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Dear Child-Free Millennials: You’re Ruining Disney World

It is a perfect day in Walt Disney World.  My five-year-old has waited FOREVER for this day, and his little heart bursts with joy as we walk through the gates of the Magic Kingdom and get our first glimpse of that iconic Cinderella’s Castle.  He sees one of the many characters that are led through the park for pictures and autographs.  OMG!  It is Winnie the Pooh!  His fave!  We run over to get his picture with Pooh. 

Out of nowhere, three millennials wearing Mickey Mouse ear headbands push my child out of the way to get to Pooh first.  You read that right.  Three grown adults felt that it was okay to cut in front of a child to take a picture with a man/woman dressed as a character from a kid’s show. 

Later that day, we spotted a craft table set up for kids to sit and color pictures of their favorite Disney characters.  After waiting fifteen minutes for a turn at the table, my child was getting antsy, and I decided we should just move on without getting to sit and color.  He was upset that he didn’t get his turn after waiting so long, but I explained to him that sometimes that’s the way the cookie crumbles.  Oh, did I mention that the craft table occupants were all over the age of 20?  Tons of kids were turned away from the crayon table because a bunch of adults wanted to color a picture of Donald Duck.  

When I was doing research for our trip, I came across a Disney World themed blog written by a child-free millennial couple.  In their review of a special dinner package where you can pay to eat dinner with Disney characters, they had the nerve to give the dinner a bad review.  Why?  There were too many kids running around, being loud.  Dear sir and madam, you went to the Mickey Mouse dinner.  What did you expect? 

These scenes repeated over and over again on our trip to Disney this fall, and that’s why I’m here to officially declare: 

Child-free millennials, you’re ruining Disney World! 

Before I continue, I feel that several prefaces are in order. 

Preface #1: I get it. With everything going on in the world today, this is a total champagne problem.  Boohoo, I can afford to take my family to a super expensive vacation spot.  Trust me when I say, I am fully aware of how blessed I am to even know that millennials are ruining Disney World.  The ability to know that millennials are ruining Disney World reveals that I live in a socio-economic bubble of prosperity that many people will never experience.  I’m Catholic, so guilt comes very naturally to me.  Be assured that as I write that millennials are ruining Disney World and know it in my heart to be a truth, I still feel kind of guilty for complaining about it. 

Preface #2: Disney World is EXPENSIVE, like hashtag-sell-a-kidney expensive.  Anyone willing to pay one hundred dollars for a ticket to the Magic Kingdom should get to ride “It’s A Small World” as many times as they want regardless of their age.  If a thirty-year-old man wants to wear a Johnny-Depp-style pirate hat and ride Cinderella’s Carousel, who am I to deny him?  Life is hard, and we all need a little escape from reality sometimes. 

Preface#3: I love Disney World, and even if I didn’t have kids, I would probably still want to go every once and a while.  Procreating isn’t a requirement for visiting Mickey Mouse.  Also, this post is in no way commentary on one’s right to choose to not have kids.  I support your choice to live lives free from mac and cheese every night and stepping on Legos with bare feet.  

Whatever your views on child-free versus parenthood, or how old is too old to wear a custom-ordered-from-Etsy adult sized Elsa costume (I’m looking at you, 45-year-old woman at Epcot who made her husband wear a Kristoff costume complete with fur-lined hat on a 95 degree hot day.), can we all agree that Disney World is a place inherently for children?  Its 27,000 acres are filled with flying elephants, an actual princess castle, and tea cups big enough to sit inside, all headed by a talking mouse.  (Fun fact: Mickey has over 290 different outfits including a light-up tuxedo!)

The fact that it is so child-centered is one of the reasons I fell in love with this place.  The people who work here (Disney calls their employees “cast members.”) go above and beyond to make your child’s experience a great one.  I can’t even count the ways cast members have made my kids feel special.  They are very democratic with their special treatment, too, making sure to spread that Disney magic to every child there.  As much as I love Disney magic for myself, I know that it is time for me to step back and let the kids (not just my kids, but all kids) have their turn. 

So when I see hoards of adults running to get in line first for kiddie rides, beating out the actual children the rides are meant for, I can’t help but sigh.  How did we get here, millennials?  I know, I know.  We are too hard on this generation, and they tend to get blamed for everything.  But still. . . 

Millennials, this is ‘Merica.  i can’t stop you from getting your Disney World fix, and even if I could, I wouldn’t want to.  All I’m asking is that you take a deep breath and put your behavior in the proper context.  Thanks for listening, and now you can go back to taking selfies with your avocado toast, or whatever you young people do with your time.  

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4 Responses to Dear Child-Free Millennials: You’re Ruining Disney World

  1. Alicia Merlino January 8, 2018 at 11:09 PM #

    While on a very selfish level I agree with you. It is only because I have three children and anybody standing between mean and the front of the line is officially enemy number 1.

    I also loathe the people who say that children shouldn’t be allowed on airplanes, or restaurants or location of the week that child free people want to enjoy without screaming or crying.

    So let’s all agree that we are equally deserving of the space we occupy regardless of what venue it is or the size of the space required to fill it.

  2. Kim January 9, 2018 at 9:22 AM #

    This blog came up in one of my Disney groups. I am a childless millennial and I am constantly reading articles criticizing my generation. First off, millennials make up a very large age bracket. There’s a very big difference between me and my cousin, who is 12 years younger and still in college. What you are describing is rude and inconsiderate people, not millennials. Yes, millennials can be among those rude and inconsiderate people, but so can baby boomers and Gen X. Not one of my friends would behave the way you described.

  3. stephanie novak January 9, 2018 at 10:28 AM #

    I ‘m sorry you feel this way about Millenials in Disney World. I feel you don’t really understand the park or it’s magic. The magic is for everyone not just children.
    I am a very avid Disney lover a mother of ten and am fortunate enough to visit the park every year and a half to two years. I am by far not a Millenial but my children are. They have grown up with the love of the magic. Several of them hope to eventually become a part of the magic your child is excited to see.

    After many years of visiting the parks we went with our teens. My husband and I came out of the Muppet show before the kids. We spotted Miss Piggy and Kermit and took off at a run to join the lines laughing and calling the kids to hurry. Now mind you we have manors and didn”t push anyone out of line. We waited our turn like everyone else. My teens were laughing and smiling the whole time asking if we were excited.

    As my 16 year old said to the crabby teen who was in line ahead of us with his family and younger siblings” Smile it’s magical here if you want it to be. Nobody gets to big for Disney , It’s not like Santa Clause where you have to stop believing because you have to become the magic for someone else.”

    Second what rides are for kids and where is this kiddie land you speak of. I am unaware of rides at Disney that adults are to old or to tall for. The wedding comercial shows a bride and groom riding Dumbo with wedding ears on and just married on the back.

    Did you know during Mickeys not so Scarey Halloween Disney gives bags to adults to trick or treat too? During the Pirate Princess parties adults were given treasures and gems as well.

    When Walt designed Disney World he bought vast amounts of land so the parks would be hidden from everyday life unlike his first park Disney Land. The Ttc was created so you would leave you car and ride a magical form of transportation to the park making it appear far from reality. Do you think a child needs such drastic measures to get lost in a World of Magic? No it’s for the adults. Did you notice the highway signs are purple not green as you drive around the resort. More adult magic to creating a less stressed environment.
    I hope all adults enjoy the magic of Disney. How do you expect your child to see Tigger if you see a costume character.

    That said I can see your problem but it is with rude behavior not with Millenials ruining Disney.

  4. CC January 10, 2018 at 4:57 PM #

    Let’s not generally blame millenials, but the generation that raised them. Parents from any generation can teach their children to learn certain morals and respect.