Gay Days celebration at Disneyland Resort to draw 30,000
Once an underground gathering that was regularly protested by religious groups and conservative politicians, the annual Gay Days at the Disneyland Resort marks its 14th anniversary this weekend and is expected to draw more than 30,000 people to the Anaheim amusement parks.
Though not officially sponsored by the Disneyland Resort, the annual celebration has become one of the most crowd-dependable and popular gatherings at the park.
This year, there are to be Disney-themed "Gay Day" T-shirt sales, discount tickets for attendees, an ABC television screening, concerts and a chance to talk with 90-year-old actress Carol Channing or meet up with Emmy Award-winning actress Jane Lynch, a star of the hit TV show "Glee."
The weekend-long celebration is sponsored by Alaska Airlines, Motorola and Paramount Pictures, among others.
Gay Days got its footing in the 1990s with about 2,500 attendees, though at the time it triggered protests from Southern Baptists and the conservative American Family Assn., which also launched boycott efforts against Disney.
Within several years though, the discord faded and, except for a lone Orange County minister with a history of protesting everything Disney, the protesters vanished.
-- Matt Stevens
Photo: Fireworks over Sleeping Beauty's Castle at Disneyland. Credit: Robert Galbraith