“I’m Going to Disney World!” – A Brief History of Disney and the Super Bowl

Last Updated on: February 18th, 2024

The phrase “I’m Going to Disney World!” is as much a part of the Super Bowl tradition as halftime shows and extravagant commercials. This iconic slogan, which has become synonymous with victory and celebration, represents a unique intersection of sports, advertising, and entertainment culture. It’s a testament to the ingenuity of Disney’s marketing and the universal appeal of its theme parks. Let’s take a bit of a stroll down memory lane and explore the longtime relationship between Disney Parks and the Super Bowl.I'm Going to Disney World disney super bowl

The story began in 1987, a time when Disney was exploring innovative ways to market its theme parks. Seeking to capitalize on the massive audience of the Super Bowl, Disney conceived a groundbreaking advertising strategy. The plan was simple yet brilliant: capture the immediate reaction of the game’s star player proclaiming their intention to visit Disney World or Disneyland. This concept not only promoted Disney’s parks but also tapped into the raw emotion and excitement of the Super Bowl’s climax.

The first instance of this iconic phrase being uttered came from New York Giants quarterback Phil Simms. After leading his team to victory in Super Bowl XXI, Simms declared, “I’m gonna go to Disney World!” The commercial, aired post-game, was an instant sensation. It not only celebrated Simms’ triumph but also connected Disney parks with the pinnacle of sporting achievement.

Have a look:

This marketing strategy proved to be a masterstroke. The slogan quickly embedded itself in American pop culture. It became a symbolic ritual for Super Bowl MVPs, with players like Joe Montana, Emmitt Smith, and Tom Brady joining the tradition. The campaign expanded over the years, featuring stars from various sports and even astronauts. The simple sentence transformed into a statement of success, joy, and the fulfillment of dreams.

The success of “I’m Going to Disney World!” is rooted in its emotional resonance. Disney parks are places of magic and happiness, a fantasy land where dreams come true. By linking this sentiment to the euphoria of a Super Bowl victory, Disney created a powerful association in the public’s mind. The campaign goes beyond mere advertising; it’s a celebration of achievement and aspiration.

Furthermore, this collaboration between Disney and the Super Bowl reflects broader trends in marketing and entertainment. It illustrates the power of cross-promotion and the blending of different entertainment spheres. The campaign has survived and thrived because it adapts, resonates with new generations, and maintains its charm and relevance in an ever-changing media landscape.

The phrase “I’m Going to Disney World!” is more than just a post-game exclamation; it’s a cultural phenomenon. It represents a successful fusion of sports, entertainment, and marketing. This campaign not only highlights Disney’s marketing genius but also underscores the Super Bowl’s status as a cultural event transcending sports. As this tradition continues, it serves as a reminder of the enduring power of simple, emotional, and effective storytelling in advertising.


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About the Author

Craig Smith
I am founder and editor of DisneyNews.us. My passion for all things Disney goes pretty far back to my first trip to Walt Disney World in the mid-80's. I have since returned to the magical place more than 20 times. I started this site when I came to the realization that I spent a significant portion of my day reading articles about Disney and watching Disney content with my 8-year old, so it made sense that I would start sharing some of what I read and see and building a little community around it. Other interests include 80's nostalgia, vintage toys, video games, LEGO, Star Wars and tech gadgets. Other sites include DMR and VideoGamesStats.com.