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Tuesday, December 16, 2014

December 16, 1983

Hello, there!  Welcome to Day #16 of THE POP CULTURE ADDICT'S ADVENT CALENDAR!

It's also time for another Tuesday Timeline entry, and this entry could not be any more Christmas themed if you tried.

In fact, this entry is sort of a two-parter, if you will.  One of them, I already talked about in this blog...but the other one will be expanded on. 

In the meantime, let us take a look at the events that took place around the world on December 16...including one recent, tragic addition to the list.

1431 - Henry VI of England is crowned King of France at Notre Dame Cathedral

1575 - Valdivia, Chile is hit with an estimated 8.5 magnitude earthquake

1707 - The last recorded eruption of Japan's Mt. Fuji

1773 - The "Boston Tea Party" takes place at Boston Harbor in opposition of the newly implemented tea tax

1775 - "Little Women" author Jane Austen (d. 1817) is born in England

1903 - The Taj Mahal Palace & Tower hotel in Bombay (now Mumbai), India opens to the public

1922 - Polish President Gabriel Narutowicz is assassinated at the Zacheta Gallery in Warsaw

1930 - The plans of bank robber Herman Lamm and his posse were foiled when he and several members of his crew are killed by a 200-strong mob in a failed robbery attempt!

1937 - Two prisoners - Theodore Cole and Ralph Roe - attempt to bust out of Alcatraz Prison; neither are seen again

1947 - The first practical point-contact transistor is invented by William Shockley, John Bardeen, and Walter Brattain

1960 - A mid-air collision between a TWA aircraft and an United Airlines flight kills 133 people near Idlewild Airport

1978 - Cleveland, Ohio becomes the first American city since the Great Depression to default on its financial obligations

1989 - Robert Smith Vance - a United States Appeals Court Judge is assassinated via mail bomb, sent by Walter Leroy Moody Jr.

2007 - Singer-songwriter Dan Fogelberg dies of cancer at age 56

2009 - Roy E. Disney - brother of Walt Disney - passes away at the age of 79

2013 - Country singer Ray Prices passes away at the age of 87

2014 - The hostage crisis at Sydney, Australia's Lindt Chocolate Cafe ends with the deaths of the hostage taker and two of his hostages

(Our thoughts definitely go out to the victims of the Sydney hostage crisis, and to the entire city of Sydney in what must be a very difficult time.)

Now, onto celebrity birthdays, and December 16 must be the day in which a celebrity baby boom took place.  The following people turn one year older today; Terry Carter, Quentin Blake, Liv Ullmann, Lesley Stahl, Eugene Robert Glazer, Steven Bochco, Patti Deutsch, Benny Andersson, Christopher Ellison, Terence Knox, Christopher Biggins, Billy Gibbons, Xander Berkeley, Prince Lorenz of Belgium, Katie Leigh, Alison LaPlaca, Larry Poindexter, Gretchen Palmer, Sam Robards, Jon Tenney, Melanie Smith, Benjamin Bratt, Georgie Parker, Paul Vogt, Todd Glass, Nancy Valen, Donovan Bailey, Miranda Otto, Peter Dante, Florencia Lozano, Daniel Cosgrove, Paul Leyden, Scott Storch, Benjamin Kowalewicz, Jonathan Scarfe, Krysten Ritter, Frankie Ballard, and Hallee Hirsh.

Whew, I am exhausted!!!

After all that, I don't know if I even have the energy to continue this blog! 

Well, okay, you know I do!

And the special date we will be looking at will be December 16, 1983!

Now, as explained up above, this date is a special one because two major things took place that day.  And interestingly enough, both involve Disney!

First things first, we'll get the event that I already talked about on this blog out of the way.  Remember how a couple of weeks ago, I talked about Charles Dickens and how one of his most famous works was "A Christmas Carol"?  Well, it was on this day thirty-one years ago that the Mickey Mouse version of that classic tale first aired.

"Mickey's Christmas Carol" was first released on December 16, 1983.  It was the retelling of the classic tale starring "Uncle" Scrooge McDuck as Ebenezer Scrooge, and Mickey Mouse as Bob Cratchit.  It became a huge holiday success for Disney and at the peak of its popularity aired annually on NBC for years during "The Wonderful World of Disney" time slot.

But did you know that wasn't the only Disney related item to debut on December 16, 1983? 

For this one, we will have to think bigger.  Like, how about Walt Disney World bigger.  In fact, this event has been held annually at the Magic Kingdom for the past thirty-one years.  Anyone who has ever vacationed at Walt Disney World during the holiday season over the last three decades might have some fond memories of fun, joy, and happy memories.

(And, one day, I wouldn't mind experiencing some of that joy at Disney World myself.)

But it was on this date thirty-one years ago that a Christmas party was first held in Walt Disney World.  And it was a fine celebration to be had for sure. 

And the mouse that helped build the Disney empire was the main toastmaster.

Yes, it was back in 1983 that the very first "Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party" was held in Walt Disney World Resorts in Orlando, Florida.  And unlike most Christmas parties, this one lasted several days.  In recent years, the event has expanded to include dates in November as well, but one thing you can definitely count on.  There is always going to be some special Christmas magic held each night the Christmas party festivities are observed.

The Christmas Party events are not held each night.  Only a select few dates are chosen to host the various celebrations going on.  But if you happen to be in the park on one of these nights between the hours of 7:00pm and 12:00am, you will be able to take part!

Well, provided you have a ticket to go.  The tickets to attend the Christmas party cost extra.  I suppose that even Mickey Mouse has to keep his Christmas parties somewhat exclusive.

Of course, if you can get in, here are some of the things that you can take part in.

Every night the party is held, you will have the chance to watch a very special parade.  Mickey's Once Upon A Christmastime Parade - contrary to its name - is often held twice a night (weather permitting, of course).  The parade travels down Main Street U.S.A., and features a selection of Disney characters mixed with Christmas images.  Just looking at some of the pictures of the parade, I have to admit, it does look beautiful.

There is also a standard display of fireworks that go off during each night that the party is held.  Cinderella's castle turns the same colour as a Christmas tree, and the "Holiday Wishes" fireworks display lights up the night!

Cinderella and the Fairy Godmother used to play a very pivotal role in Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party.  They would light up the castle with nearly two hundred thousand lights so that people could see it lit up from a distance.  But in 2014, Cinderella took a back seat as Elsa, Anna, Olaf, and the other characters from "Frozen" took over the "Dream Lights" segment of the party.

If you ever dreamed of dancing to Christmas songs with some of your favourite Disney characters, you have plenty of opportunity to shake your groove thing on the dance floor.  There are a couple of nights where a dance party is held.  You can get up close and personal with your favourite characters from "Toy Story" if you like.

Of course, the park has several Disney characters wandering around the park in holiday outfits for you to meet, greet, and snap a picture with, if you like.  If you're lucky, you might even get a chance to see some characters who don't visit Disney World all that often.

Rides also stay open during the Christmas party - somewhat.  Some of the more popular attractions will remain open (but without the FastPass option), but since they change each year, it is impossible to tell what attractions will get the green light to stay open all night long.  I can tell you that in the past, the Haunted Mansion, Space Mountain, and the Jungle Cruise (renamed Jingle Cruise for the holidays) have opened up on party nights.

And, don't worry about getting hungry during the event.  Apparently vendors scattered all over the park will give you cookies and cups of hot chocolate whenever you want a sugar rush!  Hey, I wonder if the stands will be run by Taffeta Muttonfudge or Vanellope Von Schweetz this year?

Wow...after doing research on this blog, I really want to go now!  It certainly looks like a lot of fun for kids of all ages.

And this annual Disney tradition began thirty-one years ago today!

Coming up on Day #17 - a WHO AM I WEDNESDAY entry that will have some sort of Christmas reference to it.  What that will be...I still have to work on.

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