Tag: walt disney world (page 2 of 3)

MagicBand 2.0 Review

Disney has, as was rumored earlier this year, revamped MagicBands with a new removable “icon” that allows users to accessorize and wear their MagicBand in new ways. As an annual passholder, I received my new band in the mail just yesterday. As reported, new and renewing passholders are now being sent the new bands. While it’s expected that Disney will start shipping them to resort guests sometime soon, there’s no word yet on when. For the time being, then, for those who haven’t experiences them yet, here’s my hands-on review.


My hands-on review of Disney's new MagicBand 2.0 Click To Tweet

In every picture I’ve seen of the MagicBand 2.0, they look huge. Huger than the old band, big, kind of enormous. Mine in the picture above sort of looks gigantic too, even! The strange thing is that they’re not, really. When you’re wearing them, they feel the same. The Michey-head icon area is definitely wider than the rest of the band, which is the same size as before. But looking at it, I think it’s natural to focus on the icon, and not the rest.

MagicBand 2.0 is no heavier than earlier versions — I don’t have a scale that accurate to measure precisely, but comparing my new band to the one I received on a trip a few weeks ago, they seemed to weigh the same.


The other big difference is that the icon, that center Mickey-head puck, is removable, as you can see from the screws above. According to the Disney blog, if you buy an accessory or MagicKeeper, it will come with a tiny screwdriver to help you install your icon. Well, that’s helpful, but it brings home again that contrary to some initial thoughts, this change did not come about to save on producing multiple RFID units or because of conservation in general.

Speaking of MagicKeepers, which is what Disney is calling the alternatives to wearing your MagicBand on your wrist, they’re not for sale yet. Here’s a preview of what initial offerings will look like:


To be frank? So it’s a band or a keychain… not very exciting, in my opinion. I’m not a person who needs a MagicKeeper — I don’t mind wearing mine on my wrist — but I’m always interested in new Disney gear. This is underwhelming. Anyone could have just looped their previous MagicBand around a keychain fob in the first place, without all this icon removing business. I wear a watch on a lanyard that way, sometimes. I’m hoping future MagicKeeper offerings are a little more exciting.

Walt Disney World, a few seconds a day – December 2016 edition

Just got back from an 8-day visit to Walt Disney World! Much to report — we did a bunch of great signature events I want to share reviews on, but in the meantime, here’s a few seconds each day from our trip:

(I made this using 1SE — the 1 Second Everyday app on iOS. I love it and highly recommend it for all kinds of fun video projects!)

Disney’s just a short drive away…

Disney moving to FloridaWe did it: last week we made the two-day drive (not fun) from Long Island and moved into our new house in Florida. I’ve gone from being a born New Yorker to a transplanted Floridian. There are a lot of reasons I’m happy about that, but I cannot tell a lie: being close to Walt Disney World is definitely right up at the top of the list. We’re about a two hour drive away from the Happiest Place on Earth, and as anyone who’s ever lived in the tri-state metro NYC area can tell you, that’s a piece of cake. We’ve driven longer (but shorter distances) just to go to lunch.

We have a week-long Disney vacation coming up in December (planned before the move!) where we’ll get our annual passes. I can’t wait to start visiting WDW at the drop of a hat!

Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party : Everything You Need to Know For Festive Fun!

There’s plenty of festive spirit to go around this holiday season at Disney World, especially at Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party! Planning your party visit can be daunting, but we’ve gathered together a lot of great information to help you right here.

Christmas MVMCP

Here's everything you need to know about Magic Kingdom's Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party! Click To Tweet

Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party (also known as MVMCP) takes place on select evenings at Magic Kingdom in November and December. It features exclusive holiday entertainment, snow falling on Main St., and complimentary cookies and hot cocoa.

Here’s everything you need to know to have a very merry time!

Tickets – Dates and Times

Buy tickets HERE! This is a special event with its own ticket. People with event tickets can enter Magic Kingdom at 4 PM to enjoy the park before the party officially kicks off at 7 PM. Park visitors who do not have  a party ticket have to leave Magic Kingdom by 7 AM.

Tickets are non-refundable. Some party dates, especially close to Christmas, do sell out.

2016 event dates are:

November: 7, 8, 10, 11, 13, 15, 18, 27 and 29
December: 1, 2, 4, 6, 8, 9, 11, 13, 15, 16, 18 and 22

Tickets for 2016 went on sale May 5 and can be purchased online or by calling 407-WDISNEY. Prices vary depending on the date and whether or not you purchase in advance.

Mickey’s Once Upon a Christmastime Parade

Christmas MVMCP dwarvesMickey’s Once Upon a Christmastime Parade is a fun, festive experience that is one of the highlights of the Very Merry Christmas Party.  Mickey and Minnie start the parade and Santa finishes it (of course), with all sorts of festive friends marching in between — marching toy soldiers, reindeer, gingerbread men, and classic characters dressed in their holiday best . And on Main Street USA, there’s even snow!

There are two parades at each party. The second parade will generally be less crowded than the first, so see that one if you can. If you would rather see the first one,  grab your spot early. The parade starts in Frontierland, so you might consider looking for a good spot there.

Celebrate the Magic

Christmas MVMCPThe nightly castle projection show you love, but with a holiday twist. Past Christmas scenes have wrapped the castle in colorful bows and boughs, gift paper and ribbons, ornaments, candy stripes, strands of lights, and gingerbread.

Celebrate the Magic takes place at 9:15 PM, just before the fireworks begin.

Holiday Wishes – Celebrate the Spirit of the Season

Christmas MVMCPThe Christmas Party features a fantastic fireworks spectacular. Holiday Wishes is a festive show featuring a delightful score of all your favorite holiday and Disney songs.

There is only one performance of Holiday Wishes, at 10:00 PM.

A Totally Tomorrowland Christmas Show

Christmas MVMCPA Totally Tomorrowland Christmas Show is a stage performance held near Space Mountain that lasts about 20 minutes and is held several times per night. It stars an eclectic mix of characters including Mike Wazowski from Monsters Inc. and Stitch. Part entertainment and part dance party, this show will get you moving!

Times: 7:40, 8:30, 9:20, 10:45, 11:35 PM.

A Frozen Holiday Wish

Christmas MVMCPQueen Elsa from Frozen appears twice each evening to get the Castle Dream Lights lit up for the night in a 7-minute show called “A Frozen Holiday Wish.”

This special ceremony happens each night at Magic Kingdom from early November to January, not just on party nights, at 6:30 and 8:15 PM.

Mickey’s Most Merriest Celebration

New for 2016!  Mickey’s Most Merriest Celebration will make its debut for the 2016 holiday season. From Disney:

It’s just days before Christmas and all through this house, excitement is stirring thanks to Mickey Mouse.

Mickey is thrilled that the holidays are here, and he knows the only way to make this season more special, is to share it with friends. So he’s throwing a Most Merriest Celebration and inviting lots of Disney pals—and you—to join the festive fun!

Minnie, Donald, Daisy, Goofy and Pluto are dropping by dressed in their Christmas best. Peter Pan is flying in from Never Land, Alice and the White Rabbit are hurrying over from Wonderland and Woody and Jessie from Toy Story are galloping in for this holiday ho ho hoedown. Plus, Snow White and Dopey, Pinocchio, Jiminy Cricket and many more surprise guests will be stopping by.

Mickey’s Most Merriest Celebration will feature medleys of holiday songs both old and new, special effects, projections and all of your favorite character friends. The new show will be presented on the Cinderella Castle Forecourt Stage during Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party.

Times: 7:40, 9:25,10:30 PM, 12 AM (midnight).

Sweets and Treats Included!

Throughout the Magic Kingdom, Cast Members will hand out all kinds of treats to guests. (If you have a particular food allergy, Guest Services at City Hall has allergy-free options.)

Tortuga Tavern: Hot Cocoa and Snickerdoodle Cookies
Heritage House: Eggnog and Ginger-Molasses Cookies
The Friar’s Nook: Snow Cone and Sugar Cookies
Pete’s Silly Sideshow: Apple Cider and Sugar Cookies
The Lunching Pad: Hot Cocoa and Peppermint Bark Cookies

Special Snacks for Sale!

Special goodies are available for purchase only during the party. These can be found at the following locations and include:

• Plaza Ice Cream Parlor: Peppermint Hot Fudge Sundae
• Gaston’s Tavern: Holiday Tree Cupcake
• Main Street Bakery: Frozen Snowflake Cupcake, Peppermint Cupcake, Holiday Cookies
• Sleepy Hollow: Pumpkin Waffle Sundae

Wishes Fireworks Holiday Dessert Party at Tomorrowland Terrace

Christmas MVMCPSweeten your night with this holly-jolly premium experience. For $79 per adult and $47 per child (age 3 to 9), this package includes a reserved viewing location for Mickey’s Once Upon a Christmastime Parade on Main Street USA, followed by a private dessert party on Tomorrowland Terrace. The party features a host of holiday-themed cupcakes and desserts freshly prepared by our pastry chef, along with a bountiful buffet of sweet treats—like chocolate-dipped strawberries, chocolate mousse, ice cream, cheeses and fresh, seasonal fruits. Raise a cup of good cheer with sparkling cider, signature lemonades, specialty Christmas drinks, hot chocolate, coffee or tea, and then marvel as the sky above explodes with color, music and light with your reserved viewing of Holiday Wishes from the terrace.

For reservations, please book online or by calling (407) 939-3463. Guests under 18 years of age must have parent or guardian permission to call. Please note: a separate ticket to Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party is also required and is not included in the price of this package.

Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom

Christmas MVMCP Sorcerers cardEach year a special new Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom card is available only to partygoers. This year’s card features Goofy!

From the Disney Parks blog:

Just in case you’re new to Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom, this interactive game allows guests to team up with Merlin in defeating Disney Villains who are scheming to take over Magic Kingdom Park. Guests search for villain hideouts throughout the park, visit magic portals and use special spell cards to defeat villains. Each spell card stars a different Disney character, each with their own unique powers. The game begins at the Firehouse on Main Street, U.S.A., where you can pick up complimentary key cards, spell cards and maps (additional cards can be purchased at select merchandise locations).

This year’s party-exclusive card is “Goofy’s Festive Fiasco” and, according to Imagineer Jonathan Ackley, “celebrates the glorious holiday chaos created by Goofy as he attempts to decorate for the season!”

Other fun events and sights to see at Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party:

  • VoicePlay: This a cappella singing group performs on the Rockettower Plaza Stage in Tomorrowland at 8:10 p.m., 9:05 p.m., 10:10 p.m., and 11:05 p.m. on party nights. VoicePlay, who appeared on the TV show “The Sing-Off,” will share their incredible vocal harmonies and holiday cheer between performances of ” A Totally Tomorrowland Christmas” at the Rockettower Plaza Stage.
  • Meet and greet opportunities with Disney Characters
  • Club Tinsel dance party takes place continuously at Cosmic Ray’s in Tomorrowland.
    For people who like characters, this is a fun way to interact with them. They won’t be signing autographs but it’s a chance to enjoy them in a different way than you normally would.
  • Many rides and attractions are open, with short lines.
  • Exclusive merchandise
  • PhotoPass photographers will take Magic Shots during the party. When you look at your pictures, you’ll see something magically inserted into the shot with you
  • Also for the holiday season, the iconic Jungle Cruise will temporarily transform into “Jingle Cruise” for Magic Kingdom guests. Festive decor in the attraction queue and boathouse gives guests a bit of Christmas cheer. The Jingle Cruise boats each are given a unique holiday name, and the Skippers share a slew of seasonal holiday jokes throughout the tour.

Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party  Guide and Map

Click to see the full-sized map.mvmcpb1

Visiting Magic Kingdom at the end of December, after the final party date?

Special holiday entertainment shown during this party will be shown daily after the last party of the year. Beginning December 23, you will not need an extra ticket to see all of the special holiday events listed here. Be aware, though, that crowds during Christmas week tend to be extremely heavy.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: If I purchase a ticket to Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party, do I need to have a Park ticket for the Magic Kingdom for that day as well?

A: No. You do not need a park ticket in addition to the special event ticket to attend the Christmas Party, which officially begins at 7 PM — however party guests have traditionally been allowed into the Magic Kingdom starting at 4 PM.

Q: Can I enter the Park at 4 PM, leave and come back?

You can, because you’ll be given a special Party wristband. But you’ll be giving up valuable Park time if you do.

Q: Do they really make non-Party guests leave Magic Kingdom at 7 PM?

Yes. As it gets closer to 7 PM, Cast Members will start reminding everyone not wearing a wristband that they must leave before the Party begins. Once 7 PM comes, Cast Members will start escorting anyone without a wristband out of the Park. You’ll always hear stories of people who claim they were able to sneak past the CMs and stay, but some of those may be exaggerated, and besides, you don’t want to be that guy, do you?

Q: What if I’ve got an ADR (Advanced Dining Reservation) at a Magic Kingdom restaurant like Be Our Guest at 6 PM? They’re not going to cut my dinner short, are they?

Definitely not. But when you are finished and leave the restaurant, you’ll be escorted to the gate.

Q: Will I be able to make FastPass+ selections for attractions during the Christmas Party?

No, but also kind of yes.

No — there are no FastPass+ selections available during the Party, between 7 PM and Midnight. The good news is, you won’t need them. Ride lines tend to be much shorter during holiday parties because guests are busy with other activities, like special character meet and greets, trick or treating, and the parades. So it’s a great time to ride your favorite attraction an extra time or two.

BUT… you can make FastPass+ selections between 4 PM and 7 PM on those days, since Party ticket holders are allowed in the gates early at 4 PM, before the official event starts.

Q: Which special characters are available for meet and greets during the party? Do the lines tend to be long? 

There are plenty of characters to meet, and some you can’t see any other time. In some cases, lines can get very long. The Seven Dwarfs, Santa Claus, and Jack Skellington are especially popular. If these character meets are important to you, get there early — as in, before the party starts early.

These are the characters scheduled to appear for 2016 by their locations. These are subject to change — this list will be updated as more information is available.

Main Street, U.S.A.: Santa Claus, Mickey Mouse, Tinker Bell.

Adventureland: Aladdin, Jasmine, Genie and Abu, Captain Jack Sparrow, Peter Pan (roaming).

Frontierland: The Country Bears (roaming) Liberty Square: Jack Skellington as Sandy Claws.

Fantasyland: Ariel, Rapunzel and Flynn Rider, Cinderella and Prince Charming, Belle, Pooh and Friends, The Seven Dwarfs, Snow White and her Prince, Aurora and Prince Phillip, Princess Elena of Avalor, Minnie Mouse, Scrooge McDuck, Donald and Daisy, Santa Goofy, Mary Poppins, Bert, Princess Tiana and Prince Naveen.

Tomorrowland: Nick Wilde, Judy Hopps

Q: Where is the best place to find exclusive merchandise during the party?

A: One of the easiest places to find items is The Emporium, but check out Big Top Souvenirs as well.

New from Disney Weddings — A fairytale Magic Kingdom wedding at night

Found your Prince Charming? Picked out that perfect princess dress? Ready to say I do? Disney Weddings has always had plenty of magical experiences to offer for mouse-obsessed brides and grooms. Now you can say your vows in front of Disney World’s Cinderella Castle under a canopy of stars at night.

disney weddings

From the Disney Weddings YouTube channel:

Imagine saying “I do” inside Magic Kingdom Park in front of the iconic Cinderella Castle or celebrating your reception amid the beauty of Fantasyland at night. Mark your vows in this enchanting venue filled with fantasy and excitement where your every wedding wish can come true and your every heart’s desire can become a reality.


Disney World has just announced the Magic Kingdom After Hours Experience, which allows you to get married in the park after it’s closed to the public. At 11 PM, you can say your vows to your Prince Charming in front of the Cinderella Castle in front of up to 300 guests.  The castle will be illuminated to create a magical backdrop. You and your guests will then dine by candlelight in Fantasyland.

This experience — available as part of the Disney Fairytale Weddings and Honeymoons Wishes collection – come with a starting price of $180,000.


Rogue One Merchandise Coming to Disney Parks on September 30 #GoRogue

#GoRogue! Exciting news for Star Wars fans: new Rogue One: A Star Wars Story merchandise is coming to Disney Parks tomorrow, September 30, 2016. Select items from the Rogue One collection are also available for purchase on the free Shop Disney Parks Mobile app.

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story revolves around a rogue band of resistance fighters who unite for a daring mission to steal the Death Star plans and bring new hope to the galaxy. The film arrives in theaters on December 16, 2016.

From the Disney Parks Blog, an overview of items created especially for Disney Parks.

Rogue One merchandiseRogue One merchandiseRogue One merchandiseRogue One merchandiseRogue One merchandiseRogue One merchandiseRogue One merchandise

Source: #GoRogue with Rogue One Merchandise Coming to Disney Parks on September 30 | Disney Parks Blog

New Festival of Fantasy Parade Dining Package offered at Disney World

New at Walt Disney World: a Festival of Fantasy Lunch Package at Tony’s Town Square Restaurant!

Festival of Fantasy

This package includes lunch at Tony’s Town Square Restaurant and a voucher to enter a special viewing area for the parade. This is a prix fixe meal priced at $45 for adults and $17 for children, plus tax and tip. For those on the Disney Dining Plan, it is one table service credit to attend.

New at Walt Disney World: a Festival of Fantasy Lunch Package at Tony's Town Square Restaurant! Click To Tweet

Previously Disney World offered a similar package for the Main Street Electrical Parade, which concludes its run on October 9, 2016.

You can book this package now, for parades October 10, 2016 and forward.

Disney’s Festival of Fantasy Parade is offered daily at 3PM at Magic Kingdom. Admission to Magic Kingdom is required and not included in the price of the dining package.

Golden Oak, where Disney World is home


Have you always dreamed of living at Disney World? (Who hasn’t?) Well, at Golden Oak, you can — but at a steep price. Located near Disney Springs and nestled diagonally across from Disney’s Port Orleans resort, Golden Oak offers that dream to a very exclusive audience indeed — homes start at $2 million and go way past $10 million, which does not include over $20,000 annually in homeowner association and club fees.

So what do you get for that price, aside from a presumably beautiful house and proximity to Disney World? Lots of luxuries, it turns out.

golden-oak-snow-whiteTastefully appointed Disney touches throughout the development: Golden Oak does scream “Disney”, but it whispers it ever-so-elegantly. This bronze sculpture of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs is a favorite.

Interior design with a bolder Disney brush: While there are numerous architectural restrictions on the classically styled homes in Golden Oak (as with many gated communities), on the inside, owners can feel free to explore their inner Disney to the fullest, including Hidden Mickeys, murals, statues and all kinds of interior stylings reflecting favorite Disney characters.  Some owners are restrained, but others let their imagination run wild. From The Huffington Post:  “Rial Jones, whose construction company is one of eight approved to build in Golden Oak, has become accustomed to building full-blown Disney fantasies. One house under construction, for a single man in his 20s, will feature a drawbridge between the bathroom and bedroom and a submarine-themed basement with a porthole providing an underwater pool view. Jones is also building a 20,000-square-foot house that will include a Cinderella-inspired 50-foot-long ballroom, an “Alice in Wonderland” themed bunk room with singing cake platters, and a re-creation of the Haunted Mansion’s stretching room.”

Access to the Four Seasons: Golden Oak is also home to the five-star Four Seasons. Residents can access all of the Four Seasons’ amenities.

Transportation to and from the Parks: The complimentary shuttle and mini-coach service is dedicated to Golden Oak residents along with their guests, who can be dropped off at any of the four Parks, Disney Springs, or either of the water parks.

Concierge services: The Golden Oak Resident Services team brings Disney’s renowned guest service culture directly to residents and their guests. The team can help assist with select personal, residential and resort requests, for a fee. To name a few:

  • Disney parks and special event tickets
  • Private VIP tours
  • In-home dinners and parties
  • Disney-inspired holiday décor
  • Dining reservations
  • Spa reservations
  • Golf tee-times
  • Home maintenance services

golden oak logoSales of homes at Disney’s exclusive Florida community are doing quite well. Named after the Walt Disney Company’s California ranch, the original projections for the gated community expected these costly retreats to mostly function as vacation homes. But most buyers are moving to the Mouse full-time, prompting Disney to urge realtors to market the remaining properties in the 300-home development to families.  (I can’t imagine it’ll be a hard sell — where else can Disney-obsessed millionaires live out their fantasies?)

For most of us, Golden Oak is far out of reach — but, I suspect, on quite a few “if I win the lottery” bucket lists!


RUMOR: New device to replace MagicBands?

There’ve always been a lot of rumors about Walt Disney World replacing or changing MagicBands, none of which have come to fruition. Today, though, thanks to some intel from MagicBand Collectors, there’s reason to think it might actually be happening.

A new post on the FCC’s system for MagicBand ID Q3E-MB-R1G2 shows some pictures of a prototype MagicBand puck that would fit into a changeable strap. This would allow guests to keep the same puck and interchange different straps as they would like.

MagicBands disk

[source: MagicBand Collectors. Visit their site for more images, including a size comparison with current MagicBands. The “puck” looks huge here, but actually appears to be approximately the size of a nickel.]

I’m hearing this is technology more like the FitBit step tracker — I don’t use one so I’m not familiar with the details in that regard. The idea is that you would snap this “puck” into a strap as either a bracelet or a necklace or perhaps a key fob. This would lower the cost of those straps (theoretically) because no chips would be embedded in each one, thus lowering production costs and IT support for Disney. Rumor has it that as guests’ accounts fill up with multiple MagicBands from multiple trips, this causes headaches and backup for Disney IT.

I personally see this is an all-new accessory revenue stream for Disney. Special light-up necklaces to hold your “puck” for nighttime or parties, new graphic designs for every character and every season — the possibilities for merchandising are endless, and no longer limited by needing that special chip in each decorative version.  Right now Disney fans and park visitors love to buy limited edition MagicBands or ones featuring their favorite characters. In the future, you might be able to buy all kinds of items to hold your “puck”.

Will Disney replace MagicBands with a new wearable device? This rumor might be for real. Click To Tweet

My thoughts: well, the thing is, I like MagicBands the way they are. I know a lot of park visitors don’t, but I think it’s fun to wear one. I’ve never had a technical problem with mine and I love the convenience. So this is a problem I didn’t think needed fixing, but it might be more of a back-end issue than something users can see. My first and foremost thought, though, is that it seems ridiculously easy to lose these, and thereby create headaches for everyone involved getting them replaced. I don’t know how easy or difficult it will be to “pop” them in and out of wearable straps, but there’s always a chance, with something removable, of it coming loose. More to the point, there are going to be plenty of visitors who don’t like wearing anything, or hate feeling cluttered, and just shove the disk in their pockets — thereby making them as losable as loose change. Since I’m not one of those people it’s not my problem to solve, but I can’t help thinking it’ll be a future factor.

There are currently no official announcements as to when we may see these in the parks — this is just in the rumor stage. But with the FCC filing, we know something is being tested at least — according to MagicBand Collectors, there has been a working prototype already tested behind the scenes.

The Muppets are coming to the Magic Kingdom!

Those rumors about The Muppets coming to Liberty Square in Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom — they’re true!

Muppets magic kingdom disney

Those rumors about The Muppets coming to Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom -- they're true! Click To Tweet

From the Disney Parks Blog:

Beginning this fall, the Muppets will be visiting Magic Kingdom Park, where they’ll take part in an all-new live show, “The Muppets Present… Great Moments in American History.”

Sam Eagle, the fiercely patriotic American eagle who is forever trying to set a high moral standard for the Muppets, will join Kermit the Frog, Miss Piggy, Fozzie Bear, The Great Gonzo and James Jefferson, town crier of Liberty Square, as they gather outside The Hall of Presidents to present historical tales in hysterical fashion as only they can. From the midnight ride of Paul Revere to the signing of the Declaration of Independence, the Muppets appear throughout the day to share with Guests, their own unique take on the founding fathers and the birth of the United States of America.

Featuring an original song and plenty of wacky Muppets humor, “The Muppets Present… Great Moments in American History” will make its debut in October 2016.

Listen up everyone: Disney is *not* replacing the Hall of Presidents with Muppets. This is an all-new addition that will happen outside the much-beloved attraction. As a Muppets fan myself, I’m thrilled. This also dovetails nicely to the recent news about PizzeRizzo replacing Pizza Planet in Hollywood Studios this fall.

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