Cultural Representatives Return to Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge After Three Years

Shannen Ace

Cultural Representatives Return to Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge After Three Years

Cultural representatives have returned to Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge for the first time in three years.

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The Disney International Program brings Cast Members in from all over the world to work in World Showcase at EPCOT, Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge, and more Walt Disney World locations. The program was suspended when the COVID-19 pandemic hit in 2020. Cultural representatives returned to EPCOT last summer.

Over the last few weeks, cultural representatives from across Sub-Saharan Africa have arrived at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge. As Disney states, “these cast members help create authentic experiences and immerse guests in the diversity of their home countries through a combination of cultural and conservation focused activities available at the resort.”

Cultural representatives at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge also support the Disney’s Animals, Science and Environment team.

Disney shared information about three ways guests can interact with cultural representatives at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge.

Immerse Yourself in the Music of the Savanna

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Walt Disney World Ambassador Ali Manion shared a video on Instagram of cultural representatives playing drums and dancing, as well as leading other activities throughout the resort. Guests can sometimes join representatives in a celebration of their culture in the lobby of Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge.

Visit Savanna Overlooks to Observe and Appreciate Wildlife

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Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge has four savanna outlooks, where guests can meet cultural representatives and learn about some of the 200 animals that live at the resort.

“I’m so happy to be back at this beautiful place where I can share so much about where I come from, which is something I’m passionate about,” said Ntandoyenkosi Mngomezulu, a participant on her second program who will be working as a savanna guide. “I get to teach guests more about wildlife behavior and conservation, two other subjects I’m passionate about, so it’s really fun to get to do what I love.”

Discover the Natural Wonders and Diversity of Sub-Saharan Africa

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Cultural representatives are also available in the lobby to tell guests about their home countries.

“Did you know South Africa is the only country in Africa that borders six other countries, and we have 11 official languages?” Naledi Nala, a returning participant, asked. “I love sharing everything I can about South Africa with our guests who have an interest in listening and learning. I can’t wait for everybody to come to Animal Kingdom Lodge and experience the warm welcome of South Africa and African cultural reps.”

“For me, having these cast members here feels like we’re bringing the heart of the Lodge experience back,” said Jordan “Baz” Baszner, an education manager at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge. “It’s amazing how excited the guests are to join them in these activities, and I’m inspired by the positive impact they’ve been making for guests and fellow cast members in less than a week since their return.”

Have you stayed at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge? Tell us about your experience at the resort below.

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  • Shannen Michaelsen

    Shannen has been a Disney Parks fan and lover of dogs since childhood, despite Pluto's attempt to eat Shannen's Minnie Mouse doll the first time they met. They've made up now. You can email Shannen at