A note from Mommy Frog: As you may have heard, Disneyland theme parks closed temporarily to slow the spread of COVID-19. The Disneyland Gay Days organizers recently gave an update. Gays Days (originally set for Oct. 2-4) is being postponed. Gay Days is still hoppening though! Hop back in a few days for the new dates and hop over to our Disneyland Reopening post for the latest news and status for Disneyland.
Gay Days is one of the most popular “unofficial” events at Disneyland. It draws crowds annually, about the first Saturday in October. Then, more people come again in March for "Mini Gay Day." (It's for those who need a little red shirt boost in the spring.) The Gay Day events are not presented by Disney. Disney does not endorse any group that meets during regular park hours, and as such, does not offer information about the festivities. However, the resort is supportive of the events and the many guests it brings to their parks, hotels and restaurants. You'll see special merchandise for sale and photo-ops. Because this is an unofficial event, the parks are still open to the public. You don’t need a special ticket to visit the parks for Gay Days.
In 2020, Disneyland Gay Days were originally scheduled for Oct. 2 to 4. An update from the Gay Days organizers informed us that the event will not be occurring then. The good news is that Gay Days 2020 is not canceled! The event is being rescheduled for after Disneyland reopens. The Gay Days organizers expect to make the announcement in the next couple days, so hop back for the frogciting details!
There is a schedule of events for each day of Gay Days, with one park playing "host" each day during normal operating hours. There are family-friendly events, in-park meetups, informal chats, celebratory cocktails, a concert and other events. You can find all of the fabulous details on the Gay Days Anaheim website. Whether you are planning to attend Disneyland Gay Days or just visit the parks this same weekend, here are some important details to get you ready!
Disneyland Gay Days
Gay Days and Crowds
Disneyland Gay Days do bring in quite a few people, and the impact it has on crowds is growing — along with the general higher crowds the parks see on weekends. The crowd levels can vary each year. When Gay Days aligned with Columbus Day weekend in 2018, there were massive crowds — we saw 300-minute waits for Haunted Mansion Holiday! But other years, such as 2019 when it did not collide with a holiday weekend, it is not as busy. When Disneyland reopens and Gay Days 2020 rolls around, then an advanced reservations system may be in place to control park capacity. Based on park hours, Disneyland usually plans for a busy weekend with long park hours, but again, 2020 is not a normal year.
If you already have vacation plans for the Gay Day weekends, don't let the promise of increased crowds stop you, but make sure to arrive ahead of park opening for each day of your trip. Take advantage of the lowest crowds early in the day by riding the most popular rides when you first arrive. (You can also take a peek at our tips for maximizing your time at Disneyland, which always come in handy, whether the park is crowded or not.)
If you're really concerned about the crowds and have a trip planned on these days, make sure to avoid the park that is hosting Gay Days. So, if Gay Days is at Disneyland Park on Saturday, then go to Disney California Adventure Park that day (although with popular Park Hopper tickets, those red shirts may hop between both parks). If Gay Days is held at Disney California Adventure on Sunday, avoid the crowds by visiting Disneyland Park. Even with more crowds, Gay Days create a fun, festive atmosphere.
Wear Red or Purchase Disneyland Gay Day Merchandise
There is an official Gay Days red T-shirt that you can purchase. But if you don’t have or want the shirt, the organizers suggest you stick to red shirts. The red shirts help Gay Days participants to identify each other and show their numbers. You’ll see a lot of rainbow colors! You can even purchase rainbow Mickey ear hats in the parks if you need the perfect Disney accessory for the event. We've seen a lot of Disney rainbow souvenirs sold in the parks, especially around Gay Days. It goes without saying, but you don't have to officially be part of the event to show your support!
You can get your red and rainbow on with exclusive Disneyland Gay Day merchandise. During Gay Days 2019, you could get Mickey ear hats embroidered with rainbow-colored thread! You can choose from T-shirts, tank tops, cinch bags, patches and a water bottle. There are youth and adult products. Special items are usually sold at these stores: Emporium at Disneyland Park, Elias & Co. at Disney California Adventure Park and at World of Disney in Downtown Disney. There's also a rainbow tumbler with a specialty or fountain beverage and a rainbow glow cube at various food locations.
Follow the Schedule
Gay Days participants can follow a schedule if they want to meet up with other participants. Consult the website to find out about parties, meals, scavenger hunts, group rides, group photos, discounts, teen events, concerts and free activities dedicated to families with children. Whether you are participating in Gay Days or not, knowing the general schedule can help you manage your time in the parks. The most important scheduling detail to know for all park guests is which park is scheduled for Gay Days. For example, the event is at the parks the following days:
- Saturday — Gay Days at Disneyland Park
- Sunday — Gay Days at Disney California Adventure Park
There are other Gay Days festivities Friday night, as well.
Find Gay Days Menu Items
Over the years, we have seen (and enjoyed!) special Gay Days dessert menu items, and even some meal packages at several quick-service restaurants in each park all weekend. The culinary team created these special Gay Days rainbow food items for Oct. 4 to 6, 2019 (we hope they return for 2020):
- Rainbow Rock Shake with rainbow cereal at Schmoozies
- Mickey Rainbow Rice Crispy Treats at Candy Palace, Hunny Spot, Trolley Treats, Bing Bong’s Sweet Stuff and Marceline’s Confectionery
- Rainbow Sugar Cookies at Jolly Holiday Bakery Café, Plaza Inn, Market House, Alien Pizza Planet, Galactic Grill, Hungry Bear Restaurant, Fiddler, Fifer & Practical Café, Pacific Wharf Café, Pacific Wharf Gourmet Coffee Cart and Boardwalk Pizza & Pasta
- The Rainbow Macaron Box (taste the rainbow with strawberry, orange, lemon, green apple, blueberry and grape macarons) at Jolly Holiday Bakery Café, Plaza Inn, Market House, Alien Pizza Planet, Galactic Grill, Hungry Bear Restaurant, Fiddler, Fifer & Practical Café, Pacific Wharf Café, Pacific Wharf Gourmet Coffee Cart and Boardwalk Pizza & Pasta
- Rainbow Cheesecake at Jolly Holiday Bakery Café, Harbour Galley and Boardwalk Pizza & Pasta
- Rainbow Cake at Plaza Inn, Boardwalk Pizza & Pasta, Paradise Garden Grill, Flo’s V8 Café and Cocina Cucamonga
- Specialty Rainbow Beverage with Grenadine, blue curaçao, coconut rum, silver rum, piña colada mix, and coconut water at Disney's Paradise Pier Hotel: Surfside Lounge, PCH Grill and The Sand Bar
- Rainbow Funnel Cake Fries topped with rainbow-colored icing, rainbow cereal, and whipped cream at Award Wieners
- Rainbow Bread Pudding with birthday cake-flavored bread pudding at Pacific Wharf Café
- Hoppy Pride Pilsner at Bayside Brews, Paradise Garden Grill and Angry Dog
- Mimosa Flight at Lamplight Lounge – upstairs only
- Fabulous Freeze with rum runner slush and rainbow glow cube at Hollywood Lounge
- Rainbow Cotton Candy at outdoor vending carts
Check out our favorite quick-service restaurants in Disneyland and California Adventure for some ideas on where to eat. Since you can expect weekend crowds in the parks, you might also make an advance reservation at a table-service restaurant to secure your table.
Look for Photo-Ops and Entertainment
In doorways, restaurant entrances or storefronts, keep an eye out for fun photo-ops with signs and giant photo frames. You might find a rainbow Mickey, a rainbow Disneyland sign or a rainbow picture frame. You can have a cast member take your picture to commemorate the day. If you follow the official Gay Days schedule, you can also jump in some group photos (in each park). That sea of red shirts in front of the castle just keeps growing and growing each year!
Outside of the amusement parks, there are pool parties, mixers, live music, DJs, dancing, brunch and other events in Downtown Disney and the hotels. Some require tickets, but many are free.
Enjoy Halloween Time, But Watch out for Oogie Boogie
Gay Days in the fall also hoppen to fall during Halloween Time at Disneyland, so there is a lot going on in the parks that weekend. This can also affect your planning. In 2019, the Disneyland Halloween Party, Oogie Boogie Bash, shortened the regular park hours at Disney California Adventure on Sunday, October 6. Party guests started arriving at 2 p.m. The park closed at 6 p.m., so we used our park hopper ticket to hop over to Disneyland about 2 p.m. In 2020, the Oogie Boogie Bash is canceled, so that will not be a factor.
Some people like to extend their trip to make a long weekend of Gay Days. If that is your plan, keep in mind that Halloween parties fell Thursday before and the Tuesday after Gay Days weekend in 2019. Disney California Adventure closed at 6 p.m. those days, as well. Plan ahead by checking the schedule for future Gay Days.
All Halloween parties were sold out for 2019. But no worries; you can have plenty of Halloween fun in the regular operating hours. In case you missed it, Undercover Tourist is now selling discount 2-day, 3-day, 4-day or even 5-day Disneyland Resort tickets. If you still need tickets for Gay Days weekend (or any day of the year), you can get a jump on savings.
If you are interested in other unofficial events at Disneyland, check out our post on Dapper Day. These unofficial days at Disneyland offer a unique way to experience the parks and meet other people. They can also affect crowds. Knowing about them can help you join the fun or plan the best time for your family to visit.
Have you visited Gay Days in the past? if you have any tips or questions, please leave them in the comments below. If you are looking for discount lodging in the Anaheim and Los Angeles areas, Undercover Tourist now books discount hotel rooms for Disneyland Resort hotels and many more Los Angeles area hotels!