In the 1990s, the inaugural Gay Days hit Walt Disney World Resort – thousands of members of the LGBTQIA+ community held an unofficial meetup at Magic Kingdom. Since then, Gay Days has become a fan-favorite event at Walt Disney World and Disneyland Resort.
Gay Days took over Walt Disney World Resort in June – Pride Month. Last weekend, thousands of LGBTQIA+ Guests and allies gathered for Disneyland Resort’s version of the unofficial fan meetup!
Reddit user u/BiAdventureTime shared photos of hundreds of Gay Days attendees in front of Sleeping Beauty Castle at Disneyland Park. The group is wearing its trademark red shirts, a tradition started in the 1990s so attendees could easily recognize other members of the LGBTQIA+ community:
Disney has long taken a progressive stance toward gay marriage and LGBTQIA+ issues. In the 1990s, before the Supreme Court legalized gay marriage nationwide, The Walt Disney Company offered gay and lesbian employees insurance for their partners.
This year saw The Walt Disney Company CEO Bob Chapek promise Disney Cast Members and fans that the company would stand firm in support of the LGBTQIA+ community. In February, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis introduced the Parental Rights in Education Act, also known as the “Don’t Say Gay” bill. Fans and Cast Members led protests around the country after public records revealed that Disney had donated to many politicians who sponsored the bill.
Disney released a statement on March 3 but didn’t directly mention the “Don’t Say Gay” bill, which was later passed into law. Fans again asked Chapek to condemn the anti-LGBTQIA+ legislation, and Pixar staff wrote The Walt Disney Company a letter asking the company to take a stronger stance against the bill.
One day later, Chapek called DeSantis to tell him that Disney did not support the bill, which was later passed. Disney also promised to pause political donations in Florida after donating $4.8 million to Florida campaign funds in 2020.
DeSantis said he warned Disney not to get involved in the Florida controversy, later introducing legislation to dissolve Disney’s Reedy Creek Improvement District. The bill later passed, meaning Walt Disney World Resort will not be in control of its own municipal services as of next year.
Other conservative Republican politicians like Senator Josh Hawley and Senator Marco Rubio publicly attacked Disney for its stance on the law and refusal to censor a gay kiss in Pixar’s Lightyear (2022). President Joe Biden joked that right-wing politicians wanted to “storm Cinderella Castle.”
Have you ever attended Gay Days at Walt Disney World or Disneyland Resort?