Disneyland Is Not For Jewish Mommy Bloggers

Read about Ciaran’s experience at Disneyland. Here are some excerpts:

Hours went by as we made our way through the rest of the park, expecting at any moment to discover a nook or a cranny with a decorated dreidel. Underwater by Nemo? On Autotopia? Someplace in Tomorrowland? Alas, we spied nothing. Not until we were sailing through Pirates of the Caribbean.

Imagine this:

The eight branched candlelabra, considered the universal sign of hanukah, was overturned and broken in the window of a burning building.

More:

the one menorah in the park that was not concealed within a ride. You can find it above the jewelers. [sic] The Disney attendant on duty went on to happily tell me that they not only had a menorah for hanukah but there was also more Jewish holiday decor in the form of a mezuzah on the door of Dr Silverstein’s office!

Oh, and by way of full disclosure, I’ve been invited to Disneyland by their PR department once. On the first day of Passover, you know, the day in between the two seders. When I explained to them that this was offensive they said that their head of PR is a Jew.

If you’re Jewish and you want your kids to have a holiday where they get to feel good, probably you should skip Disneyland.

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15 Comments

  1. Wow, sounds like the happiest place on Earth isn’t the happiest place if you are Jewish. YIKES.

  2. Or you could get mad at the networks as well because there are no Hanukah specials on T.V.
    What they do at Disney isn’t really a Christian version of Christmas. There are no nativity scenes or crosses displayed in the park. It is a secular, entertainment version of Christmas that most people expect. It is in every mall in America. It has no other purpose than to entertain you, and maybe get you to buy stuff.

  3. I’m shocked, since almost every other place has so much Hannukah stuff :) There are so many places I think could easily incorporate stuff other than Christmas which just never bother…what’s the big deal, most people here celebrate Christmas anyway.

    • I’m speechless. A broken menorah is a big deal, a hanuukiah over the jeweler’s shop is a big deal. It’s a big deal.

      Inviting every mommy blogger in Los Angeles during a very important Jewish family holiday is a big deal.

      • I do agree, that last sentence was meant to be sarcastic. It’s just I hear that so often, we’re a “Christian country”…yuck. We don’t need to go crazy and call every tree a “holiday bush,” but how hard is it for someone to incorprate other holidays? It actually could be fun. Cost Plus World Market used to be my go to place for nice Hannukah stuff, for some reason they stopped carrying hardly anything but Christmas stuff.

  4. Just read Ciaran’s full account. As I mentioned on her blog post, it’s unquestionably ignorant on behalf of Disney but definitely not surprising.

  5. Disneyland has done some variation on the same theme for that last 15 years that I can recall.
    It’s not about any religion. It’s about a celebration. I’m going to the park tomorrow, I’ll keep an eye out for the above mentioned offense.

    • Brian Maso

      @Janet Irregardless of whether or not its religious, Ciaran’s point is that Disney’s celebration is only about Christmas — maybe only in Xmas’ secular/commercial manifestation, but its Christmas all the same. Non-Christmas-celebrants are left to feel alien. That’s not a feeling you want to have when visiting the heart of Americana for “Holiday Magic”. Disney should have just called it “Christmas at Disney” — then guests would know what to expect. and could plan accordingly.

      • Janet Barnett

        Really? They’ve been doing this same event for the last 15 years. People from all over the world of all different religions come to the park for this. You really need advance warning that they don’t do Hanukah, Kwanza, Ramadan, or Greek Orthodox Christmas? Well now ya know. Plan accordingly.

        • .

          I don’t see what the problem is with enjoying the holidays. There is next to nothing really ‘Christian’ about Christmas. I was raised as a Muslim in Canada, and although we celebrated our own holidays at home, I still got pictures on Santa’s lap and went trick or treating. This didn’t affect my beliefs, it only added to my childhood memories. Holidays are just fun for kids. It really doesn’t matter what is being celebrated.

  6. Jessica, I know how you feel and I encounter thing like this all of the time and I live in New York. I was just at an event for a major store and while I like that they provide value to customers by providing affordable christmas gifts for the entire family. There was no mention of Chanukah or the fact that it is just one week away. After the presentation I spoke up as well as another mom blogger (not Jewish) and questioned why there was no mention of Chanukah. They also have Jewish people in the marketing department. The answer was hopeful, but the truth is until more Jewish mom bloggers let the major corporations like Disney know that we do notice when they show some love to our heritage and are sensitive to our holidays, they will not know our true feelings.

    Thanks for posting this. Do you know if Disneyworld has more Chanukah representation? I know that they have kosher food options, who would have thought that would ever happen?

  7. Jessica, I can understand why this is a big deal. I am not Jewish. I am LDS (Mormon). I teach a co-op preschool with some other moms (we all go to the same church). We teach twice a week and rotate weeks. Anyway, I thought it would be a good idea to teach about other winter celebrations so the kids could learn about what other people celebrate. I taught about Hannukah and Kwanzaa. So, I was out gathering supplies for my lesson and I couldn’t find any dreidels anywhere. I ended up finding a little, itty-bitty corner at the party store devoted to Hannukah. I realize that my scope was limited but I was just so surprised at how difficult it was to find anything related to Hannukah in my local stores. I also got some really strange reactions when I told people I was teaching this lesson because I’m Mormon. I personally thought it was a good thing to expose our kids to what others celebrate and teach them to respect those celebrations.

  8. Disney is about making money. Family has nothing to do with it aside from being a product, a gimmick and a marketing ploy – depending on what is called for.

    I think Christmas should sake off the oppression of religion and just be about the consuming. Although, it should keep the pagan stuff – trees and yule logs and misiletoe – it’s not like anyone really actively remembers why Christmas exists anymore (and the real reason for it being that the early Christian church needed a holiday to squeeze out a more popular pagan one b/c Baby J was born in the fall after all.)

    I don’t know why we don’t decorate for all religious holidays (and I have always felt that “holiday” was the wrong term). It would be fair and interesting. Not being terribly religious, I am all about the “interesting”.

    Disneyland should be avoided for a lot of reasons and this is just one more.

  9. I’m Christian, not Jewish, but I agree that there should be inclusion. It is a big deal. It is important that moms raise their concerns. Sometimes it’s an issue of ignorance (i.e. a NYC event in NYC was rescheduled because the original date was on Rosh Hashanah. Several moms expressed that to the organizers and it was changed.)

    On the other hand, there are Christmas traditions (i.e. the Radio City Christmas Spectacular) where the birth of Christ are part of the show. In those instances, I don’t think that the show/events should be changed. I think that people just need to be aware before attending.

  10. Janet Barnett

    I was just at Disneyland Dec. 4th, and yes there is a menorah above the jewelry store.
    The burning menorah in Pirates, however, is just a candlelabra. Only has seven candle holders.
    Just so ya know.

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