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This Day in Pop Culture for April 12

space shuttle Columbia

1992: Disneyland Paris Opens

It was on this day in 1992 that the “happiest place on earth” got a sibling in France. Originally known as the Euro Disney Resort, the theme park had an uphill battle from the very beginning. Many critics feared it would fuel an unhealthy consumerism or that it would be a symbol of America within France. Some considered the park to be a “cultural Chernobyl.” On opening day, there were rumors that a crowd of a half a million people traveling in 90,000 cars could be on the road wanting to make the trek to the land of Mickey Mouse. In reality, less than 25,000 people showed up making the park only half full. The park continued to struggle to receive a healthy-sized audience for two years, but in May of 1995, things began to turn around when the park added the addition of its own Space Mountain. Today, the resort covers 4,800 acres, features two theme parks (Disneyland Paris and Walt Disney Studios Park), seven resort hotels, seven associated hotels, a golf course, railway station, an outlet center and a shopping mall. One of the most popular attractions in the park is the dark ride, “Ratatouille: The Adventure,” based on the Paris-themed Pixar movie, Ratatouille.

space shuttle Columbia
(Wikimedia)

1981: The First Re-Usable Space Shuttle in Launched

The space shuttle Columbia was launched from Cape Canaveral, Florida on this day in 1981. It was piloted by astronauts Robert L. Crippen and John W. Young. During its flight, the Columbia undertook a 54-hour space flight of 36 orbits before successfully touching down at California’s Edwards Air Force Base on April 14. Regular flights of the Space Shuttle continued until January 28, 1986, when the Challenger exploded 74 seconds after takeoff and all seven people aboard were killed. The flights resumed in 1988 until 2003 when the Columbia, on its 28th mission, disintegrated during re-entry of the earth’s atmosphere.

Birthdays

  • 1932: Tiny Tim (singer)
  • 1940: Herbie Hancock (composer)
  • 1946: Ed O’Neill (actor)
  • 1950: David Cassidy (singer)
  • 1956: Andy Garcia (actor)
  • 1957: Vince Gill (singer)
  • 1971: Shannen Doherty (actress)

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Jeffrey Totey View All

I write about arts and entertainment in the greater Seattle area.

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