Annabelle from Lillyringlet has been kind enough to Guest Post for me while I’m away.
Please go and check out her blog if you get a minute!
I love Disney – I love the music, colourful creature sidekicks and captivating storylines. The stories from the animation powerhouse invoke joy to millions around the world, they have won awards and yet they are still seen by many as for only children. Most of Disney’s fan base is in fact over 18 – so why is the stigma still there! Compared to 10 years ago, it is much better but still many people clearly see Disney animations as a form of entertainment either only for kids or something to struggle through as the kids enjoy it.
As a kid I did enjoy the films and certain characters but it is only now that I’m 27 that I can really enjoy a lot of the animations. I thought I would share my top 10 reasons to why I think Disney isn’t just for adults.
If you ever go to a convention you will find an array of people dressed as their favourite characters. While there are often little kids dressed as Disney characters, most Disney cosplayers are adults. Pinterest is full of amazing Disney cosplay outfits – it is because of the incredible characters and their outfits that so many people want to dress up like them.
While anime and cosplay have a much stronger connection in many people’s minds, when there are great Disney cosplays they go viral! Halloween 2013 a group of friends did Zombie Disney Princesses and within hours it was all over the internet! While there are some incredible anime cosplays that are truly spectacular (and award winning), it is the Disney cosplays that capture the imagination and media attention.
Now in the days of video sites like YouTube and Vimeo, there are parodies about everything but Disney is one that is always highly popular. There are rap battles, hipster Princess Musicals and even Google translated (and then back to English) versions of Disney songs. There is a thriving community and clear love of this content as they are very popular. On 17th March one of the most popular videos among all adults ages 18-34 is a Cinderella vs Belle rap battle, and yet it is not as popular among the younger audiences! Disney may have come into our lives at a young age but there is a demand from those of us who are still young at heart.
3. Disney Weddings
Did you know that you can get married at the Disney Parks? That’s right – you can get married in Cinderella’s castle and now they have even started an engagement service! While little girls may dream of their wedding day, these popular services are aimed at an audience old enough to tie the knot.
4. Disneyland California
I love Disneyland – though I have only been able to go to EuroDisney! The rides, the shows, the shops and the parades are thrilling but have you ever considered how many of the rides and events are aimed towards adults? I remember vividly how I was too small to go on most of the thrill seeking rides when I visited as a kid. This is the case with many theme parks but none more so than Disneyland in California – it is renowned for being the best park for adult fans. When Disney have designed one of its parks with adults more in mind, then why is it hard to consider that their films also have them in mind too.
5. Wreck it Ralph
Now a video game theme film may sound like a reason to why Disney films are just for kids, as video games also have a reputation among certain groups to be childish, and yet it is a great reason to why it is. While this film played on many modern video game themes, styles and characters, there were so many references to old characters and themes that only older gamers could love or giggle at. The use of these older video game references and characters are a clear indication of being a film not just aimed at the younger generation.
While there are other great films to point at with some under lying themes that might go over audiences under 18, such as the complex emotions of being a father in Finding Nemo, or how hard it can be to say good bye forever to friends like in Toy Story 3, Wreck it Ralph shows it through both the storyline, retro video game characters and maturity of the main characters. It is a film that even includes PTSD, a mental alignment only really otherwise covered in the Hunger Games or Forest Gump, and the impact this has on an individual character. While there is action and fun for the kids, there is so much more levels for an older generation to enjoy.
For Disney addicts like me, visiting the Disney Store has always been fun! Most of my bags are from this haven, as well as most of my mugs. Through the years I have collected lots of items, and while some of them may seem for those a lot younger than I, there are PJ’s, slippers, cookware and even purses that are aimed purely for adults.
In recent years Disney Store have reduced many aspects in their own stores but this is because they have found that they make more money selling licensing rights to the likes of Asda, Primark and Top Shop. There is now more adult Disney themed clothing than ever before!
Yes I do have the big fluffy cuddly toys, character notepads but I also have bags, purses and clothing that fits a size 14 me.
7. Disney Cakes
Merchandise doesn’t seem to be the only thing people can’t get enough of, so Disney have started a magazine on how to create Disney theme cakes and sweets! Again, this may seem like this is aimed towards kids on the surface but when you actually delve into the magazine it is clear that this is aimed towards adults with the complex designs and skills needed – there are even recipes that state how to make them child friendly.
Mix the UK’s growing love of baking and with constant love of Disney, this is a perfect piece of evidence to the thriving adult fan base. I’m addicted to the wonderful silicon Disney character trays that I have collected but the Minnie Mouse moulds are still my favourite.
There are nearly 150,000 different Disney related items on Etsy – and that only includes the ones labelled with Disney! You can order everything from Little Mermaid aprons, Sleeping Beauty crowns to personalised Disney themed artworks. While there are some items for children, the majority of the items available to buy are aimed at adults. It paints a clear picture that there are thousands of keen adult crafters and a clear demand for these products!
On top of all those very gifted crafters, there are thousands who are not selling their items and keeping them – like me! After tracking down some Disney fabric I have been able to create an amazing skirt! When you add together the amateurs, professionals and official merchandise out there – that is a lot of products being made and sold worldwide.
This echoes on Pinterest, which is mainly used by people aged 25-45 – this social media platform is full of unique Disney products and crafting ideas beyond the grasp of younger audiences.
9. Adult references
Now when I say adult references, I am not saying that Disney is vaguer in anyway but that they often put in funny lines that only adults might understand from person experience. My favourite is from the Emperor’s New Groove where Kuzco when walking past a row of potential brides
The other memorable moments include, in Ratatouille when there is talk of getting too familiar with vegetables, Genie’s quip about how he thought “the earth wasn’t supposed to move until the honeymoon.” and Meg’s reference to
Skinner: “What are you doing in here?”
Linguini: “I’m just familiarizing myself with, you know, the vegetables and such.”
Skinner: “Get out! One can get too familiar with vegetables, you know!”
While small snippets of humour filled lines may be an obvious strand, it is the complex underlining of many of the stories that we love and adore. Many people know how The Lion King is based on Hamlet, but they often miss the subtle points to Shakespeare such as Timon’s “What’s in a name?” reference to Romeo and Juliet. What about the manipulative Iago from Aladdin who shares characteristic traits (and name) as the one from the great bard’s Othello? With films using complex narratives as a “Whore of Babylon” by Frollo in The Hunchback Of Notre Dame as he struggles with his urges towards Esmeralda or Ursula’s comment of “body language” being a way to win over a man (complete with sexualised side thrust) – Disney films are films with complex layers and can be enjoyed by all ages.
10. Once Upon a Time
Still not convinced – then you might have overlooked ABC’s series Once Upon a Time! As ABC are owned by Disney, they take on the classic fairy tale stories. If you haven’t seen the series, it may be that you feel it might be too childish like your opinion of the films many of the costumes and stories are based on. You are very wrong – in this series, even in the first series, you see the complex and very adult issues of affairs, warring parents, small town politics and betrayal. It may not have nudity, or violence like other series covering similar themes, but it manages to mix storylines and characters that youngsters and adults can enjoy on different levels.
With one of the main characters having his adoptive mum also being his step great grandmother, whose mother had an affair with his grandfather… it is not a series that can be fully followed by children and yet it has a huge following! One of the couples in the show has reach the final two in Entertainment Today’s search for this year’s TV show couple of the year! Fan’s coo over the use of updated versions of their favourite Disney outfits but also the twisted nature of many of their stories – there was a flurry when fans found out that they had made Mulan fall in love with Sleeping Beauty, or how Snow White was having an affair with Prince Charming!
Death, betrayal, topics and jokes that only adults will understand on top of the very revealing outfits makes this a wonderful series for avid Disney fans older than the traditional demographic.
Disney is where it is today because unlike many other animation studios that have come and gone, they have been smart enough to capture young and older audiences in the same film! Their films wouldn’t be so popular if the parents really didn’t want to sit through them! I know as a kid I had that issue with some of the Warner Bros films – they held no interest with my parents so I would have to wait until they were on VHS and buy them with my own money.
Disney has evolved in recent years, having realised the potential of older fans, and it getting bigger because of it. They are redoing some of their classics, such as Sleeping Beauty and Cinderella which are much darker – adults are the ones behind the buying power after all!
So enjoy Disney, and if anyone calls you a kid for being a Disney addict, just point to the deeper themes and basis for the stories as you will probably find it a lot more refined than those drooling over most chic flicks and soaps. Just saying – Disney rules!
Once again, please check out Lillyringlet to read Annabelle’s blog!