Monday, June 4, 2012

Travels with Kevin Part 6: It's a Small World After All with Disney and Gay Days in Orlando

I have been away from writing for the last few days.  Last Thursday I went on vacation to Orlando, not simply for Disney, but for Gay Days at Disney.  Gay Days started in 1991, but my first time was this past year, it had been a long time coming, but I was excited to go with friend Clifton and his boyfriend.

Gay Days has a lot of different elements to it, there are aspects for everyone ranging from families and kids of all ages with a lot of fun events at the theme parks.  There are also events for bears, twinks, lesbians, and the circuit party crowd.   Apparently I stayed in what is referred to as the "circuit party hotel."  I love that I figured that out on, or was told that on my plane ride home.  The hotel I stayed at the Buena Vista hosted all of the after hours parties, from 2 am to 8 am (that's what the sign said at least).  i went on Sunday only because I need to experience it just once.  I felt as thought I had been transported to an episode of Queer as Folk, it was heavenly.

Now I would love to share every detail of my travels, but I think I will leave the details to the imagination.  What I can say that is night after night there was one party after another.  On Thursday I went with my Clifton, his boyfriend Travis and a bunch of other people to this tragically lovely bar called the Parliament House.  Parliament House is a club that is surrounded by this sketchy motel.  Imagine something like the Bates Motel or that hotel from the John Cusack film Identity.  Plop down a gay bar with a massive stage in the middle, and drag performances and there you have Parliament House.

Friday was a crappy rainy day, but luckily the rain died down for one of the most fun events of the weekend, which took place at Typhoon Lagoon.  Thousands of shirtless naked men come together to go on water rides, surf the wave pool, and dance their asses off in the sandy beaches. 

As the bad weather broke we went to the pool party at our hotel, later in the day because we needed to recover.  The mixture of the sun and fun bathing suits made for a great afternoon.  Later that night around midnight we hit up Universal Studios (my first time there ever) for two rides, Rockit, and The Mummy.  Universal and mark Baker did not just open the park late for this event, there was of course a DJ (who was unfortunately not very good), but it was a chill day.

On my last day I did it up big, forced myself to wake up early hit up a pool party at our hotel then went to Epcot where we hit up a few rides and drank around the world.  Margaritas in Mexico, grey goose in France, and Jack Daniels in the United Kingdom.  Thanks to Claudia' heavy pour in the UK I was incredibly happy with time I had spent there, and had not been to Epcot since I was 14.  One tiny mistake I will own up to was the I bought a shirt from Urban Outfitter which says "New York Fucking City" and I forget where I was because of comfort that surrounded me.  One of the folks working the Disney side of things from One Magical Weekend even gave me a shirt because he thought Disney was giving me a hard time.

Being at Gays transported me away from Disney machine.  I am incredibly appreciative to Disney and Universal, and the hotels for being so welcoming, but we make them tons of money.  Think about it, almost 200,000 LGBT folks with lots of disposable income.  How could they say no?  I think most people are surprised that Disney hosts an event as some would say "like this."  Disney is the home of the good natured children's and most families see this theme park and its representation as a beacon of wholesomeness.  LGBT can be wholesome (not many were this weekend), but this party and what Disney has done represents so much more to our culture.

Wearing that tank top was a happy accident because as I looked back it made me feel as though I was part of something bigger, and this massive organization opened their arms, and their hearts to make me feel welcome.  Do I need the Disney or Universal to validate me? No, but it feels as though there is something special about this weekend.  This was one of the most fun vacations I have had in a long time, and no doubt i will be back next year!

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