TravelSPONSORED

11 Reasons to Make Orlando Your Must-Visit Fall Getaway

by Matthew Wexler

EDGE Media Network Contributor

Thursday October 7, 2021

All eyes are on Orlando this fall, and it's not just because Mickey and his pals are celebrating Disney World's 50th anniversary. Expect sunshine and rainbow revelry at events throughout the city as Orlando celebrates its 17th annual Come Out With Pride, culminating in a festival and parade on October 9.

Orlando recently earned the top ranking on ParkSleepFly.com's list of America's most LGBTQ+-friendly destinations. Criteria used to snag this coveted spot included the HRC's Municipality Index (a perfect 100), LGBTQ+ events, safety, bars and club listings, and the number and cost of hotels.

Here are some of our top picks for can't-miss events from Pride and beyond — all the more reason to book a quick flight, snag a hotel deal, and discover why Orlando has become the ultimate go-to destination for queer travelers.

"We Shall Overcome" — A cacophony of voices will rise into the night as the electrifying Orlando Gay Chorus, QLatinX, Bros in Convo and The Sounds of Freedom take to the stage at The Walt Disney Amphitheater at Lake Eola Park for a free evening of spoken word, music and arts celebrating and acknowledging LGBTQ+ trailblazers of color. (October 7)

"The Gay 90's Musical" — Ah, the 90s... Madonna was voguing, Ricky Martin was "Livin La Vida Loca," and "Will & Grace" put LGBTQ+-centric stories front and center. This musical revue, which first premiered at LA's Celebration puts 1994, reflects on the decades' queer culture, reminding us of our community's enduring legacy. (October 1-10).

National Trans Visibility Rally and March — Orlando makes history this October as the first location outside Washington, DC, to host the event. Hosted in collaboration with One Orlando Alliance and Come Out With Pride, more than 5,000 trans, nonbinary and ally attendees are expected.

"This year's theme, 'No Lives Left Behind,' will focus on regional safety plans to address the number of tumultuous murders that are continually taking place with trans-identified people," says Marissa Miller, CEO and Founder of the National Trans Visibility March. "We are taking the National Trans Visibility March back to the streets and on this day, where we celebrate National Trans Visibility Day, we are so pleased to announce that we have selected Orlando, Florida as the host city."

The Most Colorful Parade — A new, longer parade route through downtown Orlando offers plenty of space to strut your stuff and connect with more than 100 participating groups that comprise Orlando's diverse LGBTQ+ community. This year's grand marshals include advocates Brandon Wolf and Felipe Sousa-Lazaballet, transgender Olympic athlete Chelsea Wolfe, and local business leaders Blue Star and Trina Gregory-Propst. (October 9, 4 p.m.)

Come Out With Pride Festival — Orlando is going full throttle with this year's festival, which includes two stages and appearances by "RuPaul's Drag Race All-Stars" season 6 winner Kyle Sonique Love and season 13 finalist Gottmik. Other highlights include Kids Fringe Rainbow Ranch for family-friendly fun, Dry Dock Sober Area and a fabulous fireworks finale.

Organizers recommend that attendees RSVP for the event and that everyone wear a mask, even if vaccinated. Various VIP packages are available to put you front and center for all the action! (October 9, 12 p.m. — 10 p.m.)

Girls in Wonderland — The highly anticipated event descends on the Grand Orlando Resort and nearby venues for four days of female-centric festivities. The adult-only (21 and over) line-up includes pool parties, happy hours, a comedy show featuring Jen Kober, after-hours parties, and a signature event expected to draw more than 2,000 women. (October 14-18)

Inclusive, All the Time

Pride means different things to different people. Look no further than Orlando for a diverse, welcoming destination that celebrates families of choice as well as families of origin. This fall is packed with special events that appeal to all types of travelers. Here is just a taste of what's in store!

Visit Orlando's Magical Dining — An Insta-worthy meal doesn't have to drain your wallet. Experience a three-course meal at one of Orlando's most popular restaurants for just $37 per person. Here is the complete list, but one favorite is gay-owned Bites & Bubbles in downtown Mills 50 District. The changing menu features beautifully curated cheeses and charcuterie, an ample caviar menu, as well as craft cocktails, champagne and wine. (Through October 17)


EPCOT International Food & Wine Festival — If you're headed to Disney World to partake in 50th anniversary celebrations, be sure to add this favorite annual event to your itinerary. Newly opened additions include Belgium (EDGE picks: beer-braised beef paired with Chimay Dorée Gold), Lobster Landing (EDGE picks: baked lobster dip paired with Sean Minor chardonnay), and Brazil (EDGE picks: crispy pork belly paired with frozen caipirinha). (Through November 20)

Halloween Horror Nights and Universal Orlando — Celebrating 30 years of Spooktacular entertainment, those seeking chills and thrills should look no further than this park takeover, which includes scare zones, surprise creature experiences, and not one but twelve terrifying attractions, including five new haunted houses. (Through October 31)

25th Anniversary of "RENT" — Orlando's Celebration Theatre Co. revisits Jonathan Larson's Pulitzer- and Tony-winning musical, which reimagines Puccini's "La Boheme" as seen through the lens of New York City's East Village. (October 22-31)

Electric Daisy Carnival — Another epic anniversary unfolds as EDC marks 25 years as a celebration of life, love, art, and music. In addition to the world's best DJs (Armin van Buuren, Tiësto and Afrjojack to name a few), expect thrill rides, oversized art installations, and a sensory overload that fuses technology with nature. (November 12-14).

Want more ideas for things to do in Orlando? Start planning at VisitOrlando.com.

Matthew Wexler is EDGE's Senior Editor, Features & Branded Content. More of his writing can be found at www.wexlerwrites.com. Follow him on Twitter and Instagram at @wexlerwrites.