Heigh-ho, Heigh-ho, Back To The Parks I Go

Originally published at: https://geektherapy.org/heigh-ho-heigh-ho-back-to-the-parks-i-go/

#12: Ariel shares with Stef what it was like to go back to Disneyland after a pandemic kept her away for 532 days. From experiencing nostalgia, awe at the Avengers Campus, and learning the tips of her new “legendary” pass.

Read the blog post for this episode for additional references and resources.

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Stefanie Bautista 0:11
Hello, everyone, welcome to the happiest pod on Earth. I’m Stephanie.

Ariel Landrum 0:15
And I’m Ariel.

Stefanie Bautista 0:16
And we are Disney fans but really so much more than that.

Ariel Landrum 0:19
So much more.

Stefanie Bautista 0:20
So much more. Today we’re going to be talking about our visit. Actually Ariel’s visit, I did not go. Ariel’s first visit back to the park. She did a park hopper a couple days ago. So she’s going to give you the lowdown on how that was like, so that you’re all prepared for your trip back home. Back to our parks. First and foremost, Ariel, how are you? How did it feel to go back to Disneyland?

Ariel Landrum 0:47
It was amazing. Like, in retrospect, it was amazing being there too. But I mean, just it, it did feel like going home. It it felt very shiny and brand new. And some of it was shiny and brand new. So but there was the nostalgia was immediately there. I rode all my familiar rides that are my comfort rides, and I, I didn’t realize how much I missed the parks until I was there. I, I did have like, like a little catch my throat moment. Just like “I’m here!” And, seeing Mickey. Like just walking in. I saw Mickey and Minnie and Goofy right away. And I was just like, “This this is this is this was supposed to be how life is meant.”

Stefanie Bautista 1:43
That’s awesome. I mean, I guess with all of those emotions, how about we kind of backtrack a little. And tell us about your experience buying the tickets. I know that it’s a whole new process. You can’t just go to the parks and go up to…

Ariel Landrum 2:01
A whole new world!

Stefanie Bautista 2:02
A whole new world. You can’t just go to the parks and like stand in line at the kiosk. And pretty much set your day up there. You have to do it months in advance. Right?

Ariel Landrum 2:15
So what? So we first called to see if we could order ticket. We were like, “No one’s gonna call, let’s do this old school!”

Stefanie Bautista 2:25
No one is gonna call girl. What? And you got somebody on the other line?

Ariel Landrum 2:29
We did, we got someone and she told us to sign up for the email blast, because there was going to be some changes in regards to the Legacy Passes what they’re calling it now.

Stefanie Bautista 2:42
For previous Annual Pass Holders, right?

Ariel Landrum 2:44
Previous annual pass holders. I kept calling it the ‘Legendary Pass,’ but it’s Legacy.

Stefanie Bautista 2:49
So for all of our listeners out there, you’re gonna, like hear Ariel call things just one notch off of what it’s supposed to be.

Ariel Landrum 2:58

Stefanie Bautista 2:59
It’s supposed to be a Legacy Pass. Just case in point she called it; what did you call it?

Ariel Landrum 3:03
A ‘Legendary’…

Stefanie Bautista 3:04
A ‘Legendary Pass.’ So maybe we can keep a tally of the things you say? Because I feel like it’s a common occurrence. But anyway.

Ariel Landrum 3:14
Yes, just tweet at us @happiestpodgt, “I found another one!”

Stefanie Bautista 3:19
Yeah, we’re gonna keep tabs. So that’s one Legacy Pass is the previous Annual Passholders. Ariel you have been an Annual Passholder for quite some time. Right? I know I was but since I am privileged enough to be able to take advantage of the military passes. I haven’t been one. So whenever we do go to the parks, I go, “Oh, I am not getting 10%. But my friend here can get 10% so she can get these things for me.” So what did they tell you about Legacy Passholders?

Ariel Landrum 3:55
So what she said specifically is that when you check your app, you will see that that there’s an end date on it, and it just renews every month. That’s just the way that they have to set it up in the system. So it doesn’t mean it ends in that like you have to be at the park and use it before you know the end of July otherwise you won’t have it again. No, it’s anybody who was an Annual Passholder they have this Legacy Pass in and it’s broken in A and B so those tiers of the how much percentage you get off. And really it can only be used for merchandise and, and food areas that could have been used for the Annual Pass. And sometimes at the park they would have little Annual Pass like, like corners or nooks or events. They have them now for the Legacy Passholders and they had a food event a specific wine tasting food event at in…

Stefanie Bautista 4:52
California Adventures?

Ariel Landrum 4:53
Yeah, what was the restaurant? Yeah, it was the one wine country? Torta…?

Stefanie Bautista 5:01

Ariel Landrum 5:01
Yeah. So I ate there, I was able to get food reservations there. But I couldn’t do the wine tasting event there. It was all sold out. But I thought maybe like if I already had reservations, and I showed them, I thought I could do something sneaky.

Stefanie Bautista 5:15
You thought you could finagle it? But nope, Disney knows.

Ariel Landrum 5:18
They knows.

Stefanie Bautista 5:20
It’s okay, you tried.

Ariel Landrum 5:21
Yeah, but so so to get the emails for that, so that you can start booking those things. That was one thing, that there was going to be those little special nooks. So when we went to and we’ll talk more about this later, but the Adventure Campus, there was a specific photos that we were allowed to take that was just like only for people who this pass. And so the other thing that she said was, if you try to buy the tickets on the app, for some reason, the app doesn’t load as fast as the website. So you want to get your tickets on the website.

Stefanie Bautista 5:52
The go fast.

Ariel Landrum 5:52
So she wasn’t gonna sell us any on on the phone call. But she said, One thing you’ll see is you’ll see like maybe all these days taken that you want. She said, “Actually refresh it throughout the day or the next day, because people have been canceling their tickets very last minute, often.” But the the app isn’t going to get it as quickly as the website.

Stefanie Bautista 6:12
Good to know.

Ariel Landrum 6:16
Yeah. And there have been other issues with the app. And we’ll talk about that some more later. But that that was the ticket process. And so I…

Stefanie Bautista 6:24
And you went It’s July 3 right now you went? How long ago?

Ariel Landrum 6:33
How do I know? I went last weekend, didn’t I?

Stefanie Bautista 6:37
Last weekend? Yeah. So okay, so she went the last weekend?

Ariel Landrum 6:41
I went on the 27th.

Stefanie Bautista 6:43
Yeah, on the 27th in June. And you bought your tickets when?

Ariel Landrum 6:52
I bought my ticket May 4th.

Stefanie Bautista 6:55
May the 4th!

Ariel Landrum 6:56
Yes. Yes.

Stefanie Bautista 6:57
You bought it on May the 4th. Okay. For additional context. I am going at the end of August. But I bought my tickets early June. But that’s just because I want to go when all the kids go back to school. Yes, I know I mentioned I’m an educator. Yes, I will put the proper people in place for me to do that. But I wanted to, and we’re gonna have this in another episode, I’m going to have the lowdown on how to go to Disneyland with an infant. I have a toddler, he’s not an infant anymore. I have a toddler now and I am so used to going to the parks, just me and my my husband, and my friends. Not with a little tot at my shoulders. So we’re going to talk about that next time. But anyway, so that was the ticket buying process. Tell me what happens when you park? Are there any differences there?

Ariel Landrum 6:58
Okay, so one parking was a little easier because they have lower capacity right now. However, the tram isn’t running.

Stefanie Bautista 8:05
Yes, these are one of the things that I myself did not know. So tell me about how that set your day up.

Ariel Landrum 8:13
So the the park hours were 9 am to 9 pm. So not as early as they used to allow and definitely not as late. And so we we got there and and literally got into our parking spot at like 9:02. We were wanting to get there sooner, but there was a whole car situation thing that involved like us taking two separate vehicles because my partner might have had to work after Disneyland and then he didn’t even need to so whatever.

Stefanie Bautista 8:43

Ariel Landrum 8:43
That’s something. There’s always drama when you had to Disney.

Stefanie Bautista 8:46
Always. Before and after. It’s I mean, please share with us your stories tweet at us, let us know your craziest Disneyland befores and afters. We would love to hear.

Ariel Landrum 8:58
So we get there we park and we follow everybody into where you go into the tram to then go back out it and that was just the check your bags. And then it was a walk on the street where tram normally drives to Disney.

Stefanie Bautista 9:17
Making my way downtown!

Ariel Landrum 9:20
It was bad. And yeah, so I did see they had new banners they were all blue with the different characters with the exception of Sorcerer Mickey who is in his red cloak, but otherwise everybody was in blue.

Stefanie Bautista 9:38
And you’re talking about the banners in like the Plaza in between the parks right?

Ariel Landrum 9:42
No the walk to.

Stefanie Bautista 9:42
Oh, you’re talking about the walkway. Okay

Ariel Landrum 9:44
Yeah, so they gave us some stuff to look at.

Stefanie Bautista 9:46
Okay, cute. Cute.

Ariel Landrum 9:47
There were there were signs that said like, Almost there!” Or something. I was gonna take a picture of it.

Stefanie Bautista 9:52
Almost there! They should have been playing that on repeat.

Ariel Landrum 9:56
They had no music playing. It was just it was just this, this strut.

Stefanie Bautista 10:02
So case in point play music on ‘your little stroll’ aka. I mean, how is it like, like, how long is that stroll? Or how long is that walk?

Ariel Landrum 10:12
It was a hot minute. I’m gonna It was not…

Stefanie Bautista 10:15
And it was also hot because we were going through a heatwave, y’all like the whole West Coast of the United States is going through this crazy heatwave. And I guess for context, how hot was it that day?

Ariel Landrum 10:27
Oh, it got to around 103, I think. You know, someone can correct me Google me if I’m wrong, but I think there was a nice breeze it said, “Feels like.” So I think that got…

Stefanie Bautista 10:41
That real feel.

Ariel Landrum 10:41
Yeah. So I think it got about as high as 103 at one point, but but stayed down pretty much in the 80s throughout the whole day. And there was the the nice Anaheim breeze.

Stefanie Bautista 10:53
Nice. Yeah. Because yes. The Orange County has that breeze, but it does get pretty humid at times there. And I’m sure you felt that. So when you finally got to the plaza after that walk. Were there lines? Like coming out of the entrances? And oh, I know you had mentioned to me when we had talked about this earlier, but you have to choose a park to first go to right?

Ariel Landrum 11:19
Yes. So part of the ticket buying was if you got a park Hopper, you had to tell them which park you were going to visit first. And then you couldn’t go to the other park until a certain time. So for us it was 1 pm. We also tried to do another different finagling there. So there’s a Disney secrets if you go to Downtown Disney in between two different shops is an entrance that leads you to the resort.

Stefanie Bautista 11:49
The Grand Californian hotel. I know. I know this trick.

Ariel Landrum 11:53
Yeah. And so then going through there, then there’s an entrance into the park. Yeah.

Stefanie Bautista 11:58
Into California Adventure.

Ariel Landrum 11:59
Yeah. So we tried that. But given how long it took for our Starbucks to be made, and the walk to get there. By the time we got to that gate, it was 1 o’clock. And, and of course, we had a family in front of us that was like having problems with the app and bringing up their ticket. We ended up with…

Stefanie Bautista 12:19
Disney gods were like, “Nope, not today. Not today.” Oh my gosh, that’s hilarious.

Ariel Landrum 12:25
But I know they’re the line into California Adventure. They separated out the people who are park hoppers. And and that line was pretty significant. So I do think we still beat them.

Stefanie Bautista 12:36
Okay, that’s good. That’s good to know. So were the lines like long getting into Disneyland? ‘Cause I know they had, and we’re all have I guess the portals open for you to go in?

Ariel Landrum 12:48
So all the portals were open. And it was really interesting when we did the the first park they just scanned our ticket but the the second park I don’t know if it’s because the old school person who was doing it, they took our photo, which is usually what happens right? They take your picture if you have to like this one ticket. And they didn’t do it the first time but they did it this at the other park. So I don’t know if the first park was just kind of like overwhelmed and had forgotten.

Stefanie Bautista 13:21
Maybe he was just making up for the mistake of both?

Ariel Landrum 13:26
So that was just that was just interesting, because I was expecting my photo to be taken and I was just kind of standing there looking doffy. And then like

Stefanie Bautista 13:33
“I’m ready.”

Ariel Landrum 13:35
Okay, I’ll just keep walking.

Stefanie Bautista 13:38
That’s a really funny. Oh my gosh, that’s so funny.

Ariel Landrum 13:41
But okay, we’re gonna we’re gonna rewind this. So you have to get on the app by 7 am to reserve tickets…

Stefanie Bautista 13:53
Yes. Okay yes.

Ariel Landrum 13:54
To one of the two revered rides. Rise of the Resistance and Webslinger, er Spider-Man Yeah. Webslinger something-something… So the ‘Spider-Man’ ride.

Stefanie Bautista 14:08
I’m gonna look this up just because I’m not 100% sure this could be a number two.

Ariel Landrum 14:11
I remember the word “web”.

Stefanie Bautista 14:19
I think Webslingers is correct though.

Ariel Landrum 14:21
Yeah. Okay, you keep looking so so I was on the app. I was on the app at 6:45 just refreshing refreshing. And I saw at 7 am when it’s switched on. It said, “Join a boarding group.” I clicked and so I I did the Webslinger one because I knew that that I hadn’t even seen Avengers Land, I was like, “I want Avengers Campus!”

Stefanie Bautista 14:44
Number 2. But see, you got Webslinger is right. And now it doesn’t even matter because you said ‘Avengers Land’.

Ariel Landrum 14:52
So yeah, so ‘Avengers Land Campus,’ I am I I select it. I hit “join group,” and it said, “We’re sorry, there are no boarding spots, or queues left.” And I checked the time it was still 7.

Stefanie Bautista 15:10
Like 7-0-0?

Ariel Landrum 15:12
Like yes, I didn’t even make it to 7:01 I was that as quick as lightning. Taken. So as we’re doing our happy jaunt, what would normally be the tram. We see this couple that was wearing a really cool graphic t-shirt that had comic book images of Spider-Man, only the one partner he was wearing a colored version and then the other partner is wearing black and white. So they were wearing the exact same shirt they got on Etsy.

Stefanie Bautista 15:44
Like Wandavision almost.

Ariel Landrum 15:45

Stefanie Bautista 15:46
How cute.

Ariel Landrum 15:46
So you know, we had to comment on it simply because I’m always trying to convince my partner to wear matching things. And I was like, “This is slightly matching, but not really.”

Stefanie Bautista 15:55
It’s cordinating.

Ariel Landrum 15:55

Stefanie Bautista 15:55

Ariel Landrum 15:57
Coordinating. So they gave us the info on that Etsy, I will not share it until I purchased those things. But they were like, “Yeah, we’re gonna, we hope that Spider-Man likes it. I was like, “Oh, did you get the did you get in?” And they’re like, “Yeah, we did.” And I’m like, “How?!” “We’re just lucky.”

Stefanie Bautista 16:15
“We were here at 7 what the heck?” So did you pick their brain?

Ariel Landrum 16:20
So they just said that they they only did one ticket to California Adventure because they’d already they already did Rise of the Resistance the day before. So this magical couple with this awesome coordinating outfit has gotten both rides. And I think maybe that was it. Because they only had one ticket instead of a park hopper. It was easier to try and squeeze them in. Like,

Stefanie Bautista 16:44

Ariel Landrum 16:45
It just made it because it wouldn’t load it just it’s not going to load the other park. It is Yeah, do it. So that I think just makes you go in quicker. That’s that’s my scientific theory. Because they didn’t know Spider-Man. They didn’t have an ‘in’. Yeah. And and…

Stefanie Bautista 17:05
Interesting. I’m gonna have to try that. And I think because I only need one ticket, because we’re going to have to do a rideer-switch. We can’t ride these rights at the same time. My husband and I, so I’ll see and I’ll report back and we’ll figure that out. But if if that stuff that crap does not let me in at 7, I will throw fit. And you will hear that fit. Okay, cool. So you’re in Disneyland. You’re walking under the train tracks.

Ariel Landrum 17:39

Stefanie Bautista 17:39
Like that. For me. Even on a regular pre-pandemic like, that gives me so much joy, like walking around the flagpole. Seeing the fire truck seeing you know, Walt Disney’s apartment, just all of the shops, you hear the music smell the popcorn. Did it feel like that?

Ariel Landrum 17:59
It did feel like that? The smell was amazing. And I think it’s because I’ve remembered but I forgot if that makes sense. And the olfactory senses, strongest memories. So as soon as I smelled like all of my that’s that’s why like Main Street is really where the like your emotions rush. “Oh, the memories, the wonderfulness.” And then it was like this cherry on top, that entrance experience because what they did was the middle section of the train station. They made people load on the train on either side. And they put a rope in front of there and they just had characters.

Stefanie Bautista 18:00

Ariel Landrum 18:01
Like I don’t think every time we passed it. I don’t think I didn’t not see a character.

Stefanie Bautista 18:47
A character.

Ariel Landrum 18:50
Yeah. And so Mickey and Minnie were there and Goofy and they were waving. And you and so and you didn’t even have to line up to take a picture with them because technically you’re not touching them. There’s at a distance. So there was like three different families taking a picture with all of them and their little angles. Kind of like you see when when they’re taking a picture of the castle.

Stefanie Bautista 19:07

Ariel Landrum 19:09
And then and then within like the span of how long it took me to not join the group in the queue. Like there was Chip and Dale that came out and and Donald Duck and I was just like, “Okay, they’re just filling this whole,”

Stefanie Bautista 19:26

Ariel Landrum 19:27
“Whole front entrance with with all the characters.” So, so really lovely. And I would say that that was probably the best experience in regards to both parks was that there were characters everywhere. And I didn’t I didn’t miss not being able to like put my arm around them or be next to them because I always feel awkward doing that anyways, it’s like “What do I do with my hands?” Like “Am I, do I look at you? Do I look at the camera?”

Stefanie Bautista 19:52

Ariel Landrum 19:54
Yes, along with the naming things inappropriately. It’s very, if you see all the other photos before the ones I actually post on Instagram, you will see that my eyes never quite make it…

Stefanie Bautista 20:06
They never quite make it to the lens for whatever reason. And this is not even like with your phone. This is like with a camera lens like this happens with the Photopasses, y’all. I might have to comb through all of our Photopass pictures over the years, and just see like, “Oh, where is she looking?” Every time, it’s always just like, “What were you thinking at that moment? Were you in deep thought?” But that’s definitely something that I’m gonna look out for. But yeah, Ariel, you are a huge fan of taking character photos. So I’m glad that Disney was able to accommodate for that safely and you know, protect the cast members who are our lovely characters and also our park guests. So that’s really, really great to hear. I love that.

Ariel Landrum 20:49
I saw I saw Oswald like, yeah, nobody ever sees Oswald.

Stefanie Bautista 20:54
You saw Oswald at Disneyland and not California Adventure?

Ariel Landrum 20:58
At California Adventure.

Stefanie Bautista 20:58
Okay, okay. Yeah,

Ariel Landrum 20:59
I did see Oswald at California Adventure. Along with Daisy.

Stefanie Bautista 21:05
The cow?

Ariel Landrum 21:05
They were only. No no,

Stefanie Bautista 21:07
No, sorry, not..

Ariel Landrum 21:08
Daisy Duck.

Stefanie Bautista 21:08

Ariel Landrum 21:09
Yeah, yeah, no, they were together. I’m not sure why. She wasn’t a little bit slight. I didn’t get that picture of her. She was moving really fast. I think she was an older old school outfit, but they were palling together and then just like palling off the route.

Stefanie Bautista 21:24
Random but cute Also, I’m I have no problems with that. How did the park look? Did it look like it got a makeover? ‘Cause I’ve been hearing that there’s some parts of it. I mean, even when I went right before the pandemic, they had already updated so many graphics. Little things but not huge. So how did it look to you visually?

Ariel Landrum 21:46
Yeah, so umm Home Girl , got, you know her glow-up on.

Stefanie Bautista 21:51

Ariel Landrum 21:53
The Pirates Ride, I noticed that the costumes on all of the animatronics. They looked fresh. I mean, they still look like quote unquote “worn down pirate outfits,” but it just seemed like they were new or they were cleaner. Even like the one pirate with his foot hanging down. Like it did not look as grody as I remember it. It was it looked more real. And it did look dirty, but it didn’t look dirty old. I don’t I don’t know how to explain it better then that.

Stefanie Bautista 22:24
Maybe the colors were more vibrant?

Ariel Landrum 22:27

Stefanie Bautista 22:28

Ariel Landrum 22:28
Yeah. Oh, all the hues. All the hues were pumped up. Everything.

Stefanie Bautista 22:33
And interesting that you say that in pirates, because it’s such a dark ride. So very little like bright color gets through. But I guess maybe the vibrancy of those dull colors really came through? And do you think maybe they changed some of the lighting?

Ariel Landrum 22:49
I know they must have because it was it was a lot brighter. And one of the things I really love about the Pirates Ride specifically is the part where you’re going through like a building right before you go to the jail cell. And you see like burnt wood. And it’s sort of crackly and glowing. I as just as a sculpture major, the fact that that looks so real to me is like the most amazing thing. And it was it was even more. It was just so amped up. And then we definitely rode the train and the going from the Grand Canyon to

Stefanie Bautista 23:25
To the Primeval world.

Ariel Landrum 23:28
There was there was a double rainbow that was just just so lovely and beautiful. And lightning, the whole backdrop looked like it had gotten some touched up paint. And it was just everything was glowing a lot more. And and and I thought maybe it was just me and nostalgia. But my partner pointed it out. We had, oh, so there was a group of women, the Hijab Crew that went and all all matching hijabs and they they were commenting on how much like everything was amped up. Even though the line weight to pirates was only 5 minutes. Let me let me rewind, even though it was only 5 minutes. The there seem to be some confusion of where you’re supposed to enter because they had changed the roping. And so the the Hijab Crew was slightly confused and I just pulled the rope up and I said, “Oh you’re with us, right? Hey, hey, hey Jane!” And then,

Stefanie Bautista 24:34
You just make up a name?

Ariel Landrum 24:35
Yeah. And they were like “Oh, you’re so sweet.” And so about like 10 women just lined up behind us. And normally you’d get snares and a lot of angry people when it comes to line jumping. Yeah. or or or when you’re holding the spot for your your family. In this case because it was only a five minute wait. Everybody just thought it was endearing and funny. And they and they got to sit with us and took a picture of them.

Stefanie Bautista 25:01
Oh, that’s so nice of you.

Ariel Landrum 25:03
But because the boat was moving. Right? Well, there is no way. It is the ugliest photo, but they loved it.

Stefanie Bautista 25:10
Maybe they should ask your partner to do it? Ariel, you are like a semi-photographer. I don’t understand how this happens.

Ariel Landrum 25:20
Every time. Every time someone wants me to take a photo. So yeah, I would say that that was the other thing is you could tell everybody else at the park was where people who often went to the park. So those instant connections that I’m talking about, it was literally instant, it was easy for me to talk to this crew. It was easy for me to talk to that couple I, we were all just kind of smiling. There were masks. There was mask wearing and lots of people were wearing masks. As it got hotter. You saw less and less masks. Yeah. But I like I don’t think I saw people upset or angry, or families that are having sort of their tiffs or arguments, which, you know, parklife is overwhelming. So it makes sense. I just saw a lot of like, it seemed like gratitude.

Stefanie Bautista 26:05
That’s nice. I love that. And that actually brings me to my next question. We’re is in a post pandemic world will not super post because we’re still in it, guys. How are the crowds? I know, there has been some viral Tik Toks of you know, ever since the park opening up to the general public, how it’s just gotten insane. And, you know, like, unbearable, and like, why even go to the park now? I mean, even for myself choosing the date that I did. I did have my apprehensions about going to the park so soon. So how did it feel for you? And I know that you mentioned that you hadn’t been around crowds for a while. So from that perspective, how was your comfort level at Disneyland and California Adventure?

Ariel Landrum 26:51
So it it was surprisingly really comfortable. I think because I hadn’t gone to the parks when it was just people who in live California who could go because there was there was a time period of that. I I noticed how empty it felt in comparison to all the other times I’ve gone. I even when I looked at the app and kept refreshing it to look because I just I couldn’t believe the numbers I was seeing.

Stefanie Bautista 27:18
With the waiting times right?

Ariel Landrum 27:19
I only saw one 90 minute that was it. Everything else was the the longest that I saw at like in the morning was like 25 minutes for Indiana Jones.

Stefanie Bautista 27:31

Ariel Landrum 27:32
So there was not an I was actually really grateful for that simply because you know, the Annual Pass like allowed me to have a Max Pass like I get I can I can get that.

Stefanie Bautista 27:43
Max Pass was as my life y’all. I planned out my whole day from Max Pass.

Ariel Landrum 27:50
Which I don’t know, do you want to explain what the Max Pass was? Because it may there was rumors with the with the nice woman on the phone that could or could be a replacement?

Yeah, definitely. I mean, for those of you who hadn’t gone to the parking quite some time before. You, everybody knows that there’s Fast Passes. Basically, you reserve a time prior to when you’re actually going to go on the ride. And normally what you would do is in front of the rider to the side of the ride, there’s a little kiosk, you scan your ticket, it gives you a time return anytime between 2:10 to 2:40. To ride your ride. Max Pass however, with the use of the Disneyland app, you pay an extra $10 to do all of your reservations without even going to the kiosk. So it was another level of Line Jumping the legitimate way per se. And what I would do, and what we would do at every park visit is immediately go $10 max pass not a big deal. We’d pay for you know, me and everybody else who was with me at the time in our party, and then we would just reserve the first few ones go get something to eat. And that way when the window would open again to get another Max Pass boom, get another one. And then you just kind of went, as you know, your day went by and you never had to stand in that 75 minute wait for Indiana Jones or that 124 Guardians of the Galaxy because you already know that you were going to go later on. And you could even reserve all the way up until the end of the day.

It wasn’t just the rides you could reserve the actual firework shows.

Stefanie Bautista 29:29
And World of Color. Fantasmic. Definitely those shows. I know they didn’t do it for the fireworks because that’s open for everybody in the parades were exempt.

Ariel Landrum 29:39
But oh yeah, but there are fireworks in the shows. Yes.

Stefanie Bautista 29:45
So yeah, I mean, Max Pass was like my life and now that there there isn’t a Max Pass. I was myself wondering, “How am I going to go about planning my day?” And we’ve mentioned this, I think before but throughout this whole pandemic was to give ourselves grace. And I think, and correct me if I’m wrong, Ariel, that’s a big part of going to the parks for the first time is giving yourself grace.

Ariel Landrum 30:11
Yes, there were things that we were really hoping for that didn’t occur. And, and we just, we, we just kind of forgave ourselves. That, like, there was no way to like, kind of finagle or make it better, or ways to like prep. There are some things that now like, I want to tell our audience so that they can better prep. But I knew that that there was just some things that I wasn’t going to expect to happen that that, that we’re just gonna happen. Because that’s how it is, even before the pandemic, like, like, eh, well plan, Disney-planned trip usually has at least like 4 snags.

Stefanie Bautista 30:50
For sure, for sure. And it could be even the smallest thing as waiting a little too long for your food. And you know, that goes with the crowds. And that kind of plays into everything. And I think, because you did mention that everybody was just so grateful. There were less opportunities for that high anxiety, high stress to happen. Because everyone’s just really grateful to be in the parks and have the opportunity to go. So yeah.

Ariel Landrum 31:14
I think the thing that I didn’t prepare for that I don’t even know if I could have prepared for, was, you could you’ve always been able to order food from the through the app. There were now it was you could only order food through the app. And, and there were timestamps. So it’s so so for me, I’m used to… So I have my non negotiables. And these are the things I have to do to know that I had a really great Disneyland trip. Tiki, Pirates of the Caribbean, Haunted Mansion, Mint Julep, beignets. And churro. If those things are in my Disney trip, like even even 3, like top like top 3, like I had the best trip. It was it was worth the expense for me. So we went to the Mint Julep stand thinking like, Oh, well wait in line, and that’ll be that’ll be faster. There was no line to wait in. Okay, so we went on the app to order it. And it was like, we got at the Mint Julep Stand, like, I don’t know, 10:30 maybe. And we couldn’t pick up our Mint Julep until 12. So, so I’m used to doing the order, like “ASAP,” or “in 10 minutes,” or “5 minutes.” But because everybody was ordering that that’s that was unexpected virtual weight that ended up being a real weight. And that transferred over into California Adventure when it was like there was any food ordering. Thank goodness that we had already made the reservations at that restaurant. Because definitely in we didn’t get to try anything at the the ‘Testing Lab,’ ‘Pym’s Testing Lab,’ because…

Stefanie Bautista 32:56
Pym Test Kitchen.

Ariel Landrum 32:57
Noo! Was that 4? 3?

Stefanie Bautista 33:04
Umm that’s 3.

Ariel Landrum 33:06
Okay, okay. almost 4, but it was 3. Okay. So Pym’s. I was there I saw with my face.

Stefanie Bautista 33:13
You always are you’re literally there but you’re not really there. Like the multiverse in

Ariel Landrum 33:20
It is the multiverse in my head. So yes, at Pym’s. I’m just gonna say Pym’s now. We couldn’t order any food. We couldn’t even order alcoholic drinks. Nothing. And there was a there was a line for to order a mobile order if someone cancels. So there were people in line to be able to like order the food like and I guess confirm it in the app. I was a little unsure of this. So that if you didn’t get a chance to someone else cancels or doesn’t pick up or they have extra I don’t know. It was odd.

Stefanie Bautista 33:55

Ariel Landrum 33:56
So if you if any of you go back and watch my my Disney story, you will see that I took pictures of food. I did not purchase them again in the camaraderie, a very nice Filipino family ordered the $100 sandwich.

Stefanie Bautista 34:12
I you legitimately ate that thing? And I was like “Dang she went in.”

Ariel Landrum 34:16
Nahh. That was that was some Disney magic. And I said, “Oh my god, you got the sandwich. And you got this cool, like teeter totter thing?” “Can I take a picture?”

Stefanie Bautista 34:25
Yeah. The one in the spoon, right?

Ariel Landrum 34:24
Right? Yeah, I was like, “Can I take a picture?” And they’re like, “Yes, we already set it up for us.” And so we’re like me, and this other Filipino family and we’re all like taking snap snap snaps and then I was just like, “Thank you!” And we waved bye and they had a mixed drink. I took a picture that. I don’t think I don’t know if I posted, it but they they they went they went all out and they allowed me to to fake that I went all out.

Stefanie Bautista 34:28
Believable to me. I believe it. 100%. But yes, those are on our highlights in our on our Instagram page. So if you want to take a look. Everything was so bright and vibrant and that’s probably because it was like scorching hot that day.

Ariel Landrum 35:03
Scorching hot. And so speaking of bright and vibrant. Oh, oh my god Avengers Campus is the most gorgeous thing I’ve ever seen, particularly the door area where Dr. Strange comes out. So the way they designed the Campus is that there will be ongoing small like skits or shows. And and then they had a lot of characters throughout the park as well and but the small shows are essentially planned regularly throughout the day. And I didn’t get to see Dr. Strange’s show. He had a close up magic.

Stefanie Bautista 35:41
Close up magic? Like a magician?

Ariel Landrum 35:44
Something like that. I didn’t get to see it. And my partner didn’t get to see it. So my partner was not worried too much in regards to seeing Avengers Campus because he already saw it.

Stefanie Bautista 35:58
Oh, yes, yes.

Ariel Landrum 35:59
So now Now I can say because it’s open, he got to shoot the commercials for it because he does work in the industry. And so he saw all the routines over and over and over again. The beautiful thing about that, and he couldn’t tell me anything. Right? He signed the NDA. So I just know that he went to Disneyland, I didn’t even get to find out why. And turns out didn’t even go to Disneyland. It was California Adventure. But okay. And so he knew that secret corners to like watch the shows the best. So if you watch the re- our IGTV to rewatch the live of the…

Stefanie Bautista 36:36
Spider-Man show?

Ariel Landrum 36:37
No of Black Widow.

Stefanie Bautista 36:41

Ariel Landrum 36:42
Yeah, Black Widow and Black Panther to like essentially taking on Taskmaster. You will see that I I kind of pan the camera a little bit before some of the things that are going to happen because he’d already let me know where to look for things.

Stefanie Bautista 36:59
Yeah. And from what I remember, you were like off to the right side, I believe, right?

Ariel Landrum 37:04
Yeah. Now because I’m I’m short, I had to I tried to pass on the phone a little bit, because my arms are really small. But there were like, I literally, I can see everything. Yeah, both those angles. And so there was so there was that experience. And then where some of the cast were going to come out and take pictures. He let me know. Now he got to see something that I didn’t. There is a ship? Yes. Like a jet.

Stefanie Bautista 37:34
Oh, yeah. Oh, yeah. The Avengers Jet.

Ariel Landrum 37:37
He actually got to be inside that up there.

Stefanie Bautista 37:39
Stop it. Don’t let me I don’t want to be around him.

Ariel Landrum 37:42
Yeah, yeah. So like, so a lot of the experience for me was like, “Ohh ahh,” and a lot of him was like, “Yeah, that’s cool.”

Stefanie Bautista 37:50
Got out. Got out. He doesn’t exist. Get out. I don’t want to be around that. Don’t need that negativity in my Disney trip.

Ariel Landrum 38:01
But yeah, so the Spider-Man one. If you guys listen to our next episode, where we talk about a very specific Disney show that talks about jobs. This Spider-Man is real until certain point and then that point, the Spider-Man is a robot.

Stefanie Bautista 38:20

Ariel Landrum 38:21
Spoiler alert. I won’t tell you what point but I did get some really good photos because of it, and again, I knew sort of where to stand. Um, that was something else that he saw repeatedly as well. The only thing that he didn’t see, and we didn’t see, was the Webslinger. So I I’m, I’m happy. That is a missed experience for both of us.

Stefanie Bautista 38:42
Good. We need a little neutrality up in here. I’m gonna try to go so hopefully if I do if the Disney gods are with me, I am going to try to go to both Rise of the Resistance and Webslinger. Only because Rise of the Resistance happened in open when I was 7 months pregnant. So I’m like, “I can’t even go on this ride!” I think the last sort of tangent. The last ride I went on was the balloons that they had repurposed for the inside out ride at Pixar Pier. And I legitimately almost threw up because I was like, “Dope, this too much.” And if you guys know that balloon ride is like the most slowest. Go around. It’s not even intense. It’s just like little kids could do it. I think the height limit to that one is like the lowest, but nope, here I was about throw up on the ride beacuse I was just too pregnant for that. I was too pregnant. So I’m very excited to be on an actual ride because I miss it so so much.

Ariel Landrum 39:42
So speaking of Rise of the Resistance, okay, so this is a part of the Disney experience that was completely unexpected and unexpected and also anger inducing. Because that’s part of the expectation is you will find yourself feeling some type of way. 1, because anytime you go to a theme park stimulus overload. Yeah, that that just happens. And 2, because I had not been out for so long, like then being like, at a place that already gives you stimulus overload when you are prepared for it, that it was just a lot of energy, I would say. And what ended up happening was, as I mentioned, Mint Juleps at 12. Also at 12 is the second time you can try to queue up for Rise of the Resistance or Webslinger. So my partner and I, he that we realized the first error. Which was he didn’t have the tickets connected to his app. So he couldn’t also try to be there at 7 am. It was the task was on me. And I

Stefanie Bautista 40:48

Ariel Landrum 40:51
I was I yes, I absorbed and learned the move. And now I need to like distribute it appropriately. So I was like, Okay, here’s, here’s the thing, we’ll both get on. There were there were very limited seating. A nice couple was about to leave, let us share their table. And then another couple that was coming after that couple left, we let them sit with us. And the whole group around us knew that 12 was almost time.

Stefanie Bautista 41:16
It was time.

Ariel Landrum 41:17
Yes. And you could see it around us. And then and then my partner who has to be loud was like, “One more minute! “One more minute.” And so then everybody else was doing the countdown. And we all at the same time, I was going to try and reserve Spider-Man and he was going to try and reserve Rise of the Resistance. 12 o’clock hits, we all hit the queue, we all hit join, I get put in a reserved queue for Rise of the Resistance. I did not get Spider-Man. So I did Spider Man, it failed. He didn’t have my ticket on Rise of the Resistance. So I went back to try and get that one. So I got put on a on a hold. He got a ticket. Of course he did. Of course he did. He got a ticket. That’s that’s that’s what happens. Okay, so the ticket was the fact that I get to be in a virtual holding queue to be put in a virtual holding queue.

Stefanie Bautista 42:12
So it’s like queue ception.

Ariel Landrum 42:14
Yes, yes. And so while I had to hope that I could get into a virtual queue, my partner had the ticket. So he was like, “Well, you know, we’ll see when mine, my group gets called up and maybe we you know, we can go in together because we we are we are together?” like okay, we can see that. So the whole day goes by it feels like and apparently the ride was down for two and a half hours. So the queues weren’t up again until around 5:50. And so we went from the, where? Oh, we went on Star Tours just to feel Star Wars.

Stefanie Bautista 43:07
And there was no wait there at Star Tours. You just walked on in.

Ariel Landrum 43:10
I just walked right in. Yeah, that was like a no wait, and then that that ride was down for a little bit. So we were standing in line because of that. There was no wait. Well, yeah, so we went on Star Tours. I had taken my Dramamine. Some of you may not be aware, but I do have motion sickness, which is why the rides I listed are the ones I love. Because I mean, the Tiki Room isn’t even a ride…

Stefanie Bautista 43:33
It’s an attraction.

Ariel Landrum 43:34
But it’s an attraction. But yeah, so we we hustled over there, only to you. And by then, like the heat was getting to us and so my partner could not remember how to get to…

Stefanie Bautista 43:48

Ariel Landrum 43:49
To Batuu from Fantasyland-ish area and went instead towards the where the fantasy tent where they do the princesses..

Stefanie Bautista 44:01
Due that’s Toon Town.

Ariel Landrum 44:02
Yes. So we made it all the way to Toon Town. And I was like, “Where are you going?” And he was like, “I’m trying to get the Star Wars?” I was like, “There’s no way to get from,”. And we went Toon Town. And he was like, “Are you sure?” And I was like, “I’m pretty sure…” But then I started second guessing myself because the heat and..

Stefanie Bautista 44:21
The walk to Batuu is pretty long. It’s like hidden and there…

Ariel Landrum 44:26
It’s about as long as the tram.

Stefanie Bautista 44:29
I remember being tired. I am going to the first time but anyway.

Ariel Landrum 44:34
So by then I was I was beat and I was like well, we’re still not completely called up with the queue but your queue is up. So how about we take the train all the way to back…

Stefanie Bautista 44:46
Back around.

Ariel Landrum 44:47
Back around and just get off at the Haunted Mansion and walk from there because we know how to get to Batuu from there easy. A lot easier passing ‘Bear Country’. So we did that. And afterword.

Stefanie Bautista 44:59
‘Bear Country?’

Ariel Landrum 45:00
Oh no! Which one’s the bears? Is that California Adventure?

Stefanie Bautista 45:04
So it’s the Country Bear Jamboree, but it’s called Critter Country.

Ariel Landrum 45:09
Okay. Okay. Critter Country where the bears are.

Stefanie Bautista 45:14
All the bears and the creatures. Winnie the Pooh. You got off the train at Haunted Mansion and okay at this point you guys have been I feel like at the Mint Julep bar for-friggin-ever.

Ariel Landrum 45:25
Forever. Yes, yes, I didn’t get a second Mint Julep.

Stefanie Bautista 45:29
You might as well could have at this point.

Ariel Landrum 45:32
So we as we’re walking, right there is a a cast member who is holding hands with an adorable little girl who is they are this little girl’s aunt. I believe. I’m assigning gender but I’m gonna go with a little girl. And so holding hands in hands. And there’s a mom and or aunt figure on the phone very, very loud. Talking to another group and saying, “We’re headed towards Rise. We’re headed towards Rise.” like “Oh, they’re gonna ride the ride with us.” I was like, “Oh, that’s cool.” And meanwhile, the little girl is telling this cast member like “I went on everything. It is best day ever. I’ve never been on so many rides.” blah blah blah. And she’s like, “Oh, I’m so glad you’re having fun.” And the mom and/or aunt. Phone Lady. We’re gonna call her Phone Lady. Phone Lady was like, “Oh, no, we don’t have any tickets for Rise.” They’re like, “Oh, no, we’re good. We’ve got slots. They’re like, and we’re just listening. “What? Ohh is this like something secret?”

Stefanie Bautista 46:40
Like yeah, like, what this Disney secret is?

Ariel Landrum 46:41
What are these slots? Yeah. And they’re like, “No cast member so and so is gonna get us in.”

Stefanie Bautista 46:48
Uh huh.

Ariel Landrum 46:49
So we’re like, there’s no way this is gonna happen, right? Like the like, there know what the rides been down, like? So so my, my partner and I are expecting them to get a no. And they got to walk right into the line without checking anything. No, passes, not nothing. They did get to walk on. So my partner went up to the cast member who was checking the virtual queues and said the situation in regards to I was putting up a virtual virtual queue. And then it disappeared. It basically said, like, “You did not get chosen.” And so he did could could he could we go on the ride together? He said he didn’t want to go on the ride without me, which was sweet. I told him he should have but he didn’t. So the park member said, “Let me go ask. The rides have been down for like two hours. And we had to we had to really just bypass a lot of queues, which was not fair to some of the other guests.” He went asked and they said no. So we didn’t go on the ride. And so then my my partner wrote a survey about how angry he was that this family got to bypass everybody. And the justification that I couldn’t go on with him was because the ride had been down for two hours and other people in bypassed.

Stefanie Bautista 48:04
And that you were in a separate virtual virtual queue. And that therefore determined the fact that you couldn’t go on. And yeah..

Ariel Landrum 48:13
Sso it wasn’t like I didn’t get a ticket at all.

Stefanie Bautista 48:15
Yeah. And it was just two of you?

Ariel Landrum 48:19
Just two of us versus this was a family of apparently there were 11 slots. That was the number Phone Lady said on the phone. “Oh, no, no, come meet us. We’ll be there. No. Yeah, though. The whole group all 11.”

Stefanie Bautista 48:32
Wow. And it’d be kind of what she has a death wish.

Ariel Landrum 48:36
Yes, she was loud.

Stefanie Bautista 48:39
You’re gonna get and that is one of those things, ya’ll. Going to the parks, you’re going to have those people who like to taunt and loudly express their privilege at the parks.

Ariel Landrum 48:52

Stefanie Bautista 48:52
I know that many Disneyland goers, mainly my friends, people who I follow on Instagram and on Twitter. I mean, they’re, of course as influencers, they have certain things that they get to go to that, you know, not many of us do. However, I’ve never heard of any of those people openly, you know, touting that privilege. And openly saying that and I think that was important taste for that lady, especially being yet it is the first time many people have gone to the parks. There’s already a level of privilege that you were able to navigate the technology to even buy a ticket and navigate the queue and all the queues virtually. So I get that she was excited but I don’t think that it was in good taste. Like that was pretty tacky and kind of a D-I-C-K move.

Ariel Landrum 49:46
Yeah, it was. It was horrific. And that’s how we ended our day. We couldn’t even stay until until 9 o’clock because the thing the other thing I didn’t prepare for I brought tennis shoes knowing that I wanted to wear comfortable shoes. Knowing that it was in a walk a lot. I wore shorts so that I’d be cool. If you go on Amazon you can buy Chub Rub I just use deodorant between my thighs. So that like keeps them from getting all chaffe-y. So I was I was ready and set except I’d forgotten how stagnant I’ve been in the pandemic and that I looked at my my phone and I’d walked like 19,000 steps. And like literally the day before did like 4 so. That’s an exaggeration but still like

Stefanie Bautista 50:31
Like the less than 100 I’m guessing.

Ariel Landrum 50:34
Way, way less than 100, so I I hadn’t realized that I was going to be so beat. And I can’t even say that it was it was the heat. That heat didn’t make it any better. But I do think that I didn’t build up my stamina. So anybody else is doing their their planning that’s that’s the thing that I would say prep for the most. Is, you won’t be standing a lot because you won’t be in long lines, but it’ll be…

Stefanie Bautista 51:00
Moving a lot.

Ariel Landrum 51:02
Moving a lot. Moving around, moving around. Yeah.

Stefanie Bautista 51:06
I wouldn’t even suggest I mean, I’m going to be snack mom. So I’m packing snacks for the whole family.

Ariel Landrum 51:14
Just, most of the carts were done, and again, they ran out of churros.

Stefanie Bautista 51:19
Shut up no.

Ariel Landrum 51:19
One cart. One cart we were able to get a churro at. Almost, that’s that’s literally how we ended our evening. We needed to get a churro so we got a churro.

Stefanie Bautista 51:27
You were able to get that I know. Normally my end of day ritual is either getting a churro or popcorn on the way home. Just because the smell is just so good. But I’m glad that at least that didn’t run out. That would have been a super bummer. But I’m glad that despite that one off. Overall, would you say you had a great first trip back?

Ariel Landrum 51:49
Yeah, I got to ride the fire truck. I’ve done that one other time.

Stefanie Bautista 51:54
With your dad right?

Ariel Landrum 51:55
Right with my dad. Yeah, I brought him back to the parks. He hadn’t been in like 20 or 30 years. And then I got to ride the double decker bus. I mean…

Stefanie Bautista 52:04
I haven’t done that ever.

Ariel Landrum 52:05
I’ve never done that and I sat on the side that so I got to take some pictures of the castle at a higher frame than I normally would just gorge just gorge.

Stefanie Bautista 52:15
I’m gonna do that. I’m gonna do that.

Ariel Landrum 52:18
Yeah, they had a lot of smaller. I guess that you would say that was an attraction because they the trolley that’s being pulled by the horse that was happening all the time. The buses were there the whole time. The firetruck was there the whole time like just non stop. And I think it was to give park goers more to do because some things were just down. They just, they…

Stefanie Bautista 52:39
Yeah, and real quick. What was down what could you not go on? Do you remember?

Ariel Landrum 52:46
I don’t I don’t remember I think Space Mountain was open. But we didn’t I didn’t I would never go because…

Stefanie Bautista 52:53
I believe Matterhorn was down I think.

Ariel Landrum 52:57
Oh yes. That was it Matterhorn if she’s getting a facelift.

Stefanie Bautista 53:01

Ariel Landrum 53:02
Maybe another Yeti but that was that was definitely down. And I don’t think anybody was on the Nemo ride, submarine. I think that might have been down.

Stefanie Bautista 53:13
I don’t think that is COVID friendly. Not COVID friendly. Love that ride. I know. It’s unpopular opinion. But I love that ride. But, I mean, despite everything I think that was a successful Disney trip from being 9 to 9, almost 9.

Ariel Landrum 53:31

Stefanie Bautista 53:31
And you know, you did all you could and I think that there are still a couple kinks that Disney has to work through in order to make it a enjoyable experience. Because now knowing that the virtual queue for the food is going to take a minute like I want to eat when I want to eat. So I haven’t gonna really have the time my meals for me and the rest of the family.

Ariel Landrum 53:55
Yeah, and even the there were. Well right when you walk into California Adventure and you’re like look to your right, there’s like that little marke? I was down. It was it was like there was nothing there was essentially closed. So a lot of even the snack carts that you would expect. They aren’t there. So I would definitely say as prep bringing like your own snacks. That’s that’s just good. It makes financial sense and lowers your your carbon footprint. But also, there’s nothing that you can eat if you can’t get your virtual order. Yeah, and there’s no carts anywhere that have food because everybody else who didn’t get their virtual order ransacked the carts.

Stefanie Bautista 54:32
I guess I’m gonna take it back to like back in the day when I would go with my mom and we would bring Subway sandwiches. We would bring our own food. We’d go to the picnic area and just make the most out of it without spending the most. But that’s really good to know. For sure. But yeah, thank you for sharing your experience. I hope that you guys all have a good experience when you go back if when you decide to go back. I know I’m really excited. And we really hope that you guys have great stories. And if you don’t have great stories, we’d love to hear that too.

Ariel Landrum 55:08
Yeah. And definitely check out our Instagram, too, to see some of the pictures, some of the videos and to see what merchandise I did end up buying. Yeah, there’s one piece of merchandise I never leave the park without. So see what I got.

Stefanie Bautista 55:24
Great. All right. Well, thank you so much for tuning into this episode of the Happiest Pod on Earth. Once again, I’m Stefanie.

Ariel Landrum 55:31
And I’m Ariel.

Stefanie Bautista 55:33
And we are Disney fans. But we are so much more than that. Please go ahead and follow us on Twitter @happiestpodgt and happiestpodgt on Instagram to find out what we have in store next for you.

Ariel Landrum 55:44
Bye everybody!

Stefanie Bautista 55:45
Alright bye!

Media/Characters mentioned
  • Disneyland
  • Oswald
  • Mikey Mouse
  • Minnie Mouse
  • Avengers
  • Dr. Strange
  • Spider-Man
  • Black Widow
  • Black Panther
  • Goofy
  • Chip and Dale
  • Donald Duck
  • Daisy Duc
Topics/Themes Mentioned
  • Legacy Pass
  • Annual Pass
  • Disney Parks
  • California Adventure
  • Disneyland
  • Gratitude
  • Expectations
  • Preperation
  • Privilege
  • Enchanted Tiki Room
  • Attractions
  • Anger
  • Joy
  • Memory
  • Olfactory Senses
  • Food

Questions? Comments? Discuss this episode on the GT Forum.

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