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Old 17 May 20, 06:50 PM  
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Talking 5-week Split Stay in Florida, Feb/March 2020 - Day 31: Epcot & Old Key West

Day 31: Epcot & Old Key West
March 11, 2020

[-- Trip Index --]

Today's quick movie:


We all had a good sleep, and Myla and I woke up naturally around 6:50. I got her sorted with some breakfast, and Michael was back from his usual crazy-early gym session just after 7AM with the fresh coffees in our refillable mugs. Since we'd all showered last night after the pool, it was actually really quick and easy to get out the door on time (for a change), and we left our room just after 8.

An Epcot bus was sitting waiting for us outside Hospitality House, and we were in Epcot for 8:30AM. I had no particular reason for being THIS early - we weren't ropdedropping any rides as Myla is too short for Test Track or Soarin', Mission: Space is a big no for me and Michael no matter how tall she is (simulator ride), and she was still refusing to go back on Frozen Ever After as she said it was scary. My plan for today really was just a relaxed Epcot day - we had pretty much no rides planned, the goal was to get a few more autographs for Myla's book (we were still missing the most from Epcot), and just enjoy some of the Flower & Garden Festival sights, including the playground for Myla and the butterfly house.

We ambled over from the bus stop to the park entrance in no particular hurry.


In case you're wondering what Myla is holding in these above photos, they are her 'bunnies'. She got one as a gift from my stepmother's mom (so my step-grandma) when she was born - my stepmom actually did custom embroidery on them so it has Myla's name and date of birth on it. She quite quickly grew very attached to this bunny, to the point that I asked my stepmom to make me another one as a backup when Myla was maybe 6 or 7 months old. This was the soft toy that went everywhere with her as a baby. She never wanted a dummy or even sucked her thumb, but she was super attached to her bunny. Of course, because it went everywhere with her, it had a high 'lost' factor, especially when she was younger. She lost the original bunny before she was one, and I was SO glad I already had a backup as there's no way she would have gone to sleep without it. My stepmom then made me 2 more for her first birthday lol. She managed to lose another one around 18 months going around M&S while visiting our family in Belfast, and it was around that time that she realized I had backups of the bunnies, when she saw 2 of them sitting on the shelf of her wardrobe. From then on, she insisted on having TWO of the bunnies with her at all times. She wasn't supposed to realize I had spares lol! My stepmom made me yet another one for her second birthday - so we've now had 5 of them in total, and there's 3 left. One hidden far away in the back of my wardrobe as a spare (and it was hidden in a zipped compartment of my suitcase in Florida! ), and 2 that she sleeps with every night, and sometimes asks to take out. Usually we say no, and she's pretty good now at realizing the bunnies stay in her bed. I can't quite remember why we allowed her to take them into Epcot on this day... we usually only allow it if she's upset or needs that comfort factor, but I can't for the life of me recall anything that would have warranted that that morning!

Anyway, we were all in really good moods, enjoying the weather and the sunshine and feeling lucky to be in glorious and sunny Florida, instead of at home where it was raining and getting quite scary/depressing with how the pandemic was growing there!


The CMs weren't letting anyone into the park yet as it wasn't 9AM yet, but I didn't think it was too busy. We queued for maybe 10 minutes here before they started letting people in at 8:45.


Always love some photos of Spaceship Earth!


We got a quick Photopass picture done at the entrance - Myla looks a bit annoyed but I promise she was in a great mood lol!


First stop was the toilets just to the left of Spaceship Earth. If you've been reading along with this trip report, you'll recall frequent mentions of the public toilets for the first few weeks of our trips, and hardly any mention recently. This is because at the beginning of the trip, Myla refused to pee on any public toilet and was always scared from the noise. By this late in the trip, she'd grown used to it, and bathroom trips were no longer something I mentioned in my notes as it genuinely wasn't note-worthy - she was able to go in with me, we'd both pee, wash our hands, and move on! I was and still am really proud of her though - she did so well not letting the noise bother her, and being able to hold it if we weren't near a toilet.


We decided to have a wander around just to soak up the atmosphere, and continued down the left hand side of Spaceship Earth towards Mission Space. Myla LOVES Big Hero 6, so was really excited to see the big billboards, and insisted I take her photo in front of each of them before we could walk on. And she checked that I had really taken said photos too, by asking to see them on my phone before she'd walk on. Smart cookie!

Loooove how she tried to copy Honey Lemon's pose here haha.


However when we turned the corner right by where the Guardians rollercoaster is going to be, we stumbled upon a crowd of rope droppers, still being held back by the CMs. These people were obviously all going to Test Track or Mission Space, so we hung at the back a little - we just wanted to look at the topiaries while making our way to Starbucks the long way around.


Finally it was 9AM, the crowd all marched away, and we walked via the back of old Mouse Gear past the Toy Story playground towards the new Starbucks on the edge of World Showcase. Everything looked sooo pretty with all the fresh flowers in the morning light.

More billboards.


We were at the Starbucks for 9:05 and it had seriously the shortest Starbucks queue I've EVER seen in a Disney park - only 1 person in front of me lol! I got a cappuccino and my beloved banana bread, Michael had an Americano, and Myla actually picked a croissant this morning (instead of the banana she usually asks for). Total was $16, and we had our order in record time.

The first autograph we were looking for, was Daisy. Her meet started at 9:30, substantially earlier than any of the other ones we were still missing. I'd looked up online where her meet was, and had read it was in the Odyssey Pavilion. I thought that was the big pavilion just before Mexico, so we took our snacks and strolled that way, heading over the little bridge just before Mexico.


We had a quick look around the preview of the new park, but I saw no sign of a meet n greet. I asked a CM there where she'd be, and she said, oh no, Daisy doesn't meet here! You need to go back out and continue on to Test Track, her meet is in between Test Track and the old Mouse Gear. OK - I knew where that was, so we walked out again and headed over to basically where we'd been earlier. Still no sign of a meet, but I figured that was because it hadn't started yet. I saw a Guest Services booth, so I walked up to ask where we should stand for the Daisy meet, thinking we'd eat our snacks and drink our coffees while we waited for it to start. Oh no, she said, Daisy doesn't meet here! She meets back at the park entrance, between Spaceship Earth and the Nemo ride! OK, I was getting a bit annoyed now, and asked her if she could be any more precise. She got an Epcot Map out for me and pointed to a particular spot. I asked her if she was absolutely sure - she pointed to the breezeway, and any time we'd been in Epcot so far, the breezeway had always been Goofy and Pluto, never Daisy. But she said yes she was, so okay!

We walked all the way back around to Spaceship Earth - you can't shortcut it with all the construction now and need to walk the long way around. We then cut through the Spaceship Earth exit, going inside and walking right across the games etc they have there. When we exited on the other side, so on the right hand side of Spaceship Earth, I saw a Photopass photographer wandering around. He was doing something on his phone and I briefly considered asking him about the Minnie meet, but decided no, that couldn't be it, as it was miles from where the last CM had said the meet would be.

So we walked on - no sight of Daisy in the breezeway of course. Because she'd specifically mentioned it was near Nemo, we walked up that way a little bit, and eventually ended up at another Guest Services booth between Nemo and the Land Pavilion. I expressed my frustration at this CM (in a nice way though, it wasn't his fault!) and asked him if he knew where the Daisy meet was. He said yes he did, it's right beside the Spaceship Earth exit if you turn right when coming off the ride. So it WAS the Photopass Photographer I'd seen!

We walked back there again, and by now a character CM had joined the photographer and confirmed Daisy would be out in a few minutes. All this faffing around had taken 20 minutes and a lot of pointless walking - but Myla had very much enjoyed her croissant in the stroller, and we'd still sipped our coffees while walking. So I made a point of deciding I wasn't going to let this bother me, and decided to just see it was a funny story - so much construction and change in Epcot that most of the CMs have no idea what's going on anymore!

We were first to meet Daisy, and she was lovely as always. Myla really really likes her - she loves her pink dress and her purple bow and how soft and cuddly she is, and she was really excited to get another Daisy autograph for her book.


The next autograph we wanted to get was for Mary Poppins, but she didn't start meeting until 11AM, when World Showcase officially opened, so we had around 90 minutes before we wanted to be in England. Michael decided he was really hungry and wanted to head back to the Land Pavilion for another nice vegan breakfast wrap from Sunshine Seasons. Myla was asking to go to the playground beside Starbucks we'd passed earlier, so we momentarily split up - he headed into the Land to pick up his food, and I walked on to the playground to let Myla loose - we couldn't be bothered to park up the stroller and come in with him, and then have to find it again after.

I took a random photo of this sign at this point - everyone back home was asking me if the pandemic was having any effect on Florida or if we could notice it in Disney World, especially after social distancing suddenly became a thing and no one was supposed to shake hands anymore and the governments were advising against/already banning large groups of people coming together. This sign, along with a few portable handwashing stations, were the only signs of the pandemic in WDW at this point:


The playground here, which is just before you get to the new Starbucks, and kind of between the Imagination Pavilion and World Showcase, is a temporary one installed just for the Flower & Garden Festival. It was all garden themed, and we loved it! I took way too many photos of Myla playing and having fun - sorry about that! If this area is open when you visit with a younger child though, definitely keep an hour or so free for it, my 3-year-old loved it better than any rides in Epcot lol (q on the plane ride home: which ride in Epcot did you like best, a: the playground with the tunnels and music ).

She started off jumping around on these lilypad type things.


Then went on a little rope bridge over the fake 'water' (blue turf).


She then made a little American friend, the girl in the Belle dress, and they were both playing in this ball, which you can climb and also it spins:


They were banging these metal tubes for ages too, until to Myla's disappointment the girls' parents called her as they were leaving.

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Edited at 06:53 PM.
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Old 17 May 20, 06:51 PM  
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I suggested we check out the back of the playground, where they've put higher hedges to create a type of little maze, with cute little tunnels and more musical stuff. She LOVED exploring here!


And she went back to the lilypads and the rope bridge for another go,


before sitting down at one of the tree stump tables to look at the games. She doesn't know how to play checkers, but was enjoying laying them all out on the board anyway!


At some point during all this, Michael had joined us again and sat down to eat his food. When he was finished, I sent him off to play with Myla, and had a sitdown myself in the shade - it was pretty hot considering it was only just past 10AM!


Altogether, Myla played here for nearly an hour, and could have stayed longer! Luckily she's very motivated to collect the autographs, so she came willingly when I told her it was nearly time for Mary Poppins. We left the playground around 10:45, and turned right onto World Showcase to head for England. We never really spent any time in Canada on this trip, I wish we'd spent more time exploring there now!


We headed into the back of the UK pavilion to find the Mary Poppins meet, and sat down on the curb in the shade.


It's so lovely and peaceful back here!


We were the third family to meet Mary Poppins, at barely 10 past 11. She was really nice and sweet, and Myla was quite taken with her in spite of never having seen the Mary Poppins movies yet!
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Old 17 May 20, 06:51 PM  
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The next meet we wanted to do was Belle in France, but she wouldn't come out until 12 and it was only just after 11. However, Winnie The Pooh was due to come out at 11:30, and even though we'd already seem him in Magic Kingdom and didn't need his autograph anymore, Myla looooves Pooh and friends, as most 3 year olds do I think, and we had the time for it, so we suggested it to her and she was all for it! He meets at the very back of the UK pavilion, in the back of the Toy Soldier shop, but the entrance to meet is outside, you step into Christopher Robin's bedroom to meet him, and then you exit through the shop. It's a really cute and well done setup, but it lead to a bit of a hilarious situation. There was a CM who went into Christopher Robin's bedroom about 10 minutes before Pooh was due to come out - she opened the door with a key, did some stuff inside, and then disappeared backstage again. When she came back with Pooh a few minutes later, she tried to open the door and realized it had locked again. She then patted all her pockets for her keys, realizing she must have left them inside! We were all laughing alongside her, as she apologized for being so silly this morning. The CM tried knocking the door a few times to get a collegue to let her and Winnie The Pooh in, but no one must have heard her inside, and eventually she had to walk the long way around to the main shop entrance, to open the door from the inside and let us all in. Winnie The Pooh was left standing beside us and the few other families in the queue this whole time, but he was making very funny 'oh no' and 'oh well' gestures, which were making Myla and the other little kids laugh. Myla still talks about it to this day, how Winnie The Pooh forgot his keys and couldn't get inside!

Second story about this queue - the 15 minutes we waited there, we kind of realized for the first time how much the coronavirus pandemic was starting to intrude. We were standing chatting to a few other people - one single lady from Washington DC and another family with 2 young kids from New Jersey about the virus. They were asking us about being from Europe, were we not scared going home etc (ironic in retrospect, as the US is now worse hit than Europe was), and when it came up that we were flying back with a stop in Washington DC, the single lady told us her son was with the United States Army and stationed in DC, and he'd actually sent her a text this morning, telling her to stay in Florida longer and not come back - apparently he'd said the situation in DC was pretty bad, worse than they showed on TV but they were trying to keep it under wraps a bit so people wouldn't panic.

From then on, it seemed everywhere around us, this was now the main topic of conversation, and it was ever harder to hang on to that Disney bubble feel where the outside big bad world doesn't exist! Anyway - back to meeting Winnie The Pooh. Once the CM had unlocked the door, we were straight in, and Winnie was just lovely as always. I've always had a soft spot for him as my mom used to read me the books as a child, and Myla's nursery was decorated entirely in Winnie The Pooh when she was a baby - we read Winnie books nearly every night. So it's always extra lovely to meet and hug him! She gave him a cheeky kiss at the end, which Winnie The Pooh acted all shy and over the moon with haha.


We had a little browse in the Toy Soldier shop - Myla immediately picked up these stuffed animals before being reminded she already has these at home so no chance!


I loved the Peter Pan stuff but we kind of decided to come back and maybe get something later - rookie mistake, as we never made it back here.


Michael also found this cushion, which he said was the personification of him. Totally would have bought that if it fitted in the suitcase!


So after a lovely hour, we left the UK pavilion and walked on to France - it was roasting in the sun now, and we were all looking forward to some pool time later.


There was 1 family already there where we thought the meet was supposed to be, and after checking that that's what they were there for too, we joined in behind them. I love the view from here, across the water to the International Gateway, and Myla and I spent the 10 minutes waiting for Belle to come out watching the Skyliner, shouting out any characters we saw on the wrapped carriages.

Belle was out at 12 exactly and we met her at 12:02. She was super nice and very impressed with Myla's 'big book', and even leafed through it, Myla loved that Belle loved her book!


After plenty of hugs and another autograph ticked off the list, we headed on in search for food. It was lunch time - Myla was hot, hungry, and tired, which any parent will tell you is not a good combo! She wanted to meet Donald now, but we put our foot down and said no - we needed to get lunch, and we wanted to go swimming, and we'd meet Donald tomorrow. She started kicking up at that, so I tried to cheer her up by treating her to a chocolate crepe from the little kiosk in France.

Myla was super happy with that - but the crepe was absolutely roasting hot when we got it, there was no way she could have eaten it. It was also very warm outside and we wanted to sit inside with some airconditioning. I decided that we should head to the Land pavilion - I fancied another vegan chicken korma, and there's usually plenty of seats in there. But I kind of overestimated the length of the walk, and even though we walked quickly, the crepe had gone dry, stale, and cold by the time we sat down. Michael sat down with Myla right away while I went to order food (he wasn't hungry yet on account of the wrap he'd had at 10:30), so when I came back with my Korma, Myla was crying. She didn't like the wrap and didn't want to eat it, and Michael was annoyed because we'd just wasted $6 and he felt Myla was being too picky. I told him to take her to pick something else (so I could sit and eat before my food got cold), but of course, because he had just told her off, she didn't want to go with him. I tried to be firm and told her she could either go with him and get something now, or else she would have to wait until I was done, and then I'd go with her.

Neither of those options appealed to her, so she turned the volume up and started absolutely whaling. In the middle of the Land pavilion. I know it's often noisy in there, but oh boy - it was definitely noiser than normal now! Michael decided that was too much screaming for an indoor place (poor people at the tables around us), and decided to take her outside while I rushed throwing my (lovely) meal down me.


When I caught up to them outside 10 minutes later, she was still crying, though not screaming as much. Michael had put her in the stroller and was really annoyed at her behavior - he finds it harder to realize that she's only 3 and you need to cut her some slack for being hungry and tired and hot. The long playground session this morning had been fun, but it also took its toll on her energy levels!

We'd planned on going back to OKW anyway so we headed for the bus as planned. Myla was still crying and acting like she was inconsolable for not meeting Donald. She crawled on my lap in the empty bus, and actually promptly fell asleep mid-crying.


Good, that's just what she needed! She stayed asleep on my lap the whole way home, and then Michael took over and carried her to the room where she slept in her own bed for another 90 minutes for a total of nearly 2 hours while I finished work and Michael chilled.

She finally woke up in a much better mood at 2:45, and after 2 peanut butter sandwiches and a whole apple, we headed to the pool just after 3.


She had a quick swim with Michael, then played for a while in the playground, and then headed back into the pool again - she was having the best time, and so were we, alternating with relaxing and playing with her.
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Old 17 May 20, 06:52 PM  
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We stayed at the pool until 16:30, and somewhere in the late afternoon, Michael got another power salad from Goods To Go for his dinner. After that, we all went back to the room, had showers and changed, and we headed out with Epcot as our destination just after 6. We were going to try and see if we could finally manage to see the new Epcot Forever tonight - just as a rough plan, see how we go type of thing. With Myla's long nap, today was probably our best shot! We weren't too bothered about it either way though - we knew we'd be back here in 6 months, and we had a whole week at the Boardwalk booked, so I knew for sure we'd manage to walk in for the fireworks at least 1 evening if we didn't manage it now.

However, when we got to the bus stop, we realized we'd just missed the Epcot bus. A Hollywood Studios one pulled up just as we got there though, so we decided to hop on that and take the Skyliner over to Epcot - Myla had been asking to go back on the Skyliner anyway so that worked out great. We were at HS for 18:20, and she danced the whole way to the Skyliner station lol.


There was no real queue, and we were on our way in no time.


I took a whole bunch of selfies while Myla was saying, "Here we go, here we go, HERE WE GO" as we took off during the first, slightly faster bit - her facial expression make me laugh every time!


The first bit from HS to Carribean Beach we'd done before, but at CB, we switched to the Epcot line, and this bit was all new to us. I loved the view flying over Carribean Beach and we decided we'd definitely consider staying there in future years if there were good dining offers!


I loved seeing Riviera up close too - we'd planned to have a look around and a meal there, but somehow never got around to it. Would definitely consider renting a studio there in the future though, with the Skyliner on your doorstep!


The back of the France pavilion still looked like a bit of a mess, construction for the new Remy ride and crepe restaurant still seemed to be in full force although it was all starting to look really good and quite reminded us of the Ratatouille area in Paris Studios park.


We were at the International Gateway at 6:50, so this route wasn't any faster than waiting for the next bus at OKW, but it definitely was a lot more fun!

We headed on in - our first destination was Germany. I wanted to buy some food from the festival kiosk, namely the potato pancake with apple sauce for Myla, and the ham & cheese pretzel roll for myself.


I can't remember what Myla is saying here now, but from the look on Michael's face, it was something funny lol.
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Edited at 07:00 PM.
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Old 17 May 20, 06:52 PM  
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It was an absolutely beautiful evening and everything looked so pretty with the sun setting!


Before we got to Germany, we decided to have a mosey in Italy, just because we hadn't really explored in there before.


Right outside, in front of the Venice bridge, was a Photopass photographer so we got a photo taken there - I actually love this one, what a great backdrop!


Now it was on to Germany for some food, and for Myla to watch the miniature trains, she loves this! Michael stayed with Myla and the trains, while I went to get our food - it didn't take long.


Both items were absolutely delicious. However Myla took one look at the pancake and apple sauce, and said she didn't like it. Last year when we were on holiday in actual Germany, this had been the only thing she'd eaten for the week, pretty much, as most restaurants didn't have anything else on the menu that she'd entertain! I think she was too distracted by playing with the trains though. Oh well - all the more for me! I polished both off, and thought they were absolutely delicious.


Meanwhile Myla had made a little friend, and we watched them run around for a bit.


I decided it was dessert time now, and hemmed and hawed for a bit on what to get. I'd had an amazing dessert from the Italy stand last year and loved it, but it was huge and was like, $11. I didn't think I could polish it off today, and it had dairy in it so Michael wouldn't eat it, and I didn't want to waste anything. So instead I decided to go for an also yummy Mickey icecream, and got one for both me and Myla at the America Pavilion, where we sat and watched the live music while eating these. Michael got a popcorn refill there too and he snacked away on that.

She's saying, "CHEERS!" while clinking our icecreams like they were drinks haha.


The sun had set now, and it was 8PM. We were debating where to watch the fireworks from while enjoying the last bit of the live music set.


At first we decided we'd watch them from back here, but we changed our mind around 8:15 and decided to walk around to Mexico instead, so we could get on the bus back quicker. Now that the sun had set, the temperature had dropped quite a bit and there was a cold wind coming off the lake. I only had shorts and a thin cotton top on, and no hoodie or anything with me, and I was starting to really feel the cold, you know the way you do when you're tired? Myla crawled into the stroller when we walked back around to Mexico, pulled her fleece blanket over herself, and actually fell asleep before we got to Mexico!

We found a place to stand, and I was thinking I might just be able to stand here for another 15 mins till it started, no longer, when they announced that the fireworks were delayed tonight due to a technical problem! Noooo! I was standing huddled up to Michael, cold and couldn't stop yawning, and the idea of having to stand there another half hour (by the time they may start and then actually finished, and then fighting crowds on the way to the bus, was starting to defeat me. Michael went to find a CM to ask, and they of course didn't know how long it would be - it could be another 45 minutes till it started.

That was just a bridge too far, tiredness wise, and we decided to give up and go back. We walked back to the bus stop, and there was an OKW bus waiting for us. Myla was still sleeping when I lifted her our of the stroller, and woke up a bit drowsy on the bus. Annoyingly, we heard Epcot Forever starting just as we got on the bus, at around 8:15, so it hadn't been a long delay after all! Typical! We watched the little bit we could see through the bus window, but I truly was very tired, so although I was a little annoyed, I was happy to be sitting down too.

We were back at OKW for 20:20, and all in bed by 20:40, when we heard a crack of thunder and it started absolutely pouring down with rain - we would definitely still have been in the park if we'd stayed for the fireworks, so that made me feel a LOT better. We had no jackets, hoodies, or ponchos with us, so at least we avoided get soaking wet lol! A good thing we went home early after all.

Now - note above our bed time of 8:45. We didn't know it at the time, but at 9PM that evening, President Trump would give a live press conference on TV that would announce the ban on all travel from Europe. I had vaguely heard about a Trump press conference coming earlier, and had vaguely thought to watch it on TV, just to see what he may have had to say, but by that evening, all thoughts of it had left my head, so we went to bed completely oblivious of the chaos we'd be waking up in!
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Old 17 May 20, 07:34 PM  
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Thank you for posting. I love reading your trip reports and seeing all of Myla's different dresses, which are almost as beautiful as she is. It is also very interesting reading how world issues start to impact on your holiday - certainly not what you intended at the time but a very interesting diary entry!
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Old 17 May 20, 07:54 PM  
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I love the Flower and Garden festival. I'm sad to read that at this point the world events had started to intrude on your holiday a little but am interested to see what happens next.
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Old 17 May 20, 09:13 PM  
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Another good day your photos are lovely shame the tiredness got to you but at least it saved you getting wet.

Joan
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Holiday to Florida with Florida4less

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