“I’m going to Disney World!”
These famous words have been spoken by Super Bowl champions for the last several decades — but they were first proclaimed by New York Giants legendary QB Phil Simms.
On the latest episode of Peyton’s Places on ESPN+, Simms shared the story behind how the most famous marketing tactic of all time came to be while enjoying some time with Peyton Manning at the Most Magical Place on Earth.
Phil Simms reflects on his Giants career with Peyton Manning
After scanning their Super Bowl rings to enter the park, Manning and Simms went on a stroll down memory lane, reflecting on Simms’ Giants career en route to Cinderella Castle.
The highlight of Simms’ career was undoubtedly his performance in Super Bowl XXI. Simms was named the MVP of the big game after completing a Super Bowl record 88% of his passes (22-25) for 268 yards and three touchdowns.
While recalling Super Bowl XXI with Manning, Simms acknowledged the amount of pressure placed on a quarterback to perform well in the Super Bowl — especially New York’s quarterback. But the pressure never got to him.
“We were in rhythm, scoring a lot of times almost at will, but I really wasn’t thinking about stuff,” Simms said. “If I played a bad game and we lost, it might be my last game in New York. I didn’t even think about those things, I just played.”
Simms’ historic MVP performance led the Giants to beat the Broncos 39-20.
Fighting to win over Bill Parcells
As Manning points out in the interview, Simms did not always have the confidence of his head coach, Hall of Famer Bill Parcells. The “very unique coach” as Simms put it is well-known for having an abrasive, no-nonsense coaching style. This, initially, did not sit well with Simms. However, the quarterback and head coach came to an understanding, winning each other over, and winning a championship in the process.
“I think we both won each other over,” Simms told Manning. “In 1984 I think we both knew this is either going to work or we’re done.”
And work it did. Simms made the first postseason appearance of his career that year after leading Big Blue to a 9-7 record. Two years later, he and Parcells would together hoist the franchise’s first Lombardi Trophy, winning Super Bowl XXI at the conclusion of the 1986-87 season.
Simms shares insight into the original Disney World commercial
Shortly after the Giants’ win, Simms filmed the famed Disney commercial on Rose Bowl Stadium’s field in Pasadena, California. But amidst the blissful chaos, Simms nearly forgot to deliver his famous lines for Disney.
“I had 100% forgotten,” Simms told Manning. “Even when the game was over and I was standing on the sideline and they put Jeff Rutledge in, I still had forgotten.”
Thankfully, someone was able to locate Simms on the field and remind him to do the commercial. And many takes later, the most famous marketing tactic of all time was born.
Despite filming the commercial, Simms never received a Disney World parade to celebrate his Super Bowl victory — until now. He and Manning finally got their flowers from Mickey Mouse, as documented on this week’s episode of Peyton’s Places.
Where to watch:
Simms’ full reflection on his Giants career, Super Bowl XXI, and his infamous Disney World quote can be watched on the latest episode of Peyton’s Places.