- The Festival of the Holidays at Walt Disney World‘s Epcot theme park features traditional holiday foods from different countries and cultures around the world.
- Last year, the event featured “traditional Jewish foods” for the first time, but none of them were actually related to Hanukkah or kosher.
- This year, Disney added two Hanukkah classics, latkes and jelly doughnuts known as “sufganiyot,” to the L’Chaim! Holiday Kitchen menu, plus a specialty Hanukkah beer and kosher dessert options.
- Visit Insider’s homepage for more stories.
It’s a Hanukkah miracle.
For the first time, Disney World parkgoers can enjoy Hanukkah classics like latkes and jelly doughnuts during the holiday season. The L’Chaim! Holiday Kitchen pop-up is part of The Festival of the Holidays at Epcot featuring traditional holiday foods from different countries and cultures around the world.
When Disney introduced the L’Chaim! Holiday Kitchen last year, the menu consisted of “traditional Jewish foods” like potato knishes, chicken and matzo ball soup, and pastrami on rye. People were thrilled that Disney was finally including Jewish culture in the annual festival, but the menu was devoid of anything specific to the holiday of Hanukkah. Traditional fried favourites such as latkes and jelly doughnuts were conspicuously absent.
Other pavilions at the festival were serving food and drinks directly related to Christmas, like the American Holiday Table with both Christmas ham and turkey, or the Bavaria Holiday Kitchen’s offering of glühwein(mulled wine). The L’Chaim! Holiday Kitchen just looked like standard deli fare, sparking criticism on social media.
Some were also upset about the lack of kosher food options at last year’s Jewish holiday pop-up. Disney World does offer kosher food in other parts of the park for those who observe the religious dietary restrictions, but orders must be placed 24 hours in advance. Last year, the L’Chaim! Holiday Kitchen did include a kosher cheesecake available upon request, but it wasn’t included on the menu signage.
This year, it appears that Disney has reworked the L’Chaim! Holiday Kitchen to make it a more accurate, inclusive representation of Jewish holiday traditions.
Potato knishes have been replaced with smoked salmon potato latkes topped with sour cream. Instead of matzo ball soup, visitors can enjoy sufganiyot, jelly-filled doughnuts dripping with glaze. And last year’s Brooklyn Brewery Brooklyn lager has been swapped for Shmaltz Brewing Company’s seasonal brew,Chanukah, Hanukkah: Pass The Beer. The sign also includes a note that says “Kosher Dessert Options available upon request,” which is the same kosher cheesecake as last year.
“This Holiday Kitchen was inspired by a New York-style deli,” a Disney Parks spokesperson told Insider. “When creating menus for our festivals, our chefs are always looking to offer new options, knowing that certain items are guest favourites and return year after year.”
Epcot’s Festival of the Holidays runs from November 29 to December 30. Get your latkes while they’re hot.