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    April 13, 2007

    A gay ol' time at the Magic Queendom

    Posted by: Chris

    Queenskingdomxlarge You may have heard the news earlier this week that Walt Disney Co. decided to allow same-sex couples to buy "fairytale wedding" packages at the company's theme parks and on its cruise ships.

    Previously, the ceremonies had been limited to couples with valid marriage licenses, but a company spokesperson said the change reflected "Disney's long-standing poicy of welcoming every guest in an inclusive environment." Query whether it might also reflect Disney's long-standing policy of welcoming greenbacks from every available source: The packages run from $8,000 to almost $50,000.

    The change also prompted USA Today to publish an interview with Jeffrey Epstein and Eddie Shapiro, authors of the upcoming "Queens in the Kingdom: The Ultimate Gay & Lesbian Guide to the Disney Theme Parks." Among the highlights (and lowlights):

    What are some of the pinker places in the Kingdom?

    Epstein: There are the obvious things: "Ellen's Energy Adventure" hosted by Ellen DeGeneres. But there are more subtle things. "Honey I Shrunk the Audience" was directed by Randal Kleiser, who is openly gay.

    Shapiro: The way you might look at something as a gay person is different than a straight person. In the Hall of Presidents (I call it Disney's tunnel of love — it's dark, air-conditioned and half-empty), at the finale is Abraham Lincoln, who says our (government) began by affirming rights.

    At a time when we're talking about gay marriage and a government that is curtailing the rights of a large number of its populace … for gay or lesbians that's going to ring bells. …

    Q: I enjoyed the Fairy Facts (gay trivia) sprinkled throughout the guide. Do you have a favorite fact?

    Shapiro: (The employee) in a Mickey costume is usually a woman because of size issues. So when you see Mickey and Minnie hold hands or kissing, you know a secret.

    Epstein: The Indiana Jones animatronic figure has nipples.

    It's all fun and games, of course, but these two might learn to tailor their message a bit more for an interview such a broader audience. They touch some pretty hot buttons here, sexualizing a place meant primarily for kids. And then there was Shapiro's response when asked "if you were truly queens of the Kingdom, what would you change about the Disney parks?"

    "We'd get rid of the other people," answered Shapiro.

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