April 8, 2024
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Dive Into Kosher Disney World

Mickey pops!

Have you ever wanted to travel the world, fly to outer space, explore the deep sea, or see your favorite films come to life? What if I told you that there is a place where you can fulfill your desires–all in one day? That place is Disney World, featuring four epic theme parks: Magic Kingdom, EPCOT, Hollywood Studios and Animal Kingdom, as well as two waterparks: Typhoon Lagoon and Blizzard Beach, and the world’s best shopping center: Disney Springs.

Since 2002, my family and I have visited the “House of Mouse” pretty much at least once, twice, or even three times every year. And why wouldn’t we? In terms of rides, shows and atmosphere, it’s the world’s best theme park. The Disney resorts, where we often stay as members of the Disney Vacation Club, are stunning, enhanced by incredible amenities such as outdoor games, movie nights and luxurious pools with epic water slides, and the rooms are spacious and stunning. As a topping, Disney is located in sunny Florida where the weather is always warm.

People often ask me why I keep going back each year, but honestly, it’s like being a camper attending a sleep-away camp for the first time and getting homesick: When I don’t visit Disney for several months, I start feeling “Disney-sick.”

I get it that Disney is not for everyone. Some people don’t like roller coasters or would rather go on tours, cruises or exotic adventures. To me, Disney offers pretty much all of that. The EPCOT World Showcase features replicas of 11 distinct countries with shows, attractions and iconic building replicas of the actual countries. At Animal Kingdom, you can go on a ride called Kilimanjaro Safari where you visit Disney’s private savanna, featuring ferocious and rare animals throughout a 22-minute jeep ride. Every time I go to Disney, I learn something new, and my appreciation for the attention to detail that the park’s designers and staff bring to make the magic come to life, only grows.

Greenbergs at Ghirardelli

Based on my years of experience at Disney, I thought it would be helpful in the Winter Break Guide to share some of the tips and tricks that I’ve learned over the years.

 

Eating Kosher at Disney

As an Orthodox Jew, my biggest concern when I travel is finding kosher food. I know that many of my friends will only travel to places with ample kosher food, such as Miami or Panama. Thankfully, Disney provides a wide array of options that not only satisfy my cravings but also offer delectable food, becoming a standout highlight of every trip.

Let’s start with the basics: Where to find kosher food in the parks? This is actually a bit tricky since every few months or years, the location for kosher food can change. But no worries; every park has at least one restaurant that serves packaged kosher meals so be sure to ask a Cast Member for assistance in finding one if it has moved.

Greenbergs with ice cream.

Kosher Food Served at Restaurants

As of this publication, here are the restaurants with pre-packaged kosher meals on hand:

Florida:

  • Magic Kingdom: Cosmic Ray’s Starlight Café located in Tomorrowland near Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin and All Table-Service restaurants
  • EPCOT: Sunshine Seasons located in The Land Pavilion by Soarin’, Garden Grill Restaurant also in The Land, and Coral Reef Restaurant at The Seas with Nemo & Friends Pavilion
  • Animal Kingdom: Satu’li Canteen, located in Pandora by the exit of Avatar Flight of Passage and Tiffins at Discovery Island
  • Hollywood: Rosie’s All-American Café located on Sunset Boulevard by Tower of Terror and Sci-Fi Dine In Theater Restaurant at Commissary Lane

California:

Disneyland Park: Café Orleans, located in New Orleans Square; Red Rose Taverne, located in Fantasyland (it’s the Beauty & the Beast Castle); and Blue Bayou, by Pirates of the Caribbean ride.

California Adventure: Smokejumpers Grill, near Grizzly River Run; and Wine Country Trattoria, located in Performance Corridor.

Below is a detailed list of the kosher menu offerings. Note that not all meals are readily available. I have seen many of these, but usually there are only limited options. This list is for Walt Disney World, Florida.

Mickey pretzels!

Breakfast Meals:

Cheese Omlette w/ Roasted Potatoes and Mushrooms

Chocolate Danish

Cheese Blintzes w/ Apple Sauce and Fruit

Lunch/Dinner Meals:

Beef Brisket w/ Gravy, Potato Kugel, and Corn

Lasagna w/ Corn

Roast Chicken Breast, Potato Kugel, Tzimmes

Hamburger w/ Roasted Potatoes, Mushroom, and Onions

Hot Dog w/ Roasted Potatoes and Vegetables

Chicken Strips w/ Potato Pancake and Corn

Chicken Tenders w/ Roasted Potatoes

Macaroni and Cheese

Character Meal at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge with a packaged kosher meal.

Cheese Pizza

Hot Dog w/ Hush Puppies

Appetizers: Vegetable Soup and Matzo Ball Soup

Desserts/Breads: Ciabatta Roll, Double Twist Challah, NY Style Cheesecake, Double Chocolate Cake w/ Choc Chips, Chocolate Chip Cookies, and Apple Pie

Disneyland, California has different kosher main meal options:

For meat, they have:

– Beef Goulash with Rice, Carrots & Green Beans

Herb Chicken & Vegetable Medley with Carrots & Green Beans

Zack eating Dole Whip.

For Dairy:

– Salmon with Lima Beans & Dill Rice

– Cheese Lasagna with Carrots & Green Beans

– Spaghetti with Carrots & Green Beans

*A Glatt Kosher meal can be ordered to be picked up at any Walt Disney World Resort by calling WDW-DINE. or 407.939.3463

Kosher Snacks:

There are a variety of succulent and refreshing snacks that are Kosher-certified throughout the parks and resorts. Maybe it’s just my having visited so many times, but I can usually tell which packaged food looks Kosher and love taking a peak to find a Hechsher.

Ahuva at Club Cool.

Some of my favorite snacks include:

– Mickey Shortbread Rounds Cookies – these are the best cookies, full of sugar and butter, and they melt in your mouth – YUM!

– Mickey Premium Ice Cream Bars – I think pretty much every ice cream bar I’ve seen sold at the vendor carts has a Kosher certification(, except the frozen chocolate-covered bananas which are not Kosher; P.S. – Mickey’s Cookies ’n Cream Sandwich is my favorite)

– Packaged ice cream, cookies, small bags of hard pretzels, candy and chocolate bars, plantain chips, potato chips, and fruit crisps (like dried fruit chips)

– Packaged pickles

– Blue and Green Milk (Star Wars Milk) from the Milk Stand in Batuu at Hollywood Studios (ask to see the ingredients if you want to double check since they are not packaged, but my brother and I checked last time, and the ingredients all had Kosher certifications)

– Club Cool in EPCOT has free soda from the Coca-Cola brand

Hot Foods:

– Classic Mickey (soft) Pretzels (don’t get any sides with it such as cheese)

Kosher burger.

– Popcorn Cart, if no butter is added

– Churros

– Mickey Waffles (Kosher batter – ask to see ingredients if you want to double check since not packaged)

Ice Cream:

– Ghirardelli (at Disney Springs in Florida and California Adventure in California)

– Dole Whip Ice Cream at Aloha Isle in the Magic Kingdom (near The Magic Carpets of Aladdin)

Baked Goods:

– At Disney Springs, Erin McKenna’s Bakery NYC serves Kosher baked goods which are available for delivery upon inquiry (Vegan, Pareve, and Gluten Free)

Kosher Restaurants in Orlando:

Kosher Grill – Glatt Kosher Meat Catering such as Mediterranean eats & burgers

Address: 5615 International Drive Orlando, FL 32819

(407) 392-2292

www.KosherGrillOrlando.com

Kosher mac ‘n cheese.

20 minutes from Magic Kingdom

Krembo Cafe – Breakfast & Dairy meal options all-day

Address: 8015 Turkey Lake Rd, Orlando, FL 32819

(407) 225-2944

15 minutes from Magic Kingdom

Now that I’ve covered the food, here are some other final parting tips and tricks when visiting Disney:

Other Top Five Tips When Going to Disney:

#1 – Purchase Genie+.

Going to Disney is expensive. Genie+ gives you speed passes to many of the top attractions (excluding a few elite ones that require an additional fee, typically one or two per park). So if you’re going to be spending money, you should get the best.

Genie+ is a few extra dollars, but I’ve found that it makes wait times significantly less, allowing you to quit waiting and enjoy all the park has to offer.

Basically, how it works is you first get the Disney World app on your phone. This app has information about each park, such as wait times and a map. Starting at midnight on the day of your visit, you can purchase Genie+. A few hours later, at 7am, you can then begin making reservations. (I would recommend watching a quick video of how this is done on YouTube for your first time.)

So someone in your party should then wake up early and book the best ride in the park you’re visiting at 7am. Key point: You get another speed pass for any available ride either:

  1. a) Once your party goes to that attraction or
  2. b) two hours have passed since the park opens–this is helpful if you want to go to the park later in the day then you can get another reservation and have multiple speed passes ready to go by the time you enter the park.

These reservations take you and your party on a much shorter line that can save you hours of waiting.

This leaves everyone less agitated, and the rush of scheduling the next ride is so much fun. Genie+ is live for everyone who purchases it, so if you release your party’s reservation, it goes to the open market and anyone can snag it. Therefore, it’s worth periodically refreshing the app to check if you can secure a better ride or an earlier arrival time for a ride you’ve already booked. Going on a ride sooner allows you to secure another reservation more quickly.

Kosher pizza.

#2 – Stay late in the parks.

This really applies if you aren’t traveling with younger kids. I find that the last few hours of the park being open, once it gets dark, the ride lines get much shorter.

Disney has a rule that if you get on line for a ride, as long as the park time isn’t closed, they have to let you on the ride. So you can wait for the best rides like Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance or Avatar Flight of Passage which generally have 2-3 hour waits, and they will 100% let you on even one minute before closing time.

I’ve also realized that Disney inflates the ride times on the App and signs later in the day to trick guests into leaving, and not bothering to wait on such a “long line”.

Don’t be fooled. The lines are usually much shorter than displayed, and you’ll generally get on in a few minutes, or even right away sometimes.

#3 – Download Apps on your phone like Psych or Heads Up to pass the time on lines.

These apps are so much fun and great to help pass the time while on line. They’re quick, competitive games that the whole family can play.

#4 – Make sure to try the shows in the parks.

Although I’m a roller coaster enthusiast, I encourage you not to just do the rides. The shows are incredible and near Broadway-level good. My favorite shows are the nighttime ones such as the fireworks and Fantasmic! in Hollywood Studios.

But even the daytime ones are great, like Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular, Festival of Fantasy Parade, and Festival of the Lion King which are amazing and serve as great breaks for your tired legs.

#5 – Train a few weeks before to get in walking shape and make sure to take breaks.

At Disney, you will be walking around, A LOT. My family and I usually walk anywhere from 8 -13 miles each day at the parks. Make sure before your stay, you are training and getting in shape so that you can enjoy your time at the parks without feeling dead tired. And, if you are feeling tired, go catch a show (see #4) or grab some food to relax and refresh.

*Jewish Bonus: If you visit EPCOT in December around Chanukah time, check out Zachary the Hanukkah Storyteller between the Morocco and France Pavilions at Epcot’s World Showcase!

That’s all I’m going to go into for now. If you want any more pro-Disney tips, shoot me an email at [email protected]. I love talking Disney, Star Wars, or Marvel, and am happy to help you plan your perfect Disney vacation! °o°

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