fun for everyone

4 amazing ways to get the most out of Orlando pride this summer

Gay couple riding the Orlando Starflyer at ICON Park
Gay couple riding the Orlando Starflyer at ICON Park

Pride month is festive by nature. 

So just imagine how exciting it gets when the rainbow flag unravels in one of the nation’s top vacation hotspots. 

According to AAA, Orlando is the number one travel destination in the United States. 

For queer people, its allure is even greater during June, when multiple pride events provide countless ways to celebrate. Since the city hosted the first GayDays event back in 1991, the number of rainbow-hued activities has multiplied exponentially — from pool parties to live performances, from massive dance parties to organized visits to legendary theme parks. 

No wonder LGBTQ+ travelers now represent five percent of domestic visitation, according to the city’s tourism organization, Visit Orlando, which features a dedicated travel section on its site. 

And that’s not all. 

Men Underwater at Discovery Cove Snuba
Men underwater at Discovery Cove Snuba

Orlando was also named the first-ever “City of the Year” by GayCities and was a 2022 Gay Travel Awards winner for the Family Destination category. Orlando has earned a perfect score from the Human Rights Campaign’s Municipal Equality Index for 11 years in a row, proof of the destination’s inclusiveness in laws, policies, services, and, of course, fun in the sun. 

With so much happening in Orlando in June, how do you figure out what’s right for you? Not to worry. 

GayCities assembled some tips and four cool pride options, each catering to different types of travelers. Since some overlap, you can also mix and match individual events from more than one celebration. (And don’t forget, pride isn’t just in June: Come Out With Pride hosts the city’s official pride parade and festival in October — so there are still more opportunities to visit later this year.) 

First, a few do’s and don’ts. Regardless of which events you attend in June, these tips will make sure you get the most out of your visit:

  • Do book your hotel accommodations, event packages, and theme park tickets in advance. You don’t want to miss out on the fun, do you? 
  • Don’t forget to bring summer clothes and your favorite sunscreen. You’re going to be celebrating in the sun, after all. And, after you arrive in Orlando, be sure to stay hydrated, especially during the pool parties. And don’t miss the free GayDays official events. 

Here are four top pride celebrations that take place in Orlando this June.

A group of six men celebrate Gay Days in Orlando, Florida


When it first launched back in 1991, GayDays was a single event in which LGBTQ+ people would visit Orlando’s major theme parks and wear the color red to increase visibility (referred to as #RedShirtDay). Today is a multi-day gathering (May 30-June 3, 2024) that includes many memorable activities. 

The parties are plenty during GayDays, and you can choose the ambiance that fits your mood, whether it’s the Mr. GayDays Leather event, the Miss GayDays Pageant, the foam party or the T-Dance circuit party. During the GayDays Beach Ball 2024 competition at Aquatica Waterpark, you can meet celebrities of various sorts. 

You can also appear at two new after-hours parties that have been added for 2024: the Love Island Erotica Party and GayDays Fantasy Island Fetish Ball. 

The Everything Pass is the best bet if you want to attend all of the events (although it doesn’t include a few), or you can buy individual admission tickets for the events that pique your interest. 

Oh yeah, you can still visit the theme parks, too. 

This year’s host hotel is the Doubletree by Hilton Orlando at Seaworld, and accommodations include two pool passes for day and night pool parties, as well as admission to some other events. 

Girls in Wonderland 

For women, the widest array of festivities takes place during Girls in Wonderland, slated for May 30-June 3, 2024.

Billed as “the premier queer music festival in the country,” Girls in Wonderland is presented by Pandora Events, Many of its activities take place at the host hotels, Springhill Suites by Marriott and TownePlace Suites by Marriott. 

If you’re a woman who enjoys live entertainment — including comedy, music, DJs, and pool parties — this might be the best bet for you. Thursday kicks off with a happy hour with live music by Deb Hundseder (not to mention free Bud Light on the draft until it runs out), and the fun doesn’t stop until Sunday. 

Among the highlights are a Saturday night Queer Prohibition Party, a roaring twenties-themed dance party at the New York Beer Project. 

You can pay for admission based on how festive you want to be. Tickets for individual events range from $25 to $5 (it’s cheaper to buy in advance rather than at the door), or you can opt for a pass that includes admission to all events (the VIP passes even include shuttle service to and from the host hotel for evening events). 

One Magical Weekend 

Slated for May 30-June 3, 2024, One Magical Weekend celebrates pride month at Walt Disney World Resorts, with opportunities to dance the night away. The weekend includes three Therapy pool parties, three pride parties, and three Cadabra after-hours parties, all at the Sheraton Lake Buena Vista. 

If you’re looking to get wet, you won’t want to miss Riptide, during which thousands of bathing-suit-clad revelers will fill Walt Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon waterpark, dancing to live DJ music and checking out one of the park’s newest rides: Miss Adventure Falls raft ride. You can also lean into your inner gay pirate at the RED Buccaneer Party, which takes place at Disney’s Springs House of Blues. 

Weekend party passes include admission to multiple events, while single tickets are available for individual events. 

The Pride Cup

If you love playing sports, the Pride Cup provides an exciting way to kick off pride month. 

Slated for May 31– June 2, the Pride Cup is a sports tournament organized by the KindRED Pride Foundation, which aims to foster the visibility and inclusivity that was the basis of the original gay day event in 1991. 

And don’t worry if you’re not the world’s greatest athlete. The Pride Cup is designed for players at every level of experience — and the array of sports is diverse, including basketball, corn hole, golf, kickball, pickleball, soccer, volleyball, and a Rainbow Run, a 4.9-kilometer virtual walk/run that commemorates the 49 people killed at Pulse nightclub. 

All sporting activities take place at Dr. Phillips Community Park and the Lake Buena Vista High School, which are less than two miles from the hotel. If you join the tournament, expect to meet other players during multiple social events at the host hotel, the Crowne Plaza Orlando — Lake Buena Vista, including daily Therapy pool parties and daily happy hours. 

In addition, all Pride Cup players get 20% off admission to Riptide, the party at Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon waterpark, which takes place on May 31. 

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