aside Shabbos in Walt Disney World

As N and I are Orthodox Jews, we are strict Shabbos (Sabbath) observers. This means that starting at sundown on Friday, we do not use any electronics or do any physical work for 26 hours. This includes cooking, driving, using our phones, walking long distances, watching television and more. Shabbos is a day of rest, a day to turn off all distractions and focus on our community, our family and our relationship with G-d.

For most Orthodox people, Shabbos is made much easier by living in the community and having things set up at home. For example, all lights need to be set up before Shabbos as once Shabbos starts we cannot turn any on or off. Food is prepared in advance and left on warming trays. We also need to stay local to anywhere we want to be on Shabbos so that there is no long walk.

Shabbos at Disney was a little more complicated. We had to stay in Disney because the race starts so early Sunday morning and Saturday night needs to be a super early night. This is our second year in a row encountering this situation, coming up with solutions and loving the result!

We started off by bringing prepared food with us to Disney. We then set the room up leaving on whatever lights we wanted, and turning everything else off. We had brought books with us, last year we also brought a couple of board games but this year we forgot.

This year was also different in a few other important ways. First, my parents were with us. Shabbos is always a great time to spend with family, to talk and just have a nice time together. This also meant that we could leave the room. Last year, we stayed at Old Key West (OKW) which has separate buildings for the rooms and is very spread out. Another problem with staying at Disney over Shabbos, or really staying at any hotel, is that the door is locked electronically so once you leave you need to use an electronic key to get back in. Which we cannot do on Shabbos.

Second, last year it was just N and I, this year we had A with us. Our baby makes everything more of an adventure, she is super cute and watching her explore a new space is so fun. This also meant that we couldn’t go out of the hotel as carrying anything outside on Shabbos is complicated.

This year, we were able to go out in shifts so one shift would go out and the other would stay in with A. Then, they would come back, knock, be let in and the other shift would go. We did this several times so N and I got to take a walk, my parents got to take a walk, then I went with my mother and N went with my father. This actually worked out quite well and was really nice.

Third, we stayed at Animal Kingdom Lodge (AKL). As I said in my previous post, AKL was a fantastic resort. We had a savanna view so we spend most of the day sitting on the balcony watching the animals. It was really special.

On one of our shifts, N and I took a walk to the pool area at AKL. It was beautiful! We would have loved to go back the next day as the pool at AKL is so nice! We were also excited that AKL has a zero entry pool and an adorable little “hot tub” for the little ones. I think A would have loved it. But we didn’t manage to make if back for the rest of the trip. This also means that I sadly have no pictures. Hopefully next time we stay at AKL we will be able to hang out at the pool for a bit.

Each year that goes by we get better and better at figuring out the details for Shabbos in Disney. We have really come to look forward to it. It is a great way to start off a vacation. We get to relax and spend some quiet time together before we start running around trying to see and do all that we want during our stay. Vacation is always super full and super busy so starting off with a Shabbos is really nice.

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