Yes, athletes who say 'I'm going to Disney' really do go; here's why

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You've heard countless athletes say "I'm going to Disney World" or "I'm going to Disneyland" after winning major sporting events. How did the tradition get started? (AP Photo/John Raoux)

You've heard countless athletes say "I'm going to Disney World" or "I'm going to Disneyland" after winning the Super Bowl and other major sporting events. How did the tradition get started?

The iconic phrase has its roots in a conversation between then-Disney CEO Michael Eisner, Star Wars creator George Lucas, and the first people to fly around the world without stopping, Dick Rutan and Jeana Yeager, according to an ABC News report.

"It was late and the conversation hit a lull as we waited for our food," Eisner wrote in his 1998 memoir. "So I asked Dick and Jeana, 'Well, now that you've accomplished the pinnacle of your aspirations, what could you possibly do next?' Rutan responded, without hesitation, 'I'm going to Disneyland' And of course I go, 'Wow, that's cool! You made the right choice.' But my wife interjects: 'You know, that's a good slogan.'"

A month later, then-New York Giants quarterback Phil Simms became the first MVP to proudly exclaim, "I'm going to Disney World!"

And the rest, they say, is history.

Disney commercials have aired immediately following the Super Bowl's final whistle nearly every year, and the MVP, quarterback or another star from the game later heads to the happiest place on earth for a celebratory parade.

Editor's note: The Walt Disney Company is the parent company of this station.
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sportsDisney WorlddisneylandSuper Bowlnflu.s. & worldtravelsuper bowl commercial