Dee-jays, pool parties, drag queens, bear gatherings and all of the entertainment Central Florida has to offer. It’s a big gay week in Orlando.
“For a lot of us, it’s our vacation,” said Kevin Daniel, a gay man and frequent visitor to the Walt Disney World Resorts.
Daniel and three of his closest buddies are planning to pile into his Chevrolet Cavalier and motor down from the Florida Panhandle for a weekend of fun and frolicking with fellow gays. Daniel said he loves Disney, and visiting the Orlando area theme parks during the first week in June guarantees bountiful gay options.
“We have a spectacular week of special events lined up all around central Florida,” said Chris Alexander-Manley, President of Gay Days.
Lines are typically part of the theme park experience in Central Florida, an area of the state with several huge entertainment complexes such as Walt Disney World, Universal Studios and Sea World. Ryan Burr, a friend of Daniel’s, said hanging out in the queue is half the fun.
“There’s a lot of cruising going on when you’re waiting for a ride,” said Burr, 35, a standup comedian from Ohio.
But gays giving each other the glare is what worries some conservative minded Floridians. In years past, the Florida Family Association paid for airplanes to fly over Orlando with banners reading, “Warning: Gay Day at Disney, 6/1.” Traditionally, gays have worn red colored clothing during their outings to the Magic Kingdom.
Billy Looper, Executive Director for One Magical Weekend, said the controversy has died down and with the event’s 25th anniversary comes calmer expectations.
“So the controversy is always with a select few who want to be visible, but it’s getting less and less and Disney and every other corporate sponsor is getting better and better to work with,” Looper said.
One Magical Weekend is a separate venture from Gay Days. But the two events coincide each year. A One Magical Weekend pass includes access to nine events. The action begins Friday with “Riptide” at Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon Waterpark.
“This sounds great,” Burr said. “There’s bound to be so many guys there showing off all their hard work in the gym. I just can’t wait.”
Burr said he had at least three swimsuits he was packing for the weekend, unable yet to decide just which one he would sport at Typhoon Lagoon.
“It will be a game day decision,” Burr grinned.
Those in Orlando this weekend will surely need to be at the top of their game as venues across the city cater to the gay market. At the Parliament House, a longtime gay hospitality destination, parties are planned throughout the weekend featuring celebrity performances.
Friday is Color Me Bad, Saturday is Wilson Phillips and Sunday is Salt-N-Pepa. Parliament House is celebrating its 40th anniversary and the Orange Blossom Trail venue is offering shuttle service to two of the other prominent sites this weekend. Those sites are B Hotel and Double Tree Hotel.
B Hotels and Resorts is part of the One Magical Weekend event. “Therapy” pool parties featuring the sounds of international dee-jays are scheduled during the day Friday, Saturday and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. at the Lake Buena Vista resort.
On Saturday night (7 p.m. to 2 a.m. EDT), June 6, Epcot takes center stage with “Red Version One: Unmasked” which carries a red clothing dress code.
For prices and a complete listing of events visit OneMagicalWeekend.com and GayDays.com.