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Never Ever Land

In Defense of Disney Adults

By Stephanie HoogstadPublished about a year ago 3 min read
Never Ever Land
Photo by Joel Sutherland on Unsplash

My name is Stephanie Hoogstad, and I am a Disney adult.

Now, I know that sounds like a bad introduction at a Disney-holics Anonymous meeting, but that would imply that I’m trying to recover from some sort of addiction. I’m not. Is Disney an addiction? That’s debatable. As of right now, I don’t spend so much money and time on Disney for it to be considered a problem—yet. And I don’t view my love of Disney as an adult to be a problem. The problem is that there are people who think it’s a problem and will go out of their way to shame Disney Adults, especially online.

Last June, Rolling Stone published an article titled “How ‘Disney Adults’ Became the Most Hated Group on the Internet”. It discusses the reasons behind the hatred of Disney Adults—their seeming disconnection from reality and the middle-class prestige, to name a couple—as well as the history of the Disney Adult. While reading the article, I could see where a lot of the points come from. Yes, Disney Adults use the movies, shows, and theme parks as a form of escapism. Yes, everything related to Disney is incredibly expensive. (Honestly, my family is not that well-off; our Disneyland trips are a luxury, and they only happen once or twice a year.) And yes, Disney has a white, middle-class, conservative reputation—although with recent changes, shows, and movies, many conservatives would accuse it of now being too “woke,” but I digress. But none of these are valid reasons to hate Disney Adults themselves.

As with everything else in this world, Disney has its flaws. How well it’s trying to fix those flaws is a discussion best left for other articles. Nevertheless, just because you don’t like something doesn’t mean that you should mock someone else for liking it. It certainly doesn’t mean that you should call them “the most terrifying people on the planet”, “a plague upon society”, or “the end of Western civilization”. Not when their hobby is not harming anyone.

Yes, it is possible to take the Disney Adult concept too far or in a bad direction. This subculture has its creeps, the violently enthusiastic, etc. I’m not justifying the actions of the fringe fanatics. I’m saying that the average Disney Adult is harmless and wants to enjoy their hobby in peace. We’re just like anyone else.

Look at me. I’m twenty-nine years old with a master’s degree and a toy fox terrier. I freelance from home, stress about money, and spend my nights watching Adult Swim. Once a year, I travel six hundred miles with my family (also Disney Adults) to Disneyland, and my room is filled with Disney merchandise. I discuss the deeper, darker themes of Disney films with whoever will listen, just like I would discuss the deeper and darker themes of any book that I read. I’m an ordinary person. I just happen to find a little more value in the Mouse and his franchise than most.

The world sucks. We all know it. Even Disney Adults, absorbed in their thrill rides, overpriced merchandise, and often formulaic TV shows and movies, know it. Yet that’s why everyone needs some form of escapism. For some people, it’s sports. Other people have Dungeons & Dragons. Still others have sitcoms, romantic comedies, or paranormal dramas (Supernatural, anyone?). Despite what people think, the Walt Disney Corporation was not built solely for children; Uncle Walt intended it to be entertainment for people of all ages. So, why can’t full-grown adults use Disney as their form of escape from a world where dreams normally don’t come true?

For more of my writing, check out my Vocal profile or my blog, The Writer's Scrap Bin.

pop culture

About the Creator

Stephanie Hoogstad

With a BA in English and MSc in Creative Writing, writing is my life. I have edited and ghost written for years with some published stories and poems of my own.

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Support my writing: Patreon

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  • Kendall Defoe about a year ago

    I went to Disney when I was a child; don't think I need a return as an adult, but I don't criticize anyone who wants to attend (you should hear Jim Gaffigan on adults at Disney). Thank you for this!

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