Disneyland and California Adventure Parks welcomed Gay Days Anaheim 2021 this past weekend of September 17-19, after skipping the event last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Thousands of LGBTQ+ Disney fans and the people who love and support them flooded both parks in traditional red shirts for a weekend full of meet-and-greets, photo ops, scavenger hunts, parties and live performances. The big headliners this year, included Broadway legends, Audra McDonald and Chita Rivera.
It all began at The Gay Days Anaheim Welcome Center on Friday, in the Grand Californian Hotel which is free to everyone who wants to make a stop and stock up on Gay Days merch like this year’s official shirt, tank, and pins. Guests could visit our exhibitors and pick up freebie or just meet and greet other other guests.
Broadway historian and Gay Days Creator, Eddie Shapiro, hosted An Intimate Conversation with Chita Rivera. The three-time Tony Award-winning legend spoke about her career at an event benefiting Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS. Then 6-time Tony winner Audra McDonald took the stage to perform songs like “Children will Listen” from Sondheim’s Into the Woods and the title track from “Cabaret”, “I’ll be Here” from the musical Ordinary Days.
On Friday, there was also a free Trans Talk event held at the Sorrell Room in the Grand Californian Hotel. The event was hosted by Jenna Robinson who lead a dissection on transgender empathy and accessibility, visibility, and equality.
Saturday and Sunday included several meetups and parties. There was even a same-sex marriage proposal Sleeping Beauty’s Castle, which had everyone gushing.
and speaking of Sleeping Beauty’s Castle, Gay Days Anaheim 2021 would not be complete without the tradition gay group portrait at the castle gates is something to behold showing how much the event has grown since it first began in 1998, growing from 2,500 visitors to roughly 30,000 in 2019.
The crowd was undoubtedly smaller this year due to safety precautions and visitor limitations, but with the number of vaccinated people growing, so too should the event when it returns in 2022.
Photos by Mike Pingel for WEHO TIMES: