Pride is coming back to Central Florida, and no one, not even Governor Ron DeSantis, is raining on this parade.
Right now, the country is engaging in some major political arguments over the LGBTQ+ community. Much of the argument is centered in the state of Florida, where Gov Ron DeSantis is making waves for his controversial stances on the LGBTQ+ community. His “Don’t Say Gay” bill has caused national outrage from the LGBTQ+ community and their allies. Many people are encouraging LGBTQ+ folks to stay out of Florida for safety during the current political climate.
Despite these current events, the LGBTQ+ community is still coming to Orlando to celebrate a decades-old Disney tradition, Gay Days.
Gay Days, a Walt Disney World Tradition
Every year, thousands of LGBTQ+ people flock to Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida, for Gay Days. Gay Days is an annual event held at the Walt Disney World Resort where LGBTQ+ people and their supporters come from all over to celebrate Pride in a safe and welcoming environment.
The first Gay Day at Walt Disney World was held in 1991. It was not an official Disney event – in fact, Disney officials had no involvement in the planning or organizing of the event. The event was mostly promoted by word-of-mouth throughout the community. Since then, Gay Days at Disney World has grown to become one of the biggest LGBTQ events in the world. Many fans feel that this celebration is a way of celebrating the years of childhood they lost due to homophobia.
In the first year of the event, Gay Day only saw around 3,000 participants. The group wore red shirts to be able to recognize each other in public. By 2010, the week-long events had around 150,000 LGBTQ+ people and allies in attendance. The event also has seen popularity at Disneyland Resort in Anaheim, California.
Gay Days at Walt Disney World is comprised of several events that take place throughout the Disney World Resort. The theme parks – Magic Kingdom, Disney’s Animal Kingdom Park, EPCOT, and Disney’s Hollywood Studios – are all included in the celebrations. There are also events held at Disney Springs, the non-theme Park shopping and dining district within Disney World. Pool parties and drag shows are also held at local hotels. The magical part about Gay Days are that they were created and remain to flourish because of Disneys LGBTQ+ fans. The Disney community has been a safe-space for this community for decades.
Pride Finds a Home at Walt Disney World
Many fans feared that Pride would not continue on as normal due to the political issues in Florida. Now that June is here, it is clear that is definitely not the case. This weekend will certainly see lots of Disney pride festivities at the Walt Disney World Resort.
This year’s Park Gay Days are at Walt Disney World’s Hollywood Studios on Friday, June 2, Magic Kingdom Park on Saturday, June 3, and EPCOT on Sunday, June 4. Participants are encouraged to wear red shirts alongside any pride gear.