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The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

Fit to be king
Lilli Dellheim, Special to the Hawk • July 13, 2024

The genius behind the release of Disney+

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Bringing young adults back to their childhood

As a communications major, I have been taught to consider the implications of major corporations owning digital content and overseeing the means by which we consume it. Therefore, I felt no particular pull to join the Disney+ phenomenon.

Disney+ felt like yet another powerful company abusing its power to repackage and sell us something we already had access to—it felt deceitful and very un-Disney.

I staunchly maintained this stance until I visited home for Thanksgiving break. Of course, the first thing my twin 7-year-old brother and sister wanted to show me was their new Disney+ subscription. My parents did not think twice before subscribing to the service.

“It’s an essential when you have little kids,” my stepmother assured me.

With my two mini-mes on my lap, temptation eroded my will and I launched Disney+ on our living room TV. Mere seconds into clicking through the options, as if a divine power had intervened to alter my negative assumptions about the service, there it was: “A Bug’s Life.”

This 1998 film was a prized VHS tape in the Lopez household when I was younger. It had somehow escaped my memory entirely until this moment. Without even consulting the twins, I selected it from the menu and said, “You guys will love this movie, I promise.”

Together on the couch, our 15 year age gap was rendered unimportant as we sat enjoying the same movie. For them, the entertainment of watching a new movie was enough to keep them still. But for me, rewatching a movie which had been a cornerstone of my own childhood, I understood how Disney has been able to evade the negative press of removing their content from all other streaming services.

Disney+ capitalizes on the unique power of nostalgia. Disney as a company has such an immense following due to their careful attention to detail, allowing them to capture, harness and recreate the magic of childhood innocence.

ILLUSTRATION: Kaitlyn Patterson ’20

I have noticed this has become especially important to my generation: the cuspers. Caught somewhere in between Millennials and Generation Z but unable to wholly identify with either, those who are born in the late 90s and early 2000s are effectively coined “the cuspers.” Our generation grew up at the same rate that technology rapidly advanced, making the gadgets we used as children now archaic. My little siblings will never understand the plight of the early 2000s kid rewinding a VHS tape.

Among the unique struggles of being a cusper, our generation is currently integrating into the job force and navigating college debt. Situating the release of the streaming service at the end of this decade, the power of nostalgia that Disney+ elicits is further heightened among the cuspers. It brings us back to the whimsy of our childhood that we often feel so far removed from.

It makes perfect sense that Disney+ is as popular with adults as it is with children. No one is too old for Mickey Mouse.

My generation’s kryptonite is nostalgia. We grew up surrounded by a rapidly changing social and cultural environment. Whereas other generations may find themselves easily categorical, it is hard for us to be definitively ourselves.

Significant societal changes and technological advancements over the past decade contributed to older generations misunderstanding our age group, alienating us in our most vulnerable years: the transition out of adolescence.

By culminating decades of Disney classics unto a united platform, Disney+, whether it was intentional or not, created what my generation needed most: a reminder to never stop enjoying what made you happy as a kid.

Though I want to be critical of Disney for pulling their content from various platforms, for now I will play the “broke college kid” card while I still can and use my parents Disney+ account to get me through the stress of finals.

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