a ridiculously low score. We walked through Tomorrow Land some more and saw some sort of dance party with Goofy and Pluto so we stopped to watch for a few minutes. We walked through Fantasy Land a little, but by that time it was 8:30 and I wanted to get a spot for Wishes. It took us a few minutes to figure out which way to go since some of the paths were blocked off because of the fireworks. We didn't want to fight the crowds, so as soon as we found a decent spot we stopped there. We were on the side walk near the hub because I didn't think we would be able to stay in the street. But a CM told us we should go into the street becuase it was the best place to see Wishes. Good thing they did, because we had the most amazing spot. We could see the castle perfectly and weren't even that crowded, there was plenty of space between us and all of the people around us. And it was an amazing spot for pictures!


Good thing I dedcided to get a spot when I did, becuase we were only standing there for a minute before Celebrate the Magic started. I didn't even know that it existed, but it was so amazing and I'm so glad we didn't miss it.





















That show is so perfect. It is just so amazingly magical. I was in complete awe the entire time.

About 5 minutes later, Wishes started.

That little green dot in the sky is Tinkerbell, by the way.











Ahh, so beautiful!

Continued in next post...
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Old 01-30-2013, 02:37 PM   #11
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Enjoying your TR. What kind of camera did you use? You had some good nighttime pics of the castle and fireworks.
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Old 01-30-2013, 03:23 PM   #12
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Enjoying your TR. What kind of camera did you use? You had some good nighttime pics of the castle and fireworks.
Thank you, I'm glad you're enjoying it! I have a Canon PowerShot camera, nothing fancy. I'm surprised how well some of the night pictures came out.
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Old 01-30-2013, 06:22 PM   #13
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After Wishes was finished, everyone was either leaving the park or trying to find a spot for the 9:00 Main Street Electrical Parade, so we didn't have to fight many crowds to get back to Fantasy Land. EMH is such a great thing, I was worried it would be crowded, but the park was practically empty. We went on The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh and only had to wait a few minutes.








After Pooh, we went over to new Fantasy Land, which is beautiful.

We went on Journey of the Little Mermaid. It was a walk on, but I think it took us just as long to walk through the queue as it did to actually ride. The clamshells looked big enough for all 3 of us to fit in, so thats what we did. But we were pretty squished. The ride is very cute and has lots of little details that made it even better.

After that we headed over to Storybook Circus and decided to ride Dumbo, since it was a walk on.








We got off Dumbo and looked around inside the circus shop. Mom and I tried on some ears, but they didn't have the ones I was looking for.




Our next stop was It's a Small World.

It was down for refurb on our last trip, so this was the first time I'd been on it. (I won't bore you with the large amount of pictures I took of the ride.)


Our strategy for this night was to just wonder around and go on things as we saw them, mainly because we forgot to pick up a map and had no idea where anything was. The next thing we came across was the Haunted Mansion. We started going into the ride exit because we thought it was just a path, in fact we didn't even know we were at the Haunted Mansion. A CM called after us and told us where the entrance was. It was another walk on, so we didn't get to explore the interactive queue, but we did end up waiting at the doors for a few minutes.


After Haunted Mansion, I wanted to head over to Big Thunder Mountain Railroad because I love riding rollarcoasters in the dark. On the way there we passed a very sad looking Splash Mountain, which was closed for refurb.

Dad and I went on BTMR while Mom waited. Remember, she doesn't like rollar coasters (or any kind of motion rides). I think we waited like 5 or 10 minutes in line. I think it was the longest line we stood in all night, which was pretty nice. We ended up in the back of the car and it was a lot of fun to ride it in the dark.


After BTMR we went on Pirates on the Carribean. I got splashed by one of the canon balls, which I wasn't expecting, so I was soaked on one side. After that, I believe we went on Jungle Cruise. Both with very minimal wait.

At that point it was around 11:30 and we had done pretty much everything, a lot more than we were expecting to be able to do. My parents were ready to go and I agreed. My knee was starting to hurt (remember this) I thought it was just from walking all night after being cramped on an airplane all day and figured it would be fine by the time I woke up the next day. We started heading out of the park, but had to stop by the Crystal Palace for another castle picture.


Main Street was starting to get crowded because a lot of people were leaving. We stopped in the Emporium to look around. Once again, I couldn't find the ears I wanted. We only stayed in there for a second because we were all getting tired.


All of the Christmas decorations were still up.

We found our bus stop and it of course it had one of the biggest lines. But we didn't have to wait long and I'm pretty sure we got on the first bus and got seats. I could be wrong though.

We got back to our beautiful room around 12 and got ready for bed. I fell asleep right away, it had been a long day and those beds are so comfy.
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Old 01-30-2013, 07:01 PM   #14
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Count me in!!!
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Old 01-30-2013, 07:16 PM   #15
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Count me in!!!

Welcome! Thanks for reading
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