justice for disney adults

This Woman's Viral Theory About Disney Adults And Third Places Makes Perfect Sense

It’s the perfect place actually.

Originally Published: 
A women's video about Disney adults explains how Gen Z and Millennials find "third places" in a worl...
Handout/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images, Keilena Burch

Disney adults get a bad rap. Often referred to as “cringey,” Disney adults are usually 18+, attending the Disney theme parks regularly with — or without — kids. They frequent the parks, donning bedazzled Mickey Mouse ears, with gusto and excitement.

Disney is their hobby. Disney is their lifestyle. They wear the merch, buy the home decor, and embody what it means to be a Disney fan, and while people may find them to be annoying or pathetic, one woman’s theory about why Disney adults exist in the first place makes perfect sense.

TikToker, Christian, explained in his video that Gen Z doesn’t have any third places, leading to a depressed and anxious generation of people.

“In our parents' generation — and almost every generation before that — there were three places: work, home, and social gatherings. If you had a sh**ty day at work, you could look forward to going to the pub after work with your friends, or if you get into an argument with your wife, you could go to the golf course and hang out with your buddies. Or if you're feeling lonely on a random Tuesday, you can look forward to your darts or pool league after work,” TikToker, Christian, explained in his video.

“Every single generation before us had this third place of gathering besides us,” he continues.

He calls for the reimplementation of third places and theorizes that the lack of social settings for Gen Z is a major reason why the generation is so depressed.

In fact, according to a 2019 study published in the Journal of Abnormal Psychology, between 2009 and 2017 depression rates increased by more than 47% among adolescents 12–13 years old, 60% among teens 14–17 years old, and 46% among young adults 18–21 years old.

Keilena Burch, a former Disney castmember, stitched Christian’s video, agreeing with his sentiments while explaining where her third place was while living in Florida.

“The idea of a third place is why I think Disney adults are so happy,” Burch explained in her viral video before noting that she worked at the Disney parks and realized how much fun the third place was.

“Like, when I was working there, all my friends were coworkers, so we all had free tickets to the parks. So, we get off work, we go to the parks. I have the day off, I go to the parks. You always have the option to do something that isn't sitting at home or work or school, and it's free,” she noted.

“Ever since I moved back to New York, like, all I want is to move back to Florida and work for Disney again because I miss having access to a free and fun third place. I was making less money there than I did here, but I had more money there because the things that I was doing for fun were free or didn't really cost a whole lot of money, like going to the parks, going to the beaches,” she noted before explaining that now, her lifestyle costs more even though she’s earning more because her third places are stores and retailers like TJ Maxx and Target.

And yes, of course, if you’re not working for the parks, there is a fee involved. However, it seems like Disney adults are happy to spend that money if it means enjoying life and having a place to go that brings them immense joy that’s not work or home.

Disney parks also allow adults to recreate that magic of childhood. Psychologist Jaime Zuckerman told Bustle, “[Disney parks are] one of the few places you can go back to,” she said. “You can actually recreate that nostalgic feeling within your control.”

Several TikTok users resonated with Burch’s sentiment, commenting on the video with their own thoughts about Disney parks as a third place.

“Yes!!! And it's a giant walkable community. It's safe. It's bougie. It's contained. It’s magic,” one user wrote.

“People make fun of Disney adults but they’re the only ones doing life right,” another said.

Another user joked, “You’ve helped me accept Disney adults and i never thought this was possible.”

Miracles happen!

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