Hi ho everyone! I hope you're all having a magical week! I thought I'd bring some extra cheer to you today and share our top tips for going on vacation to Walt Disney World. One thing I always notice when chatting with people who have never been to Disney or haven't been in a long time say is how overwhelming all the options can be. There's so much to choose from and tons of questions swirling around in our heads when it comes to planning a Disney World trip, so here is our best advice for planning it all out to ensure you will have the best trip ever!
1. Stay at a Disney Resort
This is seriously our number one tip, and I'm going to apologize for the long winded explanation but it's necessary. I know it may be tempting to stay off resort because you might find a cheaper option or because you want to do other things in Central Florida besides Disney, but this is speaking from first hand experience, don't do it. If you are going to go to Disney at all, stay on property. It will make your experience so much better, relaxed, and organized. If you want to do other things in the area besides Disney, that's fine...in fact I highly suggest it! Universal Studios is so fun, and we loved going to the coast and seeing the Kennedy Space Center. In order to do these things you have to have a car, so in your head it might be better to just stay somewhere besides a Disney hotel because of that factor. It's not better, it's actually kind of frustrating. Most hotels in the Orlando area are what they call "Disney Good Neighbor Hotels," meaning that they only provide shuttles to Disney World. No shuttles to the coast, Universal, or the airport. Ok that's fine right because you have your car. Well you have to pay to park at their hotel plus you have to pay to park at Universal plus you have to pay for gas. You can kick the shuttle idea out too and drive to Disney, but you'll have to pay to park there, too. If you do choose to have a car with you and you stay at a Disney hotel, your parking is free. Let's say you don't want to have a car with you though (rental fees can be really high in the Orlando area), you can take the Disney Magical Express for free from the airport to your Disney resort! Then you just simply use the Disney bus system to get all around Disney World. You also have the convenience of being able to go back to your room all day long. You don't have to wait for specific hotel shuttle times (they are usually every 2 hours if you're lucky) and the logistics of getting back to the bus depot can be a nightmare. One time we missed our shuttle bus to our off resort hotel and had to wait in the parking lot for an hour and a half because we couldn't get out of the parks fast enough (this is really really common...lots of people go to Disney World!) On our first trip we had to spend all day long at the parks with no breaks, and I can't even imagine how miserable that would have been with kids. I was exhausted, so imagine our poor little ones! Disney is supposed to be the most fun vacation you go on so take advantage of the 30 hotels that are available to stay at there. If you book everything together their budget friendly hotels are the same if not cheaper in price as most off-resort hotels. There really is a price range for everyone. You'll also get so many more perks like being able to purchase a dining plan, free mini golf, extra magic hours at the parks, and early FastPass+ selections.
2. Get a Dining Plan
If you stay at a Disney hotel, get a dining plan. Imagine how nice it is to show up for your vacation and everything is paid for even your food? That's what the dining plan does for you. You get snacks, quick service meals (like a hot dog and fries), and table service meals (like steak or buffets). It doesn't matter if you order a salad or a steak for dinner...it's all the same because you're just using your table service credit for that day. You can also use your credits however you want...so if you technically only have one table service meal per day but you want to use two, you can do so...you would just use two quick service meals the next day to make up for it. You can go almost anywhere in Disney World and use the dining plan, too. You order what you want, scan your MagicBand (which is a free wristband Disney provides to you if you stay at a resort that is your room key, park admission pass, and even allows you to pay for things without pulling out your wallet), and get your food. It's so simple, and we love not having to keep track of how much money we've spent on food. We actually saved money because we got the dining plan. When all is said and done we all spend a lot of money on food each day so if you do the math, based on the prices of the dining plan versus how much you'd naturally spend on each item, you would see that you'll save hundreds of dollars. Plus in 2018, table service meals allow your drink to be alcoholic for all of us that want to unwind after a long day at the parks :)
3. Do 1 Park Per Day
I'm not even going to say you'll get the most out of Disney if you do 1 park per day because that is honestly a lie. You honestly probably need 2 days per park plus extra days to enjoy everything else, but that's excessive. I know personally we try to limit our vacations to 5-7 days, but in order to have a fun and relaxing time, you really should try to just do 1 park per day. This way you're not wasting too much time on transportation and you can spread everything out. We had way more fun this time around when we only hit up 1 park per day and were able to take breaks back to our hotel, see more shows, and not have to rush through meals. So what I'm technically telling you is you don't really need a park hopper. It's nice to have just in case you want to pop over to a different park but it's really not necessary and will save you a couple hundred dollars. In our minds it was better to save $200 and just enjoy each park we picked to start our day out with the whole day.
4. Make Dining Reservations 180 Days in Advance
You might not know that you're going to Disney 180 days in advance, and that's ok, don't panic. You can still eat at some really spectacular places. But if you do know 6 months ahead of time, log on at midnight EST and make your reservations. You will have a much better chance at getting to eat at places like Be Our Guest, Cinderella's Royal Table, and Victoria & Albert's if you do so. And trust me, these restaurants are some of the best in the world and amazing experiences you don't want to miss.
5. Make Your FastPass+ Selections as Early in the Day as Possible
If you stay at a Disney hotel, you can make your FastPass+ selections 60 days before your trip (hey another Disney hotel perk!) or you can make them 30 days before your trip if you aren't staying at a Disney hotel but have your park tickets purchased. You can make up to 3 in advance. When you go to make your selections you can only do 1 park per day (hey another reason to stick with 1 park per day!), and I highly recommend trying to make them all for morning time slots. This way after you're done with your first 3, you can start making more for the rest of the day. FastPass+ selections tend to open up all the time because of people cancelling and changing their plans, so you really can get some good ones the day of. I can't promise you can get Flight of Passage at Animal Kingdom the day of, so maybe make that one 60 days in advance and stick to it, but you can get some other very popular rides the day of. If you spread your first 3 out too much and your third one isn't until 7pm, you won't be able to make anymore until after 7pm. So it's worth it to select them as soon as you can but also to pack them all in early so you can add more later in the day.
6. Keep Track of Your Trip on the My Disney Experience App
This last tip is so simple but so necessary, make sure you download the My Disney Experience app to your phone. You have to create a Disney account when you book any form of a Disney trip anyways so that part is already done for you. After you download the app, just log in with that account and all your reservations will be available for you to see through the app. You can also make FastPass+ selections from it, see wait times for rides and shows, have maps of all the parks, and check on your dining plan. This app is so useful and well put together it's almost as mind blowing as Disney World itself. If you also chose to purchase the Memory Maker (which is the photo pass), you can view all of your photos from the entire trip through the app, as well.
I think I'm going to leave it at these 6. I can talk about Disney World and logistics of planning a trip there for days, so if you want to know more please leave me a comment with your question below! Look for more posts from our Disney series in the future, too. We'll cover some of these same topics with more in depth information, so make sure to send us your questions so we can include them in our next posts!
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Traveling can be extremely overwhelming at times. There is so much that goes into the process from planning to getting to your destination to making the most of your time there. I've found though that if I can check off a small but very important list of things before we leave for a vacation we tend to have a way easier time with the entire process! So here is my pre-travel checklist to ensure that we leave ready to go and have the best time possible on all of our vacations.
1. Book Domestic Travel at Least 2 Months Out/International Travel at Least 6 Months Out
I am so much less stressed about a trip if I have ample time to plan it. I think of so many different things I want to do during this phase between booking and going on vacation that I'm so much more relaxed when it comes time to leave if we leave a good amount of time between when our flight/hotel is booked to when we actually depart. I rarely feel like I didn't do enough research on all the good spots or that I'm going to be missing something important. I also think that these markers are when the best prices for airfare are available. Sometimes if you buy too early you might pay a bit more and especially if you book last minute the airlines are going to get you for every dollar they can. I feel like this 2 month/6 month rule of thumb is a nice sweet spot. The only exception is if you are planning on traveling over a holiday. Book that trip ASAP.
2. Have Majority of Food Places Picked Out
I can't tell you how many times during our early travels that we didn't research good spots to eat and the trip wasn't the greatest because of it. We LOVE to eat, so finding good food is super important to us. In my opinion, it can make or break our trip. So while I try not to overplan too much, I really like to have most places to eat picked out before we take off for a trip. I'm 100% okay with altering plans once we get there if we find something better, but just in case we don't, at least we know we'll be going to a yummy, recommended, and clean spot for all of our meals.
3. Packing the Right Amount of Stuff
One thing that always stresses me out is not having everything I need while we're away on a trip. You might say I overpack because of this anxiety but I've never been overweight on baggage and always have room to add goodies I buy to my bags. I'd rather have a little too much then be left in a spot where I don't have the appropriate clothing or not enough of something. If you re-use some things during your time away you'll have enough space. I feel better about bringing extra outfits because you never know what might happen. You could spill on yourself or your relatives can drop that they're taking you out to a nice restaurant and if you're prepared for those kinds of things you won't be wasting time trying to shop for an outfit to wear over the fun stuff you had planned for your trip.
4. Check In/Print Trip Info the Night Before
You're probably like printing...what!? That's super old school! And yeah it kind of is but you don't have to actually print it all per say. You can save everything to one folder in your e-mail. But I personally like to print out my airline confirmation e-mail, rental car agreement, hotel confirmation, and any tickets I've bought for the trip. Not all places accept phones unfortunately especially in foreign countries. Plus what if you don't have service to get on your phone? Even if you have to make a trip to the library to use their printer, I'd recommend doing this and having a folder of everything in your carry on. That way if any of these places challenge you on your bookings you have it right there on hard paper that it's paid and booked.
5. Time Out How Long it Will Take you to Get to the Airport & Add 30 Min
I am the queen of leaving late. It's just a real problem for me. So if I get into my head that we have to leave by a certain time and we leave 10 minutes late as usual, it's no big deal. Living in Chicago has it's out of your hands issues too like lots of traffic. I'd rather be able to grab a bite to eat at the airport over being rushed and running through the terminals to my gate to catch our flight though. So I like to figure out how long it will take for us to get to the airport from our house during that specific time of day (it can vary from 1 hour to 2 hours honestly) and add in time if we are parking our car and have to take a shuttle to the airport. After I've added all that up I add another 30 minutes and then figure out what time we should leave based on two hours before our flight leaves (three hours for international). Two to three hours is always plenty of time to check our bags, get through security, and be at the terminal before the flight boards. By doing this I've never felt rushed going to the airport and have never missed a flight in my whole life!
6. Pack a Good Carry On
So once you're settled in on your plane, car, or train even, you want to make sure you're not going to just be staring at the seat in front of you feeling anxious for hours. I always pack certain things in my carry on to keep me occupied during the travel part and never really feel bored. I love to read so having my current book and something else I want to read, you know, in case I finish what I'm currently reading, is so important. I could read a good book for hours but if I want a break from a novel I'll switch over to a magazine. I always bring my iPad mini too and make sure I have a couple movies downloaded on it. I'm not the best plane or car sleeper but just in case I want to snooze I like to have my neck pillow and a scarf that I can use as a blanket to get comfy. I bring an empty water bottle to the airport and fill it up at the water fountain after security to save on those hefty prices the quick stands tend to charge and I try to pack a few healthy snacks that I can munch on throughout the travel time. A lot of times the plane meals or snacks aren't the healthiest so I prefer to have my own stuff just in case. I only bring my laptop if I have to get work done on my trip, otherwise I leave that bad boy at home. I can usually fit all of this in a backpack or a large Longchamp tote.
Stay tuned for revised travel tips when we start to add Nugget into the mix! It is going to be a big trial and error process but I'll make sure to share our new found wisdom with all of you when the time comes! If you have any good tips for travelling with babies please share them with us! We can use all the help we can get :)
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At the end of September we went on a trip that is called a "Babymoon" to Walt Disney World! Now you might be thinking, what the heck is a babymoon? Or you might be here because you're pregnant too and looking for the perfect destination for your own babymoon. Well I'm here to answer all your questions from what a babymoon is, why it's important to take one, and why you should plan your babymoon at Disney!
Epcot Outfit Details:
T-Shirts: Once Upon Apparel | Shorts: Zara (old) | Sneakers: Nike Factory (similar) | Bow Headband: Rarity by Casey | Sunglasses: Kate Spade Outlet (similar)
A Little Bit About Our Babymoon
So as I said above, we went to Walt Disney World in Orlando, FL for our babymoon. We spent 5 days there and did 1 day at each park except Magic Kingdom where we spent 2 days. We stayed at the Caribbean Beach Resort and took advantage of the Disney Magical Express. We dined at some of the best restaurants, went on tons of rides, I got a prenatal massage, and we got to experience high tea at the Grand Floridian. We had the most magical time and it's a trip I will always treasure. Not only was it fun but it was the last trip before our family grows by 1!
Animal Kingdom Outfit Details:
T-Shirt: Oh Yeah Apparel | Vest: Banana Republic Factory (old, great fall style) | Shorts: JCrew Factory | Sneakers: Target | Hat: Lost Boys Club | Sunglasses: Kate Spade Outlet (similar) | Apple Watch Cover: eBay
What is a Babymoon?
A babymoon is a trip that you and your partner take during your pregnancy to enjoy your time with one another before your bundle of joy arrives. The trip can be taken any time during the pregnancy up until 36 weeks but based off my own experience it is ideal to take it during your 2nd trimester. We went on an incredibly fun vacation to the Pacific Northwest back in July but I was at the tail end of my 1st trimester (I was about 11 to 12 weeks pregnant when we went) and I still wasn't feeling my best. I was nauseous and tired and really had to take it slow and easy, which just isn't our style. I wouldn't say we hit it super hard at Disney but I was able to walk around more, take shorter naps, and actually eat all the yummy food! The issue I can see with taking a babymoon later in your pregnancy, say the beginning of your 3rd trimester is that you start to get uncomfortable at this time. I know for me personally (I'm 29 weeks pregnant now) I would be very uncomfortable sitting on an airplane for an extended amount of time and I've noticed my feet have really started to hurt if I'm on them for any prolonged periods. Plus most of my clothes don't fit as well anymore and it's already challenging enough to shop for day to day maternity clothes without breaking the bank so I can't imagine the frustration of trying to shop for vacation maternity clothes. But to each their own! Remember this is your pregnancy and you have to do what is best for you. Maybe you aren't feeling up to anything until your 3rd trimester or it just doesn't work with your schedule to go until later in your pregnancy. Maybe you're feeling great from the start and you want to celebrate early on and go when your belly hasn't popped out yet! The important thing is to try your best to budget and make time to do a trip like this to celebrate this next phase in your life.
Hollywood Studios Outfit Details;
T-Shirt: Oh Yeah Apparel | Shorts: JCrew Factory | Sneakers: Nike Factory (similar) | BB-8 Ears: To Never Neverland | Sunglasses: Kate Spade Outlet (similar) | Backpack: Jansport | Apple Watch Cover: eBay
Why You Should Go on a Babymoon
At first we weren't going to go on a babymoon. We had booked our vacation to the Pacific Northwest back in March before I got pregnant and were spending a pretty penny on that trip. It was an 8 day trip, and we were visiting some really cool places like Portland, OR and Seattle, WA. Plus my best friend lives in Portland, and we had the best time visiting and exploring with her! But like I said before, I wasn't feeling my best. I was plagued with some morning sickness, fatigue, and even a dizzy spell while we were at Pike Place Market in Seattle. Not really ideal for our last "adventure" before this next new phase of our lives. I had read some articles on The Bump app as well as kept seeing things about booking our babymoon on my weekly checklist but I just kept resisting. I didn't want us to spend money on another vacation when we were already going on one and had a lot of baby stuff to eventually buy. However, once we got back from Portland and I started feeling much better the idea kept popping up in my head. How about one last trip where it's just the two of us now that I'm feeling better? What if we went to Disney again? After some more resisting I caved a little bit and decided it wouldn't hurt to just look at prices. Well at that point it all kind of just fell into place. Disney was having some great deals as well as Southwest Airlines and all this pricing was based around the week of our wedding anniversary. How perfect is that!? So a month before our babymoon, we booked our trip to Disney and never looked back.
Reason 1: You deserve it
Yes, you fellow mama to be deserve a nice special trip. I know you might not feel like it all the time because all you do is sleep and your house is a mess and you haven't done your hair in 3 weeks but seriously you deserve it. You're doing the most amazing thing in your whole life and that deserves a proper celebration. So as your laying in bed in between naps start brainstorming ideas of where you'd like to go. Maybe somewhere new or maybe your favorite place in the whole world? Think of some ideas and relay them to your partner.
Reason 2: It's great alone time for you & your partner away from the real world
This is going to be the last time you and your partner can go on a trip without your little one or without having to deal with the gut wrenching feeling of leaving your little one behind for a very long time. You should go and enjoy somewhere you both love and are excited to go to. Whether that's somewhere new or an old favorite, pick somewhere that is going to make you both so happy and help you come home refreshed and ready to take on your next adventure.
Reason 3: It's something in the near future to look forward to
While the most exciting thing to ever happen to you is in your future and you're so looking forward it, you probably still have a long time to go. I know for me I thrive on things to look forward to. It can even be something as simple as going out to dinner with my hubby on Saturday night. But the thought of a Disney trip when I was coming out of my 1st trimester sickness was SO exciting for me and my hubby! It gave us so much more motivation to stay positive day by day even when things felt really hard. It was going to be a big treat on top of even bigger treat that we'd be getting later on (our little baby).
Reason 4: It's a great way to relax
I know for me personally I've been a lot more anxious than I normally am since I've become pregnant. That's normal for pregnancy but sometimes you really need a destressor. Going on vacation is obviously a great way to get rid of some real world stress. You don't have to go to work, you can sleep in, and you get to treat yo self on top of so many other things. As mamas to be we all really need that. We have so much on our minds that it's important to take a break from all that and have some fun + relaxation time.
Magic Kingdom Day 1 Outfit Details:
T-Shirt: Main Street Press | Shorts: JCrew Factory | Sneakers: Nike Factory (similar) | Minnie Ears: Disney Parks (available on the Shop Parks app) | Sunglasses: LOFT | Backpack: Dooney & Bourke (only available at Disney Parks)
Magic Kingdom Day 2 Outfit Details:
T-Shirt: ViralStyle (no longer available) | Shorts: JCrew Factory | Sneakers: Nike Factory (similar) | Minnie Ears: Disney Parks | Sunglasses: LOFT | Bracelets: ALEX & ANI
Why Disney is a Great Babymoon Option
If you've made it this far you're probably sold or highly considering a babymoon in general and now want to know how Disney works out as a babymoon destination. I had so many questions flying through my head when I first came up with the idea like can I go on any of the rides? How will my feet hold up? What about the heat? Will we have a good time or will it just be a hassle? Well let me address those questions for you after having done this awesome babymoon myself.
Pregnancy & Rides
Yes you can go on so many rides at Disney World while you're pregnant! If you look on their website and go to the Things to Do section and click on each of the parks pages you can see all the attractions and rides that are available at each park. From there in the filter by section all the way at the end you can click on Accessibility & Advisories and check the box that says Expectant Mothers Advisory. You will then get a list populated for all the attractions and rides it is safe for you to go on at that park. If you're curious about a specific ride you can click on that ride and on the ride's page you then click on the Accessibility and Other Information link. Under Guest Policies it will list any health warnings including an expectant mothers warning if there is one. To give you a quick overview of some amazing rides you can go on while pregnant here is a little list broken down by park:
Solution to Aching Feet: Go to all the Shows & Eat all the Snacks
My feet definitely got tired after awhile of walking around the parks all day but we took frequent breaks by going to as many shows as we could fit in as well as taking multiple snack/meal breaks. By doing this we actually felt like we didn't have enough time at each park and that is without going on all the "big" rides like Tower of Terror, Space Mountain, and Flight of Passage. Each park has some excellent shows that you can enjoy; my personal favorites are: Finding Nemo at Animal Kingdom, Fantasmic! at Hollywood Studios, and Happily Ever After at Magic Kingdom. As for Epcot, there is so much to do in the World Showcase! We went while the Food & Wine Festival was going on and tried out so much food all day long. Granted I couldn't drink, but that just saved us money and the food was so good that it didn't matter anyways. Plus you can say Caleb drank for both of us ;). Epcot has lots of festivals all throughout the year like the Festival of the Arts in the early spring as well as Flower & Garden all throughout spring that you can enjoy, as well. If you get lucky and go before Halloween you can also enjoy Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party at Magic Kingdom and if you go between Halloween and Christmas you can enjoy Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party! See there is so much to do at the Disney Parks that don't even involve rides and every single one of them is worth checking out.
Tired + Heat Factor
It's hot in Florida...that's no secret, but that doesn't mean you shouldn't go to Disney World while you're pregnant. It was in the low 90s while we were at the parks and while at times it was getting to me for the most part I felt great. I drank lots of water every day, took breaks in air conditioned buildings and stores (there's tons of spaces you can pop in to), enjoyed some pool time, and took a daily afternoon break where we napped and showered. My biggest piece of advice for this is to bring your own water bottle. Water is free at Disney, so you can go to any snack stall or restaurant and ask for a cup of water. Fill up your water bottle multiple times a day to make sure you don't get dehydrated and you will do just fine. Also if you stay at a Disney resort (which I highly recommend doing) go back to your hotel after lunch to take a nap, spend some time in the pool, and take a shower before heading back out for dinner and the night time shows. You'll feel so refreshed and ready for round 2.
Take Advantage of the Fun EVERYWHERE
There is so much to do at Disney World and I don't just mean at the parks. Like I mentioned above, take advantage of your hotel amenities like the pool! Our resort had hammocks all along the water that were perfect for relaxing in! Unfortunately it was under construction while we were there but if it wasn't I would have loved to curl up with a book in the mornings and have some coffee before heading to the parks. There is also Disney Springs and the Board Walk that are worth checking out. Do some shopping at Disney Springs and enjoy a relaxing afternoon or evening strolling the Board Walk with some yummy ice cream from Ample HIlls Creamery. You can also hop on over to a resort that has a spa! Caleb booked a prenatal massage for me at the Senses Spa at the Grand Floridian mid-week and it helped destress me and take away so much soreness that was building up from walking around and just being pregnant in general. It was a wonderful experience filled with being able to dip my feet in to the hot tub, relaxing in the lounge eating snacks and drinking cider, and pampering myself with all the special products they had in the locker room area. During this time Caleb picked a spot at Mizner's Lounge in the Grand Floridian and enjoyed a couple drinks and after we met up at the Garden View Room for high tea. It was a great mid-week break from the heat and the parks, as well as a way to do something different that we had never done before at Disney. It was a treat for both of us. A couple things that we wanted to try out but didn't have time for was going mini golfing at one of the golf courses and checking out the ESPN Wide World of Sports area. We didn't want to jam pack our schedule too much as we were there to relax and enjoy the parks as much as possible but if you feel like you need a break from walking around the parks but don't want to be hanging in your room I highly suggest checking those things out, too!
Lingering Question: Was it Worth It?
100% YES! One big factor of why we chose to go to Disney, too, is the distance from where we live. Orlando is only about a 2 hour flight from Chicago, which wasn't too agonizing being on a plane while I was pregnant. I was really uncomfortable on our flight to Portland since it was about 4 1/2 hours, which is a big reason why we chose not to go to Europe or Hawaii for our babymoon. We wanted to get somewhere quick but exciting. Obviously not everyone lives that close to Orlando but don't forget west coasters, you can go to Disneyland! Disney also has parks located in Paris, Hong Kong, Tokyo, and Shanghai, as well. There is literally Disney magic all over the world! I knew we'd have a great time at Disney but we honestly had the BEST TIME EVER! Even though I'm a huge rollercoaster fan and love all the "big kid rides" I can honestly say I had more fun this time around than I did last year when we went. It was so enjoyable to take things slow and take advantage of all things Disney has to offer, not just the rides. However, one of the best parts about going to Disney while I was pregnant though was seeing all the kids there. To see their faces light up when they see a character or watch the fireworks made my heart burst. It made me so excited to take our child there in the future and watch him be excited for all the wonderful things at Disney, too.
High Tea Outfit Details:
Dress: JCrew Factory (old, great fall pregnancy friendly option) | Minnie Ears: Disney Parks (available on the Shop Parks app)
Hopefully I've answered most of your questions now about going to Disney for your babymoon! If you do choose to go to Disney, I hope you have the most magical time! If you have anymore questions please leave me a comment below or let me know where you plan on going for your babymoon! Or if you're not pregnant where is your next exciting trip!? I love hearing about all of your vacations no matter what the occasion is for! Hope you all have a happy day!
Welcome to Tiny Dapper Fox! I'm Diana, a wifey, dog mom, and mama to a little boy. This is a place for sharing & inspiring the best in all of us and hopefully it will add a spark of joy to your life!
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