Disney stuff (PICTURES ADDED)

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Mosca
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2010/06/28 12:07:37 (permalink)

Disney stuff (PICTURES ADDED)

We just got back late Saturday. The food wasn't too bad, overall, and some of it was pretty good.

Here's a tip: if you can't get a reservation at Le Cellier, the steaks at the Grand Floridian Cafe are pretty damn good. I can't say they are the same as Le Cellier, because I've never gotten in there. But you get a quality steak. I had a grilled ribeye, my daughter had the NY strip. Both were what you'd want in a $30 steak, tender and savory. The parmesan fries were outstanding. If you're in EPCOT, then it doesn't matter, but if it's the steak that you're after and not the location, you could do worse. Better than an Outback or Lonestar, not as good as a Ruth's Chris. And priced inbetween, as well.

Other dinner meals: 

Sunday, Boma. Good stuff, nice buffet of unusual tastes. AK Lodge. Recommended.

sample Boma menu; it changes frequently, though.

Monday, Hoopty Do Revue. Fried chicken was tasty, ribs were "eh", beans were "eh". the show was fun. Expensive. Go for the show, not the food.

Hoopty menu

Tuesday, Sunshine Seasons in The Land at EPCOT. This is a quality cafeteria style place, with lots of healthy options. I had the vegetable flatbread sandwich for lunch, and liked it so much I got it again for dinner. The potato salad is great. Highly recommended for real food in the middle of a fantasy vacation.

Sunshine Seasons menu

Wednesday, 1900 Park Fair in The Grand Floridian. I was really surprised; this is usually pretty average to a little below, but this was decent. Lots of good stuff. I think it changes frequently. The "countries represented" the night we visited were Spain (paella, a couple different fish dishes), Italy (chicken marsala, several pastas), France (coq au vin, haricots, other tasty vegetables), and "Asian", which I did not sample. The carving station had steamship roast beef and roast pork; I didn't try the beef, the pork was very good. The characters are fun at this one; the evil stepmother and stepsisters are there, and they ham it up pretty good when the crowd is good. Expensive, but if the characters are getting into it it's worth it.

sample 1900 Park Fair menu. This only matched what we were presented by about half.


Thursday, grabbed a bite at the casual Gasparilla Grill. Jerk chicken sandwich was OK enough. Not worth noting, overall. A place to satisfy hunger.

Friday, Grand Floridian Cafe. Three of our party had the shrimp and penne, and all thought it was very good and represented a Disney-type bargain; not cheap, but at $17.99, cheap for Disney. As an appetizer I had the chevre and tomato salad, which was absolutely excellent. I'll actually go ahead and recommend this one; it's a monorail ride from the Magic Kingdom. You can go to the MK, take 90 minutes or so out of your day and dine here, and return to MK for Extra Magic evening hours on those nights.

Grand Floridian Cafe menu



Other stuff worth noting: the burritos at El Pirata y el Perico in Magic Kingdom's Adventureland/Frontierland are absolutely edible. The burgers at all the WDW theme parks are better than I remember them, but still not really good, just not heartburn inducing like they used to be.

Beer. Dogfish Head 60 Minute IPA was available at every sit-down meal. And Sam Adams Blackberry Witbeir was available at the cafeterias. That was nice.

Dining at Universal is a cluster. They have none of Disney's sense of crowd control, it seems; people get shuffled into dead ends, and the lines are long. The quality of the food is about equal; it fills you up. We didn't get to Mythos in Lost Continent this time; Mythos is pretty good.

Harry Potter... what a waste. 90 minutes to just get into the sub-area. Two existing rides from Lost Continent were renamed and made almost inaccessible. 45 minutes to get into a shop, then once inside packed elbow to elbow to shoulder. Butterbeer is cream soda with a butterscotch foam head added. It costs $10 a mug, you get to keep the mug... which means you get to walk around the rest of the day holding the mug.

I took some pictures, but after a couple meals I stopped. It all looks like food. I was thinking of posting them and captioning them, "here is a plate of stuff". Photos can be helpful, but for Disney, where you are a captive audience, I think that a positive recommendation is more important than a picture of what it looks like when you get there... I mean, bean soup is white, vegetable soup is red-orange, ribs look like ribs, etc.

Get your dining reservations early. The Disney Dining Plan has made it very difficult to just walk in anywhere.

Overall, the food is better than I remember it from even a couple years ago. Remember, though: THIS IS NOT A FOOD DESTINATION. Don't treat it as such and you won't be unhappy.
post edited by Mosca - 2010/06/28 21:13:50
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    sk bob
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    Re:Disney stuff (no pictures) 2010/06/28 18:12:08 (permalink)
    glad you had a good time Mosca.
    we live 1 hour from the mouse & never go there. too expensive even with our locals discount.
    I don't do crowds, tourists,or kids too well.
    they aren't bashfull about the food prices. but they do have a captive audience.
    did you leave the park at all?
    #2
    Mosca
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    Re:Disney stuff (no pictures) 2010/06/28 19:34:13 (permalink)
    Just to go to Universal, sk bob. We've stayed off property before, but not recently. Our traveling companions prefer the Disney resorts, so that's what we do.

    If I had my choice, I'd probably vacation somewhere else. I'm all moused out.

    Here's a non-food picture, taken inside the Mexico pavilion at EPCOT's World Showcase.


    #3
    ynotryme
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    Re:Disney stuff (no pictures) 2010/06/28 20:00:02 (permalink)
     Been there a dozen times and can't wait to go back.
    #4
    joerogo
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    Re:Disney stuff (no pictures) 2010/06/28 20:21:10 (permalink)
    Mosca, I'm with you buddy, all moused out.  Been there waaaaay too many times, but the Wife still loves it.


    We were there the week before you(Margaret's Birthday)  At Mexico in Epcot, we did some damage at the tequila bar.  Excellent chicken tostados also.  


    Getting a dinner reservation is next to impossible, and as a rule, I don't wait in line.  We ended up at a Japanese Steak House and Brazilian Steak House outside the park for dinner.  Both were home runs.




    #5
    Mosca
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    Re:Disney stuff (no pictures) 2010/06/28 21:00:10 (permalink)
    joerogo

    Mosca, I'm with you buddy, all moused out.  Been there waaaaay too many times, but the Wife still loves it.


    We were there the week before you(Margaret's Birthday)  At Mexico in Epcot, we did some damage at the tequila bar.  Excellent chicken tostados also.  


    Getting a dinner reservation is next to impossible, and as a rule, I don't wait in line.  We ended up at a Japanese Steak House and Brazilian Steak House outside the park for dinner.  Both were home runs.


    Joe, what I did was, I made a whole slew of lunch and dinner reservations online, and then we kept the ones we could. It seems cold, but that is the only way to survive, I think. We only had two carved in stone; Boma and the Hoopty. For all the other nights, I made a reservation at our home resort at either 1900 or GFC, and picked parks at random. We actually had the Biergarten on the day we were in EPCOT, but no one wanted to go there, spend the $$, walk to Germany, and eat all that food. Of course, I would have gone. But I was happy with Sunshine Seasons; cheaper, less food, right near where we wanted to be (fast passes for Soarin') and a good flavor to eat. We decided to go to Universal Thurs and Fri, so lunch was blown off those days; we weren't at Hollywood the day we had rezzies for 50's Prime Time.

    It would have been fun to be there the same time and meet up; we were originally set for that week, but changed it because another guy at work had that week off (and went to Disney)! We ran into some folks from Carbondalay, shared some laffs.
    #6
    Mosca
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    Re:Disney stuff (no pictures) 2010/06/28 21:20:04 (permalink)
    Here are some plates of stuff:

    The grilled veggie sandwich at Sunshine Seasons. I'm a meat eater, but this was so good I had it for lunch and dinner.





    A plate of stuff from Boma. I dunno, it was all good. There's some felafel, some other stuff, some pork, and some other stuff. Some beans, too.




    Another plate of stuff from Boma. Salady stuff. This was good.




    Soup. It was good.




    The stuff from Hoopty. I'd have that chicken 3 times a week, but the ribs were below average (still ribs, though, I ate 'em). The beans should have been good, but weren't all that great.




    After that I stopped taking food pictures.




    #7
    Nancypalooza
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    Re:Disney stuff (no pictures) 2010/06/29 11:00:34 (permalink)
    That veggie sandwich does look good.  /making notes to copy

    I did my time at the Mouse.  1995.  Won't go back without children in tow.  I would pretty much rather be shot.
    #8
    joerogo
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    Re:Disney stuff (no pictures) 2010/06/29 15:02:43 (permalink)
    Mosca, I was checking out that sandwich and the wood roasted chicken.  But I was too full to do anything about it.


    If I ever go back(God Forbid)that is going to be my first stop.
    #9
    ellen4641
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    Re:Disney stuff (no pictures) 2010/06/29 22:35:52 (permalink)
    thanks for sharing, Mosca !

    lol@ "all moused out", JOE ROGO !
    lol @ "a plate of stuff", Mosca !!

    I drove over to Animal Kingdom Lodge , and just told the guard at the gate that I wanted to check it out...
    I ate a ZEBRA DOME in the snack bar.... it was a very sweet rich dessert, (sort of like a cross between a cannoli and a black and white cookie, for lack of a better description)
    You probably saw them and/or ate them on your buffet......
    as I did a buffet "inspection" afterwards, and noticed those Zebra Domes on there...
    #10
    mr chips
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    Re:Disney stuff (no pictures) 2010/07/01 14:25:55 (permalink)
    Thanks for sharing, Mosca. I actually liked the Brown Derby in the movie area when I was in the Magic Kingdom. I like reading about the experiences though I am far likely to visit Disneyland than Disneyworld in the near future.
    post edited by mr chips - 2010/07/11 17:44:45
    #11
    tkitna
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    Re:Disney stuff (no pictures) 2010/07/01 23:42:57 (permalink)
    My family will be there in early September. Six days at Disney and four days at Universal. My wife and I havent been there since the mid 70's when we were children so I cant wait to take my kids.

    My wife didnt want to leave the parks were going to be in so I made reservations in accordance. She booked the vacation with the Dining Plan also, but heres what I have planned-

    T-Rex
    Tusker House
    Coral Reef
    Sci-Fi Cafe
    50's Prime Time
    Le Chefs De France
    Liberty Inn Tavern

    I couldnt get Le Cellier of course, so hopefully those will be decent enough. I'm kind of clueless when it comes to dining at Universal. I suppose we'll play it by ear.
    #12
    leethebard
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    Re:Disney stuff (no pictures) 2010/07/02 09:52:33 (permalink)
    We also loved the Brown Derby...weren't in the mood for what Boma had the day we went......most of the restaurants around the Epcot Countries are excellent....had a nice meal at Libert Tree...Chef Mickey and Crystal Palace have some great food for an "all you can eat" (and drink, for those hot days!) Califonia Grill still is the classiest award winning place at Disney, with the BEST view of the Magic Kingdom Fireworks!!
    #13
    Mosca
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    Re:Disney stuff (no pictures) 2010/07/02 10:48:29 (permalink)
    tkitna, We've had good sit-down meals at Universal at Pastamore, in the CityWalk on the way into the amusement parks. Not great, but good; solid Italian. Jimmy Buffet's is usually packed tight for slightly below average burgers.

    Sci-Fi cafe; is that Cosmic Ray's Starlight Cafe in Tomorrowland? McDonald's style cafeteria stuff. Good for kids, used to be pretty bad but now it won't give you heartburn.

    Most dining in Universal parks is "eh"; it's edible, won't give you heartburn, but won't bring you back, either. In Universal Studios, Richter's Burgers is ok, cafeteria style McDonald's. Lombard Seafood has good fish sandwiches, but was closed when we were there last week. In Islands of Adventure, Mythos has won "Best Theme Park Restaurant in the World" for several years running; it's pretty good. The worst thing about Universal and Disney casual dining is the poor line and crowd control; you usually wind up holding a tray of food for a family, with nowhere to go with it. But people make do, and everyone seems to eat.

    I'm going to go a little off topic and cut/paste a review I did of The Wizarding World of Harry Potter for a travel forum. It's information worth having if you're considering visiting there.


    --------


    OK, here's the skinny.

    We arrived at the park at opening. At a reasonable walking pace, we made it to the line, which by that time stretched from WWHP, through Adventureland, through Toon Lagoon; and not straight through, but circuitously, around the edges, with ropes doubling the line back on itself. We hit the line at about 9:10. This wasn't the line for any one attraction; this was the line to get into WWHP. (EDIT: The wait in line was almost 2 hours, we got into WWHP at about 10:50.)





    *TIP: When we left WWHP, there was no line. Go do other stuff first, while everyone is in line, go on Spiderman, Hulk, Jurassic Park, all the stuff that's usually 60 minutes will be 25 minutes. Go to WWHP after 1-2 PM. You can save on the Express Passes, too; they are not valid in WWHP, nor on the Rip Ride Rocket in Universal Studios. WWHP is still just as crowded then as it is any other time, but you don't have to wait in line to get in, just at the attractions inside.

    Once inside WWHP, it is a cluster, at least now. You will be basically elbow to elbow, shoulder to shoulder anywhere you want to go. Not much attention was places on crowd movement, IMO; on entering, you can go to the left, for the new ride, or to the right, which leads down a cul-de-sac, where 75% of the crowd goes (and then tries to get out of); anyone who isn't going to the left, plus everyone coming from the left. The shops and restaurants are down the cul-de-sac. The lines to get into the shops depend on where then are; count on 45 minutes (at least this summer) to get into the high traffic area shops.



    I found a shop off the the side and waited about 15-20 minutes, but once inside it was elbow to elbow, shoulder to shoulder. It's hard to describe just how bad traffic was in that store. On entering, there is a large display shelf almost in front of the door; you have to go either left, or right. The corridors for either are only large enough for one person at a time. But if you go right, that is also the checkout area. So you have to go left... but that is where the people who are leaving without buying are trying to go the other direction from you. This was a wand shop. You are supposed to get one fitted for you, but people were just reaching for wand boxes, like those old cartoons from the 40s of women at department store sales.



    There was a neat display inside, though; a book that bites.




    There are two old rides that have been renamed and had the fences moved to bring them into the new park, Dragon Challenge and Flight of the Hippogriff were coasters previously in The Lost Continent. There is one new ride, HP's Forbidden Journey. As you might expect, this is the direction most people go upon entering...



    WARNING: Big/fat people (like me) need not stand in line. Go right to the front, try the test seats. If you can't click them shut 3 times in a row, don't bother. I couldn't come within 6" of a click, but I'm pretty big (6'2", 300 lbs). However, you don't have to be real, real big. The chairs are off to the right, behind the crowd in this photo, you can see the top:



    Those in the party who did go on the ride thought it was pretty good; they described it as "Soarin' on steroids", where all the swoops and drops and turns are much faster and abrupt. The wait was about 45 minutes, controlled mostly by the limitation on the number of guests allowed into WWHP.


    DO NOT attempt to eat sit-down food here if you are immediately hungry! The line to get into any dining area is, I dunno; an hour, maybe? 90 minutes? And even upon leaving WWHP, the closest dining areas were packed. We wound up waiting 25 minutes in line at the border of Adventureland and Toon Lagoon.


    The wait for Butterbeer was 45 minutes.



    Butterbeer is cream soda with a butterscotch foam applied. A large costs... $10.65. But you get to keep the mug. You get to carry the mug around with you the rest of the day.

    *TIP: If you want a butterbeer quickly; go to where the bathrooms are, and there is a small, peaceful patio. There is a door back there into a bar area, and the line was only about 10 people deep. No food served at the bar, though. And there was no one at the patio, either.

    I caught the singing frogs, but I was in line at the time and didn't get a picture. Fun a capella.

    Overall, to say I was underwhelmed is not quite right; disappointed is more like it. If you are used to Disney, and aware of the differences between Disney and Universal, then the worst of those differences are on display here. Disney are masters of understanding crowds, and they don't funnel people into cul-de-sacs. Their shops are open, with multiple traffic lanes. The most recent attractions, like Soarin', have fun waiting areas. Universal tries to make the experience more immersive, but in doing so they tend to ignore the realities that their "worlds" are set into.

    All of this might change, of course, as people get used to WWHP and the excitement dies down. I hope so. But in the end, it really looks like it was designed for maybe 1,000 or so people at a time, not for what we estimated at perhaps 10,000-15,000.  (EDIT: I checked with Mary Joan, she says more like 2,500-5,000 at a time.) If your kids are looking forward to it, go. Do it later in the day, not at the beginning. Skip the express passes, they're not good in WWHP and not needed elsewhere (because WWHP sucks people away from the other good stuff).

    And also; we went to Universal Studios the next day, and it was delightful! The longest we waited for anything was 15 minutes for Men in Black, we walked right onto/into almost everything else, including Terminator 3D and The Mummy (the kids rode it 3 times in a row). The line for burgers was about 10 people deep. We saw and did everything we wanted to between 11AM and 4PM, and we were back at the hotel by 6.

    They skipped the Rip Ride Rocket; it seemed to break down frequently, didn't take Express Pass, and frankly it looked pretty intimidating to them both; the first thing it does is takes you straight up. It was shut down when we arrived, and during the day there were frequent lapses between cars of as long as 15 minutes. Here it is shut down:


    #14
    Mosca
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    Re:Disney stuff (no pictures) 2010/07/02 11:05:20 (permalink)
    Also, tkitna; The Polynesian, Grand Floridian, and Contemporary are all a monorail away from the Magic Kingdom. You guys should just consider these part of the Magic Kingdom. The kids will consider the monorail to be another ride, one that is air conditioned; and on Late Hours nights, you can just monorail back to MK. Or you can hop a boat over to The Poly or The Grand Floridian. and monorail back, or vice versa.

    Younger kids (12 and under) will absolutely love the character dinner at 1900 Park Fare in the Grand Floridian, with Cinderella, Prince Charming, and the Stepmother and Stepsisters. The stepsisters are a serious hoot.

    'Ohana at The Polynesian is pretty good food, with lots of involvement for younger kids (again, 10 and under). You won't leave 'Ohana hungry. Same advice for the monorail.
    post edited by Mosca - 2010/07/02 11:10:46
    #15
    MiamiDon
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    Re:Disney stuff (no pictures) 2010/07/02 12:32:29 (permalink)
    That Disney World is just a tourist trap!

    #16
    Jennifer_4
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    Re:Disney stuff (no pictures) 2010/07/02 15:27:34 (permalink)
    I've just never understood the allure of the whole Disney experience... especially all the walking and standing in line.... seems like a big chunk out of your life that you could actually be DOING something...
    #17
    ces1948
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    Re:Disney stuff (no pictures) 2010/07/02 18:21:03 (permalink)
    I was among the first to visit Disney World when it first opened. The first year my friends and I went several times and thought it was great. I was a much younger fellow then and I don't have a lot of desire for a return trip. Would like to visit Sea World though.
    #18
    Davydd
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    Re:Disney stuff (no pictures) 2010/07/02 19:25:31 (permalink)
    If you are from California don't confuse Disneyland with Orlando's Disneyworld.

    I have visited Seaworld in Orlando. I thoroughly enjoyed it. The last couple of times at Disneyworld I never got past Downtown Disney and in to the park. No kids along.
    #19
    sk bob
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    Re:Disney stuff (no pictures) 2010/07/02 20:51:52 (permalink)
    imagine, people pay BIG bucks just to stand in line.
    I don't care whats at the end of that line. I won't do it.
    #20
    Mosca
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    Re:Disney stuff (no pictures) 2010/07/02 23:20:52 (permalink)
    I dunno. There's also people who pay big bucks for other people to whip them with chains.

    Seriously; along about the middle of Wednesday, Mrs Mosca looked at me and said, "We could have gone to Vegas." I was thinking the exact same thing, at the exact same time; I was going to say it to her. Some days were pretty good, though. The Animal Kingdom has become my favorite park. The pace there is slower, the park is greener, and the crowds are less intense. And the Safari Tour is pretty amazing.



    And we blew right through Universal Studios, because everyone was at the Harry Potter theme park.

    For anyone going, I highly recommend spending the extra $$ on The Unofficial Guide, which gets you access to Touringplans.com. Those folks did real research on how crowds move through the parks, and they have schedules that help you spend more time having fun and less time standing in line sweating. I'm a "wing it" kind of traveler, and I found their advice invaluable; if you are a planner, it will be revelatory. Hey, you're already in for thousands, an extra $20 or so to maximize the value is worth it. And frankly, the research they did is worth the $$ spent.
    #21
    BillyB
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    Re:Disney stuff (no pictures) 2010/07/03 11:34:51 (permalink)
    Mosca

    I dunno. There's also people who pay big bucks for other people to whip them with chains.

    Seriously; along about the middle of Wednesday, Mrs Mosca looked at me and said, "We could have gone to Vegas." I was thinking the exact same thing, at the exact same time; I was going to say it to her. Some days were pretty good, though. The Animal Kingdom has become my favorite park. The pace there is slower, the park is greener, and the crowds are less intense. And the Safari Tour is pretty amazing.



    And we blew right through Universal Studios, because everyone was at the Harry Potter theme park.

    For anyone going, I highly recommend spending the extra $$ on The Unofficial Guide, which gets you access to Touringplans.com. Those folks did real research on how crowds move through the parks, and they have schedules that help you spend more time having fun and less time standing in line sweating. I'm a "wing it" kind of traveler, and I found their advice invaluable; if you are a planner, it will be revelatory. Hey, you're already in for thousands, an extra $20 or so to maximize the value is worth it. And frankly, the research they did is worth the $$ spent.


    I agree with you, Animal kingdom is a great park, and one of my favorites. I just goy back from San Diego and IMHO Disney does a better job with Animal Kingdom then they do at the San Diego Zoo. The BBQ restaurant in the AK does a good job, for park food that is...............Nice to see you had a great time......................BillyB
    #22
    forgop
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    Re:Disney stuff (no pictures) 2010/07/04 19:16:08 (permalink)
    Disney dining is very hit and miss.  My favorite meals have been had at Le Cellier (best steak in all of Disney-better than Yachtsman, Flying Fish, Citricos, and Narcoossee's, all of which are signature dining restaurants).

    I'd avoid Tutto Italia, Coral Reef, and Akhersus.  My favorites are Le Cellier, Biergarten, Whispering Canyon Cafe, Boma, Crystal Palace, 50's Prime Time Cafe, & Cape May Cafe.
    #23
    tkitna
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    Re:Disney stuff (no pictures) 2010/07/11 01:34:08 (permalink)
    Thanks for all the advice Mosca. It'll come in handy.
    #24
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