French Say Oui to EuroDisney

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MARNE-LA-VALEE, France: It was a scheme even Sartre would have appreciated. Build a massive American theme park a short drive from Paris. Fill it with happy, smiling faces, quaint rides and catchy, inoffensive music and wait for the cultured, sophisticated Europeans to flock to it. It was absurd, a sure failure. Imperial America at its most foolish. Five years ago, Parisians smoking cigarettes at Les Deux Magots sniggered into their cafe au laits as Disneyland Paris opened. No way would the land that invented Existentialism, perfected ennui and made dourness hip go for the hyperactive cheeriness of Mickey Mouse. Ce n'est pas possible. For a while, it seemed like they were right. For its first few years of operation, Disneyland Paris was a laughing stock, losing money, attracting small crowds and providing ample ammunition for America bashers all across Europe. But the folks at Disney were patient. The company cut ticket prices and slowly, the tourists started coming. Last year, the park even made a healthy profit, $40 million. With 12 million visitors, it passed the Eiffel Tower and the Louvre to become the country's number one tourist spot. Mon Dieu. Quelle horreur.