We’re off to the happiest place on earth! : Top 5 Best Disney World Centric Episodes of Classic ABC Sitcoms (And One Worst).
It’s a traditonal trope that’s been around since the early nineties. For decades it has been the golden rule for almost every ABC sitcom to ship its casts off to visit the house of mouse for some very special episodes. However, this doesn’t always work. In fact, most of the time it just comes off as a lame gimmick just to promote the theme park. But on occasion they managed to take this concept and give us fans of the TGIF shows some memorable and straight up fun episodes. Here are my top five choices of Disney world centric episodes of ABC sitcoms that did it right (and one that absolutely did it wrong in my opinion).
5. Boy Meets World. “The Happiest Show On Earth.” Season 3, episode 21.
Synopsis: Cory heads to Walt Disney World with the hopes of winning back Topanga, but she thinks he has other plans.
Who doesn’t remember this classic, romantic episode? While Disney World was more of a backdrop to the overall Cory\Topanga story, the magic and fun of the place was still shown throughout.
4. Full House. “The House Meets The Mouse.” Parts 1 and 2. Season 6, episodes 23 & 24.
Synopsis for part 1: The family travels to Walt Disney World when Jesse is invited there for a concert. Michelle is made princess for a day, and Danny tries to propose to Vicky.
Part 2: At Walt Disney World, Michelle has a tea party with her favourite characters as the family search for her. Danny proposes to Vicky.
This classic two parter took our beloved Tanner\Katsopolis\Gladstone clan to the house of mouse and we enjoyed their wacky adventures while there. While the episodes weren’t exactly the best Full House had to offer, they were charming and cute enough in their own way to be a fun watch.
3. Family Matters. “We’re Going To Disney World.” Parts 1 and 2. Season 6, episodes 22 and 23.
Synopsis for part 1: Steve travels to Walt Disney World to participate in an inventors contest.
Part 2: Steve (Jaleel White), in his alter ego, must tell Myra (Michelle Thomas) that he plans to marry Laura (Kellie Shanygne Williams); Eddie and Waldo (Darius McCrary, Shawn Harrison) are lost.
A fun and exciting two parter with Steve Urkel and The Winslows at their best. It was a treat to get another Stefan Urkelle episode that once again allowed Jaleel White to flex his acting muscles. Also notable about these episodes is that this is one of the last times we’d see the entire Winslow clan together (of course, not including Judy).
2. Roseanne. “We’re Going To Disney World” and “Disney World War II.” Season 8, episodes 17 and 18.
Synopsis for part 1: Dan announces his job in the workshop and gets a pretty good compensation. But instead of paying off the debts or saving money, Roseanne plans a holiday with the whole family. The goal is Disney World in Florida.
Part 2: The Conner family goes to Disney World. Rosanne becomes an expert in ordering room service. The park has a profound effect on Roseanne’s usually complaining brood.
It was pure joy watching The Conners have the time of their lives as they finally get to live it up like the rich folks do. This two parter felt as much like a fun family vacation for us watching as it did for them.
- The Middle. “The Wonderful World of Hecks.” Season 5, episode 24.
Synopsis: A series of misfortunes threaten to put a damper on the Hecks’ vacation to Walt Disney World. It begins when they discover that their tickets are for Disneyland instead.
The Middle is one of tv’s most relatable and endearing family shows. It’s one of the few shows that I actually felt like I was watching my own family onscreen which proves that family relationships and situations knows no race, creed etc. It’s just universal. The Hecks trip to the house of mouse gave us all the true family vacation experience: mishaps, laughter, bickering, getting lost, frustration, sleeping way late etc. We’ve all experienced one or more of these things on any vacation we’ve been on with the fam. What makes The Middle and Roseanne’s episodes so great is that unlike all the other Disney World episodes of the other shows, there was no convulted plot like a kid getting lost or some weird science experiment going wrong. It was all just relatable family vacation stuff going on with families that most of us can relate to on the working class\lower middle class side. We had fun watching them because they had fun getting to just enjoy themselves like they usually don’t get to due to lack of funds.
One Worst Example:
Blackish. “VIP.” Season 3, episode 1.
Synopsis: Dre decides to take the family on a first-class vacation to Walt Disney World; while Dre and the kids get VIP treatment, Bow, Pops and Ruby set off on their own Disney adventure.
Welp, we’ve talked about the best. Now it’s time to talk about the absolute worst. I really enjoyed Blackish in its heyday, but this season 3 premiere where the Johnsons head to Disney World was just increasingly frustrating throughout the entire half hour. What irked my nerves so badly was how just plain awful, spoiled and annoying the kids behaved and how their dad was not exactly much of an example himself on how to just enjoy being on a great vacation. It was the exact opposite of the Roseanne and The Middle episodes and how it was just a joy watching working class people getting to enjoy a luxerious experience.
With this episode we had to sit through a bunch of spoiled brats doing nothing but whining, complaining, abusing staff members and just sucking the fun out of the entire thing. The B plot with Bow, Ruby and Pops was a bit better but it wasn’t enough to save the episode for me. Even worse was how the whole Disney World thing felt so tacked on and forced. It wasn’t even necessary for The Johnsons to even be at that specific place, but I think the mandate to do this type of episode was forced on the producers by the network so what could they do?
Thanks for reading and enjoy the free trip to Disney World, 90’s babies and kids! Till next time, folks.