With Orlando’s unique blend of unforgettable adventures and vibrant nightlife, it’s no wonder the destination topped ParkSleepFly.com’s list of America’s most LGBTQ+-friendly destinations. Orlando’s popularity among LGBTQ+ travellers has as much to do with its diverse, welcoming, and inclusive nature, as the world-class theme parks, unique experiences beyond the parks and the full calendar of special events.
Visitors planning a trip to experience the exciting lineup of activities – including high-profile LGBTQ+ events and Pride Month celebrations such as One Magical Weekend, Girls in Wonderland and Tidal Wave – can also include additional elements in their itineraries, from seasonal theme park events to arts and cultural experiences in local neighbourhoods, to make their trip unforgettable.
LGBTQ+ Spring & Summer Events
2022 Pride Prom (April 16), hosted by Come Out With Pride at the Orlando Museum of Art, features adult-only prom festivities for guests 21 and up, dancing, entertainment, a photo booth and more. Themed “Express Yourself,” this event encourages the LGBTQ+ community to be their authentic selves and bring a date they perhaps couldn’t at their high school prom.
The 11th Annual Big Boy Pride (April 28 – May 2) celebration hosted at DoubleTree by Hilton Orlando at SeaWorld, will feature a combination of community-driven seminars, celebrations, games and live entertainment promoting self-acceptance.
Pride Month Celebrations
GayDays (May 31 – June 6), is comprised of multiple events staged at world-famous attractions; gay and lesbian clubs; and unique venues that create a renowned gay and lesbian vacation experience.
Girls in Wonderland (June 2-6), the counterpart to GayDays, caters to female members of the LGBTQ+ community featuring parties, special performances and celebrity appearances.
One Magical Weekend (June 2-6), always on the first weekend in June, is one of the largest LGBTQ+ pride and music festivals in the world. Taking place at Walt Disney World, it boasts a roster of international DJ talent and around-the-clock, world-class events.
Tidal Wave Party (June 2-5), held at Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon Water Park, features a weekend full of water park events and activities for guests to make a splash including private parties and a “Bearaoke” contest.
RED Shirt Pride Day (June 4), an annual tradition, invites visitors to wear a red shirt to Magic Kingdom on the first Saturday in June, inspired by the original 30 or 40 people with “kindred spirits” that met at Magic Kingdom back in 1991. Their courage that started as a social gathering has grown to become one of the longest-running, most iconic events in LGBTQ+ history.
The 6th Annual 4.9K CommUNITY Rainbow Run and Family Festival (June 4), benefiting the onePULSE Foundation and the National Pulse Memorial & Museum, honours the lives of those affected by the Pulse nightclub tragedy. The family-friendly event will feature live entertainment, food, games, a Kids Fun Run and more.
The annual Pulse Remembrance Ceremony (June 12), designed to spread messages of love, unity, acceptance, courage and strength throughout the community, traditionally takes place at the Pulse Interim Memorial, which honours the 49 lives lost on June 12, 2016, and is open throughout the year.
Theme Park Events
Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival (March 2 – July 4) at Walt Disney World Resort welcomes spring with a full dose of beauty. From elaborate gardens and incredible topiaries to helpful seminars and nightly musical entertainment, the festival offers an array of special activities for all green-thumb levels.
Universal’s Mardi Gras (through April 24). The family-friendly version of the iconic Big Easy bash brings back the event’s most celebrated, fan-favourite experiences to Universal Studios Florida – including its nighttime parade and star-studded live concerts (select nights).
SeaWorld Orlando’s Seven Seas Food Festival (weekends through May 8) offers guests the opportunity to sample their way through the park and discover globally-inspired flavours while enjoying local craft beers and beverages from around the world, along with living performances.
Events Beyond the Parks
The Orlando International Fringe Theatre Festival (May 17-30) — aka Orlando Fringe — the longest-running Fringe theatre festival in the United States is an immersive cultural experience in Loch Haven Park near downtown Orlando featuring hundreds of ticketed theatrical performances from local, national and international artists, plus a free outdoor music festival.
The Charles Hosmer Morse Museum of American Art’s spring lineup of events will include free admission to the museum on Fridays from 4-8 p.m. throughout the month of April, seven free Friday nights with live music through April 29 and Wednesday lectures, focusing on artist Leonardo da Vinci and the Morse’s newest exhibition, The Stebbins Collection: A Gift for the Morse Museum.
Steinmetz Hall at the Dr Phillips Center for the Performing Arts is located in the heart of downtown Orlando. The facility achieves an N1 sound rating – the lowest level at which humans can detect sound.
Events & Shows at the Dr Phillips Center for the Performing Arts for this spring and summer include:
CATS – March 29 – April 23
Rigoletto: An Opera in Three Acts – April 22 & 24
Beautiful: The Carole King Musical – May 13-15
Jesus Christ Superstar – June 7-12
The Masked Singer – June 28