Millennial moms (born 1981-1996) are obsessed more than ever with Disney. It seems to be everywhere nowadays. Walking through a clothing store you might notice the Disney section in the women’s department is almost bigger than in the children’s clothing. Shirts, shoes, socks, and purses are just a few things you can find just about anywhere adult clothes are sold.
On a recent trip my family and I took to Disney World, the ratio of adult women to kids dressed up in Disney attire was about 50:50. T-shirts adorned with Disney characters were the uniform of almost every visitor who entered through the gates, especially the moms. Women of all ages were walking around the parks with Mickey/Minnie Mouse ears decorated in every color and occasion imaginable.
When I was younger my mom wouldn’t have ever thought to wear a Disney shirt. I don’t even think they made Disney adult women’s clothing back in the early ’90s. Tasmanian Devil t-shirts? Oh yes. Ariel t-shirts? Not even a thought. All Disney merchandise was geared towards kids.
Us millennials were born in the age of what was called the Disney Renaissance.
Big-hitting movies like The Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast, The Lion King, Aladdin, and Toy Story were all released during this time frame. Every child in America had at least heard of, if not seen, a Disney movie. Some of my fondest childhood memories revolved around going to the theater with my parents to see one of these. Or better yet, opening up a brand new VHS on Christmas morning featuring your favorite Disney characters. Movies, books, action figures, Happy Meal Toys, clothing, backpacks, shoes… all items you could buy courtesy of Disney.
Sadly, tragedy struck in the early 2000s: We grew up. The magical moments from our childhood didn’t translate over to our teenage years, and we were ok with that. The movies were released fewer and farther between, and less Millennial kids were going to the theaters. They had lost our business.
But then something big happened in 2012. Frozen was released in theaters, and we all know what a phenomenon that was! The interesting thing about it now is Millennials were moms. We were the first generation to really be able to pass on a love for something so commercial yet near and dear to us, and share our love and memories with a whole new generation.
Millennials were one of the first groups of kids to have a television in almost every household. Our parents didn’t have that. They didn’t get the chance to share with us their favorite shows with us like we can. With ’90s classics like Duck Tales, Tailspin, and Chip and Dale’s Rescue Rangers, Disney+ has now opened up a whole new way for us to share our beloved TV shows with our kids while reliving the memories of watching them ourselves. All of this is on-demand and on our time.
With everything going on that seems to keep further dividing us as moms, Disney is a unifying escape. It allows us to take a little time from everything going on to enjoy a mental break. Bright colors, catchy songs, and funny G-rated humor are all things that help lighten up the mood.
It’s amazing how my daughter looks at me when I can sing along with every word of Beauty and the Beast with her. She is in awe that not only do I know all the lyrics, but my voice impressions are spot on. When I tell her that I used to watch these movies when I was little, she gets the biggest kick out of it. But the best part has been seeing Disney through her eyes. She walked around Disney World like she had literally stepped into a fairy tale. She experienced the same things I did when I went for the first time and relives that experience with every Disney movie she watches.
Thanks, Disney, for allowing me to pass down that kind of wonder and awe.