I do enjoy the spectacle of the Super Bowl. The pageantry, the stage management, the commercials, the half time show; but, one of the things I most look forward to is seeing who’s going to say it…
The it in this case, is the “what’s next?” question being asked of sporting heroes and MVPs since 1987:
“[name], you’ve just won [sporting event], what are you doing next?” The winner of course answers, “I’m Going To Disney…!”
The first person to get the opportunity was Phil Simms, New York Giants Quarterback, after they won Super Bowl XXI. To hedge their bets, Disney also paid John Elway of the Denver Broncos the same $75,000 to say the tag line just in case his team won. Since then, the pay has gone down to a reported $30,000, and the sport has gone beyond football to include many types of event winners such as: basketball, yacht racing, Miss America, and Santa Claus!
Disney also plays both coasts by having the winner say two versions, “I’m going to Disneyland!” and “I’m going to Disney World!” so they can air the spots in different markets.
The campaign hasn’t always worked out that well for the theme parks or the winner. In 1994, Winter Olympics figure skater Nancy Kerrigan was recorded saying, “This is dumb. I hate it. This is the most corniest thing I have ever done.” Also, because of a murder trial he was involved in the previous year, SB XXXV MVP Ray Lewis was bypassed for the honor/arium.
One of the best publicity aspects of the campaign came just last year when the tag line was recorded during the MVP ceremony while the NFL and Walt Disney Company made a joint million-dollar donation to the Make-A-Wish Foundation so many children could “Go To Disney…!”