Started in 1998, seven years after the equally popular Gay Days at Disney World in Florida, the ever-growing Gay Days Anaheim brings over 35,000 GLBT revelers to Southern California’s famed Disneyland resort and theme park, which has delighted revelers from all ages since its launch. back in 1955, forever transforming the local landscape, previously quiet and little visited. This festive event takes place during the first weekend of October, with dates this year from September 30 to October 2, 2016.
If you happen to be in the area in late June, also be sure to check out Orange County Gay Pride in nearby Santa Ana – it takes place this year on June 25, which is a change from previous years, when it was celebrated in July or August
Visiting the coast? Check out the Laguna Beach Gay Guide Hotels and Laguna Beach Gay Bar and Restaurants Guide
As with the original GLBT Disney gathering in Orlando, Gay Days in Anaheim is not an official Disney event – the park remains open to all throughout the weekend, and GLBT attendees generally wear red shirts to indicate their participation. All that said, the event has been going strong for years, and everyone tends to get along quite well.
The three-day events begin on Friday, and during the three-day weekend, you can get the latest information on the event by visiting the Gay Days Information Center in the Trillium Room at the Grand California Hotel and Spa. The center is open until 8 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays, and until 3 on Sunday, and at the center you can pick up brochures and information from a number of vendors and businesses that support LGBT in the area, including Adventures by Disney, Aulani resort, Anabella resort, Disney fairytale weddings, Orange County GLBT Center and many others.
There are plenty of activities throughout the weekend, from the opening of the Wonderland Party at Ralph Brennan’s Jazz Kitchen to the Plunge (Sunday) and Kingdom (Saturday) parties, comedy performances, cocktails and much more. Check the official Anaheim Gay Days calendar for more information. Other events include movie and TV screenings and opportunities to mingle with LGBT notables and other celebrities, and a very popular gay brunch on Sunday morning (last year it was at Jazzy and posh Ralph Brennan’s Jazz Kitchen, right in downtown Disney ).
A highlight in 2016 is Saturday’s comedy performance, Leslie Jordan: Straight Outta Chattanooga, in the Sorrell Room at Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel.
This is also a family-friendly event, and many LGBT participants with children attend. Friday night there’s a Family Launch Splash, plus family hunts, kid-friendly lunches, breakfasts, and more. Other teen programming has been created (including an LGBTQ youth dance on Saturday night).
Also be sure to check out the Host Hotels page – these include Grand California Hotel & Spa, Disneyland Hotel, and Disney’s Paradise Pier. The Anabella, the Anaheim Majestic Garden Hotel, and the Howard Johnson Anaheim are also sponsors of Gay Days in Anaheim. These three offer special weekend rates, which you can link to from the host hotels’ official website.
Gay Resources of Orange County California
As you might expect, the area’s gay bars along with several popular restaurants, hotels, and shops host special events and parties throughout the Anaheim Gay Days weekend. Specific gay outlets in the region include Rage Monthly, which is based in San Diego but has some coverage in Orange County. Also visit the excellent travel site produced by the Anaheim / Orange County Convention and Visitors Bureau.
Anaheim is also part of the greater Los Angeles area, and you’ll find plenty of additional information for GLBT travelers heading to this area by checking out our Los Angeles Gay Guide, West Hollywood Gay Guide, and Santa Monica and Venice Gay Guide. You’ll find tips on where to dine and go out in these online guides, as well as the Silver Lake Los Angeles Gay Nightlife and Dining Guide. Another very popular event in this part of the state is Long Beach Gay Pride, which takes place at the beginning of the year, in May, here’s a preview of that celebration.