Disney Adults Share Their 12 Best-Kept Park Secrets

by | Jun 28, 2022 | Travel

The internet has had it out for Disney Adults the last few years.“Disney adults are the most terrifying people on the planet and they need to be stopped,” The Tab, a UK paper, sneered in 2020.“Adult Disney fan told to ‘grow up’ for crying after hugging Goofy,” the New York Post headlined a story about a viral TikTok. (Some thought she was crying only because Walt Disney World in Florida had lifted its pandemic ban on character-guest hugs, but the woman explained in her caption that she was emotional because Goofy was her late dad’s favorite character.) AdvertisementMichael Arnold knows how half the internet feels about millennials who love the House of Mouse, but he pays it little mind. As he sees it, we all choose to spend our disposable income differently ― look at the people shelling out $820 starting price for NBA Finals tickets ― and the way he chooses to spend his is no one else’s business, really.For him ― and so many other adult-aged Disneygoers, the park is escapism at its best ― and who doesn’t need a little escapism in hellscapeish 2022? “Disney does a fantastic job of submerging you into the story,” Arnold, who runs the fan blog A Castle A Dream And A Mouse, told HuffPost. “When you’re at the parks, it’s easy to forget there’s a great big world ready to chew you up out there.”Arnold says that the parks are a salve to his mental health. “I grew up in a pretty toxic environment and then immediately joined the military and deployed to Iraq,” he said. “Walt Disney World is a great way for me to take some time away from the mental realities that are my life and recharge emotionally.” AdvertisementArrianne Boyd, Sarah Gilliland and Liz Mangus are regular park-goers who’ve learned the tricks to making the most of the park. That’s a sentiment understood by quite a few communities: In a HuffPost article on Disney’s recent wishy-washy response to the “Don’t Say Gay” bill in Florida, one queer woman said she loves going to Disneyland because “you can hold hands with your partner” without the fear of being harassed. In a Vox article from April, immigrants and non-white Americans talked about how they savored trips to Walt Disney World growing up because the parks felt synonymous with the American Dream.Still, that kind of nuanced reading of Disney Adult’s relationship with the park usally gets drowned out by shouts of “Grow up, Peter Pan!” Carly Terzigni, a theme park, food, and travel writer who lives in Connecticut, gets why Disney Adults get side-eyed ― or at least why people can’t wrap their heads around why grown adults would pay good money to endure hourslong wait times and walkways jam-packed with strollers and crying toddlers.But having been a Disneyland passholder when she lived in Southern California, Terzigni knows it’s possible to do Disney parks at a leisurely pace. Advertisement“In LA, it’s part of the local culture to head into Disneyland for a few hours in the evening, grab a drink, and just walk around,” she said. “For me personally, and this may seem overly simplistic, but Disney is just fun ― and I like to have fun. I’m sorry that it seems to offend people!”Plus, as many Disney Adults will tell you, Walt Disney designed the parks to be inclusive of all ages.“To all who come to this happy place: Welcome. Disneyland is your land,” he said at the opening of the park in 1955. “Here, age relives fond memories of the past and here youth may savor the challenge and promise of the future.”The Walt Disney Company even leaned heavily into marketing to childless “Disney Adults” in the 1990s, as a recently unearthed ad from the era posted on TikTok shows.AdvertisementIf you hate Disney, you might not be doing it right, said Carly Caramanna, a 35-year-old travel writer who lives in Nashville, Tennessee, and Los Angeles, California, and has passes for both the California and Florida parks.“Visitin …

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