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On the cusp of being closed, Parliament House was purchased by Don Granatstein and Susan Unger, a heterosexual couple, who owned time shares in the Orlando area. They spent millions of dollars renovating the resort and rebuilt its reputation. 

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The Parliament House History

On the cusp of being closed, Parliament House was purchased by Don Granatstein and Susan Unger, a heterosexual couple, who owned time shares in the Orlando area. They spent millions of dollars renovating the resort and rebuilt its reputation.

With a clientele that ranges from circuit boys, to twinks, to bears, to muscle queens to the outrageous, to the neighbor next door, Parliament House has been an institution in Orlando’s gay community for 37 years. The 130 room motel and 10,000 square foot entertainment complex on Orange Blossom Trail is known worldwide for its Vegas-style drag shows (Footlight Players rock), it’s over the top theme parties (thanks Susan), Wanzie’s Broadway style productions and just being fun 7 days a week.

It was a pleasure to sit down and for a mini interview with Don and Susan as the P-House is celebrating their 37th anniversary.

What made you purchase the Parliament House?

Susan was the real reason behind our purchase of the Parliament House.  We were operating the Debbie Reynolds Hotel in Las Vegas at the time.  Being a part of the gay community there, we learned about the Parliament House through word of mouth.  We hopped a flight to Orlando to tour the property and purchased it soon after.

When you did purchase the property, what were your goals and have they all been accomplished?  What are your plans for the future?

We purchased the property in August of 1999.  The first thing we did was create the Courtyard.  It’s become the epicenter of the resort.  As for our goals, they have not yet been reached.  Our plan for Orange Blossom Trail is to turn it into a “gay mecca” of sorts.  Our master plan includes completion of The Gardens timeshare resort and the addition of the nation’s first gay country club.  We also have aspirations of opening a gay retirement community right here in Orlando.  Because of bankrupt lenders and a depressed economy, our plans were put on hold, however we are moving forward again and hope to start these projects very soon.

What has been your favorite Theme Party so far?

Our parties never cease to amaze me, but I guess I do have a favorite.  Every year The Orlando White Party has an energy and feel like no other. It’s a very special night. I look forward to that party every April.

How does it feel to be the most loved straight couple in Central Florida?

We aren’t straight, we’re Canadian!  All jokes aside, we are the luckiest couple in Central Florida.  The community has opened their arms and embraced us.  Our customers are family.

The 37th Anniversary Week of the Parliament House continues on Friday with their mini concert series featuring Skye Stevens singing his new single “Takes All Night” with no cover until 11 pm. Then on Saturday, July 28th, they bring you one of their famous theme parties this one entitled “Return To OZ’ starring the Footlight Players at 10pm and 12 am and a $300 costume contest for the Wizard of Oz, Wicked or the Wiz. Then on Sunday, end the 37th anniversary weekend with the largest T dance in Central Florida!

For more information go to ParliamentHouse.com

 

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