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'Magical Pride': Disney to host its first official LGBTQ pride event this year

While Gay Days has long been an unofficial tradition at Disney parks in the U.S., Disneyland Paris will host the company’s first official LGBTQ pride event.
Image: The Sleeping Beauty Castle at Disneyland Resort Paris in France.
The Sleeping Beauty Castle at Disneyland Resort Paris in France.Francois G. Durand / WireImage file

Disneyland Paris will host an official pride event on June 1, becoming the first Disney theme park to ever officially host such an LGBTQ event.

“Diversity and equality are strong values at Disneyland Paris, and each year, we host millions of visitors regardless of their origins, gender or sexual orientation," a spokesperson for The Walt Disney Company told NBC News. "We are committed to fostering a welcoming environment for all of our Guests where magic is for everyone.”

The event, "Magical Pride," first started in 2014 as an unofficial event at the European park, but starting this year, the annual celebration has been taken over by The Walt Disney Company, according to Nathan Tunnah, a travel consultant at Greatdays Travel Ltd., which helped organize the unofficial “Magical Pride” event.

“Last year, Disney decided to make it a signature event, because they saw how popular it is becoming,” Tunnah said.

Selected rides will be open from 8 p.m. to 2 a.m. for this year’s late-night “Magical Pride” event, and it will feature character meet-and-greets, musical performances and a pride-themed “diversity parade,” Tunnah said.

Disney’s American parks are known for their annual “Gay Days,” unofficial gatherings of LGBTQ people at Disney parks. Gay Days started in the early 1990s, with just a few thousand LGBTQ attendees wearing red shirts for visibility. This year’s Gay Days event in Orlando runs from Aug. 13 to 19 and is billed as “Orlando’s largest LGBTQ vacation event.” Gay Days Anaheim, at Disneyland in California, takes place from Oct. 4-6.

Since Gay Days events are unofficial, Disney employees do not treat them any differently than other days (but that did not stop the Southern Baptist Convention and other conservative religious groups from boycotting the The Walt Disney Company between 1996 and 2005, as NBC News has previously reported).

With "Magical Pride" now being run by Disney, Tunnah said he expects even more people from across Europe to attend the annual celebration.