It’s officially mid-January, which means it’s a frozen wasteland here in the Midwest, and the NFL Playoffs are in full swing.
January also means that we are now just a few short weeks away from seeing the victorious team hoisting the Lombardi trophy in the Superbowl, sure to be accompanied by what may be the most iconic tag-line of all time:
“I’m going to Disney World!
Boy that sure sounds like it would be fun to say right now (Note: I tried. It wasn’t. We aren’t going for a couple months at least. This was just an unpleasant reality check. 0/10, we do not recommend saying this if it isn’t true. It will just make you sad).
This year, Robin and I were imagining how it would be great if we could get to Disney World by the end of February. I quipped “well, if you hadn’t held me back from my glamorous and spectacular future in football,” — sidebar: I really just played for six weeks in middle school before career ending injuries got me (read: 12 year old Brad was weak in body and heart), but it’s far more fun to blame Robin for every disappointment in my life — “then surely I would be the MVP of the Superbowl by now, and we’d get to go this year. And all the time. Because I’d have more than $11 dollars and a handful of cough drops in my pocket right now. Thanks for RUINING MY LIFE!”
After our laughter subsided, she told me I should write for the blog about the history of the famous advertisement. After much negotiation, I conceded and so here I am.
According to Michael Eisner’s memoir Work in Progress (no, I didn’t read it myself — there’s this thing called the internet and that’s what everyone else on the internet says, so of course it’s true), he and his wife were having dinner with the pilots of the Rutan Voyager following their successful non-stop flight around the world. During the meal, Jane Eisner asked the pilots what they planned to do next; after all, they had just accomplished something once (and recently) thought to be impossible by most people. One of the pilots replied, “well, we’re going to Disneyland.” Jane later suggested that Michael work these words into an advertising campaign, and he agreed.
Within the next few days, Michael decided to ask Phil Simms, quarterback of the New York Giants, to star in the commercial. Simms was initially reluctant, but eventually agreed.
As it turns out, Eisner couldn’t have placed his bet any better. Little did he know Simms would go on to win the game and be named MVP with a statistically historical great performance — 29 years later, his passer rating of 150.9 remains the highest ever recorded in the Superbowl.
Filming took place right there on the field after the game, Simms did a handful of takes saying each “Disneyland” and “Disneyworld.” There are conflicting reports as to how much he was compensated for the ad, but it was somewhere between $50,000 and $75,000, which may or may not include the value of the all expenses paid trip to Walt Disney World he and his family also received.
Disney has since run similar ads for various sporting championships and other non-sporting special events.
Below, you can watch all of the NFL players (and coaches) who have received the honor over the years in their own commercials. You can save this playlist from our Youtube page to watch again and again!
In order of appearance:
’87 Phil Simms, Quarterback of the New York Giants
'88 Doug Williams, Quarterback of Washington
'89 Joe Montana, Quarterback of the San Francisco 49ers
'94 Emmitt Smith, Running back of the Dallas Cowboys
'02 Tom Brady, Quarterback of the New England Patriots
'06 Hines Ward, Wide Receiver of the Pittsburgh Steelers
'07 Coach Tony Dungy and Running back Dominic Rhodes of the Indianapolis Colts
'08 Eli Manning, Quarterback of the New York Giants
'09 Quarterback "Big Ben" Roethlisberger and Wide Receiver Santonio Holmes of the Pittsburgh Steelers
'10 Drew Brees, Quarterback of the New Orleans Saints
'11 Aaron Rodgers, Quarterback of the Green Bay Packers
'12 Eli Manning, Quarterback of the New York Giants
'13 Joe Flacco, Quarterback of the Baltimore Ravens
'14 Malcolm Smith, Linebacker of the Seattle Seahawks
'15 Wide Receiver Julian Edelman and Corner back Malcolm Butler of the New England Patriots
So if you ever thought the longed-to-be-said phrase was nothing more than a marketing ploy, you're totally right! Keep an eye out for other Disney touches during the Superbowl, in between bites of guacamole and screaming at the TV.
Speaking of eating, we totally recommend this Flame Tree inspired BBQ sauce for your chicken wings, and this Snickerdoodle cookie recipe, which makes a batch big enough for any party!
And let us know what your Superbowl plans are, what team you're rooting for, what snacks you're making. We live for that stuff.
Photo Credits: Disney World Football; Simms Passing; Simms Rushing