The Complete Walt Disney World 2011

( 9 )

Overview

Over 500 color photographs highlight this beautiful yet remarkably thorough guide, a straightforward, fun-to-read, show-and-tell extravaganza that rates and reviews nearly 700 attractions, restaurants, shops and hotels and offers hundreds of helpful tips. Theme parks are the heart of the book. Each ride and show is showcased on its own page or pages, with an insightful description, frank review, specs such as hour-by-hour wait times and often ...
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Overview

Over 500 color photographs highlight this beautiful yet remarkably thorough guide, a straightforward, fun-to-read, show-and-tell extravaganza that rates and reviews nearly 700 attractions, restaurants, shops and hotels and offers hundreds of helpful tips. Theme parks are the heart of the book. Each ride and show is showcased on its own page or pages, with an insightful description, frank review, specs such as hour-by-hour wait times and often quirky bonuses such as Fun Finds and Hidden Mickeys.

A fantastic planning tool
Those who love to plan a vacation will delight in the guidebook's obsessive attention to detail. Comprehensive hotel reviews spotlight discount rates, room quality and decor (with photos!) and fun swimming pool features. An Activities chapter uncovers unique experiences outside the parks, whether expensive or free. New for 2011, a Walt Disney World A-Z section is an exhaustive Disney planning encyclopedia. Telephone and Internet directories hold hundreds of useful listings. Smartly organized with color-coded chapters, the book makes it easy to find what you need.

A family favorite
Moms will love the book's thoughtful focus on children. Included are creative ways to involve kids in planning a Disney vacation, Fear Factors for every ride and show, and many Family Matters theme-park tips. A Character Guide reveals where to meet Mickey Mouse and 80 other Disney stars. Young families in particular will find the book helpful, as the abundance of photos gives children a way to read it with their parents.

Award-winning advice
The only independent Disney guide ever honored by the Walt Disney Company, The Complete Walt Disney World is the winner of Disney's iParenting Media Award for Outstanding Family Product. Altogether the book has won 15 national and international book awards.

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Editorial Reviews

Family Circle Magazine
For planning in advance, check out the seriously thorough guidebook The Complete Walt Disney World.
Midwest Book Review
In-depth insider knowledge… The magic of Disney radiates from the pages… All the information needed to ensure your vacation is the experience of a lifetime… Definitely the book to purchase to help plan out your trip.
MomMostTraveled.com
In this case, ‘complete' is not hyperbole, it is a fact. The Complete Walt Disney World makes a trip to Disney seem more like an adventure full of surprises, instead of a whine-filled money drain.
Writer's Digest
What's not to love? The ultimate Walt Disney World guidebook. Seriously, how has this not been sanctioned and mass-produced by Disney or a national publishing house? The pictures are fantastic and the guide offers everything you could possibly need to know to plan and pull off the best Disney trip ever. Colorful, easy-to-navigate, beautifully designed guide. Leaves no stone unturned.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780970959621
  • Publisher: Coconut Press, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 4/12/2011
  • Pages: 368
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.50 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

The Complete Walt Disney World is written by parents Julie and Mike Neal, who have visited Disney World nearly 2,000 times. With an apartment in the adjacent Disney-developed town of Celebration, the Neals, including their daughter Micaela, stop by at least once a week. They live on Sanibel Island, Fla., with their adorable chocolate lab, Bear.
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Read an Excerpt

Best Bets

It's like Christmas. You plan and save and anticipate for weeks and months. You yearn for a magical time with your family, full of memories and unforgettable moments. It certainly runs up the balance on your credit cards, but when it's over you're most likely glad you did it. Yes, a vacation to Walt Disney World has a lot in common with Christmas, at least the secular American version. But how do you decorate your particular tree? Which presents do you choose? Following are the author's Best Bets; 24 of Disney World's most seminal experiences:

Best thrill ride: Space Mountain (p72)
This wild ride seems to fill everyone with joy. Zoom through the dark with reckless abandon on this indoor roller coaster, which zips you through space as twinkling stars and shooting comets race by. New sound effects make the experience seem faster than ever, with whooshing noises as you turn corners and plunge down drops. The low-sided, one-person-wide rocket is one of the narrowest coaster vehicles ever built, barely interfering with your feeling of a solo flight through the cosmos. This Magic Kingdom institution still has the magic it had when it opened back in 1975.
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Table of Contents

Table of Contents:
Praise for ‘The Complete Walt Disney World'
Awards and honors
1 Best Bets … 8
2 What's New … 18
3 Magic Kingdom … 20
4 Epcot … 82
5 Disney's Hollywood Studios … 120
6 Disney's Animal Kingdom … 160
7 Water Parks … 206
8 Downtown Disney … 222
9 ESPN Wide World of Sports … 228
10 Activities … 234
11 Restaurants and Food … 242
12 Accommodations … 260
13 Planning Your Trip … 294
14 Walt Disney World A–Z … 306
15 Character Guide … 346
16 Telephone Directory … 356
17 Internet Directory … 360
Bibliography 363
Index 364
About the authors 368
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First Chapter

Best Bets

It's like Christmas. You plan and save and anticipate for weeks and months. You yearn for a magical time with your family, full of memories and unforgettable moments. It certainly runs up the balance on your credit cards, but when it's over you're most likely glad you did it. Yes, a vacation to Walt Disney World has a lot in common with Christmas, at least the secular American version. But how do you decorate your particular tree? Which presents do you choose? Following are the author's Best Bets; 24 of Disney World's most seminal experiences:

Best thrill ride: Space Mountain (p72)
This wild ride seems to fill everyone with joy. Zoom through the dark with reckless abandon on this indoor roller coaster, which zips you through space as twinkling stars and shooting comets race by. New sound effects make the experience seem faster than ever, with whooshing noises as you turn corners and plunge down drops. The low-sided, one-person-wide rocket is one of the narrowest coaster vehicles ever built, barely interfering with your feeling of a solo flight through the cosmos. This Magic Kingdom institution still has the magic it had when it opened back in 1975.

Best princess attraction: Beauty and the Beast—Live on Stage (p150)
This dazzling musical stage show is both touching and laugh-out-loud funny. While romantics swoon over the love story between Belle and her Beast, everyone will love the cartoonish slapstick humor; children will giggle at the silly enchanted characters. The music? Some of Disney's best songs, the Howard Ashman classics “Belle,” “Gaston,” “Be Our Guest,” “Something There,” “The Mob Song” and “Beauty and the Beast.” Villain Gaston is a hoot, funnier and less threatening than in the movie. When bookworm Belle and her Beast embrace at the conclusion, the happy ending makes some onlookers cry. The show plays throughout the day at Disney's Hollywood Studios.

Best overall attraction: Soarin' (p98)
The sense of soaring is well realized at this indoor Epcot attraction. Buckled in to what resembles a hang glider, you lift in the air in front of a concave projection screen; a 5-minute video takes you over California. Swaying and dipping in the breeze, breathing in scents of pines and orange groves, your senses are fully immersed. With no narration or plot, Soarin's only accompaniment is its beautiful, uplifting music. It's a rush.

Best theatrical show: Festival of the Lion King (p176)
Energetic performers bring to life the best songs from Disney's 1994 movie “The Lion King” at this in-the-round musical spectacle at Disney's Animal Kingdom. Creative costumes turn dancers into antelopes, warthogs, zebras and other beasts. Similar to a great circus, there is almost too much to look at; during the joyful “Circle of Life” finale singers belt out their numbers center stage while a human bird soars overhead, wisecracking host Timon mimes his reactions, animal dancers and stilt-walkers circle the action and four huge puppets react in each corner of the theater.

Best vintage ride: Peter Pan's Flight (p58)
You fly over London and head off to Never Land in this classic dark ride at Magic Kingdom. Dusted with pixie dust and led by Tinker Bell, guests board pirate ships, lift off from Wendy Darling's home as they cruise over—and through—a variety of scenes from Disney's 1953 animated film, “Peter Pan.” Designed more than 50 years ago, the ride's imaginative engineering and overdose of black lights conjure an experience that still charms all ages.

Best toddler attraction: it's a small world (p56)
This classic Magic Kingdom boat ride creates a child's view of the world, one of a million colors, patterns, shapes, sparkles, textures and twinkly lights. Nearly 300 smiling dolls sing and play musical instruments, while whimsical animals have flower-shaped spots, jeweled eyes and twirling heads. Butterflies, clowns, jugglers and magic carpets float overhead like giant crib mobiles. The gentle attraction holds nothing threatening, and its reassuring message of unity and friendship resonates with guests of all ages.

Best animal attraction: Kilimanjaro Safaris (p178)
Nirvana for animal lovers, this bouncy, open-air safari ride offers unpredictable beastly encounters as it roams through wide-open grasslands and forests. A giraffe may peek in your truck. Lions may roar. Giant armored rhinos may calmly—or not so calmly—block the road in front of you. Each “two-week” tour is different, as the scores of spectacular animals are always busy living their own lives—feeding, fighting, nursing, running, even raising babies. It's best to ride during a rain shower, when the elephants like to play in their watering holes and all the animals are typically most lively. Covering 110 acres, the ride is the largest Disney attraction in the world, and the signature experience at Disney's Animal Kingdom.

Best educational attraction: The Hall of Presidents (p40)
President Barack Obama speaks, as do George Washington and Abraham Lincoln at this venerable Magic Kingdom attraction that was completely redone in 2009. Created as lifelike Audio-Animatronics figures, all 43 American leaders are represented as breathing, fidgeting, murmuring individuals… a mirror of our unsettled selves, the American people. Before the curtain raises on the presidents, a high-definition, ultra-widescreen film tells the illuminating tale of our country's origins, complete with interesting portraits of Andrew Jackson and Teddy Roosevelt. Morgan Freeman narrates. Note: the presentation doesn't take a political stand; hardcore haters of either Democrats or Republicans may want to skip it.

Best fireworks: Wishes (p78)
You're likely to tear up. Not the typical reaction to a fireworks show, perhaps, but this Magic Kingdom evening extravaganza is anything but typical. Though often subtle and understated, its synchronized starbursts, music and dialogue pack an emotional punch, bringing back childhood dreams and memories. The show begins quietly—a lone shooting star arches over Cinderella Castle—and slowly builds to a spectacular finish.

Best 3-D movie: Mickey's PhilharMagic (p54)
Donald Duck finds himself in the dining hall from “Beauty and the Beast,” the undersea grotto of “The Little Mermaid” and other classic Disney settings in this dazzling Magic Kingdom experience that all ages will love. When the duck steals the sorcerer's hat Mickey Mouse needs to conduct his musician-free orchestra, the foul-minded fowl gets swept up into a long, strange trip. Combining high-tech animation with great music, innovative effects and punchy comedy, the movie grows wider as it progresses and eventually fills your entire field of vision. In-theater wind, water and aromatic effects add to the fun. Don't miss Donald's attempt to kiss Ariel—it's electrifying.

Best scary attraction: The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror (p154)
“The next time you check into a deserted hotel on the dark side of Hollywood, make sure you know just what kind of vacancy you're filling.” That's the lesson host Rod Serling teaches you at this remarkable ride at Disney's Hollywood Studios. From its abandoned, weed-filled grounds to its eerie music to its cobweb-covered lobby to its unwelcoming boiler room, the Tower of Terror is designed expressly to freak you out. And all that is before you board the creaky freight elevator for a randomly-selected series of violent plunges and sudden ascents. Waiting in the dark silence for the first sudden drop—or lift—is especially tense.

Best ride at night: Big Thunder Mountain Railroad (p50)
Magic Kingdom's “wildest ride in the wilderness” is even wilder at night, as the scenery is lit but the track is so pitch black that each curve and dip comes as a surprise. Crystals glow in the bat cave, and sulphur pools swirl in vivid colors you can't see during the day. At the mining town of Tumbleweed, sharp-eyed riders will spot drunks and dance-hall dames partying behind the lit windows at the Gold Dust Saloon.

Best character meal: Cinderella's Happily Ever After Dinner (p253)
It says a lot that Cinderella is not the most entertaining character at this Grand Floridian Resort experience. Little girls love her, of course, but for adults the real treats are in the supporting cast: regal Prince Charming proposes to moms; squabbling stepsisters Anastasia and Drizella flirt with little boys; haughty Lady Tremaine disapproves of everything. The buffet is delicious, especially the roasted prime rib and chilled strawberry soup.

Best bar: Raglan Road (p257)
Hidden in a corner of Pleasure Island at Downtown Disney, this spirited Emerald Isle pub features step-dancers, a live band and a stock of Irish beers and whiskeys. Four grand bars, each more than 130 years old and imported from Ireland, feature marble adornments, leaded glass and ornate detailing. All ages are welcome, and the modern-Irish fare—the huge place is also a restaurant—offers something for every taste.

Best live band: Mariachi Cobre (p117)
This quality Mariachi band formed in Tucson, Ariz., way back in 1971 and played with Linda Ronstadt on her Spanish-language albums. Led by trumpets, violins and exuberant vocals backed by harmonizing guitars, the band expresses the romantic soul of Mexico in a way even the most whitebread gringo can appreciate. The group plays at Epcot's Mexico pavilion.

Best improv troupe: Citizens of Hollywood (p158)
This motley crew of street performers channels the mythical residents of a 1940s Tinseltown at Disney's Hollywood Studios. Performing impromptu skits on Hollywood and Sunset Boulevards, they incorporate willing park guests in makeshift dating games, celebrity spelling bees and other silly setups. Characters include director Alberto Dante (“often imitated, never nominated”), script girl Paige Turner (“I'm not a wannabe, I'm a gonna be!”), card shark Jack Diamond and dumb-blond starlet Evie Starlight.

Best Pixar attraction: Finding Nemo—The Musical (p202)
You don't have to be a child to love this musical version of Pixar's “Finding Nemo.” Playing at Disney's Animal Kingdom, the stage show taps into the underlying bonds between fathers and sons and is a visual delight. Costumed live singers act out their roles as they operate large puppets, some the size of cars. Toothy shark Bruce shimmies across the stage, his actor-operator covered with seaweed.

Best water-park ride: Crush ‘n' Gusher (p216)
There's nothing quite like this Typhoon Lagoon water coaster, which powers its riders up lifts and down dips, tunnels and many tight turns. You literally feel the thrust of the water jets, since there is nothing between you and the power source but your plastic blow-up tube. Tubes seat two, or even three, people apiece, which makes the ride great for families. The waiting line is out of the sun, unusual for a water park attraction.

Best playground: The Boneyard (p198)
Children can excavate dinosaur bones at Disney World's biggest playground. Kids can pick from lots to do at this calm spot at Disney's Animal Kingdom, including playing archeologist in no-stick sand, exploring a multi-level maze, climbing on a real Jeep and scrambling through tunnels. Tucked into the sides are hidden interactive surprises like musical “xylobones” and dinosaur footprints that trigger dino roars. Parents appreciate the shady seating area.

Best place to meet ‘locals': Main Street U.S.A. (p79)
Get fashion advice from stylish Miss Inga DaPointe. Have the mayor sing Happy Birthday to you. Trade Disney pins with Main Street Gazette Reporter Scoop Sanderson. Learn to sing from ebullient voice teacher Victoria Trumpetto. These are just a few of the Citizens of Main Street, the living, breathing embodiment of the town, who dance, joke, sing, pose for photos and sign autographs for Magic Kingdom guests.

Best parade: Mickey's Jammin' Jungle Parade (p204)
A giant chameleon may try to nab a fly off your head in this wildly creative procession at Disney's Animal Kingdom. Accompanied by colorful stilt-walkers, dancers, drummers and a catchy world-music soundtrack (“Iko Iko,” “Mas Que Nada”), huge mechanical animals are joined by Disney characters in whimsical SUVs. The park's narrow walkways bring you amazingly close to the action.

Best splurge: Pirates League (p312)
Although at Magic Kingdom you can't “drink up me ‘earties” with anything stronger than Diet Coke, you can certainly have a swashbuckling time, thanks to this pirate-makeover salon, which adjoins the Pirates of the Caribbean attraction. For about $30 adults and children alike can select either a pirate style—complete with beard, scars, earrings, eye patches—or go the skeleton route. Yo ho, yo ho, a pirate's life for… you!

Best place to stay: Disney's Yacht Club Resort (p286)
With comfortable rooms, good food at all price levels, its own miniature water park and a location that's just a short boat ride to both Epcot and Disney's Hollywood Studios, this beautiful lake-side resort is tough to beat. The adjacent Beach Club offers much the same experience, with less restaurants, a less formal atmosphere and more sandy shore.

Best restaurant: Boma (p250)
No, it doesn't serve roast zebra. Ignore the misconceptions about the food at this beautiful buffet restaurant at Animal Kingdom Lodge; the fare is a mix of non-exotic African dishes with traditional American comfort food. You'll have a wide variety of foods to pick from both at breakfast and dinner. Outstanding choices include the creamy pap for breakfast, homemade soups for dinner, and the carving stations at both meals. The artistic decor features hand-cut tin, hand-blown glass and thatched roofs. Servers are outstanding.
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
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Sort by: Showing all of 9 Customer Reviews
  • Posted April 9, 2011

    My new Disney bible

    This is my new favorite Disney World guidebook. I got it just before my family's trip, and it has been invaluable. First let me mention the photos, which absolutely fill the pages with color. They are really beautiful, and show me things at Disney that I've never seen before. I'm especially blown away with all the animal photos -- we changed our plans to include Animal Kingdom after looking at the dozens of animal pictures -- and the fun character photos in the Character Guide in the back of the book. If you look past the photos, the information is just as impressive. Again, I've never seen some of the material that is in this book. Each ride has at least one whole page dedicated to it, and some of the bigger attractions -- like my favorite, Haunted Mansion -- have multiple pages (and, of course, multiple photos). The Restaurant chapter has reviews of every single place to eat, including at the hotels. And the Accommodations chapter has the best Disney resort information I've seen in a Disney guidebook, complete (again!) with numerous photos. Take my word for it, you won't be disappointed in this one!

    5 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 10, 2011

    Stunning photography, in-depth information

    I have lots of Disney guidebooks on my bookshelf, and this is my favorite. I've bought this title every year since 2007. I'm so pleased that this 2011 edition is the best yet. How can the authors improve so much of the book each year? Whatever the reason, readers benefit. Every page has lush photography, and the writing about the attractions at Disney World is the best of any guidebook out. It goes into lots of detail about each and every ride and show in the parks, and has extensive coverage of my favorites, Disney's water parks. I also like how the book has touring plans for each park, so I don't have to put a daily plan together myself when I go on vacation. Each time I randomly open this book and start reading, I learn something new. Highly recommended!

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 28, 2011

    Invaluable Disney World advice

    I reviewed all the Disney guides and this is certainly one of the best ones. The authors have clearly done their homework. Their approach in the Complete Guide is to maximize your time, your money and the enjoyment you can get out of your precious vacation. It's like having an expert travel with you through the park, advising you to skip this ride, see this show later, stop in this cafe for the great homemade ice cream sandwiches. This is invaluable advice. Beautiful photography is spread throughout the Complete Guide, showing you what to expect in the parks, and getting you excited about your upcoming trip. Because of the photography in the animal guide in the Disney's Animal Kingdom chapter, my kids were excited to see the Komodo Dragon and the Kangaroos. We were going to skip this park until we saw these photos, and that would have been a shame as Animal Kingdom ended up being our favorite of all the parks. I highly recommend this guide book!

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 28, 2011

    Wow! What a help for our trip

    This book surprised me. My wife and I bought it just before our first Disney trip with the kids (we had visited years ago, but no kids then), and it was so helpful! Our children each looked through it page by page and picked out all the things they wanted to do -- rides, shows, characters they wanted to meet. My wife got each child their own color post-it note, and each marked the stuff they wanted to do on the trip. The book was filled with yellow, pink and blue notes! Then we went through it all and put together a great plan. Even our preschooler was able to pick her favorites, and she can't read yet, because of the hundreds of color photos in the book. Other books don't have nearly as many photos. What a find! This book really helped us.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 28, 2011

    New edition even better than 2010 book

    I just got the new edition of this Disney World guidebook, and it's even better than the 2010 edition! There are even more photos, and just as stunning as before. I liked reading about the things that had changed in the parks since last year. Best of all were the Best Bets section up front, with pages and pages of the very best Disney World offers. It was so nice to see the Beauty and the Beast show highlighted; its humor is crystallized in the large photo of Gaston and the village girls. As before, there are wonderful facts about all the attractions, fun finds, Hidden Mickeys and information about the special weekends and festivals. If you are only getting one guidebook about Disney World, you will be very happy with this one.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 28, 2011

    Planning info is fantastic

    I love the planning information in this colorful Disney guide book. There were lots of ideas for fun activities my family could do to plan and anticipate our vacation before we left, including craft projects, Disney movie nights and special ways to save for the trip. My kids liked making a countdown chain, although it could only be about a dozen links long (we got this book just a couple of weeks before our Disney trip). We were also able to read about the Disney hotel we stayed at ahead of time, so we knew what to expect. The room photos at the Boardwalk Resort, where we stayed, were especially nice. I also liked the restaurant reviews, so we knew to go to Kouzzina by Cat Cora, for example. Otherwise I probably would've passed on this really excellent Mediterranean restaurant at the Boardwalk. Don't miss this book! It'll make your vacation even more magical.

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  • Posted April 28, 2011

    Don't miss out

    I can't say enough about this guidebook. It will help any visitor maximize their vacation and avoid wasting time and money. You can pick out the rides and shows you want to go on, using the extensive and in-depth information from this book. You can also pick out the attractions to skip, which is almost more important! A special favorite was the Activities chapter, which helped my family pick out some fun things to do on our trip that we didn't even know were options. We went on a fishing trip in the lake next to Epcot, went to the free campfire / movie at Fort Wilderness Resort, and went on the Keys to the Kingdom tour at Magic Kingdom. The big key to this book are the photos, which are plentiful and beautiful. You'll enjoy looking through the pages even before you start to read the words, which are written with a light, fun touch.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 16, 2011

    Very Helpful, but opinion of one resort was biased, Port Orleans French Quarter is a great place to stay, wonder what her problemm was????

    We made reservations in December and bought the book in March. Reservations were made for Port Orleans French Quarter. The review of this resort was biased and WAY off. I was so apprehensive about it that I almost changed resorts. The grounds are lovely, everyone seemed to enjoy the pool, it was always full and who cares if the outside looked like a cheap imitation? Rooms were clean and decorated well.
    I agree, there is no sit down resteraunt, but the food court has full meals and a very wide variety, which included pot roast, pork chops and the like. Her comment that you get a decent room, a pool with a slide and for breakfast serves beignets, squares of fried dough doused with powdered sugar......... made it sound as though this was the ONLY food available! The food court is open from 6 am until 11 pm. Otherwise I though the book was helpful except for the extremely bad/biased opinion of French Quarter. Obvously she did not reasearch this resort well.

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 10, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

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