Disney adults aren’t the problem

The "Partners" statue on Main Street USA at Disneyland Park

The “Partners” statue portrays Walt Disney and Mickey Mouse on Main Street USA at Disneyland Park. Nolan Gipe

It’s OK for people to be happy at the Happiest Place on Earth

Once upon a time, the term “Disney adult” was used to describe any adult that loved Disney, but has since become a stigma, thanks to a few individuals who took their obsession to infinity and beyond. This stigma has caused many memes and plenty of hate to be sent toward anyone who could fall under the wide Disney adult umbrella. 

The stereotype surrounding Disney adults has caused a divide between Disney loving adults and Disney adults. Disney loving adults being people above the age of 18 who can love and appreciate the legacy and empire Walt Disney created, have watched a plentiful amount of and probably grew up on Disney movies, and find themselves at the parks from time to time. Disney adults are … different. 

“I may technically be an adult who enjoys going to Disneyland, but I don’t feel like a Disney adult in the sense that I am a ‘Karen’ dressed in Mickey ears,” said Magic Key holder and Newport Beach resident Jenna Rios. “I’m just there to have fun! Nothing is wrong with an adult having fun at Disneyland.”

Disney adults are known for being the people that coined the term “Disney-bounding” as a way to categorize them subtly dressing up as Disney characters in public, since Disneyland has a strict policy that adults cannot dress up to avoid confusion with their cast-members. Disney adults are Disney aficionados, overly knowledgeable about Disney park trivia and borderline addicted to Disney paraphernalia. Disney adults, also known as the people who believe in magical moments, are still in touch with their childlike wonder and fantasize over true love’s kiss. 

Although it might pain the less extreme Disney adult’s to admit, they have something huge in common: they aren’t really doing anything wrong. Disney adults can give off a passionate and overwhelmingly positive energy, which is why many of them have accumulated a steady following and online influence. Their abundant love for Disney is the same reason why they have been deemed as “terrifying” by a good chunk of the general population.

Disney Instagram bloggers and YouTube vloggers receive an abundance of love for spreading the magic of the Magic Kingdom to people who can’t afford to go themselves, for whatever reason that may be. Being a Disney adult at the end of the day isn’t the problem, but does bring us a guaranteed conflict, just like every Disney movie. 

“Disney adults have my respect,” said Magic Key holder and SDSU student Nolan Gipe. “In recent years I think many of them have gotten a bad rap because of the minority has taken the craze too far. It’s been a hard year for many of us, so indulging in some of the childhood nostalgia is more than accepted.”

So, if Disney adults aren’t the problem, what is? Great question, but let me adjust it for you … The question isn’t necessarily a what, but a who. And no, the problem is not the Owl from Winnie the Pooh. 

To keep it Minnie and sweet, the problem can be found online. The problem is people. More specifically, people who just don’t get it and, quite frankly, don’t want to. 

Within every comment section, negativity from close-minded individuals finds a way to cramp even the happiest of people’s style. The attitude alone towards Disney adults is disrespectful on a human level. Some commentary videos and articles walk the line, addressing both sides of the claim that is “Disney adults are weird,” but reasoning with the people who make claims like that is basically a mute point.

It seems to be a one-sided argument with a plentiful amount of shaming towards Disney adults and not much response back from them. I can’t recall a time in which I’ve seen a Disney adult respond to a hate comment and I think it’s because they simply do not care! They are just so happy with their lives that they don’t even feel the need to respond.  

Some people claim that Disney adults are “fiscally irresponsible,” which in itself is hilarious but mainly ironic, because I think the last people we would expect to be fiscally responsible are people that still like the same things that children like. Yet, Disney adults are able to afford to go to Disneyland and Disneyworld consistently and are often online influencers, which means they make money. These are fully grown, working people, and they can spend their money just however they please. 

What is the difference between a Disney paraphernalia collector and a huge sports fan who buys a lot of merchandise? Is it only the fact that Disney isn’t as cool as sports? 

If anything, Disney adults that make an online career out of spreading the happiness from the “Happiest Place on Earth” are geniuses. Anyone with social media is desensitized to some degree and most definitely lacks a steady flow of serotonin. So, Disney adults with their bright colored clothes and sparkly aesthetics might seem extreme to people who could care less, but they attract a following from people who either match that energy or lack that energy. 

As a California resident, not far from Anaheim, I have been lucky enough to grow up with Disneyland as an option. As a young adult that barely makes any money, I still actively choose to spend what little money I do have to go to Disneyland. 

Some might consider me to be a mild Disney adult and I might even venture to categorize myself as a moderate Disney adult, seeing that MARVEL and Star Wars fall under the gigantic Disney umbrella. Bias towards favoring the Disney adult lifestyle is definitely a possibility with me, but I’m also an extremely judgmental and cynical individual. Chances are, if I’m thinking negatively about something or someone, I will share honestly with others.  

And maybe it’s because I grew up on sappy, happily-ever-after Disney movies, but I feel bad for Disney adults. Yes, there are some cases that are a bit extreme and I would be lying if I said it isn’t fun to make fun of the extreme cases. There are some people I see online or at Disneyland and “yikes” is the only word on my mind. 

But who the heck am I to think that way? Who the heck are any of us to decide what is extreme or “yikes” worthy? And where on Earth is it okay to make people feel bad about being happy, especially if it’s not hurting anyone else? 

“As long as one does not compromise the experience of another, I see zero harm in having fun and being happy at Disney as an adult,” said Disney Magic Key holder and USC student Matt Ullman.

I personally don’t think that someone being passionate about a franchise as big as Disney is terrifying. Disney has cracked the formula to movies, tv shows, theme parks, business management and more. Disney is always producing and Disney adults are just consuming.

People tend to forget that their opinions aren’t universal and problems are destined to come from that kind of arrogance. The people that are stubborn in the way they think are usually pretty hard to talk to for the same reasons a brick wall is hard to talk to. 

The problem is close-minded people. Ironically, the people that think Disney adults are terrifying or weird are promoting the same message that the villagers from the classic Disney movie Beauty and The Beast did in their “Mob Song”:

“We do not like what we do not understand, in fact it scares us.”