Moviefan12: Hello & welcome back to A Look at Disney World. Today and all this week, we are turning our attention to television as we take a look at the various ways, Disney World has appeared on ABC. Now, I’m sure most of you are familiar with the ’90s sitcoms, this was an idea from Eisner to promote the park and as much as I may bash him, this is a good idea. But I wish to also talk a about one recent commercial featuring Regina from Once Upon A Time. Joining me today for the first time on A Look at Disney is richb. The expert on all things, TV here at Manic Expression.
richb: A pleasure my friend. Disney and sitcoms have had a unique history, In fact they have done more than some may realize under their Buena Vista and Touchstone Pictures brand. Not to mention the shows which did an episode set in Disney, which was huge when ABC was bought by them in the 90’s. And then there are parade’s not to mention countless specials…Disney has been a big part of TV almost since the beginning!
Moviefan12: Indeed, that is very true. You could trace Disney’s appearance on TV all the way back to the Disneyland anthology series that aired on NBC, if not further. Which was the predecessor to ABC’s The Wonderful World of Disney. Now let’s start. For the sake of the article, we will be giving a brief overview of the ABC episodes and what we thought of them.
To kick things off, let’s start with an episode from a childhood favorite show of mine.
The House Meets The Mouse – Full House (Season 6)
Moviefan12: Fair warning, a few episodes I don’t have very nice things to say about some of the episodes. Okay, some set up, Full House was my all time favorite show as a kid. So much so, when I graduated high school, I asked for seasons 2 and 3 on DVD. I ended up getting The Complete Series. Which came in a very nice box that looks like The Tanner house. Having said that, this is probably my least favorite episode of Full House. Let me explain, first off, this and perhaps Step by Step make the best use of Disney World for their episodes. What is it I dislike about this episode? All of the conflicts in this episode feel forced. Let’s start with the Michelle plot, she was being a grade A brat in this episode. Look, I get that she became the princess but it was an abuse of position. And Jesse had planned this trip for him and Becky, yet in the opening, we see the rest of the Tanner clan decide to barge and come along. They invited themselves and why did they take Kimmy Gibbler with them? I swear, the only family member that didn’t go was Comet. When everyone in the family sans D.J. hates her and I do too. My biggest issue is that Michelle comes off as a brat in this episode. Oh, don’t get me wrong, there are things I like about this episode such as the little animated sequence with Joey. That’s always funny, Danny trying to propose is a highlight. And I love the running joke of D.J. seeing Steve as different Disney characters including Aladdin. Which is a reference to the fact that Scott Weinger also voiced Aladdin.
I made mention of this in a previous article but he also appeared as Indy.
And getting to hear John Stamos sing a Disney song was cool as he performed A Dream Is A Wish Your Heart Makes.
But overall, it is one of the weaker episodes of Full House and not even being set at Disney World can save it for me. It’s just the stuff with Michelle is so infuriating and we spend so much of the episode focusing on that story line that it detracts the good stuff. This episode has not aged well. And I hate saying this about Michelle, considering I had a huge crush on the Olsen Twins growing up. But the Michelle plot, which also includes Stephanie’s jealously of her sister, which seems odd given her age in this episode. You could perhaps chalk it up to middle child syndrome but the jealously stuff would’ve worked better in an earlier season, when Steph was still young. Here it just comes off as sad and pathetic at her age. Well, okay to be fair actually, the one conflict I understand and get is Becky being upset that Jesse isn’t spending time with her and the twins. This was meant to be a vacation for their family but Jesse’s schedule is barely allowing any family time. Which again in large part in my opinion was out of Jesse’s control. rich, your thoughts?
richb: I remember that episode fondly, watching the first part in college with my girlfriend and then watching the second part with my baby sister. Alas, I have to be fair and say that the episode is not the best. It’s just so contrived even for a Full House episode. Michelle princess for the day is convenient, and why is Stephanie such a jealous pain here? It was just totally out of character for Stephanie. She should have been enjoying Michelle’s status, not acting like a baby about it. And having Joey be the one to point that out, and the thing with them being the parade..it was to much! Why is Rebecca so angry with Jesse, she never expresses feelings of neglect like that at any other point. Yeah it’s an anniversary but it just feels so forced. And the proposal was so forced it was undone the next year. It was nice to see Disney and the characters, but how in the world did the Tanners manage to see three separate parks in just one day?
Moviefan12: It looks as though, we are pretty much in agreement on this episode. Moving on to one, I feel is much better from season 3 of Boy Meets World…
The Happiest Show On Earth – Boy Meets World (Season 3)
Moviefan12: I’ll be honest, I really like this episode and I think it is one of the best episodes from the early years of Boy Meets World. The picture, I chose to use really has nothing to do with the overall plot, Cory and Shawn decided to spend the night in Splash Mountain. That alone is pretty funny. That’s the thing besides funny, this episode pulls at the heartstrings. Of course, that may have been because they had a dolphin in the episode and dolphins are the cutest animals in the world.
Besides that though, it’s a good relationship building episode for Cory and Topanga. As Topanga needed a break because of him being with so many different girls but he keeps on perusing such as seen right here.
And they end with the dolphin, where Cory tells it of his love troubles is rather touching. And that is what convinces Topanga to give Cory another chance because by the end of the episode, they are back together.
Perhaps, the only thing that brought this episode down was this annoying female character that was lusting after Cory. Because they had dated for a while. It was like the show was trying to include a Kimmy Gibbler type character, when this show didn’t need that. Also, I believe this is the only Disney World episode, where not all of the main cast went. Which makes sense for the story, they were telling as Cory snuck off to Disney World without Alan or Amy knowing and Eric had to cover for him back home. This one has one of the funniest endings with Cory trying to get out of punishment by giving his parents souvenirs, he bought at Disney World.
richb: This episode wasn’t nearly as forced as the Full House one which was nice to see. I am pretty sure this was early enough in the series before it became a little to dramatic. They weren’t afraid to have fun and they did, but kept it within the normal premise of the show. And you have to love anything that gets Cory and Topanga together. Their chemistry was just fantastic and this episode is a perfect example.
We’re Going to Disney World – Family Matters (Season 6)
Moviefan12: Now I couldn’t find any pictures for this one and it’s been a while since I’ve seen it. But from what I recall, Urkel and the Winslows go to Disney World because he won a contest to compete in an inventors competition and he takes his transformation chamber and uses it to turn himself into Stefan. Steve’s suave and smooth alter ego. There is a budding romance between Stefan and Lisa as he even proposes to Lisa. When he tries to turn himself back into Urkel, the machine isn’t working. It’s revealed that Lisa sabotaged the machine. And this is my big issue, I get she loved Stefan but by this point in the series, she didn’t really hate Steve any more. She almost considered him a friend. Of course, I think this was around the same time, Steve was living with the Winslows. So, that just seemed uncharacteristic. There is a nice subplot of Carl wanting to give up his job on the police force and move down to Florida, so that he can be closer to Disney World. It takes Harriet giving him a wake up call, telling him, we all have to go back to reality eventually. Y’know the biggest disappointment about this episode, Urkel in Disney World could’ve been comedy gold. Ah, well.
richb: Not gonna lie I was really done with Family Matters by this point and did not watch. I hated the whole stuff with Stefan and everything, talk about jumping the shark. So I just can’t add to much to this, sure the Disney stuff was fine but the show was unwatchable for me by this point. And it got worst!
Moviefan12: Next up is Roseanne.
Disney World War II – Roseanne (Season 8)
Moviefan12: I’ll be honest, I don’t remember that much from this episode. And that’s not a good thing because a Disney World episode should be memorable. The only things I remember are Dan running to EPCOT to get beer while When You Wish Upon A Star is playing and Darlene having a fangirl moment over seeing Winnie The Pooh. I do recall reading somewhere that Roseanne didn’t want to do this episode because she didn’t think the Connors could afford a trip to Disney World. And there was an episode that aired directly after the Disney World episode that mocked the parks. That one is pretty funny, actually but I want to address something here, I get where Roseanne was coming from but the Connors going to Disney World is more believable then most of the latter half of this series including the mess that was the series finale.
richb: Ah, this was a special time for this series. When it was still watchable but you could tell that the wheels were starting to fall off. Yeah I don’t really remember to much about it either. I did love the way Darlene was all grumpy until she saw Winnie the Pooh. That was a cute moment, because who wouldn’t act that way? No matter how cool you think you are when you see Mickey you get excited! I also remember at the end Bev talking to Mickey himself but for the most part the episode is not the most memorable of the series. The worst part is that this really screamed ABC STUNT! because unlike most of the shows where going to Disney made some kind of sense, this one did not really
Moviefan12: I think you pointed out my biggest issue with this episode, it doesn’t make sense for the Connors to be going to Disney World. Next up, Step by Step.
We’re Going To Disney World – Step by Step (Season 5)
Moviefan12: Okay as an uber Disney fan, I love this episode solely for the the plot about the character of Flash trying to break the world record for doing everything in Disney World under a limited amount of time. I want to do that. Of course, I’d have to get over my fear Tower of Terror, Rock n Roller Coaster, sit through Disney Junior: Live On Stage and Voyage of The Little Mermaid again. (sigh). On second thought, maybe I shouldn’t. I’ll be honest, when Flash crosses the finish line and gets to Cinderella Castle and says “I did it, Mickey. I brought the title back to America”. I tend to do a fist pump and go “Yeah!”. I could care less about what happens in the rest of this episode because I love the idea of trying to do everything in Disney World. It’s on my bucket list but as I pointed out, there are some things, I’m not ready to do.
richb: Tower of Tower was awesome! You gotta do it! er, sorry anyway this was another really good episode. It is unique in that it has a plot that actually involves Disney World. In many of these shows Disney is just a backdrop but here it really becomes part of the story. It was also nice to see EPCOT get a little love for a change. Okay, Karen’s story was sort of lame, but the main fun of the episode comes from the story you already talked about. It was a a lot of fun and a bit different than just having the family standing around watching fireworks, which is usually how these episodes seem to always end,
Why do all of these episodes have to have scenes of the family watching fireworks? Okay we get it! Anyway, next episode…..
Moviefan12: Well to be fair our next episode and Boy Meets World didn’t end that way. The last episode, we will taking a look at is one I’m of two minds about.
Disneyworld – Sabrina The Teenage Witch (Season 2)
Moviefan12: Okay first off, a few nitpicks. Disney World is two words guys and this title isn’t even accurate to the episode as it only takes place in Animal Kingdom as it was meant to promote the park. And that’s the issue, it doesn’t show enough of the park. This is the first new park to open since Disney’s MGM Studios and you want to show it off. Cool and I get promoting it but if your going to promote, actually show what the park has to offer. I swear we see more of Hilda and Zelda’s hotel room, then what the park has to offer. We see the park but the only attraction, we see is Kilimanjaro Safaris in a rather humorous moment with Harvey acting as one of the guides. With that said, this is still a good Sabrina episode because it stays true to the show and it was clear that the actors were having fun. So while not the greatest Disney World episode, it’s a good Sabrina episode. Also, I remember the big fanfare that people were making when this park opened. It was even promoted at McDonald’s with Happy Meal toys.
That was pretty cool but this wasn’t the first time as World Showcase also had Happy Meal toys.
richb: Animal Kingdom is cool and it’s probably better than it was when I was there ages ago. Anyway, I give this episode credit for not rubbing the fact that they are in Disney in our faces every second. They use the park as a setting and the setting becomes part of the story but it is subdued. In fact aside from the park attractions the only reminder that it’s Disney at all are the stuffed animals we see in the hotel rooms. I suppose they could have shown the park off more but I give this series credit for caring more about the story they wanted to tell than the setting they happened to be in. Okay, one could argue the other way and say that if they are going to set an episode in Disney World they should really take advantage of that. But it’s so nice to see one show not do that. Remember also that when Animal Kingdom opened it was kind of boring, it didn’t have much to it and people wondered if it would even last. Disney has done a great job with it over the years but at first, it was dull. The thing I hated about this episode was that dumb Quizmaster stuff which I was so happy disappeared shortly afterward.
Moviefan12: Please don’t remind of the Quizmaster. He’s up there with Gibbler in how much I can’t stand him. All right, so this takes care of the episodes and this was a blast to work on. The Disney World episodes have started die out as of late. That doesn’t mean there aren’t any park episodes, the show Modern Family just did a Disneyland episode. I’d give you my thoughts but I don’t watch the show. However, a show I do watch and enjoy dearly recently did an ad for New Fanstayland. This aired during an episode of the second season of Once Upon A Time.
I LOVED this, Once Upon A Time and Disney World together. Awesome! Anyways, I’d like to thank richb for joining to go over these episodes. It was a pleasure to work with you.
richb: Blossom was another that inexplicably did a Disney episode. Thankfully these have slowed down because they were getting monotonous. Nothing wrong with a sitcom doing an episode about a family vacation, but when it’s a clear stunt by the parent company the result comes off a bit forced. I did not see the Once Upon a Time ad but may have to check it out.
This was lots of fun my friend, and I hope we can do it again for a future article.