3 min

Road Warrior: gays in the Magic Kingdom

Matthew Link explores the Happiest Place on Earth

Gay Days at Disney. Credit: Jericl Cat/Wikipedia

It had been a long day at the “Happiest Place on Earth.” A sea of red shirts flooded Disney World, and the gays chanted “Diva! Diva!” at the top of their lungs when Cruella de Vil floated by in the midday parade. A hunky Aladdin tried not to crack up at the catcalls thrown at him atop his magic carpet.

During Gay Days, my friend Ted and I had meticulously hit It’s a Small World, the Haunted Mansion, and Pirates of the Caribbean, and made pronouncements on each like we were sommeliers rating fine wines. It was odd and unexpected to be in the Magic Kingdom as a gay adult, seeing my closeted childhood merge into one queer red river of mouse-eared delight.

“Was there any making out on Small World?” Lisa winked at me later that night as we downed another vodka in her hotel room full of lesbians.

“Not enough! The queens were too busy singing,” I replied.

“Really? I would have thought you guys would be using your mouths for other things!” She knew I had always liked Ted, and that we had had sex a couple times, and that I was still pining after him in some current of the deep ocean of my libido.

“Gays having sex in Small World? That’s like Catholics having sex in church,” I explained.

Ted came up and gave me a drunken kiss on the cheek, while another vodka with little-to-no mixer found its way into my hand. Baby dykes in wifebeaters hooted and hollered from the balcony of Lisa’s room at the Best Western, and the obscure, humid sky outside looked like it would explode with rain.

“I think it’s time to take Ted home,” Lisa groggily suggested, lying in a heap on the bed.

Ted and I staggered into a cab and landed in our own heap in the backseat, his torso splayed out across mine. We blurted out our hotel and began to pass out, but the cabbie was curiously talkative.

“Are you guys here for a special event?”


“The gay event going on?”

“That’s the one!”

“Oh, very good.”

I pried my eyes open to a slit to see why this man even wanted to acknowledge these two drunks in his back seat. A handsome Middle Eastern face smiled back at me. He seemed very interested in us.

We got to our Victorian-style Disney hotel with Ted pretty much sleeping through it all. I handed the driver some cash and he replied, “Perhaps you guys want some company in your room? I can park over there.”

I laughed out loud. “Ted? The taxi driver wants to come upstairs with us.”

“Okay, bring ’em up,” was Ted’s hazy response.

“Are you sure?” I said more quietly.

“Bring ’em up!” was the mumbled command. I’m not sure if Ted even knew what he was agreeing to.

In the elevator, our taxi driver chatted about his home country of Turkey, and I saw he was solidly built in that olive oil wrestler way. We tumbled into our suite, decorated with tasteful Laura Ashley bedspreads and subdued Mickey Mouse wallpaper, where our scene of random debauchery was to occur. Clothes came flying off, erections were groped, orifices were defiled, and it was all over in a flash, like hungry tourists attacking a dinner buffet.

With Ted and I in a bewildered mound of nakedness, the taxi driver pulled on his clothes. With a satisfied grin he paused dramatically at the door. Doing his best to sound hip and gay, he awkwardly left us with these words dangling in the air: “See you later, bitches!”

The next day Ted and I sheepishly looked at each other. We quickly went back to being buds, laughing off the experience as too much vodka. But it did feel nice to kiss Ted on the lips and sleep in a nude pile next to him and wake up with matching his-and-his hangovers.

For a few hours, we were mythical lovers in an unending fairy tale galloping through the dark night. Thanks to the magic of one unexpected ride in an enchanted taxi from Turkey that helped me find such unexpected joy right in the Happiest Place on Earth.

Read more about a very gay kingdom of queens, castles and princess.

For more on gay life in Orlando beyond the grand shadow cast by Disney World.

The Road Warrior series of columns first appeared in The Guide, our print edition that was the predecessor to


For the most up-to-date travel information on Gay Orlando, see our City GuideListings GuideEvents Guide and Activities Guide.


Matthew Link is an award-winning travel writer, documentary filmmaker and frequent TV guest/commentator. The founding editor of Out Traveler and Sherman’s Travel magazines, Matthew has served as an editor at Frommer's Budget Travel magazine, and contributed articles to Newsweek, Time, Men’s Health and Men’s Fitness, among many others. His numerous TV appearances include a regular guest spot on NBC’s Early Today. Among books, his writing is included in The Best Travel Writing 2008: True Stories From Around The World. Check out his author page on

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