The post-Super Bowl celebratory cry of “I’M GOING TO DISNEYLAND!” is almost as recognizable as “Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus” or “Houston, we have a problem.”
But have you ever wondered where the phrase originated? Or who the first person to make the now- famous exclamation was? I mean, why not, “I’M GOING TO UNIVERSAL!” or “I’M GOING TO RED LOBSTER!”
Well, this “Disney Secret” had me guessing as well, so I did a bit of research.
Apparently, as the story goes, in the winter of 1986 pilots Dick Routan and Jeana Yaaeger were having dinner with then-Disney CEO Michael Eisner after having just set a new world record for round-the-world-aviation. During the course of the conversation, Eisner asked them their plans, to which they laughingly replied, “Well, we’re going to Disneyland.” Eisner laughed, but his wife immediately smelled a catchphrase. So, with Super Bowl XXI only a few weeks away, an on-field crew was assigned to Giants quarterback Phil Simms, who delivered the line with such accuracy and enthusiasm that Disney has used it, with the exception of 2005, every year since.