Consistently recognized as an LGBTQ+ inclusive community – earning accolades including the first-ever “City of the Year” designation by GayCities.com – Orlando will commemorate Pride Month this year with special events ranging from theme park celebrations to musical performances and special exhibits during the Five-Year Pulse Remembrance Week (June 5-12). Visitors planning a trip this summer can include additional elements in their vacation itineraries, from hidden gems in local neighborhoods to brand new theme park thrills.
“We know LGBTQ+ visitors have a strong desire to travel to a destination with special events, nightlife and activities that promote inclusivity,” said Casandra Matej, president and CEO of Visit Orlando. “Visit Orlando has been a proud and active supporter of the LGBTQ+ community and LGBTQ+ travelers over the years and this year is especially significant as we commemorate an important milestone and celebrate the community’s resiliency.”
Pride Celebrations and Five-Year Pulse Remembrance Week
Visitors can participate in Pride celebrations, enjoy historical exhibits and pay their respects during the Five-Year Pulse Remembrance Week, which will honor the 5-year milestone of the 49 lives lost on June 12, 2016 at the Pulse nightclub. A few key events are below, with the full list available here.
- Five Years After the Pulse Tragedy Exhibit (June 5-13) at the Orange County Regional History Centerin Downtown Orlando examines how communities of all kinds were touched by the Pulse tragedy both locally and across the globe.
- RED Shirt Pride Day(June 5) is an annual tradition inviting guests to wear a red shirt to Magic Kingdom Park on the first Saturday in June, or virtually take the RED Shirt Challenge by posting a selfie or video using hashtags #RSPD and #taketheREDshirtchallenge!.
- United We Dance (June 10) at the Church Street district in downtown Orlando is a night of music and dance to honor the 49 lives lost, Pulse survivors and first responders, and the resilience of the community.
- Frontyard Festival™: Pulse Five-Year Remembrance Ceremony Livestream(June 12) will be a livestream annual Remembrance Ceremony from the site of the Pulse nightclub, bringing together the families of those whose lives were tragically taken, and honoring all who survived, the brave first responders and the trauma teams who sacrificed so much to save so many.
Exploring Orlando’s Local Neighborhoods & NEW Theme Park Thrills
Orlando’s diverse dining scene, vibrant live entertainment and dance clubs have made Orlando famous among LGBTQ+ travelers. Below are a few local neighborhoods and popular activities to check out:
- Winter Park‘s Park Avenue is a charming brick-lined street featuringsome of the destination’s best cuisine; a thriving arts scene including the world’s most comprehensive collection of works by Louis Comfort Tiffany at the Morse Museum; small local boutiques; and a relaxing Scenic Boat Tour through a series of beautiful Venetian-style canals in Central Florida’s oldest community.
- Take a stroll at Lake Eola Park in Downtown Orlando,featuring professional sports including MLS soccer, a state-of-the-art performing arts center and multiple speakeasies. For great burgers and drag shows, visit Hamburger Mary’s Bar & Grille.
- For dancing and nighttime entertainment, visit Southern Nights Orlando nightclub, watch a performance by the Orlando Gay Chorus at The Plaza Live or enjoy the Men of Orlando dancers’ nightly performances at SAVOY Orlando gay bar.
- Museum of Illusion Orlando (Jun. 12) will be hosting “Illusions After Hours”, featuring over 50 Illusions, some themed around Pride, one ride around The Wheel at ICON Park, music, an outdoor cash bar, and much more.
New Theme Park thrills and special events this summer include:
- Jurassic World VelociCoaster at Universal’s Islands of Adventure (opening June 10), Florida’s fastest and tallest launch coaster, sending riders catapulting up to 70 mph and over 150 feet in the air with the swiftest of prehistoric predators.
- Electric Ocean at SeaWorld (select days through Sept. 6) – Join playful, glowing sea creatures and world-class DJs for a dance party beneath the waves. End the night with Ignite, Orlando’s only current full-length theme park nighttime fireworks and fountains spectacular.
- Taste of EPCOT International Flower & Garden Festival (now through July 5) features Disney Character topiaries, breathtaking gardens, exciting exhibits, and samplings from a variety of savory dishes, desserts and specialty beverages at over 15 Outdoor Kitchens.
More information about year-round Orlando LGBTQ+ planning resources can be found at VisitOrlando.com/lgbtq