I'm going to Disney World!
"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. 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. These commercials have also promoted champions from other sports, and winners of non-sport competitions such as American Idol.
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. 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.
In his 1998 memoir Work in Progress, Disney CEO Michael Eisner credited his wife, Jane, with the idea for the campaign. 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. 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.
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. 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.
Stars and celebrations
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.
- Phil Simms, New York Giants, Super Bowl XXI
- Dennis Conner, Stars & Stripes, America's Cup
- Magic Johnson, Los Angeles Lakers, NBA Finals
- Frank Viola, Minnesota Twins, World Series
- Doug Williams, Washington Redskins, Super Bowl XXII
- Gretchen Carlson, Miss America
- Orel Hershiser, Los Angeles Dodgers, World Series
- Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Los Angeles Lakers, NBA Finals
- Joe Montana, San Francisco 49ers, Super Bowl XXIII
- Al MacInnis, Calgary Flames, Stanley Cup Finals
- Joe Dumars, Detroit Pistons, NBA Finals
- Joe Montana, San Francisco 49ers, Super Bowl XXIV
- Jim Thompson of Temple University, and Matt Kaldenberg, Phyllis Kaldenberg, and Laura McEwen of Simpson College, college graduation
- Jeff Gordon, NASCAR Hendrick Motorsports No. 24 Chevy, 1994 Brickyard 400 winner
- Emmitt Smith, Dallas Cowboys, Super Bowl XXVIII
- Nancy Kerrigan, U.S. figure skater, Winter Olympics
- While appearing in a subsequent parade at the Walt Disney World Resort, Kerrigan was recorded saying "This is dumb. I hate it. This is the most corniest thing I have ever done." However, Kerrigan said her comments were taken out of context. She said that being in the parade was not corny, but wearing her Silver Medal during the parade was since her parents taught her never to brag or show off her accomplishments. Kerrigan also went on to say that she had nothing against the Disney Company or Mickey Mouse and said, "Whoever could find fault with Mickey Mouse? He's the greatest mouse I've ever known."
- John Elway, Denver Broncos, Super Bowl XXXII
- Mark McGwire, St. Louis Cardinals, Major League Baseball home run record
- Terrell Davis and John Elway, Denver Broncos, Super Bowl XXXIII
- U.S. Women's National Soccer Team, FIFA Women's World Cup
- Trent Dilfer, Baltimore Ravens, Super Bowl XXXV
- Barry Bonds, San Francisco Giants, Major League Baseball home run record
- Tom Brady, New England Patriots, Super Bowl XXXVIII
- Curt Schilling, Pedro Martínez and David Ortiz, Boston Red Sox, World Series
- Dave Andreychuk, Tampa Bay Lightning, Stanley Cup Finals
- Hines Ward and Jerome Bettis, Pittsburgh Steelers, Super Bowl XL
- Dwyane Wade, Miami Heat, NBA Finals
- Tony Dungy and Dominic Rhodes, Indianapolis Colts, Super Bowl XLI
- Teemu Selanne, Anaheim Ducks, Stanley Cup Finals
- Santonio Holmes & Ben Roethlisberger, Pittsburgh Steelers, Super Bowl XLIII
- Kris Allen, Season 8 American Idol winner
- Bruce Springsteen during the Super Bowl XLIII halftime show
In popular culture
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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.
- 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."
On May 2nd, 2000, in a celebrity edition of Who Wants to Be a Millionaire, the million dollar question asked to contestant Drew Carey was, "Who was the first NFL player to answer "I'm going to Disneyland" in the popular series of TV ads?". Carey walked away with $500,000, not knowing the answer to the question.
- Disneyland Resort: "Dreams Come True as Super Bowl XLII MVP Eli Manning Proclaims, 'I'm Going to Disneyland!'", PR Newswire, February 4, 2008
- FitzGerald, Tom (February 3, 2008). "Super Bowl cameraman juggles to catch jingle". San Francisco Chronicle.
- "Pistons Announcers". NBA.com.
- Vacchiano, Ralph (May 8, 2008). "Eli Manning floats in for Disney parade". Daily News.
- Eisner, Michael; Schwartz, Tony (1998). Work in Progress. Random House. ISBN 0-375-50071-5.
- Litsky, Frank (July 12, 1987). "Different Fortunes for Two Champions". New York Times.
- Jolly, Tom (January 26, 1998). "Not Going to Disneyland". New York Times.
- 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
- Bouchette, Ed (February 7, 2006). "Ward's MVP performance in Super Bowl XL puts him in special class". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
- Lowitt, Bruce (November 29, 1999). "Harding, Kerrigan are linked forever by skating incident". St. Petersburg Times (sptimes.com).
- More Will Be Heard From Kerrigan
- Elliott, Stuart (November 1, 2004). "With Curse Reversed, Marketers Love Red Sox". New York Times.
- Associated Press (February 5, 2007). "Who's going to Disney World? Dungy, Rhodes".
- Powers, Scott (May 22, 2008). "American Idol coming to Disney World — now and later". Orlando Sentinel.
- "Audiences debate Ellen's coming out". CNN.com. May 1, 1997.
- "cleveland.com: Homegrown Heroes". cleveland.com. July 16, 2003.