As a former season pass holder at both Walt Disney World and Disneyland, it’s obvious I’m a big fan.
Since I’m also a big fan of TV, I recently found myself reminiscing about some of my favorite shows that shot at the happiest places on Earth.
Some series’ came to mind immediately. But as I started researching, I found a few shows I had completely forgotten about.
Here are the top shows that feature a trip to the wonderful world of Disney.
Speaking of The Wonderful World of Disney…
I guess we should start with what started it all. Disneyland itself was introduced to America via television when Walt hosted a weekly anthology series. The original version of the series called Walt Disney’s Disneyland launched on ABC in 1954. The television program, used to finance the development of the Disneyland amusement park, spawned the Davy Crocket phase.
In July of 1955, the opening of Disneyland was covered on a live Dateline special. Not technically a part of the aforementioned series, it was hosted by Art Linkletter who was assisted by Bob Cummings and Ronald Reagan.
If you’ve got over an hour to kill, grab your licorice whips and Jujubes and watch the special in its entirety right here.
Who’s The Leader of the Club MMC?
OK, so I know Annette, Cubby and the gang were among the original Mousketeers, but when it comes to my generation, Mickey Mouse Club means MMC with Britney, Justin and crew.
Actually, my MMC days started with Damon, Chase, Tiffani, Deedee and Albert (AKA The Party) when it was called the All-New Mickey Mouse Club.
There were also shows within the show like Teen Angel with a pre-90201 Jason Priestly and Emerald Cove, which starred Mousketeers Keri Russell, JC Chasez and Tony Lucca, among others.
Blossom Visits Disney World, “WHOA!”
Here’s a show that I totally forgot about. In 1993, when Nick gets a job at Disneyland as an Elvis impersonator, the whole Russo family decides to take a trip to the Magic Kingdom. However, much of the magic is lost when Blossom catches Vinnie hugging another woman. I’m rather surprised I don’t remember the episode as it features my favorite All-New Mickey Mouse Club members whom I just mentioned above.
The House Meets the Mouse
Though Blossom was the first sitcom shot in the park, the show wasn’t a part of TGIF. It was Full House that kicked off the official TGIF “Disney Episode Trend.” This is always the first sitcom episode that comes to mind when I think of shows shot on location at Disney.
The episode aired at the end of season 6 when the girls were in their not so cute anymore stage. Michelle gets to be princess for a day and delights in torturing DJ, Stephanie and Kimmy, making her even less cute. Rebecca gets fed up with Jesse, who spends more time working than with his family (which includes his two not cute boys). And Danny struggles to find the perfect (but also not cute) way to propose to Vicki. I’m starting to realize why I remember this episode so distinctly.
DJ thinking Aladdin is Steve is actually kind of cute, seeing that Scott Weinger is the voice of Aladdin in the animated film.
The TGIF Trend Continues
In the years that followed, more TGIF shows hit the holiday road to head to Disney. In 1995 and 1996, Family Matters, Step By Step and Boy Meets World all took a trip to the Magic Kingdom.
Roseanne Sees The World
Within that same time frame, the Conners also paid a visit to Disney, though Roseanne was not a part of the TGIF lineup. Roseanne Barr and company took advantage of Disney buying ABC to work out a deal to take the show on the road. After the family comes into some money, instead of traveling around the world they decide to see everything at once, hence the visit to Orlando.
Sabrina Works Her Magic on Animal Kingdom
Sabrina the Teenage Witch was the last 90’s sitcom to take over Disney. In fact, this episode was filmed completely at Animal Kingdom before it even opened to the public. It aired two days after the park’s grand opening in April 1998. Dang, it’s almost like those Disney folks are using these episodes to sell us on our next vacation.
A New Era of Disney Episodes
Though they aren’t as cheesy, the Disney episodes are still happening. The Middle, Modern Family and Black-ish have all shot at Disney, though storylines seem even more forced than they did before. That does’t seem possible, does it? But this is a more sophisticated era of television, even when it comes to the traditional sitcom. There’s no doubt, though, that these “very special episodes” succeed in pushing the Disney agenda. And now that Disney owns EVERYTHING, I’m sure we will continue to see the “Disney Episode Trend” for many years to come.
Featured photo courtesy of The Walt Disney Company.