Pride Month is officially upon us!
Everybody knows that Disney is the happiest place on earth. What people may not know, is that as an organization, the Walt Disney World Corporation has become a champion of inclusivity, a celebrator of diversity, and an advocate for families of all kinds.
As someone who identifies as LGBTQ+, it’s heartwarming seeing an organization like The Walt Disney World Company taking steps crucial to our continued fight for equality and acceptance.
For over 65 years, Disney has followed their code of The Four Keys: Safety, Courtesy, Show, and Efficiency. Just last month, in April of 2021, a fifth key was introduced to this code: Inclusion. The adoption of this new key includes enhancements and changes to the famous Jungle Cruise, and new attractions like Adventures with Princess Tiana. But Disney is also looking at other traditions, too – including the policies that guide their employees and park cast members. Disney’s new approach provides greater flexibility with respect to forms of personal expression surrounding gender-inclusive hairstyles, jewelry, nail styles, and costume choices, and allowing appropriate visible tattoos. They’re updating their company policies, not only remain relevant in today’s workplace, but also to enable their employees to better express their cultures and individuality while at work.
“Moving forward, we believe our cast, who are at the center of the magic that lives in all our experiences, can provide the best of Disney’s legendary guest service when they have more options for personal expression – creating richer, more personal and more engaging experiences with our guests.”
As an organization, it takes more than incorporating a rainbow into your logo for a few weeks a year: It takes change. It takes addressing the needs of minorities who are your employees and customers, and being an active ally to them! Disney has gone above and beyond in this respect, and that’s why I’m so proud to be helping people make their dreams come true by planning their vacations to all of the various Disney destinations!
What’s happening this side of the rainbow
Pride month in June usually brings many Disney events – both official and unofficial – to the LGBTQ+ community but sadly, the pandemic still lingers, causing all of them to be postponed this year. But don’t worry, they’re coming back and they’re going to be bigger and better than ever.
Gay Days, May 31 – June 2, 2022
Gay Days is probably the most widely known of Disney’s LGBTQ+ focused events, and for good reason: The event brings together over 180,000 LGBTQ+ individuals, for an epic celebration filled with pool parties, special events, and of course theme park days! While the specifics for next year haven’t been announced yet, booking is already getting underway. You can book your stay at the official host hotel, or stay at one of the many Walt Disney World Resorts to get as much of your Disney fill as possible.
One Magical Weekend, June 2-6, 2022
One Magical Weekend has also been bumped until next year and will take place immediately following Gay Days from June 2-6, 2022. Some of the events taking place during One Magical Weekend include the Riptide Party at Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon and the Red Vol. V VARSITY party at House of Blues at Disney Springs. Tickets for these events are already on sale at onemagicalweekend.com. The official host hotel is the Sheraton Lake Buena Vista Resort. As an avid traveler, I always find it’s great to be close by, but not in the heart of all the partying. There are many Walt Disney World Resorts, Disney Springs Resort Area hotels, and several Good Neighbor or Gateway Hotels to choose from. Almost all of them will keep you super close to all the action.
You can always extend your stay by a few days to get a couple of park days in! With new attractions opening all the time at all the Orlando theme parks, there’s always something new and fun to check out.
Since both events are a year away, it’s a little too early to book a Walt Disney World Resort, but you can always fill out a quote request form so that we’re ready to book and reserve your spot as soon as it opens.
October has a TON of exciting things happening at the Disney Parks, including the brand-new Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure, the EPCOT International Food and Wine Festival, the new Halloween themed After Hours BOO BASH at the Magic Kingdom, and of course the celebration of Walt Disney World’s 50th anniversary.
Although June is officially Pride month, Orlando Pride takes place in October, and 2021 marks the return of Girls in Wonderland and Come Out with Pride Orlando. It’s going to be a busy month so the sooner you book, the better!
The Girls in Wonderland Weekend, October 14 – 18, 2021
Loaded with pool parties, happy hours, a comedy show, and after-hours parties, this is an event that the female identifying folks don’t want to miss!! The host hotel is the Grand Orlando Resort at Celebration, where several events will be taking place, but I highly recommend tacking on a few extra days to stay at the Walt Disney World Resort! Tickets for events are available at www.girlsinwonderland.com
Come Out with Pride Orlando, October 9, 2021
The National Trans Visibility March will be taking place right before this year’s Most Colorful Parade! Over 5,000 trans and non-binary individuals and allies are anticipated to be making their way down the streets of Downtown Orlando. The March will make a powerful statement that the community is dedicated towards ending transphobia, discriminatory legislation and unjust policies
Of course, what’s Pride without a little merchandise to go with it?! Shop Disney has released some amazing new pride themed merchandise including pins, T-shirts, backpacks, mugs, plush toys, magic bands and a collectible key. You can peruse the whole collection at https://www.shopdisney.com/uniquely-disney/rainbow-disney/
Disney is donating part of the proceeds from every sale as part of their ongoing commitment to organizations around the world that support LGBTQ+ communities. You can learn more about this initiative and see the companies they’re supporting at RainbowdisneyCollection.com
This is a wonderful time to be visiting the Walt Disney World Resort, and I’m overjoyed by all the work being done both in front of, and behind the scenes to promote diversity and LGBTQ+ communities. I have several friends who are Walt Disney World cast members, and when asked how they felt about working for the company as an LGBTQ+ individual, one of them perfectly summed it up: “I am very proud to work for a company that recognizes and celebrates the diversity of its guests as well as its cast members. Celebrating with rainbows and pride merchandise is all you see from most companies, but Disney is truly one of the best places for a member of the LGBTQ community to work. With benefits – like paid education, family building benefits, child bonding time, and with Inclusion as one of its core business structure components – I feel that I am valued, and that my family is welcomed and celebrated the same as any of my colleagues. At Disney, we found our “Ohana”.”
This is the standard that more companies need to set, and the example that more companies should follow.
“All who come to this happy place are welcome”
Have a safe and happy Pride!!