Via Napoli Restaurant, Italy Pavilion at Epcot

Coffee, Shopping & More – Check Out the Newest Reasons to Visit Downtown Disney

posted on May 27th, 2014 by Darcy Clark, Marketing Manager, Downtown Disney at Walt Disney World Resort


If you’ve visited the Downtown Disney Area lately, you know that significant enhancements are in progress. We’re introducing new venues and offerings, with two that are especially buzz-inducing!

Read on to see the latest additions I’m most excited about:
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  • Starbucks: This one needs no explanation. With two Downtown Disney locations, I can already feel the caffeine kick in. I’ll be a regular at the Marketplace walk-up in front of World of Disney; it opened early last week and is great for grab ‘n’ go options. (My first beverage from this spot – a light, no whip, Caramel Ribbon Crunch Frappuccino – was flawless!) The West Side location, on track to open within the week, will be a full-sized store featuring the complete line of Starbucks offerings as well as a Clover Bar with special reserve coffees brewed to order. With a covered patio overlooking Village Lake and an outside fireplace, I’m already planning coffee-fueled morning meetings there!

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  • Marketplace Co Op: No caffeine needed to get fans excited about this first-of-its-kind store, Steven Miller has already started to share details about the six new boutique shops opening this summer. I love the idea of a ‘testing space’ for new products, and based on the initial response, you do, too! Disney Centerpiece, which will feature home décor and more, is especially high on my list. I can’t wait to add a few subtle Disney touches to my condo, including something (anything!) featuring Orange Bird. Look for Steven to share more details in early June.

While Starbucks and the Marketplace Co Op will be the newest Downtown Disney hot spots to open their doors, there are a few more fresh venues worth mentioning:

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  • Häagen-Dazs and Wetzel’s Pretzels, located between DisneyQuest Indoor Interactive Theme Park and Cirque du Soleil, began serving sweet and salty treats earlier this month. I’ll be grabbing a fresh Wetzel Dog after my next House of Blues concert. And with temperatures rising fast, a Classic Haagen-Dazs sundae is in my future, for sure.
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  • United World Soccer: In less than a month, a certain soccer tournament will kick off in Brazil. Here at Downtown Disney West Side, guests will have the chance to score big themselves, with gear, accessories, and the latest ‘fútbol’ must-haves. If you’re a fan, you’ll want to make a play for this new pop-up shop which opened late last week. (Anyone up for matching USA jerseys?)

Of course, the summer also brings huge Disney blockbusters, including “Maleficent” (May 30) to the big screen, which I’ll see at AMC Downtown Disney 24.

Let us not forget Car Masters Weekend taking place June 14-15, 2014. With over 100 cars on display, Disney•Pixar “Cars” characters including Lightning McQueen, celebrity automotive personalities, and more, you may want to go ahead and pencil that in for Father’s Day weekend now.

And, further on the horizon, you’ll see Disney Springs come to life. The first of two parking garages is being built, the widening of Buena Vista Drive recently kicked off and a new pedestrian bridge in the Marketplace is in development. Those are among the most noticeable, and there’s much, much more happening behind the scenes. We’re certainly in exciting times.

So? I’m curious … which of these Downtown Disney additions are you looking forward to the most?

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Car Masters Weekend Returns to Downtown Disney June 14-15

posted on May 27th, 2014 by Darcy Clark, Marketing Manager, Downtown Disney at Walt Disney World Resort


Last year was my first time attending Car Masters Weekend, a high-speed event dedicated to all things auto. I loved it! So, of course, I’m excited that the race is on to the 2014 rendition, taking place from 9:30 a.m. – 6 p.m. on June 14-15, 2014.

This year, guests can cruise through over 100 classic, muscle and exotic vehicles at the Downtown Disney Car Show Presented by Meguiar’s. The cars will be displayed throughout the West Side promenade, where fans of all ages can vote for their favorite – I’ll probably vote for something ‘classic’ … I love those 60s era designs. Expert judges will also be scoring these sweet rides, culminating in a Sunday evening awards ceremony.

Automotive Legend (and fan favorite!) Chip Foose will be returning to the event; he’s scheduled to make celebrity appearances and will take the stage to share his passion for cars. He’s also created some brand-new merchandise, available for sale throughout the weekend.

If you love cars, it’s clear that this is a ‘can’t-miss’ event. And if you love “Cars” (the Pixar kind!), then you definitely want to park yourself at Car Masters Weekend! Lightning McQueen, Mater and Finn McMissle will be available for photo ops, AMC Downtown Disney 24 will be hosting a “Cars” movie marathon, and Pixar filmmaker Jay Ward will take part in fun Q & A sessions. (I got to meet him last year – and you can tell by the smiles, and my hat, that we were both having an awesome time!)

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New this year, to celebrate the release of Disney’s “Planes: Fire & Rescue” I hear that we’ll have a real fire truck on display. And rumor has it that little ones can even try on a few pieces of an authentic firefighter outfit. (Sounds like another photo moment to me!)

If all that’s not enough to get you on the Car Masters track, you can also be part of the Chevrolet Performance Mobile Tour, take a seat inside some of the latest “Test Track” vehicles, and get up close to real-life supercars and new Piston Cup Racers Aiken Axler & Save VanDerSpin from Richard Petty, all at the new Event Expo. There may be additional evening events added to the lineup, so stay tuned. Plus, expect interactive activities from Disney Interactive, DisneyQuest Animators and more.

Of course, you’ll need to fuel up, so look for the Downtown Disney Food Trucks along with offerings from some of your favorite Downtown Disney restaurants! (And if you vote for your favorite car, you can score special 20% savings on lunch at select locations.)

For more information about Car Masters Weekend, click here.

Not sure about you, but I’m ready to put the pedal to the medal! Race you to the event?

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Tiki, Tiki, Tiki, Tiki, Tiki Room Shirts Coming to Disney Parks Online Store From May 12-15, 2014

posted on May 12th, 2014 by Steven Miller, Merchandise Communications Manager


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If you have read some of my previous Disney Parks Blog stories, you’ll know that I adore Walt Disney’s Enchanted Tiki Room. I consider it my favorite attraction at Disney Parks. Today, I’m delighted to share that the next two Disney Parks’ attraction poster T-shirts will feature Walt Disney’s Enchanted Tiki Room from Disneyland park and the Tropical Serenade from Magic Kingdom Park. These shirts will be sold only on the Disney Parks online store from May 12-15, 2014 at http://www.DisneyStore.com/ParkEvents.

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Once again, the talented Disney Design Group artist Richard Terpstra designed these shirts based on the original attraction posters created by Paul Hartley in 1963 and 1971 respectively. I couldn’t resist a visit to Magic Kingdom Park to get a picture in front of the attraction while enjoying a Citrus Swirl (is this really called work?).

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Before I devoured that Citrus Swirl, I captured this image of it with an Orange Bird figurine that is coming to Disney Centerpiece at the Marketplace Co-Op in Downtown Disney Marketplace. Guests at Disneyland Resort may be able to find this figurine and a few other Orange Bird things now at World of Disney in Downtown Disney District.

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I also photographed this trinket box that shaped like my favorite frozen treat from Disney Parks. The box is part of the Adventureland collection also coming to Disney Centerpiece location. Guests visiting Disneyland Resort may now find select items from this collection at Adventureland Bazaar in Disneyland park and World of Disney at Downtown Disney District. We also have a few items from this collection currently online.

Aloha!

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Spotlight on Cherry Tree Lane Coming to Marketplace Co-Op at Downtown Disney in 2014

posted on May 6th, 2014 by Steven Miller, Merchandise Communications Manager


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One thing my fiancée has taught me is that having the right accessories can make a good outfit even better (that probably explains why I keep buying her tiki-themed handbags). Soon, she and other guests will find many awesome accessories and more at Cherry Tree Lane, a new boutique coming to the Marketplace Co-Op at Downtown Disney Marketplace. The name of this high-end, fashion boutique was inspired by the street name where the Banks family resides in Disney’s “Mary Poppins.” As it turns out, there will be several nods to this classic live-action film in the location.

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“I referenced images of the Banks’ children’s room in the film for the fixture designs,” explained Dana Harchar from the Global Retail Development team. “The handcrafted fixtures will be painted Victorian white along with accent colors of light blue and red. I designed wallpaper for some fixtures that incorporates iconic umbrellas, hats and kites in the design. Guests will also find nesting tables, a unique jewelry fixture, and some wooden closets that will line the exposed brick walls.”

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The merchandise assortment will include many colorful accessories including ballet flats, handbags, avant-garde jewelry, timepieces and dramatic scarves. My favorite items have a blue “Cherry Tree Lane” pattern created by Disney Design Group artists. I love they included an umbrella, and the rolling duffle bag is a must!

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Cherry Tree Lane will also be home to handbags and accessories by Dooney & Bourke, which is celebrating five years at Disney Parks this year. You may recall getting a first look at the new street scene pattern this past January on the Disney Park Blog. The Disney Parks online store will carry a color variation (red and black) of this pattern shown above at a future date. The color sketch bags will only be released at this location at Walt Disney World Resort; they will be at Disneyland Resort and online at a future date.

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Finally, this boutique will carry items from the Disney Collection by Vera Bradley. I’m excited to share a first look at a brand new color, “Bouncing Bouquet,” that will debut once the location officially opens (stay tuned for an exact date). Guests will also find previously released colors such as “Midnight With Mickey” or “Where’s Mickey?” at this boutique. This location will be the only shop at Walt Disney World Resort to carry the “Mickey’s Perfect Petals” color recently released at the Epcot event on May 4.

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Spring Blooms Bright at Downtown Disney at Walt Disney World Resort

posted on April 22nd, 2014 by Darcy Clark, Marketing Manager, Downtown Disney at Walt Disney World Resort


When you think of spring at Walt Disney World, the Epcot International Flower and Garden Festival is likely the first thing that comes to mind. I agree, but lately, as I’ve been walking around Downtown Disney, I can’t help but notice that we’ve got a lot of colorful blooms sprouting up here, too.

My favorite, a Mickey and Minnie topiary that makes me smile every time I see it, is located near the Marketplace Fun Fountains and Earl of Sandwich. It’s the perfect photo backdrop to mark the season.

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I recently had the chance to connect with Horticulture Manager Patrick Zusack to learn more about what it takes to keep the magic growing. Patrick’s dedicated team of seven cast members starts at early at 5 a.m. each morning – which makes sense, given their task of maintaining over 21 acres of irrigated landscaping. I’ve learned that there are over 25,000 bedding plants, more than 350 containers and 75 hanging baskets currently on display daily at Downtown Disney, all adding abundant seasonal color for our guests to enjoy while visiting the property. Patrick, a 25-year cast member, shares that the most rewarding part of his job is “wowing our guests and then seeing them take pictures of one another and utilizing our colorful garden as their backdrops.”

From flower beds in front of World of Disney to potted plants lining the new pedestrian walkway that connects Pleasure Island and West Side, floral fun abounds in all three Downtown Disney districts.

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Be sure to keep an eye out for pretty petals during your next visit. In the meantime, check out the gallery below for a few of my favorite buds, then let me know which floral display at Walt Disney World Resort tops your list!

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Beautifully Disney Gets ‘Curiouser & Curiouser’ at Disney Parks

posted on April 11th, 2014 by Michelle Harker, Manager, Merchandise Marketing & Communications, Disneyland Resort


Curiouser & Curiouser, the latest collection from Beautifully Disney takes a cue from the Caterpillar, Cheshire Cat, and Alice herself, with colors ranging from light, neutral tones to richly pigmented and shimmery shades. This new collection will debut May 3 at Disneyland and Walt Disney World Resorts!

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As soon as I found out about this collection, I immediately sought out the advice of Rachel Brent, whom I introduced to you with the Pop of Minnie collection, and whom I consider my go-to girl for all things beauty. Since I’m late for a very important date, I’m handing it over to Rachel for a quick overview of the new collection and some of her top picks:

I invite you to fall down the rabbit hole and escape with me to a Wonderland of whimsy, as you disappear into a daydream and discover pristine pastels with a peculiar twist — perfect for spring.

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A-E-I-O-You need to check out the eye shadow palette, which has quickly become a staple in my own beauty bag for spring and summer. The six ultra-flattering shades are perfect for a golden afternoon.

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Are you thinking of painting the roses red? Forget the roses, and paint your lips one of the gorgeous mini-lipstick hues. My pick is Dum De Dum, which is a cool coral shade. Another thing I positively lost my head over, are the two newest lip gloss shades – Miss Priss and Literally Nonsense! Always lightweight, these emollient rich formulas moisturize and condition your lips, never leaving them gummy. I guarantee these glosses will leave you smiling like the Cheshire Cat.

As you know, no tea party or un-birthday is complete without the new decadent macaroon sponges, shown above. Perfectly sized and luxuriously smooth, these make-up blending sponges will become your go-to treat.

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Did I find my cup of tea? I think so. As you can see, I went a little mad using all of the nail colors. What colors will you choose to create a look fit for the Queen of Hearts? Here are my recommendations: Tis’ Brillig is a nice twist on neutral with an iridescent textured finish. Or if you’re feeling ‘blue’, This Way, That Way is pedicure perfect.

Tip: Here is a recent nail design tutorial.

Before you leave Wonderland, one last thing: Purchase a mini lip gloss palette for $19.95, when you spend $50.00 (before tax and after discount) on Beautifully Disney products.

Those of you at the Disneyland Resort are in for a special treat. There will be a special signing on May 3 with Jeff Granito, the designer behind the Beautifully Disney artwork at WonderGround Gallery in the Downtown Disney District from 11 a.m. – 1 p.m.

As you can see we’re all a little ‘mad’ here. I know that both Rachel and I are ‘curious’ to see what all of you will do with the colors in this new collection, so share your stories with us here on the Disney Parks Blog or hashtag your images #DisneySide on our social channels.

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Spotlight on The Trophy Room Coming to Marketplace Co-Op at Downtown Disney Marketplace in 2014

posted on April 7th, 2014 by Steven Miller, Merchandise Communications Manager


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With the return of baseball season, I thought this was a good time to turn the spotlight on The Trophy Room, the second of six boutiques coming to the Marketplace Co-Op in Downtown Disney Marketplace at Walt Disney World. I’ve been a Pittsburgh Pirates fan for years as my parents hail from western Pennsylvania. I recently caught up with another Pirates fan and Pittsburgh native, Dana Harchar. A member of the Global Retail Development team, Dana shared some details about what guests will see when visiting this location.

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“I’m designing the merchandise fixtures found in [The Trophy Room],” explained Dana. “With a backdrop of exposed brick, the wall fixtures will look like repurposed trophy cases that had their glass doors removed. They will be made of beautiful cherry wood with a rich, luxurious stain. Dark stone and metal accents will also be found throughout the shop. We plan to include some wonderful wool Trophy Room logo banners to differentiate this shop from the others in the Marketplace Co-Op like Disney Centerpiece .”

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Next, I spoke with Chicago Cubs fan and senior merchandiser John Sarni who explained what makes The Trophy Room a unique shopping destination.

“At first glance, The Trophy Room may seem like a traditional sports apparel store,” said John. “Once inside, guests will soon realize this space represents a lifestyle. The location aims to create sports fans, rather than just outfit existing enthusiasts, by offering high quality, vintage-inspired garments that instill a sense of nostalgia and old-school, collegiate spirit.”

John said that some of the shop will contain sports apparel by 47 Brand. He selected an eclectic mix of vintage styles featuring some of the most popular teams in baseball as well as professional and college football. In addition, there will be some great collectibles such as high-quality pennants and unique baseballs that feature printed images of famous stadiums. The assortment may change as different sports come into season throughout the year.

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The shop will also have a small collegiate-inspired assortment of graphic apparel and drinkware with a Walt Disney World flare. These items were designed especially for The Trophy Room. I’m in love with that orange Raglan!

Look for these items and more when The Trophy Room opens at the Marketplace Co-Op in a couple of months.

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Chalkboard Art-Inspired Items Coming to Disney Centerpiece at Downtown Disney Marketplace in 2014

posted on April 3rd, 2014 by Steven Miller, Merchandise Communications Manager


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In February, I shared with you a first look at some merchandise coming to Disney Centerpiece, one of six boutiques coming to the Marketplace Co-Op at Downtown Disney Marketplace in a couple of months. I was delighted to read that many of you enjoyed that first preview as much as I enjoyed sharing it. In addition to those awesome items, Disney Centerpiece will also feature a line of chalkboard art-inspired home goods. I spoke with Natalie Kennedy, senior graphic designer with Disney Design Group, who was responsible for creating this amazing artwork.

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“Chalkboard artwork is a currently a popular market trend,” explained Natalie. “For our program, we selected iconic attractions at Disney Parks such as The Haunted Mansion or the Jungle Cruise. We also expanded the program to include items inspired by Disney’s “Beauty and the Beast.” The latter artwork is a nice nod to New Fantasyland at Magic Kingdom Park.”

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A variety of monochromatic items will be included in this program including plates, drinkware, drink coasters and even napkins. I’m delighted, of course, to see more artwork featuring my favorite attraction, Walt Disney’s Enchanted Tiki Room!

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While these items will debut at Disney Centerpiece, guests will also find them at Disneyland Resort merchandise locations in a few months. The Disney Parks online store will also carry a few select items.

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The Newest Downtown Disney Marketplace Kiosk is for the Dogs at Walt Disney World Resort

posted on March 31st, 2014 by Darcy Clark, Marketing Manager, Downtown Disney at Walt Disney World Resort


Recently, I let our @WDWDowntown Twitter followers know about Happy Hound, a brand-new kiosk at Downtown Disney Marketplace. The response was overwhelming, so today, I’m sharing even more info with all of you!

If you have a pooch, this is the place to score custom collars and tags, trendy outfits, squeaky toys – including a hilarious mustache fetch toy – and more for your favorite four-legged friends.

I don’t have any pets myself, but my sister has a loveable Boxer named Otis. He may not be the smartest dog, but he’s so sweet with my two young nieces that he probably deserves a special surprise from me!

Scroll through the photos below to see some of the offerings at Happy Hound. As a girl who loves to accessorize, I’m most excited about the personalized collars and engravable dog tags – though there’s plenty more to love.

The Newest Downtown Disney Marketplace Kiosk is for the Dogs at Walt Disney World Resort

Look for Happy Hound during your next visit to the Marketplace; it’s located near Marketplace Fun Finds and LittleMissMatched. (And remember, for the latest news and updates, be sure to follow the Downtown Disney Twitter handle at @WDWDowntown.)

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Walt Disney World Resort Event Snapshot – April 2014

posted on March 28th, 2014 by Michelle Harker, Manager, Merchandise Marketing & Communications, Disneyland Resort


There’s a lot happening at Walt Disney World Resort, here’s a glimpse of what’s headed your way from the world of Disney Theme Park Merchandise events. Before we jump into April, here’s a quick peek at two events that you won’t want to miss!

March 28 – 30: How many of you have already checked out the 2014 Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival, as well as this year’s commemorative merchandise? I’m definitely jealous! Whether you have already been or are making plans to go, I hope you can join us for Art in the Garden Weekend with special appearances and signings by many of our beloved Disney artists, including Steve Barton, Annick Biaudet, Carlos Cuba, David E. Doss and Larry Dotson. Tip: Also keep an eye out for Greg McCullough who will be appearing the same weekend at Art of Disney in Epcot. Learn more.

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Secondly, I have to ask … have you signed up for the Rebel Rendezvous event? Check out the link for exciting info on this May 15 event, leading up to Star Wars Weekends 2014! Early shopping access to Darth’s Mall, specially designed merchandise available only to Rebel Rendezvous attendees, and exciting meet & greet opportunities are just a few reasons why you’ll want to be sure to reserve your spot!

Now, on to April!

Now – April 6: Be sure to check out the newest Fairy Houses being built by select artists on the promenade around World Showcase in Epcot. Learn more.

Now – May 18: Representatives from Rinse Bath and Body Co. will be on hand throughout the day to help you select the product that is right for your skin. My favorite? Definitely, the lip balms. You should check them out, they’re amazing! Learn more.

April 4 – 6: Look for a special appearance by Precious Moments doll designer and artist Linda Rick at the American Adventure Pavilion in Epcot. Learn more.

April 7 – 20: Renowned artist David E. Doss will be appearing daily on the promenade around World Showcase in Epcot. Stop in and find a new piece of art to add to your collection! Learn more.

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April 9 – 13: Artist Greg McCullough returns April 9 – 13 to Art of Disney in Downtown Disney Marketplace and will appear later in the month from April 23 – 27 at Art of Disney in Epcot. Be sure to stop in and say hello! Learn more.

April 10 – 13: Look for special appearances by artist Larry Dotson, April 10 – 13 at Art of Disney in Epcot and April 21 – 25 at Art of Disney in Downtown Disney Marketplace. Learn more.

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April 21 – May 4: Meet representatives from Kumquat Growers and Tropical Blossom Honey Co. who will be on hand from 11:00 a.m. – 9:00 p.m., each day on the promenade around World Showcase in Epcot. Learn more.

Keep watching the Disney Parks Blog for information on special Earth Day artist appearances at Disney’s Animal Kingdom.

Which events are you most excited to attend?

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