Sunday, March 21, 2010

Gay Days Hotels - Choosing the Right Orlando Hotel for You

So you thinking about coming to Orlando for Gay Days, but aren't sure which Orlando hotel to stay at?

Do you stay at a Gay Days host hotel or do you look for a cheaper alternative nearby or select something totally different. Well let's review Gay Days Orlando hotels so you can decide.

DoubleTree Resort - International Drive
This is the host hotel for GayDays.com and Girls at GayDays.
- Central location within 15 minutes to Universal Studios, Hard Rock Cafe, Typhoon Lagoon, Magic Kingdom and Shopping, but you will need transportation.
- Host to GayDays Expo, ART at Gay Days, Film Festival
- Host to daily Pool Parties, Evening on site Dance Parties and Comedy Shows

This hotel will have the most activities of any location and while gay men and lesbians will be at the hotel they will have their own venues. So it will be together yet separate.

Holiday Inn @ Walt Disney World
This is the host hotel for MarkBakerEvents and it is just for the guys. Yes the entire hotel is blocked out for the weekend so it will be men, men, men.
- Within 5 minutes House of Blues Downtown Disney and Typhoon Lagoon, Magic Kingdom about 10 minutes, 15 minutes to Universal Studios & Hard Rock
- Welcome Party and Pool Parties are exclusively for registered hotel guests
- Book a room by March 31st and get 1 GD2010 Weekend Pass Free

Points to note it is just for the Guys (which I like), you can use Disney transportation if you choose, down side is that your new friends can't come to the pool party if they don't stay there.

Courtyard Marriot & Fairfield Inn at Marriott Village
These are the official Girls in Wonderland host hotels expect lots of ladies
- Within 10 minutes of Bongos & House of Blues Downtown Disney and 15 minutes of Magic Kingdom, Universal Studios, and Hard Rock
- Onsite welcome reception, Pool Parties and one After Hours Party
- Pool Parties are free for registered hotel guests

The pros are that this hotel is women only and their are lots of pool events right outside your door and bus transportation to a few parties. Downside it might be a bit loud with the after hours party.

Buena Vista Palace
This is the hotel that formerly held One Mighty Weekend events and is now holding One Mighty Reunion Events.
- Passes to all three Reunion Pool Parties included with your hotel reservation.
- Within 5 minutes House of Blues Downtown Disney and Typhoon Lagoon, Magic Kingdom about 10 minutes, 15 minutes to Universal Studios & Hard Rock
- Downside - Hotel is not exclusive so expect a mix of couples, families and guys

While the location is good, you will be sharing the hotel with regular Disney guests. One Mighty Weekend took a big hit last year and really under-delivered and has re-grouped as One Mighty Reunion, until they prove themselves again this would not be my first choice. However, if other hotels sell out then this would be an option.

Not interested at staying at one of the Gay Days 2010 host hotels, then consider some of these hotels that offer great amenities and are close to Gay Days Orlando events.

Portifino Bay at Universal Orlando
Italian inspired hotel on Universal property - Good for parties at Universal and events at Hard Rock, 10 Minutes from GayDays Expo, 15 minutes from Disney

Shingle Creek
Large Orlando hotel about 2 - 3 miles from host hotel for GayDays.com. Golf course on property and a very relaxing place.

Disney also has a lot of hotels on property and you may want to choose one that is around the Downtown Disney area if you want to go to any Downtown Disney parties and Typhoon Lagoon. Also check out the GayDays.com web site for other co-host hotels.

Russ J - VisitGayOrlando.com

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Gay Days 2010 - Conversation with Mark Baker

Gay Days 2010 - New, Different and Fun

I just got off the phone with Mark Baker of MarkBakerEvents and let me be the first to tell you that he is excited to be involved with Gay Days 2010! And after speaking with Mark, we here at VisitGayOrlando.com are glad he is back.

During our conversation, Mark shared his thoughts on Gay Days past, Gay Days 2010 and what they are trying to do differently this year. I will focus on Gay Days 2010 here.

Years ago Mark Baker and Watermark Media helped make Gay Days a party destination for Orlando, Florida, US and International visitors. The group of parties they created were sold and those parties remained very successful for years. In 2009, the economy and other issues resulted in big changes; Pleasure Island closed ending a Thursday night tradition, the Disney Theme Park party never materialized and other parties were hit or miss. However, those changes resulted in the opportunity for Mark Baker to return for Gay Days 2010.

As Mark put it, Gay Days 2010 represents change, excitement and an opportunity to for event attendees to say Wow, Awesome, Amazing or just leave them speechless.

Mark also noted that it's time to shake things up, do something different and provide a unique experience that guys from Orlando, Tampa and all of Florida will want to attend. A real destination weekend. "We know everybody is on a budget these days, so we have worked hard to get the most out of every event while keeping the cost affordable."

And based on what I am seeing this are great price points
Grind - Thursday night $25 (Last year is was $40 or $50)
Stratosphere - Saturday at Universal Studios - $75 (Prior years $95)
After Hours Parties at Arabian Nights - $50 (I think it was $60 last year)

And Mark Baker is also doing something different with Pool Parties this year, as he noted it is a "Value Added" approach, yet also exclusive. Only those staying at the Holiday Inn at Walt Disney World Resort will be able to attend the Pool Parties.

Some might be saying, I can buy a guest pass right and the answer is no!

Mark Baker Events blocked about the entire Holiday Inn, which means that this is a guys weekend. Which is a huge commitment, but you are not going to run into Mom, Dad and strollers around every corner. The benefit is that you can be yourself and feel free to hold hands, embrace or kiss freely. We like that.

In the past Gay Days pool parties could cost $30 a piece or $60 for a weekend, but Mark said we decided to include it in the price of staying at the Holiday Inn. (I mean the completely renovated brand new Holiday Inn that looks amazing. Watch the video before you judge.) We want guests to stay at the hotel, have fun and be at a great central location. Those staying at the hotel get a welcome party on Friday and a Saturday and Sunday pool party.

And Mark saved the Best Deal for last, however this is a limited time offer.

If you book at Gay Days Weekend Vacation at the MBE Host Hotel - Holiday Inn before March 31st, 2010 - You will get 1 Free GD2010 Weekend Pass (1 per room reservation) a $250 value!
PLUS - You'll get into the MBE Pool Parties.

As our conversation wrapped up, Mark told me that a lot of thought and planning has gone into the return of MBE to the Orlando Gay Days events, more than any recent event in memory.

"All I can say is that we have put together an amazing line up of events and packages and hope that everyone will come out and enjoy it - because it will be an incredible time."

We hope Mark is right and we plan to be there!

Russ J - VisitGayOrlando.com
Here for a complete list of All Gay Days 2010 Events

Monday, March 8, 2010

Gay Days 2010 - The Big Saturday Night Party is Back!

Gay Days 2009, saw high hopes, power outages, favorite venues become history, colossal party failures, great weather and success for GayDays, Parliament House and Let's Go Play parties!

Many wondered is Gay Days had peaked would the famed Saturday Night Theme Parks & Pleasure Island events remain past memories? View Gay Days 2010 Events.

When Let's Go Play took over Beach Ball, everyone rejoiced and silently said "Thank God!" What would be Gay Days without hot music, hot guys and well you get the picture.

So after the absence of One Mighty Weekend Saturday Night Theme Park Party, I was fearful that it too was gone for good. However one promoters disaster is another persons opportunity.

While I would have loved to run a Gay Days party, I just don't have the cash and the knowledge. However, I have great news Watermark Media, Tony Moran and Mark Baker do!

Together they have put together a great set of events for the weekend and I will be reviewing them all the the Big One is....

Stratosphere - Saturday Night at Universal Studios!
Yes, Universal Studios - And Tickets start at $75

It's not the same as the Disney parties, but it is a great start to making Gay Days 2010 bigger and better than last year.

Keep informed on Gay Days 2010 at Visit Gay Orlando