DeSantis, Nazis Scare LGBTQIA+ Guests Away From Disney World

in Walt Disney World

gay pride parade with LGBTQ Disney cast members

Credit: National Geographic

Walt Disney World Resort has long been a safe haven for the LGBTQIA+ community. Going back to the 1990s, community organizations hosted unofficial “Gay Days” at Magic Kingdom, later extending the event throughout the four Central Florida Disney Parks.

The Walt Disney Company mostly returned that support. Though they initially warned other guests about “homosexuals” gathering at Walt Disney World Resort, the House of Mouse provided insurance for Disney Cast Members’ civil partners before same-sex marriage was legalized long before other corporations. Despite conservative protest, Walt Disney Studios added LGBTQIA+ representation to films starting in the mid-2010s.

Former Disney CEO Bob Chapek reaffirmed the company’s support for the community in 2022. Directly defying a warning from Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, the executive publicly disavowed the Parental Rights in Education Act, popularly known as the “Don’t Say Gay” law.

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis in front of an American flag.
Credit: Ron DeSantis

Though it resulted in numerous legal battles between DeSantis and Walt Disney World Resort, Disney stood by its stance. They released their first “official” Disney Pride merchandise collection later that year, donating proceeds to LGBTQIA+ charities. Disney Cast Members marched in more than a dozen Pride parades worldwide. Pride Month murals became permanent installations at Walt Disney World Resort.

Current Disney CEO Bob Iger publicly reaffirmed the company’s pro-LGBTQIA+ stance numerous times and backed a lawsuit against DeSantis. But some LGBTQIA+ guests are hesitant to visit Walt Disney World Resort, especially after Saturday’s Neo-Nazi protests.

“I booked a trip to Disney World almost a year ago and now the timing is quickly arriving, I’m concerned about the current political climate in Florida with regards to LGBTQ+ families,” Reddit user u/Randomvicgirl wrote. “We are huge Disney fans and we were exciting to experience our little ones first trip but we’re feeling nervous now especially since Canada issued a travel advisory this past week for LGBTQ+ travellers to certain states.”

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

Disney Parks fans were empathetic to the family’s concerns.

“Literal Nazis are right at the front gates of the resort at the moment,” said u/BroadwayCatDad.

“All these comments talking about how safe it is but interesting how literally no one is mentioning the ACTUAL REAL LIFE NAZIS protesting at the gates,” u/FairoyFae agreed. “Literal f**king Nazis. OP isn’t being dramatic or crazy for being concerned.”

But others assured the family that Walt Disney World Resort is safe for families of all kinds.

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

“I’m gay, here right now and two other times in the last 4 months, and absolutely yes,” u/Savings_Spell6563 replied. “While there are definitely a lot of intolerant people visiting Disney (because all types of people from everywhere do), it’s generally a great place for LGBTQ+ people to be.”

“We are at WDW right now and it is absolutely safe,” u/courts1024 said. “You will also notice while you are on property Disney doubling down against the FL politics – we have seen LGBTQ+ supportive art and merchandise throughout the parks.”

Notify a Disney Cast Member if other guests make you feel uncomfortable or harassed during your Walt Disney World Resort vacation. The Disney Parks don’t tolerate behavior that makes anyone unsafe.

Do you feel safe visiting Magic Kingdom Park, EPCOT, Disney’s Hollywood Studios, Disney’s Animal Kingdom, and Disney Springs? Share your thoughts with Inside the Magic in the comments. 

Please note that the story outlined in this article is based on personal Disney Parks Guest experiences. No two Guest experiences are alike, and this article does not necessarily align with Inside the Magic’s personal views on Disney Park operations.

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