Orlando Florida’s Gay Disney celebration is not a single event; it is a total gay and lesbian vacation experience. Gay Disney is comprised of multiple events staged at world famous attractions, gay and lesbian clubs and unique venues secured for the purpose of creating a gay and lesbian atmosphere at Orlando’s greatest theme parks and at multiple parties occurring during this long weekend. There is young, old, all races and beliefs, parents, gay AA groups and every other section of our community attending Gay Disney each year.
Gay Disney began in 1991 as a single designated day (always the first Saturday in June) when the LesBiGay community and friends were encouraged to “wear red and be seen” while visiting the worldís most popular theme park. From itís beginnings (spearheaded by the GLBT Community Center, local activists, businesses and the online friends and users of Compu-Who) with 3,000 attendees, this one-day park visit has evolved into a week long, citywide celebration offering round the clock activities including multiple theme park visits, cocktail soirees, concerts and a host of internationally renowned parties. Gay Disney attracts over 135,000 celebrants from across the nation and around the globe!
Since its inception in 1991, Gay Disney has survived both criticism and indifference and has emerged as not just a survivor, but a winner. It’s been attacked by the American Family Association, it’s been besieged by undercover photographers attempting to covertly capture images of sexual misconduct in one of the most favorite family playgrounds, it’s endured the dire prophecies of Pat Robertson and it has suffered the indignity of signs at Disney entrances “warning” others of the presence of large numbers of gay and lesbian visitors. For many years it was pretty much ignored by the press and Orlando’s hotel/motel industry. Today, most of the controversy and apathy have disappeared. The protesters and the warning signs at the Magic Kingdom entrance have been replaced by smiling cast members welcoming Gay Disney visitors with unscheduled entertainment at the Castle Forecourt, expanded park operating hours and a fireworks display usually reserved for the peak summer season and holidays. Attendees from across the nation and around the globe will infuse an estimated $100 million plus into the local economy. Year after year, old events continue and new events and new life is added to this annual event. Local business and club owners add to the excitement with special nights and expanded entertainment options aimed at Gay Disney attendees.
There are 4 major groups that put on events and they are:
When GayDayS.com launched in April of 1998, not only did Orlando’s Gay Disney gain an impressive state-of-the-art marketing tool, it acquired the first ever year-round staff of professionals dedicated to establishing Gay Disney as a fully recognized and respected addition to the Central Florida tourism and cultural calendar. In 1999, GayDayS.com/Gay Days, Inc. was added (albeit with some hesitation by the OCCVB) to the membership roster of the Orlando/Orange County Convention and Visitors Bureau. Now GayDayS.com is a member of VISIT FLORIDA, the state tourism agency. They are actively working to bring more GLBT tourism to Florida throughout the year. GayDayS.com is also a member of the International Gay and Lesbian Travel Association (IGLTA), the Metropolitan Business Association and is a registered seller of travel in the state of Florida. The events that GayDays.com throws are dance parties with DJs from around the country, a fabulous expo, round up recovery meetings, free HIV rapid testings, a film festival, Girls at GayDays Literary Festival, girls parties, pool parties, seminars, comedy shows, an auto show, the bear dance EuFURia, black pride events, a bear pool party, the Miss Gay Days pageant and much more. For more information or to purchase tickets go to GayDays.com
Mark Baker started his career as an art director for TV commercials. He went to one of Jeffrey Sankerís parties and he thought he could do that, and although the first party didnít go as well as he expected he regrouped and came back strong. Mark started throwing parties in 1999 at Gay Disney (GayDay parties) and as we all know they became super successful. His events are basically big dance parties that put some of the top DJs in the world at the helm of the turntables. In 2005 Mark sold his Gay Day parties to Johnny Chisholm and after Johnny filed bankruptcy in 2009 Mark decided to come back to give the party ìcircuitî scene what they wanted. He has put together a full line up of parties including his famous pool parties, night time parties and of course the legendary after hours/morning parties at Arabian Knights. The roster of DJs Mark put together this year for his events are: Roland Belmares, David Knapp, Chus & Ceballos, Tony Moran, Paulo, Alyson Calagna, Abel, Hector Fonseca and Theresa. Markís host hotel is the newly renovated Hilton, which sold out on May 14th. To get on the waiting list e-mail Stay@hiorlando.com. For more information or to purchase tickets go to MarkBakerEvents.com
Lets Go Play is the†celebrated Typhoon Lagoon party held on the first Friday of June each year during Gay Disney Weekend. Thousands of guys and gals in swimsuits will dance and play the night away on Friday June 4th from 8 pm to 2 am to the music of DJ Lydia Prim with special performances by Debby Holiday and Francillia. A portion of the proceeds will benefit Broward House, Miracle Love, Inc. and the Hope and Help Center. For ticket or additional information go to LetsGoPlay2010.com
Girls in Wonderland
Pandora events joins forces with the National Center for Lesbian Rights, ProSuzy, My Lesbian Radio and Phishphest to create Girls in Wonderland, the ultimate experience for women heading up to Gay Disney Orlando this year. The girls have their own set of rockiní parties, hotels, music and comedy shows as Girls In Wonderland celebrates all that is Gay Disney once again this year. A stellar line up of the hottest girl DJs, hosts, comedians and more are hitting Orlando for all the magic including headlining comedians, Suzanne Westenhoeffer and Julie Goldman. From pool parties to dance parties, cocktail parties to live music, there is something for everyone. The girls even have their own exclusive host hotels with pool parties, celebs, games and more. Check out all the action at GirlsInWonderland.com
Many people and/or organizations have contributed to the incredible success and unprecedented growth of this wonderful vacation opportunity. Without every one of them, this phenomenon we call Gay Disney just wouldn’t be the same.
*Not an officially sanctioned Disney® Event