Cultural Representatives Celebrate Return to EPCOT

The Cultural Representatives are back at EPCOT, and several members of the program recently shared their excitement with Disney Parks Blog.

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If you’ve ever experienced the magic of traveling around the world and learning about the unique cultures and customs of 11 countries – all in the same day – it’s likely you’ve been to EPCOT and met some of the beloved Cultural Representatives in the World Showcase. Over the past few weeks, Disney has started welcoming back Disney Cultural Representatives who have come from far and wide to create authentic, immersive experiences for guests.

From their initial arrival day at Flamingo Crossings Village — the new housing complex for Disney Programs participants — to their first week of on-the-job training at EPCOT, these special cast members are getting acquainted with their new roles.

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For some participants, this is their very first Disney Program and they are eager to help create distinctly-Disney magic for guests from all over the world. Others have experienced the magic of a Disney International Program before and were longing to return to discover more and create even more memories. 

“I’m most excited to relive the experience again,” said Marco Cerri, a returning participant from Milan. “I loved sharing my knowledge about my culture and the beauty of my country with guests and learning how to inspire others.”

In addition to interacting with guests from around the world, participants get to meet other cast members and Disney Programs participants and create long-lasting friendships. 

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“It’s so wonderful to be back and reconnect with all the people I used to work with and I’m so excited to meet all the new people on my journey,” said Melanie Bernert, a returning Cultural Representative from Schongau, a small town in Germany. 

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Are you ready to create lifelong memories and connect with people from across the globe by participating on a Disney International Program? Learn more and apply at

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4 thoughts on “Cultural Representatives Celebrate Return to EPCOT”

  1. This is so great. But with the de-theming of Epcot and turning it into animated movie character advertising spot, I really now question how much validity they bring. I mean, when a child will go up to an international ambassador in Norway and ask them “where did Elsa live?” I think we’ve lost all aspects of cultural exposure. “Miss, miss, where is Mary Poppins’ house?” I think that’s really more insulting to them than anything else.

    I know why the ambassadors had to leave and that was just the unfortunate time that we all had to live through. But now that Epcot is becoming just another place for character “things” the idea of experiencing anything authentic in World Showcase is gone. The idea was about real world discovery and inspiration, not about an advertising spot for animated films. It is what it is – they feel it’s better to transform Epcot into a physical Disney+ advert. So be it. So dare I say, it’s probably more of an insult now (to them) to bring back the ambassadors as there’s little representation for their countries now.

    • Good points. Disney parks has become a physical extension of IP, despite the original EPCOT (Center) taking a edu-tainment approach and Animal Kingdom focused on animal conservation, all sans any IP. However, the current and prior regimes (i.e. Chapek and Iger, respectively) are all about pumping IP into the parks as much as possible in order to fully integrate content/channels and sell more merch. I miss the EPCOT Center of the 1980s but I have mourned that era is now a thing of the past. Only existing in our memories.

    • I can see why you’d have that perception. Indeed, more IP has been incorporated into the parks. In my opinion, Disney has done a great job over the last couple of decades with highlighting other cultures into its animated feature films. Off the top of my head, Brave, Moana, Raya, Coco, Encanto, Luca, Frozen and Turning Red are all examples of this. As a Hispanic, my family and I were thrilled to see our culture represented in Coco and Encanto.

      Disney is a business that needs to appeal to a new generation, so I’m ok with the IP they’ve brought into Epcot. Parents can use this as an opportunity to educate their children as they visit the various countries in World Showcase and engage them in conversations with the cultural representatives that aren’t just centered around the superficial. I also think they did a fantastic job with Harmonious which makes the show relatable to many. It may contain a lot of IP but not to the exclusion of culture.

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