Disgruntled families claim childless adults 'ruining' Disney World should be 'banned'

Earlier this year, Ollie and I walked into Disney World Orlando in the Mickey and Minnie Mouse ears we had bought specifically for the occasion.

We were filled with joy. Not because we were mother and young son, enjoying a first and seminal visit to the Magic Kingdom. But because, at 37 (him) and 35 years old (me), we were embarking on our honeymoon: a 14-day adventure that included seven days at Disney World's four parks, followed by a road trip to Miami and Key West.

Having both visited as children with our families, it felt fitting to go back as we started our married life together. And following a stressful period that saw us start new jobs, plan a wedding, move house and change city, we simply needed to have a good time and let off steam. What could be wrong with that?

A lot, apparently. As we discovered the hard way, everyone seems to have a firm opinion on whether childless adults like us should be allowed to enjoy Disney World.

Were we met with strange looks when we told our friends we were spending a week hanging out with Donald Duck? Absolutely. One colleague actually screamed out loud in horror on learning that, rather than lounging on a Caribbean beach for a fortnight, we would be meeting our favourite characters and enjoying the amusements.

Others agree. Last weekend, the debate went viral after a Facebook rant by a stressed-out mother, who raged that the Florida resort should be for families only - no childless millennials allowed.

"DW is a FAMILY amusement park!" she wrote, adding later, "DW is for CHILDREN!!!! People without CHILDREN need to BANNED!!"

The woman claimed that adults who visit without offspring make the experience more difficult for families, after her three-year-old son had a tantrum when she told him they couldn't wait in a long queue for a pretzel. Charmingly, she also accused young women of wearing "slutty shorts", and finished the post with a series of furious emoji to drive the point home.

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Photo: Alamy

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The New York Post followed up with an opinion piece entitled, "Sorry, childless millennials going to Disney World is weird". Writer Johnny Oleksinski claimed that the problem with "letting a kids' brand control your adult life" is that it leads to "stupidity" and "culture ignorance".

He added that millennials are in an unhealthy relationship, "having granted control of so much of their leisure time and personality to a single, enormous corporate entity meant for children."

Ouch.

Visiting Disney World is just the latest on a list of things we millennials are being told off for. My generation is, if recent reports are to be believed, work-shy, over-sensitive and so keen on avocado that we would happily choose it over saving to buy a house.

Perhaps it's hardly surprising, then, that we are using innocent pastimes as a pressure-release valve. Adult colouring books are huge, especially since it emerged they are favoured by the Duchess of Cambridge. Last year, Lego launched a campaign targeted at "stressed-out millennials", encouraging us to find our "Zen" by slotting the plastic bricks together. Going on holiday to Disney World is just another way of harnessing that innocent nostalgia to de-stress.

It stands to reason that among the resort's 52 million annual visitors will be young adults who watched the films and TV channel growing up. It is a cultural touchstone for most millennials. Why must they have children of their own to continue enjoying something that has brought them pleasure for decades? Are we to be banned from going to the cinema to watch the The Lion King remake, too?

Forget Ibiza or Las Vegas - nothing beats Disney World with a disposable income. And the economic reality is that we childless adults are contributing to keeping the parks in business, so they are still there for families to enjoy. While I might not yet have children of my own to share it with, it certainly doesn't mean that I'm ruining the fun for anyone else.

And we definitely had fun. We went on the Frozen ride holding frozen margaritas. We stayed out late to watch the fireworks every night. We did what we wanted, when we wanted. How often can stressed-out young people say that?

Of course, we are looking forward to going back with our own children one day; it will be a magical experience to see Disney through their eyes. Will I glare resentfully at any young, childless couples ahead of me? Quite possibly. But banning them from the "happiest place on Earth"? That's just wicked.

The Telegraph, London

See also: Tourist banned after punching Disney worker

See also: No, I'm not giving up my window seat so your family can sit together

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