Why Disney Is Sorry It Invented Disney Adults

Ahh, Disney Adults, the infamous fans of the mouse and childhood nostalgia.

Crowds in Magic Kingdom

Disney Adults” are the grown-ups known for visiting the Disney theme parks, packing the theaters when new Disney movies premiere, and buying up merchandise with their favorite characters like it’s their JOB. Whether you love them, hate them, or you are one, Disney Adults have a significant impact on the theme parks...and Disney might just regret having created such dedicated fans.

Taking it Back

Let’s start this quest by going back in time to when Disneyland and Disney World were still relatively new, and the iconic “Disney Renaissance” was just kicking off. By the time the 1980s rolled around, there had been plenty of Disney movies and there were already Disney theme parks on both coasts, but the company didn’t have quite the same pull as it does currently. Why’s that? Because there wasn’t nearly as much nostalgia!

Disney history in the making! @Disney

Throughout the 80s, Disney built two more theme parks at Walt Disney World and kicked off the Disney Renaissance with the release of The Little Mermaid in 1989. That movie marked the beginning of a 10-film streak of theatrical successes for the company, including iconic additions like The Lion King, Aladdin, and Beauty and the Beast. And if you’re an adult who’s a Disney fan, it’s likely that those are the films you grew up watching.


With hit new characters in the parks and on the screen, Disney World and Disneyland Resort started to become even more popular destinations for families looking to vacation.

Creating Nostalgia

Fast forward a few years — the Disney Renaissance movies became household titles and connected children all across the country with characters and stories to adore. Those growing up during that time learned the words to the Disney songs, bought the Disney toys, and begged their parents to take them to The Most Magical Place on Earth so that they could see their heroes in person.

Belle at Enchanted Tales with Belle

All those memories created a sense of nostalgia in the kids who “grew up on Disney.” And now, those same kiddos are grown, some with families of their own. Now that they have their own money to spend and vacation to take, nostalgia is playing a big factor in the decisions they make. They’re returning to the magical places where they took trips as a child, or possibly the places where they always wanted to take trips as a child. In fact, a survey from Booking.com states that nostalgic getaways are appealing to 88% of travelers in 2023.


Essentially, Disney bred multiple generations of children with a love for princesses, heroes, music, and magic…and now they have to pay the price.

The Consequences

So what’s the problem with creating a multi-generational base of dedicated fans? Well, it seems that Disneyland Resort figured that out a while back. In the past few years, executives began to realize that the majority of Disneyland guests were locals and Annual Passholders. That may not seem like an issue…until you look at the financial side of things.


When it comes down to it, Annual Passholders don’t typically spend as much money in the theme parks as irregular guests. People who save up to take that once-in-a-lifetime trip are more likely to splurge on special experiences, table service dining, or expensive merchandise. They’re also paying the big bucks to stay at Disney hotels. So ultimately, with a higher percentage of guests being Annual Passholders (or Magic Key holders), Disneyland Resort was not making as much money as it could’ve been.


Therefore, Disney has come up with a solution. Recently, we’ve seen the addition of the reservation system for visitors in the theme parks. Since that system was added, reservations have been notoriously difficult to score for Annual Passholders at Disneyland. Add to that the fact that Disney started limiting purchases of Annual Passes for Disneyland, and it seems that they’re trying to keep too many Passholders from coming into the parks.

The Problem Has Come to Disney World

But now, it seems that the problem has arrived at Disney World as well. With more and more repeat visitors and Annual Passholders coming back for the magic over and over again, the parks don’t have quite as many guests who are seeking out those pricey extras.

Annual Passholder card

So what does Disney do? They add the same restrictions to the east coast. Disney Park Passes are harder to come by for Annual Passholders and Annual Pass sales have been paused for quite some time. Disney simply can’t afford to let too many people buy passes — the more people who own APs, the less people who buy tickets for each trip.

Guests in Disney World

And on top of that, they’ve introduced Genie+ on both coasts — a way to capitalize on the formerly free FastPass system. Guests who are coming on their rare family trips are willing to pay the cost to “skip” lines for rides. But those who come all the time…not so much.

Expedition Everest Lightning Lane

In the end, Disney knows it’ll make more money off the once-in-a-lifetime or infrequent visitors than it will off of the locals and Passholders. So we can potentially expect more decisions that cater to those kinds of people. This could be one of the many reasons we see some older and more “nostalgic” attractions replaced by newer IP attractions. This brings in a whole new audience and more guests that weren’t tied to the previous nostalgic ride. It also gives people a new reason to return to the parks.

Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway

So, as unfortunate as it may be for those of us who “grew up on Disney” and have a deep sense of nostalgia attached to the parks, we may have to prepare ourselves for more changes like this in the future. Even though we have an emotional attachment to Disney, it’s a business…and businesses need to make money.

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Do you have nostalgia attached to Disney? Tell us in the comments!

The post Why Disney Is Sorry It Invented Disney Adults first appeared on the disney food blog.

source https://www.disneyfoodblog.com/2022/12/20/why-disney-is-sorry-it-invented-disney-adults/

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