Everyone dreams of visiting the most magical place on Earth, and over the years, Disney theme parks have been visited by tons and tons of tourists… and characters from TV and films!
While Disney is known for making incredible television series and movies, there are some works of entertainment that have even used these amusement parks as the backdrops for their stories. So next time a trip is made to one of these exciting spots, be on the lookout for the buildings and rides that ended up appearing in the following series and flicks.
11 Ernest Saves Christmas
Disney’s Hollywood Studios has rides and attractions that are based on and inspired by television, film, music and theatre, but it was also created to house a production studio, animation facility and backlot, where actual shows and movies were made. The first movie that was shot nearly entirely at Hollywood Studios was Ernest Saves Christmas, a funny holiday film from 1988. Ernest has a friend named Vern, and Vern’s home was on Residential Street and shown during the backlot tour here before being torn down in the year 2002.
10 SeaQuest 2032
SeaQuest 2032 was a television show that was on from 1993 to 1996. It was set in the future, focused on a crew in a submarine, included a dolphin that could talk with this crew and was shot at Epcot. Specifically, it used the Living Seas Pavilion for scenes, and this attraction closed in 2005, making way for an aquarium and a dark ride called The Seas with Nemo and Friends.
Roseanne was on from 1988 to 1997 (and for a bit in 2018), and during season eight, this group also went to Disney World. Dan used his pension, last paycheck and retirement money to splurge on this vacation, which gave viewers two whole magical episodes: “We’re Going to Disney World” and “Disney World War II”. As a very popular show of the ‘90s, many loved seeing the Conner family at this theme park and seeing guest star Eric Dane as a bellhop at the park.
8 Full House
Another popular series, Full House, also took fans to Disney World. This series, which was on from 1987 to 1995, was set in San Francisco and filmed in Los Angeles, but a couple of special episodes were shot in unique locations. For instance, the Tanner family went to Hawaii once, and at the end of season six, they traveled to Orlando for "The House Meets the Mouse"; they went for Jesse and Becky’s anniversary and because Jesse and the Rippers were set to play there… so it worked out well for everyone.
7 Step by Step
Another anniversary trip took another sitcom to Disney… On Step by Step, which was on from 1991 to 1997, Frank and Carol took everyone to Disney World in two episodes that were called “We’re Going to Disney World Part 1” and “We’re Going to Disney World Part 2”.
Many iconic spots from the park were seen on this episode, especially since the family’s neighbor, Flash, was trying to make a stop at every single ride and restaurant in the park.
6 The Middle
The Middle, which was on from 2009 to 2018, focused on a family who had to deal with work, family and other relatable things, and one time, this group went to Disney World! They stood in awe of all the thrills and the magic. They saw characters like Woody. They walked by iconic rides like Thunder Mountain. They flexed with Gaston. They even posed with Mickey Mouse himself in front of the centerpiece of the park, Cinderella’s Castle. Fans of this series were surely pleased with seeing the characters in such a cool setting.
5 Sabrina, the Teenage Witch
Sabrina the Teenage Witch, which came from the Archie Comics of the same name, was on the air from 1996 to 2000. Starring Melissa Joan Hart, this is another show that went to Disney, but this time, it was to Animal Kingdom; Sabrina went there with her science class, and this was actually filmed right before the park opened and actually came on TV a couple of days after the park opened. Talk about good advertising!
4 Modern Family
Modern Family has been on since 2009, and during season three, this large group went to Disneyland. There were roller coasters that were shown, as well as rides like the Indiana Jones Adventure. There were characters seen, as well as a Little John costume. There were issues with shoe choices and a child leash.
And the trip and the episode wrapped up at the Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln show. This was the series’ 70th episode, and they celebrated that milestone in a very fabulous way!
3 Boy Meets World
Cory and Topanga from Boy Meets World make up one of the most beloved TV couples of all time, and at one point during this series, Cory was trying to win Topanga back by visiting her at Disney, since she won a contest that allowed her to go there. Titled “The Happiest Show on Earth”, this plot showed off Cory and Shawn on Splash Mountain and talking to The Beast, as well as Cory and Topanga kissing at Epcot. Though this show was on from 1993 to 2000, this truly was one of the happiest episodes.
Tomorrowland came out in 2015, featuring big names like George Clooney, Kathryn Hahn, Hugh Laurie, Britt Robertson, Keegan-Michael Key and Tim McGraw. This film showed the World’s Fair, but in reality, it was actually Disneyland and, specifically, It's a Small World. Based on the title of this work, it seemed like there would be other Disney-related shots, but they were cut. For instance, there were scenes at the Carousel of Progress and of Plus Ultra, the group that founded Tomorrowland, but viewers did not get to see any of that.
1 Saving Mr. Banks
In 2013, Saving Mr. Banks was released, starring Tom Hanks as Walt Disney. Since this was inspired by his real life, filming actually took place at Disneyland. It was done so early in the morning, using Disney cast members as extras, having stores be decorated to look like they belonged in the 1960s, and keeping attractions that were around during that time period out of the shots. Main Street the castle and King Arthur Carousel are just a few of the recognizable sights that were shown off in this film.