Nightlife :: Parties

Orlando’s One Mighty Weekend Lives Up to Its Name

by JC Alvarez
Wednesday May 30, 2012
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When was the last time you wished upon a star and made all your dreams come true? There’s only one place on the planet where all your storybook fantasies come true, where you can live forever like Peter Pan or steal a kiss from Prince Charming. For one weekend out of the Circuit season every gay boy and girl descends on Orlando for "One Magical Weekend," introducing Disney’s Magic Kingdom to a whole new world.

It’s become an annual tradition that started easily enough with a fashionably red shirt. Twenty years ago, 3,000 members of Central Florida’s LGBT community decided it was time to make their presence known and paraded into Disney World, "the happiest place on earth." Since then, over 150,000 gay men, lesbians, along with their families and friends have returned to the Orlando theme parks. Along the way, promoters sensed an opening and, one by one, created parties and went over the top and then some. The result: the most celebrated Circuit events of the year.

With something to appeal to everyone, this year’s "One Magical Weekend" is preparing to make memories worthy of lasting a lifetime.

The weekend begins with a splash on Friday, June 1. Riptide at Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon Waterpark is still one of the weekend’s wettest and wildest. Surf the waves and hit the beach when DJ Randy Bettis returns to spin a tsunami for one of the biggest and best beach parties of the year. Never a finer selection of beach bums will gyrate to Bettis’ winning set list.

In between the rising rhythms take a leisurely ride along the park’s river rapids or brave the wave pool! Scope out a cabana and nab yourself a surfer boy (or girl)! Be the envy of Annette Funicello. Riptide is a wonderful start to this winning tradition.

On Saturday wear your bright red T-shirt with pride and enter the gates of Disney’s Magic Kingdom! Relieve some of your most cherished childhood memories or make some new ones living happily ever after while visiting Cinderella’s Castle, or pillaging like the Pirates of the Caribbean.

On Sunday, take a trip around the world and back to the future when Epcot the City of the Tomorrow hosts "Retro T" at the Odyssey. Travel around the world in a day and visit the World Showcase. Representatives from every participating country are ready to serve you at every national pavilion where you can sample the international flavors. An all-access view of the brilliant fireworks display - IllumiNations "Reflections of Earth" - is the perfect happy ending to this incredible experience.

It’s a small world after all, so why not party with a thousand or so of your closest friends in the gayest place on earth...certainly for this one weekend out of the year! "One Magical Weekend" begins May 31. For more details visit the event website for tickets and travel and don’t forget to capture and share your memories via the "One Magical Weekend" app (if you’re not on it now).

Native New Yorker JC Alvarez is a pop-culture enthusiast and the nightlife chronicler of the club scene and its celebrity denizens from coast-to-coast. He is the on-air host of the nationally syndicated radio show "Out Loud & Live!" and is also on the panel of the local-access talk show "Talking About".

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