Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Gay Days at Disneyland + A Trip Report

Last weekend my husband and I had the privilege of taking a much-needed trip to the Disneyland Resort for our first wedding anniversary.  We hadn't been since New Year's Eve of 2010 and we were anxious to see all the new offerings that both Disneyland and Disney California Adventure had added in recent years.  This included the new areas of Cars Land and Buena Vista Street, and all of the Halloween decor.  We had the unique opportunity to see the Villains fireworks show, since it could not be presented during the ticketed Halloween Party event because of extreme winds.  Although at first I was disappointed to miss my favorite show "Remember, Dreams Come True," we did get to see it the following night instead.  We made some amazing memories riding the Lilly Belle car and meeting some great Twitter friends, while also taking time to just enjoy the parks and escape from reality.

Here are some photos I took during my trip: 

The beautiful and exclusive (yet attainable by the general public!!) Lilly Belle Car made for a memorable anniversary!

My husband and I had our first Dole Whips ever! I don't know how I ever passed this treat by, but I'm sure glad we finally did it.

We finally got to see the new(ish) Jolly Holiday Bakery, and had coffee there our last morning.  I thought it was very well done, with subtle tributes payed to one of my favorite Disney films, Mary Poppins.

The Red Car Trolley in DCA had all the charm of a Main Street vehicle, Railroad car, or any other relaxing transportation that may have once existed in Walt Disney's Magic Kingdom.  We quite enjoyed the atmosphere it helped to create and the ride it gave us down Hollywood Land.

The Court of Angels in New Orleans Square, which was scheduled to close the previous weekend and miraculously did not, was thankfully still open on our visit.  This was actually the last photo I took inside of Disneyland on our last night, and the very next morning I was dismayed to read that it had finally been closed off to the public.  I don't know how I got so lucky as to have had the chance to say goodbye to this peaceful area but I will never take that opportunity for granted.  

My husband I actually did not go into this trip knowing that this weekend was the unofficial "Gay Days" of Anaheim, but after a few hours it was hard to miss!  It was absolutely the coolest experience to see so much pride in the Happiest Place on Earth, and seeing couples who could enjoy the parks with the ones they love.  While Gay Days is an unofficial event, NOT put on by the Disney Parks, it was definitely obvious that Disney was happy to cater to this audience.  The parks were a sea of red (the color they are encouraged to wear while there) all weekend.

We turned the corner by the Rivers of America just in time to see this awesome sight.  I left the photo un-cropped so you could see just how crowded it was, as well as the reactions of the crowd, all wanting a picture of the Mark Twain dressed in red!

The merchandise stores had racks set up near the front with the following merchandise, anticipating that those celebrating their pride would want to display it in all Disney glory.  Pins, antenna toppers, bracelets, and red shirts with rainbow Mickeys were happily scooped up by many a park-goer I saw displaying these items.  

The above photo was taken from the highly recommended Dateline Disneyland.  Head over there for more pictures and information about this event!

There were also plenty of food items like rainbow-colored sugar cookies in display cases, which was another sign that Disney is extremely supportive of this event.

Along with all the happiness and camaraderie we witnessed, there were also a few instances of fan-made shirts that were less than appropriate for such a family-oriented place as Disneyland.  While I am a full supporter of the LGBT community and do not consider myself to be a prude, I do think there is a time and a place for outspokenness of sexual acts or innuendos, and that is not in a Disney atmosphere.  Some examples of phrases we saw on clothing were:
-"Free (mustache symbol) rides" 
-Two women with different shirts, one saying "I like to eat candy" and the other "I'm candy"
-"I want the D (written in the ever-tacky Walt Disney font)"
-"Keep calm and get kinky"

Once again, I don't want to limit expression but I also do not see how overly sexual messages on clothing is beneficial for this type of event in this type of setting.

Back on a positive note, I say to anyone who might be hesitant about this event that we witnessed more rude and distasteful behavior from heterosexual guests than from same-sex visitors!  I can't wait to see how this event evolves over time as LGBT acceptance and support becomes more and more prominent.  

I'll conclude by reiterating how extremely lucky I feel after looking back at this trip.  We just had the absolute best time possible with the days we had, and I obviously can't wait until our next chance to do it all again!

1 comment:

  1. Sounds like you had a great anniversary trip. Man, those Dole Whips look so good right now… I didn't partake on my last visit. I agree with you regarding the t-shirts… they don't offend me, but it does seem like it would be nice if they considered that they were at Disneyland. On the other hand, I was there on a non-gay day, and saw a shirt that said "Keep Calm and F*** Cancer". Again, not offended, but maybe not the shirt to wear at the park.