Disney Adults and Mental Health: Is There a Connection?

When you’ve got the flu, it’s easy to know what to do: Check into the doctor’s office, pick up your Tamiflu prescription, and give yourself some extra TLC. Physical illness is easy to manage. Mental illness…isn’t always so clear cut. Many people find it difficult to discuss, especially with such stigma attached. We do what we can cope with.

credit: itm

For a lot of people, that includes the Disney parks. I often hear, “Don’t you get tired of going to the same places over and over again?” They mean well, but they don’t quite understand it. It’s not about the place, it’s about the state of mind.

“Here you leave today and enter the world of yesterday, tomorrow and fantasy.”

Walt Disney World is, for many people, an escape from a world that is often too cruel. As one person so eloquently put it, “‘This is my happy place’ means something completely different when you’re struggling mentally.” Walking through the tunnel at Magic Kingdom and coming out onto Main Street, you can feel your weight lighten. it’s free.

disney mental health

credit: Casey Clarke

That’s why Casey Clark’s story is so impactful. She recognized this and took the plunge and moved 10 minutes away from Disney World to be in her happy place to reduce some of life’s troubles. “Ever since I was a little girl, I’ve dreamed of living at Disney World — not in a “I want to be a princess” way, but because it was a place where I could always feel free to be my most authentic self. ,” she writes, “It was at Disney World where I could leave my worries at home for the day and be a normal person.”

Cinderella Castle in the evening

Credits: Disney

Anyone who has ever struggled with depression or anxiety can relate. For me, it was my way of dealing with PTSD. When my newborn daughter died, I felt like I would never feel happy again. It was Cinderella who pulled me out of it and helped me see that there is hope. That’s why the sight of Cinderella Castle always makes me cry and why I wear the castle pendant around my neck. It’s to remind yourself, “It doesn’t matter how sad your heart is, if you continue to believe, everything you dream will come true.”

Casey Clark bravely told the world her story in an article on Insider. In her honest post, she says, “I’m not saying it’s all magic and pixie dust — although it is a lot of the time. I still have tough days, with depression keeping me stuck in bed as I go without showers.” and my apartment becomes a complete mess. But when I can muster up the energy to get out of bed, going to the park makes me yearn to go outside, socialize, and relax. , which I’ve found is very beneficial to my mental health.

He discussed the benefits of living at a Disney park that many of us enjoy but rarely recognize. “When I can muster up the energy to get out of bed, having a park to go to makes me yearn to go outside, socialize and relax, which I’ve found is very beneficial to my mental health, ” He said. Mental health experts agree that sunlight (vitamin D) is essential for mental health, so Clark may be on to something here.

Additionally, so-called Disney adults get a bad rap, but few people realize that we go to Disney parks not because we never grew up, but because the world forced us to grow up too much. At Disney World, that inner child gets a chance to run free. It’s what keeps so many Disney guests coming back and keeping the passion alive.

Disney skillfully creates an artificial world and tells a story in such detail that while living there, it’s easy to extract the cost. When I’m at Walt Disney World Resort, I don’t have to worry. I call it my “Disney bubble”. Once I walk through those iconic gates, nothing exists outside the Disney bubble.

While some may argue that this suspension of disbelief is not healthy, I would argue that it is important. Think about it, when you sprain your ankle, what is the recommended treatment? Get away from it all and rest.

Why would it be any different for mental health? I leave Disney refreshed and ready to productively re-engage in a world that only days ago stressed me to the point of mental paralysis. I’d say it’s perfectly healthy.

disney mental health

Credit: Jill Bivins

No, I honestly don’t believe the fantasy world around me is reality, nor do I believe I’m a princess in her kingdom—but pretending a little is certainly fun and if it makes me feel more balanced in the process. Being human helps…I call it a win-win!

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