While habits or preferences that we picked up as kids often fade as we get older, they sometimes don’t. For example, kids are often fans of Disney stuff — the movies, the toys, the TV shows — and that usually tapers off over the years. But when it doesn’t, those kids grow into adults who love Disney.
I am one of those adults.
I never went to a Disney theme park as a kid, but I had plenty of Disney stuff around me anyway, from movies to a giant stuffed Mickey Mouse. I was in love. And don’t even ask how excited I was when the Disney Channel went from a premium channel to a cable channel, which meant I could watch it for FREE (well, free in kid terms, anyway — clearly I didn’t know how expensive cable TV actually was).
I know I’m not alone in my Disney love, but here’s the thing — because so much Disney culture and merchandise centers around kids, the struggles of being an adult Disney fan are real. Let’s explore some of them:
Anything Disney is expensive.
It can be hard to justify buying cute Disney things as an adult with adult responsibilities. Theme park tickets, clothing, jewelry— if it has the Disney name, chances are it has the Disney price tag. It’s true that Disney’s kid stuff is pricey too, but buying an expensive gift for someone else is different than buying it for yourself.
Disney is synonymous with kids.
My husband is a great gift-giver. He knows what I like…so that’s why he once prefaced a gift with “I found this in the kid’s section.” It was a Minnie Mouse pillow, and it’s adorable, but I’m not a kid. Obviously, I still took it, anyway.
Your partner has to deal with your obsession, too.
As the example above illustrates, my husband clearly tolerates my Disney love, but he doesn’t quite get it. Did he want to visit Disneyland three times in one year? And did he want to get up at 7 a.m. so we could be there at park opening each day? Well, no. Not quite. He’s clearly a good sport, and that makes me feel bad sometimes.
Standing in line to meet Mickey Mouse as an adult looks a little…odd.
Or any character, really (but as you might’ve guessed by now, Mickey’s my fave). I’ve waited, without a child in tow, to meet characters in Disney parks. Again, I’d never been to one as a kid, so the novelty factor was big when I first went to Disneyland at 25 years old. Of course, I had to meet Mickey, Minnie, Donald, Daisy…well, you get the idea. Now, did I HAVE to wait an hour to meet Anna and Elsa not long after their meet-and-greet debuted at Disneyland? Well, no. But did I? Guilty.
The best part about meeting “face characters” (the ones who can talk to you) is that they’re used to interacting with both kids and adults, so it’s never super awkward. Usually a princess will comment on my jewelry or my “prince,” who begrudgingly tags along.
Coming up with a reason to visit Disney parks without kids.
Actually, the only struggle here is being asked why I want to visit Disneyland or Disney World once again. My husband and I get to spend all day in the parks, without worrying about nap times and cranky kids, and he can ride all the thrill rides he desires while I explore and take photos? Yes, please.
Being a Disney fan as an adult is perhaps a tad less magical than being one as a child, that’s for sure. But for all the adults who judge adult Disney fans? I have just one extremely clichéd and overused phrase for you…yes, you know what’s coming next: hakuna matata! (What, were you expecting a Frozen reference?)