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Disney to Announce ‘Star Wars’ Theme Park Plans Soon

Back in June 2013, Disney revealed that its then newly-acquired Star Wars franchise would be integrated into the company’s theme parks around the world. CEO Bob Iger teased in December that the theme park rides will be based on Star Wars: The Force Awakens and its subsequent sequels and spinoffs.

Bob Iger recently told Wall Street analysts that the company is deep into development with their Star Wars theme park plans, with a formal announcement coming “later in 2015.”

“Fairly soon, I’m sure we’ll be ready to go public with some specifics. But it’s safe to say that you’ll see a lot more Star Wars at Disney and at Disney parks in the near future.” – Bob Iger

While the plans will be announced later this year, Bob Iger added that this ambitious endeavor will take a long time to get off the ground.

“(There is) a fair amount of design and development (taking place by the company’s Imagineers) to greatly increase Star Wars presence in multiple locations around the world. The plans are ambitious, so it’s going to take some time for them to be built and opened.” – Bob Iger

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While the Disney CEO didn’t say exactly when these Star Wars theme park plans will be unveiled, it’s possible that the announcement may be made during Star Wars Celebration in April, or Disney’s annual D23 Convention in August, both of which will take place at the Anaheim Convention Center. It’s possible the announcement could also be made on Star Wars Day, May 4, but we should learn more specific details about Disney’s Star Wars theme park plans well before Star Wars: The Force Awakens hits theaters on December 18.

What ideas do you have about a Star Wars themed park at Disney?

Source: MovieWeb.com

Why You Should Choose a Walt Disney World Resort, Part 1

We love Walt Disney World and chances are you do too.  But it can sometimes be a little overwhelming when it comes time to decide where to stay.  With 25 resort hotels on Disney Property, and dozens more surrounding Walt Disney World, the choice can be difficult to decide which one is right for you and your family.

So over the next few weeks, we’re going to take a deeper look into why you should choose a Walt Disney World Resort for your next vacation!

Why You Should Choose a Walt Disney World Resort, Part 1

Each Resort Has Its Own Unique Magic

Disney Resort hotels offer unique themed experiences, Character Dining and a variety of recreation choices. See how magical your vacation at a Disney Resort hotel can be:

Themed Experiences: Disney Resort hotels are famous for their elaborate theming. You can stroll a seaside Boardwalk, encounter wild animals of the savanna, discover the French Quarter of New Orleans, delight in 20th-century pop culture or much more.

Themed Pools: From sandy-bottomed lagoons and pirate galleons to guitar-shaped pools, splashing in the water is always an adventure at a Disney Resort hotel.

Character Dining: Dine with beloved Disney Characters in a variety of fanciful surroundings. Discover the many ways to meet Disney Characters.

Golf: Complement your Resort stay with a round of golf at one of our championship courses featuring lush green fairways and tournament-ready surfaces. Explore Disney Golf.

Why You Should Choose a Walt Disney World Resort, Part 1

Next time, we will see some of the differences that make Walt Disney World Resorts unique!

Contact Kingdom Magic Today and Discover The Walt Disney World Resort Difference for Yourself!

It’s Time to Show Your Disney Side

We’ll be hearing a lot more about the idea of showing your Disney side – the side of you that says “yes” more often, laughs louder and lives life to the fullest. It’s the side of you that embraces fun and comes out to play the moment you step through the gates at Disney Parks.

It's Time to Show Your Disney Side

Everyone has a Disney side. And Disney Parks Blog recently premiered a new television spots featuring one family’s galactic Disney side.

Disney Parks also released a Lion King themed promo as well.

Along with these videos, Disney also just launched a new destination – DisneySide.com. At the site, Disney fans are able to share their own Disney side with the world and see what’s being posted and talked about online.

Fans can also share with the hashtag #DisneySide across their social Media channels, including Twitter, Vine, Instagram, Google+ and Facebook.

Disney Parks has also launched a Show Your Disney Side Vine contest.  Vine is a mobile app that enables its users to create and post short video clips.  Disney fans can upload their Disney Side Vines at Disney Vine Contest.

Here is great example of a Show Your Disney Side Vine..

So, what’s your Disney side? Let us know in the comments below and then share some magic at DisneySide.com

5 Simple Tips To Enjoy Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party

If you are anything like us, you love Fall and Halloween at the Magic Kingdom and especially Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party!  These parties are extra special events where they close the Magic Kingdom to regular park guests and bring in some extra special Halloween decorations and treats that you can only experience at the Party!

Here are 5 tips to help you enjoy these parties and get the most treats with no tricks!

1.  This is a Family Friendly Event  – Like the name implies, this is a Not-So-Scary Halloween Party.  Unlike other Orlando Theme Parks, Walt Disney World offers a purely family-friendly environment that is suitable for children of all ages.  There are some dark areas, but if your kids loves the Haunted Mansion, that is about as dark as the entire evening gets!

2.  Wear A Costume – Children are always allowed to wear Princess Outfits or Pirate Costumes in Disney Parks, but adults do not have that luxury…except for Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Parties!  As long as you wear a costume that does not cover your face (ie. a full head or face mask) you are welcome to enjoy the party.  Remember, it’s still pretty warm in Orlando during the Fall, so make sure that your costume is lightweight an not too heavy!

5 Simple Tips To Enjoy Mickey's Not-So-Scary Halloween Party

3.  Trick Or Treat All Night Long – During the party, there are several locations located all around the Magic Kingdom…and you can trick-or-treat as much as you want.  You can return as much as you want and as the night progresses, many Cast Members often become more generous in their treat giving.  We suggest bringing your own bag though…the bags that Disney provides are a little small.

4.  Arrive A Little Early – Even though Mickey’s Party officially starts at 7 p.m., which is when all of the entertainment actually begins, guests can enter with their Halloween Party tickets as early as 4 p.m. This is not something Walt Disney World advertises, but it absolutely is true, and you will see plenty of other guests arriving at 4 p.m., and Cast Members in their Halloween outfits at the turnstiles.  This allows you to enjoy a full 8 hours inside the park, for 1/2 the price!

5.  Make Time to Meet Characters – Haloweentime is one of the best times to meet your favorite Disney Characters, and during Mickey’s Not-So-Scary parties, all your favorite characters are dressed in special Trick-or-treat costumes!  Past favorites are Winnie the Pooh and friends, Snow White, and all 7 dwarfs – they are all not to be missed!!

5 Simple Tips To Enjoy Mickey's Not-So-Scary Halloween Party

Mickey’s No-So-Scary Halloween Parties are Hard Ticketed events, which means you have to buy a separate ticked for entrance to the party.  The parties run on select nights in September and October from 7:00 pm to Midnight.

Contact your Kingdom Magic Travel Planner when you book your Walt Disney World Vacation and let them know you need tickets to Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party today!

The New Princess Fairytale Hall Opens Its Doors September 18 at Magic Kingdom

While Walt Disney Imagineers are busy putting the finishing touches on Princess Fairytale Hall in Magic Kingdom Park, they shared some news and a video with us. This exquisitely detailed Disney Princess character greeting location is the next to debut as a part of the New Fantasyland expansion – and Disney Parks Blog was happy to share that the Hall will officially open its doors on Sept. 18.

The New Princess Fairytale Hall Opens Its Doors September 18 at Magic Kingdom

Walt Disney Imagineering also shared a new sneak peek video with us in honor of today’s announcement. In it, Imagineers Pam Rawlins and Jason Grandt explain just how detailed this new character greeting area will be. In addition to a castle-like entrance, high ceilings and elegant wood-paneled rooms, the space will feature beautiful princess portraits, themed wallpaper, glittering stained glass windows and accessories that have been inspired by props seen in films like “Cinderella” and “Tangled.”

As a reminder, Princess Fairytale Hall will offer two separate character greeting experiences, which means there are two queues to choose from. You can choose to meet either Cinderella or Rapunzel, each of whom will be joined by one fellow Disney princess.

And yes, Princess Fairytale Hall will offer both traditional Disney FASTPASS and the new Disney FastPass+ options.

Source – Disney Parks Blog

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Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom Hitchhiking Ghost Card Debuts at Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party

When Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party returns to Magic Kingdom Park next week, Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom fans are in for an additional treat – the chance to pick up an event-exclusive game card!

Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom Hitchhiking Ghost Card Debuts at Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party

Just in case you’re new to the game, Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom is an in-park interactive experience that allows guests join Merlin’s quest to defeat Disney Villains who are scheming to take over Magic Kingdom Park. Guests use maps to search for villain hideouts throughout the park, visit magic portals and use spell cards to foil a villain’s plan. The quest begins in the Firehouse on Main Street, U.S.A., where you can pick up key cards, spell cards and maps (additional cards can be purchased at select merchandise locations).

This special card features the Hitchhiking Ghosts from the Haunted Mansion attraction and lets us “sorcerers” tap into the supernatural power that lies within the Haunted Mansion’s graveyard. Players can use the card to direct poltergeists to scare away any Disney villains they may come across on their journey.

This special event card will be distributed separately from the regular Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom card packs (yes, you can pick up both while attending the party). The Hitchhiking Ghost card is available at both the Magic Kingdom Firehouse and the Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom location behind Ye Olde Christmas Shoppe during the party, and guests must register to play with their party ticket and event wristband in order to get one.

Source: Disney Parks Blog

Fountain View Reopens Now Serving Starbucks at Epcot and New Openings Ahead at Walt Disney Parks & Resorts Locations

Walt Disney World has officially reopened Fountain View at Epcot. And now, this Future World favorite is serving Starbucks drinks and menu items as well as your favorite house-made Disney treats.

Fountain View Reopens Now Serving Starbucks at Epcot and New Openings Ahead at Walt Disney Parks & Resorts Locations

Fountain View will be offering items like Starbucks Artisan breakfast sandwiches along with Disney cookies, brownies and gourmet cupcakes at the bakery. Starbucks offerings also include coffee as well as espresso and Frappuccino blended beverages. And yes, Fountain View will accept Starbucks cards.

Fountain View Reopens Now Serving Starbucks at Epcot and New Openings Ahead at Walt Disney Parks & Resorts Locations

Fountain View is the second location serving Starbucks at the Walt Disney World Resort. And like the Main Street Bakery, Fountain View in Future World at Epcot was designed to fit the current theme of its location.

Fountain View Reopens Now Serving Starbucks at Epcot and New Openings Ahead at Walt Disney Parks & Resorts Locations

More locations are coming to Disney’s Hollywood StudiosDisney’s Animal Kingdom and, Downtown Disney so be sure and keep an eye open for updates.

Fountain View Reopens Now Serving Starbucks at Epcot and New Openings Ahead at Walt Disney Parks & Resorts Locations

Book your vacation with Kingdom Magic Vacations
and visit this unique Starbucks?

Epcot International Food & Wine Festival Opens in Less Than a Month – Are You Ready?

Disney Parks Blog has shared some new information about the upcoming Food and Wine Festival and we wanted to share it with you!  Can you tell we’re all very excited?

A little fun news on the beverage front: the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival will be among the first venues in Florida to serve wine on tap in 5-gallon kegs under the new Florida law that allows wine to be dispensed from sustainable stainless-steel containers.

Epcot International Food & Wine Festival Opens in Less Than a Month - Are You Ready?

Two locations – the Festival Center and Refreshment Cool Post – will be serving from kegs, with a Pinot Gris and Pinot Noir at Cool Post and a Cabernet and Chardonnay in the Festival Center.

“The wines on tap offer guests a fresh glass of wine with every pour,” says Marianne Hunnel, in charge of Content Development for the festival. “They’re good quality, mid-range wines, and when we tasted side by side with the bottle and keg, we couldn’t tell the difference.” From an environmental perspective there is less waste. No need for bottles, cardboard, corks or labels.

Epcot International Food & Wine Festival Opens in Less Than a Month - Are You Ready?

On the culinary front, sometimes it’s the little things – we got a taste of the “vegetarian haggis with neeps and tatties” from the new Scotland Marketplace, and it may be our new favorite. In case you’re wondering, in English we translate that as a “griddled vegetable cake with rutabaga (neeps) and mashed potatoes (tatties).” The name of the dish may sound odd to many of us, but the crispy, peppery haggis and mellow veggies are a real treat.

Epcot International Food & Wine Festival Opens in Less Than a Month - Are You Ready?

Other delightful new-for-2013 bites we tried and recommend: the sweet, griddled lobster tail with garlic herb butter from the Hops & Barley Marketplace; Berbere-style beef with onions, jalapeños, tomato, okra and pap (grits) from Africa Marketplace; and the gooey Scottish banoffee tart (banana-toffee is such a delish combo). On the beverage side, kids are going to love the drinkable Frozen S’Mores from Desserts & Champagne, grown-ups will be lining up for the Orange Dole Whip with Crème de Cacao White.

With more than 40 new dishes and 80 new beverages, it will take a while to work our way around World Showcase Lagoon Septemember 27-November 11.

It’s Not Too Late! 
Book Your Walt Disney World Vacation Today
and Don’t Miss a Minute of Food and Wine Festival 2013

Richard Sherman and Alan Menken D23 Expo Live Press Conference

Disney fans looking forward to the incredible D23 Expo this weekend in Anaheim, California got a sneak peak at the amazing event featuring Richard Sherman and Alan Menken live on stage together!

Richard Sherman and Alan Menken D23 Expo Live Press Conference

Richard Sherman & Alan Menken

During a conference call for fans and press, Sherman and Menken discussed the plans for the live event as well as their carriers in Disney, Broadway, and film.

From D23.com:

Richard M. Sherman and Alan Menken: The Disney Songbook one night only, two of the world’s most celebrated songwriters and composers will take to the stage. Richard Sherman and Menken have won a combined 10 Academy Awards for their work with Disney, and have composed music and songs for more than three dozen Disney feature films, over two dozen Disney Park attractions, and half a dozen Disney musicals on Broadway.

Enjoy this press conference from Richard Sherman and Alan Menken.

[sc_embed_player fileurl=”http://www.wdwparkhoppers.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/08/d23-richard-sherman-alan-menken-call.mp3″]

Richard M. Sherman and his brother Robert B. Sherman composed some of the most beloved songs in the Disney canon. The Disney Legends won two Oscars® for their work on Mary Poppins, and during their decades–long association with Disney they wrote more than 200 songs for 27 films and two dozen television productions. They made unforgettable contributions to such Disney films as The Parent Trap, The Jungle Book, Bedknobs and Broomsticks, and the entire Winnie the Pooh series, as well as the family classic Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. They also penned beloved songs for Disney Parks including the theme songs for Walt Disney’s Enchanted Tiki Room, it’s a small world, and Carousel of Progress. Richard wrote the song “Make Way for Tomorrow Today” for the blockbuster film Iron Man 2.

With eight Academy Awards, Alan Menken has received more Oscars than any living person. He has written songs and scores for some of the world’s most beloved films: TangledEnchanted, The Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast , Aladdin, Pocahontas, Hercules, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, Little Shop of Horrors, Home on the Range and Newsies. His song “Star Spangled Man,” was the patriotic anthem of the 2011 hit film Captain America: The First Avenger. Menken’s Broadway successes include his 2012 Tony Award® for Newsies, plus The Little MermaidBeauty and the Beast, Little Shop of Horrors, and Sister Act . His other stage productions include King David, God Bless You Mr. Rosewater, The Hunchback of Notre Dame and his latest stage production Aladdin: The New Musical, opening next year. 

Hi-Yo Silver! Disney’s ‘The Lone Ranger’ Merchandise Rides into Disney Parks

With the release of Disney’s “The Lone Ranger,”  Disney’s Hollywood Studios has some new merchandise worthy of any masked lawman in the West.

At the AFI Showcase Shop located at the exit of the Studio Backlot Tour you can find a handful of exciting items based on the film. Similar to other major film releases like “Monsters University” or “Wreck-It Ralph,” the Disney Theme Park Merchandise team partnered with the Disney Store to introduce things from the national market.   There were some merchandise, however, created especially for Disney Parks.

Disney's ‘The Lone Ranger’ Merchandise Rides into Disney Parks

One item sure to catch your eye is the Texas Rangers replica badge. This iconic badge was developed by our souvenirs team at Disney Theme Park Merchandise. The Disney Parks team also created a youth T-shirt featuring the two lead characters from the motion picture.

Disney's ‘The Lone Ranger’ Merchandise Rides into Disney Parks

Other items include toys like action figures of the Lone Ranger, Tonto, and Silver the horse. There are also a variety of LEGO play sets featuring scenes and characters from the film.

Disney's ‘The Lone Ranger’ Merchandise Rides into Disney Parks

Finally, there was a new two-figure Vinylmation set that was released at the D-Street locations in both Florida and California and a limited release pin that has a spinner element.

Disney's ‘The Lone Ranger’ Merchandise Rides into Disney Parks

New Fantasylant Project Team Members Receive Key Piece of a New Attraction

According to the Disney Parks Blog, Walt Disney Imagineering just shared a photo of a very special delivery they received here the Walt Disney World Resort earlier this week.

New Fantasylant Project Team Members Receive Key Piece of a New Attraction

The very first mine train car was delivered at Walt Disney World this week for the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train attraction. The car, which can be seen above, will now be taken to a backstage area where it will receive a themed paint job and get ready for the 2014 debut in New Fantasyland at Magic Kingdom Park.

Does this get you excited for the new Seven Dwarfs Mine Train Attraction?

‘Limited Time Magic’ Sweets to Celebrate Independence Week at Disney Parks

Fourth of July themed sweets at Magic Kingdom Park, Epcot and Disney’s Hollywood Studios are a special “Limited Time Magic” treat, on menus for just one week from July 1-7.
Here’s what you’ll find:

Over at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, ever-popular cupcakes celebrate the Fourth of July with an all-American “apple pie” cupcake – vanilla cake with apple pie filling, caramel buttercream frosting and apple crisp topping. Topped off with a flourish of red, white and blue sprinkles and a red, white and blue white chocolate Mickey Mouse. The cupcakes are on the menu at ABC Commissary, Pizza Planet, Backlot Express, Studio Catering Co., Starring Rolls, Rosie’s All-American Café and Fairfax Fare. Cost is $4.99 and the cupcakes are one snack entitlement on the Disney Dining Plan.

At Sunshine Seasons Bakery in The Land Pavilion in Epcot Future World, a fancy Baked Alaska Mousse is on the menu, a red, white and blue concoction of raspberry, white chocolate and blueberry mousse dipped in meringue. Cost is $3.99 and it is one snack entitlement on the Disney Dining Plan.

Upstairs in The Land Pavilion, Garden Grill is adding an old-fashioned patriotic dessert – a skillet peach cobbler with vanilla whipped cream. It’s part of the family-style Chip ‘n Dales’ Harvest Feast dinner served nightly.

In the Magic Kingdom Park, StoryBook Treats is adding a red, white and blue strawberry shortcake to the menu – white shortcake, red strawberries and fresh blueberries for a touch of blue. Cost is $4.99 and is not dining plan eligible.

 

‘Limited Time Magic’ Independence Week Celebration at Disney Parks Begins Monday

It’s almost time to kick off our weeklong celebration of America’s birthday at Disney Parks. So, we thought we’d share a quick reminder of what’s planned beginning on Monday at the Walt Disney World Resort and Disneyland Resort.

Yes, next week is the week to see amazing fireworks on both coasts. Disneyland Resort and Walt Disney World Resort will be saluting our nation’s birth with “Disney’s Celebrate America! A Fourth of July Concert in the Sky” — a fireworks spectacular that rockets into the air every night during Independence Week.

  • Magic Kingdom Park – The fireworks spectacular takes place at 9 p.m. on July 3 and 4, and 10 p.m. on July 1, 2, 5, 6 and 7.
  • Disneyland park – The fireworks spectacular will be held each night at 9:30 p.m. during Independence Week – July 1-7.

Every evening at the Disneyland Resort, you can also wear a pair of illuminated Mouse Ears and “Glow with the Show” during performances of “Celebrate America!” and the patriotic pre-show to “World of Color” at Disney California Adventure park.

Also, expect to see plenty of patriotic merchandise available across the Disneyland and Walt Disney World Resorts, including red, white and blue Mickey T-shirts and plush, trading pins, light-up star necklaces and patriotic Duffy the Disney Bear costumes.

There is much more planned at the parks, and we included some of the details in our earlier Independence Week story.

Check back here later today to see a story featuring some of the treats on the menu from July 1-7.

Check Out the ‘Hottest’ New Addition to Downtown Disney Marketplace at Walt Disney World Resort

The brand-new Lava Lounge at Rainforest Café

 

opened just two weeks ago, and already the place is on fire – literally. (Stay tuned, we’ll get to that.)

General Manager Jeff Kruger has clued us in to some of their most popular items, including the Sparkling Volcano and Jungle Runner, pictured below.

Lava Lounge at Rainforest Café in Downtown Disney

Wait time: There was a wait to dine inside at Rainforest Café, but at the Lava Lounge, seating is first-come, first-served. When I arrived at 5:45 p.m., there were still plenty of open tables and a few seats at the bar. My wait time? Zero minutes.

Food: Not only can you order from the full Rainforest Café menu, but there’s also a special menu featuring items created just for the Lava Lounge. That’s right, there are even more choices, so chances are there’s something everyone in your party will enjoy. The Volcanic Sliders and the Tectonic Tacos both sounded delicious!

Ambience: If you like waterfront views, want to be part of a “volcano” experience and prefer talking to shouting, then the Lava Lounge is for you. The setting is a friendly laid-back bar that feels casual and welcoming; it’s just the kind of place you’d want to end up after a long day in Disney Parks. (And I saw a great mix of adults and families, so don’t let the “Lounge” title throw you off; it’s a space for all kinds of groups.)

Wow Factor: The food and service alone may dazzle you (you did see that Sparkling Volcano dessert, didn’t you?), but if you need more to get you fired up, the Rainforest Café Volcano should do the trick. “Erupting” multiple times each evening, it’s a sizzling display of flame spires, fireballs, steam bursts and fog that erupts in sync with a light and sound show. It’s the sort of spectacle you’d only expect to see at a Disney theme park. Or maybe Las Vegas. Either way, it’s truly impressive, and you can see, hear and even feel it from inside the Lava Lounge.

Lava Lounge at Rainforest Café in Downtown Disney
If you’ve been, share what you liked best in the comments below. If you haven’t, what are you waiting for? Check it out during your next Downtown Disney visit. (Oh, and be sure to tell Nile the Crocodile “hi” – you can’t miss him!)

Disney Parks and Resorts Chairman Tom Staggs Discusses MagicBands at All Things Digital Conference

Tom Staggs, chairman of Walt Disney Parks and Resorts, showed off its new high-tech system at the 11th D: All Things Digital conference. This is the most information we’ve seen released on the new MagicBands.

Mr. Staggs discussed the many possibilities that come with the MagicBands, including customized “Happy Birthday” messages for guests and interactive attractions.

(This video is 29 mnutes)

A few of Mr. Staggs Major Points: 

  • Disney’s park characters, including talking Mickey Mouse, will be able to know visitors names in advance of meeting them, even setting up specific meet-and-greet times for personalized encounters.

  • Restaurants, beginning with Be Our Guest in New Fantasyland, will allow advance ordering of food, ready upon arrival.

  • Guests will be able to design an It’s a Small World doll online at home, which will appear in the ride, popping up from behind decorations, while passing by, appearing along with a special message if guests are celebrating an occasion, like a birthday.

  • Ride times, fireworks and parade seating, and other attractions will be able to be reserved from home in advance using the My Disney Experience online system.

  • MagicBands will integrate with FastPass and PhotoPass systems.

  • Staggs hinted that the upcoming Disney Infinity console video game will interact with the MagicBand, though he noted he isn’t ready to make any official announcements.

  • Staggs emphasized the overall goal is not to convert all attractions to digital experiences,noting Disney’s parks are a 360-5 experience, meaning 360-degrees around guests using all five senses. He also said It’s a Small World as a digital ride would not be appealing, but attractions like that can be enhanced digitally.

What do you think about the new Magic Bands? Leave us a comment, we’d love to know what you think.

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