There’s a transformation happening for Disney fans, one that is forever shifting the way the Disney theme parks run.
Just last year, the hatred towards so-called “Disney Adults” was at an all-time high. While Disney Adults are, in short, adults who love Disney, the public often considers this a bizarre, niche interest and even a subject of mockery. Now, this demographic has reclaimed this title and is proud to take up space in the Disney Parks community.
It’s Not Just for Kids Anymore
The concept of Disney adults is not new; it can be traced back to the early days of Disney’s animated films and theme parks. Disney’s timeless classics like Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs and Cinderella captured the hearts of both children and adults, laying the foundation for intergenerational Disney fandom. After all, it was the parents who were paying for Disney movies, merchandise, and vacations, making them the target customers of the Walt Disney Company.
One of the key factors behind the rise of Disney adults is nostalgia. The children who grew up with Disney’s animated films in the 1980s and 1990s developed a deep emotional connection to these movies. As they entered adulthood, their fond memories of Disney persisted, and they sought to relive those cherished moments. Now, instead of visiting and consuming Disney for the benefit of their children, many Disney adults proudly consume Disney for themselves.
Disney Diversifies Their Portfolio
The Parks of today reflect this shift, as more and more Disney continues to add IP geared more towards adults into their Parks. The inclusion of Marvel and Star Wars are great examples of this, as these acquisitions offered more sophisticated storytelling and a range of genres that resonated with adult audiences, effectively breaking the stereotype of Disney being solely for kids.
In today’s Parks, attractions, dining experiences, and events designed for a more mature audience have emerged. EPCOT’s World Showcase, for example, has become a hub for international cuisine and adult beverages, turning it into a favorite spot for grown-up Disney fans.
Most importantly, Disney adults have stopped feeling shame about their hobbies and passions. In 2023, it is no longer cool to be insecure about loving something that brings you joy, and it is even less cool to be judgemental about what others find interesting. The modern-day Disney adult has to confidence to express their love for Disney openly, therefore breaking the stigma that loving Disney past childhood is a bad thing.
In a world with so much darkness and sadness, it is wonderful to see the Disney community continue to grow and flourish despite what the public may think.