May 26 - June 2, 2012 From Reality to Fantasy

Discussion in 'Disney Cruise Line Trip Reports' started by Dawncala, Jun 18, 2012.

  1. Dawncala

    Dawncala Collector of magical memories and pixie dust

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    Cookie’s Too

    There are now two BBQ buffets on the island. Last time we were here there was only Cookie’s BBQ which is centrally located in the family beach area. Since then they have opened Cookie’s Too, which is located toward the far end of the family beach area, so we decided to check it out for lunch. It is very similar to the original Cookie’s and has all the same buffet and drink choices. We were hoping that it would be a little less crowded because its location was a bit farther to walk from the main family beach.

    Both Cookie’s BBQ locations are just an extension of ship dining and everything there is part of your vacation package. It’s a simple walk-up, self-serve buffet so just take a tray, silverware, get in line and pick and choose your meal items. The food itself is simple BBQ fare, but there is plenty of variety so we did not leave hungry. They also have a soft serve ice cream machine which is a must to help replace the salt water taste from the ocean with something cool and sweet.


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    Plenty of kitchy decor to look at while waiting in line.

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    It wouldn't be much of a BBQ without chicken and ribs.

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    Side dishes like corn on the cob and carrots and beans. (I think the front pan is a fish dish, but don't quote me on that)

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    There are hot dogs and hamburgers of course

    There are several types of desserts too.
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    After you get your meal you can take a seat anywhere in the picnic table area which has both sheltered and unsheltered areas. Guests were continuously coming and going so it didn’t take us long to find a table. In 2010, when there was just one BBQ buffet, I remember we searched for quite a while for a table, so the opening of Cookie’s Too definitely offered some crowd relief.

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    The covered seating area of Cookie's Too decorated in ropes, nets, life preservers and flags.

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    DH's colorful and tasty lunch.
     
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  3. SigalTchelet

    SigalTchelet Mouseketeer

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    YUM!!! Can't wait to try it in December!!!
     
  4. Dawncala

    Dawncala Collector of magical memories and pixie dust

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    Cutsey Island Theming

    Here are a few other photos I took around the island showing the island color scheme and theming.

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    One of the little huts serving specialty frozen drinks, cocktails and beers. There is an up-charge, but remember, they don't take cash so bring your Key-to-the-World card.

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    This is a shower area from an older section of the island. Notice the crates are labeled in a realistic manner.

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    This grouping of crates, nearly identical to the ones in the previous photo, (minus the natural weathered aging) were added when they built Cookie's Too. If you compare the contents of the crates you'll notice they added some Disney tongue-in-cheek theming in new area.

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    This sign was on the side of one of the buildings. (I can't remember which one though.) Does anyone know what "Smash Boos" is referencing?
     
  5. Dawncala

    Dawncala Collector of magical memories and pixie dust

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    Just Keep Swimming

    After lunch we decided to go wade in the water for a bit. None of that “wait 30 minutes after eating” rule for us. (We’re just crazy like that.) It was a bit chilly, but DH and I were not going to let the kids get away with calling us chicken so in we went. The Castaway Cay bay is a combination of sand in some areas and seaweed in others. I don’t mind salt water, but I’m not partial to walking in seaweed so I absconded with one of the kids’ inner tubes so I could float over it.

    We brought our own floats with us on the trip. They cost $1.99 each to purchase at home versus the $6.00 per float rental available on the island. Besides the cost savings there are other pros: they pack virtually flat, there is no waiting in line to rent one, they are colorful and easy to spot, and if you don’t want to deflate it you can always gift it to another family at the beach. It will make their day and you will get more suitcase room in return.

    We had my son’s waterproof camera with us so we took a few photos.


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    DS on his float.

    We swam all the way out to the area near the life guard stand, which is much further than it looks, to investigate what appears to be the mast of a sunken ship. It turned there is a roped off snorkeling area out there and you are required to wear inflatable vests to enter. I assume they don’t want people stomping around in the seaweed and making the water murky. Luckily the life guard had several extra vests at his stand and he tossed some down to the kids. DH and I opted to stay behind and watch since we didn’t have masks or goggles anyway.

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    On our way to check out the mast. We were about 1/3 of the way there when this photo was taken.

    DS and DD swam over to the mast see if there was actually a sunken ship out there. All I can say is that they came back slightly disappointed.
     
  6. Dawncala

    Dawncala Collector of magical memories and pixie dust

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    Storm’s A Brewin’ - Must Be Movie-Time

    As you may have noticed in the previous post the sky had darkened quite a bit and the rain clouds were moving in. We decided to gather our belongings and head back to the ship. We were not the only family with this idea and the return tram we boarded completely filled up in seconds. We drove by many, many families headed back on foot. The line to board the ship was moderately long, but moved quickly.

    We went back to our cabin where we showered, dressed and checked our navigator for alternatives. We finished just in time to head to the Buena Vista Theater for the 3:00, 2-D showing of The Avengers. (Did I mention we really love The Avengers movie?)
     
  7. Dawncala

    Dawncala Collector of magical memories and pixie dust

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    An Unforgettable Journey

    The final show in the Walt Disney Theater is titled “An Unforgettable Journey” and provides a pretty decent wrap-up for the cruise. I was thankful that it was not so heart tugging that I ended up bawling by the end. I think it was just enough to make one melancholy about it being the last night on board.

    The show was filled with the usual variety of Disney song and dance numbers and there is a slide show with pictures taken of guests during the cruise. Our family did not make it into the slide show, but there were a few people we recognized. The best reaction was when they put up a photo of two Japanese girls. I think by the end of the cruise there wasn’t a single person who had not encountered them somewhere. We bumped into them many times and they definitely left a lasting impression. They always had on the cutest Disney outfits and accessories, were usually wearing mouse ears or Minnie bows and were carrying autograph books and cameras. I think they must have been at every character meet-and-greet because that is where we saw them the most. They also almost always had front row seats at the shows too and tonight was not an exception. They were sitting front and center when their picture was displayed, and while they shyly giggled the rest of the audience whooped it up for them.

    There was one disappointing moment at the show though. A part of the show references the new Animation show in Animator’s Palate. Anyone with our particular dining rotation, with late dinner seating, hadn’t seen the Animation show yet (it was tonight) so it was kind of a spoiler for us. Hopefully they correct that so everyone has a chance to see the Animation show before the farewell show.
     
  8. sgtbob1

    sgtbob1 Earning My Ears

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    Really enjoyed your tr. DW and I are celebrating our 25th wedding anniversary on the Fantasy in August. Your reports were very helpfull. We haven't been on a Disney cruise since the big red boat. Thanks.
     
  9. minniebeth

    minniebeth <font color=green>I count on y'all to keep me up t

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    FANTASTIC trip report! Thank you so much for sharing!:flower3:
     
  10. darrenf67

    darrenf67 Mouseketeer

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    A really great report thanks so much! I look forward to our Fantasy cruise in November
     
  11. Dawncala

    Dawncala Collector of magical memories and pixie dust

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    Thank you all for your kind comments. I know those of you with future Fantasy sailings will love it.
     
  12. Dawncala

    Dawncala Collector of magical memories and pixie dust

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    Thank you all for hanging in there with me. Sorry I disappeared again, but I had a good reason. We just got back from the February 15th, 8 night, kids sail free Bahamas cruise out of Galveston on the Disney Magic. I was hoping to finish this trip report before we left, but time was not on my side.

    We had a great trip, with some of the nicest weather we've seen yet (especially for February) and if I can get the 1,500+ photos downloaded, edited, and sorted I'm hoping to put together a trip report on that cruise too.

    But for now let's just see if I can wrap up our last day on the Fantasy.
     
  13. Dawncala

    Dawncala Collector of magical memories and pixie dust

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    Where Will We Put It All?

    Whether you like it or not (I certainly don’t) the last day of the cruise will eventually arrive and you will be confronted with the necessity to repack your luggage for the trip home. I think repacking is always more of a challenge for me than packing. No matter how much extra space there was in the luggage when we arrived I always seem to be smashing everything back in and unzipping the luggage extenders when we leave. I thought I’d include the couple of tips that keep me from going crazy on re-packing day.

    Tip #1: Spend a few minutes each day re-packing throughout the cruise. Packing all at once is overwhelming for me, and can take up valuable pool time or interfere with my ability to attend a towel folding class or martini tasting seminar. Around day four of the cruise we have usually accumulated at least one suitcase full of clothing and shoes we’re not going to wear again so I pack them and any souvenirs and Fish Extender gifts we have. Then, by the last day, I usually just have to pack two, and not all four of our suitcases.

    Tip #2: Evaluate if you really need everything. Here are some items you might consider leaving behind.

    • Partly empty travel sized bathroom items
    • Wire hangers – Clothes you may have brought on hangers don’t necessarily need to go home on them
    • Bring older clothing, PJ’s, socks, etc … to wear for daytime playtime and then trash them at the end of the trip. (I’ve seen this suggestion on other sites and thought it was a good idea)

    Tip #3: Pack all the dirty laundry together. (This tip kind of builds on tip #1) Just toss dirty laundry in an empty suitcase each night and by mid-cruise at least one suitcase will be re-packed for the trip home. Then, when you get home, those suitcases can just go straight to the laundry room.
     
  14. Dawncala

    Dawncala Collector of magical memories and pixie dust

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    See Ya Real Soon Luggage

    Sometime in the afternoon on your last day a set of luggage tags and debarkation day documents will be left on your bed. The Welcome Home document has important information about your final breakfast time and location and debarkation rules and regulations. There will also be a Customs Form (one per family) to be filled out. (not pictured here)

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    We were in section Tinkerbell again. This is our third cruise and our third time in Tinkerbell. I like Tinkerbell so I consider this a magical coincidence.

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    The luggage tags need to be filled out and attached to any luggage you will be having Disney offload from the ship for you. Pick up is by 10:30 PM outside your cabin door the last night of the cruise. Your luggage will be waiting for you in the terminal in the morning next to a big banner featuring your tag character. You are welcome to carry off all your own luggage in the morning but remember, there are no porters available on the ship in the morning. You will be responsible for the luggage you keep or do not put out by 10:30 PM.

    Tip #1: They always seem to give us more tags than we have luggage so to remember which character we have I put the extra tag on my purse or camera bag strap.

    Tip #2: Make sure you do not pack any family necessities in the luggage you leave outside the door. You will absolutely not see it again until you get into the terminal the next morning. Pack morning supplies (toothbrushes, toothpaste, hair brush, medications…) in a carry-on bag as well as paperwork you will need (passports/ID’s, customs form, car rental papers, airline confirmations …). Don’t forget to put aside fresh clothing for everyone to wear in the morning and pajamas for that night. Also, keep tabs on your key-to-the-world cards. You will need them to disembark.

    Tip #3: Bring along some name & address labels from home. Then, rather than having to fill out each luggage tag, you can just put on a sticker and add your room number. You can also give address labels to new friends you meet on the cruise so you can keep in touch.

    Tip #4: If you are able I would suggest putting your luggage out before you leave for your late dinner or show so you can have a more leisurely night. For some reason we never actually do this and end up having to rush back to the cabin before the 10:30 PM luggage deadline.
     
  15. luvslikepi

    luvslikepi DIS Veteran

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    YES!!! I completely agree. I do this for all trips I take so I don't spend the last night packing late into the evening. Excellent tips.
     
  16. Dawncala

    Dawncala Collector of magical memories and pixie dust

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    Animate Me!

    Tonight was the night in Animators that I was really looking forward to. I had read about the new Animation Show many months before in blogs and articles. Then, at the 2011 D23 Expo, Disney gave us a sneak preview of the show during the cruise presentation. Now it was finally my turn to participate in the show and I must say I was a little concerned that it wouldn’t live up to the hype. (Spoiler alert…it did)

    When we arrived at our table we were greeted by our servers who handed us our special animation placemats and several colored markers. They briefly gave us instructions, and the placemats also have pretty clear instructions printed on them with samples. We quickly got down to work on our animated characters, occasionally trading marker colors so we could make our characters more colorful.


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    A blank character placemat

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    Perry supervised the artistic process

    TIP: You have a fairly short amount of time to draw your character, (10 – 15 minutes tops) so if you are the type who needs a little extra time to get your creative juices flowing I'd suggest you practice creating a character before your cruise.

    Our finished placemat characters
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    After handing off our creations to our servers we set about ordering and eating dinner.

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    Appetizers, soups and salads

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    Entrees

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    A cute detail on an Animator plate

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    Buttered Popcorn soup with a side of caramel corn. Sounds strange, but it is totally yummy and is a new family favorite.

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    Garlic & Rosemary-Marinated Lamb Sirloin with Potato Gratin

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    Seafood Linguini Pasta in a White Wine Sauce

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    Roasted Filet of Beef Wellington

    If I’m remembering correctly they did the Animation show between dinner and dessert.

    The show was so cute, but I wished I hadn’t seen any sneak peeks of it beforehand. Overall it was cool watching our two dimensional characters come to life on the big viewing screens. It’s a fun new technology. The characters danced and pranced to Disney songs from popular movies and with favorite Disney characters. Some of the guest drawings did seem to get more on-screen time, while some were only seen for a few seconds, but I’m assuming the selection is random. We did see each of our characters once, but we’re pretty sure we saw a couple of the others more than once. At the end we all saw our names scroll by in the “animator” credits.

    Tip: It is imperative that you know which screen to watch. Your table is in a particular zone and your placemat character will only appear on the screen in your zone. We were looking at the wrong screen at first, but thankfully our servers quickly corrected us.


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    The traditional last night dessert...Baked Alaska!

    #1 Dining Rule: Just because it’s not on the menu don’t be afraid to ask for it. Mickey ice cream bars are not on any of the dessert menus, but all the cruise ships have them. Simply ask your server for one (or many) or order them through room service. On this trip we were also lucky enough to request a chocolate soufflé from Palo and have our request granted. This item is not guaranteed because it is meant to be a Palo specialty, but on this trip we got lucky. We figure it can never hurt to ask.

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    Be careful what you ask for. We asked for a couple extra cherries one night and every night after that we received a dish full of them.

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    DD definitely LOVES her Mickey Ice Cream bar

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    Palo's chocolate souffle

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    Chocolate souffle sauces

    At the end of our meal we were invited to come back to Animator’s Palate the following morning for our final breakfast before “all ashore”.

    Comments: One reason I like having late dining is that we also get the late breakfast seating for the character breakfast (when there is one) and the final morning breakfast. Not everyone in my family does well with being rushed in the morning so this works out well for us.


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    Our traditional final night photo with our wonderful servers Precious and Siri.
     
  17. Dawncala

    Dawncala Collector of magical memories and pixie dust

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    It’s a Mad Mad Mad Mad Final Night Whirlwind

    Dinner was done right around 10:00 and we dashed straight up to Shutters to make our final photo selections. As I mentioned in my post on Day 3 about our Shutters experience it was a mob scene up there. We could barely find a spot to look at our photos so I decided to purchase a photo disc, with the ability to unlock 10 photos at a later date, so I could make my selections at a more leisurely pace at home.

    Right at 10:15 we scurried down to watch the See Ya’ Real Soon show in the main atrium lobby. We would have stayed at Shutters and just peered over the balcony, but I’m pretty sure every guest on board was in the mid-ship atrium area at this moment and the balcony space was totally occupied. Plus the best photos are a ground level anyway.

    At the atrium show the characters all come out to say goodbye and do meet and greets and photos one last time. Being the Disney geek I am I of course needed to see the characters one last time. I took photos as they came down the stairs, making sure to stay until my main mouse Mickey appeared, but then we had to leave before the meet and greet lines started.


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    We left early mostly because we still had to make the mad dash upstairs to put the luggage outside the door by 10:30. (Again, if you can do this before your late dinner or show I’d recommend it.)

    With the luggage safely out we raced down to The Tube to try to catch the ventriloquist’s adult show. It started at 10:30, and it was about 10:40, so it was already packed in there. We decided to pass on the show and take a leisurely walk out on deck where we reflected on the happiest parts of the cruise and tried not to think about how it was our last night. Departure depression had definitely set in.

    We finally kicked the towel animal off the bed around 11:15 and curled up on our comfy bed for the last time.
     
  18. Dawncala

    Dawncala Collector of magical memories and pixie dust

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    See Ya Real Soon

    We stumbled into Animator’s Palate at 8:45 AM bleary eyed and sullen. Guest suitcases lined the hallway and were wedged in between tables. The atmosphere of the guests in the room was pretty gloomy to say the least, but our servers were bright eyed and perky as usual.

    The See Ya Real Soon breakfast menu is probably my least favorite. There is nothing unique about the offerings and the food always tastes like leftovers to me. I’m sure this is partly because some of it is leftovers, but also because I’m usually in a fairly blue mood right about now.


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    The kids discovered if we held up our water glasses the reflection from the lights made a Mickey head.

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    This is an example of one of the strange photos I took just for kicks.

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    We still had a mango, which was given to us in Costa Maya, so we cut it up to eat with breakfast.

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    They call it "For a Sweet Journey". I call it "The all-carb special".

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    They call it "Route 66". I call it the "High-protein power option"

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    They call it the "Omelet Map" I called this the "OCD Special" because everything was lined up so neatly.

    They started calling for All Ashore around 9:30. We hugged our servers one last time, gathered our handful of carry-on bags, and made our way to the exit in the Deck 3 atrium. I swear we all looked like we were headed toward the gallows.

    With a last swipe of our key-to-the-world cards our Disney cruise was officially over.

    We easily found our luggage by the big Tinkerbell banner. Since most families have the early breakfast seating and were already off the ship the customs lines were fairly short. We found our car rental company courtesy shuttle right outside and before we knew it we were in our rental car on the way to the Orlando airport. (We use Avis)
     
  19. Dawncala

    Dawncala Collector of magical memories and pixie dust

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    There’s No Place Like Home

    The rest of the trip was easy-peasy. We hung out in the Orlando International airport for a while, walked around, shopped and took some photos.

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    DD is putting on a brave face, but DS's reflects how he felt about the cruise being over.

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    We thought it was funny that Perry sitting there made Mickey look cross-eyed.

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    One of the statues you can find by the Orlando Airport Disney store. - By the way...Where's Perry?

    Then we had a long layover in Minneapolis where we walked around, shopped, had dinner, and took some more photos.

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    We pulled into our driveway just after midnight (Pacific Standard Time) exhausted, but ready to go again.

    THE END

    – Thank you so much for taking time to read this and for your wonderful comments. I hope you all get the opportunity to sail on the Fantasy or at least with Disney Cruise Line sometime soon.
     
  20. MomToPrincePhillip

    MomToPrincePhillip Mouseketeer

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    I'm the 1st to say "Thank You"!!! What a great report full of great tips, beautiful photos and humor! I'm sad it's over...
     
  21. Strawberry's mom&dad

    Strawberry's mom&dad DIS Veteran

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    Thanks for helping us relive this great cruise. You finished just in time as we're going on the Fantasy eastern loop 5/4-5/11 where we'll create more wonderful DCL memories.:boat:
     

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