Interview 2010 Disney Moms Panel Member Suzannah and You May Win a Mickey Moms Club Party in a Box

SuzannahMy friend Suzannah, is doing a series over on her blog Zannaland titled “Meet Your Walt Disney World Moms Panel”.  She too is a member of the 2010 Disney Moms Panel and I thought to myself…if she is interviewing the moms…who’s going to interview her?  I asked, and she very graciously accepted my request to let YOU, the Disney Community, interview her! w00t!

Feel free to ask her just about anything… It can be about her journey onto the Disney Moms Panel, her blog Zannaland, raising kids near the Mouse, Disney questions, how she finds Pixie Dust in the Everyday…whatever!

I thought I’d spice things up a little bit and turn this into a contest!  You don’t mind do ya? =) Last month I blogged about the Disney Social Media Moms Celebration and how I had won a Disney Moms Club Party in a Big Red Box while there. Well…that Party in a Big Red Box is officially up for grabs!  All you need to do to enter to win it is leave a question for Suzannah in the comments section below before midnight EST on Wednesday April 14th, 2010.  Sometime after the 14th I will get together with Mrs. Zannaland and ask her your questions at which time we will randomly pick a winner from all entries received.  The contest is open only to those with a United States postal address.  Sorry to my international readers…this is a hefty box.

To ask an official Disney Moms Panel Question visit the Disney Moms at… Walt Disney World Moms Panel.

This post is part of the Disney Blog Carnival. Go there to read more great Disney posts.

Suzannah and I are not Disney employees. The postings here are our own and do not represent the positions or opinions of the Disney Company.

Until Next Time,
Amanda_Tinney_Signature

P.S. If you would like a shot at our weekly $25 Disney Gift Card, subscribe to the Disney Every Day Newsletter and look for your “Where in the World are We” Contest Clues each week. Enter your name and email address below for a chance to win!

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49 Comments

  • Aurora Moore says:

    What has been you favorite Memory involving Disney and Your Family? was it a a specific event or a whole vacation?
    *FYI- i want a party in a box……. but if I don't win I will just gate crash who ever does win :)*

  • Maria says:

    My question(s) for Suzanna are: When did you first catch the 'Mouse-bug'? and What is your favorite souvenir from one of your first trips (as a child, or whenever you first went)?

  • Lucinda says:

    What direction do you see the WDW Moms Panel heading? Do you think they'll continue to offer seats on the panel through an essay-writing application process?

  • molly says:

    Do you think there is anything that the Disney mom's panel can offer to Disney addicts without children?

  • AndiS says:

    Who is your favorite Disney Moms Panel Member?

  • heavensent30 says:

    What is your earliest WDW memory? and What is your favorite attraction/show/ride retired AND current? 🙂 Y'all love me… lol

  • Jessica says:

    I'm heading out to Disney for our third time in a calendar year – I can't believe it! My question is – we've done all the typical restaurants one thinks of – Le Cellier, Chefs de France, breakfast at Chef Mickey's and Ohana's. We even have our reservations for Wishes which will be back when we're there around Memorial Day. My question to you is what's the best dining for those who have done the typical ones?

  • Zanna says:

    LOL. Do I get a free trip to Alabama if I pick a certain Southern sweetie from there? 😉

  • Zanna says:

    Amanda, thank you for the fun entry! The only problem is, I want to answer ALL these questions right NOW!! 😉

    Thanks for the great questions everyone, keep 'em coming – I can't wait to get together with Ms. Tinney and answer them!

  • stephaniebaker says:

    How special to be a Disney Mom's Panel Mom! What is your favorite place at WDW and why? Are there any special secrets to that place? Thanks.

  • Zanna says:

    Ooh, this is a great question and a tough one…I can't wait to answer it!

  • rachel. says:

    Zanna,
    What has been the biggest change in your life now that you are a member of the Moms panel? I know you had applied more than once and i'm curious as to know the biggest changes or happiest moments now that you're a member 🙂
    -Rachel

  • How did you become involved in the Disney World Moms Panel and how has it changed your perspective on Disney World?

  • Heidi says:

    How often do you go to Disneyworld, weekly, monthly??? Also, have you done any of the tours (Keys to the Kingdom, Segway etc)?

  • Ellen says:

    Hey Suzanna. My question is: How do you juggle being a mom and all that goes with that, being a Disney Moms panelist and writing and keeping up with your blog Zannaland and still keep your sanity and stay so organized.

  • AndiS says:

    Oh, yes…there'll be RCs and moon pies a-plenty! 🙂

  • roritravel says:

    This is a totally fun idea! Two top Disney experts teaming up to not only bring info, but a fun way to do it & a contest to boot…
    OK – so, here's my question …
    What is your #1 insider secret that no one knows about WDW but will enhance a vacation for anyone?
    Rori
    RorITravel

  • Roritravel says:

    This is a great idea!
    So…
    What is your #1 secret idea about WDW that would enhance anyone's visit?
    Rori
    RoriTravel

  • Dan S says:

    If you could take over for Bob Iger for a day what one change would you make and why?

  • sharlon says:

    Suzannah, imagine you could prepare the ultimate Disney meal, picking and choosing from any WDW restaurants that you would like, what dishes would you choose from which restaurants and why?

  • Laura says:

    What has been your most memorable experience at Disney, and what special Disney memories do you hope to pass on to your children?

  • Hi Suzannah! What has been the coolest “behind the scenes” experience you have had so far on the panel?

    (If you don't get to mine I will remind you next month in person!!!!)

    Charles

  • dzieniszewski says:

    I am curious about the demographic of the Mom'sPanel. Are there representatives of all ages and ethnicities? As a very active 72 year old, I am frequently asked about what WDW has to offer for an “older visitor' to the World and how to plan their visit to the World. Just curious because their is a perception that anyone over the age of 70 needs a wheel chair, or some kind of special assitance, or if they don't how to plan their visit.

  • Laurie says:

    Suzannah – do you think Disney will ever consider adding Disneyland to the Mom's Panel or as a separate panel? I know it's a lot smaller but on the West Coast it's usually the first step to Disney and there are always so many questions families have. Thanks! And how fun for you to be on the Panel!

  • KAmburn says:

    Great contest! My question is around the fireworks. My kids are still on the young side and we want to pick one late night. Which would you suggest (Wishes, Illuminations or Fantasmic) and why? Thanks!

  • Nancy says:

    Great contest….and so many questions, so little time lol!

    OK, narrowing it down to just one, for the benefit of my friends who have never been to Disney World before: What is the ONE most important thing you think anyone who is planning their first WDW trip should know?

  • mot412 says:

    My family is celebrating our 20th Annual Reunion in 2011 and we want to make it Magical…so of course the plan is to celebrate with the Mouse! If all of this comes together we're talking upwards of 60 people. I'm a Disney addict and have been tasked with helping plan this monstrosity of a party. What tips/suggestions would you have for someone planning an event like this? Thank you!!

  • Zanna says:

    Here's my official written reply:

    What has been you favorite Memory involving Disney and Your Family? was it a a specific event or a whole vacation?

    This is such a difficult answer. I was recently asked to calculate how many visits I’d made to Walt Disney World and the answer could be over 700 given my 15 years off and on as a Florida resident and not even counting my time as a Cast Member. So as you can imagine, that gives me a lot of memories to work from!

    Despite those countless day trips to the World, I’d have to say my most dear memories are those when we are at a Disney resort. Staying on Disney property really adds another dimension to your vacation and amps up the magic. I know it sounds cliché, but it really is true. Being able to leave the parks in the heat of the day to find even more Disney theming and magic waiting for you at your resort’s pool, or at the end of a long day to return to your room with hidden Mickeys on your bed spread and watch Stacy tell you about the “Must Do” attractions at Walt Disney World – is such a wonderful feeling.

    That said, I think one of the most memorable trips is when our two older children experienced Animal Kingdom Lodge for the first time. Knowing they could just look out their balcony and see giraffes, zebras and more was amazing to them (and us!). Waking up in the morning and seeing a Zebra eating his breakfast right outside your room is hard to top. In addition, experiencing the holidays at Disney always tops my list. Even though the big kids are getting older, they are still in awe of the ‘snow’ on Main Street, USA or on New York Street at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. It usually brings me to tears remembering their tiny faces in the snow, or remembering how much my Dad loved Disney too.

    The bottom line is, every visit to Disney brings about new memories. I’ve had the incredible gift of being able to experience Walt Disney World as a child, a single person in my 20’s, a married couple, and a mom with kids. My perspective and love of the parks has changed with each milestone and I’m sure it will continue to as the years go on.

  • Zanna says:

    Here's my official written answer 🙂

    My Dad’s family is from Ocala, so I know as a baby (about 7 months old) we visited my Gramma Lucy and my Dad’s sister and her family and included a trip to the Magic Kingdom too (that would be in 1974). Of course I don’t remember that trip, or the next one when I was about 5 or 6 either. I do have a picture of me eating a frozen banana in front of the castle from that trip though. The trip I remember is from 1983, when my parents and I drove down from Boston to Orlando, with stops along the way.

    I can’t really explain what it was about that trip, I guess I was just the right age to actually comprehend and remember what I was experiencing. I was 9, and EPCOT Center had just opened. My mom was big on ‘educational moments’ on vacations, so I was used to loving learning and that sort of thing, so I never thought of EPCOT as being ‘boring’ because it didn’t have the traditional Magic Kingdom-like rides. In fact, I fell in love with EPCOT. Figment in particular just won me over and that became my favorite ride. Horizons was next and World of Motion was third in line. I just loved the story that each attraction told. I’ve never really been a thrill ride person (I only rode Space Mountain for the first time about 4 years ago!) but the attractions that drew you in and made you feel a part of the tale they were telling always captivated me. I feel that much of that feeling is now gone in Epcot, but for now, we still have Spaceship Earth to remind us where we once came from. I’m not sure how that experience translated into being Disney-obsessed, but it just happened. Walt Disney World seemed like home, a perfect escape where there was always a Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow, shining at the end of every day…I still feel that way 27 years after that trip in 1983.

    As for my favorite souvenir – I no longer have it, but I remember keeping my little plastic orange-shaped cup from the Sunshine Tree Terrace where the Orange Bird was. I know I had an Orange Bird figuring too. I also still have my original 1983 Figment plush doll, though he is not very plush anymore. His neck looks broken and most of his fluff is deflated, but I still cherish him and the time he represents.

  • Zanna says:

    Here's my official written answer 🙂

    Well, first I must note that as a Walt Disney World Moms Panelist we are not cast members and really have no inside information as to how the panel is run, promoted, etc, so anything I say is simply my own guesses or thoughts. That said, this year was obviously a big one for the Moms Panel. Going from 12 panelists the first year to 16 the second, to 21 the third, including 6 new dads this year, is quite a jump! Obviously the DisneyWorldMoms.com site itself is an amazing success and the number of questions asked each day just keeps growing. I think the first couple of years were quite different as far as the selection process goes and that Disney realized they needed to reach out and be able to connect with guests planning vacations from all different backgrounds. In addition, social media itself has made HUGE strides this year and both the Walt Disney Company and the Moms Panel have been a big part of those strides. Quite simply, the future possibilities are endless as to where the Panel could go and who it would involve.

    As far as the application process, I think essay questions are still the way to go because it is predominantly a writing position. You may be an amazing personality but have issues with grammar or spelling that just won’t make a writing opportunity the best fit. It’s sort of like sending in a resume with perfect qualifications, but you misspell your job title or something. Of course you must project the passion necessary to make the cut too. I think many people focus a lot on treating it like a resume; listing off their number of visits, where they’ve stayed, what they’ve done, what they collect, when really it’s about translating that love into helping others. It’s not just showing you love Disney, it’s showing how you turn that love into helping others plan their vacations – because that’s really the heart of the ‘job’ at the panel. At least that’s how I view it – I could be completely wrong! 😉

  • Zanna says:

    Here's my official written answer 🙂

    Oh Molly, I most definitely do. If I had one thing I could shout from the rooftops about the Moms Panel, it would be that you don’t have to BE a mom to ask a question. The truth is, every single panelist has experienced Walt Disney World without kids at least once. We are all taken on a training trip, which includes visiting the parks, restaurants and special events – without kids. So we all have at least one thing to share about planning a trip without kids. In addition, many Panelists visit WDW multiple times a year without their kids! We know that it’s a completely different place and experience without kids and we love talking about it – trust me! Please don’t be afraid to ask a question there, I know lots of us would LOVE to answer it.

  • Zanna says:

    Here's my official written answer 🙂

    As I tell two of my three sweet children (Gio doesn’t ask this YET); I love you both to the moon and the stars and back again. This definitely applies to Moms Panelists too – I love you all!! I have learned so much and something different from each one of you and I am truly blessed to know you at all! But – Roooooollllllll Tiiiiiiiiide!!!! 😉

  • Zanna says:

    Here's my official written answer 🙂

    Well, I answered part one above for the most part, but as for my specific earliest memory, it’d have to be driving up to the now Amateur Athletic Union (then it was the central registration for all the Lake Buena Vista Villas) and checking in. I remember how SUPER nice the cast member was that checked us in and thinking it was the coolest thing ever that he gave us a folder that said “Walt Disney’s Lake Buena Vista Villas” with a PEN that said Walt Disney World and a pad of notepaper – all of which I still have. 😉 Then finding out we got our own golf cart to drive to the Marketplace was the coolest thing ever. I may or may not have almost driven into the lake with it. * whistles innocently *

    Favorite retired attractions are mentioned above – Journey into Imagination (in its original form) and Horizons. Favorite current ride is probably Soarin’ I love it because of the immersion into the atmosphere, and that’s tied with Toy Story Mania! because it’s just so fun. However, I will always love the Wedway People Mover (TTA) and Carousel of Progress too. Being on either of those is like I’m 8 again. And I love the WDW Railroad. And Pirates. And Peter Pan’s Flight. And Splash Mountain. I have difficulty with decisions. 😉 And yes, we love you!

  • Zanna says:

    Here's my official written answer 🙂

    Well, I apologize for the delayed response to this first of all – you’ve probably already made ADR’s by now. Without knowing the ages your party consists of, I’ll give you a few of my favorites –

    Citricos – this is gourmet dining at its finest. Check out the menu and see if it works for your family because the atmosphere and the food is just superb. I had perhaps the best filet mignon ever there. We went for my birthday a few years ago and I will say that if you have kids and they do not care for char-grilled steaks, they may want to pick another entree. My kids love steaks but were kind of frustrated that theirs were a little blackened.

    Narcoosees – if you like seafood, the selections here are wonderful as is the view. We haven’t been there in a while, but looking at the menu just now made me want to go back!

    Kouzzina – I’ve been here quite a few times and the appetizers and entrees are just wonderful. Again check out the menu to see what would work for you, but we’ve never been disappointed there.

    1900 Park Fare – for a different character breakfast buffet, try this one out. We love the characters, the dining selections and the omelet station. We also love Boma for breakfast AND dinner. I haven’t tried Jiko yet, but I’m about to in a couple of weeks, so I’ll let you know how it is!

    Ok, I’ll stop here – I could go on and on though! 😉

  • Zanna says:

    Here's my official written answer 🙂

    Thank you, Stephanie! It has definitely been the most magical time of my life and I am grateful every day for the gift I’ve been given.

    This question was the one that gave me the most pause for reflection. It’s really hard to pick one place as my favorite! After all this time, I still don’t think I can come up with an answer. I love all the parks at night, near closing time, and the only secrets to that is hanging out until the park’s about to close. I also love walking around the Boardwalk at night.

    Another place I love is the Days of Christmas store in the Downtown Disney Marketplace. I love Christmastime, so it doesn’t matter what time of year it is, the minute I walk in there and smell the wonderful cinnamon scents and hear the music and see the ornaments, I’m happy.

    Really, I love the special events during the year more than a specific place. The International Flower & Garden Festival each spring, the International Food & Wine Festival, and then the special ticketed events of Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party and Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party. I love these unique events that you can only experience at certain times of the year. It’s fun to plan visits around them. The only secrets I have is weekdays are less crowded than weekends for the festivals and if you attend the ticketed events, you can arrive as early as 4pm even though the tickets say 7pm. 😉

  • Zanna says:

    Here's my official written answer 🙂

    Hey Rachel! I did apply in 2008 for the 2009 panel, yes. Back then I really had no idea what the panel was about or who was on it. I applied by listing all of my Disney experience rather than writing from the heart and when I hit ‘submit’ I instantly forgot about it. It wasn’t until a year ago that I started finding Disney Moms on twitter and realized what a cool experience it would be. I’d just started blogging about Disney so it just seemed like a perfect fit for me. Many people think that blogging and tweeting about how much I wanted to be on the panel helped me get on there, and I wondered that too, but the fact that there were 20 other panelists not blogging about the panel and wanting to be on it made me realize there were a lot of other factors that went into picking the panelists than just making yourself known.

    Definitely the biggest change is how often we visit the parks. We used to go maybe once a month as resident passholders, but once I became a panelist (and really being active on twitter too) there was suddenly always a reason to head over to the parks! Meeting all these new friends and knowing their in the parks having fun makes it really hard not to rush over when you’re only an hour away. 😉 I’m sure everyone’s sick of me by now!

    Certainly the Moms Panel events and experiences has been amazing. It’s not every day you get to meet Tom Staggs or Meg Crofton, or get to go behind the scenes in the parks. With my experiences as a former cast member, I did have a lot of knowledge of how things worked backstage as far as much as an hourly cast member is able to know. I’d come to work through the Utilidor every day and had been backstage at all the parks but Animal Kingdom too, but it was still exciting to see after all these years.

    The happiest moments were of course meeting all the other Moms, from 2008, 2009 and 2010. The entire training trip was just one big “I can’t believe I’m really here!” emotion. It was surreal. We all bonded instantly for the most part and it was just a wonderful experience. In addition, it was my first solo (plus a lot of Moms) trip so that was really different. I got kind of used to having an entire room at the Contemporary to myself! 😉

    It’s also been great when someone asks you a question personally on the Moms Panel site and mentioned that they loved a previous answer or that you helped them. That’s an amazing feeling!

  • Zanna says:

    Here's my official written answer 🙂

    See above for most of that answer! 😉 I will say that although I am still chocked full of pixie dust and magic, being on the Moms Panel does provide a slightly different perspective on the business end of Walt Disney World. We are never told or asked to say specific things because we are not cast members, but it is part of social media so there is a public relations aspect to parts of the panel as well. As someone with an interest in public relations and a social media addict, of course this is only a positive thing for me and I love it! When I was a cast member, I knew all sorts of backstage info that’s not immediately available to guests and it never spoiled the magic for me then. As a lover of all things Disney, if anything it provides more appreciation for the company and my teeny tiny role within it.

  • Zanna says:

    Here's my official written answer 🙂

    Hi Heidi! These days I’m in the parks pretty much every weekend (although in the past 7 days I’ve been there 4 separate times just for day visits!) We will visit for extended stays a few times throughout the year, usually in December for my birthday, February for my son and husband’s birthday and August for my mom and daughter’s birthday. Now we’re planning an October trip, which happens to be my youngest son’s birthday and our anniversary, so that’ll probably become a habit too! 😉

    The only tour I’ve done is the Family Magic tour when my oldest kids were around 6 and 7. It was the perfect age for them and they had such a wonderful time. In fact, I should’ve listed that above as one of my favorite memories! 😉 Being a former cast member, I really haven’t felt the need to do the Keys to the Kingdom tour, but I’d love to do the Segway one. It’s also a bit more difficult now because my kids are all under the age for the adult tours and it isn’t often that we do things separate from them while in the parks. If we ever get to Disneyland, I will definitely want to do the tours there because I’ve never been to that park and would love to hear about its history first hand.

  • Zanna says:

    Here's my official written answer 🙂

    Oh, Ellen…the simple answer to that is I don’t – my sanity is long gone as is my organization! 😉 I will say it was a lot easier to keep up with the blog when I had a newborn who slept most of the day. As my youngest has gotten older he’s abandoned most of his naps and now there’s pretty much only a 1-2 hour window that I can accomplish everything I need to for the day: showering, laundry, cleaning, writing for my blog, writing for other outlets, etc. The cleaning tends to fall to the bottom of that list of priorities!

    Once my time on the Moms Panel started, I found I had even less time. I thought I could answer tons of questions really quick on the Panel, but I found that I didn’t want to give out a single bit of misinformation, so checking and double checking, getting links to add, etc. makes question answering a bit more time consuming than I anticipated. Now recently, my son has gone from happy little toddler to “I-need-your-attention-at-all-times-please-and-by-the-way-I’m-also-a-complete-daredevil!” So. That means I have even less time to write as I once could throughout the day if he was playing. Obviously he’s my first priority so if you’ve been following my blog at all, you’ve probably noticed a lack of content lately!

    So again, I am definitely not organized and I learned very quickly in the last few months that I cannot in fact do it all. What I realized is I had to re-prioritize the things that were most important to me. I knew I could not keep up with daily blogging or bringing the latest news to my readers, so I’m trying to get back to more meaningful personal posts when I find the time, with some news or spotlights on certain Disney topics mixed in. I’ve got such a great supportive audience of readers, I have to hope they’ll understand and still be there for me when I have the time to write. I’ve made a commitment to the Moms Panel, so that comes 2nd after my family (but before laundry) 😉

    If I had any advice in this arena, it is something I was told when I started blogging too – what do you want to get from your blog? Money? Fame? Opportunities? And to be quite honest, that answer has changed several times over the past year of blogging. It’s all about balance and thinking about what will be there in a year or five years vs. what needs to take priority now. I’m still working on it myself. 🙂

  • Zanna says:

    Here's my official written answer 🙂

    Oh Rori, you’ve asked the million-dollar question! 😉 I don’t think there’s much left at Disney World that’s a secret anymore (at least among Amanda’s readers anyway, they are a wise bunch!) Many people don’t realize you can bring food and snacks in, just not coolers or glass containers (aside from baby food) so if budget’s an issue that’s helpful. I think the best advice, whether ‘secret’ or not would be to just ask a cast member. Ask them any questions you have about a ride, a restaurant, heck, a flower you see and like. Sometimes they won’t know the answer, but other times you’ll get amazingly knowledgeable cast members willing to share stories or tips with you. Those helpful cast members are the true secret to Disney!

  • Zanna says:

    Here's my official written answer (which is the same on the video really because I actually remembered your answer when I was there!) 😉

    ONE change? That’s so tough. As much as I’d love to say bring back Horizons or the original Imagination, that seems kind of non-forward thinking. I think I’d expand the monorail line. I know it’s outrageously expensive to do so, but just think of the convenience it would provide to so many guests. It would be hard to do without interfering with current resort theming, but that’s why I’d have a team of Imagineers ready to help me out!! 😉

  • Zanna says:

    Here's my official written answer 🙂

    Well, as much as I’d love to commit to being a vegetarian, I do love a good filet mignon. I’m not picky, they can bring me one from Le Cellier, California Grill, or Citricos (or even Teppan Edo). I’d love to have a side of the Parmesan mashed potatoes from Chef Mickey’s as those are my favorite. For an appetizer, I’ll go with the Sonoma goat cheese ravioli from California Grill. We had the pumpkin version at Moms Panel training and it was simply amazing. Just had the goat cheese version yesterday – also amazing. Although the seared sea scallop from Sanaa is one of my favorites too. And for dessert…well, this could turn into a novel, so I better leave that one alone. 😉 This was really hard to narrow down…it would be much better if I could list them all as a buffet, and even then, it’d probably take a week to fit in all my favorites.

  • Zanna says:

    Here's my official written answer 🙂

    Well, I covered a lot of that in questions above, but I’d have to add that the Family Magic tour at the Magic Kingdom was such a wonderful experience that my whole family loved. At one point at the end of the tour, some ‘friends’ join the group and we all go on an attraction together. Seeing my kids playing ring around the rosie and duck duck goose with those characters was such a special memory. I’ll treasure it forever.

    As for what memories I hope to pass on to my children, I hope they at some point appreciate the traditions we are forming here. I do fear that being in the parks so much is making them a bit immune to the magic, but we do switch things up every now and then and I can see they still love it here. I hope when they’re my age they get tears in their eyes when they see the castle or watch whatever fireworks are showing then…I hope they believe in magic, forever.

  • Zanna says:

    Check out Amanda's new post for your answer! 🙂

  • Zanna says:

    Check out Amanda's new post for your answer! 🙂

  • Zanna says:

    Check out Amanda's new post for your answer! 🙂

  • Zanna says:

    Check out Amanda's new post for your answer! 🙂

  • Zanna says:

    Check out Amanda's new post for your answer! 🙂

  • Zanna says:

    Check out Amanda's new post for your answer! 🙂

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