This year's post-game celebrity was James White, who clinched the first-ever overtime victory in a Super Bowl with his third touchdown of the game, helping his New England Patriots over the Atlanta Falcons to the largest-ever comeback in Super Bowl history. White appeared at Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom this afternoon, speaking to reporters, greeting cheering fans and appearing in a parade down Main Street USA.
The "I'm going to Disneyland/Disney World!" tradition started 30 years ago with New York Giants quarterback Phil Simms, in 1987, following a PR brainstorm by future Disney Legend Jack Lindquist. In the years that followed, champions in a variety of sports have appeared in post-game commercials and in-park appearances to promote the Disney theme parks.
The location of the game tends to dictate which resort the athletes visit. This year's Super Bowl was in Houston, which made Orlando a relatively convenient stop on White's way back to the Patriots' home town in Boston. Last year, Peyton Manning of the Denver Broncos visited Disneyland in Anaheim following his career-capping win in Super Bowl 50 in San Jose, Calif.
This year's Super Bowl also might have been of interest to theme park fans who don't particularly care about the teams involved, thanks to the halftime show. This year's performance by Lady Gaga also included a drone show above Houston's Reliant Stadium, powered by the same Intel drones in Walt Disney World's Disney Springs recent holiday show. And the halftime performance featured many light-up props that looked like a "Glow with the Show" style display, too. If you missed the show, or just want to see it again, here's the link. (The NFL won't allow embedding.)
Disney's not the only theme park to employ these technologies. The grand opening of Dubai Parks and Resorts in December also featured drones and light-up props, as well. We'll see how many more parks — and concerts and special events — end up using these effects in the year ahead.
Lady Gaga killed it during her performance, BTW. Universal Orlando's entertainment director seemed ready to crown her as a worthy replacement for the late "King of Pop."
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