Put Some Gay In Your Day, Dallas!

Travel Tuesday: Where To Say Gay & BE GAY In Florida

Orlando, Florida may be known best for one very famous mouse. But an elephant in the room threatens to hog the spotlight.

Yes, Florida’s governor is an enemy of the LGBTQ community, much like ours right here in Texas. However, that should unite us, even more, to visit Orlando and support the community there because we hope people do the same for us. Right?

And what better time to pack your bags for a fun-filled vacation than for a city’s Pride festival? Orlando’s Come Out With Pride Festival takes place at Lake Eola Park on Saturday, October 21.

We visited Orlando earlier this year and along with our lesbian travel companion, we felt very supported and welcomed everywhere we went. We also proved that a great time can be had in Orlando without ever stepping foot in a Disney park or strapping into a rollercoaster seat at any other amusement destination.

Read on for our recommendations on where to stay, eat and drink, as well as what to do to fill in the gaps from a Big Queer Weekend of Pride celebrations. Visit Orlando offers a robust LGBTQ+ Orlando Travel Guide, so that’s a fantastic place to begin.


The hotel properties we stayed at are each less than a 30-minute drive to the site of the Pride Festival, so we encourage you to pick a home base that’ll leave you feeling rested and pampered during the rest of your trip.

Immerse yourself in art at every turn at the Lake Nona Wave Hotel (pool pictured above). One of the most welcome aspects of this property is its lack of nickel-and-diming guests. Valet or self-park for free. Enjoy complimentary access to the sprawling Lake Nona Performance Club or work up a sweat pedaling around on one of the property’s free bikes. Hang out at the gorgeous pool. Stay connected with complimentary high-speed WiFi. The list goes on and on.

On-property amenities include two restaurants, two bars, a vibrant art-filled lobby and a gorgeous outdoor sculpture garden begging for your to take photos. The rooms (especially the suites) will leave you rested and relaxed before a long day of Pride shenanigans.

Or if you plan to visit a theme park without sacrificing luxury or attentive service, check in at Four Seasons Resort Orlando at Walt Disney World Resort. We plan to return for the spa experience alone, but you’ll find so much to love—including our favorite amenity, Oasis, the only adults-only pool on Magic Kingdom property. Or splash around the five-acre water park if you prefer to be a kid again (and why not, it’s vacation!)

Situated on 26 acres, the AAA Five Diamond Resort sits on a lake and offers plenty of beautiful scenery as a lush backdrop to your vacay. In the distance, the Walt Disney World Resort and other theme parks can be seen, which makes for a truly memorable experience each night when you can enjoy the lavish fireworks displays—without the crowds. And hopefully while sipping on champagne or a refreshing cocktail.


Orlando has risen in the Michelin ranks recently and you, too, can have the privilege to indulge at many of the city’s top culinary destinations.

The hotels above each feature at least one restaurant worth visiting, whether you’re staying on-property or not. At Lake Nona Wave Hotel, it’s BACÁN, a Michelin-recommended restaurant featuring the best of Central and South America via numerous dishes meant for sharing.

Meanwhile, at the Four Seasons, lesbian chef Malyna Si leads the kitchen at Capa, a 17th-floor rooftop steakhouse that boasts a Michelin star and those spectacular fireworks views we promised. But really, her food gave us bigger goosebumps than the pyrotechnics (don’t miss out on the Delmonico steak).

Elsewhere in the city, we have plenty of other favorites worth adding to your agenda. For morning coffee and killer breakfast, head to Barnie’s Coffee & Tea Co. in Winter Park, home to the year-round favorite, Santa’s White Christmas—a dectable coffee with coconut, caramel and vanilla flavors that will conjure holiday memories regardless of the seasons. We grabbed a few pounds to take home, it’s that good.

Also in Winter Park, Prato may just be home to the most indulgent pizza we’ve ever had. The $50 Black Diamond features truffle fonduta, parmigiano reggiano and tons of fresh black truffle. If you love truffles, this will rock your world.

For brunch, get your mimosa on at The Monroe, a lively spot where we encountered many gays in their natural habitat. The restaurant’s famous fried chicken should be ordered to share (with or without waffles) or load up on delicious donuts. We won’t judge.

To partake in another Michelin-recommended dinner (you know you want to), head to The Pinery (named in honor of Florida’s once-thriving pineapple industry that took place on the same land). The Seafood Boil (pictured above) makes fabulous use of the state’s abundant fresh fish options.

Whether you partake in booze or not, The Bandbox a few blocks down the street from The Pinery will wow you with their zero-proof cocktails in an ultra-cozy, super-intimate, reservation-required speakeasy. The creative mixology will leave you impressed without the hangover that usually comes after several rounds of craft cocktails.

Photo by @robertstonewwe

Finally, for one of the most unique hours of drinking ever, head to the Original Beer Spa, Florida’s first beer spa. Yes, you read that correctly. Submerge your body in a hot tub filled with hops and barley while sipping (or chugging) beer that’s easily reachable from the taps next to you. Then catch a quick nap on the hay bed in the corner.


Even if you’re not one for theme parks, you may change your mind at Discovery Cove. This marine park offers unlimited food and drinks (including an optional premium adult beverage package), white sand beaches, snorkeling, winding rivers, full shower and locker room facilities, and the best of all—swimming with dolphins. Or opt for the underwater walking tour where you can get up close and (safely) personal with sharks.

For more ways to enhance your Pride weekend visit to Orlando, head to Visit Orlando and Come Out With Pride Orlando.