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More than 150,000 make annual ‘Gay Days’ pilgrimage to Orlando

Sunday, June 3, 2012

ORLANDO, Fla. — More than 150,000 gays and lesbians and their families descended on Walt Disney World and surrounding theme parks this weekend for the 22nd annual “Gay Days” events, an annual pilgrimage that contributes an estimated hundreds of millions of dollars to the Orlando-area economy.

A sea of red shirts took over Walt Disney World’s Main Street on Saturday, and travel groups agreed that the more red you see, the more green the city makes, reported Central Florida News 13.

Orlando Gay Travel.com estimates that the theme parks alone make more than $13 million this weekend.

File photo.

In addition to the red T-shirt day at the Magic Kingdom, the “Gay Days,” which kicked off last Tuesday and concludes today, included expos, parties “and a lot of money being spent,” event officials said.

“We’ve heard that they estimate about $600 million put out by this event. All the bars, and restaurants and Orlando premium outlets have been with us for nine years, and they said they see about a 350 percent increase in sales,” Gay Days President Chris Alexander-Manley said.

Not everyone has welcomed “Gay Days” to Orlando with open arms.

Again this year, the Florida Family Association planned to protest the Disney event by renting two planes with banners to warn families and condemn the “public promotion of homosexuality.”

The planes were rented via Florida Family Association supporters who donated $12,800 for the fly overs.

In a statement, the Florida Family Association said: “We want to warn families before they expose their children to Gay Day’s same-sex revelry, before they pay money to Disney for parking, admission, novelties and food. We also want to send a message that Gay Day’s public promotion of homosexuality to a captured audience inside the park is wrong.”

Last year, the group spent $7,000 for the fly overs.

This fall, Las Vegas will host its first ever Gay Days festival.

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6 more reader comments:

  1. Wish I could be going as well as have someone to go with. I’ve only ever been once and that was for one of the gay day’s at Disney.

    Posted on Sunday, June 3, 2012 at 1:36pm
  2. WOO! BABY YEAH! I WAS THERE!

    Posted on Sunday, June 3, 2012 at 1:55pm
  3. isn’t it wonderful that even the protesters have contributed to the Orlando economy. lol good for them

    Posted on Sunday, June 3, 2012 at 2:03pm
  4. It’s the new mecca

    Posted on Sunday, June 3, 2012 at 2:10pm
  5. I can’t wait ill I get to attend one!

    Posted on Sunday, June 3, 2012 at 6:29pm
  6. Makes me even more excited about moving back to FL

    Posted on Monday, June 4, 2012 at 3:08am