What Are Disney Adults and Why Are They So Controversial?

If you’re reading this, there’s a pretty good chance that you’re part of one of the most controversial groups on the internet. And even if you’re not part of the group, it’s almost guaranteed that you have an opinion about it.

Crowds in Disney World

Disney adults have taken social media by storm, and not everybody is happy about it. But what exactly ARE Disney adults, and why are they such a controversial group? We’ve done some digging, and now we have the answers.

Defining Disney Adults

Before we can understand why there’s so much controversy (even bordering on hatred sometimes) surrounding Disney adults, we need to know what exactly makes a “Disney adult.”

Crowds in Hollywood Studios

Generally, the internet agrees that a Disney adult is someone who loves Disney as much as kids do (or more). They visit the theme parks often, usually own lots of Disney merchandise, love the movies (especially the classic animated films), and aren’t ashamed of their passion for the brand.

There are certainly levels of Disney adults, ranging from the casual fan who enjoys a trip to Disney World and has a few Mickey t-shirts in their closet to the devoted enthusiast who is in the parks more often than they’re at home and is decked out head-to-toe in Disney merch.

Disney merchandise

The reason this group has become so prominent online is that people have taken notice of the huge fanbase that Disney has, and not everyone agrees that it’s a good thing.

Why Disney Adults Are Controversial

“Disney adult” is not just a casual trend that got some mild attention for a while on social media. Stats on TikTok show that a LOT of people are still talking about the group.

The #disneyadult tag has 1.4 BILLION views as of writing, and that number is still growing. Both sides of the argument are popular: #disneyadultsarepeopletoo has 6.8 million views, and #disneyadultsaretheworst has 8.4 million views.

Cinderella Castle

So why are people so mad that some adults like Disney? It seems like having a love for Disney movies and theme parks is a harmless enough hobby, but critics have pointed out a few major reasons that non-Disney adults find the group to be problematic.

Disney Is Expensive

There’s nothing cheap about a Disney vacation. From the hotels to the park tickets, the merchandise to the meals, it’s easy to drop a few grand on just a weekend trip. So when fans are visiting the parks several times a year, it rubs some people the wrong way.

Magic Kingdom

Going to Disney World several times a year is not possible for many people, and some comments on social media posts point out that the money spent on those vacations would be better used elsewhere.

Others complain that Disney adults are supporting all the price increases happening at the parks. They claim that, if people stopped going so frequently, Disney might consider lowering prices. (Disney hasn’t often lowered prices, but they’ve also not often hurt for customers, so this theory hasn’t been tested thoroughly.)

The Theme Parks “Are for Kids”

Although Disney history buffs would point out that Walt designed Disneyland to be for kids and adults alike, it’s hard to argue that adults should be the priority in the theme parks.


Some critics claim that being a Disney fan when you’re an adult with no kids is “childish” and “immature,” and the parks should be just for families with younger kids.

The Disney Brand Isn’t Without Its Problems

Disney has experienced its fair share of lawsuits, scandals, and controversies, and not all of those issues have been resolved to the satisfaction of the public. Disney World employees are still petitioning for higher wages, and many fans agree that the Cast Members in the parks are underpaid.

Cast Members on Main Street

Disney has been sued (a LOT) and lost many lawsuits as well. Employees were upset about Disney’s initial silence when Florida’s “Don’t Say Gay” law was proposed. Some animal rights activists were unhappy with the opening of Disney’s Animal Kingdom.

Burbank Disney Company Headquarters ©️LA Times

Essentially, Disney is still a regular company with all the problems that come with being such a large, carefully watched brand. But many Disney adults appear to see Disney as flawless and untouchable — a view that can rub critics the wrong way.

What Self-Proclaimed Disney Adults Have to Say About It

We reached out to our readers to ask if they would admit to being a Disney adult and why they would or wouldn’t. The answers yielded some interesting perspectives about how Disney adults view themselves and the group as a whole.

One reader commented on the issue of Disney being so expensive. They said, “I work hard to be able to go to Disney many times a year.” Another said, “Yes. I don’t define myself by others’ opinions of me. It’s what my family and I enjoy and I’m not apologetic of it.”


Another person argued that loving Disney shouldn’t be stigmatized:  “Why hide such an important part of my identity?” One reader said, “I’m 100% A-OK with who I am and what I like.”

Not all readers were so forward about their status as a Disney adult, though. One said they wouldn’t admit to being a Disney adult “cause it’s looked at so negatively.” Other comments along this line included “there’s too much stigma surrounding it” and “it comes with an unfortunate negative connotation.”

Pandora in Animal Kingdom

One comment revealed some of that negative connotation: “I’m a well know vintage Disneyana collector Conisuer but I would never call myself what I believe defines a DISNEY ADULT. NEVER.”

Some fans feel the need to hide their love for Disney: “I’m a Disney mom. I have 3 Disney park-loving kids, so for now I’m free from judgment.”

EPCOT crowds

And finally, we saw a few people note that there shouldn’t be such a thing as a “Disney adult” in the first place. A reader said, “I don’t feel the need to define myself based on age. I’m just a Disney fan.”

Is Disney Just for Kids?

Whatever your opinion on adults enjoying “it’s a small world,” eating corn dog nuggets, and meeting Mickey Mouse in Magic Kingdom, it is true that Disney markets to both kids and adults.

The Disney Cruise Line ships have adults-only areas, some lounges in Disney World only permit adults after a certain time, and alcohol is becoming more prominent in the theme parks.

Inside Trader Sam’s Grog Grotto

This idea of catering to both kids and adults is not a new one at all. Walt Disney reportedly said, “You’re dead if you aim only for kids. Adults are only kids grown up, anyway.”

Partners Statue in Magic Kingdom

Whether you identify as a Disney adult or not, now you know a bit more about why there are so many strong opinions out there about the group. And as to whether or not it’s a good thing to be, that’s up to you!

Here at AllEars, we have many self-proclaimed Disney adults on our team, and we think some of the best advice comes from Mickey Mouse himself: “To laugh at yourself is to love yourself.” Do you have way too many Disney Loungefly backpacks in your closet? Would you take a Casey’s Corner hot dog over a fancy steak dinner? Is hugging Mickey still just as magical now as it was when you were a kid? If you answered yes, there’s nothing to be ashamed of — maybe it’s a little weird to love Disney so much as an adult, but if it brings you joy then you can laugh about it and start planning your next Disney World vacation. 😉

Mickey and Minnie!

We’ll continue to watch for more Disney news and share stories from the parks, so stay tuned to AllEars.

Find out why some of our readers are NOT embarrassed to be Disney adults!

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22 Replies to “What Are Disney Adults and Why Are They So Controversial?”

  1. I am definitely a Disney adult. Where is it written that Disney is strictly for kids? If it’s written anywhere, someone ought to advise Walt, who said, “Disney movies are for the child in ALL OF US.” Sorry- i’m not gonna give up something I enjoy because someone else can’t wait in line.

  2. I guess I see it this way… When I was younger my family was a single parent household. I have always LOVED Disney, I remember watching old VHS tapes and the kids packing for a Disney vacation and being so jealous because my family could never afford it. As an adult now, I FINALLY went to Disney for the first time 2 years ago at 33 with my husband and his family, no children all of us adults. A first time trip for all of us. I think what I’m trying to get at is, why be so mean? You never have any idea what people are going through, or circumstances they had to deal with. Just let people be happy and enjoy things that make them happy and just he kind to eachother, stop be so judgemental and mean

    1. It’s the happiest most magical place on earth and you are 100% right. I too went first time with my husband as an adult.

  3. Well written article! I was a long time AP. Retirement and changes to the program and perks conspired to price me out of the multiple trips from Ohio I enjoyed for twenty odd years. Amazing memories while it lasted! Thanks for the perspective. Oh, I was most definitely an age enhanced kid!

  4. Haters gonna hate. It’s my money; I’ll spend it where I want. It’s my vacation. I’ll go where I like. That is all.

  5. We go 6 times a year as retired seniors. We love it and certainly aren’t ashamed to tell anyone. Disney is for everyone. Not just kids.

  6. I love Disney and have no problem being a “Disney adult.”. Why is it anyone else’s business how I spend my money that I earned by working 50+ hours a week? As a single woman it is a great place to visit solo- I have never felt unsafe at any of the parks.

  7. Be yourself, be kind, be happy, be happy for others. If we all do that, it won’t matter who’s a Disney Adult and who’s not.

  8. I wonder if those same people complain about those who go to the bars and spend their money to get drunk on a regular basis. I am a Disney adult and it brings me great joy and relaxes me.

  9. I’m 64 years old and still a #DisneyFan and now a #DisneyAdult and proud of it. Have gone to WDW from it’s opening and continuing to plan for a fabulous retirement trip next year. Sure, it’s expensive and maybe I can’t go as much I would like, but I sure have fun planning and yearning. Alas, I’m married to a non fan, so… I depend on allears.net to help me with my fixation. Thank you!

  10. I was a Disney Kid and I am a Disney Adult. Disney park experiences are what so many memories are made of for so many people. Oh sure, I love many Disney movies and I have fond memories of watching The Wonderful World of Color as a child, but the best and deepest memories are from visits to the parks. Being raised in a blue-collar family, but during the golden age of the middle class, we didn’t have a lot of money but were able to make it to WDW since it first opened, watching it grow and change along the way.

    As we get older, and many of us (such as myself) will get sick, you find yourself reminiscing about the best times of your life. Undoubtedly, if you are a Disney fan, your memories will take you to times that were spent at Disney parks and other events during those vacations. You may even find a WDW final dream vacation to be right up there toward the top of your bucket list, as I have.

    Does that make me a Disney Adult? I sure hope so!

  11. I was a disney kudos and I’m a disney adult. I am who I am and have a playful child like soul as well as the buisness adult side. I feel bad for those who judge on that because there is so much fun to be had in life and much to enjoy. I’m disabled and experience much pain so I like to try to lose myself in the joy and not focus on the negative. I can’t go often to disney but when I have gotten to go it’s been absolutely magical and I’m always planning my next trip. Disney movies I sing along to as I do craft work and I love my disney clothes.

  12. How blessed we are for freedom in big things and small. Even where we vacation. I’d laugh that people actually hate adults who love Disney but what a dangerous concept to create divides among us on something so petty. To actually target people based on where they vacation and how they spend their hard earned income ? I am so sad to think we’ve come to even be tribal over adults enjoying a wonderful fun destination. Whether it’s an adult leaning food and wine fest at Epcot or the magic of fireworks over Cinderella’s castle I never tire of all Disney offers and it’s been a 35 year love relationship:)
    So like Peter Pan I hope to never grow up especially if it means I must find some ridiculous reason to criticize others
    I enjoy allears.net by the way. Keep the good news coming for all us big and little kids

  13. The issue isn’t with the Disney adults but those complaining. The triggered ones who believe they have the right to tell others what’s best with their money is all too common these days.

  14. It shouldn’t matter what age someone is when going to Disney parks. Everyone is entitled to their opinions, but what others do with their time, money, and life shouldn’t be something others feel they can speak negatively on. There’s too much negativity and hate surrounding all of us. Please be kind and stop spreading negativity about things that aren’t an issue, such as being a Disney Adult.

  15. The business side of my brain knows I’d bring in more revenue thru park tickets and merchandise and food from 6 adults than a family of 6. Generally speaking. So I’m cool with “disney adults”. We each have hobbies and passions that we spend time and money on and if people’s passion is Disney so be it. I’ve learned to look at things I don’t get or enjoy thru those lens and it’s been really helpful for me.

  16. I’m really curious, who are those people that complain about
    someone being a Disney Adult? Why do they feel the right to complain? Some people just don’t like Disney and that’s ok,Disney isn’t for everyone, but they shouldn’t judge someone who loves Disney. Disney has a lot to offer both kids and adults. That’s what makes Disney so special and unique! My family loves going to the beach, I personally am not a fan of it,but I wouldn’t judge anyone who is Beach Adult. Everything we do is a personal choice. Whether it’s going to Movies all the time, attending NFL football games, going to the beach and yes,being a Disney Adult. If it’s what they enjoy doing,then good for them!

    1. Makes me embarrassed to acknowledge I’m a Disney adult amidst the snarky replies on this post. While I find the costs obscene it’s the overtly political stance that Disney has taken🤷‍♀️. Retired couple, no kids and past cast member. While we all have to make choices we all have something we don’t compromise on. Mine is politics and cruelty free products. No, I don’t need to know how much money you have or how you spend it.

      1. Well, it seems Allears does a bit of house-cleaning and damage control on occasion…I don’t see ANY snarky comments on here.
        I grew up going to Disney as a child since the 70’s. We went every 3 years or so and watched it grow over the years. I continued to go with my family until about 20 yrs old, accompanying young nieces and nephews. I had tremendous respect for the operational aspects – how the parks are run, how clean they were (I’ve heard less-so these days) and how you couldn’t find an unhelpful, agitated, annoyed or frowning employee under any circumstance. I believe it was genuine, nowadays I feel it’s more forced. (I also was told WD management grew slightly more lax in that department, where you’ll now see some employees change their demeanor on occasion – whether it’s true I don’t know, but in these times I don’t doubt it). That being said, I grew out of it. But most of my family became “Disney Adults” along with those now adult nieces and nephews I once accompanied (one sought out a like partner and they went for their Honeymoon). My wife and I enjoy seeing the many destinations throughout our country as well as abroad and can’t imagine how my other family members want to do nothing but yearly trips to Disney World and nowhere else – I mean nowhere. I personally don’t understand it and think it’s a bit strange, but I live and let live. And this is coming from someone with fond (childhood) memories of it.