In April, Disney announced that they were suspending the Disney College Program and were sending all of their cultural representatives back to their respective homes. As the Walt Disney World theme parks prepare to reopen, Disney has negotiated a new deal with one of their cast member unions that states cast members who “do not meet the culturally authentic theming” at Epcot may work in positions normally staffed by cultural representatives.
This change reflects that Disney recognizes their cultural representative program members will face significant hurdles returning to Walt Disney World due to the current travel plans and regulations. It also demonstrates Disney is willing to expand roles for their base cast members to help them find hours during these unprecedented times.
If you’re not familiar with Epcot’s World Showcase, the country pavilions are normally staffed by cast members from that specific country. You’ll find Italian cast members at the Italy pavilion, Mexican cast members at the Mexico pavilion and so on. One of the real joys when visiting World Showcase is talking to all of the cast members from around the world and learning more about their country. It makes World Showcase immersive, unique and a ton of fun.
It goes without saying that Walt Disney World will look very different when it initially reopens to guests. Here’s hoping that cultural representatives are able to return to Epcot in the near future.