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Disney’s History With “Disney Adults”

The term “Disney Adult” has become something of a toxic statement in recent years. While these so-called “childless millennials” are a huge audience with an avid love for the Parks and the company, they’ve existed long before the term was even penned.

disney adults with cinderella castle
Credit: Disney

The Disney name and Parks have always been aimed towards families, that includes both kids and their grown-up companions who enjoy the company’s particular brand of magic and wonder. Even as far back as the ’50s, Walt Disney’s mission was to make not just one demographic happy, but to market to anyone that ever bought a ticket to one of his movies or Parks. The man himself even stated that the ratio of adults who love the Parks was far greater than the younger generation of Guests in a resurfaced interview. Even decades after Walt’s day, Disney continued to acknowledge their older clientele, a practice that has only heightened and increased with the introduction of social media. Kids definitely have something of an advantage when it comes to Disney and Disney Parks in general, but the company has always known how to play to a wide audience.

Credit: Yesterland

Disney’s attention to their Adult guests really didn’t come into its own until after the creation of Walt Disney World and its resorts in Orlando, booming largely with the introduction of nightlife spots like Pleasure Island and then later Disney Springs. Pleasure Island was billed as a place dedicated to entertainment outside the Parks with a Disney twist. Constructed of several nightclubs, restaurants, and shopping venues, this was Disney’s first major experience directed primarily at adults. That all being said, the Parks themselves come with a surprisingly wide variety of adult-oriented fun that some Guests traveling with families or children might otherwise miss. No one’s ever too old for a ride on Dumbo or a photo with Mickey, and Disney definitely knows it.

Related: Many Adults Are Missing Out On The Magic at Disney Parks

One of the best examples was a marketing campaign that aired around Walt Disney World’s 25th anniversary that primarily featured what would later be known as “Disney Adults.” The campaign featured several adults showing off their silly side and embracing their love for the mouse. Guests ranging from a one-year-old girl to an elderly couple are shown having the time of their lives, reiterating the maxim of “never too old to be young.” With so much marketing and publicity urging adults to come to the parks, why is their so much hate for them simply enjoying the magic of Disney?

Related:How the Internet Turned on “Disney Adults”

The monster known as social media is mostly to blame, and not even famous publications like Rolling Stone are immune to toxic behavior towards Disney Adults. Even Imagineers like Joe Rohde are coming to the defense of older fans, claiming that the Parks and experiences aren’t for children but for EVERYONE. Misery loves company as they say, and the web is a fertile breeding ground for trolls spewing vile comments at Disney weddings, character interactions, and even just adult audiences enjoying something designed to attract viewers and Guests of all ages. While some individuals might have an issue with Disney Adults and the childless millennials that frequently visit the parks, Disney has been encouraging and inviting them for decades.

What do you think of Disney’s relationship with Disney adults? 

This post originally appeared on Inside the Magic

Zach Gass

Zach Gass is a writer from East Tennessee with a passion for all things under the Disney name. From Disney history to the careers of Mickey, Donald, and Goofy, Zach tries to keep his finger on the pulse of the mouse. While he would certainly love to see the parks around the globe, his home park will always be the Magic Kingdom of Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida. When he's not rubbing elbows with Mickey, Zach enjoys reading fantasy novels, retro video games, theatre, puppetry, and the films of Tim Burton.

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