resort polynesian castle monorail
  • On Jun 19, 2023
    Ari from MS Asked Please note that experiences, policies, pricing and other offerings are subject to change and may have changed since the date of this answer.

    I'm planning ahead for a surprise engagement and my future in-laws wont go unless they can strictly observe the sabbath rules during Yom Kippur. Do resorts have elevators that stop on every floor? Can you go to parks without using phones or technology?

    Hiya Ari, and welcome back to planDisney. Congratulations on taking the next step in proposing to your "happily ever after." Wedding proposals at the Walt Disney World Resort are timeless and unforgettable.

    I have a special interest in this topic because we have spent many Shabbos at the Walt Disney World Resort. I have had all the challenges and here are my thoughts on how to appeal to your future in-laws and get the proposal you want. I am not a rabbi. Your rabbi and in-laws should be consulted prior to planning this trip.

    Main Advice: Avoid theme parks on Jewish Holidays, especially Yom Kippur. If in Orlando, stay at a hotel near a shul. Go to synagogue, atone, and spend time with your future father-in-law. If your in-laws are Shomer Shabbos then get in touch with the rabbi of the shul inside the eruv. is the place to start. I would choose a low floor at the hotel for stair access to your room. Make arrangements with the hotel to help you get in your room.  After Yom Tov move to a Disney Resort Hotel.

    Shabbos and Yom Tovim at the Walt Disney World Resort is complicated. You will need to discuss it with your in-laws and consult your rabbi. We cater food, turn off our phones, and spend the day in our Resort hotel and the walkable nearby area. Here are some points about theme parks and hotels. Cast Members are not familiar with our customs so a simple explanation will be needed.

    1. Elevators- There are no Shabbos elevators. You may request a lower floor by speaking directly with Disney prior to your arrival.
    2. Digital locks - Cast Members will help open your door if you choose not to cover the door latch.
    3. Minyanim - There are no minyanim. You will need to daven in your own.
    4. Candles - For safety, Disney does not approve of flames in hotel rooms so lighting Shabbos candles will be tough. They should be able to accommodate you with an alternate space. Disney's Polynesian Village Resort and the Garden Wing of Disney's Contemporary Resort have first-floor rooms with an outdoor patio which are a possibility. Disney's BoardWalk Villas are also a great option.
    5. Eruv - there is no eruv at the Walt Disney World theme parks. You will not be able to carry items in the theme parks including water bottles. For more clarity on this matter such as whether you can hold and consume a cup of complimentary water from any counter service restaurant seek your Rabbi's opinion.
    6. Transportation - to get to the theme parks you may walk or take complimentary transportation as long as it is continuously moving or not just for you and you do not pass through any sensors. Disney Skyliner and Walt Disney World Monorail System meet these requirements and function like Shabbos elevators; again consult your in-laws and Rabbi.
    7. Security - there are metal detectors at the entrances of every theme park. They have unavoidable sensors. You will trigger a sensor. You may ask for a pat down and avoid a wand. This may be difficult for tznius women.
    8. Theme Park Entrances - avoid the touchpoints with your plastic ticket by asking a Cast Member for touchless entry but you will need to carry a theme park ticket. Shabbos Laws of Carrying will apply.
    9. Attractions - Attractions have sensors but most move like Shabbos elevators. Avoid being the only ones on the attraction.
    10. Food - there is Kosher food available in every theme park, but no way to have it prepared before Shabbos.
    My advice: Get engaged on a day at the Walt Disney World Resort that is not a Jewish Holiday or Shabbos. You will have many more options and I know your in-laws will be happy and able to attend.

    Ari, please write me back directly with any follow-up questions.

    Mazel tov!
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Meet the Panelist: Jason, Georgia

I am a father and orthodontist who loves the hidden treasures found on Disney vacations. For over a decade, my wife and I have raised our two sons on Disney Cruise Line, Adventures By Disney, and Disney Theme Parks on both coasts. From large group and multigeneration family vacations to adult trips and couples getaways, I am excited to share my years of pixie-dust-covered experiences with you while planning your Disney vacation. Let the lifelong magical memories ... begin! Learn More About Jason

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