November 2013 - Goodbye POP, Hello French Quarter!

Discussion in 'Disney Trip Reports' started by kaetra, Nov 21, 2013.

  1. kaetra

    kaetra Magic is Real

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    Around October 1st I booked a spontaneous trip to Pop Century for November 14th through 20th. It had been nearly 23 months since our last trip and I was missing The Mouse pretty bad. I hadn't been keeping up AT ALL with the changes going on at The World, so imagine my surprise when I checked into the Dis to see all the latest and greatest goings on with MB & FP+.

    Then the very day before my trip I saw the announcement - no more KTTW cards for Pop Century and Pop Century only starting when? You guessed it - November 14th, my check-in day. So, thanks to the Dis I was in the KNOW you know? And therefore was able to call Disney and switch resorts at the last minute. How clever of me! For a couple extra hundred bucks I upgraded to the resort I'd always been longing to try - The beautiful Port Orleans French Quarter!

    This trip would be a Mom-Daughter Only Extravaganza! Here we are, me and my lovely 10 yr. old daughter Kythe. This picture was taken on night 6 of our trip, and we are looking like the true WDW Commandos that we are - the messy hair is a dead give-away!
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    And here we gooooo!!!!!

    LINKS
    Nov 14 - Thursday - Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party
    Nov 15 - Friday - A Busy, Crowded day at Epcot
    Nov 16 - Saturday - Super Coaster Day at a Soaking Magic Kingdom

    Nov 17 - Sunday - Epcot Rope Drop to Close!
    Nov 18 - Monday - AK Walk On for Everything Day
    Nov 19 - Tuesday - The Less Beaten Path at Magic Kingdom
    Nov 20 - Wednesday - Easing out of WDW with Hollywood Studios
     
    Last edited: Feb 10, 2015
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  3. kaetra

    kaetra Magic is Real

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    Nov 14 - Thursday - Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party

    We flew in from Milwaukee via Southwest. DH was not coming this trip due to work commitments so we had front-door taxi service to the airport complete with canine company. We kissed DH and our pup goodbye and dashed into the airport. We barely made our group A boarding, but we were lucky enough to spot a lady sitting all alone at the window of the 3rd row of seats. She had her bag on the seat next to her, but I asked very nicely if those seats were taken and she said no and we sat down. The plane itself was an AirTran plane recently converted to Southwest so the seats were incredibly small with virtually zero leg-room. No one reclined though, so it was bearable. We were well prepared for the 2 1/2 hour flight with plenty to snack on, drink and keep us occupied and the Southwest flight attendants were SUPER sweet and accommodating. I <3 Southwest. We landed at 4:25pm (much later than I normally like to arrive on day 1, but it's the only flight we could get so I took it).

    This would be our first trip with a rental car and I can tell you it is SO liberating and AWESOME to have. I am an Emerald Club member, so once we landed and got our bag we wheeled right over to the Emerald Isle, picked out our vehicle and immediately drove straight from the airport directly to the Magic Kingdom for MVMCP. I had absolutely no issues parking for free at the MK lot even though we didn't stop at the resort first to check in. They scanned my Magic Band and let me right in to the parking lot.

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    We took the Ferry in for the first time ever and I loved it! Seeing the castle as you cross the lake is quite the way to start the celebration!

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    I used our MVMCP paper tickets to enter the park, they strapped on our special MVMCP wristbands and we were in the door! Hello gorgeous Main Street!

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    We arrived at the park by 5:45 pm (pretty good considering our plane landed at 4:25!). I had been able to choose FP+ in advance for this day, just none past 7pm. So even though we used MVMCP paper tickets to get in we were able to use a FP+ for Space Mountain as soon as we arrived, which was good because the place was still packed at 5:45! However, after 7pm ALL rides were walk-on.

    We are not huge character people. We enjoy the character greets but don't feel the need to stop if the line is more than 2 or 3 people long. So, we did 0 character greets (queue *gasp*) and we're not huge parade lovers either so we did not watch the parade (queue another *gasp*). Instead, we rode rides all night - many, many, MANY times.

    We went on the new Little Mermaid once, it was super cute. We rode BTM and SM WAAAAYYYY too many times to count. We also did the "Jingle Cruise", which was the only ride with a line and it was fairly long, about 25 minutes. We waited though because it was advertised as "special" in the Party Guide. Well, it was nothing special at all and definitely NOT worth the wait. I was expecting something more than a couple holiday jokes, renamed boats and a headhunter with a Christmas Light necklace on. Oh well! :) The cookies and cocoa were very good though!

    We ate dinner at Pecos Bills. It was extremely busy but we got served fairly quickly considering. I got the taco salad and DD got the kids cheeseburger meal. It was pretty good, the kids cheeseburger is kind of "ugh", like a school cafeteria burger, but my taco salad was very good I thought.

    We really liked the snowflakes they projected on the ground and on the buildings all around. Here's a blurry pic, it was dark and I didn't take the SLR -

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    The Castle was of course GEORGous!!

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    The Holiday Wishes Fireworks were HUGE, spectacular and awesome.

    Overall for the party the streets were VERY crowded but rides were not. Everyone seemed to be waiting in line for character greets. We didn't attend either dance party, though it was on my list of things I wanted to do at the party. We were just having way too much fun riding rides!!

    We left during the last parade, and walked out through the snow on Main Street, it was a great way to end the night.

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    And here is a short, 1 minute video of the Main Street Snow (not sure if it will work)
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    Bottom line - We LOVED the Very Merry Christmas Party and I thought it was a good value, especially since we didn't buy regular park tickets for that day. I would do it again in a heartbeat! Having walk-on rides all night long alone was worth it! So, MVMCP you get a BIG THUMBS UP from me! :thumbsup2

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    Then two joyful, merry, but tired girls took the Ferry back and drove to the resort. We checked in to POFQ super quickly and with zero issues. We received our KTTW cards automatically, the desk clerk saying they were for "back up". Our room was #4203 and it was lovely.

    Next up - Epcot on a Busy, Busy Day
     
  4. alan_renfroe

    alan_renfroe DIS Veteran

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    Subscribing! We hope to stay at POFQ in May!
     
    DaisyDuck001 likes this.
  5. kaetra

    kaetra Magic is Real

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    Nov 15 - Friday - A Busy, Crowded day at Epcot

    With our late night the night before, we woke up a bit late today. We were really hungry, so we drove over to Boatwrights at POR for a Disney food court breakfast. We got the breakfast platters, one adult and one child and ice waters to drink. The dining hall was super crowded, and even though we got through the line quickly by the time we got our condiments, drinks, silverware and a table the food was cold. This was our first, last and only Disney food court breakfast.

    With our late start we got to Epcot at about 10am.

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    We walked straight to Soarin' and pulled paper FP without checking the return time first. The return time was 8:20pm! It was a crowded day at Epcot! We wound up spending quite a bit of the day in Innoventions doing Sum of All Thrills, which is one of DDs favorites.

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    We used all three of our FP+ on this day for Soarin', Test Track and Mission Space. We pulled two total paper FPs, one mentioned earlier for Soarin' and then one for Test Track. They ran out of paper FPs for Test Track very early as well.

    We had lunch in Japan, pre-made California Rolls and they wouldn't (or maybe couldn't) make us a California Roll with no fish eggs, so we did our best to pick them out (blech). 2 California Rolls and ice water came to $20, so the price really went up since our last trip!

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    We also did one Agent P Mission in Japan. The CMs at the Agent P cart said they could not use our Magic Bands to start the mission, and they specifically asked for our KTTW cards. So I was very glad we had them!

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    There was a HUGE Christmas tree on the way to the World Showcase

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    We used our traditional silly faces during Spaceship Earth

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    It started raining and the lines for everything were still really long, so we left the park at 6pm. We gave our Soarin' paper FPs to a couple that was just arriving, and they were thrilled to get them.

    Here are the ride totals for the day: Soarin' once with FP+, Test Track four times (1x with FP+, 1x with paper FPs, and 2x in single rider line where you can't design your own car) and Mission Space once with FP+. We also did Nemo and Spaceship Earth both with stand by lines that weren't super long. We also did Sum of All Thrills about 3 times, and each time the wait was about 30 minutes or so. So that's 11 total. Not bad for an 8 hour stay on a busy, busy day!

    After we left, we ate dinner at a restaurant off-site and picked up some groceries and supplies for our room. Again, LOVE having the rental car!

    Up Next - SUPER Coaster Day at a Soaking Wet Magic Kingdom
     
  6. kaetra

    kaetra Magic is Real

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    Nov 16 - Saturday - Super Coaster Day at a Soaking Magic Kingdom

    If you told me you planned your Saturday for Magic Kingdom I would call you crazy. However, the crowd calendar had this day marked as "Neutral" so I proceeded with faith and trust... and a little bit of pixie dust!

    First - a word about Disney buses and POFQ. And that word is - AVOID. Would you believe in all my trips I've NEVER seen the Rope Drop show at MK? It's true! So today I REALLY wanted to get to the park before RD. We got up early, ate cereal and bagels in the room then made it out to the POFQ bus stop at 8 am sharp. Surely an hour would be enough time to get to MK by 9am right? Wrong. Many buses came, but NONE were for MK. Finally at about 8:25 a single bus came for MK, however about 30 people and 3 scooters were waiting to go to MK. I thought surely a 2nd bus for MK would come any moment, but it did not. DD kept saying "why not just drive Mom?" Why didn't I listen? Finally at 8:40, and no 2nd bus in site, and no chance we were getting on the bus that was still trying to load the scooters (no offense to people who use scooters honestly, but they do take much longer to get settled) we gave up and walked to our car. We arrived at MK about 5 minutes after Rope Drop. I should have driven in the first place, but with having to use the Ferry or Monorail for MK I honestly thought a well run bus system would be quicker! And it SHOULD be!!

    Once we got to MK we got an adorable picture of DD and her brand new Minnie.

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    We went straight to BTM and took full advantage of a walk-on line for the first 90 minutes or so. During this time we pulled 2 paper FP and when the queue got to 25 minutes we used the paper FPs and our FP+. We rode BTM about 10 times and it was AWESOME, even with the rain coming down very steadily.

    Look Mom!! Front Row!!!
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    There was non-stop drizzle all morning, so we picked up a poncho for DD and I used an umbrella. After a giant dose of BTM, we did 1 Pirate Adventure scavenger hunt. It was our first time and we really enjoyed it. Then we took the train to Tomorrowland (via Main Street) where we pulled a paper FP for Buzz. Then we picked up some popcorn, water and a banana and snacked under the People Mover in a dry area by Lunching Pad. After snack, we used our FP+ for SM, then right over to Buzz with our paper FP.

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    It was time for our FP lunch at Be Our Guest!!! I went to the reception booth, gave my name and we immediately walked right in. We pre-ordered our food on line, so we confirmed our order with the host. We weren't given a magic rose, he said our MB would lead the servers to our table and we could sit anywhere. As I knew they would be from reading ahead, tables were indeed scarce and many tables were unoccupied but dirty and remained that way the entire time. Some guests moved dirty dishes to other tables and sat down, then flustered staff were quick to come wipe the table the guests had cleared for themselves. ;)

    We found an already cleared 4 seat table in the Music Box room and grabbed it. Our food took about 25 minutes to arrive but it was hot, delicious and they remembered to leave the cheese off DDs sandwich. I had the roast pork dish, French onion soup and a strawberry cupcake. DD had the ham sandwich with fries and chocolate cupcake with gray stuff. We helped ourselves to ice water from the fountain drink area. The meal was truly delicious, gray stuff too! I would definitely do it again! I would say that if you aren't big eaters you could easily share a dish, I certainly couldn't finish my dish and DD only ate about 1/2 of hers. (Nothing on the kids menu looked remotely edible to us.) We walked around after we finished our meal and DD LOVED the picture that turns from the prince to the beast when the lightning flashes. The rose under glass is truly amazing in person, the pictures and videos don't do it justice.

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    After lunch I asked DD if she wanted to do Storytime with Belle. Before our trip we had watched a couple videos of it on YouTube and she declined. So, we went and used our FP+ for Splash Mountain.

    We had a big morning/afternoon, so we went back to our resort with full intention of coming back to the park that evening. So, back to POFQ for a swim, some toasted marshmallows and then back to the room for a bit of a rest and some in-room homemade dinner (read - cereal and lots of junk food hehe!)

    We never did make it back to the park, we were very content to stay and enjoy POFQ for the evening.

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    Next - Only Crazy People do Rope Drop to Close at Epcot
     
  7. curemyreed

    curemyreed DIS Veteran

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    SUPER loving your trip report!!!! :goodvibes The pictures are wonderful. You are so fortunate to make these memories with your daughter! I am looking forward to reading about the rest of your trip. We love to ride the rides, too, and especially love it when we can ride our favorites over & over.

    I followed on the Theme Parks thread where you posted when you made your last minute switch from Pop to POFQ. I switched resorts from Pop for my trip in 11 days for the very same reason. Keeping my fingers crossed that our new resort doesn't roll out the "Pop test" before I check-in.

    We never used POR food court during busy hours, so did not have any negative experiences. But the bus situation was very hard to acclimate to. I much prefer the way the Value resorts have you queue up. I didn't like how people who walked up last minute at POR would insert themselves at the front of the milling crowd awaiting the bus door opening, thereby jumping ahead of people who had been waiting longer. Otherwise we loved POR & visited POFQ to swim and admire the beautiful, peaceful resort.
     
  8. kaetra

    kaetra Magic is Real

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    Thanks for reading! Yes, having no queue at the bus stop is very hard to get used to indeed! Keeping my fingers crossed for your switch too! Hopefully you'll get low crowds, the first week of December has a few green days I see on Undercover Tourist's calendar :) The crowds play the biggest role in how much you get to do in my opinion.
     
  9. alan_renfroe

    alan_renfroe DIS Veteran

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    Great updates Kaetra! Loving your trip report! We are staying at POFQ for the first time this coming May....so I'm loving the pool and resort pics! :cool1:
     
  10. kaetra

    kaetra Magic is Real

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    Hi Alan, thanks for reading!

    You will LOVE this resort, the theme is truly lovely and the rooms are super comfortable! The hot tub is a bit on the small side now since they changed it, but 10 or so people can fit fairly comfortably. There is also a playground right across from the hot tub and we LOVED having pool towels too! Moderates are SO worth the extra $$ I think!

    POFQ has a nightly marshmallow roast and also outdoor movies every night. They also have games at the pool with prizes like bead necklaces and water resistant tattoos for the kids. Oh and there's a bar right at the pool.
     
  11. wiigirl

    wiigirl DIS Veteran

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    Following along! :goodvibes
     
  12. Viva Las Disney

    Viva Las Disney DIS Veteran

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    I'll be at POFQ in 9 days :cool1: and am loving your trip report. I love the opening picture with the commando hair, sometimes a picture really is worth a thousand words.
     
  13. B&WMickey

    B&WMickey DIS Veteran

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    Nice TR. Small world. We're from Milwaukee too. It turns out we were at the same MVMCP as you and at Epcot the next day. We flew home that Saturday. We were staying at POR.

    I couldn't find us in any of your pictures but you probably walked right by us as you were leaving MVMCP during the second parade. We were seated on the curb outside of the Confectionary. You were right about the Jingle Cruise. A long line for not much of a payoff.

    The buses seemed brutal of this trip. Either that or we had bad luck timing them. When we did get on it seemed like it was always crowded. I rarely sat for the entire week we were there when taking the bus.

    Look forward to reading more.
     
  14. OnSpaceshipEarth

    OnSpaceshipEarth DIS Veteran

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    Following along!

    What an adorable trip for you and your daughter!
     
  15. OnSpaceshipEarth

    OnSpaceshipEarth DIS Veteran

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    It's strange how busy it seems to have been this November. We were there this past July and (except for the Magic Kingdom) you could shoot a cannon through all of the other parks and probably not hit a soul(especially Epcot).
     
  16. B&WMickey

    B&WMickey DIS Veteran

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    We've gone quite a few times in November and the crowds always seemed on the light side. Even during Jersey Week. Maybe I was just more sensitive to the crowds this time around. The F&W Half Marathon was going on over the first weekend we were there plus Veterans Day was Monday so I'm sure that drove up the crowds from what we've normally seen.
     
  17. kaetra

    kaetra Magic is Real

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    Nov 17 - Sunday - Epcot Rope Drop to Close!

    This was our second day at Epcot and crowds were ultra-light. Fast Passes were basically a a non-issue on everything but Soarin'. Even Soarin' had only a 15 minute standby for the first hour or so! We pulled several FP- though because we stayed from rope drop to close, like crazy people!!!

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    Test Track was the overall winner of the day, we rode too many times to count! At least 12 I know for sure!

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    We also did heavy touring of the World Showcase today, starting with lunch at Rose and Crown! We sat at the outdoor tables and had this lovely view...

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    We both had the Fish and Chips. It was delicious, but for $18.99 I felt the fish portion was very small, only one medium sized piece of fish. (I found myself wondering how much you get in the "take-out" area for $8.99.)

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    After lunch, we wandered the park, picking up our Agent P phone on the way. With DD well entertained, I had lots of time to take pics! Our first stop was Germany

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    Then we headed over to Italy, not for an Agent P mission, but mostly to get a few good pics as we had good light today.

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    Then we walked around the back to Norway to ride Maelstrom, do our Agent P mission and get some good pics.

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    Then it was off to Mexico to ride the Three Caballeros. They updated all the screens inside that display the Donald animations to HD I noticed, the cartoons looked MUCH better than last time I remembered.

    Donald Pinata
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    It was VERY festive inside the Mexico pavilion!
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    We wandered back to Future World to do some more Test Track, and we stopped at a cart for Mickey Bars. Well, the computer was down so we got Mickey Bars for free!!! Yay! Some glitches are magical!

    More Test Track anyone?
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    We did Sum of All Thrills only once today because we were busy burning up the the Test Track queue. We did Soarin' three times total. I spent some down time resting in the play area/arcade at the Mission Space exit while DD did the orange side twice. It was nice for Mom to get a little break, and DD had loads of fun in their arcade, creating and sending videos home to Dad.

    Then we scooted over to do Nemo, which I really love. No line at all, walked right on!
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    It was dark now, so we grabbed some quick food. DD got a hamburger from Electric Umbrella. However, I didn't feel like a burger so we headed back over to the World Showcase to start camping for Illuminations at about 8:00.

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    On the way I stopped and got quick service Mexican food and it was REALLY AWFUL!!! I got the tacos and the meat was dog-food-like (eeew), the shells were soft corn (my least favorite) and there was NO cheese on them. We got the churritos too and they were dry and overly chewy, like they'd been made yesterday and microwaved today. It was nasty. I know people like this restaurant but I had to throw most of it out. Oh well!

    Illuminations was the "normal" one, not the special Christmas one I read about.

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    After the show was over we left the park, two very tired girls. 8:30am to 9:30pm at Epcot! It's not for the faint of heart!

    Next up - Animal Kingdom No-Lines Mega Mega Ride Day!!
     
  18. kaetra

    kaetra Magic is Real

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    Ha! Thanks! I like that one too, that's us the "take-no-prisoners" touring team! hehe
     
  19. kaetra

    kaetra Magic is Real

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    Oh wow, we totally walked right by you then! I'm glad someone else felt the same way we did about the Jingle Cruise. The Christmas light necklace on the headhunter was very underwhelming! And oh my goodness, yes, the buses were inexcusably inadequate the two times we tried them. I was really grateful that I got an awesome deal on a rental car. This trip would have been much less magical if we'd been waiting in lines for buses all day! I thought maybe we just got unlucky, I guess that wasn't the case though!
     
  20. kaetra

    kaetra Magic is Real

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    Welcome and thanks for reading. It was AMAZING! I'm SO glad we went!
     
  21. kaetra

    kaetra Magic is Real

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    Hi and welcome :) thank you for reading
     

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