There has been a great absence in EPCOT’s World Showcase. The positions customarily filled with the rich heritage of International Cast Members were left vacant after March 2020 when Walt Disney World closed to the public for its longest-ever closure due to the ongoing pandemic.
It was confirmed that International Cast Members would not return to the World Showcase right away, but now it’s looking like the tide is finally turning as International Cast Members are now set to return to several countries at the Disney Park!
International Cast Members Returning
Initial 2020 news came to us from Orlando’s local Fox station which reported, “When Walt Disney World reopens in July, there will no longer be cultural representatives in the countries throughout Epcot’s World Showcase,” as many of the International Program Cast Members were furloughed and went back to their home countries because of the pandemic. Fox continued to report that the positions would be filled by domestic Cast Members.
A Disney Union call late last year officially opened applications for the World Showcase positions, but we have now confirmed that the Patina Restaurant Group has officially started accepting applications for Cultural Representative positions for dining locations in the Italy and France pavilions, which you can view here.
The official website states that the Patina Restaurant Group is currently hiring for arrivals in 2021 for the following positions: Kiosk Host / Hostess, Restaurant Host / Hostess, Restaurant Server, and Culinary. Applicants can choose to work in Disney Springs, France Pavilion or the Italy Pavilion in any of the different roles listed above.
Restaurants like Via Napoli, Chefs de France, and San Angel Inn Restaurante are currently open at the moment, but we are looking forward to the Patina Restaurant Group filling international positions from French and Italian Cast Members.
Specifically, Patina is looking to fill positions at “the Napolitan Pizzeria (Via Napoli) or the traditional Italian restaurant (Tutto Italia). They can also taste and buy Italian wines at the Wine Cellar (Tutto Gusto).” Disney Springs is currently looking to hire at Maria & Enzo’s, Enzo’s Hideway, and Pizza Ponte.
The France Pavilion positions will (for the moment) be exclusively at Chefs de France. The positions at this location will include those similar to the Italian Pavilion such as quick-service host and cooks, but also specialty jobs like Pastry Cooks, Bakers, Crepiers, and Chef de Rang / Commis de salle.
While it’s very exciting to see the Patina Restaurant Group accepting applications for these EPCOT Pavilions, it is important to keep in mind that it will still take time to fully staff the entire World Showcase — including restaurant locations, attractions, and retail locations — with International Cast Members. Some travel restrictions will inevitably slow hiring, but this return to work is a sign of much-welcomed progress.
Much like the International Ambassador Program was paused, the Disney College Program was also put on hold. A local Cast Member Unions, Local 326, held a call explaining to its members how these employees will be called back to work, (specifically mentioning slide operators and vacations planners) by requesting a transfer and get first dibs on positions that need to be filled and, otherwise, would have been filled by young adults in the Disney College Program.
There is a greater need for more workers than the current amount…Because of the number of College Program Cast Members that used to work in our jobs, the company is going to have to bring in more full timers to staff that they have.
We are hopeful that following this initial casting for EPCOT that the Disney College Program isn’t far behind.
Are you looking forward to greeting the International Cast Members in EPCOT? Tell us what you are looking forward to!