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Disney Adults, Religion

Professor Defends ‘Disney Adults’ by Drawing Comparisons to Religion

Do you consider Disney to be your religion? Or do you just love Disney Parks and movies? To one religious studies professor, the two appear to be one and the same for Disney adults.

For context, we need to go back to a now-deleted AITA Reddit post, in which a recent Disney wedding couple questioned whether they were in the wrong for allegedly forgoing to serve food at their Disney wedding reception in favor of allocating their catering budget to booking an appearance by Mickey and Minnie (for about $5,000) instead.

disney-wedding-chapel

Credit: Disney Fairy Tale Weddings

However, it should be noted that the cost of dining is included in every Disney Fairy Tale Weddings reception package. Disney requires all food and beverages served during a wedding to be provided by Disney Weddings. There is no option to work with an outside caterer, and no option to forgo serving food at a reception.

In any case, the Reddit post has prompted discussions across social media on the topic, leading to one such response from a religion studies professor who in a Twitter thread attempted to defend “Disney adults,” by equating fans’ interest in Disney to a religious experience:

In the thread, Jodi Eichler-Levine outlines the elements that make up a religious experience and shows how similar feelings can be had by adults who enjoy visiting Disney Parks, and would ultimately make the decision to have a Disney wedding, and perhaps prioritize characters over food for their Guests.

In the Twitter thread, Eichler-Levine goes on to explain how things like Cast Members welcoming Guests home, and the ways that “Disney Adults” plan important life moments at Disney Parks and Resorts can be comparable to the community aspects of religion.

“Many of the Disney fans I have observed in person and online find immense meaning in the parks. People don’t just marry at Disney. They mourn lost relatives at Disney. They go to Disney to celebrate surviving cancer. They go there for one last trip before they die,” Eichler-Levine writes, “Religion is a way of making meaning in the world through stories and rituals. It is about a network of relationships with the human and non-human….It is about making homes and confronting suffering.”

mickey-minnie-castle

Credit: Disney

Of course, Disney fans everywhere have also taken to social media to share their thoughts on whether or not their fandom could be comparable to religion, and the reviews are mixed. Some Disney fans feel as though this comparison will only stir up continued negative views of “Disney Adults,” while others whether or not they agree, at least commend Eichler-Levine for her intentions.

What do you think? Is Disney similar to religion for you, or do you simply enjoy the Disney Parks and movies as you may also enjoy other hobbies?

About Brittany DiCologero

Brittany is a New England-based writer focused on the history of the Walt Disney World Resort. She is the author of "Red, White, and Disney: The Myths and Reality of American History at the Walt Disney World Resort," and "Brittany Earns Her Ears."