Why Does Everybody Hate ‘Disney Adults’?
Disney Adults rejoiced — and were simultaneously roasted — Wednesday (Feb.16) when the Disney company announced their forthcoming Storyliving project.
Soon, Disney fans will be able to live in the company's Storyliving residential neighborhoods. According to the Disney Parks blog, "Each community will feature distinctively designed spaces, unique amenities and Disney’s brand of world-renowned service."
Disney's first Storyliving community will be located in Rancho Mirage, Calif. and will cater to folks 55 and over.
Social media had mixed reactions to the news.
Some people joked about sending all adult Disney fans to the communities so they won't have to encounter them, while others pointed out the dystopian-esque notion behind essentially fully immersing oneself in a megacorporation's capitalist fantasy.
Meanwhile, diehard fans reveled in the idea of living in a fairy tale and having access to Disney's quality, nostalgic services right in their backyards.
Others were cautiously excited, but critical:
This isn't the first time Disney has dabbled in real estate and real-world living communities. Walt Disney's initial concept for the EPCOT theme park, which stands for Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow, was actually a utopian, self-sufficient city.
In the '90s, Disney developed the census-designated town of Celebration in the Orlando-Kissimmee area near the Walt Disney Wold Resort. In the 2010s, the company launched its Golden Oak at Walt Disney World Resort community, which is an upscale residential area located directly on Disney World property.
So, why would anyone want to live in a Disney community? And what exactly is a Disney Adult, anyway?
Follow us down the rabbit hole– erm, mouse hole, below.
What Is a Disney Adult?
A Disney Adult is essentially a superfan of anything Disney-related, from the company's theme parks to its movies, characters, television shows and merchandise, among other things. (Lots of other things.)
Since Disney currently owns Pixar, Marvel, Lucasfilm, 20th Century Fox and Hulu, their entertainment properties are broad, but the majority of Disney Adults tend to be fans of all things classic Disney. (Think: the animated movies and theme parks.)
YouTuber Kurtis Conner notes the different levels of adult Disney fans as the following:
- watched Disney movies growing up and watches the occasional Pixar film
- sees most Disney movies, goes to one of its theme parks every few years and owns Mickey ears but doesn't wear them often
- goes to the theme parks as much as possible, has at least one Disney inspired tattoo and may even have an Instagram account dedicated to their fandom
- diehard Disney fan, cosplays in their spare time and has a cat named Simba for sure
- has a Disney wedding and honeymoon, visits the parks for every anniversary and doesn't have any children
- completely consumed by Disney, goes to the parks almost every day and lives on or near one of the theme park properties
Surprisingly, some people are Disney Adults without even realizing it. And while some embrace the term, others bristle at it.
Why Do People Hate Disney Adults?
There are various reasons why some people dislike Disney Adults.
Sometimes, they just hate anything related to The Walt Disney Company, which has its dark sides and has seen its fair share of controversy over the decades.
Some people believe that enjoying Disney or going to Disney theme parks is childish, and therefore something adults should not participate it, even if it isn't hurting anyone. Others simply think Disney fans are cringey.
While there's rarely an acceptable reason to make fun of someone for having personal interests, even ones deemed supposedly "childish," some criticism toward the Disney Adult community is valid, particularly when it comes to fans who refuse to criticize the Disney company at all costs.
While many Disney fans realize there are downfalls to any company, some idolize Disney and refuse to acknowledge the company’s issues, whether it comes to Disney's media, theme parks or unethical practices, such as reportedly underpaying and mistreating its employees, i.e. Cast Members.
In 2019, 25,000 former Disneyland employees launched a class action lawsuit alleging they were grossly underpaid as Cast Members, leading to homelessness and food insecurity.
Others have scrutinized Disney for price-gouging and being greedy. For instance, guests must now pay to use the Disney Parks’ newly established Genie Lightning Lane, which has replaced its Fast Pass system, in order to access shorter queues for many attractions.
Some fans in the Disney community have argued that Walt would not have wanted guests to fork over extra cash for the feature, while others believe it’s standard practice as Walt Disney World competitor Universal Studios Orlando already has a similar program in place.
Aside from some Disney Adults’ refusal to address any issues with the company, other people have criticized the extreme level of dedication some fans have, which has resulted in physical fights and chaos over Disney parade views, line spots and even merchandise.
When Disney World released its Figment popcorn bucket at EPCOT back in January, thousands of people waited in line to purchase the $25 plastic dragon bucket, with wait times swelling to nearly five hours.
Why Do Adults Like Disney?
Walt Disney originally created his theme parks and films to appeal to children and adults alike.
In fact, Disneyland, which opened in 1955, was created because Walt wanted a place he could take his children to where they could all have fun together.
"I think what I want Disneyland to be most of all is a happy place — a place where adults and children can experience together some of the wonders of life, of adventure, and feel better because of it," Walt once said of the iconic theme park.
Disney also markets directly toward adults, not just kids.
The company's cruise ships, for instance, feature adult-only areas, while the former Pleasure Island area of Disney Springs in Orlando (formerly Downtown Disney) was a nightclub district built specifically for the 18 and up crowd.
Obviously, adults without children can enjoy the theme parks as well; Disney continues to add events and offerings that cater to adults, something which started back when Disneyland first opened and offered Date Nights for couples. Today, Disney Parks play host to 4,000 weddings per year globally.
Plus, now that The Walt Disney Company owns companies such as Fox and Hulu, their repertoire of films and television series features increased PG-13 and R-rated content. (That Pam & Tommy sex tape drama series? Yeah, that airs on Hulu.)
"If there is a secret, I guess it’s that I never make the pictures too childish, but always try to get in a little satire of adult foibles," Walt once said of catering to both audiences in his projects.
Another reason adults love Disney? Nostalgia, of course! It's one helluva drug.
Is It Okay to Like Disney If You're an Adult?
Of course! Even though personal opinions may vary, there is nothing inherently wrong with enjoying Disney as a grown-up, as long as you're willing to be critical and recognize Disney is far from perfect.
From its very inception, Disney was never meant to be just for children. And if wearing overpriced Mickey Mouse ears, getting autographs from princesses in Fantasyland or binge-watching DuckTales makes you happy or brings you joy in this hellscape we call society, there's really nothing wrong with that.
As Walt himself once said: "You're dead if you aim only for kids. Adults are only kids grown up, anyway."