The Parliament Celebrates It’s 35th Anniversary

The Parliament House Celebrates It’s 35th Anniversary

A Week Long Celebration!

By Scott Holland

On the verge of being shut down, Parliament House was purchased by Don Granatstein and Susan Unger, a straight couple who owned time shares in the Orlando area. They spent millions of dollars renovating the resort and rebuilt its reputation.

With a clientele that ranges from circuit boys, to twinks, to bears, to muscle queens to the outrageous, to the neighbor next door, Parliament House has been an institution in Orlando’s gay community for 35 years. The 130 room motel and 10,000 square foot entertainment complex on Orange Blossom Trail is known worldwide for its Vegas-style drag shows, its theme parties, Wanzie’s Broadway style productions and just being fun 7 days a week.

It was a pleasure to sit down and interview Don  as the P-House is celebrating their 35th anniversary.

What made you and Susan purchase the Parliament House?

When we were partners with Debbie Reynolds in Las Vegas a large component of Debbie’s fans were gay.  It was natural to stay in the community.

You and Susan are one of the most accepting straight couples I have ever met. You seem to truly embrace and love the gay community. How did this all get started?

We are Canadians from Toronto.  There is a great difference in attitudes between the 2 countries.  Canadians are far more accepting of each other and Toronto being so diverse, there are no majorities.

When you purchased the Parliament House 11 years ago you had many plans for the business. Have you accomplished them all and what were they?

The last 11 years have been the best experience we have had.  Our main disappointment was the demise of the lend in The Gardens.  It was our dream to create an exclusive country club for the community.  However we only look at this as a delay and we will still complete it.

What do you attribute the rising success in the last ten years of the Parliament House to?

The staff at the Parliament House is the main reason for its success.  We are a crazy group of individuals who make up the best team around.  The amount of entertainment and bars that you can experience in one visit is also a contributing factor.  “Go bar hopping without a car” is our motto.

You have so many themed events during the year. I know I am putting you on the spot, but what are yours and Susan’s top 3 favorite yearly events?
 
My favorite events of the year are Gay Days, the Orlando White Party, and the Employee Turn-A-Bout.

What plans do you have for the future?

We plan to open a second Parliament House.

The 2 remaining events wrapping up the 35th anniversary celebration are the Latin Nights 10th anniversary extravaganza on Thursday, July 22nd at 9 pm, featuring a special anniversary show starring Lisa Lane and guests and the big anniversary party on Saturday, July 24th with Expose live in concert.

 

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