Since it’s opening in 1971, Disney World has been the destination of choice for children across the country and a surefire way for parents to create lasting memories with their family. But with the cost of a single-day’s entry now well over $100.00 per person and a youth population dispassionate about Disney’s antiquated brand of wholesome, non-virtual entertainment, the Park has been forced to cater to a once-fringe group of visitors: Nostalgic adult couples without children.
“For years we tolerated, but never really encouraged, adults without children to visit our parks. In truth, we were always very suspicious about the 20 and 30-somethings who wanted to walk around a theme park designed to entertain 5-year-olds. But now, god-bless-them, those millennial yuppies make up more than half of our daily visitors,” said Disney CEO Bob Iger. “We’re working very hard to make sure these adult visitors have an enjoyable experience and continue to come back to our parks.”
Disney has several new attractions in the works that it believes will appeal to nostalgic millennials, including reviving several “retro” attractions like the perpetually dull Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride and Figment’s Journey into Imagination. The Park has also entered into licensing agreements with non-Disney owned movie studios to create new attractions for its childless visitors, including a Wes Anderson inspired Christmas parade titled “The Royal Tenenbaum’s Tannenbaum” and a Donnie Darko themed space-time adventure called “Donnie Darko’s Cellar Door”. The Park will also completely replace Adventureland with a new themed area called “Portland.”
“I have so many great memories of coming to Disney World as a kid,” said 31-year-old season ticket holder Dr. Elise Hodgmen as she and her husband waited in a two-hour line at the Magic Kingdom’s new Craft Beer Pavilion. “I just wish there weren’t so many children around,” said the Miami-based medical records specialist after witnessing a nearby 6-year-old cry in fear from meeting a Disney employee dressed as “The Dude” from The Big Lebowski. “Uch, can’t its parents shut it up?” whispered Dr. Hodgmen to her husband. “I’d cry too if my parents put me on a leash,” he answered.
Responding to demands from couples like the Hodgmens, Disney will begin implementing age restricted weekends in 2017 with the hope of attracting more childless visitors to its parks. “Today’s young adults are really uncomfortable around children. We want to eliminate that as a reason not to enjoy our timeless brand of childhood entertainment,” said Mr. Iger.
The Plantain interviewed 10-year-old twins Kevin and Melissa Dubrow as they left the Magic Kingdom with their parents and asked whether they enjoyed themselves or were upset about the Park’s planned age-restrictions. “Our parents really over-hyped this place,” said Kevin listlessly. “It’s was really hot and crowded and took like two hours to get on each ride. We were here all day and only got to go on like 3 things.”
“Yeah, and the reception inside the Park was really terrible,” added Melissa without looking up from her phone, unaware of the sadness on her parents’ faces, both of whom had a great day and couldn’t wait to come back without the kids.