🚴‍♂️Disney performer bikes 7,000 miles, delivers smiles in new documentary

‘Billy Flanigan: The Happiest Man on Earth’ debuts in Central Florida Oct. 1

A new documentary making its premiere in Central Florida is getting a second screening just for News 6 Insiders. News 6 has teamed up with 12th Angel Productions to offer a second screening of the film the day after its initial premiere at the Garden Theatre on Plant Street in Winter Garden but you have to be an Insider to attend.

ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. – The story of a Disney performer who embarked on a 7,000-mile bike ride to deliver smiles through the pandemic is now being shared in a new documentary. The film is pulling back the curtain on Billy Flanigan’s life and several personal issues he overcame through the course of his trip.

Flanigan is an accomplished performer, singing and dancing on Disney stages for more than 40 years. He’s Disney World’s longest-standing contracted performer. He even earned the Disney Legacy Award.

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“The magic I get to create every day is so great,” said Flanigan.

When the pandemic forced Disney’s theme parks to shut down in 2020, Flanigan continued spreading the magic — on two wheels.

“I usually bike every day and I remember biking along the trail and I knew that a friend of mine lived not that far off, so I stopped by and knocked on the door... She immediately burst into tears. It just meant so much to her. I did a little song and dance,” said Flanigan.

A video posted to Facebook circulated the internet and soon hundreds of people were requesting what was referred to as “Flanigrams.”

Flanigan traveled cross-country, delivering “Flanigrams” to hundreds of friends, family and even strangers.

“I ended up visiting 16 states and biked 7,000 miles,” said Flanigan.

Word eventually spread about the ‘Flanigrams,’ catching the attention of Central Florida-raised actor and director Cullen Douglas.

“It was just a contagious, wonderful feeling. Every person I spoke to said there was a paradigm shift after Billy’s visit. They were feeling isolated, but then this simple act of kindness from this human knocking on their door and just smiling and singing a song and telling these people how much they mean to him, it literally just offered hope during a darkness we were all experiencing,” said Douglas.

The journey is now being shared in a new documentary “Billy Flanigan: The Happiest Man on Earth.” The film reveals the struggles Flanigan was dealing with behind his contagious smile.


“Behind the scenes, there’s pain and there’s turmoil and to me as a performer, it was a reminder that the show must go on and we have to leave our baggage behind and entertain people who are looking for an escape,” said Douglas. “Hearing Billy’s story and how he has navigated life and continued to be a shining example of the best performer ever. It reminded me that I’m so incredibly lucky for what I do.”

Over the course of about two years, the documentary shares intimate details about Flanigan’s struggles with bullying as a child, his sexuality and his efforts to mend a broken family.

“It’s so hard to be so vulnerable knowing my story’s going to be out there. If I can help one person who’s struggling with sexuality, one kid being bullied, someone facing a hard challenge, that’s my purpose. My motto is ‘you see someone without a smile, you give them one of yours,’” said Flanigan.

“I hope this film gives people a platform to share and talk about their experience,” said Douglas. “Billy is an incredible example of the resilience of the human spirit.”

“‘Billy Flanigan: The Happiest Man on Earth will be available to purchase or stream Oct. 7.

There are two premiere events taking place at the Garden Theater (160 West Plant Street) in Winter Garden on Oct. 1 and 2. Click HERE to learn more about how to attend the premiere.

You must be a News 6 Insider to purchase tickets. You need to use this link to purchase the $20 ticket. A portion of the proceeds will benefit the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation.

On Friday, it was announced that the show will go on.

“(Saturday) night is on! More importantly, 12th Angel Productions will be donating a portion of proceeds from tomorrow night’s October 1st Theatrical Premiere Screening of the film to Florida disaster relief efforts.

“Moreover, the Encore Screening planned for October 8th has been canceled. So many have been impacted by the storm, especially in Southwest Florida. Our hearts are with them.

“Film has the power to entertain, but like Billy’s #Flanigrams, it also has the ability to offer hope and help heal. If you’re able, we would love for you to join us tomorrow night to share, smile, maybe even laugh, as well as raise funds for our neighbors.”

About the Author:

Crystal Moyer is a morning news anchor who joined the News 6 team in 2020.