“I’m Going To Disney World”! Where Did That Come From?

Considering that Walt Disney World is NOT doing the traditional Superbowl celebration parade this year (Covid restrictions on crowds gathering during parades), we thought it would be a good time to talk about the history of the famous “I’m going to Disney World” Superbowl commercial.  Did you know that a nine-day flight around the world inspired it?

In 1986, Dick Rutan along with co-pilot Jeana Yeager piloted the first non-stop, non-refueled around-the-world flight.  A month after the historic flight, Disneyland had the grand opening of Star Tours hosted by Disney CEO Michael Eisner, Star Wars creator George Lucas, and other celebrities.

Star Tours Grand Opening - Michael Eisner & George Lucas

Being new celebrities themselves, Rutan & Yeager were invited to the opening event.  Later in the evening, Michael Eisner’s wife Jane asked Rutan & Yeager what they are planning to do next (after just doing the most adventurous thing imaginable), and they both answered that they were going to Disneyland.  Jane loved their answer, told Michael about it and they thought that it would make a great marketing campaign.  Considering that the Super Bowl was in only two weeks, they had to move quickly.

Disney made a deal with the NFL and reached out to both Super Bowl quarterbacks (John Elway of the Denver Broncos & Phil Simms of the New York Giants) and offered the winner $75,000 to say the now-famous lines.  Right after the game, Disney caught up with Phil Simms and actually filmed a clip for Disneyland and one for Walt Disney World (for promotions on both the West and East coasts).

Do you enjoy seeing the Super Bowl MVP in a Disney parade each year?

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