April '19 PTR: Daddy/Daughter Spring Break Trip to Ride Every Ride at DLR (and more) [Update 3/3/19]

Discussion in 'Disneyland Trip Reports' started by Greg Lembrich, Jan 12, 2019.

  1. Greg Lembrich

    Greg Lembrich Mouseketeer

    Feb 26, 2018
    After a very successful daddy/daughter Spring Break trip to WDW last April, my daughter and I immediately started planning our 2019 trip to DLR. My daughter (8 years old) has been to WDW 3 times, but has never been to California, so is very excited to see new parks. With our seven days, we are planning to do 5 days in DL/DCA, 1 day at Magic Mountain, and 1 at Knott's Berry Farm.

    We are both ride junkies, so will be focusing on rides more than shows or other attractions. In fact, during our trip to WDW last April our goal was to ride all 46 operating rides across the 4 parks. We did that over the first 2.5 days, which left us plenty of time to go back and re-ride all of our favorites more times. We are looking to do the same thing at DLR, so our goal will be to ride each of the 50(+) rides at DL and DCA over the course of our trip, riding our favorites multiple times, and also checking out nighttime shows and exploring other parts of the parks.

    I am a compulsive planner and usually enjoy planning every detail of a trip in advance (truth be told, I usually enjoying planning vacations more than actually taking them). WDW, therefore, is right up my alley with being able to make ADRs 6 months in advance, book FP+, etc. DLR is a bit more frustrating since I can't book dining until 60 days out, can't do FP/MP until day of, lack of PPO ADRs, etc. Over the past four years, I have had the chance to do two solo days at DLR while in SoCal on business, so I am pretty familiar with the parks and the differences and similarities with WDW. I know SWGE will not be open until the summer, but hopefully one or both of the new DCA rides (Jessie's Critter Carousel and/or Inside Out Emotional Whirlwind) will be open for our trip.

    My daughter is very excited to be able to ride the DLR rides that are not at WDW, as well as to see the differences between some of her favorites at WDW and their DLR counterparts (Pirates and Space Mountain are at the top of her list). She is also psyched to ride all of the roller coasters at Magic Mountain and Knott's. The fact that we are going the week before Easter will likely mean larger crowds than we are used to, so we are prepared for that. Hopefully it will also mean that refurbs are complete, all the rides are open, the work on the castle is done, and the nighttime shows are back up and running. Fingers crossed. I am familiar with MaxPass, and we definitely plan to use it for each of our 5 DLR park days. I will also be using TouringPlans and RideMax to plan our days and guide us while in the parks.

    I would be curious if folks have any advice about "don't miss" restaurants, experiences, or other tips. We definitely plan to do Blue Bayou for dinner one night, hopefully with the Fantasmic! dining package. We also really enjoyed the dessert parties at MK and EP, so would be interested in doing the World of Color Dessert Party if WOC is back by our trip and they are running it. Anything else that I should pounce on when our 60 day window opens up? Great restaurants and/or character experiences? Any good PPO ADR opportunities that will help us get a jump on our touring for the day? I would definitely appreciate any tips, tricks, or advice that any of you have to offer.

    Here are the basics for our trip:

    Who? Greg/Dad (40) and Caroline/Daughter (8), from New Jersey


    When? We depart Newark on United early morning on Saturday April 13, scheduled to arrive at LAX a little before 10 AM. We fly back from LAX in the morning of Saturday April 20, arriving at EWR late afternoon the day before Easter.

    Where? We will be staying at the Anaheim Desert Inn on South Harbor, which was recommended by the wonderful @missangelalexis , a fellow NJ DISer whose TRs are always so much fun to read. I think this will be great for us because of the very close proximity to the DLR entrance, which will allow us to easily walk back and forth between the hotel and the parks, including midday breaks, without the need for a car. I also booked nearly a year in advance, so was able to get a great deal. Our focus will be on the parks, so we don't need a fancy resort, pools, etc.

    How? We are flying on United from Newark to LAX, where we will take an Uber/Lyft to the Anaheim Desert Inn. We won't need a car for any of our DLR days, so will not be renting one at the airport. We will also Uber/Lyft on our Knott's Berry Farm day since that is close to Anaheim. My plan is to rent a car for one day on the day we go to Magic Mountain since that trip seems too long to make using a rideshare service practical. If anyone has any tips for one-day car rentals (either from Anaheim or SNA), please let me know.

    What? We will be spending 7 days in parks and our goal is to ride all 50(+) rides at DLR, and all of the major rides at MM and Knott's (including all 19 roller coasters at MM). We definitely plan to RD each day, except for our arrival day. We will tour hard, but also take liberal afternoon breaks at the hotel to rest and recharge before heading back out for the evening. We will be using MP at DLR. We are Six Flags Diamond Elite members (our home park is Great Adventure in NJ) and will get FlashPass at Magic Mountain. Given the Spring Break crowds, I will probably also get Fast Lane at Knott's Berry Farm since we will only have one day there. I'll include more specific planning details in follow-up posts.

    We leave 13 weeks from today! 91 days and counting.
    Last edited: Jan 13, 2019
  2. Greg Lembrich

    Greg Lembrich Mouseketeer

    Feb 26, 2018
    Disneyland/California Adventure Planning

    Our main destinations for this trip will be, of course, Disneyland and California Adventure. We will be spending 5 days in those parks, and already have our 5 day park hoppers with MaxPass purchased. We will also be staying right across the street at the Anaheim Desert Inn for the duration of our trip. Our plan is to go to DLR on Saturday (our arrival day), Sunday, Monday, Thursday, and Friday. We will do our Magic Morning at DL on Thursday. Here is my general plan/strategy:

    Day 1 - After we arrive at LAX on Saturday morning, we will get an Uber/Lyft to the hotel, drop off our bags, and then head immediately across the street to the parks. Hopefully we can get there not long after 11, or at least before noon. We will probably start by going to DL since my daughter has never been to DLR before, and I think that going down the original Main Street will be a great way to kickoff the trip. The DL rides my daughter is most looking forward to are Pirates, Indy, and the Matterhorn, so we will probably try to do some or all of them right away. Even though we obviously won't be there for RD our first day, I am hopeful that crowds won't be too overwhelming. In addition to hitting high priority rides, we will also be using Saturday just to walk around the parks and get acclimated. We will take a mid to late afternoon break to go back to the hotel, check in, settle in, and rest up a bit before heading back out at night. Given predicted crowd levels, we likely will end up focusing more of our attention on DCA on Saturday after we do some initial touring at DL. My daughter is most excited about Cars Land, especially after dark, so I will be monitoring MaxPass and trying to secure a RSR FP for us that evening. She will also want to prioritize Incredicoaster and Mike & Sulley to the Rescue. I doubt we will make any ADRs for Saturday just to keep things as loose as possible and give us flexibility, especially since we will have taken a cross-country flight that morning and won't be adjusted to CA time yet. We'll just eat when we're hungry, which probably won't be at peak times anyway given the time difference.

    Days 2 and 3 - We are planning to RD DL on both Sunday and Monday, and do plenty of crisscrossing between the two parks. As with WDW, our goal will be to complete every moving ride in the parks in the first 3 days. Currently, we are expecting there to be at least 50 rides operating at DLR at that time (34 in DL and at least 16 in DCA), as I will detail in my next post. We will focus Sunday and Monday on getting to all the rides that we don't ride on Saturday, and set our touring and MP strategy accordingly. I would also like to do Blue Bayou and Fantasmic! on one of those nights and either the fireworks or WOC on the other. Given my prior experience at DLR, our previous success at WDW, and good planning, I am pretty confident that we can complete the 50(+) rides by the end of Day 3, leaving us two full days at the end of the trip to go back and enjoy our favorites again while soaking up all the Disney atmosphere.

    [After our first three days, we will be leaving our home base and taking "field trips" to Knott's Berry Farm and Six Flags Magic Mountain on Tuesday and Wednesday, respectively. I will do separate posts about our plans for those parks.]

    Days 4 and 5 - After two days away from the Disney parks, we will be back on Thursday and Friday. We are planning to do our MM at DL on Thursday. This should hopefully give us a chance to do a bunch of the Fantasyland rides with minimal waits. The rest of Thursday and all of Friday will be devoted to finishing up any rides we haven't gotten to yet, further exploring the parks, and getting in as many rides as we can on the rides my daughter enjoys most. These days will also be good opportunities for ADRs and/or nighttime shows. If anyone has any advice or "can't miss" favorites, please let me know.
    Last edited: Jan 13, 2019
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  4. Greg Lembrich

    Greg Lembrich Mouseketeer

    Feb 26, 2018
    Riding Every Ride at DLR

    As mentioned above, one of our key goals for the trip will be to ride all of the 50 or more rides at Disneyland and DCA. We set the same goal for our daddy/daughter Spring Break trip last year at WDW, and had a lot of fun with it. Inspired by the guys at Parkeology and the adventures of Kenny the Pirate (https://www.kennythepirate.com/2018...ry-ride-in-disneyland-resort-in-a-single-day/), we are very much looking forward to doing the same at DLR. The only variables are (a) whether every ride will be open/operating and (b) whether either of the new rides at DCA will be open yet. In any event, below is the list of rides that we will be using, including notations for which have FP and/or SR lines available.

    Disneyland Park rides
    1. Alice in Wonderland

    2. Astro Orbiter

    3. Autopia

    4. Big Thunder Mountain Railroad (FP)

    5. Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters (FP)

    6. Casey Jr. Circus Train

    7. Davy Crockett’s Explorer Canoes

    8. Disneyland Monorail

    9. Disneyland Railroad

    10. Dumbo the Flying Elephant

    11. Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage

    12. Gadget’s Go Coaster

    13. Haunted Mansion (FP)

    14. Indiana Jones Adventure (FP/SR)

    15. “it’s a small world” (FP)

    16. Jungle Cruise

    17. King Arthur Carousel

    18. Mad Tea Party

    19. Main Street Vehicles

    20. Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh

    21. Mark Twain Riverboat

    22. Matterhorn Bobsleds (FP/SR)

    23. Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride

    24. Peter Pan’s Flight

    25. Pinocchio’s Daring Journey

    26. Pirate’s Lair on Tom Sawyer Island

    27. Pirates of the Caribbean

    28. Roger Rabbit’s Car Toon Spin (FP)

    29. Sailing Ship Columbia

    30. Snow White’s Scary Adventures

    31. Space Mountain (FP/SR)

    32. Splash Mountain (FP/SR)

    33. Star Tours — The Adventures Continue (FP)

    34. Storybook Land Canal Boats
    Disney California Adventure rides
    1. Golden Zephyr

    2. Goofy’s Sky School (FP/SR)

    3. Grizzly River Run (FP/SR)

    4. Guardians of the Galaxy — Mission: BREAKOUT! (FP)

    5. Incredicoaster (FP/SR)

    6. Jumpin’ Jellyfish

    7. The Little Mermaid ~ Ariel’s Undersea Adventure

    8. Luigi’s Rollickin Roadsters

    9. Mater’s Junkyard Jamboree

    10. Monsters, Inc. Mike & Sulley to the Rescue!

    11. Pixar Pal-a-Round

    12. Radiator Springs Racers (FP/SR)

    13. Red Car Trolley

    14. Silly Symphony Swings

    15. Soarin’ Around the World (FP)

    16. Toy Story Midway Mania! (FP)

    Does anyone know when Inside Out Emotional Whirlwind or Jessie’s Critter Carousel are expected to open? I know that both are scheduled for 2019, and I'm thinking that Disney will probably want to open at least one, of not both, before SWGE opens. Any information or predictions would be appreciated. Also, has anyone had experience with the "Moving Buddy" line at TSMM at DCA? I read about it, but not sure whether it is being used or how much time it saves.
    FeistyDisneyMom likes this.
  5. Greg Lembrich

    Greg Lembrich Mouseketeer

    Feb 26, 2018
    Knott's Berry Farm planning

    We are planning to go to Knott's Berry Farm on Tuesday 4/16. Given that it is just a 15 minute ride from our hotel, we are planning to Uber/Lyft there and back. In fact, we may even come back to the hotel for a mid-afternoon break and then head back to the park at night depending on how we feel. Since we will only have one day at KBF and it likely will be crowded due to Spring Break, I am planning to purchase Fast Lane wristbands with our park tickets. Between that and our plan to get there at park opening, I think we should be able to ride all of the rides we want and also get to re-ride the ones we like best. If anyone has been to KBF and has any advice, tips, tricks, etc. to share, please let me know.

    The rides we are hoping to ride at KBF (including whether they have Fast Lane) are:

    1. Calico Mine Ride (FL)
    2. Coast Rider (FL)
    3. Ghost Rider (FL)
    4. Hang Time (FL)
    5. Jaguar (FL)
    6. La Revolucion
    7. Montezooma’s Revenge (FL)
    8. Pony Express (FL)
    9. Sierra Sidewinder (FL)
    10. Silver Bullet (FL)
    11. Sol Spin
    12. Supreme Scream (FL)
    13. Timber Mountain Log Ride (FL)
    14. Voyage to the Iron Reef (FL)
    15. Wipeout
    16. Xcelrator (FL)

    Neither my daughter nor I have ever been to KBF before, so we are hoping for a really fun day. If anyone here has experiences to share, or can offer any advice to us, that would be great.
    Last edited: Jan 13, 2019
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  6. Greg Lembrich

    Greg Lembrich Mouseketeer

    Feb 26, 2018
    Six Flags Magic Mountain planning

    We will be going to Six Flags Magic Mountain on Wednesday 4/17. Since the park is at least 60 miles from Anaheim, I am planning to rent a car for the day. Not sure if my best option will be to get one from SNA (which is in the wrong direction) or whether I can get something within Anaheim (or at least on the way north). Still need to research that, but would love any advice from fellow DISers on that.

    My daughter and I are Diamond Elite members at Six Flags Great Adventure in NJ, so we will get free admission, free preferred parking, soft drinks, 2 skip the line passes, 50% off food, etc. at SFMM. We also get a free FlashPass upgrade, which will probably be clutch since we will be visiting over Spring Break and crowds may be significant.

    We are planning to head up there early so that we can be there for park opening. Since it is a long way from our hotel, this will be the one day when we won't be able to take a midday rest, though we may just go somewhere outside of the park for a bit of a break at some point. We'll see how we feel. It will also be a long ride back, especially with returning the rental car, and we have our Magic Morning at DL the next morning, so finishing on the early side wouldn't be the worst thing either.

    Our goal for the day is to ride all 19 of the roller coasters at MM, as well as a few other non-coaster rides. Here is the full list of rides we are hoping to ride at MM (including whether or not they have FlashPass):

    1. Apocalypse (FP)
    2. Batman The Ride (FP)
    3. Canyon Blaster
    4. Crazanity
    5. Full Throttle (FP 1x)
    6. Gold Rusher (FP)
    7. Goliath (FP)
    8. Green Lantern (FP)
    9. Jet Stream (FP)
    10. Justice League: Battle for Metropolis (FP)
    11. Lex Luthor Drop of Doom (FP)
    12. Magic Flyer
    13. Ninja (FP)
    14. Road Runner Express
    15. Roaring Rapids (FP)
    16. Scream (FP)
    17. Speedy Gonzales Hot Rod Racers
    18. Superman Escape from Krypton
    19. Tatsu (FP)
    20. The New Revolution (FP)
    21. The Riddler’s Revenge (FP)
    22. Tidal Wave (FP)
    23. Twisted Collosus (FP 1x)
    24. Viper (FP)
    25. X2 (FP 1x)

    We will probably get our skip the line passes for Twisted Collosus and Full Throttle, which will give us a chance to basically FP each of those twice if we want. We'll probably want to ride Crazanity and Superman Escape from Krypton early in the day since they don't have FP and lines can get long for those. The other non-FP rides should have minimal waits, I expect.

    I have only been to MM once, and my daughter has never been, so this should be a really fun day. If any of you are a MM vet and have any tips, tricks, or advice to share, please let me know.
    Last edited: Jan 13, 2019
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  7. Greg Lembrich

    Greg Lembrich Mouseketeer

    Feb 26, 2018
    90 days from now, we will be in Disneyland! I booked our rental car today for our Magic Mountain day. I was able to get a good deal on a one-day rental from the Alamo on Katella, which is only 1/2 mile from our hotel, so that should be convenient. Just 30 more days until I can start booking ADRs.
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  8. missangelalexis

    missangelalexis DIS Veteran

    Apr 27, 2012
    Joining in! Wow, I'm glad to hear you are staying at the Anaheim Desert Inn! I don't think you will be disappointed- the proximity can't be beat.

    I absolutely loved Blue Bayou! I did it for the Fantasmic package and it was well worth it!

    I was also a big fan of the Plaza Inn character breakfast. So many fun characters and the food was tasty. I can't recall if it offered PPO times or not.

    I've always wanted to go to Knotts, so I look forward to eventually hearing about your experience there!
  9. Greg Lembrich

    Greg Lembrich Mouseketeer

    Feb 26, 2018
    Thanks @missangelalexis ! We are definitely psyched to be staying so close to the Disney parks. Going to book BB with the F! package as soon as we can, and will also check out Plaza Inn. Looks like PPO is available during some times of year when DL has later opening, but DL likely will be opening at 8 AM our week due to Spring Break, so probably no PPO reservations available. I will absolutely do a thorough review of our day at Knotts. Thanks for joining in! Less than 2 weeks until your trip. You must be very excited.
  10. Cloe Colton

    Cloe Colton DIS Veteran

    Mar 6, 2018
    Joining in! Doing my first DLR trip this November so Im definitely looking to see if you come up with any tips or tricks for the park! It feels like a whole new ball game when it comes to planning with maxpass!
  11. dnllmz

    dnllmz DIS Veteran

    Jul 13, 2011
    Joining in. We have discussed doing a DLR trip in the future. It won't be this year because we have a WDW trip planned for August but maybe next year. We were trying to figure out what to do besides DL. I like the idea of doing Knotts Berry Farms. I've heard good things about it. We live in NJ too and I also want to hear how your daughter does with the travel. Do you have a layover? We have only flown nonstop to FL with the kids and aren't sure how they would do on a longer flight.
  12. Greg Lembrich

    Greg Lembrich Mouseketeer

    Feb 26, 2018
    We are flying direct from EWR to LAX. My daughter has never been to California before, but has traveled with my wife to Brazil and Europe and been fine, so I am hopeful that she'll be fine on the flight. She is generally a very good traveler. My thinking is that she may get some sleep on the flight, but even if not she will be excited enough about DL for adrenaline to carry us for a few hours of touring. Then we can take a significant afternoon rest when we go back to the hotel, and then head back out in the evening. The time change may be useful since we are planning to be out early each day to RD the parks. We'll see how it goes. Fingers crossed.
    VandVsmama, FeistyDisneyMom and Jaina like this.
  13. Jaina

    Jaina Actually, my name is Sara. It's a long, VMK story.

    Jul 22, 2005
    Following along! I did a mother-daughter trip with one of my kids to a Halloween party this last fall, and it was really fun! We tend to focus on rides, too. :) You are going to have a great time! We are taking the whole family for 3 days the end of April, and it will be great, but much more chaotic than just one child. :) It's so fun to just have 2 people, so you pretty much get to do what they want the whole time!
  14. AJA55

    AJA55 My very special Custom Title has gone away..sad.

    Jun 24, 2002
    This sounds like a fun trip! And a fun read for us Disers.
  15. Longhorn Dad

    Longhorn Dad Earning My Ears

    Feb 25, 2019
    When did you first introduce your daughter to Disney? Any advice on introducing the scarier rides to kids around your daughter’s age? We are heading to DLR with 5 and 9 year old daughters in April and I’m eager to do something similar to your plan but it’s our first trip to a theme park and I don’t know how they’ll react in person compared with what they’ve seen on YouTube. Thanks for the great thread!
  16. Greg Lembrich

    Greg Lembrich Mouseketeer

    Feb 26, 2018
    @Longhorn Dad , thanks for checking out my PTR. My wife and I first took our daughter to WDW when she was just shy of 3 years old, although she was unable to try most of the bigger rides then due to the height restrictions. Her favorite ride on that trip was Pirates of the Caribbean, which we rode over and over and over. Since then, she has been to a number of theme, amusement, and water parks of various sizes. She has always been pretty fearless and has never really been intimidated by roller coasters or other thrill rides. Is there a local amusement park near you where maybe you could do a dry run to get them used to rides and see how they do?

    The only ride at DLR that I would describe as intense is Incredicoaster due to the launch start and inversion. Space Mountain is a pretty mild coaster once you get over the fact that it's in the dark. The final drop on Splash Mountain can be intimidating to kids as well, but (a) it looks bigger/worse from outside the ride than it actually is once you're on it and (b) most of the intimidation comes from the anticipation of the drop rather than the actual drop itself. Indiana Jones and Guardians might also be a bit scary for ride newcomers.

    One of my favorite strategies (which it seems you have already discovered yourself) is to show my daughter POV videos of full rides on YouTube. Not only does it build excitement about the trip, but it also gives her a good idea of what to expect on each ride so that there will be no unpleasant surprises. It might also be a good idea to start with some smaller, less intense rides upon arrival and then progress based on how they feel. As they gain comfort and confidence, you can try bigger rides. It may also help them to see that other kids their age/size are riding without fear and having fun. Hope that helps.
  17. FeistyDisneyMom

    FeistyDisneyMom Mouseketeer

    Jan 17, 2019
    What a great trip plan! I love your plan - it looks like so much fun, and your daughter will have such a special time.

    Like a PP I also like the plaza inn character breakfast, but given your ride focus it’s probably best for one of your last two days. Other DISers have had great experiences with scheduling it mid-morning after using their MM - so basically do fantasyland and then head to plaza inn around 9:30-10 (assuming a 7am MM start), and have a buffet breakfast and see the characters.

    Can’t wait to hear how it ends up!
    Greg Lembrich likes this.
  18. Greg Lembrich

    Greg Lembrich Mouseketeer

    Feb 26, 2018
    I just booked the Plaza Inn character breakfast for 10:20 am on Thursday, which is our MM. Thanks for the advice!
    FeistyDisneyMom likes this.
  19. VandVsmama

    VandVsmama DIS Veteran

    Mar 28, 2011
    We have done this on almost every DL trip...and usually on the days that we have MM. That time slot for breakfast is really great because just about the time that you're getting a little tired and are ready to rest, it's time to sit and eat for an hour while characters come to you. It's a lot of fun!
  20. VandVsmama

    VandVsmama DIS Veteran

    Mar 28, 2011
    You're going to have such a fun trip! 2 years ago, we did a week at DL with 5-day park hopper tickets. So far, it's my favorite DL trip we've been on. We went on almost everything that trip and even had time to ride our favorites multiple times. Best way to ride on the Nemo submarines with little wait is to use 1 of your mornings to go on it first thing.

    Alice & the Mad Hatter play musical chairs with kids at Coke Corner every afternoon. I've heard it's usually in the 2:30-3:30 time frame, but check w/a CM at Coke Corner earlier in the day to make sure. I bet your daughter would enjoy that!

    Also, there's a short 2-3 min long neon light "thing" in Carsland right at dusk. They play the Sh-boom song from the Cars movie and turn on all of the neon lights. It's short, but really neat to see. Just look up when sunset is on your phone beforehand and be in Carsland shortly before that. When we watched it, we sat outside of Flo's V-8 Café. It was a pretty magical moment.
  21. VandVsmama

    VandVsmama DIS Veteran

    Mar 28, 2011
    So I had a thought about your car rental day...the day you're going to Magic Mountain. Bear with me for a sec as I "think out loud" about this...

    On the one hand, you should consider just renting the car from the car rental place in DTD. It's closest to your hotel. However, it's not open for as many hours as the car rental places at SNA will be. On the other hand, even if you return the car "after hours," you'll probably be fine and still only charged for the 1-day rental. Probably just call that location to ask about that.

    On the other hand, if you rent the car from SNA, then you can pick up the car pretty much as early as you want and return it as late as you want that day. That would be handy with....

    Traffic to/from Magic Mountain! You'll definitely hit rush hour traffic on the way there if you're driving before 9 am. It's a straight shot on I-5, but you'll be driving through downtown LA, which has some of the worst traffic. I'd recommend instead to consider going I-5 northbound --> 605 --> 210 westbound --> I-5 northbound. It's more miles, but time-wise, it'll be less time because there's a bit less traffic on 210 than I-5.
    FeistyDisneyMom likes this.

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