Walt Disney World to Host World’s Largest LGBTQ+ Workplace Summit

The Walt Disney Company has been engaged in a feud with Florida Governor Ron DeSantis since the initial controversy over the “Don’t Say Gay”/Parent Rights in Education bill was sparked this time last year. In the months since the initial back and forth between then Disney CEO Bob Chapek and the DeSantis administration, the state of Florida has gained control over Disney’s Reedy Creek Improvement District.

Boomerang CEO Bob Iger was asked about the Reedy Creek issue earlier this year; however, he declined to comment on the matter at the time and has not shared an update since. Disney has also opted to accept the changes to Reedy Creek as put forth by the state without opposition.

Reedy Creek Fire


RELATED: What Is The Reedy Creek Improvement District and Why Does It Matter?

At the same event, Iger was asked to speak on the “Don’t Say Gay” controversy, to which he shared the following response:

Our LBGTQ employees are important to us; that is a given. This company has been telling stories for years, and they’ve had a positive impact on the world. One of our core values is inclusion, tolerance. I think about Black Panther and Coco. We change the world for the good, and that must continue….We’re not going to make people happy all the time, and we will not lessen our values to make everyone happy all the time. It’s a balance. We do what we think is right. Not everybody will agree with you, that’s not the way the world works nowadays – but we have to try to do the right thing.

As the DeSantis administration has begun appointing members to the board that will reevaluate Disney’s special district, the Walt Disney Company has taken another step in adhering to the values outlined in Iger’s views.

According to the Tampa Bay Times, the Walt Disney World Resort will host the 2023 Out & Equal Workplace Summit, the largest LGBTQ+ conference in the world. The summit will take place from September 11-14, 2023, and is expected to draw over 5,000 attendees, with the main events likely taking place at one of Disney’s onsite convention centers.

Out & Equal Summit Coming to Orlando

Credit: Disney (left), Out & Equal Workplace Advocates (right)

RELATED: Every Single ‘First Gay Character’ in a Disney Film

The summit will bring together executives, professionals, and experts pushing for LGBTQ+ equality in the workplace with keynote speakers, panels, workshops, and networking opportunities. Attendees of the event will be able to listen to and share their own thoughts on topics like diversity and inclusion, LGBTQ+ rights, and corporate social responsibility.

Disney World’s decision to host the 2023 Out & Equal Workplace Summit is also a major statement of support for LGBTQ+ rights, especially following the ongoing issues with DeSantis, and Iger’s most recent comments on the matter. Along with hosting the event, the Walt Disney Company is a top sponsor of the summit with other major corporations like Apple, Bank of America, DELL, Experian, JP Morgan, and Uber.


Cedit: Disney

As for how the event could impact Guests’ experience at the Resort, it is unlikely to be much different from any other major conference held on property. September is about as close to an “off-season” as Disney World gets these days, so the extra Guests in attendance will not cause many issues in the way of increased crowds in the theme parks. More likely to impact your trip if you are visiting Disney this fall is the Destination D23 event at Disney’s Contemporary Resort, which takes place September 8-10, 2023 (and sadly is already sold out.)

For more information on this year’s Out & Equal summit and additional programs offered by the organization throughout the year, visit

About Brittany DiCologero

Brittany is a New England-based writer focused on the history of the Walt Disney World Resort. She is the author of "Red, White, and Disney: The Myths and Reality of American History at the Walt Disney World Resort," and "Brittany Earns Her Ears."