Disney takes big step after Covid at Disney World, Disneyland

The pandemic has changed a lot for Walt Disney’s (SAY) – Get The Walt Disney Company Report amusement park. In addition to having to close for Disney World for about four months, Disneyland remained closed for over a year.

When the parks reopened, not everything was normal. The rules varied a bit between Disney World in Florida and Disneyland in California, but capacities were limited, masks were required, temperatures were controlled, and many other rules existed.

Over time the rules changed, but one thing didn’t change, the situation around the world due to Covid meant that Disney not only didn’t have guests from many countries, but also didn’t have its cultural representatives.

It may seem like a small thing, but Cultural Representatives are workers from all over the world who help give Disney a more international feel. In some cases, these workers are simply filling jobs, and in others – like at Epcot – playing important roles as representatives of their country.

Epcot tries to provide a holistic experience

World Showcase at Epcot includes 11 pavilions dedicated to different countries. Traditionally, these pavilions are occupied by people from the countries they represent. This was not possible during the pandemic and it was somewhat shocking to visit a “country” and find it occupied by Americans.

During the pandemic period, some Epcot World Showcase pavilions also had to offer fewer experiences as some of their offerings required in-country staff. It was a problem caused by global travel rules that Disney had no easy way to fix.

Now, however, that’s about to change, and Disney has a plan to bring back its cultural reps.

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“Today, we are excited to announce that the Disney Cultural Representative Program will return in phases and begin welcoming the first new participants in August,” the company said in a March 25 press release.

Why is this good news for Disney guests and shareholders?

The impact of having workers from countries represented in World Showcase seems like an obvious benefit, but having a global perspective has been a key part of the whole Disney theme park experience,

“Cultural Representatives play an important role in our storytelling by helping us create authentic and immersive experiences for our guests as they share their country’s culture, heritage and traditions that have inspired our resorts, lodges and parks. themed,” the company wrote. .

Disney had to wait for the pandemic to stabilize around the world to bring the program back. The company plans to start by reaching out to workers who had been accepted into the program before the pandemic hit.

“We are doing this in a thoughtful and responsible way with the safety of our participants and cast in mind. With this phased reintroduction, initial recruitment will begin in Germany, Norway, Italy, France, UK and in Canada for World Vitrine at EPCOT. We look forward to bringing other countries on board and sharing applications with them once they lift travel restrictions and/or have licensed vaccines available. by the CDC,” the company said.

This matters because some Disney Guests don’t want to spend the thousands of dollars a trip to a Disney theme park requires until everything is back to normal. Not having global workers/actors may not be noticeable at other parks, but it’s very important at Epcot in World Showcase, where the cultural representatives add an important layer of authenticity.

“We know how much our guests and cast love the program and are waiting for the right time to reintroduce it. As we continue to bring back more cast and guest experiences, we are encouraged by the progress we are seeing. in recent health trends, including the return of international travel and the expansion of vaccine availability around the world,” the company added.