The History of ‘I’m going to Disney!’ from the Super Bowl

Super Bowl

The History of ‘I’m going to Disney!’ from the Super Bowl

The 2024 Super Bowl is taking place today between the Kansas City Chiefs and San Francisco 49ers! There is a tradition that the winning team declares “I’m going to Disney” World or land after the game ends. Where did that phrase originate? We’ve got the history for you today!

Related – Best Places To Watch The Super Bowl In Walt Disney World!

Super Bowl

“I’m going to Disney World!” and “I’m going to Disneyland!” have solidified their spots in the cultural consciousness thanks to the Super Bowl. These phrases, often exclaimed post-game with different commercials airing based on regional locations, have been commonly uttered by non-Super Bowl champions since their debut in 1987. However, their closest association remains with the Super Bowl, an unparalleled celebration of commercialism.

Since 1987, these phrases have been integrated into Disney’s “What’s Next?” campaign. The tradition commenced when Phil Simms initiated it following the New York Giants’ victory over the Denver Broncos in Super Bowl XXI.

Contrary to popular belief, Simms didn’t spontaneously come up with the idea. Allegedly, it was concocted by Jane Eisner, the wife of Disney CEO Michael Eisner. Both Simms and Broncos quarterback John Elway agreed to deliver the famous line in exchange for $75,000 if their team emerged victorious. Ultimately, Simms walked away with the lucrative payout.


The structure of the commercials has largely remained the same since Simms’ involvement. Following a montage of highlights set to “When You Wish upon a Star” from Pinocchio, the camera shifts to a player in the immediate aftermath of a Super Bowl triumph. A narrator then poses the iconic question, “_, you’ve just won the Super Bowl, what are you going to do next?” The player gazes into the camera and provides their response. The commercial concludes with a scene of fireworks illuminating either Cinderella’s Castle at Disney World or Sleeping Beauty’s Castle at Disneyland.

The voice behind the iconic question belongs to Mark Champion, a seasoned figure in the professional sports realm. Currently, Champion serves as the primary radio play-by-play announcer for the Detroit Pistons, having previously lent his voice to games for the Detroit Lions, Detroit Fury (WNBA), Michigan State men’s basketball, and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

The commercial has been a staple after every Super Bowl since 1987, with one notable exception. In 2005, the commercial was notably absent, though the precise reason remains unclear. Speculation suggests that the NFL, still recovering from Janet Jackson’s wardrobe malfunction incident in 2004, may have been cautious about advertising featuring spontaneous moments. Additionally, Disney might have perceived the campaign as losing its effectiveness after 19 years of airing.


There’s no set formula for who gets the opportunity to utter the famous phrase. While quarterbacks and Super Bowl MVPs tend to have better odds, coaches, running backs, and wide receivers have also joined in. Occasionally, individuals from other sports have participated, although not consistently. In the same year that Simms initiated the tradition, Magic Johnson of the Los Angeles Lakers and Frank Viola of the Minnesota Twins also spoke the phrases, but their contributions didn’t achieve the same level of iconic status.

Other notable participants have included Santa Claus, Gretchen Carlson, who was crowned Miss America in 1988, various college graduates, and a recent lineup of “American Idol” winners.

We do already know that the winning team will be declaring, “I’m going to Disneyland!” this year. Will it be the Chiefs or the 49ers?

Do you want to go to Disney like the Super Bowl winners? Contact me today to start planning your trip! I am a travel agent with Destinations to Travel, my services are FREE, and I’d love to help you plan a magical vacation.

The History of 'I'm going to Disney!' from the Super Bowl 1

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