Is Disneyland “Family Friendly” during Gay Days?

A few years ago, we unknowingly scheduled our vacation to Walt Disney World during Gay Days. Since the Gay Days website published a calendar of which parks they would be in each day (that has since changed), we simply planned to go to a different park based on rumors I had heard that Gay Days were NOT family friendly. We didn’t notice any difference nor did we see anything unusual and our vacation proceeded as it always did. Was this, though, due to being in different parks each day or was there really nothing to see?

This past weekend, we did it again, accidentally, but at Disneyland, and this time, I decided that I would really pay attention to see if I could find anything that gave credence to the rumors.

First of all, it was glaringly obvious that Gay Days were happening while we were there. In both Disneyland and California Adventure, numerous guests were wearing bright red Gay Days t-shirts or similar bright red shirts. There were also a larger number than usual adult, male-only groups. There were also adult, female-only groups and mixed adult-only groups, but it is more unusual to see adult, male-only groups in the parks. While Gay Days is not an official Disney event, Disney had also gotten into the spirit with specialty rainbow Mason jar souvenir mugs, rainbow cookies, and a rainbow cake for dessert at one of the dining locations. If that hadn’t given it away, we also walked by the Gay Days Welcome Center at Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel & Spa.

Glaringly obvious does not mean negative or offensive, however. Imagine if there was a breast cancer awareness day and over 1/3 of the guests were wearing pink t-shirts and Disney had pink desserts and souvenirs with pink ribbons. It would be obvious but not negative or offensive. A similar thing happened at my first runDisney race. It benefitted Autism Speaks so there were numerous references to their logo puzzle piece. Again, obvious, but not offensive. This was the same. There were numerous guests wearing red t-shirts and references to rainbows, but nothing offensive.

Of course, what everyone seems really concerned about is PDA – public displays of affection. Purposely paying attention, I was actually surprised at how little PDA there was at Disneyland by any of the guests. I saw maybe two dozen couples holding hands, only one of which was two men and one of which was two women. I saw only two kisses in the parks. Both were brief and both were by young, apparently heterosexual couples. I saw one young woman sitting on another woman’s lap in a crowded, outdoor food court seating area, but even that was pretty innocent as they were both simply eating their lunch and may have just been friends making use of what few seats were available. Even on the dark rides, anything within view of the kids was Rated G.

I have also heard concerns of inappropriate clothing or dress during Gay Days. I didn’t see any signs of this whatsoever. In fact, other than those wearing the red t-shirts, those there for Gay Days easily blended in with the other park guests and I couldn’t tell whether most guests were there visiting like me or there for Gay Days.

All in all, I couldn’t find anything that would make me plan my vacations to say away from Disneyland during Gay Days. It was no different than any other time a convention is in the area and the parks weren’t even any more crowded than usual.  None of the kids in our party even noticed.

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