Although Dutch people often pride themselves on being very tolerant and open-minded, there are several areas in which the Netherlands are far behind. One development that has not been picked up until now is the so-called Gay Day in theme parks and amusement parks.
This trend began in 1991 as a single designated day when the LesBiGay community and friends were encouraged to ''wear red and be seen'' while visiting the world's most popular theme park Disney World in Orlando, Florida. Nowadays, it is no longer a single event, but rather a week where gays, bi, gay-friendly hetero's, lesbians, transsexuals and their family and friends can enjoy multiple events staged at world famous attractions, gay & lesbian clubs, and unique venues secured for the purpose of creating a gay and lesbian atmosphere. Young, old, all races and beliefs, parents and every other section of the community are now attending these Gay Days.
Several years later, Phantasialand in Germany followed suit and began to organize a yearly ''pink day'' known as Fantasypride. And now, finally, there will be a gay day in de Efteling. For those unfamiliar with this venue: it opened in 1952 as one of the world's first entertainment parks. It started out as a fairytale park for kids, with little tableaus depicting stories such as Sleeping Beauty, Snow White and Little Red Riding Hood. Over the years it has grown into an all-round amusement park with the addition of fantastic rides and magic themes for grown-ups.
Alfred Verhoeven, one of the organisers of the event, thinks it is about time: "The success of the American and German Gay Days, as well as the results of a survey we have conducted, clearly show that there is a lot of interest in a festive day for gays, lesbians, their family and friends that can also inspire others. We expect about 5000 participants. The park will be open to the regular public, so other guests will be present in addition to the visitors of GayDay@Efteling. We think people will come to the park that day to enjoy the special atmosphere. And we have asked everyone to wear something red, so they will stand out.''
The Efteling is happy with the expected influx of new clients. In their reaction, they state: "The Efteling welcomes guests and all kinds of groups to the park 365 days a year for an unforgettable day out. We are extremely pleased that this group has also picked our park for its visit on June 11th, 2001"