THE 2019 CALIFORNIA ROAD (PRE) TRIP THEME NIGHT COUNTDOWN – DAYS 11, 12, AND 13 (DISNEYLAND AND CALIFORNIA ADVENTURE!!! AND GALAXY’S EDGE!!!!)

Yep. You read that right. A 3-day pre-trip post.

Nope, it’s not Christmas. It’s Disneyland Day(s)!!!

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Yep, a whole post dedicated to our days at the Disneyland Resort!

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Yeah. Erm. It’s exciting alright.

And it’s a good thing. Getting three days done in a single post. Because check out how much time I have left until the trip…

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Beep Bop Boop (translation: 18 frakkin days)

No joke. I am FREAKING OUT about how little time I have left to get the rest of the pre-trip countdown thingamabob done. Leave it to me to find ways to be stressed out about going on vacation.

But before we get to the trip days, let’s get moving on the theme night we had to count it down…

The movie

So like I said, this post is focused squarely on our time at Disneyland Resort. And even though we weren’t 100% when we booked this whole trip that this would actually happen, it does turn out that Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge is now officially open at Disneyland!! There is more information below about Galaxy’s Edge, but if you want a crash course on Galaxy’s Edge and the planet Batuu, check out my posts here and here.

Sooooo….to get ready for this portion of the trip we decided to, of course, watch some Star Wars. And since Galaxy’s Edge is all First Order/Resistance, we landed on The Force Awakens as our movie of choice. Nothing against Last Jedi. But also, something against Last Jedi.

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My window reflecting in the screen makes it look more “Twilight Zone” than “Star Wars”

I know a lot of people get down on Force Awakens on account of it being a ton of fan service, but I love the film. I get it. There is A LOT of stuff for all us fanboys in there. But you know what? It was exactly what we needed. Try putting yourself back in 2015. We hadn’t experienced a legitimately good Star Wars release since Return of the Jedi. And even that was Return of the Jedi. The prequels had made us Star Wars fans very VERY pessimistic about any new Star Wars coming our way.

I remember walking into The Force Awakens with a good deal of trepidation. And from the first moment of the film, I knew this was bringing us back to what we loved about the franchise originally. It was actually fun to watch. That was the issue with the prequels. Well, it wasn’t the ONLY issue. But it was an issue.

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JJ Abrams did an excellent job of bringing in new characters and storylines while still maintaining a strong bond with the originals. I loved seeing my old friends Han, Chewie, Leia, and R2 (and Luke, for a hot minute) but Rey, Finn, Poe, BB-8….all felt like they deserved a place in my beloved galaxy. And Kylo Ren has proven to be a formidable villain (Last Jedi was essentially Kylo’s movie, in my opinion.)

I thrilled when I saw the Falcon again, but I also was totally into the whole “stormtrooper with a heart” storyline. It really did an excellent job of balancing nostalgia and new stories.

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I personally place The Force Awakens right alongside the original trilogy, not as high on my list as Empire or New Hope, but above Return of the Jedi. Yeah. I love it.

But dang Leia, you really shouldda hugged Chewie.

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You can see she already has a snub planned.

The meal

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Yeah, it’s like I keep checking the mail for our “Parents of the Forever” awards. Still nothing.

Since it was Star Wars night, we tried to bring back a little of the energy we used to have for our theme nights. It was a Sunday, we were home anyways, so we decided to decorate the house to prepare.

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As you can see above, I put up some stars (Christmas lights) and decorated our table with a good chunk (note: not all) of our Star Wars toys. Here is an aerial view of the table, pre-num nums.

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We also wanted to have some food inspired not just by the Star Wars universe, but specifically by what we have seen as offerings in Batuu. So we decided to make some smoked Kaadu ribs.  I mention this in my Galaxy’s Edge food post but the Kaadu are the large, flightless birds ridden by the (groan) Gungans in Episode I.

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Yummy-looking, right? No no…those are the ones served at Disneyland. They also serve them with some slaw and a blueberry corn muffin. So for our dinner, we substituted with regular old cornbread.

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And regular old coleslaw.

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But I mean, while they were “regular old,” they were both still delicious.

And we made some baby back ribs.

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Which were also delicious, on account of ribs. Here’s the full plate….

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I want my baby back baby back…..

To drink, Nickie and I had a beer, but we even StarWars’ed that up.

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And that was it.

Pfft, no. OF COURSE we made some blue milk. We used this recipe – Frosty Bantha Milk. And yeah, I know…this probably tastes nothing like the blue milk in Galaxy’s Edge. But it was rull good.

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Blue drink mix was lacking at the store today so I ended up getting some Kool-Aid sour blue raspberry single serve powder packets and I used less than half the packet. It gave the whole thing a nice sherbert-y vibe.

And for dessert? Nickie made these adorbz little stormtrooper cupcakes.

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They’re so cute. And evil.

#CaliFriendsYeah2019 –Day 11 – In which we have our first full Disneyland Day and VISIT BATUU!!!

So ok – this post is going to cover a whopping three days of our 17-day adventure. Three days at Disneyland and California Adventure, to be precise. So I am going to try and keep these day descriptions as brief as possible. Plus, with this being Disneyland (the whole absence of pre-booked FastPass thing) AND with the unknown of how the whole Galaxy’s Edge thing is going to play out, it’s a bit harder to get our plans down to the minute.

We do have reservations to keep us sort of within certain timeframes and definitely some plans we WANT to hit, but I will try to keep it brief. Also, I probably won’t. I won’t keep it brief. We all know this. No one reads this blog expecting brevity. Even with this disclaimer. I am saying this now, before I even begin writing about these days. I haven’t even started the plans yet and I am already two paragraphs in. But I am leaving in the “keeping it brief” disclaimer anyways. For posterity.

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But definitely take these “plans” with a grain of salt. New Galaxy’s Edge information is coming out everyday and by the time we get there, everything is going to be different anyways with the whole reservation system being gone, unfortunately.

The plan, though, on Day 11 is to wake up VERY VERY early. I am seriously considering 5AM. Those that are not crazed Disney fans are reading that sentence and probz being like, “Boy, you crazy” (this probably includes some in our travel party). But those that are crazed Disney fans be like…

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And thankfully, at our hotel. Wait, at our hotel THE DISNEYLAND HOTEL. Sorry, just had to rub that one in one more time,

But thankfully, at our hotel, The Coffee House opens at 5AM.

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Although I don’t think that link reflects it, word is they serve some alcoholic coffee drinks here. Which some would say may not be THE BEST idea at 5AM. Thankfully, I am not “some.” I am “one.” Who doesn’t balk at the idea of a spiked coffee at 5AM. I am a true hero.

They also, I have heard, have some pretty good donuts. And pretty good donuts? They’re a pretty great breakfast. So.

And then its off to Disneyland Park! Which I think is the happiest. No wait. Most magical? Nope…happiest. HAPPIEST place on Earth.

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She’s a beaut, Clark. A beaut!

While the park opens at 8:00AM, I am hoping to be lined up to get in by AT LEAST 6:30-7:00. I NEED to get me some Galaxy’s Edge. And I really have no clue what to expect in terms of lines or crowds. Mainly because they will be moving from the current reservation system (where you have a reserved time to explore the land) to a first-come/virtual queue system (where visitors can go to the land until it reaches a certain limit and then after that be placed in a virtual queue to enter the land once capacity dies down.)

Soooooo. The plan is to get there early and head straight for Galaxy’s Edge, to hopefully jump right in line for Millennium Falcon: Smuggler’s Run.

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Tears. There will be LITERAL tears.

I just want to make sure we get on there. On account of it’s FLYING THE FREAKIN’ MILLENNIUM FALCON!

And then, who knows. Maybe we will look around the land or maybe just get into a Virtual Queue to come back later. We have already pre-purchased MaxPass. And while this doesn’t cover Smuggler’s Run, I think I will try to secure us a non-Galaxy’s Edge attraction to hit after Smuggler’s Run. My gut has me between Indiana Jones to continue on the whole Lucas vibe orrrr Matterhorn Bobsleds to bring everyone back to some classic Disneyland. Either way, can’t go wrong.

But like I said, it’s hard to put forth an actual “plan” here. I think it’s going to depend on when the Virtual Queue says to come back. This may be a total Galaxy’s Edge morning or it may end up being more exploration in Disneyland Park. Churros or blue milk? Chewbacca or Mickey? Star Wars…

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Or…Star Wars?

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One thing I do know for sure? Lunch. For lunch, we are splitting up somewhat. Nickie, Larissa, and Laura are going to be heading back to Steakhouse 55 for Afternoon Tea.

The rest of us (Me, Myles, Owen, Matt, Tony, and Mia) will be heading to one of my favorite lunch spots in Disneyland – Café Orleans! I loved this place on our last trip. And really, it’s just for one main reason. The Monte Cristo sandwich.

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This sandwich is the kind of sandwich that makes other sandwiches say, “damn that’s a sandwich.” It’s THAT good. I highly recommend splitting it but with this crew – who knows what’s going to happen?

And it’s not the only thing I love on the menu. I also have strong (nearly romantic) feelings about the Pommes Frites AND the Mickey beignets.

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After lunch, it’s back to the pool to meet up with the girls and catch a midday break. Once again, THIS pool.

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For dinner that night, we have reservations that night at another favorite Disneyland spot – Napa Rose at the Grand Californian.

This place is hella-nice and I am excited to not be hungover to experience it this time around. Well, I mean I hope to not be hungover. On account of the last time around, I couldn’t even sample any of their extensive wine collection.

Looking at the menu, I noticed they didn’t have what was all of our favorite dish from last time – the pork chop/short rib thing I ended up getting:

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DEE-lish

According to my post everyone agreed that was the best dish so this is a bit perplexing when it comes to what to get.  Especially since we will have had steak the night before.

The Duck a l’Orange sounds like it might be a solid option though I also don’t hate the sound of the Heirloom Berkshire Pork Loin. Or I mean. Maybe steak.

I think for dessert, if everyone is up for it, I would love to check out Salt & Straw in Downtown Disney for some ice cream. They have two seasonal flavors – “Campfire S’mores” and “Buttermilk Pancakes, Bacon, and Eggs” – that are kind of calling my name. Like, right now it’s calling my name. All the way from California. And I need to quiet these voices in my head. But which one to go for? While I love S’mores, I feel like the novelty of the other flavor will draw me in.

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If there is time (and desire) we may head back into Disneyland Park to catch the 9:30PM “Remember…Dreams Do Come True” fireworks show. Because, obviously, we haven’t had enough awesome yet.

 

#CaliFriendsYeah2019 –Day 12 – In which we go on a California Adventure. Well, I mean, we are already on one but like…eh, you know what I mean

Day 12 will have us waking up early again as we have Early Entry at California Adventure. Well, most of us do. But I will get to that in a second.

So yeah, early. And breakfast will most likely be at The Coffee House again unless we decide to get it at some point in the park at Flo’s V8 Café. Not sure though. We only have one day at California Adventure so we may opt for a quick breakfast so we can take advantage of the morning on what is predicted right now to be a crowded day at the park.

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As I said, this will be most of us. The Falzones will actually be heading back to Napa Rose to take Mia to the Disney Princess Breakfast Adventure. Which looks amazing – the food options look great as do the interactions with the princesses. Mia is going to be VIP’ing all over the place. Wait. That didn’t sound great. VIP’ing? Meh. Let’s hope she doesn’t get that excited.

Anyways, while they are off living it up with he princesses, the rest of us will be heading into California Adventure at an ambitious 7AM. And honestly, I am not sure yet where we should head. We can’t MaxPass anything until after the park officially opens to the non-special people (or the “normies” as we like to call them) but I can book a MaxPass at 7AM for the 8AM opening time I believe. So I envision maybe getting one for Radiator Springs Racers and heading straight to Guardians of the Galaxy: Mission Breakout or vice versa. That would get us set for two of the most popular attractions, leaving us yet to still figure out the Incredicoaster. But I am sure we can MaxPass that for a little later in the day.

It might make sense to do it that way as I would like to throw in a little Pixar Pier exploration around our Incredicoaster time.

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To be completely honest, though, “exploring Pixar Pier” really just means eating one of these things –

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The Jack Jack Cookie Num Num. This is pretty much the whole reason for this entire trip.

Ugh, fine. It’s to create lasting memories and blah blah blah. But also. This cookie.

We are coming back to Pixar Pier for dinner as well, but I was hoping to squeeze in Toy Story Midway Mania at that time. I think availability of MaxPasses, though, will probably be guiding us a little bit. But we will get done what we can get done.

Which hopefully also includes Soarin’.

And The Pixar Pal-A-Round.

And Grizzly River Run.

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And like, a bunch of other stuff. Stuff is probably my favorite thing to do at Disney.

For lunch, we are between two options at the moment – in-park or at the pool. We currently have a reservation for lunch at Wine Country Trattoria but have also played with the idea of leaving the park and grabbing lunch back at the hotel at Tangaroa Terrace.

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Both look nice, but to be honest I am kind of leaning towards Tangaroa for a couple reasons. The menu looks really fun and I do like the idea of taking advantage of the fact we are staying at the Disneyland Hotel. Plus it puts us in a prime location to hit the pool immediately following lunch. Well, 30-45 minutes after lunch. You know. Cramps.

And then it’s just relaxing at the pool for the afternoon. Which is always welcome.

Plus, dinner that night will bring us back into the park anyways. We have reservations at Lamplight Lounge, which didn’t even EXIST last time we visited California Adventure.

Very excited to try this place. As a lover of all things Pixar, it seems cool. On account of it IS all things Pixar.

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As far as the menu goes, I am much more excited about the apps and drinks than the main entrees here. The Deviled Eggs and Toast? Hello.

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The devil may be..you know, the devil. But he makes a mean egg.

And they have the famed Cove Bar Lobster Nachos here as well. I never got to partake on account of I am the only one in my family that eats lobster but now with the larger group, I am gonna go ahead and assume these will be ordered.

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The drinks look pretty great as well. They have a few of those bubbly dry ice alcoholic and non-alcoholic  concoctions but I think I may have to go with the Park Ave. (Redemption Rye, Aperol, Dolin Rouge Vermouth, and Chocolate Bitters.) So like a Manhattan but I hear the chocolate bitters really makes this a unique option. It’s funny. As I have been writing these posts, certain things get me like all butterfly-in-the-stomach kind of excited. A Manhattan with chocolate bitters is one of those things.

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At some point in the day (probably first thing) we will have hopefully procured a MaxPass for World of Color. The plan is to end our night on that kind of a high note.

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Also (and this is super exciting town!) at some point today, the Chagnons (George, Stephanie, Courtney, and Emily) will be arriving!! Yay for more friends. I have mentioned the Chagnons a bunch of times on the blog. They are some of our best friends AND they live next door. Not only do we get to see them on the reg but they have joined us for multiple Disney World trips, so we are super excited to be there for their first Disneyland experience!

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Not 100% on when we will meet up with them as George STILL hasn’t purchased their airline tickets (anxiety, consider yourself induced) but I am hoping to see them this afternoon or maybe sometime after dinner? Maybe?

 

#CaliFriendsYeah2019 –Day 13– In which we have one more day at the happiest…er…most MAGICAL place on Earth

Day 13 may honestly end up looking very similar to Day 11 in terms of a pre-trip report since it’s going to be our second day at Disneyland Park.

I mean, there are a few differences I suppose. For one, while this will be our second day at Disneyland Park, It will be our first that offers Early Entry at that specific park. So while we did wake up early on Day 11, we will be waking up even earlier on Day 13. So obviously, Day 13 is COMPLETELY different from Day 11.

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Not sure how we will handle the whole Galaxy’s Edge thing today. The Chagnons haven’t even seen it yet, so there is that. And you actually cannot enter Galaxy’s Edge as part of Early Entry. So, not sure if the Chagnons will go wait to get in upon park opening or what. But I envision getting to the park at Early Entry open (7AM) and heading (maybe) straight for Hypserspace Mountain.

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I haven’t actually done Hyperspace Mountain like…ever. Neither times I have been to Disneyland has there been the Star Wars overlay so I definitely feel like we are going to have to find a way on. Early Entry seems like the perfect opportunity to do so whilst securing a FastPass for another attraction to be used once the park opens – say, Big Thunder Mountain or the Haunted Mansion? Both of which have elements I prefer over the Walt Disney World versions.

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And while we wait for that MaxPass window to open, I think we should probably take advantage of the lower Early Entry crowds and do some MaxPass-less rides (Pirates, maybe? Or just hit Fantasyland to do some classics like Mr. Toad, Pinocchio, and Snow White?)

There are a lot of maybes here, including what to do once we use our MaxPass. I will most likely secure another and pick up one for that night’s showing of Fantasmic but then what? Maybe we will try and jump in the Virtual Queue to get one last look at Galaxy’s Edge. And for sure, hit any attractions we may have not seen as well as revisit any favorites we want to revisit.

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For lunch, the plan is to leave the park and head into Downtown Disney. We all reallllllly want to go to Black Tap Craft Burgers & Shakes as we have heard nothing but awesome things.

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The issue with this place is that it does not take reservations and it has been INSANELY busy since it opened. But if we can swing it, it does seem worth the wait. For sure, the main menu looks like it’s full of awesomely good burgers. But the main draw here are the shakes. Black Tap is the restaurant that claims to have kicked off this whole “Crazy Shake” phenomenon but unlike what I have seen with other crazy shakes (a lot of the times, the actual shake part is sub-par) word is Black Tap’s shakes are delicious all the way through.

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The challenge is going to be figuring out which shake to get. The choices are pretty insane and also feel like they were ripped directly from the pages in my Dream Journal. Top contenders for my tummy are:

  • The Cake Shake – Cake Batter Shake with a Vanilla Frosted Rim with Rainbow Sprinkles topped with a Funfetti Cake Slice, Whipped Cream, Rainbow Sprinkles and a Cherry
  • Churro Choco Taco – Cinnamon Toast Crunch Shake with a Vanilla Frosted Rim with Cinnamon Toast Crunch topped with a Choco Taco, two Churros, Whipped Cream, and Dulce de Leche drizzle
  • Bam Bam Shake – Fruity Pebbles Shake with a Vanilla Frosted Rim with Fruity Pebbles topped with a Fruity Pebbles Rice Krispy Treat, Strawberry Pop-Tarts, Laffy Taffy, Whipped Cream and a Cherry

And I have also considered many others, such as the Cotton Candy shake and the Cookie Shake. I honestly have leaned heavily towards the Cake Shake for a long time. But that Bam Bam Shake kinda sounds like right up my alley. And the churro one has a frakkin Choco Taco on it. Gah, what to do.

One thing is for sure though. I will definitely have to go do some laps after lunch. It’s a good thing we have a pool. Also by “do some laps,” I most likely mean “drink some cocktails.” But still. Pool.

For dinner that night, all 15 of us will be heading to Goofy’s Kitchen, which is a buffet-style character meal at the Disneyland Hotel. We visited Goofy’s Kitchen on our cross-country trip but only for breakfast.

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That being said, we LOVED it. The character interaction was very good, with each character (Chip, Dale, Pluto, and Minnie…Goofy met with us before we sawt down) making multiple visits to our table. This of course could have been due to the low amount of people there, but know this Disney – I expect MULTIPLE VISITS from Pluto. Multiple. Visits.

And the food was good as well, especially for a buffet. Again, we went for breakfast so who knows. But I have heard that Goofy’s famous dessert pizzas still make an appearance so. We got that going for us.

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And then it’s back to the park after dinner. As mentioned before, we hope to have secured a Fantasmic MaxPass for that night’s 9PM show.

FANTASMIC DAY 11 CA TRIP PRE TRIP
This > The Game of Thrones finale

Fantasmic was not operational last time we visited and as we have heard the Disneyland version BLOWS AWAY the Walt Disney World version, we are all very anxious to see it. Well by “all” I mean Nickie, Myles, Owen, and I. No one else really knows what we are talking about. Well, maybe the Chagnons.

And that will conclude the Disneyland portion of the trip. LOTS crammed into a few days. But don’t worry. We have another theme park to look forward to on Day 14. What is it? It’s a surprise.

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But I will give you a hint.

It’s Universal.

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Bah, I suck at surprises.

 

 

 

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