The term “Disney Adult” isn’t necessarily a new one. But lately, Disney Adults have gotten quite the coverage from media outlets of every size.
It’s hard to believe some of the things that these so-called “Disney Adults” value. Most of them invest a sizeable amount of their time, money, and energy into everything Disney-related (and sometimes into things Disney fans never knew existed). They’re a different breed for sure, these Disney-obsessed adults, and it goes far beyond just visiting the parks once a year.
Many adhere to a warped system of values, like family and memories over sense and sensibility. Cheerfulness and happiness over reality and adulthood. Seven days of disconnect from reality and recharge whilst on a pilgrimage to Orlando over adult responsibilities and the grind.
Who does that?
According to the Urban Dictionary, a Disney Adult is an “adult, with or without kids, that can’t stop talking about Disney, including the movies and the parks. Even if they do have kids, they’re still way more obsessed with it than their kids ever would be. They engage in casual ‘Disney Bounding’ and visit the theme parks at least once a year. They are obsessed with everything Disney and probably have a Mickey Mouse bumper sticker and/or tattoo.”
The definition goes on to pronounce a Disney Adults some “of the most terrifyingly intense people you’ll ever encounter.” But that definition falls grossly short of the reality behind Disney Adults, as true Disney Adults are far worse than that.
As with many Disney-related topics in social media and pop culture at this juncture in time, the topic of adults who love Disney (and way too much, might we add) garners an impressive amount of attention online and in day-to-day conversations.
Discussion about Disney Adults draws the interest of those who love to hate Disney. It also piques the interest of those who are merely fond of the House of Mouse. And some of the attention comes from Disney Adults themselves, who take to social media to stand up for their way of life, justifying every single trip to the parks, every souvenir purchase, every Mouse-headed bath rug, and their justification for raising their children to be happy, healthy Disney Adults someday.
What’s so bad, irritating, and problematic about Disney Adults, and why do so many non-Disney Adults ridicule, tease, and make fun of Disney Adults? It’s simple. Disney Adults are awful, awful people. In fact, some see these magic-obsessed adults as barely human at all–and here are a few reasons for that.
Disney Adults actually believe in magic and often celebrate trivialities as accomplishments.
A mom in Texas who identifies as a Disney Adult says she personally witnessed “the magic of Disney” that was “at work” one day at EPCOT, describing her experience as follows:
“My oldest son has autism, so we celebrate things that some see as everyday parts of life, like riding on an escalator. I got to see firsthand the magic of Disney at work about five years ago at EPCOT inside The Seas with Nemo and Friends pavilion. My son loves the aquarium and the ride, and he loves escalators, but only the ones he saw in YouTube videos or from a distance at a theater or mall.
For all the excitement he felt over escalators, he had an almost paralyzing fear of stepping onto one. But one day, five years ago, inside The Seas with Nemo and Friends pavilion changed everything. He began asking his brother and sisters to step onto the escalator with him. The three of them agreed and proceeded, but my oldest son stayed behind. When they noticed this, they rode down and back up again to encourage my oldest to do the same. This scene played out five or six times, and each time, my oldest invited yet another family member to join the escalator parade. But it was too overwhelming for him to take that literal step of faith.
We decided to move on to another pavilion, and suddenly, out of the corner of my eye, I could see a miracle taking shape as my son grabbed onto the handrail and stepped onto the elevating step in front of him. He did it! For the first time ever, he did it! We were chanting and cheering and celebrating.
And he continued to ride up one side and down the other for the next 25 minutes. It was a miracle! Even the Cast Members were riding with him up and down. I’ll never forget that day. We had worked with him on stepping onto the escalator for years, but to no avail. But Disney magic filled him with confidence and trust, enabling him to take that first step.”
Backward thinking is a common practice of Disney Adults
Among the top five most irritating things about Disney Adults is the way they think; it’s often completely backward. They revel in bucking the system. Case in point: fireworks in the daylight.
Yes, fireworks in the daylight.
“I had heard the term “rope drop” for years but was sure it was hype,” admits a self-proclaimed “Disney Adult” and mom of two in New Iberia, Louisiana. “A couple of times when we attempted to get everyone up and moving so we could arrive at Magic Kingdom before it opened, it seemed the mountainous, impossible task. But last summer, fresh off the pandemic’s quarantine the year before, we finally made it to the elusive “rope drop.” I should say we experienced rope drop. And what an experience it was!”
The Louisiana mom describes her observations as she stood at the base of Cinderella Castle with her two children and her husband during Magic Kingdom’s ceremonial “rope drop,” which, for the record, involves no ropes whatsoever. (Ugh! Disney-philes and their obsessive terminology!)
“Mickey and Minnie and the gang came out to welcome us to the park that morning, and I began to cry,” she explains. “Yes, actual tears! Magic Kingdom has a moving opening ceremony, especially for Disney fanatics who’ve never witnessed the experience. And I can honestly say it was the first time I’d seen an intentional fireworks display in broad daylight. I think I prefer it over nighttime!”
The Disney-loving mom says rope drop is a bucket list experience–in her opinion–worthy of a spot among the top 20. Are these “Disney Adults” simply opposed to adult-appropriate life goals?
$60 cupcakes are no big deal, and they create their own imaginary vocabulary
Disney Adults literally have their own language. It’s a lot like English and a lot like gibberish; it’s as if these people believe that nonsense words actually add to their so-called “Disney experience” in the parks. Only a Disney Adult would put the words “cupcake” and “crawl” together. And as in the case of “rope drop” involving no rope, there’s no crawling involved in a “cupcake crawl,” unless, of course, you count the dragging of one’s body across the floor toward the bathroom to vomit after sampling 8 to 10 different cupcakes in a short window of time. Do stupid things, you’ll get stupid results.
“We finally did a ‘cupcake crawl’ this year on our trip to Disney World,” writes a Disney fan (aka Disney Adult) in a Facebook post after returning home from a visit to the Walt Disney World Resort. “My daughters, my best friend, my daughters’ best friends, and I set out to try at least 10 different cupcakes in a couple of days at the parks.”
Her obnoxious list of the Disney-fied names of baked balls of cake batter slathered in frosting, fondant, and trinkets is sickening; how sick must they have been after eating all that refined sugar? Gross.
A Belle cupcake from the Main Street Confectionery. A strawberry cheesecake cupcake from Be Our Guest restaurant after dinner. PIXAR ball cupcakes, Incredibles cupcakes, a Rose Gold Minnie Ears cupcake, a BB-8 cupcake, a cupcake resembling a pile of spaghetti with a meatball atop it. Why not just eat spaghetti? And this Disney Adult was brazen enough to announce the ridiculous price tag for 10 cupcakes at Disney World: close to $60. Irresponsible.
“By Disney’s standards, it was a cheap thrill—10 cupcakes at about $5 a throw,” the Disney Adult proudly posted, as though she had discovered a life hack that would revolutionize our existence on planet earth. Posting “tips” about how to get the biggest bang for your Disney buck? With reckless abandon? The mom goes on to justify her “splurge,” saying that “the memories were well worth the price.” Has all reason left these people?
They often pass off disrespect as “cuteness” and revel in the display of it
“Once upon a time, when my now middle-schoolers were but graduated Kindergartners, we took them to Disney World for the first time,” writes one Disney Adult, as if setting the scene for the glorification of her child’s “adorable” (aka, rude and bratty) exchange with a Cast Member at Disney’s Hollywood Studios.
“One of my daughter’s most enduring traits today was in her then too, at the young age of 6: she’s outspoken. She also loves coasters. But she had never seen anything like Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster! One look at the upside-down limousine at the entrance, and she was hooked. But at just 6, she stood about four inches shy of the minimum height requirement.”
This Disney Adult looked on as her six-year-old “adorably” argued with a Cast Member when he told her she couldn’t ride the coaster and even took a video of her child, saying to the Cast Member, “Look, I just graduated from Kindergarten, so I’m old enough to ride this ride.”
They cry (and/or vomit) at the sight of fiberglass fairytale buildings
This Disney Adult may top them all. It’s fairly wildly known that crying and becoming emotional at the sight of Cinderella Castle is a common practice of many Disney Adults. They become so taken by the realization that they are finally physically standing at Magic Kingdom (we can only guess), and their emotions overtake them.
But one Disney Adult became so overtaken at the sight of the castle as she made her way down Main Street, that she began to gag and then vomit. No, we aren’t making this up. Can you imagine being so moved by the “magic” that you begin crying?
Disney Adults and their in-park ensembles
Have you seen this? It’s not enough that these Disney-philes wear obnoxious t-shirts (often matching or complementing ones worn by the rest of their traveling party); often, they cosplay, they “bound,” or they create these magical entourages–as if they’re on an episode of “Disney Family on Parade.”
When you look back at these examples of Disney Adults behaving like, well, Disney Adults, you may have come to a similar realization as we have. We are Disney Adults, too. We celebrate things others consider “little things.” We believe in the “magic.” We love the made-up words, and we love any “crawl”: cupcake, monorail, etc. Fireworks in the daytime are really very exciting, and we get really emotional when we’re back at our Central Florida home–especially if it’s been several months since we last visited.
(We don’t vomit, but we won’t judge those who get emotional enough to do so.)
So yeah, if that makes us “Disney Adults,” we’ll take the title and wear it proudly, especially since we think Disney Adults are awesome–and more human than most.