Disney World Gay Days Organizers Vow to Remain Visible, Even When DeSantis Makes It Dangerous

in Walt Disney World

Gay Day at Disneyland

Credit: Gay Day Anaheim

The annual Walt Disney World Gay Days took over Magic Kingdom Park last weekend, despite travel warnings from LGBTQIA+ groups and a slew of discriminatory laws from Florida Governor Ron DeSantis. But its organizers admitted it was harder to pull off than in years past.

Gay Days chief executive Joseph Clark spoke with The Washington Post this week about the challenges of holding the Pride Month event amid bathroom bills and book bans. As DeSantis continued to attack The Walt Disney Company after they spoke out against the Parental Rights In Education Act, known as the “Don’t Say Gay” law, it was harder to convince the LGBTQIA+ community to travel to Florida.

“For some, it’s the safety aspect; for others, they don’t want to spend money in a state that doesn’t support them,” Clark told the Post. “My message has been, ‘We need your help here in Florida.’”

A man in a red shirt holds a rainbow umbrella at Walt Disney World Gay Days.
Credit: Gay Days

Brandon Wolf, communications director for Equality Florida, agreed.

“The birth of Gay Days was really about being visible at a time when it was dangerous to be visible,” he said. “The same is true now.”

In the end, all Resort hotel rooms reserved for Walt Disney World Gay Days were booked. While some events, like Taste of Gay Days, were canceled – most went on. And those who attended? They didn’t regret it for a moment.

a couple shares a rainbow mickey rice crispy treat
Credit: Gay Day Anaheim

“We’re here because it’s Gay Days, it’s that simple,” said Mark Stegall, who attended the celebration with his partner, Robert Motz. “Disney welcomes everybody. Maybe the governor of Florida doesn’t, but Disney does.”

If you missed this year’s Gay Days, you don’t have to wait for 2024! Gay Days will return to Disneyland Resort in Southern California from September 22 to 24, 2023.

Have you attended Walt Disney World Gay Days? Share your experience with Inside the Magic in the comments. 

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