5 Reasons I Hate Disney

5 Reasons I Hate Disney

I know, I know. You probably hate me already. I get it. Disney is magical to so many people. Forget the kids, I have friends who got married in Disney World, others who honeymooned there, and my in-laws bought a house like 20 seconds from the front gate.

I know, I know.  You probably hate me already.  I get it.  Disney is magical to so many people.  Forget the kids, I have friends who got married in Disney World, others who honeymooned there, and my in-laws bought a house like 20 seconds from the front gate.  I think they borrow other people’s grandchildren sometimes when they go.  I actually suggested that they get jobs there as characters.  I personally think my father-in-law would be great as either Chip or Dale, and my mother-in-law can sing “Bibbidi-Bobbidi-Boo” in her sleep… WITH ENTHUSIASM!

I, on the other hand, did not come from a Disneyfied family.  My mom had no time for cartoons, and my dad was firmly planted in the other camp, much preferring the Elvis-pompadoured Foghorn Leghorn and anything that had an “Acme” stencil falling on that poor coyote.

My siblings and I never aspired to visit the House of Mouse, and our family vacations were more of the rented cabin by the lake, touring Civil War battlegrounds, and watching money printed at the U.S. Mint variety.  Don’t get me wrong, we did go to amusement parks and water parks, but they were not world-renowned attractions, and there were no characters roaming around getting mobbed while some poor teenager dehydrated under a giant 15-pound fur and foam animal head.

Suffice to say, I am not into the Disney thing, but I understand that many people are and make annual pilgrimages to the magical theme parks in minivans adorned with silhouette family stickers wearing mouse ears, including the dog, the cat, and the bird.  The thing is, while I accept the concept of this Disney worship, the loyal mouse followers refuse to accept mine.  Whenever I mention that I’m not into the whole Disney thing, I am barraged with how awesome the theme parks are.  And the hotels, and the shops, and…. everything.  One of my friends even tried to tell me how great the food was.  Seriously?  Come on!  Yeah, Wolfgang Puck and some of his celebrity chef friends may have restaurants on Disney properties, but that is certainly not where the $12 chicken tenders come from in the theme parks!

My first trip to Disney was at 19 when my dad had a business meeting there.  I wasn’t mentally transported to Fantasyland, but I have given it several more chances.  As I mentioned, my in-laws live in Cinderella’s zip code, so I have gone to all of the Disney World parks as an adult, a newlywed, and the parent of a baby, toddler, little kid, and big kid, and sorry to say, still not a fan.  “Heretic!”  You may be thinking, “What is wrong with this woman?  How and why does she not love Disney?”  Well, here are five reasons:

  1. The Price.  Holy crap!  I mean seriously?  It’s basically north of $100 just for admission for guests 10 and older, AND kids 4-9.  Yeah, there are seasonal discounts, resident discounts, multi-day discounts…  Lots of ways to shave a few bucks off the admission price, but a family of four is not getting anywhere near Ariel’s Grotto for under $300, and that is a total low-ball number.  Then there are the multitude of overpriced gift shops that you are mandated to traverse after every ride.  Of course, stuff is expensive.  Duh, it’s a gift shop, but a $95 sweatshirt of Mickey Mouse just pushes my buttons.  And a $4 bottle of water?  I may as well be at Lollapalooza.
  2. The lines.  Ridiculous.  I mean c’mon.  I live in NYC, so I am no stranger to lines, but Disney is the queue of nightmares.  Kids screaming, babies crying, parents trying to hold their shit together for an hour plus to get a 1-minute picture with anyone from Frozen…  I would actually rather sit through the movie again than wait in that line.  Hold on, no I wouldn’t.
  3. The attitude of entitlement.  I get it.  I do.  When you’ve saved your money all year to spend $500 to walk into a Disney park, you sure as hell are going to get your money’s worth.  No one will be cutting you in any line, from the café, to the gift shops, to the attractions.  And God help us all if you have a double stroller.  At forty pounds plus, that thing can go from cozy kid transport to Sherman tank in a matter of seconds.  And you will be arriving with sleeping children in the stroller at the crack of dawn and leaving with sleeping children an hour after the park closes when, and only when, you have sucked every ounce of fun out of the vacation for which you mortgaged your house.  Lord help anyone’s toes who cross your path.
  4. The accessories.  WTF are your kids going to do with an autograph book of a fake princess and sweating fur creatures when you get home?  Seriously, what?  You can’t bear to throw it out since that small overpriced book actually cost you 57 hours of waiting in line over a three-day period, so now what?  Technically, it’s the kid’s book, but when the 4-year-old scribbles over Cinderella’s name, all you see is the destruction of 90 minutes of waiting in the blazing sun while you had to pee.  That autograph book is pretty much worthless.  Even if the next Taylor Swift was working at Disney when you visited and she signed it for you, she signed it “Belle” with a lot of hearts and flourishes.  Not even eBay material!  The book has pretty much become a badge of honor, soon to transform into either clutter or keepsake that needs to be dusted and eventually relegated to the attic.
  5. The peer pressure.  Either it’s changed since I was a kid or I just didn’t notice, but today’s kids are indoctrinated from the time they begin to socialize that YOU MUST GO TO DISNEY!  All the other kids are doing it.  And the parents are even worse.  I’ve been waiting at school dismissal listening to parents brag about how many times they have gone to Disney, which parts are the best, how many characters they waited for, blah, blah, blah.  Seriously?  And people save all year to go nuts on headband ears, figurines, overpriced clothing, autograph books and pins (which they literally wear on lanyards AS BADGES OF HONOR!).   And kids think this is the best vacation ever:  waiting in line to see make-believe characters, fantasy musicals, and rides similar to the carnival that sets up in the park every summer.  What about enjoying the natural beauty of our national parks?  Or walking the Freedom Trail?  Or exploring the lesser-known cool things in your town?  Shaking the hand of a giant stuffed duck is fine maybe once, but repeatedly?  Why not go to a Great Lake and see a real duck?  And fast before the next oil spill.

I understand lots of people love the whole Disney universe.  Maybe it’s an escape from how crappy reality can be.  I think it’s the reason some countries hate us.  We’re spending billions on fantasy theme parks while our schools are cutting out music and art, and people can’t afford to live working 40 hours a week.  But let’s not think about that.  Let’s stand in line to meet a fake snowman.  Maybe if our reality was better, escape wouldn’t be so monumental.  

That being said, one of the greatest things ever to happen to Disney is their acquisition of Star Wars.  It is awesome to watch Storm Troopers do their formation right in front of you!  And my husband and I almost cried when we hugged Chewbacca.  The kids didn’t need any autographs, but they did make their own light sabers.  We took pictures and have fun memories, and we don’t need to do it again.

Photo : Source

2 Comments on this Post

  1. DisneyPhobe

    Marielle, I think you’re my DisneyPhobe soulmate!

    Our childhoods sound similar. My mother disliked all cartoons, and I, a child of the 1970s, eschewed most of them except “Peanuts” TV specials and movies. Family vacations to the southern USA often consisted of visits to historic sites, including the Andersonville prison (my father loved 1860s war history). However, my parents took their children to both Disneyland and Disney World when I was in elementary school, not as primary destinations, but in conjunction with other travel. I was lukewarm about both Disney destinations for the following reasons:
    1.) I disliked Disney cartoons, which I considered bright, noisy caricatures even though I didn’t know the word yet.
    2.) Although I was still in my formative years as a critic of mass/popular culture, I knew that, for me, Disneyland was too faux and too sterile. For example, unlike the giant playhouse I’d hoped for (I liked traditional architecture, even bad reproductions), Cinderella’s castle was just a pretty shell with an “adult” restaurant inside. . .our first stop. Already weary after traveling from non-Disney lodging, parking, tram, and monorail, disappointed that the castle’s interior was really meant for parents, and now expected to be polite at a lunch I knew I wouldn’t enjoy (I probably only wanted a hot dog purchased from a street vendor), I had to really control myself to avoid having an “introvert meltdown.” I’d definitely had better times at the county fair’s midway, which was shabbier, but also more real. Of note, my parents gave us permission to buy one item each at a Disney gift shop; since they weren’t selling blueprints of the original “Parent Trap” California ranch mansion, I couldn’t find anything I really wanted. Finally, I selected a ceramic figurine that was painted (probably by mistake) slightly different from its clones.
    3.) Even in elementary school, I liked wilder rides than Disney offered (I’m dyspraxic, and might actually enjoy the “vomit comet” at the NASA training center!). “It’s a Small World” is sickening, and “Pirates of the Carribean” is just “It’s a Small World” with more action and a less-annoying soundtrack: ultimately, both are boring boat rides. I thought I would enjoy the Haunted House, but it was nothing special. The only really enjoyable moment I had on a Disney ride was on “Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride” when I actually thought, for a split second, that we were about to be run over by a train. . .

    In the mid-1990s, I noticed a seriously disturbing trend: young children were treating Disney videos such as “The Lion King” as if they were filmed by Win Wenders. 10 years later, these children were young adults going on dates with their fiances to see “The Lion King” as a Broadway musical. Once, Broadway was “A Raisin in the Sun” or “A Chorus Line.” For my generation, it meant “Rent.” If childless adults were now going to see Disney musicals. . .where am I going, and what am I doing in this handbasket?

    One of the things that I hate about Disney in the 21st century is that it’s become culturally “mandatory” for children, not unlike Hitler Youth in Nazi Germany or the Young Pioneers in the Soviet Union (Disney = hypercapitalist indoctrination). When I was a GenX child in the pre-video, pre-Disney Store era, it was possible to live life with limited Disney exposure. I knew the names of major Disney characters, had seen 2-3 of the animated movies, and had fewer than five Disney books and toys in my entire childhood; in the 1970s, this was still tolerated by other children. Nowadays, a child who didn’t own at least a moderate amount of Disney videos and merchandise because she didn’t like it would probably be ostracized by her peers.

  2. Living in the Real World

    You hit the nail on the head! While we visited Disney a few times when I was growing up, I was never a super fan. As I’ve gotten older I realize why Disney never appealed to me:

    1. Many of their movies embrace the idea of women being helpless, waiting to be saved by a prince. Is this what we want to teach our daughters?
    2. Their parks have zero educational value. Why would I spend a boatload of cash on the same thing over and over aging when I can travel abroad for less? I took a family of three to five countries for less than my friends paid to drive to Disney.
    3. I don’t want to spend $30 on food that is probably going to have me on the toilet for hours. They can keep their freaklishly perfect shaped beignets all to themselves.
    4. The waiting. I don’t enjoy standing in lines for hours, and legs that feel like water logged sand bags at the end of the day. I know, I know, FastPass this and that, go early, blah, blah. That’s way too much effort to do and see something I’ve already done and seen.
    5. Kids. That’s right, screaming kids. Yes, I’m a parent of an exceptionally well-behaved child, but after eight hours in the sun, even he turns into a raging monster. Not only do I not want to hear my child complaining, I don’t want to hear it from thousands of other kids who would be happier playing at home in their own backyards. No, I don’t care that you want to start them young so they can rack up as many visits as possible. Let’s face it, your kid is probably too young to remember this trip.
    6. The hype. The social media posts counting down the days until the big trip, the illegally produced custom shirts you bought off of Etsy for the whole family, the commericals, the lure to Hawaii, the Bahamas, anything with those dumb black ears. It’s far too gimmicky for me.
    7. The fairytale wedding. By that I mean the bride who has Mickeys cleverly hidden into every element of the wedding decor. The castle cake with a Tinkerbell light show that plays across it. And I can’t leave out the Disney honeymoon which is a must for every Disney-crazed bride. Are groom’s actually on board with this, or are they simply tolerating? No self respecting man I know would go for the Disneymoon.

    Let’s face it, Walt Disney was not a nice person and he treated his employees like worthless pieces of trash. Why would we want to idolize someone like that? Because life is so hard that we need to fully check out and pretend everything is hunky dory? I’m pretty sure that’s called denial, but you can go ahead and keep calling it Disney.