Park Commando's Sailing The Rocky Seas, Our 1st Cruise 9/19, with pics UPDATED 11/06

Discussion in 'Disney Cruise Line Trip Reports' started by verygfy, Sep 26, 2010.

  1. verygfy

    verygfy DIS Veteran

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    Hello All, we had an amazing time on our first cruise and I wanted to share our wonderful experience with everyone.

    Let me introduce the cast to you. My name is Angela . I’m 32 and am a Disney nut. My husband Mitch is 32 and is into things like golf, football, and relaxing. He is not as big of a Disney freak as me but he does enjoy everything Disney. Then there is our son Scott 12, he is my handful, especially right now. He knows everything; mom knows nothing. He loves to read, play video games and his new obsession is Facebook. And last but not least is our daughter Haley 4; she is my bashful child (I don’t know where she gets it from) and loves the Fab 5, Cinderella, Tinkerbell and pretty much anything Disney.

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    So how did we book this cruise, you ask. OK you didn’t ask, but I am going to tell you anyways :laughing:. DH and I have been visiting the Parks since I was 18 years old. We lived in South Florida until about 7 years ago when we moved to Georgia and used to head to the parks about 4 times a year at a minimum. We loved the parks, loved staying on property. After moving to Georgia we cut down on our trips to about twice a year that drive just was too much to do. DH and I had talked about a land/sea trip for quite some time but it never seemed to work out between money and time off from work, so it always ended up being a land only vacation. Plus every time I would look up a cruise that initial price gave me sticker shock. I was so used to breaking up the cost of our trips by booking a hotel room for 4 days, and then a month later I bought the park tickets, and so on. So when I looked up a cruise and for four days it said $1800+ :scared1: Well this year when DH and I started talking about our family trips, DH nixed the multiple trips to Disney Parks saying he did not want to do the 16 hour drive there and back multiple times this year and doing the parks commando style. He was interested in doing a relaxing vacation this year. Then DS pretty much put his foot down on not doing the parks this year :confused3. What was I going to do, I needed my Disney fill and DD loves all things Disney. With that I looked into the cruise, hmm we get all things Disney, this beautiful ship, entertainment, and dining. DS gets to swim; play at the beach, DD gets to see Mickey, Minnie, Donald and the gang, and DH gets his relaxation. This seemed to be a fair trade off. So I booked us on the 4 night Wonder for Sept. 19-23rd to Bahamas in a cat 11 gty about 6 months out.

    After I paid the deposit and looked at the brochures and picked up the Passporter (I tried to wait for the 2010 version, but it seemed that thing was never coming out so I purchased the 2009 version) I was kind of lost, now what :confused:. No planning dinner arrangements, no planning which parks to attend what day, no downloading touring plans. Planning is part of the fun for me. What do you mean no planning:scared1:!!! Then I lived on the DIS cruise forum :disrocks:. I started reading trip reports and asking loads of questions. Joined our cruise meet, and oh yeah started planning our trip :cool1:.

    One of the exciting things we did for the cruise was purchase our passports. DH and I really debated this topic pretty heavily. I knew that we could cruise to the Bahamas with just our birth certificates and drivers license, but with DD’s asthma (sorry reactive airways according the doctors) we decided it was best to get the Passports just in case something happened and one of us had to fly home (Murphy’s law and all, we seem to get hit with that a lot).

    After our great passport debate it was time to start making magnets, join the cruise meet, and start looking at the ports and any excursions. DH and I intensely looked over the excursions, since DH’s only experience on a boat was a fishing trip with a bunch of guys from work and he got terribly sea sick and neither of the kids had been on boats we decided that we would not book any excursions this trip and just test out the waters!! Not to mention the last year has been crazy hectic for both DH and I at work. It has not been unusual for the both of us to put in 80+ hours a week and we both were looking forward to some relaxation and not a crazy commando vacation pirate:.

    Our plans for the trip were as follows:

    Leave Saturday morning around 8:00am and drive down to the port. Have dinner and relax by the pool.

    Nassau was going to be a slow day, play it by ear kind of day.

    Castaway Cay was going to be a relaxing beach day; this was the day I was most looking forward to.

    And do you remember how I said no parks this year :rolleyes1, well… I was able to convince DH to extend the trip a day and attend MNSSHP for Thursday we got off the ship.

    The final countdown began, we were 6 weeks out and final payment was due around July 4th. We paid the final payment and we were in countdown mode. Then it happened, DD broke her arm. Her and I were sitting on the couch watching tv, she was in a goofy mood that afternoon and I had taken this picture of her with a birthday hat on and sunglasses.

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    I then got up to check on dinner and DD started to jump on the couch, as I came around the corner to sit back down I saw her take a nice little flip over the side of the couch and onto the floor :scared1:. Oh the screaming, it was terrifying. DH immediately rushed her over to the Urgent Care Center where they promptly took pics and sure enough she broke it in two places just above her wrist. The next day we took her to the Ortho and they said 6 weeks in a cast, 6 weeks:sad1:, we were only 4 weeks out from the cruise. Luckily the doctor said she would be in a full arm cast for 4 weeks and then the Thursday or Friday before we left for the cruise they would swap out her full arm cast to a short arm waterproof cast that she would have to wear for about two weeks :worship:. Crisis averted.

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    Then it happened again, it was the weekend before we were leaving and I was out running last minute errands and DH was out helping his sister with some remodeling project for her house when he called and said his battery was dead :faint:. The bright side was that it happened the weekend before that we could just handle it and not next weekend when we were stuck at a rest stop off of 75 waiting for tow truck. So a hundred dollars later and we were set to drive down to Florida.

    I hope you are still with me I know this was an extremely long introduction.


    Up next: Meltdowns and potty breaks, oh my…
     
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  3. floydfamily4

    floydfamily4 DIS Veteran

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    I'm in and ready to see what happened!
     
  4. verygfy

    verygfy DIS Veteran

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    Thank you so much for reading along!!
     
  5. verygfy

    verygfy DIS Veteran

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    The plan today was to wake up around 7am and be on the road at 8am driving straight through to PC, have dinner and relax to make it an early night, tomorrow is the big day.

    Why is it every time you want to leave early is the only time your kids sleep in?? DH and I packed up the truck around 7:30 and finally woke the kids about 8:00. We finally got on the road around 8:30 and started heading south. Our first stop Chick Fil A for some yummy chicken minis. If you have never had the pleasure of tasting chicken minis, let me tell you are missing a little piece of heaven.

    Back on the road with your tummy’s full we began to start making some good timing and then it hit!! The constant potty breaks. It amazes me how every time you get 10 miles down the road someone else has to go potty and the conversation goes a little something like

    Adult: “didn’t we just stop?”

    Child: “yes”

    Adult: “didn’t I tell you to go to the bathroom?”

    Child: “yes”

    Adult: “so how do you have to go now?”

    Child: “well I didn’t have to go before”

    Ugh!! DH says next time we are flying. With our gazillion potty breaks out of the way we were still able to make it to PC around 6:00pm.

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    I had booked a room at the Radisson at the port for $79 on Priceline. I figured this was a pretty good deal since parking at the hotel was free and the shuttle was free. Parking at the port was going to be $60 so in my fuzzy math; this was a great hotel for $19!!

    Check in was a breeze, we had a standard room which was very nice:

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    After unpacking the car we decided to head to dinner. On one side of the hotel you had Zachary’s a Greek diner and on the other side you have Kelsey’s Italian both within easy walking distance. We opted to try Kelsey’s since DS wanted pizza. The restaurant was nice, service was a little slow. Unfortunately I didn’t take any pics because DS decided to have one of his meltdowns where everything was bothering him. I think he was tired from being up late the night before and all the traveling that day. DS had the pizza and said it was alright, I had the veal parm which was ok. DH had the calzone and enjoyed it and DD has the spaghetti and meatballs that she really seemed to enjoy. All in all it was a decent meal and our total was about $45.

    Unfortunately because of DS’s breakdown we called it a night and I got the kids bathed and sent them off to bed. DH and I took turns going down to the pool area. The pool was crawling with people, mostly cruisers sailing either Royal or Carnival in the morning. The pool area was amazing. The pictures on the Radisson’s website are pretty accurate; actually I think it looked a tad bit better in person. There are 3 waterfalls, a koi pond. I was disappointed the kids didn’t get a chance to enjoy it.

    Up Next: Finally on the Mickey Boat & Some Rocky Seas, did we get sea sick??
     
  6. Tinkerkell123

    Tinkerkell123 DIS Veteran

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    I'm along for the ride! Can't wait to read more... Oh, my gosh! I LOVE that picture of your DS in post #1! I have seen that EXACT same look on my DD's face before. She knows it all too... :sad2:

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  7. SoSiWe

    SoSiWe Mouseketeer

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    Love your report....we are in the planning/dreaming stage and your family sounds a lot like mine, so it seems like a 'true blue' report! Hope you had a great time.
     
  8. poohs4me

    poohs4me DIS Veteran

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    Enjoying your report. Can't wait to hear more.
     
  9. verygfy

    verygfy DIS Veteran

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    Thanks for following!! It's amazing how they know everything, most days I don't even know what to say to him. That is a pretty constant look on his face!! Kids.

    Welcome, we had an absolute blast!! One of the best vacations in awhile. If you have any questions please ask. I asked lots before our cruise and would like nothing more than to pay it forward.

    Thank you for reading!!
     
  10. nettii

    nettii DIS Veteran

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    I LOVE your TR so far! Cant wait for more!:goodvibes
     
  11. pierresgirl

    pierresgirl DIS Veteran

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    Hi Angela! Ok I just realized I totally passed you guys somewhere on the cruise casue I remember seeing your dd's cast and it hit me afterwards. Maybe it was on CC? :confused3 Your car trip sounds like mine was, those darn bathroom stops!!! We stayed at the Sheraton Four Points, was that next to the Radisson? I thought I saw a Radisson sign.
     
  12. UGAFan0829

    UGAFan0829 DIS Veteran

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    Hey, Angela!!! What a great start to your report! I can't wait for more. I'm sad that we didn't get to meet onboard. Did y'all make it to the DIS meet?
     
  13. verygfy

    verygfy DIS Veteran

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    Thank you so much. I hope to have an update by this weekend!

    LOL, her cast kind of makes her hard to miss!! Those darn bathroom breaks, they were killing me. The car rides definitely seem the same, I forgot to mention all the eating even though I packed the car full of goodies they still had to constantly get food everywhere we stopped. I have been enjoying your TR, love those housewives!! I am not sure where the Sheraton is, but I bet that was nice!!

    Thank you for reading, I loved your last TR when you did the spa treatment. I thought of you when they announced the deal on Wednesday and wanted to go book a few services, but... We were not able to make the DIS meet :sad2: , DS was having one of his fits and we needed to calm him down. I was really disappointed, but for the enjoyment of others I thought it best that I bailed out!!
     
  14. Jey12

    Jey12 DIS Veteran

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    Great trip report! We were on the cruise with you and it will be great to see what your experience was! I started our own trip report this afternoon while DD was taking a nap. Since the cruise she's been telling me I'm tired and then will put herself to bed. LOL. I think we saw you guys at the hotel and then again at the terminal. You cute little DD's cast was easy to spot. There was just so much to do and see it was hard to really get to talk to anyone.
     
  15. TheThomsLuvDisney

    TheThomsLuvDisney DIS Veteran

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    Great TR, subbing in and can't wait to read more! popcorn:: The hotel looked great! So you do not need to pay to store your care during the cruise just by paying for one night as well as free shuttle? That is a screamin' deal!
     
  16. prettypixie

    prettypixie Dznydva

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    That's an awesome deal, I'm looking for the same kind of deal for our Feb cruise. Can you tell me what you put in to win that bid? Also did you have to call the hotel after you won to get the free parking and shuttle to port?
     
  17. verygfy

    verygfy DIS Veteran

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    There was way to much to do and see!! We had such an amazing time and can't wait to go back. DD hopefully will get her cast off on Monday, her cast made it easy to find her in the clubs :rotfl2:

    I will definitely find your report, I can't wait to read everyone's experiences. I am sure we all saw and did so many different things, even though we were in the same place.

    The parking and shuttle at the hotel is completely free :cool1:. You do have to make a reservation for the shuttle and spots fill up fast so as soon as you win your bid on priceline call the hotel and book your shuttle. But there is no charge for either parking or the shuttle. It is an AMAZING deal :cheer2:. The hotel was very nice, the pool area is a must for everyone.

    I put in 2.5 star Cape Canaveral, FL. The Radisson is supposedly a 3 star and that was an upgrade. I have heard of people getting CI&S for $49 I tried that a few times and could never win the bid :sad2:, so I bid $79 and won the Radisson. After you win the bid call the hotel to reserve your shuttle time, the 10am fills up fast :scared1:
     
  18. verygfy

    verygfy DIS Veteran

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    A wake up call for 8am was a little too late for the over excited me:rolleyes1. I abruptly woke up at 6am, so much for my sleeping in plan. I decided get ready while everyone else slept until the wake up call.

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    Since our shuttle time was until 10:30 DH and I decided he would drop me and DS off at the port to try for an upgrade and drop off the bags. We all got dressed and packed up the truck and headed to McyD’s for some pancakes. McDonald’s was directly across the street from the hotel. After breakfast we headed to the port. It was so neat after you made the turn around the bend to see all the boats at the port.

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    Freedom of the Seas was at port today, wow that is a big ship. I still think the Wonder is the prettiest of them all. DH dropped DS and I off at the drop off and here’s a tip.

    When you pull into the port and get the Disney terminal there is a bunch of numbers at the top of the overhang, kind of like an airport drop off. The drop off area was just before the #1, the numbers are for the pickups. We had to circle back around the port to drop off our bags since we were unaware of this.

    There was a porter who immediately came up to us, gave us one last reminder that we wouldn’t see these bags until around 3:00 so if there were any bathing suits, sunscreen, meds we wanted before then now was a good time to take them out. DS and I got in line we had to wait about 15 minutes before we could enter the terminal.

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    We were promptly allowed in around 10:00am. You go through a security checkpoint at the gate where to check your passport and id and then another security checkpoint once inside the building where they scan your bags and up the escalator to the gorgeous terminal and to the left are the check in counters. There was no one in the terminal, but also NO UPGRADES, the boat was sold out!! But I got…

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    Once checked in DS and I roamed around and took pics and looked at the model boat.

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    They opened the registration for the kids club about 10:30am, so I got in line to check the kids in. Tip:

    The kids do not need to be with you if you preregistered on line to check them in the clubs. They give you the pager a quick overview of how it works and hand you the bracelets for the kids. You can either put them on yourself or when you first visit the clubs the counselors will put them on them.
    Around 11am Mickey came out to greet all the children (young and old) and boy did that line fill up fast, he wasn't even in front of the ship before the line was all the way towards the back of the terminal. I got in line to save a spot for DD.

    Notice how DH and DD are not a part of any of this, yeah well that’s because they were still at the Radisson waiting for the shuttle :scared1:. According to DH the Radisson was a mad house and the shuttle was running about a half hour late due to an issue at the port. They arrived in time to get there pics taken for the KTTW card and DD to see Mickey.

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    We had a short wait after that and then they called boarding around 11:45.

    Walking through the Mickey ears, one final checkpoint at the gangway and we were announced. This was such a fun way to start our vacation. We were directed towards Parrot Cay for lunch. Once we got inside we were the only ones in the restaurant and got a table by a porthole.

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    The offerings were pretty good; no one had a hard time deciding on what to eat.

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    Once we sat down we were hit up with the wine package, the water package and the drink of the day cup. We did purchase the drink of the day glass it was $6.95 and refills were $3.95 each.

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  19. verygfy

    verygfy DIS Veteran

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    After lunch we decided to hit up the pools. The kids both swam for a bit, it was so empty and nice. I am really glad I listened to this tip on the boards. Both of the kids really enjoyed themselves :thanks: .

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    Tip:
    Just a tip, the area around the Mickey pool can get real slippery with the water on the ground so definitely advise shoes with rubber soles.

    The pool area started getting crowded around 1:30 and DS started having one of his meltdowns again so we decided to see if our room was ready and check out the kids club. We thought this might calm DS down a bit if he knew where he could hang out for the next 4 days.

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    Unfortunately due to DS meltdown I was unable to attend the Dismeet :sad2: we had scheduled for 2:00pm in Diversions. But checking out the Oceaneer Lab did make DS feel better that he would have things to do. Our room was ready when we got there about 2:00pm and our 1 of our bags were there so we let the kids open there gift baskets from Shirley which were a huge hit. And I started to unpack and decorate our door with the FE and magnets I had made for the cruise.

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    Prior to the cruise everyone that we talked to about the cruise told us how incredibly cramped we were going to be with an inside cabin and we were going to be miserable :scared1:, hence the early arrival at the port for an upgrade to a veranda. Surprisingly the room was not that tiny. With all four of us in the room we never felt overly cramped. We had plenty of space for all our items that we packed and I stuck the suitcases underneath the bed. It worked out great.

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    Our room location was great to; we were on Deck 6 midship. It was a quick couple of steps down to the kids clubs and very quiet. Great location IMHO. The only thing I think I would do differently is upgrade to the split bath. While it wasn’t that big of a deal having one bathroom, there was a few times having two would have made getting ready for dinner a little bit easier.

    Pretty soon it was time for the lifeboat drill, I will definitely conquer with all the tips on the DIS, there is no need to show up early for this event :thanks:. Our station was on Deck 4 outside and it was hot especially with those life vests on and the hundreds of people all around you. The drill did go smoothly, we noticed the Freedom of the seas was also doing there drill and we were finished before them!!

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  20. verygfy

    verygfy DIS Veteran

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    After the lifeboat drill we took the vests back up to the room and then went to stake a spot for the Sail Away Party. We let Mickey show us the way.
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    We had so much fun with the Party. We got a spot on Deck 10 since DD does not like loud noises and it was great.

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    After the party we all went our separate ways, DH headed to Diversions to watch the Jet’s vs. Patriots game. He really liked the bar, and said the chairs and the set up for the game were fantastic. He was pretty disappointed that he had to leave to come back to the room for the Golden Mickey’s.

    We had the late dining and our rotation was TAAP. I had planned on getting dressed up for Triton’s and Animator’s Palate show night. So DD & I headed back to the room to get dressed for the show and dinner tonight.

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    We attended Golden Mickey’s, it was ok. DH & I both agreed that we would skip this one next cruise. We both really enjoy the theater, but this show just wasn’t for us. We tried some shopping after the show, but DS was having none of it so we headed over to Mickey Mania. This was fun for the family and glad we did attend. But would you believe none of the families knew the answer to the question that Epcot is divided into two sections, future world and ??:scared1:. I mean really you don’t need to be a Diser to know that answer, or do you??

    Dinner at Triton’s was excellent and we got to meet our wonderful servers Anthony and Carlo. The kids had both decided they wanted to do Dine and Play since the clubs did not open until 6pm. We let Anthony know this and he had the kid’s food out very quick. DS had the pizza and DD had the macaroni and cheese. DH and I both had the beef tenderloin and it was awesome. We were so full we never even looked at the Desert menu :sad2:.

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    Tonight the boat was extremely rocky, we apparently had 12 foot waves and everyone was swaying from side to side. DH & I went to waveband to see the game the wheel. We didn’t stay long because there was so much we wanted to check out, but the host was very funny and it looked like a fun game. DH wanted to show me Diversions so we went in there for a bit, they have a buffet (just in case you were still hungry) offering chicken wings, hot dogs, chips and salsa.
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    They were showing the Sunday night football game up on Deck 9 on the Ariel screen so we headed up there to watch the game. What a way to enjoy a football game.

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    I just wish it had not been so rocky so we could have sat and watched it by the pool, but the boat was rocking so badly and the goofy pool was splashing hard. If you want to see how bad it was you should check out Jey12's TR "Flying Commando" she has some amazing pics of the pools splashing. It was covering the whole deck area so we ended up leaving and picking up the kids. Many of the crew members were saying this is the worst they have seen it in a quite a while but not to worry it would die out around 10:30pm and sure enough at 10:30pm the boat was calm, ahh.

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    We ordered some milk and cookies from room service (this became a nightly ritual) and feel fast asleep with the GENTLE rocking of the boat.

    Up next, how many hagglers are we going to encounter in Nassau??…
     
  21. Señor DonDuck

    Señor DonDuck DIS Veteran

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    That's quite a action-packed start! Loving all the details and pics.

    That's a very nice FE, BTW.
     

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