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Sunday, September 21, 2008

Out on the scene: Thoughts on Discovery Kingdom's first "gay day" & R Bar After Party

[Update: I wrote a follow up to my first write-up of Discovery Kingdom's Out in the Park]

I give props to Discovery Kingdom for hosting an LGBT day--and an officially sponsored one at that (Disney might have a kick-ass gay day, but it's still not official). There was dance music and Energy 92.7 DJs and a special picnic area...I got pictures with Fernando and Greg!...and so I had a lot of fun (I even bought my first season pass!) but Discovery Kingdom's "gay day" (okay, so they actually called it "Out in the Park") did leave some room for improvement in the years ahead. My thoughts on what could make it better are here. Totally agree? Loved it? Hated it? Make sure and share your experience in the comments.
  • More gays. Discovery Kingdom was open to the full public yesterday and gay-day just added to the number of visitors. Lucky for us the lines didn't get too long... Unfortunately, it was because all of the crowds were pretty low yesterday. I'm not sure if people didn't know it was Out in the Park or if they chose not to go. Either way, they should work on the marketing. Searches and visits to this blog tripled in the week before the event, mainly because Discovery Kingdom's info page was pretty hidden (were they playing it safe?) and so Google listed this blog as one of the top results on what was happening. Better marketing = more gays = better gay day.

  • Colored t-shirts. In spite of my fairly good gaydar, I'm lazy when it comes to identifying the gays. On top of that, attendance numbers were low all over the park. That would have been less of an issue for Out in the Park if people were actually "Out". Unlike Disneyland's gay day were everyone where's red--so you can see who's in the club--there was no official gay uniform yesterday. Sure, I could play off stereotypes and just guess which were the gays, but then that would be just like any other day! If there were an official shirt you could buy or if everyone had to wear a teal shirt or something (Disneyland goes red) it would be much easier.

  • All-day gathering spot. They had two "official" Out in the Park gathering spots. One was an Energy 92.7 DJ spinning right underneath Vertical Velocity, who played from 2 - 5. Except that he packed up before 5 and people didn't really gather near him except when they were getting in line for Vertical Velocity. The other area--a large picnic area on the far side of the park--was nice and right on the water ski show waterfront. But, it sort of felt like we were being quarantined and also was only at the end of the day (5-7p). They should have had an all day spot (bonus points if it was more centralized) and sold Out in the Park merchandise there or just had something worthwhile going all day.

  • Headliner concert or special event. In fact, while we're at it, they should have had a concert or some big reason to go to the gathering spot. They did have Energy 92.7's DJs spinning some good dance music and that was fun, but only a hundred or so people gathered in the queer picnic area and the area was huge, so it didn't really look like a lot of people. If there was a "main event", maybe more would have come? This was the first year for Out in the Park, so I'll cut them some slack. Remember, I'm just talking about ways they could improve. I know this wasn't SF Pride, but even if they did something to get the numbers that were at the latin stage at Pride, then people would be talking about Discovery Kingdom and then we'd see some big numbers.

  • Discount. I also should have done my homework to have figured out before hand if I should have brought a coke can (I should have) or a McDonald's coupon to not have to pay the $46 it cost to get my one day ticket. But it would have been so much easier if I could've just mentioned gay-day to get in for $20 or something! Gays aren't cheap but the economy's down and we--like all people--like a little bang for our buck. Also, the gay day events were only from 2p - 7p, so I feel like I got a really short day for spending that much money. They did convince me to turn my day ticket into a season pass that will last me through 2009, but in the end it ended up costing me $65. Another smart move would have been to sell the food in the picnic area for cheaper than the regular park food. I was hungry, but $7 for a slice of pizza? I'll wait to check out the new Sonic's drive-in on the way home.
The only thing that really saved the day was the R Bar after party, which was mostly good times for all (well, one beautiful lesbian in the bar was wishing that more ladies showed up, but she had fun with us boys). The upstairs was packed full, there were some brief numbers by a local drag queen but not a full drawn-out show, two hot women belly dancing, and the DJ did a pretty good job keeping people on the dance floor most of the night. Way to represent the North Bay, R Bar!

Did you go to Discovery Kingdom's Out in the Park or the after party at R Bar? What did you think?

1 comment:

  1. Don't waste your money on Six Flags folks. My friends and I went to “Out in the park” and were very disappointed. What a waste of money. Is Six Flags homophobic? It felt like another day at the park. No flags, no celebration of any kind. It was supposed to be gay day and yet my friends and I were mocked at by all the straight people there for being ‘out”. The Energy 92.7 pick nick in the far left field of the park felt like a gay quarantine area. We were tagged with red wrist bands and entered the lamest pick nick area we had ever seen. What a joke “out in the park” was. Save your money for Gay Day at Great America. It’s way more fun. At least Great America actually makes an effort to put on a celebration. Why put on a gay event if you’re going to try to hide it. For shame Six Flags, For Shame!