The year was 1993, and TGIF, the two-hour Friday night comedy block on ABC, was at the height of its family-oriented sitcom power. And the corner stone of that popular evening lineup was Full House.
The show was a ratings juggernaut. Stephanie Tanner had how rude’d herself into our hearts long ago, and now Nicky and Alex Katsopolis, her newborn twin cousins, were doing the same.
Building on ABC’s long-time relationship with the Walt Disney Company, it was a synergistic no-brainer that the hit family sitcom would stage an episode in Disney World. In fact, this was just one of many, many times Disney and ABC teamed up to bring our favorite sitcom stars to the House of Mouse. And this is the first in an eight part series on ABC sitcoms in Disney Parks.
Here’s the premise: Uncle Jesse got a gig playing in Disney World with his band, and Uncle Joey, that sweet, well-meaning joker, organized for the whole family to join him! (Totally ruining Jesse and Becky’s plans for a second honeymoon without the newborn twins.)
We get lots of Disney magic in this two-part episode. The main storyline deals with Michelle being named Princess for the Day, but that’s kids stuff. For those of us who like Disney just a little too much, there are some interesting looks at the Disney that was:
Uncle Joey makes a visit to Hollywood Studios, and we’re able to see what the Animation Courtyard looked like when it was an actual, working animation studio. I was never able to experience this part of the Park when it was still operational (and I obviously didn’t understand the significance when I saw this episode as a ten-year-old), but I enjoyed seeing it as an adult Disney fan.
Danny and his love interest, Vicky, traipse all over Epcot in the first episode, visiting the Germany Pavilion as well as The Living Seas, where they enjoy a meal in Coral Reef. Even if they didn’t end up getting married (spoiler alert), those two know how to do romance right!
Jesse and Becky have a little spat because he’s not paying enough attention to her (even though they are only in Disney World because he booked a job with his band). The most notable part of this storyline is when Jesse yells, from the ground floor of the Grand Floridian, up to Becky, who’s on the third or fourth floor. I can’t figure out why those hoity folks didn’t kick him out of the resort. But I wish they had.
DJ and her boyfriend Steve also have a scene where they run toward each other in the Grand Floridian, and Steve eats it in the lobby. Again, no one even gave them a dirty look. Apparently, management was a lot less uppity in 1993.
Before he surprises her by taking a pratfall in the Red Roof Inn, DJ thinks she sees Steve all over Orlando, which is sort of really sweet. The best part of this B-plot is that she imagines he’s dressed up like Aladdin … and as any self-respecting Aladdin-nerd knows, Scott Weinger (the actor who portrays Steve) actually did the voice of Aladdin. Laugh track!
The two-parter is capped off by Jesse and the Rippers singing A Dream is a Wish Your Heart Makes on the Castle Forecourt Stage as fireworks explode above. It’s a lovely scene, but just think for a second about how angry you’d be if, instead of Wishes proper, your Magic Kingdom evening ended with Jesse and the Rippers.
What’s your favorite moment from this TGIF visit to Disney World? Let us know in the comments below!