Pride month is coming up in June and so we can expect lots of companies to celebrate the event in various ways. Disneyland Resort is hosting a pair of After Hours events specifically for Pride, which is a first for the company and an absolutely welcome addition, but Universal Orlando isn’t stopping at just a couple nights, or even a month, as they’ll be celebrating Pride all summer.
A collection of “Love is Universal” merchandise was recently put on sale at Universal Orlando Resort and as WDWNT revealed, 100% of profits from sales of the products will be donated to local LGBTQ+ organizations, including Zebra Youth, The Center Orlando, and onePULSE Foundation. The donation period will last from now until the end of August, so this isn’t simply a Pride Month deal.
The donation to the onePULSE Foundation is especially poignant as several Universal Orlando Team Members were among the 49 people killed in the Pulse nightclub shooting in 2016. One of the dead was a Walt Disney World Cast Member and several others were present.
We frequently see companies supporting Pride in June, often in only superficial ways, and while it’s not inherently bad to see a rainbow logo when that logo disappears at the end of the month, it often feels like there was a lack of sincerity behind it. Visible support of any kind is positive, but the further that support goes, the better.
Universal Orlando could have limited the donation amount to a fraction of the profits or only had the donation period last during or through June, but instead, the company is giving all the profits away over a more than a three-month period. That shows a significantly stronger commitment that is certainly worth celebrating.
In Florida especially, the situation regarding the LGBTQ+ community has been tough. A law passed last year, dubbed “Don’t Say Gay” by its detractors, has resulted in an ongoing battle between the state government and Walt Disney World after the company spoke out publicly against the law. Disney is now suing the state over what it claims is retaliation, after the Governor moved to replace the Reedy Creek Improvement District which formerly oversaw Disney World, and that board moved to undo a previous land deal made between the RCID and Disney World.
The connection between the LGBTQ+ community and the theme park community cannot be understated. Disneyland and Walt Disney World have had unofficial “Gay Days” for years and the recent announcement of a special after-hours Pride event at Disneyland is a step toward officially endorsing such an event. Hopefully, we’ll see more theme parks continue to expand how they celebrate Pride, in both form and duration and continue to show even greater forms of real support.
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CinemaBlend’s resident theme park junkie and amateur Disney historian. Armchair Imagineer. Epcot Stan. Future Club 33 Member.