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Working the System - A NYE PTR - Link to TR is up! 1/13

Discussion in 'Disney Trip Reports' started by eandesmom, Nov 5, 2013.

  1. eandesmom

    eandesmom I'm with Beast

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    Welcome to the latest eandesmom pre-trip report! This is a eandesmom, and gang, plus the kitchen sink edition!

    I am starting this PTR a little bit closer to the trip than I might have liked because well, time got away from me. The good news about that is it means the trip isn’t all that far away. The bad is…well I can’t think of anything bad about it!

    First up, the BFP.

    The BFP.

    For those of you who know me, I always have a BFP. A BIG FAT PLAN. This trip is a little bigger and fatter than usual!

    Who:
    • Eandesmom and gang (ok, part of the gang). Aka: Me (Cynthia), DH (Jeff), DS 14 (Evan), DS 13 (Eric). The big kids Kendall (17) and Taylor (21) will be staying home. More on all of that, and intro’s, later.
    • My sister Melissa, her boys Quin (15) and Kolby (13)
    • My sister Kerri and her DH Eric (who I’m either going to have to call Donald..as in the duck since he went to Oregon) or “Big Eric) as to not to confuse him with my son Eric.
    • My parents Tom and Kathi.
    When:
    • December 29 – January 7th

    Where:
    • A 2 bedroom boardwalk view villa at Disney’s Boardwalk Villas for me and my gang, plus Melissa and her boys 12/29-1/5 and a Treehouse Villa 1/4-1/7.
    • Two rooms at the Swan for my sister Kerri, her DH and my parents (12/29-1/5 and 1/6 respectively).
    What:
    • Disneyworld and…DUM DUMDUM! A trip (or two) to the Dark Side.

    Why:
    • Because it's been far too long and life is too short. It is really as simple as that.

    However, I will give you the cliff notes version which will give you a glimpse at some of our players in years past.

    My family has always been a Disney family. I first went to Disneyland when I was 10, with my dad and his then girlfriend Kathi. You can read about it here. Disney, and that then girlfriend aka my mom gave me something I’d never had before and touched a place that I am not sure still to this day I can verbalize well. Luckily my entire family feels the same, each with their own different special reason. In 2001 we went as a family to the Land and well, my husband at the time, the boys biological father, went out of his way to ruin the trip for everyone and keep me away from my family. They had a great trip. Me, not so much. Evan loved it, I think he hugged every character in Disneyland, the then brand new California Adventure and Universal.

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    In fact, the bigger boys in general had a great time, this is Evan and Quin (and Conor, who is off in Italy for a year as an exchange student the rat!)

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    Eric wasn’t so sure

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    My dad had a blast!

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    Then again, he usually does.

    Fast forward three years and I am now dating Jeff. My parents wanted a do over from the 2001 trip and a bigger better version. They decided to take all of us to Disneyworld. They rented a couple of houses offsite for us all to stay at. That trip included a few extras, my other 3 siblings who cannot make this trip and 2 nephews plus a couple of other extra friends. Combined, I think there were 18-20 of us. It was kind of a test for Jeff. If he survived, then he was in.

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    He thrived. We were married about 6 weeks later.

    The E's and the nephews? Still had a blast together. They always do

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    Since then, the group has talked (and talked and talked and talked) about going back together as a group. Most have been, all to DLR and some to WDW since then but never all together with my folks just bits and pieces. My dad really wants to go back. He REALLY wants to see the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. But work, finances, relationships, kids and the like have made coordinating such a thing far more challenging than anyone would like. My dad has had ongoing health issues. Manageable, but still, a concern. We've all had a sense of a ticking clock. We will make tentative plans when he’s not doing as well, and then they get pushed out when he’s better. It has never been an "if" it has been a "when".

    We made a plan and put dates to it. It was still somewhat of an "if" but more firm than in the past. The reality was that we had constraints.

    Summer was out. Too hot for my dad (well no one was thrilled with it)

    Fall was out. Kids are all too old to pull out of school for more than a day or two.

    Spring was out. Kids didn't have all the same spring break

    That left Christmas Break.

    Which had some major pros (decorations! weather) :cool1:
    And some major cons. ($$$$$$ & crowds) :sad1:

    With that plan, and hope in mind, at 11 months out I booked the first, then the 2nd parts of our stay. Much as I would love to be able to take everyone I just don’t have enough points for enough rooms, not to mention the fact that some folks really wanted their own rooms, which is totally understandable. As it was the very beginning of my use year, even though it took banked and borrowed points, with other things planned for the future, it was relatively low risk.

    Fast forward to last May. A close family friend passed away. This is a man who, as the father of 11 kids, prioritized that family time above just about anything else. Specifically that family vacation time, be it hiking, camping, or on the beach in Hawaii. As we sat there, my sisters and I were all overcome with what a huge impact he'd had on our life. As kids we did countless trips with their family, combined the 2 groups could fill a group campsite and there was always room for more. My love of the outdoors, yes fostered by my parents for sure was cemented by that man. Oh how he would have loved the Koko Head Steps that Jeff and I just did last spring while we were at Aulani! Those times, those family times, those memories...are worth everything. Sometimes you just don’t realize what a profound impact someone has on you as a person, as a parent, until they are gone.

    As we sat there and reflected one of his daughters got up to speak to share a story.

    Several years back, she and her husband were debating whether to take a family trip or not. They really couldn't afford it and thought they should save their money. Her dad told her to go. The bills would still be there. That time, those moments, wouldn't. He didn't mean she should be irresponsible (and nor was this a family in danger of that mind you) but he did mean that there are things far more valuable than money in the bank. They had lost one of her sisters, suddenly, at 21. You just don’t know.

    They took that trip. One of the best vacations they'd ever had.

    As my sisters and I walked out of church and back to my parents (who were staying longer) we looked at each other and went...

    We're going to Disneyworld.


    And that, was that. The rest is just details. :goodvibes

    Up next, Intro's.
     
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  3. eandesmom

    eandesmom I'm with Beast

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  4. wiigirl

    wiigirl DIS Veteran

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    Following along! :)
     
  5. 2xcited2sleep

    2xcited2sleep DIS Veteran

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    Climbing aboard to secure my spot for this adventure and will be back to read. Super excited to hear about all you have planned. Organizing for a group this big is no easy feat! But oh what a great time you are going to have!!!
     
  6. KristiMc

    KristiMc DIS Veteran

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    I'm in!
     
  7. mickeystoontown

    mickeystoontown DIS Veteran

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    I wouldn't miss this BFP'd pre-trip report for anything. Poor Jeff really got initiated with that first family trip, didn't he?:rotfl: I had tears in my eyes when you spoke about your friend and his daughter standing up to speak. Like she said (and your family agreed), it is important to spend time with your family doing things that you love. You never know when your time is up.

    Looking forward to hearing more about your BFP.
     
  8. Leshaface

    Leshaface DIS Veteran

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    Yay i'm here!

    And I love how the 'talk' between your family about going, became real. And I totally agree with her father. My parents could really never afford Disneyland trips, but they would still take us, either every year or every other year. Then my father passed away. Now looking back, i'm so grateful for every trip that I had with him and I appreciate all that my parents went through to give us those trips.:goodvibes

    This will be one fantastic trip for you and your family!
     
  9. KatMark

    KatMark DIS Veteran

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    Cynthia, I'm here. I love the background history of the trip. The pictures of the "E's" when they were younger are so fun to look at. This is going to be a great trip. And as your friend's father said, "the bills will always be there, but we may not." Enjoy life...it is much too short.
     
  10. Wicket's Mom

    Wicket's Mom DIS Veteran

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    We took a big family trip to WDW back in 77. Those memories are priceless, not long after Dad was having signs of Altzheimer's. So glad we had those good times. Disney means so much to me, Dad took me to see Lady and the Tramp on my 7th birthday, just the two of us, another sweet memory.

    Your friend was right, make those wonderful memories while you can. Sounds like some great times are ahead!
     
  11. MaryAz

    MaryAz DIS Veteran

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    What a great start!! Loved all the "old"pics of the E's, sooo cute!!! Yay for you and your siisters making the trip a priority!! Can't wait to hear all about it.
     
  12. mrsksomeday

    mrsksomeday My Prince uses a power wheelchair!

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    Bill always say money means nothing, memories are priceless. Can't wait to read more.
     
  13. IheartDDuck

    IheartDDuck DIS Veteran

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    I'm in! I love WDW over New Years!
     
  14. Poolrat

    Poolrat I am alive, sometimes I wonder too.

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    I think I made it!!!! Phew :lmao:

    We will be able to meet up right??? Can't wait !!!! :cool1:
     
  15. jedijill

    jedijill <font color=red>Chiefs fan living in Bronco countr

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    Great start. Love the pics of the E's as little boys. My, they've grown!

    Jill in CO
     
  16. rentayenta

    rentayenta <img src=http://photopost.wdwinfo.com/data/500/dm.

    Joined:
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    I'm in girl! :woohoo: Love the intro and all of the photos.
     
  17. ZehnJahren

    ZehnJahren DIS Veteran

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    I'm in too, sounds like a lot of fun and that the timing couldn't be better!
     
  18. CarolynK

    CarolynK DIS Veteran

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    This looks like a great trip! Making memories like this are what it's all about!
     
  19. afwdwfan

    afwdwfan DIS Dad #460

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    I'm in.

    I'm glad that you're all going to get this big family trip together. It is always great to get to spend some quality time together like that, especially if it is in Disney World. I know the crowds that week won't be much fun, but I'm sure you'll find ways to overcome and I know you'll have fun, given the fact that you'll all be together. :thumbsup2
     
  20. eandesmom

    eandesmom I'm with Beast

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2009
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    Since we are on a relatively short timeline and I've lots to share (and need input on!) I need to get this puppy moving! This means real introductions are in order. We tend to refer to ourselves as a Clan. For a few reasons. One, we are rather large. I am the oldest of 6. Of those 6, 3 of us will be on this trip. There are 10 grandchildren, 4 will be on this trip. We were hoping more could make it but given that some live in Germany, some in Ohio and some are off being exchange students in Italy for a year, we did ok. I am saddened about one nephew who cannot join us for a variety of reasons but I hope to take him on one of our next trips as a guest. Two, we are Scots. Which means we ARE a clan, complete with a tartan and all. The men in our family (my side&not Jeff lol) all own full dress kilts and are proud of it. Of course, they also own liederhosen...as we are also German. Three...we are close knit. As a clan should be. We genuinely like and enjoy each other and spend time together fairly frequently, by choice. That said, let's meet the clan!

    First up, me. Cynthia. Certified Disney "freak" as I am affectionately called by many in my real life. The good news is that I am surrounded by them, both at home, on this trip and even at the office. The ones at home include my husband Jeff, our kids Taylor (21), Kendall (17), Evan (14) and Eric (13). We are a blended family but to me, its all family. Jeff's kids get a "bonus" mom (me) and mine well, they get a dad, period. We are very blessed to have 4 amazing kids that get along, love and support each other and most of the time actually like each other.

    I fell in love with Disney when I was 10, thanks to my mom. Who is technically my stepmom but holds the full mom ranking in my heart and every way that matters. While dating my dad, she somehow convinced him to take his 4 kids, in one small car, on a road trip to California. We camped on the way down and in the days before seatbelts, I sat on her lap the entire way there and back. Not only did we all live, she survived the whole thing so well he proposed on the trip and I fell in love with Disney. I am a full time working mom in sales and marketing for a forensic engineering firm. Which may explain a lot. While not an engineer, I like the geeky side of things and like to think I combine that aspect, with the marketing stuff and as a result have special affinities for things like fuzzy Disney math, spreadsheets and a little graphic design on the side. I have been to DLR 5x, WDW 8x and on DCL twice now. I also have 4 trips scheduled between the 2 coasts for 2014 plus a cruise. LOL! Hey its not my fault, they are all really different trips! I swear! I love to garden, hike, cook and travel. I also love music, its a huge part of my life and that of my entire family. This year my travel is more Disney oriented than usual. In April we are off to Disneyland to watch Evan and his high school marching band perform. We found out about this in June and boy, its a good thing we didn't target the "big" trip for Spring Break as we'd have had a conflict! I am pretty excited for this one, poor DLR has been getting the shaft from my family and Im excited to really go experience it again. Though we are almost as far away from Florida as can be up here in the northwest, our kids have been to WDW many many more times than DLR. I have been known to ditch the family and do Disney girls trips on my own with other DISers. Which will be my May Flower and Garden trip. I've also taken up running, when for health reasons I literally ran out of other options. Of course, that is my August trip, for the Disneyland half marathon. Hey if I am going to run, I need a reward and a goal, right?

    Oh and I like coffee. In cups. A lot. I have a thing about it, and pick my mug for the day based on my mood, the weather, the season. I especially like it outside. On the verandah, the balcony, the patio, the deck , a lanai or sitting around a campfire, on a log on the beach, those all work pretty darn well.

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    I have been known to be silly

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    Next up, Jeff.

    The yin to my yang, the half empty to my half full is an aerospace engineer who is building a seaplane in our garage. I support him in this, which gives me a LOT of quid pro quo when it comes to Disney!

    While reportedly not the Disney freak he says I am, he's been known to suggest retiring to Florida, getting jobs as CM's and recording Disney documentary type shows on TV (for me he says) that I didn't even know were on. For a guy who says a trip every 3 years is enough, he has managed to stomach a trip that has some kind of Disney element (be it WDW, DLR or DCL) pretty much every year since 2009. I have him beat on the WDW trips by several trips but he grew up in CA and went to college there and has me eating his dust when it comes to DLR.

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    Jeff's idea of nirvana. Margaritaville and the Hemisphere Dancer (BIG Seaplane, owned and flown by Jimmy Buffet) at the Lone Palm Airport in Orlando. Needless to say it will be making an appearance on this trip! As will some flying for that matter.

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    He too loves to hike...especially if we can find B51's that have crashed into the woods and carry around parts!

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    Along with planes, he loves other fast flying things. Like the Americas Cup.
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    Or even DCL! Which may not really be fast or flying (though it sure can spin around on a dime) but was fascinating to him.

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    He puts up with my Disney fixation with a smile

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    And as a result, in 2012 we became DVC owners.
    We are big believers in "date" trips. While we love to travel with our kids, we also rather enjoy each other and do believe the family is only as strong as the couple. We had a couple of really fun ones last year

    Aulani

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    And San Francisco for the America's Cup.

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    Ok, enough about us! Who else is on this trip? We are bringing 50% of our kids. LOL!

    Not Taylor (21). He is busy finishing up college and working. He is a music technology major, hopes to graduate this spring and is one busy guy! Hes added private lessons in voice, piano and trumpet to his course load and manages to also work at a bakery, and a recording studio at the same time. He is connected in his field and has gone on the road with the likes of Ivan and Alyosha and worked in the studio with the Lumineers. He just turned 21, which was weird for us but pretty cool to see what a grounded, cool, young man he is becoming.

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    Not Kendall (17) either. While she "could" go, the reality is that a trip with my whole family, which means (on this trip) 4 very loud boys that are all younger than her...unless we also brought a friend for her sounds about as appealing as a stick in the eye. She is a senior and doesn't want to miss time with friends or even a couple of days of school. We did build our last trip around her 16th birthday so shes had some pretty special Disney trips and in particular, the last one so we felt it ok for her to sit this one out. She is in the middle of college applications which in her case is a bit complicated by soccer. She would like to play in college and that is a whole nother ball of wax. We may know something by December; she did go for early decision at her top choice which means if she gets in, it is binding, she has to go there. Given that they've not offered her a spot on the team yet its risky but she is willing to go for it and try to walk on if need be. Pretty proud of her for that move! Other than that shes applied to about 4 other schools so far, all ones on the common app that waived the fee for her. LOL. I think she has 2 more to get in who have due dates prior to the ED from her top choice. She has a pretty heavy course load with 2 AP classes but seems to be managing it all pretty well with a bit of help from Jeff in AP calc. Right now she is quite busy with soccer, her HS team will play for the district championships on Saturday and then next week begins state playoff. Club soccer starts up again right after that with a Thanksgiving tournament/College showcase in San Diego. We hope that her top choice is there and makes an offer at that point. Fun, but stressful times!

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    On this trip will be Evan (14).

    Evan always has something to say

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    He is a freshman in high school and it is, shall we say, an adjustment for all. Complete with teenage attitude. He is a good kid who works hard but oh, he gives me grey hair! He is very into music and the arts, his current activities include jazz band, marching band (both Trombone), stage crew and a full honors load. He is also a 2nd degree black belt in Tae Kwon Do and heavens knows its a great sport to release some of that teenage angst! Now if the grades could level out...

    Eric (13) will also be joining us
    Eric and Evan are very different in both temperament and looks (but yes, they are full siblings I swear!). He is our true academic, currently his goal is to teach Theoretical Physics when he grows up. He is also active in music (piano and trumpet) and boy scouts where he spends a lot of time camping and hiking. He loves the water and the sand, he could play in it for hours! He recently completed his first season of Cross Country and while not terribly fast, he had such a great attitude and had fun, it made me happy to see. We always worry a little about him; he is in 7th grade so making the adjustment to Middle School. He went into it from a highly capable program which was fairly insulated. Luckily it is a great group of kids that came out of that program and seem to be sticking together in MS so no social issues at all so far. He is a research hound, I am quite sure he will find out something I dont know that will be useful on the trip. He is also at that age where it is hard to get a picture of him! Which means most of the unguarded ones seem to happen when he's playing in the water or sand.

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    Both boys LOVE Disney and are so excited for this trip. Not for the same reasons I am, but to spend time with their cousins and show them all that they know.

    Continued in next post
     
  21. eandesmom

    eandesmom I'm with Beast

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    Continued from previous
    Should I be worried?

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    Before I get to the nephews...let's meet my parents!

    Tom and Kathi

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    Kathi, my mom is an avid scrapbooker, card maker, generally crafty person. She has a huge passion for Girl Scouts and travel.
    Tom, my dad is very involved with our church, geneology and giving tours down at the Science Fiction museum here. He loves his sci fi!

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    Both are hugs arts and sports fans, with season tickets to the sounders and mariners and attending lots of plays.

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    More than anything though, they love to travel! They are gone at least 2 months a year, sometimes more.

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    My mom is pretty much a type A when it comes to travel, my spreadsheets have nothing on her. Dad...is along for the ride.

    My sister Melissa and her boys. Melissa is a teacher, working with special needs kids in a self contained classroom. Her kids can be violent and not always verbal, it takes a special kind of person to do what she does! She's had a tough start this year and really needs this trip. Quin (15) is a sophomore and a bit like Eric in many ways. He is on the Aspergers spectrum but at 15 manages it fairly well on his own. He is obsessed with video games and I foresee a LOT of sorcerers of the magic kingdom action and likely a demand for DisneyQuest. He is a great kid, not always the easiest, but a great kid. He is however, LOUD. A huge HUGE booming voice. That gets really really loud when he gets excited about stuff. He will be in the 2nd bedroom so that there will be a living room in between he and Jeff the supersonic hearing light sleeper. LOL! Kolby (12) is a minx. A ball of energy, and mischievous to boot. He and Evan together can be dangerous. He is a tiny little thing with some heart issues but certainly compensates! You'd never know...he will provide LOTS of entertainment this trip! He is obsessed with Star Wars.

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    Man they were little back then!

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    Last, but not least, my baby sister Kerri and her DH Eric.

    Kerri is the Disney fan of this couple, Eric is a newbie and doing it for her. Hes good egg, overwhelmed at times by the size and energy of our group but he seems to manage it quite well. Kerri works in non profit and Eric is a police sergeant, no kids yet but they are working on it. This will be a nice break for them. Erics mom has Alzheimers, pretty severe and a big chunk of their time is spent dealing with it as it has progressed quite rapidly recently. Though they aren't really newlyweds anymore&I don't have any more recent pictures!

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    The boys look so little here!

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    You think the 4 teen boys might be trouble, check us out

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    LOL!

    The BFP at a glance
     

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