By Jason Kaplan
What guest would you love to have at your seder? How about Mickey, Minnie, Donald, Goofy and Pluto? Walt Disney World Resort holds a special place in my heart, as it does for countless millions of people all over the world. But can you really mix Mickey Mouse and matzah? Can one eat pesadik (kosher for Passover) and enjoy the place “where dreams come true”?
Yes. As a frequent visitor to Walt Disney World Resort and someone who loves Passover for the food and experience, here are some of my tips.
During Passover, kosher Pesach food is found in local marts, but the convenience of getting everything you want or need can be challenging. Chabad of South Orlando does a great job of providing contact information for catering services both local and from New York. There are small delivery charges, but to be near the House of the Mouse is worth the investment. You may even ship your own food to your destination.
But how do you actually visit Mickey Mouse with your matzah?
Guests are allowed to bring their own food and drink into the theme parks and eat in common areas but not in the restaurants. Counter service (not table service) restaurants will even provide you with a cup of water at no charge. I would make sure to get a clean tray and line it with napkins to have a chametz-free surface to dine on. Just pack up matzah sandwiches, chips and snacks for the day and schmooze with Mickey and the gang.
Walt Disney World Resort is the gold standard in customer service with guest access to kosher food at any restaurant. The Pesach-hechshered food is prepared by Miami-based Weberman Foods, which is certified by the Orthodox Rabbinical Council of South Florida (ORC) and by OK Labs. Passover products are prepared under the supervision of Mehadrin Kosher Inspection (MKI).
During Pesach, many table service Walt Disney World Resort restaurants allow you to order kosher Passover entrees such as brisket, honey-glazed chicken breast, baked fillet of salmon with a matzah farfel side dish, 8-inch cheese pizza made with egg whites and a potato starch shell, and chicken strips with potato croquets. There are sides of vegetables and potatoes. Soups include garden vegetable and matzah ball, and delicious desserts include chocolate layer cake, coconut macaroon and carrot cake.
All kosher meals are clearly marked, are triple-wrapped to allow heating in any oven, and come with plastic utensils and napkin sets pre-sealed. The meals must be ordered 48 hours in advance of your table service restaurant dining time by calling 407-939-3463.
Many counter service and food cart locations also sell fresh fruit in the theme park.
Walt Disney World Resort cast members (employees) want you to be comfortable and enjoy the show (the attractions and experiences) and eat without worry. That is truly magical for Jews on vacation.
So where do people stay? Lodging is easy because there are many Pesach villas and hotels available at a reasonable price, many with an all-inclusive option with food and seders. Personally, I would look at Walt Disney World Resort villas that can accommodate eight or more people and have full kitchens that can be easily kashered for the entire holiday if you are interested in a family vacation. Walt Disney World Resort properties are unique because you will be able to enjoy — with Disney benefits such as extra magic hours — the theme parks, grounds and pools on the yom tovim and during the chol hamoed days (based on your observance and tznius levels).
If you are looking to exodus Atlanta, then Walt Disney World Resort has the food, fun and magic waiting for you. Enjoy many magical memories with Mickey and Matzah!
Jason Kaplan is a Disney enthusiast and orthodontist living in Dunwoody. He is a “dad” member of the Disney Parks Moms Panel and frequently visits Walt Disney World Resort in Florida.