What is GayDays® Orlando?
GayDays® Orlando's Celebration is not a single-day event, it is the #1 premier LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer) vacation experience occuring over 5 days during the weekend in June. GayDays® is comprised of multiple events staged at world famous attractions, gay & lesbian nightclubs, and unique venues secured for the purpose of creating an inclusive LGBTQ atmosphere. Committed on diversity and inclusion, GayDays®welcomes young, old, all races and beliefs, parents, AA groups, straight allies and every other section of the community.
GayDays® began in 1991 as a single designated day (always the first Saturday in June) when the LGBTQ+ community and friends were encouraged to "Wear Red and Be Seen" (aka #RedShirtDay) while visiting the world’s most popular theme parks. From its beginnings (spearheaded by the LGBTQ+ Community) The Center, local activists, businesses, and the online friends (users of Compu-Who) with 3,000 attendees help created this one-day park visit has evolved into a week-long citywide celebration. The event offered guests round-the-clock activities, including multiple theme park visits, cocktail soirees, concerts, special events and a host of internationally renowned parties. GayDays® attracts over 180,000+ celebrants from across the nation and around the globe!
From the 2002 GayDays® Program
Since its inception in 1991, GayDays® has survived both criticism and indifference and has emerged as not just a survivor, but a winner. It's been attacked by the American Family Association, it's been besieged by undercover photographers attempting to covertly capture images of sexual misconduct in one of the favorite family playground, it's endured the dire prophecies of Pat Robertson, and it has suffered the indignity of signs at Disney entrances "warning" others of the presence of large numbers of gay and lesbian visitors. And for many years, it was pretty much ignored by the press and Orlando's hotel/motel industry.
Today, most of the controversy and apathy has disappeared. The protesters and the warning signs at the Magic Kingdom entrance have been replaced by smiling Cast Members welcoming GayDayS® visitors with unscheduled entertainment at the Castle Forecourt, expanded park operating hours, and a fireworks display usually reserved for the peak summer season and holidays. Hotels and motels all over Orlando are signing the "GayDayS® Friendly Pledge" and requests for interviews center around economic impact and entertainment value rather than conflict and comets from hell.
WHEN 1 GAY DAY BECAME "GAYDAYS®"
One sign of the event's refusal to die has been its relentless expansion. What began as a single-day visit to the Magic Kingdom has expanded to a weeklong vacation celebration attracting more than 150,000 GayDayS® revelers to more than 40 citywide events. Attendees from across the nation and around the globe will infuse an estimated $100 million-plus dollars into the local economy. Year after year, old events continue while new events and new life are added to this annual event. Local business and club owners add to the excitement with special nights and expanded entertainment options aimed at GayDayS® attendees. But the growth of the phenomenonal event was gangly and chaotic, with no central hub of activity, no GayDayS® information center, and most regrettably, no central agency to help visitors acquire tickets for the myriad of events. GayDayS® was gaining popularity, but it was getting more and more difficult to plan for.
WEB-BASED COMPANY NETS GAYDAYS® UNITY & ACCEPTANCE
When GayDayS.com launched in April of 1998, not only did GayDayS® Orlando gain an impressive state-of-the-art marketing tool, it acquired the first ever year-round staff of professionals dedicated to establishing GayDayS® as a fully recognized and respected addition to the Central Florida tourism and cultural calendar. In 1999, GayDayS.com/Gay Days, Inc., was added to the membership roster of the Orlando/Orange County Convention and Visitors Bureau (albeit with some hesitation by the OCCVB.) Now GayDayS.com is a member of VISIT FLORIDA, the state tourism agency. They are actively working to bring more GLBTQ tourism to Florida throughout the year. GayDayS.com is also a member of the International Gay and Lesbian Travel Association (IGLTA), the Metropolitan Business Association and is a registered seller of travel in the state of Florida.
GAYDAYS® WINS - - DETRACTORS RETREAT!