There’s no problem with ‘Adult Disney’

Can we stop pretending there’s any problem with “adult Disney?”

If you’re an adult and love Disney – whether for its movies, TV shows, music, merchandise, or theme parks – then good for you. I can’t imagine spending my life without a passion for something, like sports, acting, video games or, yes, even Disney.

But that doesn’t stop haters from hating, especially online, where people can hate, troll and abuse others anonymously and without consequence. Evidenced by a recent Rolling Stone article, “How ‘Disney Adults’ Became the Internet’s Most Hated Band”, which details several viral incidents when the online hive mind went after adult fans of Disneyland and Walt Disney World.

Turns out we didn’t need a Big Brother government to create hatred in Orwell’s two minutes. The modern media market offers this around the clock, as countless publishers and broadcasters have found that promoting hatred for “the other” – whoever they are – drives traffic and ratings with minimal financial outlay.

The hated “other” can be a large group of people: Muslims, immigrants, gays and lesbians… or even Disney fans. The group doesn’t matter. Only hate, views and clicks.

Disney adults are a huge group these days, as Disney creates a tremendous amount of entertainment that appeals to people of all ages, including those 21 and older. So I would like to dispute another claim in the Rolling Stone article, a review of the Disney fandom that I’ve seen made by many other sources online and offline, that “Disney sells a rather simple version of directing consumer wishes”.

I can think of a lot of words to describe the entertainment Disney creates, especially at its theme parks, but “simple” would fall way down on that list. Walt Disney Imagineering has earned countless patents over the years for his inventions that help drive the company’s theme park attractions, with Imagineer Lanny Smoot alone earning over 100.

Attractions such as Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance and Fantasmic! are ridiculously complex and sophisticated technical achievements, especially considering the frequency and duration of their operation to please the millions of visitors to Disney’s theme parks each year. Anyone who has had the opportunity to visit the set of a Disney movie or TV show can attest to the sophistication of these productions, which each employ hundreds of technicians and creative professionals.

OK, maybe Disney productions are technically sophisticated, but are they creatively sophisticated? Ask the Disney Friends of Warner Bros. how easy it is to create a successful and enduring cinematic universe around comic book characters. Disney films such as “WALL-E”, “Black Panther” and “Up” have not only won at the box office, they have received critical acclaim.

Disney’s technical and creative sophistication is why it has built such a large and loyal following. It’s something that should be celebrated, not denigrated.

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