Arts and Entertainment

Who are “Disney Adults”?


By Jasmine Anderson, Activist contributor

As a kid, I developed a passion for all things Disney, which has stayed with me into adulthood, earning me the title of "Disney Adult." For those who may not know, a Disney adult is an adult who is a big fan of The Walt Disney Company. 

Some common hobbies of Disney adults include going to Disney theme parks, collecting Disney merchandise, dressing up as Disney characters, and watching content on the Disney+ streaming platform. The Disney fandom among adults varies from those who simply enjoy a trip to Disney World and own a few Mickey Mouse shirts, to those who are devoted fans and frequently visit the parks wearing Disney merchandise from head to toe.

However, in the article “What Are Disney Adults and Why Are They So Controversial?" by Sara McOmber, on AllEars.Net:The Unofficial. Disney Vacation Planning Guide, she points out the reasons why some non-Disney adults may find this fandom problematic. For example, some believe that Disney is too expensive and that “if people stopped going so frequently Disney might consider lowering prices.” However, Disney has never had a shortage of customers, so they have never had to lower their prices. Additionally, some people think that Disney is only for kids, even though Walt Disney created it for both kids and adults to enjoy together. Other reasons include that Disney has experienced their fair share of lawsuits, scandals, and controversies, and not all those issues have been resolved to the satisfaction of the public. Disney World employees are still petitioning for higher wages, and many fans agree that the cast members in the parks are underpaid. 

Also, in the article they asked their readers if they would admit to being a Disney adult or why they wouldn't. The responses included some interesting perspectives about how Disney adults view themselves and the group. One reader commented “Yes. I don’t define myself by others’ opinions of me. It’s what my family and I enjoy and I’m not apologetic of it.” Another reader commented “Why hide such an important part of my identity?” One reader said, “I’m 100% A-OK with who I am and what I like.” Not all readers were so forward about their status as a Disney adult, though. One said they wouldn’t admit to being a Disney adult “because it’s looked at so negatively.” Other comments along this line included “there’s too much stigma surrounding it” and “it comes with an unfortunate negative connotation.” One comment revealed some of that negative connotation: “I’m a well know vintage Disneyana collector connoisseur but I would never call myself what I believe defines a DISNEY ADULT. NEVER.” Non-Disney fans assume we don't want to grow up but even Walt Disney reportedly said, “You’re dead if you aim only for kids. Adults are only kids grown up, anyway.” 

In the article "Disney Adults Are Ultra-Passionate Fans. But... Why?" by Lexi Williams, she points out the reasons why some Disney Adults are obsessed. Some reasons include Disney revives core memories and helps create new ones.  Amber Sargeant, a registered psychologist states that “Yes, everyone has an inner child, and many of them crave the safety and innocence Disney has to offer. When in childhood we don’t get our needs met, it’s not uncommon for us to try and meet those needs in adulthood.” 

Melissa Tierney who is an Instagram influencer and a proud Disney Adult states that “There are a lot of Disney adults I’m friends with who had really rough childhoods.” 

“Disney is like an outlet for them to feel like they’re having the childhood they didn’t get to have,” according to clinical psychologist Jaime Zuckerman, Psy.D. “[Disney parks are] one of the few places you can go back to,” she says. “You can actually recreate that nostalgic feeling within your control.” 

It’s an experience that seems to stand still in time — you may grow up, but the music, the characters, even the smells remain largely the same. Disney can also be a helpful distraction. Victoria Wade, 30, grew up liking the movies and parks, but became a true devotee in 2012, when she did an internship with the Disney College Program.
Photo by Amy Humphries on Unsplash

“I’d lost my mother, and there was a lot of stuff going on in my home life,” says Wade, a Baltimore-based travel agent and theme park influencer. During the internship, Wade lived in Disney-provided housing and worked at a Hollywood Studios restaurant — a job she calls a great experience. “The college program helped me take time to figure my life out and what I wanted to do next.”

Disney adults are just human beings who happened to love Disney and are often misunderstood, so before you judge someone think about what the reason might be and that they just want to live their life.

About activist staff

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *