Why Disneyland Isn't Just For Kids

As a theme park enthusiast, and especially one who's big into the Disney parks, I've been asked the question we all dread as connoisseurs of this hobby many a time: "but...aren't theme parks for kids?" First of all, fuck off Susan, just because I choose to spend my time and money doing things that are FUN instead of bitching about my sister-in-law on Facebook doesn't mean you have to take your sadness out on my just trying to live my life. And secondly, absolutely not. I know I'm preaching to the choir here when it comes to the fact that theme parks are absolutely not just for kids, but I know when the subject turns to the Disney parks the opinion in the enthusiast community becomes fragmented. I've spoken to PLENTY a coaster enthusiast who turns their nose up at the 'babyish' Disney parks as they trot off to their favourite coasters-on-concrete style amusement park for the 20th time that season (hey, I ain't judging!) and it's always baffled me as to why so many people think Disney is for kiddies, especially from people within the theme park community who surely should know better!

Well, fresh off YET ANOTHER Disney park trip, I thought I'd spend some time today chatting through why the Disney parks are not just for kids!

Let's start with a straight up obvious one - some of the rides are absolutely terrifying and are straight up aimed at older thrillseekers. The Disney-fans among you may well know that when Eisner took over as head of the Disney company a large objective for him where the parks were concerned was around adding attractions that would appeal to his son Brett, and therefore that thrillseeking/teen market that was largely untapped into in Disney parks at the time. This initiative was directly responsible for the installation of the more 'extreme' Disney attractions of the 90s including the fabulous Twilight Zone Tower of Terror, ExtraTERRORestrial Alien Encounter, Rock 'n' Roller Coaster and even Splash Mountain! These days when you visit a Disney park there are usually more than a handful of thrilling attractions to satisfy those looking for a white-knuckled adventure as opposed to spending the day on the teacups and in turn some of those rides have becomes some of the most beloved and iconic Disney attractions to date.

Straight up - if Disney were solely all about the cutesy wootsy, family-friendly fun aimed at kiddies then why the heck does awesomeness like Trader Sam's Grog Grotto and Jock Lindsay's Hangar Bar exist? It's because Disney KNOWS there's an audience of childless millennials who want to scare themselves shitless on Tower of Terror and then take the edge of with a ridiculous flaming tiki beverage. I'm sure there are some pissed up parents wandering round the parks tanked up because it's the only way they can make it through to the other side of their vacation without having a nervous breakdown, but let's face it, the majority of people drinking their way around the World Showcase are couples and groups of adult friends who prefer their Disney magic with a shot of tequila. Cheers!

OK, super nerdy of me personally I guess but I LOVE the historical/educational side of the Disney parks and although I'm sure there are absolutely some kids who appreciate the Hall of Presidents or the Liberty Arcade as much as I do, something tells me they're more fixated on how many times they can ride Space Mountain before their day is over as opposed to appreciating the historical accuracy of a particular diorama. It's those little nods and details that make it clear to me that these things are in the parks to be appreciated by a more mature audience, maybe one not as into the rides but still wants to be immersed in something, and that something might as well be some awesome science or history lessons! Honestly I swear I've spent as much time wandering wide-eyes down the Disneyland Paris arcades looking at all of the fabulous artworks and details as I have singing along to It's A Small World.

Ooh lordy, any self-respecting photography enthusiast that hasn't been to a Disney park needs to get their butt over to one stat. The places are literally designed with photography in mind and everything in engineered to come together to create the perfect photograph. I know people who visit the parks JUST to spend their day taking pictures and oh how I wish I lived conveniently close to one in order for me to do the same. Photographing the parks allows you to enjoy them in an entirely different yet still totally valid way - you end up seeing the gorgeous architecture differently and appreciating an attraction from an entirely new angle. One of the most incredible things about the Disney parks is that that no matter how many times you visit or how well you think you know the park, you will still discover something new with every visit which is again a testament to the detail and purpose with which every imagineering move is made. Things like this take time to step back and appreciate which is absolutely something you can't do as easily with kids in tow!

Many Disney rides and experiences are best enjoyed as a couple, have a romantic date at the parks. There's a special kind of magic that comes from sharing a Mickey shaped cake, walking round the park wearing matching ears or snuggling up close in the darkness of the Pirates of the Caribbean. In fact, Disney have advertised the parks as the perfect date night pretty much from back in the fifties when Disneyland first opened! I'm sure it's just as wonderful ending a magical day watching the castle fireworks show with the one you love as it is to stand back and watch your kids enjoying the magic, and Disney certainly do what they can to cater for all audiences from that aspect.

And the final point is frankly, Disney magic is for everyone. Look at every single campaign the Disney parks have ever done, look at the way the parks have spread to every corner of the damn globe and beyond, look around the room you're sitting in right now and I bet you that somewhere there's something relating to the Disney brand. Magic isn't just reserved for those who still believe in Father Christmas or whose minds aren't constantly full of thoughts of Brexit or job security or whatever - it's for everyone. In fact, given the incredible escapism the parks provide from the stresses of everyday life one could easily argue that grown-ups would benefit more from a trip to a Disney park than some kids would!

So yeah, next time somebody asks you if you think you might be getting a little old for Disney parks and to leave it to the kids to enjoy, don your Mickey ears, stick your fingers up and say fuck off Susan, and leave the room in a trail of pixie dust before booking your next trip just to prove the point further.

Talk later xoxo,


  1. That first paragraph made me laugh so much!! Bloody Susan!!! Lol

  2. Great blog post. As always you make me smile, laugh and think. The photos are incredible. Thanks!