I’ve historically been pretty meh on Disney, but Brad and his family are way into it. So, having two kids and not being a monster, I’ve decided to get all the way onboard. It’s too crap to be rolling your eyes while everyone around you is awake with wonder. Alllll riiiight, I can be joyful. Let’s do this!
Anyway, in the few times we’ve been, I found my thing. Subcultures. Disneyland has a bunch of happiness-based subcultures. They are amazing, and there are too many to count. I love them so much, I feel slightly hectic about it.
Anyway, three of the most interesting subcultures are: social clubs, superfans, and “bounders.”
Folks in Disney Social Clubs often travel in packs, and wear matching jackets or vests, like a ’50s-era biker gang whose members are all about cartoons.
Some of them cover their vests in enamel pins, sort of like what you’d see at political conventions. Lots of them also have Disney tattoos.
They’re usually (always?) locals who have annual Disneyland passes. If you’re not used to large groups of people with tattoos, I should say these folks are very, very nice. Imagine the kind of adults you know who might form a club based on their affection for an anthropomorphic mouse. They’re like that.
Some people who come to the park are into Disney cosplay. Sort of like little girls who show up to Disneyland in a full Elsa costume, except grownups.
Disney technically doesn’t allow grownups or teenagers into the park if they’re in costume — which means no wigs or props, nothing too spot on. They don’t want some rando coming in dressed as a grotty Captain Hook, because he wants to take photos with little kids. And legit on that, Disney. High fives.
Superfans get around this rule by dressing “referentially.” So they can’t be mistaken for an official Disney character, but they also can’t leave the park and bite into an apple without falling unconscious. As it were.
And here’s the one that really has my heart, “Disney Bounding.” Disney Bounders make a distinction between cosplay and being Disney Bound, as outlined in this video. They are rules followers whose love of Disney is too strong for them to stop wearing costumes to the park simply because they’ve reached adulthood. Allow me to sum up:
If you’re wearing an outfit that references a Disney character, but doesn’t read as a costume outside the park — or sometimes to half the people in the park — that’s Disney Bounding. It’s actually called “Bounding,” because be cool you guys.
These costumes are a little magical to me, because the best ones take an imaginary world and express it in a tangible way.
They’re a big wink to people who know to look for it, but you can still go out into the real world afterward without being like, “I AM WHIMSICAL! ACKNOWLEDGE MY WHIMSY.” Also, no one mistakes you for a pedophile, which? Favorable side effect. You can usually tell who these people are because they’re wearing color in unusual combinations.
Interesting, eh? I’m so into it.
Anyway, would you ever wear a Disneybound outfit if you were going to a park?
Sure, you say. You can think of no reasons not to. Shhhhhhhhhh. Wear this polkadot hair bow I got you. You look real cute.