Over the weekend I traveled to Orlando to join the Gay Days fun. It was my first visit to the annual pilgrimage of gay men and women to Disney, and I had a blast!
A group of us from Raleigh started talking back in January about making the trip this year. Nine of us went, and we had our own Gay Days t-shirts printed up. Stayed at the same hotel and had a little caravan of cars on the drive down.
This was my first visit, so I wasn't really sure what to expect. I knew from past years that the religious fanatics would protest, and talk radio would always be buzzing, so I expected to see at least a couple of neanderthals. But I didn't see a single one. I guess I just wasn't looking into the right crack in the sidewalk!
It was a very festive time, with everyone friends with everyone else. The day started at IHOP and Marie, pictured, serving us. She was sassy and fun! At the park, during the raft trips to Tom Sawyer island, people on each raft were waving back at the other raft, always ending with the queens wave, of course. And it was truly a sea of red shirts at the Magic Kingdom, especially around the 3:00 parade. It was all fun and games, and practically any and every type of person was to be found somewhere.
A lot of the t-shirts had something written on them, from cute to arrogant to everything in between. What I found funny were these 2 lads, wearing their phone numbers on their shirts. When they turned around, Justin turned out to be the spitting image of Stephen Fry. They both had handkerchiefs in their pockets, but since I couldn't remember what the colors stood for, I ask them. "Nothing, we make a rainbow when everyone is around." According to the Hanky Code though, Matt would be a bottom and Justin is up for anything, anytime. Funny!
After the park, it was back to the hotel for a disco nap, shower, then off to Parliament House. That place is huge, and it was packed! There was a dance floor of course, plus several satellite bars. There is a pool, but I can't say that I saw anyone actually in it, this being late in the night. Out back there was a "foam party", something completely new to me. Basically it is a pool of foam about 3 feet deep, similar to the bubbles from dish soap. Guys will strip down to a swimsuit, or more commonly their underwear. Into the foam guys would plunge, and use your imagination about what happened next!
We did a lot of other things of course. I spent all day Sunday at Sea World while several others decided to attend MCC services. We got a late start to Sea World, seeing as we stayed up all hours the night before at Parliament, and I was whooped by the end of the day. Several went to Parliament House again and I think they closed it down. There was the trade show with so many companies showing their wares along with their corporate gay awareness. On the 3rd floor of the hotel was a leathermens club offering any information and education that you were willing to receive. I declined to participate in the 9 o'clock closed door seminar.
As is always the case when dealing with couples, things weren't always smooth. Of the 3 couples, there was at least one time each when things became very strained with at least one of the partners. One the boyfriend disappeared for a bit too long at the bar. Another got drunk too fast and was flirting a lot. The third I didn't realize until I scanned my pictures after returning, and I'm not sure anyone else saw it.
We all had fun, and I will probably go back. Maybe not next year, but it is something to be repeated. The only real thing I would change next time around might be the location of the hotel. I think I would like to be nearer to the center of the activity, possibly at the Gay Days host hotel, The Plaza, or maybe at the nightlife epicenter, Parliament.
I took lots of pictures, and once I've cleaned them up and sorted through them, I will post an entry to them.