• Gay Days celebration underway at Disney


    ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. - At Walt Disney World, the annual Orlando Gay Days celebration is in full force.

    On Friday, Dusty Statler from St. Louis spent the day at Hollywood Studios.

    "It's been awesome," said Statler.

    The former Disney cast member said he's excited to be a part of the event as a guest for the first time.

    Gay Days is not a sanctioned Disney event, but it's been growing since it started in 1991.

    Cindy Rogers and Margaret Mackintosh have been here almost every year since 2001 and they've noticed some changes.

    "Now you can see Disney has gotten smart and merchandising toward us, which I think is great," said Rogers.

    On Friday, red t-shirts with Mickeys in rainbow colors, a symbol of gay pride, were available, as were rainbow mugs and Mickey "vinylmation" dolls.

    In the past, Disney has had merchandise like pins geared toward the event.

    "This is the first year we've seen them in the right order and only the six colors," said Rogers.

    "I like them, yeah. We love them, usually we make our own shirts," said Mackintosh.

    Not everyone embraces the event. A banner plane was flying over the park, warning people about Gay Days.

    Many of the visitors to the park said they are glad they are becoming more accepted, and they are even seeing more Disney merchandise geared toward the event.

    "They treat it like a special event, like Star Wars Weekends, they just don't promote it," said Statler.


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    Gay Days celebration underway at Disney