I'm going to Disney World!

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"I'm going to Disney World!" and "I'm going to Disneyland!" are advertising slogans used in a series of television commercials by The Walt Disney Company that began airing in 1987.[1] Used to promote the company's theme park resorts in Florida and California, the commercials most often are broadcast following the Super Bowl and typically feature an NFL player shouting the phrase while celebrating the team's victory immediately after the championship game.[2] These commercials have also promoted champions from other sports, and winners of non-sport competitions such as American Idol.

Format[edit]

Disney refers to the campaign as "What's Next?" in reference to the commercial's usual format, which has the star appear to be answering a question posed by an unseen narrator—"What are you going to do next?"—after his or her moment of triumph. The narrator is Mark Champion, a veteran radio play-by-play announcer for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Detroit Lions, Detroit Pistons, and Westwood One.[3] Most ads feature the song "When You Wish upon a Star" (which is currently sung by Idina Menzel) and end with a shot of fireworks over Cinderella Castle or Sleeping Beauty Castle.

Typically the star records two versions of the commercial—one for each phrase—so that the ads can be broadcast in different American media markets to strategically promote either the Walt Disney World Resort in Florida or the Disneyland Resort in California. In most cases, Disney arranges for its star to appear in a parade at either Disneyland or one of the Walt Disney World theme parks the day immediately following the victory in order to fulfill the spoken promise in one version.[4]

History[edit]

In his 1998 memoir Work in Progress, Disney CEO Michael Eisner credited his wife, Jane, with the idea for the campaign.[5] According to Eisner, during the January 1987 grand opening for the Star Tours attraction at Disneyland, the couple dined with Dick Rutan and Jeana Yeager, who in December 1986 had piloted the first aircraft to fly around the world without stopping or refueling. After Jane Eisner asked what the pilots planned to do next, they replied, "Well, we're going to Disneyland." She later told her husband the phrase would make a great advertising campaign.

Weeks later, Disney launched the series following Super Bowl XXI on January 25, 1987 with a commercial featuring New York Giants quarterback Phil Simms. Simms was paid a reported $75,000 for his participation.[6] The company later aired three more ads that year with other athletes following major sports championships.

In subsequent years, Disney reportedly has offered $30,000 to athletes and other stars for participating in the ads and appearing at one of its theme parks.[7]

2006 return[edit]

In 2006, the campaign resumed before Super Bowl XL as Disney projected scenes from the 20-year history of the campaign onto a Detroit skyscraper in the days before the game.[8] During the television broadcast, Disney aired a commercial showing members of the Pittsburgh Steelers and Seattle Seahawks practicing how they would deliver the famous phrase while preparing for the game. The following day, the company began airing a traditional "What's Next" commercial featuring Steelers Hines Ward and Jerome Bettis.[9]

Stars and celebrations[edit]

The commercials generally star a single NFL player immediately following the Super Bowl but the campaign also has featured athletes from other championship games and several non-celebrities.

1987

1988

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2014

In popular culture[edit]

Because of its iconic status, the "I'm going to..." phrase has been parodied or copied many times in films, TV shows and live interviews, including:

  • In a Full House episode where Joey Gladstone supposedly won a $100,000 slot machine jackpot, Stephanie Tanner exclaims "I'm going to Disneyland!" but then quickly corrects herself saying that she was going to buy Disneyland.
  • Bruce Springsteen ended his Super Bowl XLIII halftime performance by saying "I'm going to Disneyland!" to the camera.
  • In the 1997 television episode of Ellen in which Ellen DeGeneres' character came out as a lesbian, she quipped "I'm going to Disneyland" when asked by a psychologist what she planned to do next.[15]
  • In Animaniacs, a common running gag was that a character would be asked by a reporter (usually Mary Hartless), "What are you going to do next?" The character would then seem to be about to respond with the classic Disneyland phrase, but then change it at the last minute. For example, in Hurray for Slappy, Slappy Squirrel responds: "I'm going to...bed."

References[edit]

  1. ^ Disneyland Resort: "Dreams Come True as Super Bowl XLII MVP Eli Manning Proclaims, 'I'm Going to Disneyland!'", PR Newswire, February 4, 2008
  2. ^ FitzGerald, Tom (February 3, 2008). "Super Bowl cameraman juggles to catch jingle". San Francisco Chronicle. 
  3. ^ "Pistons Announcers". NBA.com. 
  4. ^ Vacchiano, Ralph (May 8, 2008). "Eli Manning floats in for Disney parade". Daily News. 
  5. ^ Eisner, Michael; Schwartz, Tony (1998). Work in Progress. Random House. ISBN 0-375-50071-5. 
  6. ^ Litsky, Frank (July 12, 1987). "Different Fortunes for Two Champions". New York Times. 
  7. ^ Jolly, Tom (January 26, 1998). "Not Going to Disneyland". New York Times. 
  8. ^ Walt Disney World Resort: "For Super Bowl XL, 'I'm Going to Disney World' Goes X-tra Large On Detroit Skyline", PR Newswire, January 25, 2006
  9. ^ Bouchette, Ed (February 7, 2006). "Ward's MVP performance in Super Bowl XL puts him in special class". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. 
  10. ^ Lowitt, Bruce (November 29, 1999). "Harding, Kerrigan are linked forever by skating incident". St. Petersburg Times (sptimes.com). 
  11. ^ More Will Be Heard From Kerrigan
  12. ^ Elliott, Stuart (November 1, 2004). "With Curse Reversed, Marketers Love Red Sox". New York Times. 
  13. ^ Associated Press (February 5, 2007). "Who's going to Disney World? Dungy, Rhodes". 
  14. ^ Powers, Scott (May 22, 2008). "American Idol coming to Disney World — now and later". Orlando Sentinel. 
  15. ^ "Audiences debate Ellen's coming out". CNN.com. May 1, 1997.