After closing down its theme parks in both California and Florida on September 11--and facing a steep decline in attendance once the parks reopened the next day--Disney has announced that it has "heightened security" just in time for the annual unofficial Gay Day event, to be held October 5-7 at Disneyland in Anaheim, Calif. The mother in one family passing through a Disney theme park entrance told Reuters she was a "little shocked they were checking every bag, but I was happy." Two British flight attendants--Richard Randall, 30, and Chris Hamill, 22--who were visiting one of Disney's Orlando, Fla., parks together said they were used to such added measures. "We are slightly worried, but not major," Randall said in the Reuters report. " It makes you more aware of situations. You are on guard."
The Gay Day event at Disneyland is scheduled to begin the evening of Friday, October 5, with a cocktail party open to all those attending, to be held in the Pavilion at the Disneyland Hotel beginning at 9 p.m. During the weekend, thousands of gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgendered people and their family and friends are expected at the Anaheim theme parks: Disneyland on Saturday and Disney's California Adventure on Sunday. The weekend-long event is dubbed Gay Day 2, after its Walt Disney World progenitor Gay Day, and like that celebration it is unofficial, meaning GLBT visitors will mix in with straights; many gays wear red shirts to stand out in the crowd. While the Disney Co. doesn't officially endorse Gay Day, a Disney spokesperson tells Advocate.com, "Our policy is to be hospitable to everyone who comes to our resorts, to welcome everyone as a guest, and to treat everyone with respect."
Last year event organizers estimated that nearly 10,000 gays and lesbians attended the main day at Disneyland. This year the Family Pride Coalition, BearsLA, and other groups have organized group visits. For a complete schedule of activities, visit www.gayday2.com