Defending Disney Adults


Rori Wilfong and Alani Serrano

A picture of someone wearing Mickey ears at Disneyland.

Kassie Sainz, Page Editor

Transforming “the happiest place on Earth” into a lifestyle, Disney adults, a community of grown-up individuals enamored by the Walt Disney company, have stood at the forefront of endless backlash. Their enduring appreciation for Disney’s films and theme parks has sparked criticism of their maturity. 

The internet has deemed them as out of touch with reality and has blatantly described this community as childish. Ultimately, Disney adults aren’t immature and their experiences lead to connective moments.

A typical Disney adult can involve collecting hundreds of exclusive pins, visiting all the theme parks, designing character-inspired outfits, and creating park-related content. Most notably, it can involve visiting the Anaheim theme park eight years, three months, and 13 days in a row. 

From 2012 to 2020, 50-year-old annual pass holder Jeff Reitz earned the Guinness World Record for consecutively visiting Disneyland a total of 2,995 times. Reitz initially embarked on this journey after being unemployed and having little else to do. These everyday trips originally began as a joke between friends until Reitz suddenly gained attention on the internet, and at the park. 

According to, Reitz told Guinness World Records, “We decided to use Disneyland as a positive as we were out of work and had annual passes that had been gifted, so it was a source of free entertainment. It helped to get us out and put a positive mindset, log exercise with all the steps taken, and always networking since you never knew who you would meet.”

Although Reitz’s historic streak was unfortunately cut off by the 2019 pandemic, he was still able to indulge in memorable moments and resurface his love for photography. 

Beyond achieving a world record, Disney can resonate with individuals who have experienced significant barriers or hardships in their lives. In a article, author Deanna Schwartz explores James Demetriades and Chanee Hill’s origins of becoming Disney adults. 

James Demetriades, a 28-year-old attorney who has visited Disney World more than 30 times, shared how Disney’s parks and films have allowed him to further bond with his autistic sister. Additionally, Demetriades commented that the company provides an escape for adults to retreat back to nostalgic memories.

Chanee Hill, a 37-year-old medical assistant who collects endless amounts of Disney merchandise, expressed that the films have brought her comfort while managing a chronic health disorder. Hill is diagnosed with hidradenitis suppurativa and stated that watching Disney films has helped her cope with the pain.

A picture of people entering Disneyland park at 9 pm on a Friday night. (Alani Serrano)

While visiting Disneyland every day or spending hundreds of dollars on merchandise may seem bizarre to some, it by no means warrants our judgment. We all partake in a variety of interests and hobbies that others might not understand. Being a Disney adult is just like any other interest that deserves our utmost respect and compassion. 

“Disney adults have found their happy place, and a place where they can heal, a place to be themselves, people need to lay off and just let them be happy,” stated an anonymous Millikan student. “A lot of Disney adults weren’t able to go as kids, so they are just enjoying the time now.”

Personally, I don’t think Disney is purely exclusive to children. Although the company’s target audience is children, it’s not limited to them. Disney presents a multitude of themes that can resonate with us far beyond our childhood. Its films and parks preserve the creativity that so many of us lose as we grow older. While I wouldn’t consider myself a fanatic, I will admit that Disney’s animated films shaped a part of my youth. I have many fond memories of visiting the parks and watching the films with my older sister. 

“I think it’s easy to think ‘oh Disney is for kids’ because anytime you take a kid, they are always outwardly excited and it’s always a matter of making sure the kids have the best time experiencing things but the adults get looked over because of this mindset,” said an anonymous Disney employee who has worked for the company for eight years. “When my Disney store closed the first time, we actually had some guests who were frequent visitors as we shut the gates for the last time and were crying there with us. Disney is important to all ages of people for sure!”