Picture this: You’re wrapped up in a fluffy blanket, a mug of hot cocoa in hand, Christmas lights glowing on your wall and a Christmas special of "Hannah Montana" is playing on the television. You follow that special with "Good Luck Charlie: It’s Christmas" and finish it off with "Mickey Mouse: Once Upon a Christmas."
Everything about this picture points to the early 2000s, but it’s not. It’s 2019 and you’re less than a month away from a brand-new decade.
Disney+ was released on Nov. 12, and while its target audience may have been kids between the ages of 3 and 13, the all-things-Disney streaming service can be found on the TVs of college students across the country. You may be thinking, “Sure, it’s fun to relive your childhood a little bit,” but to us, it’s so much more.
For a generation that grew up in the warm embrace of Disney, the icy claws of adulthood are a lot less inviting, especially approaching a new decade. A decade that, for anyone born in 2000, means the start of our 20s. The start of sitting at the “adult table” at Thanksgiving and actually enjoying it. The start of realizing we sound just like our mothers.
We’re on the cusp of someday saying, “When I was your age." While that one may be a bit farther out, the start of a new decade means the end of our childhood.
Not if Disney has anything to say about it.
“These movies and shows that are on Disney+ take us back to those times when life was a whole lot simpler,” sophomore Destiny Fonseca said.
I remember when watching Alex Russo fight for her werewolf boyfriend Mason on "Wizards of Waverly Place" was the epitome of true love. Now the realities of dating in 2019 hit me hard like a wrecking ball, to quote post-Disney Miley Cyrus. Who wouldn’t want to crawl back to Phineas and Ferb’s backyard where our biggest concern was, where is Perry?
That being said, what is the impact of delving so deeply back into our childhood in the form of hours of binging?
“There is a lot of stress on our generation as a whole to achieve a higher education which seems to have had a catastrophic effect on our mental health, with other contributing factors as well,” said Fonseca. “But with Disney+, if we are able to go back and revisit a time when we were happy and stress-free, it could allow us to have that escape we need just to get us through the day.”
It may come with some disconnect and maybe even lead to some emotional backtracking but it’s no different than the occasional glass of Martinelli's Sparking Cider after a long day. It makes things just a bit more manageable.
While Disney+ holds a special place in the hearts of young adults, it definitely doesn’t fail to touch everyone. Even people who’ve had a real job and a functioning bank account for years can find something from their childhood in the “Out of the Vault” section.
“Since Disney has been so transgenerational, every person has a Disney movie that has a connection to them,” junior Kelli Taylor said.
Disney+ gives us the potential to keep those connections going as we now have a record of every Disney movie to pass on to the next generation.
“I have always wanted to show all the original Disney movies to my children and once we started losing all the VHS tapes and scratching the CDs, I started to lose hope that my kids would ever have the same experience I did growing up,” Fonseca said.
The same movies that made childhood so magical and adulthood so tolerable will now fill our own children’s worlds with glossy animation, a lifetime of happiness and, eventually, their own glittering nostalgia.
“Awe, cute, memories,” a sentiment expressed by Taylor, perfectly encapsulates the feelings surrounding the release of Disney+.
While it may not be the most “responsible" thing to do, I recommend slapping a Hannah Montana wig on your adult problems for one night and getting back to your Disney roots.
The early 2000s are calling your name and, for the sake of your well-being, I think you should answer.