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FW Trip Reports!

Discussion in 'Camping at Disney World' started by Rhonda, Feb 10, 2008.

  1. rdaniel911

    rdaniel911 Robert & Linda

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    We just got home from our first trip to the Fort, we were so impressed we want to go back and just stay a few days in the Fort. We were pressed for time, but we enjoyed it the same. We can't wait to go back. We saw a few of the Mickey lamppost, my girlfriend now wants one for our trips there. We stayed at site 409, in our little Apache popup, and had plenty of room and too much fun.
     
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  3. njcamper95

    njcamper95 Mouseketeer

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    Just got home last night from my 15 day disney trip had a great time weather was pretty good travel home was rough due to winds but we made it
    we stayed in the 1400 loop 1414 to be exact best site we have ever had with some great neighbors they were a very nice couple with 2 little girls
    we did get some rain but with 15 days we had plenty of time to go to parks and just kick back and relax also we went to the not so scarey loved it when i get a chance i'll post some pics of the site and trip in general
     
  4. MadFF

    MadFF Mouseketeer

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    Ooooooooookay, a “trip report”. Hopefully some of this may help people thinking of taking the long drive down, and for people who are new to Disney or, like me, haven’t been there in decades. Also, I am not sure how long this trip report will turn out to be, so bear with me. I tried to include some different pictures than “standard” trip pictures.

    Important note!!: Before leaving, call your credit card company and tell them you will be charging out of state! (more on that below, lol!)

    Here are details about the drive.

    Trip down (Shore of Connecticut to Fort Wilderness) went pretty much exactly as planned. Took the George Washington Bridge straight through New York City as it was 6ish AM when we got there (we left our house at 3AM), hardly any cars. One of the first times the kids remember seeing the GWB, as in the past we have always looped around and used the Tappanzee Bridge. 15 hours from CT to the Holiday Inn in Florence, South Carolina (left at 3AM, got there around 5:30PM). This is with taking a stretch - coffee - bathroom break about every 1 1/2 hours... I found that seemed to work best for me. I could go longer, but since I didn't have to, it worked.

    Picture of “rig” parked in back of hotel. I happened to be taking up a few “regular” parking spaces, only because there were so few other cars there. On the trip back, I parked in the area behind us in this picture, where there is more room for RVs. Nice hotel, by the way.

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    11 hours from South Carolina to Fort Wilderness. Left hotel at 6AM, arrived at FW around 4PM. No problems. Stretches of highway in South Carolina and Georgia were hard... Straight, flat, and lined with trees. Miles and miles like this – this area was tougher to stay alert cruising along at 65mph (my normal towing speed). North Carolina and Virginia stretches didn’t have the “walls” of trees on either side.

    Trip back......... turned into a minor nightmare, but it worked.

    Left FW at 9AM, got to Holiday Inn in South Carolina pretty much on time -- 7PM. No problems.

    Left hotel next morning…

    Took longer route to go across Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel, planned on this. Interesting to check out, route was a little slower than I had planned on (rte 13). Checked out "scenic view" area and used bathrooms.

    This is the parking area for the scenic view area… with a 21’ trailer we had room to turn around, but it is tight and with a larger rig (and especially if there were more cars there) I would think twice about stopping here. There is room there, it is just tight (picture makes it seem roomier).

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    Missed turn off onto 295 (or New Jersey Turnpike) to go into New Jersey... no big deal, just stayed on I95 through Philadelphia (haven't done that in decades, kids seemed to enjoy the sights). Could have taken rte 206 to cut the angle to go up to 287 (for Tappanzee Bridge), but don't know that route well and I am towing a camper, so stayed on I95.

    MISSED turn off for 287 to go to Tappanzee Bridge. Not sure why, could be because of getting used to longer distances driving down south (everything in New England is closer together), or just in "cruise" mode. Lost track of how far we had gotten towards George Washington Bridge, we ended up being a lot closer than I had figured.... Wife and I talked about it, figured later at night on Sunday we might be okay going across George Washington Bridge (YES, I can hear the groans from everyone who knows this route....).

    Hit traffic in New York City at night going across George Washington Bridge. TWO HOURS+ traffic jam. Thank GOD kids were great about it. Also, happy that we had stopped for gas and bathroom before hitting traffic. Still, after finally getting over GWB, desperately needed bathroom break - so did ALL the other 18-wheelers on the road that night it seemed....lol. First rest area in CT was packed.

    In retrospect? I think I would plan on making the return trip over 3 days, instead of 2 if we were going to see any "sights". We have to time getting through or around NYC better on the way home. Possibly a stop somewhere in New Jersey would work. On the trip down we hit little or no traffic, but that was because we traveled through the worst congested areas at odd hours, or took routes that went around. If we don’t plan on an extra night stopover, than we can’t take scenic detours or stop for too long for meals.

    Truck ran great… it should, it is only about 4 payments old (lol). Interesting about the fuel mileage: From CT to about Virginia, I averaged 9.7mpg which is what I expected. From the Carolinas down to Disney, I averaged 10.5mpg, almost 1 mpg more. This includes using the air conditioning more down south. It has to be the flatter country… in New England, you are always either going up or going down, rarely do you have long flat stretches of highway, so the truck is shifting in and out of overdrive much more than the flat stretches in the south.

    Speed… I averaged 65 mph the whole way, unless speed limit was lower. I didn’t seem to be holding up traffic, and was “with the flow” in the right and middle lanes. Even down south, with the flat, wide open highway with 70 mph speed limit and little traffic, people were averaging 65-70 mph.

    Road conditions…. When we first got to Virginia and south, I thought to myself how much nicer the roads are in New England, even with the constant construction / re-paving. Well, on the return trip, I realized that I95 in New Jersey, New York and southwest Connecticut STINKS compared to “down south”!! We usually go camping north of us, so we aren’t usually towing the camper in the New York area, and I95 is in much nicer condition to the north and east. I guess I also was just used to I95 in the Metro area, and so didn’t realize how bad it is until I spent a week down south. I am also happy that our Forest River Surveyor held together over / through / on top of all those pot holes, grade changes, and bridge expansion joints.

    Wife and kids (13 year old Son, and 12 year old Daughter)… were Wonderful during the driving, down and back. My Son grumped a little on the way down, but not bad at all. They were all great on the “extended” drive back. Wife and Daughter want to do it again next year, Son is still thinking about it….

    I would (and hopefully will) definitely do it again. Biggest change would be to plan on a second overnight stop on the way back, but if drive is going well we could skip it and make it all the way home.

    Now, for Fort Wilderness.

    Well, I can see why everyone raves about it! Great place. Seems like everything has been thought out well.

    The bathrooms in the 1600 loop were immaculate, as detailed in other threads they are recently remodeled. The girls took showers in the “comfort station”, while the boys used our camper shower. This was just due to the water heater size, because when all 4 people get back after a day in Disney World, hot showers are needed and people want to get to bed right away. This way the girls could take nice long, hot showers without fear of the water heater running out of “steam”. We did laundry in the middle of the week, and wife was happy with the laundry machines.

    We had site 1639, and were very happy with it. We were close to the bus stop, and close to the Meadows trading post and pools / activity area. It took me a day or two to realize that the Meadows Trading Post was actually the camp store – At first I was disappointed with the Settlement store, as it really is just a gift shop and doesn’t have much in the way of camping supplies. When I figured out which was what, then it all made sense.

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    Lizards! (geckos, anoles, whichever they are called) – We have nothing like these guys in Connecticut. Here is my son trying to catch one under the camper – yes, this is the picture I told him I would delete (lol!)

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    Sea Raycers – what a blast! I was actually a little shocked at how fast they really are. I was expecting them to be rather slow for safety reasons, but those things really get up and go. One time we messed up the “rules of the road” -- We were next to one of the islands by Wilderness Lodge (well, I think it was there, we got a little turned around) and had stopped to figure out where we wanted to go next (4 boats, one for each family member). A ferry was coming towards the dock, I thought it was going to dock there so I didn’t move the family fleet. Turns out it was going by, and we were out of position and ended up going by it on the wrong side, instead of passing on the right as we were supposed to do. Not too bad, and we were going very slow until we were clear… the “1st mate” of the ferry came out and watched us go by, but didn’t seem too upset. We finally found room along the buoys out in the middle where we could run at full speed back and forth without bothering anyone else. The water actually got a little crowded, what with the ferries, fishing boats, Lake Patrol boats, and other SeaRaycers… so it worked out fine that when our time was running out I was ready to bring the family flotilla back to the docks. The picture below is less than half throttle...

    [​IMG]

    Segway tour… turned out we didn’t do one. I hadn’t checked what the schedule was for the tours (I had just assumed they did them as people showed up, oops), so we missed out on them on the day we spent at the Fort.

    Fireworks from the beach at Fort Wilderness… Neat way to watch them! It would be nicer if they weren’t so far away, but it was fun to enjoy them that way. No hammocks on the beach while we were there (insert whining smilie here). We didn’t see any “light” boats, or the floating light show people have talked about. Was there a schedule for them or something? No big deal, next time we’ll see it! (I have since read that they come by later, 9:30ish)

    We took a walk along the “haunted carriage” path during the day and saw the decorations. I wanted to do the haunted carriage ride at night, but it was just one more of the things we didn’t have time for. I also would have liked to check out the area by the old River Country, but just not enough time in the day sometimes!

    Wife, daughter, and sister went to the Hoop-De-Do Revue. Wife and I were worried about daughter… us guys (Me, son, and Brother-in-law) planned on wandering around checking things out, and I think my daughter kind of wanted to go with us, she seemed a little down. But… turned out the Revue was a blast for the girls. Daughter Loved it! Next time I’ll get in to see it.

    Golf carts… honestly, I was a little concerned about this aspect of FW. At far too many other private campgrounds where golf carts are allowed, they are pretty much out of control and really annoying – to the point where we stay away from such campgrounds. At FW, everything was fine! I even “gave in” and rented a cart for the day that we spent at the campground. And YES, we LOOPED!!!!! LOL… it was fun. We looped around a bunch of loops checking out the campground at night. Turns out one of the better (at least that we saw on our week there) Halloween setups was just a few sites away from us on 1600 loop… I don’t know if we took pictures of it. Large blowup arch, skeletons, smoke machine, colored lights, and a few motion-activated thingys. Cool setup.

    We didn’t end up getting over to see the huge Halloween setup (the one that already has pictures posted of it on the forum… I think by Tri-Circle-D maybe?). We did say hello to a couple other “Dis’ers” that were on the other side of 1600 loop… What’s their names and Who’sa macallits, you know, them folks (I’ll try to dig up there “real” names, lol).

    We didn’t do anything “Halloweenish” with our site, too much else to do! Next time…

    Son (who is 13) was kind of bummed he couldn’t drive the cart, but we pretended….

    [​IMG]


    What else about the Fort…

    Transportation system worked great. Buses were prompt and constant, and I didn’t think they were noisy to the point of distracting, even at night. Could be that we were simply exhausted when we hit our beds.

    Can’t beat taking a water Ferry to the Magic Kingdom! That is just neat, and we enjoyed it every time!!

    All the employees (oops, I mean “cast members”) at the Fort were great. The bus drivers were fun to talk to and had good tips about checking out the various Disney parks, as did the wait staff at Trail’s End.

    Along those lines… ALL the “CM”s at Disney were GREAT. They were always smiling, and always seemed to know the answer to any questions we had. More than once, when we needed something that I would think would be “out of the ordinary”, the CMs took care of it or made arrangements for us without even blinking. It is truly impressive how well the CMs at Disney World know their jobs, and seem to go out of their way to help you.

    We did not get to see all of Disney World, and I didn’t even pretend to think that we would. Actually, we never even got to the Animal Kingdom! We’ll have to do that next time.

    Our favorite park turned out to be Disney Studios! I never hear much about that park, but we had a blast there. The Stunt Show was great, one of the Fort bus drivers told us we had to make sure we saw it, I would recommend this show to everyone…

    [​IMG]
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    Okay, I kind of expected to see the unexpected in Disney World, but this?? We had a good laugh (especially since I do landscaping)…

    [​IMG]

    Remember, this is Disney World, just ask!! We rode in the front (with the operator) of the Monorail! The operator was great and put up with us and our bad jokes….

    [​IMG]

    A couple times I finagled routes to places that required extra rides on the monorail…this time, we were waiting at the Polynesian for a bus after getting off a monorail. My father is a serious “railfan”, so I have a little of that in me… my son and I had to take a look at the underside of a monorail…

    [​IMG]

    Green Army Men! My son was really confused… “What is going on? There are Green Army Men running around!” Me: ”It’s all part of the experience…”

    [​IMG]

    The “Disney Animation” show at Disney Studios was not very good… I was expecting a short film / show about animations, examples of how to draw for animations, maybe a short history of Disney animation, etc. Turned out to just be a semi-comedy with a live “host” on stage and Mushu the dragon from Mulan on screen. I think they could do a heck of a lot more with that show. BUT….

    The gift shop at the Animation show is GREAT! Drawings, paintings, crystal and ceramic figurines… really good stuff. I am not a big shopper, but I thought the prices were pretty good there also.

    For dinner that night we ate at the SciFi Dinner theater… that was different! The food was good (not great), but it was fun sitting in “cars” watching black and white scifi movie clips.

    On to Epcot…

    We enjoyed “Soaring”… I think the neatest aspect of that is that your feet are dangling in the air when you get lifted up.

    “Mission to Mars” was better than I had expected.

    The ride that is inside the Epcot “golf ball” (my nickname for it) was pretty good! Kids even thought it was good.

    “GM Test Track” was okay… there was a glitch in the ride, and we had to wait 45 minutes (the longest wait for us the whole time we were in Disney). The ride was okay, but I don’t know if it was worth the 45 minute wait…

    In the Magic Kingdom, we dragged the kids onto “It’s a Small World” – I think it will take years for them to recover from that.

    Haunted Mansion is still Great! I still love that ride.

    Space Mountain… I swear it is faster and longer than what I remember from 30 years ago, lol. That is just a cool rollercoaster.

    Typhoon Lagoon was open (Blizzard Bay was closed while we were there). A LOT of fun. “Crushin Gusher” was really cool – as we have heard described, it is a “water rollercoaster”. What really surprised me was the “wave pool”. I was figuring – “Yea, whatever, water up to your knees, and a 12 inch high ‘wave’ goes by…”. Umm, no. The “pool” is gigantic, and the wave is huge! In the picture, the little dots in the wave are people! That was a ball, we ended going back to it multiple times throughout the day.

    [​IMG]

    We went to Downtown Disney. Pretty good for an outdoor “mall”. Considering most of the “stores” in the parks all have the same trinkets, it was nice to see “real” stores. We did eat dinner at Rainforest Café, that was fun.

    One thing that really took us by surprise, and I am kind of annoyed at the Disboards for not “warning” me ;)… is the LEGO Store!!! Picture is from across the water, with the “Monster” in the water next to it (yes, it is made of Legos)!!!!

    [​IMG]

    Wow, this is the largest Lego store I have ever been in. My son is a Lego fanatic, so he was in heaven. Specific Lego kits and parts can be hard to find, but this place just has tons of stuff. He had not asked for anything the whole trip, so we plunked down some green for a lot of Legos.

    (Remember at the top I said to call your credit card company?? --)

    Stopped in at the HESS gas station in Disney World Friday night to fill up and be ready to leave the next morning. Swiped my Visa card at the pump, and the dreaded “Please see the attendant” came up on screen. So I trooped inside, the attendant tried it, no go. Came up as “insufficient funds”. I knew what happened (there is plenty of “room” on that card)… the automatic theft prevention kicked in. I rarely leave my home state, so the sudden influx of charges going down the coast obviously tripped a red blinker somewhere. I used a different card without a problem, and called the credit card company the next day to straighten things out. So, note to all of you planning a similar trip: Call Your Credit Card Company(s), and tell them charges will be showing up outside of your normal area.

    Pop Century ---
    My sister and her husband came down to spend the week at Disney with us, and they stayed at the Pop Century. I thought it was just one “hotel”, but it is almost a whole resort by itself! 3 pools, fun things for kids to fool around on/with in the courtyards. I was impressed by the rooms --- very simple, but intelligently designed.

    The “cafeteria” at Pop Century is a bit, well, overwhelming (in my opinion). Big, loud, busy, and the food was okay at best. But it works.

    Other than that, I think Pop Century is very good for a “value” place!

    Okay, what else? We have lots of other pictures, I’m trying to think of what might be interesting… Oh, YEA!

    [​IMG]

    The Waffle House! We stopped at one for breakfast around 6:00AM Sunday morning on the way back, I guess in North Carolina? Wife and daughter stayed in truck napping, son and I went in for breakfast. Around me, for years now (close to a decade?) it is the law that there is no smoking in restaurants, so the guy behind us smoking a cigarette really surprised me. And as my son described it:” Grumpy waitresses serving grumpy people”… LOL! Welcome back to the real world!!

    Waffle House was fine, though. Don’t know if it was related, but son and I did have to make multiple bathroom stops later in the day…

    Also, on the way down, we saw another couple taking pictures in front of a Waffle House.

    For lunch on the way back, we stopped at a Cracker Barrel somewhere along the East Coast, that was good.

    Especially on the trip down, the kids were in a McDonald’s mood… We found out that the French Fries in Maryland’s McDonalds seem to be best – crispy and salty. In Connecticut, most McDs don’t salt the fries (or use very little), you have to add more yourself.

    At the hotel in South Carolina, we ate at “Zaxby’s”, a chicken fast food place. We thought it was surprisingly good – we don’t have them up here in CT.

    I guess that’s it for now. Turned out to be a great trip. We are already planning (and saving for) next year!
     
  5. clkelley

    clkelley <font color=purple>I squealed really loud!!<br><fo

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  6. lklasing

    lklasing When being chased by a bear, you don't have to out

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    Hey everyone - I finally got my Photopass CD, so I've finally gotten my Thanksgiving TR up and running. Feel free to check it out using the last link in my signature. :)
     
  7. Shan-man

    Shan-man ¿sɐɯʇsıɹɥɔ lıʇ, sʎɐp ʎuɐɯ ʍoH

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    This resource is no longer available here, sorry.
     
  8. Shan-man

    Shan-man ¿sɐɯʇsıɹɥɔ lıʇ, sʎɐp ʎuɐɯ ʍoH

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    This resource is no longer available here, sorry.
     
  9. Shan-man

    Shan-man ¿sɐɯʇsıɹɥɔ lıʇ, sʎɐp ʎuɐɯ ʍoH

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    This resource is no longer available here, sorry.
     
  10. Shan-man

    Shan-man ¿sɐɯʇsıɹɥɔ lıʇ, sʎɐp ʎuɐɯ ʍoH

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    This resource is no longer available here, sorry.
     
  11. zakerdog

    zakerdog Mouseketeer

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  12. MadFF

    MadFF Mouseketeer

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    Great trip report!
     
  13. clkelley

    clkelley <font color=purple>I squealed really loud!!<br><fo

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    What a wonderful trip report!!!

    I was there almost the exact same dates you were, (The 6th - 19th in Loop 1500) and was at a few of the same Mousefest events!! It used to be that the RADP-Mousefest events were small enough that you pretty much got to meet everyone, but now it's gotten really huge!!!

    Hopefully see you next year at Mousefest!!
     
  14. Cockburn Family

    Cockburn Family FW Forever!!!

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    :thumbsup2
    Great trip post Carol...Great webpage as well...left a "Hello from another Canuck" message for you.

    :thumbsup2
     
  15. TheFatMansWife

    TheFatMansWife Mouseketeer

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    have enjoyed reading your reports
    sounds like louds of fun, would like to staythere one day
     
  16. WeCampDisney

    WeCampDisney Mouseketeer

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    Howdy friends. We were at the fort from Dec 6th through Dec 14th. Its kind of weird but I have not had the desire to come to the boards untill recently. I think the thought of us not being able to come back for 2 years was just so depressing! Our DD and SIL are saving up for a house.
    I am slow typing with my 2 finger technique so I will do this report in stages. First a quick summery. We drove down nonstop 1040 miles from east Texas, left home at 6:30pm, arriving at the Fort around 3:00pm on sat. We stopped 3 times for gas thanks to the 44 gal tank in the Excursion. SIL helped me drive and the trip was no problem. We got a great site, 1813, which backed up to the canal. I remembered a couple of campers in the loop who have been there every time we are. We had a great time as usual, but it could have been better. We assumed that the parks would be not crowded so we slept in and did not get that early start, arriving at the parks about 11:00 or so each day. We also did not use a park touring plan, again assuming the rides would not have long lines at that time of the year. The parks were more crowded than we expected. We could not believe how many school age kids were there. We had our 10 mo old grandaughter and we did not stand in any long lines. We were able to do most of what we wanted but skipped a few rides because of long lines. Even fastpass didn't help us in our schedule at EPCOT, we never got to ride Soarin. Next time we will get up early and have a plan for the parks. We enjoyed looping at nite, the Christmas decorations were awesome! We had a great time at the HDDR. I babysited one evening so everyone else could go to LaNuba. They loved it, said it was worth the big ticket price for sure.We brought our 2 Siberian Huskies and put them in the kennels while we went to the parks. I love my dogs very much but having them with us did consume a lot of my time. It takes time to take them to the kennel and check them in, and also to go and get them out. I also spent a lot of time walking them 4 times a day. I love doing all that but it really limited my free time to enjoy all that the Fort has to offer. I will do it differently next time, if I take them. I like the new golf cart rental being done at check in. The carts were parked just inside of the gate. In summery, we had a great trip but we all agree that next time we will spend less time in the parks and more time at the Fort. I will try to post more details later.
     
  17. MadFF

    MadFF Mouseketeer

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    You know, you probably had a better time sleeping in and not standing in lines with a very young granddaughter. We slept in two days during the week we were there... I refused to get crazy running around trying to do "everything".

    The last part just made me laugh... wanting to spend more time at the Fort! I agree!
     
  18. zakerdog

    zakerdog Mouseketeer

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  19. stacktester

    stacktester DIS Veteran

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    Wow, TCD has some competition with that report. That was really good.
     
  20. zakerdog

    zakerdog Mouseketeer

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    Thank you :goodvibes
     
  21. MadFF

    MadFF Mouseketeer

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    I got a "link broken" when I clicked on it... I'll try again later, may be just a temporary glitch.
     

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