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Childless millennials are passionately defending their Disney fandom


(Washington Post illustration; iStock)

Millennials are blamed for ruining everything from trust funds to cereal to mayonnaise, but now they’re also getting grief for something they love: Disney theme parks.

On Friday, New York Post writer Johnny Oleksinski lit a match and tossed it into a pile of dynamite with this headline: “Sorry, childless millennials going to Disney World is weird.”

Oleksinski claims “letting a kids brand control your adult life” leads to “stupidity and cultural ignorance,” not to mention immaturity. “Many millennials,” he argues, “are fine with sticking to ‘A Whole New World’ rather than exploring a whole new world.”

He was riffing off an alleged Facebook rant that had emerged on Reddit months earlier that was purportedly written by a mother whose Walt Disney World vacation was ruined by childless couples. The complaint involved a pretzel, long lines, an unhappy 3-year-old and exhaustion, but the bottom line was that millennials were to blame. “People without CHILDREN need to be BANNED!!!!” the post says.

That post found new life earlier this month thanks to Twitter user @JenKatWrites (who says she has never been to a Disney theme park) and sparked several straightforward news stories before Oleksinski weighed in with his take. It was not well-received by many social media users.

Some pointed out Walt Disney World publishes an adult guide to the parks with nary a child in sight, promising “Enchantment for All Ages … Especially Adults!” Others questioned whether the company’s reigning childless rodents, Mickey and Minnie, were exempt from the criticism. And others wondered if the real weird ones are parents who bring kids who are too young to form actual memories.

However, a few on social media seemed to agree with the New York tabloid post, even if they are usually at odds with the publication. “Broken Clock Finally Correct,” one user wrote. Others were flabbergasted that anyone without kids would even want to brave the theme park crowds.

Though it is getting the most pushback, the New York Post isn’t the first publication to chastise childless couples for heading to Disney parks.

In 2016, a Thrillist writer asked: “What’s With All You Adult Couples Who Vacation at Disney World?” Last year, a blogger on a Memphis site for moms wrote a post headlined “Dear Child-Free Millennials: You’re Ruining Disney World.”

For the record, and in the sake of journalistic transparency, the writer of this very article is an adult without children who has visited Walt Disney World many times. She does not believe this is weird.

Still, some who are public about their love for theme parks say the question of the week is one they’ve heard frequently.

Nikida Metellus, a 35-year-old pharmacist who lives near Walt Disney World in central Florida, writes the ThemeParkHipster blog. On the site, she offers a guide to people who want to visit theme parks by themselves — a practice she still enjoys, even since having a daughter nearly two years ago.

Metellus said she hasn’t paid much attention to the recent rants, in part because it sounds familiar to her.

“I’m kind of used to hearing people ask about it or questioning, ‘Why do you go to Disney as an adult? Is it weird?’ ” she said.

For her and other millennial friends — many who don’t have kids — the parks are full of happy memories and comforting familiarity. They enjoy reliving some of the experiences from their youth, with the added bonus of adult perks like “drinking around the world at Epcot,” Metellus said.

“I don’t think they’re weird,” she said. “We all just think that Disney is made for everyone who wants to go there and have a magical time.”

Read more:

Amusement parks are an expensive way to stand in line while roasting in the sun

Disney bans larger strollers and loose ice at its parks in California and Florida

Abigail Disney is taking her family’s company to task over ‘intolerable’ working conditions at Disneyland

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