Op-Ed: It’s Getting Harder and Harder to Openly be a Disney Dude

disney guest, cancelled sign
Credit: Disney / Canva

As physically grown and financially independent adults, I believe we should all be free to pursue our own definitions of happiness within the confines of the law. That being said, though, the current evolution of Disney adults has made it incredibly difficult for me to publicly claim that I am a Disney fan, and I put a lot of blame on social media.

disney world balloons

Credit: Brian McGowan, Unsplash

I am a lifelong Disney fan for multiple reasons. I was born and raised in a town less than two hours away from Walt Disney World, and besides a day in the water or at a Lightning game, there was no better playground you could find.

I have always had a creative personality and grew up to see Disney as the gold standard of visual and musical storytelling. There were a few DreamWorks movies, and Cartoon Network shows that I judged to be of the same quality, but why would I humor anything less?

Little Mermaid attraction

Credit: Disney

As I grew, I began to admire Walt more and more from an entrepreneurial perspective, and I worked to earn this opportunity to write about Disney every day simply because it is a lot more fun than other topics I could be charged with. It comes naturally to me, and I am awarded an opportunity to pursue matters of corporate, political, and international news from a familiar angle.

There was a time when I was younger and when throwing myself into the magic with meet-and-greets and pin trading and such was appropriate. And I could still escape the world of today without worry. But now, I’m grown up and caught in the middle ground between a Disney kid and a Disney dad.

disney guests wearing matching spirit jersey

Credit: Disney

Meanwhile, all around me, social media perpetuates the new single “Disney Adults” as becoming male stereotypes–be it for Marvel, Star Wars, or the so-called Disney historians–who still unapologetically put themselves before the actual children in the parks.

We all have our preferences and hobbies. But, the actual extremism is becoming insufferable and not an image I want to be automatically associated with when I tell new people I am a Disney Fan.

social media influencer wearing disney merch

Credit: TikTok/@steftee (left; right)

Yes, Disneyland, Magic Kingdom, and all of the other Disney Parks are supposed to be places for “the young at heart” and offer a day of entertaining escapism. But they are also meant to be sources of inspiration to help each guest go home and pursue their own Happily Ever After. That inspiration feels lost among the ‘manchildren’ now found in the parks.

Rather than getting off another run on Jungle Cruise inspired to go visit the actual jungle rivers of the world, the talk centers around a group critique of the Skipper’s performance. Instead of inspiring a summer trip to Europe or Asia, laps around World Showcase result in more plans to book another trip back for the next festivals.

And imitation of favorite Disney characters trumps any real-world emulation.

cinderella castle (left), Mickey mouse posing with disney adults, Disney guests

Credit: Disney/ Canva

Of course, I have been guilty of these habits as well, but the talk has gotten way too serious. Dream-building energy is now spent in an “activist consumer” manner. I know I’m not the only Disney Dude in this position, and many Disney adults feel this way as well.

Earlier, I described Disney World as a playground. I was taught never to tell other kids on the playground, “You can’t play with us,” and I don’t plan on starting now. But the games have changed and are becoming less and less fun for a lot of those frustrated kids who claimed they were there first.

And whether we want to admit it or not, we are all feeling like we are slowly losing our favorite playground.

disney guests, disney family

Credit: Disney

Perhaps things can change, or perhaps they can’t. Perhaps it is time to accept that the playground is not fun anymore and accept that those feelings are okay. Let the other kids have their fun, play their games, and you go enjoy life’s proverbial recess elsewhere.

For the record, I’m not ready to walk away. This is an objectively pivotal point in the history of not just Disney but America’s entire entertainment and theme park industry, and it is an honor to cover it in real time.

spaceship earth against the blue sky

Credit: Brian McGowan, Unsplash

But with every visit and every article I write, I am growing more and more accepting of the fact that as much as I wanted to believe otherwise, it was never really MY playground at all. I need to let go of all attachments, as some Jedis said, and let the kids of all ages have their fun.

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s and may not reflect the sentiments of Disney Fanatic as a whole.

About T.K. Bosacki

Born and raised in Tampa, Florida, TK Bosacki is a professional writer, amateur adventurer, and lifelong Disney Fanatic. His Disney Park days include Space Mountain, Tower of Terror, Kilimanjaro Safaris, and Nomad Lounge. He believes in starting at the Canada pavilion (IYKYK), and the Monorail is superior to all Ferry Boats.

One comment

  1. To TK Bosacki- Sounds like you’re getting old or making a political statement. Disney is as much fun as it always was. Don’t bring Disney lovers down with your lament. Either you’re with us or you’re not. If your not, please find yourself a rest home and take care of yourself. The rest of us love Disney and always will. Good luck.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.