You Will Always Go Back to Disney

Remember that time of your life when Disney wasn’t ‘cool’ anymore? Well, look at you now…

Anthony Wolf
Jan 6 · 5 min read

You know, a part of me kinda hates Disney. It is a relentless machine, blatantly trying to take advantage of my childhood to spill money out of my wallet. A part of me doesn’t want to love Disney. But then again, if that’s true, how come my heart still melts at each new Disney movie?

I think you will always go back to Disney. You just can’t help it.

Perhaps there were times in which I strode away from the Mouse. It was all temporary, of course. Back when I was roughly 13, social networks were about to boom and digital data became increasingly relevant in people’s lives — but that did not mean people would stop being… well, people. If you started horsin’ around in the Nineties like me and Bojack Horseman, chances are you’ve had to survive your teenage years at a pretty turbulent time. All of a sudden, Disney wasn’t cool anymore. You had other interests, you were a grown-up.

And then, one day, you realised the same things that made you laugh as a child could now move you to tears.

Photo by Travis Gergen on Unsplash

You will always go back to Disney. It is what happened to me.

Why do I love Disney so much?

It isn’t a matter of age. You will always go back to Disney because you couldn’t live without those stories. Perhaps you wouldn’t even be who you are, if it weren’t for them.

Who taught you how to learn from your past when everything seemed lost? Who taught you how to open your heart to a new friend? Who taught you how to step out of your comfort zone and take a risk, facing life with a smile on your face?

It would be pretty difficult to name just one example for each of these cases. And yet I’m sure that, while you were reading the last paragraph, you could all think of at least one Disney example at each sentence.

You will always go back to Disney. Because those childhood stories have been sticking with you for a lifetime and show no sign of backing down. They were there when you lost someone you cared about, or when you had to step up and walk out of your personal sea, like Ariel did before you.

Disney stories and characters never leave. And that’s because you don’t want them to.

Why do I care about Disney characters so much?

Deep down, most Disney fans don’t really, really care about Disney itself — they care about Disney characters, which in turn are what breathes life into the brand itself. Those childhood heroes build long-lasting relationships with viewers and are what Disney fans will remember as they walk out of the cinema or turn off their screens.

You will always go back to Disney because all of those characters feel extraordinarily human. And Disney itself knows it pretty well. In a world where even lions have human flaws such as jealousy, envy and fear, how could you not empathise with a little feline cub who just lost his father?

Not to mention they all want something so badly you can’t help but relate. Because we all want something in life, we all have desires and dreams, and Disney stories teach us that dreams can come true. Which, cheesy as it may sound, is exactly what we all want to hear.

There is nothing malicious in that, on Disney’s end. I think they truly believe in what they preach. Walt Disney himself believed dreams should always be chased. And you will always go back to Disney because you know that very well too.

But here’s the thing. Maybe you don’t really miss Disney, every time you go back to rewatch one of those films.

Maybe what you truly miss are those particular days of your childhood, when Disney still felt as real as the world outside.

Why do I miss my Disney childhood so much?

Thinking of Disney brings back childhood memories. Some of them are painful, others are pleasant to relive in your mind— either way, we’re all eternally attached to them.

Some people believe we all strive to go back to our most primordial self. It was Citizen Kane’s point, after all — that everything we do can be traced back to that one happy or traumatic moment in our childhood.

If that’s true, then I guess Disney is my secret trove. It is my comfort zone, my safe place, my way to remember the people I loved and the ones who are still with me. My way to push through difficult times and never give up, no matter how hard it may appear.

There are many treasures untold in this cave, and I do not know how many wonders can one cavern hold. But I know that I will keep coming back to Disney, no matter how old I turn.

Because the real world outside is much scarier than it seemed when I watched Aladdin or Hercules in my little bedroom. And sometimes, not always, I just need to slow down and take a quick break from it all.

Anthony Wolf

Written by

Penniless sitar player, 2-bit fiction writer. He babbles about storytelling, video games and cinema. And Disney. Lots of Disney. | Writing for The Startup.

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