Gay Days Anaheim will be held this weekend, September 30-October 2.
Gay Days was established in 1997 by a small group of gay fans of all things Disney. A similar "unofficial" event is held each spring at Walt Disney World in Florida. The California event has grown to attract more than 30,000 GLBT people annually from throughout the state and the US. Attendees traditionally wear red shirts to identify themselves as GLBT, since Disneyland and its neighboring theme park — Disney’s California Adventure — will remain open to the general public during the weekend.
Besides all the fun the parks have to offer, two major dance parties are held during the weekend. "Wonderland" will be held the night of September 30 at Ralph Brennan’s Jazz Kitchen in Downtown Disney, with all proceeds from the event benefitting the Trevor Project. Academy Award-winning screenwriter Dustin Lance Black (Milk and the upcoming J.Edgar) will preside over the VIP room. On Saturday night, DJ Kimberly S and The Voice's Frenchie Davis will headline "Kingdom", Gay Days’ signature dance party at Downtown Disney’s House of Blues.
Recognizing the growing participation by lesbian women in Gay Days events, a Saturday ladies' night starring comedian Suzanne Westenhoefer will be held for the very first time. The weekend will also feature a first-ever lesbian lounge at the Anabella Hotel across the street from Disneyland.
Other special events planned include "An Intimate Conversation with Carol Channing", in which the 90-year-old Broadway legend will talk about her life and career at Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel on Sunday. Glee star and 2011 Emmy-nominee Dot Marie Jones (Coach Beiste) will also be on hand, hosting the VIP cocktail party on Saturday with Gay Days regular Bruce Vilanch. Plus, both days in the parks will feature gatherings only available over Gay Days weekend, including a group photo, a PFLAG luncheon, group meet ups at varying attractions, and many more events targeted to youth, bears, couples and Mouseketeers of every ilk.
Gays Days Anaheim are fun for all ages, and many GLBT couples with children attend. The weekend is filled with ice cream socials, scavenger hunts and other family-friendly events, not to mention the rides, parades and shows for which the Disney parks are famous. A new Little Mermaid ride at California Adventure will no doubt be a popular draw, as will the recently-revamped Star Tours attraction in Disneyland. Other highlights of the weekend include free gift bags at the Gay Days Welcome Center (located inside the Trillium Room of Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel), and a Gay Days Pin Trading event on Sunday.
A complete schedule of Gay Days events as well as tickets, discounted park passes and hotel rooms and, yes, official red T-shirts can all be accessed through Gay Days Anaheim website.
Review by Rev. Chris Carpenter, resident film critic of Movie Dearest and the Blade California.