Remember that viral Facebook rant about how childless people need to stop going to Disney Parks so that parents can ensure their children have the most magical time ever? Well, it’s baaaaack!
(If not, here’s a refresher, Petr covered it in October.)
Just yesterday, the NY Post ran a very hard-hitting op-ed by some guy named Chad, oops, no, I just checked my notes, it’s Johnny, titled: Sorry, childless millennials going to Disney World is weird.
I’m going to save you the click and summarize his argument thusly: millennials (especially those of us born between “1981 and 1996” and oddly specific time frame) are infantilizing themselves by constantly living in a Disney feedback loop of nostalgia, and as a result, indie f*cking movies like Booksmart and The Farewell aren’t getting their due. Furthermore, by spending so much on an annual pass, you’re missing out on going to real cultural places, like Europe. This was so ridiculous that I have to excerpt it for you, here:
“And your annual (or more, God help us) trip to Disney World costs as much — and more in some cases — than a trip to Europe, South America or Canada, where you would meet people different from yourself. People for whom the only color of the wind is see-through. Fanny-pack-less people.”
Oh, he continued:
“I know I’ll get a barrage of emails and Tweets explaining all the crafty ways Walt Worshipers shave a couple hundred dollars off their Disney trips. Noted. But that’s not the point. Why do the same old, safe, boring thing when you could buy a round-trip Norwegian Airlines flight from New York to Paris right now for $280, get an AirBnb and sit along the Seine drinking rosé?”
OK. Deep breath everyone.
First off, I have a SoCal pass to Disneyland, and have for a few years. I am one of those childless millennials clogging the park. You know why I have it?
1) Disneyland is fun. I enjoy going occasionally and reliving some of the happy memories of my youth. My family took a vacation there when I was young. My parents are divorced (acrimoniously), one of my parents lives in another continent and country with my brother, who is severely ill and requires constant supervision and can never leave that country, because of his illness. We all will never be in the same room together again. Ever. It’s honestly for the best, but Disneyland is a nice place to remember a time we were together, and everyone was happy and no one was fighting.
2) Whenever I have an out of town guest, and they’re here for more than 2 or 3 days, guess where they want to go? Yup. The Annual Pass saves me money. This year alone I’ve gone to Disneyland with two separate groups. We had a great time.
3) The world is a horror show. It’s nice to go someplace where everything is thought of for you, to go see happy kids having the best day of their lives, and also, go ride a few rollercoasters that are superbly themed, and maximized for your enjoyment. The escapism of Disney can be pretty great.
4) Specifically, I like to get drunk at the Tiki bar at the Disneyland hotel, buy too many tiki mugs (tiki mugs are the one thing I sort of collect) and then go ride spinning the tea cups. It’s my thing. The last time I went they had a tiki drink that was served out of a Kraken bowl. It was glorious, and don’t act like you don’t want to drink alcohol out of a bowl with a ceramic Kraken in the middle of it. If you don’t you’re only lying to yourself, friend.
So, that’s me. That’s why I, a childless millennial am clogging up the parks. So let’s talk about what I pay for my annual pass, Johnny.
It’s $400 a year, and I get 10% off at all sit-down restaurants on the park, and merchandise. A ticket to Disneyland ranges from $104 - $149 per day (it depends on the day.) Let’s split the difference and go with the medium cost of $129. To make the $400 worth my while, I have to go about 3 times per year or visit two parks on two visits, since a Park Hopper ticket is $199. Friends, I easily end up going that much in a year due to my out of town guests, and now, as an added bonus, those mouse ears I invariably end up buying the kids in the party If there are any) are 10% off. Because Auntie Kate buys children’s love to be their favorite, and I make no apologies about that. It works. As an added bonus, food is discounted, too. Score!
Enough about me, let’s get to Johnny’s other obnoxious arguments:
Disney movies get in the way of indie cred movies like Booksmart. LOL.
I’m sorry, I saw Booksmart. It was only OK, but I get to a certain type of person, seeing Booksmart carries some hipster cred, I guess. That’s neither here nor there. It’s not a zero-sum game, Johnny. People didn’t see Booksmart because they didn’t see Booksmart, which by the way, came out in late May. Was there maybe someone who said to themselves about the movie “Nope, can’t see that. Gotta hold out for the Lion King, which is out in 2 months. No movies for me until then.” I mean, maybe? Who knows, the world is a vast mysterious place.
The point is, people see movies they want to see. Not seeing one doesn’t mean it’s because Disney exclusively holds their hearts. Even if Disney does, who cares?! Stop telling people how to spend their money in their free time, my man.
Then, friends, let us tackle the most classist, ableist, obnoxious element of his argument: you could be traveling better places instead of going to Disney.
Here’s the thing about Disney Parks: hospitality is the name of the game. Which means accommodation. Which means just because you can haul your body on an hours plus long plane ride, then go traipse about in another city without worrying if said city is going to be accessible to you doesn’t mean that everyone can, Johnny.
I’ve gone to Disneyland with groups that required wheelchair access. Disney delivered and then some—to sit there and smugly tell people “well, you could be going to Europe” with the price of what you’re paying at Disney is by far, the most classist, obnoxious, privileged part of the entire equation and clearly demonstrates that the author has no idea what it’s like to exist out of his own body and experiences. Which, I mean, probably shouldn’t be surprising. This is the internet after all.
Here’s where I stand. Do what you want. It’s your life and your money, and if you’re some wacky billionaire type who wants to build a theme park entirely dedicated to Booksmart as the anti-Disney, then you do you, friend. Just let me know if you offer an annual pass to your park. It’s usually a better deal for locals.
Header Image Source: Getty