Miller: Are Disney Adults that bad?

The Epcot Ball is located in the Epcot Park of Disney World - Photo / Jenna Platt

Growing up, I always dreamt of traveling the world when I became an adult. I am the friend you can call to ask about a trip and whether I have $100 in my account or $2,000, I am there. Whether it’s the mountains in Acadia National Park or the beaches of San Juan, travel is the one thing that I will always be willing to splurge on. 

I returned to Glassboro last week from a week-long trip to Anaheim, California with my mom and my little brother. My mom is a realtor and was attending a conference out there and when she asked my brother and I if we wanted to come with her, it was an immediate yes. While in The Golden State, we rode electric bikes from Venice Beach to Santa Monica Pier, watch the sunset on Seal Beach and even visited Disneyland for a day. The happiest place on Earth for children — and for “Disney Adults.”

Theme parks have never really been my thing. I don’t like waiting in long lines, paying $20 for chicken fingers and a many rides tend to give me motion sickness. While we were all grateful to have the opportunity to go, my mom, brother and I all found that after a few hours, we were ready to leave. We ended up going back to our hotel for a few hours, coming back later in the evening, only to leave again after going on two or three rides.

However, while we were there, we saw people decked out in full Disney gear, spending $50 on lightsaber replicas, waiting hours upon hours to ride an attraction; and on our way to Star Wars land, we were even caught in a stampede when a ride reopened. A stampede of “Disney Adults.”

These people are compelling to me. I’ve noticed they usually dress similarly to children’s movie characters, collect expensive pins, ride amusement park rides regularly and all the while having an intense admiration for a cartoon mouse. The most intriguing part is that they usually don’t have any children with them.

Listen, I’m not the type of person who likes to yuck someone else’s yum. I am merely curious as to why these people do what they do. During the entire week we stayed in Anaheim, this was a point of discussion for my family members and I was intrigued and curious to find the reason as to how, and why someone becomes a “Disney Adult.” I wanted to learn more about this culture I had previously been unfamiliar with. I was able to get in contact with a Rowan student who is currently in the Disney College Program at Walt Disney World. 

Jenna Platt is a senior writing arts major at Rowan, who currently works in the Epcot Theme Park. I asked her how she felt about the adults who attend the park, and her answer actually surprised me. 

“I feel that most of the time, they’re like, the nicest guests that we have in here. Like they just genuinely like they want to be here. They love being here. And because of that they’re a lot nicer to the cast members and stuff,” said Platt. 

While I still don’t think that I could see myself being one to love the parks the way they do, I think that it’s nice to hear that the “Disney adults” — while they may seem odd or weird to some — are generally pretty nice and pleasant when they’re in their natural habitat. I think that as long as they are happy doing what they do, it really shouldn’t matter what other people might think.

After all, Disney is the “happiest place on Earth,” and if people can find that childlike magic for themselves, I think that they should be able to do so, as long as they aren’t taking the experience away from children who, in my opinion, are the most important customers at the park.

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Hello! My name is Madison Miller and I'm one of the editors here at The Whit! I've been a part of the team since my sophomore year, and am currently at the end of my junior year where I'm studying journalism with a minor in entrepreneurship and CUGS in creative writing. I love to write profiles, explanatory pieces and have aspirations of traveling the world and being a freelance magazine writer. Additionally, I am one of the founders of The Lotus Review, a solutions journalism magazine startup that will be launching soon. When I'm not working you can find me with a good book or at a hot yoga class.