Confessions of a Disney Cast Member

Cast members at Satu’li Canteen have been working very hard to keep their location open. They plan on following precautions to keep themselves and their guests safe.

Tom Bricker (Disney Tourist Blog)


Meghan Reyes, Reporter

   Following the spread of COVID-19, the Walt Disney Company has taken many precautions to keep both Cast Members and guests safe from harm.

   Cast Members who work in food and beverage locations have to follow similar protocols in regular situations. However, COVID-19 has still affected them.

   Zadkeil Rodriguez is a food and beverage cast member at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. Rodriguez was called back to work on July 26th and has been working ever since. 

   “Disney as a whole is taking the pandemic very seriously,” said Rodriguez, “We always have to wear our masks, and are on top of each other to remind ourselves that we have to be six-feet apart.”

   Satu’li Canteen is a quick-service restaurant in Pandora located at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. The restaurant has an open area seating space, which consists of an outdoor and indoor seating area and holds about 350 guests at one time. Cast members have arranged both seating areas to comply with social distancing protocol. Plexiglass has been set up in order stations to limit the spread of germs. Cast members are also serving beverages as the “beverage island” tends to become a crowded area. 

   “At the beginning, these precautions affected all of us and how we work,” said Rodriguez, “None of us were used to wearing a face-covering or a face shield for upwards of eight hours.”

   The hotline, the area where cast members prepare food for guests, is a high-temperature area that utilizes gas appliances. Temperatures may regularly reach above 180 degrees. These high temperatures may create a difficult environment for cast members to function in, sometimes even causing fainting spells. Masks, although necessary, have only accelerated this process. 

   “I used to average around 36-40+ hours a week,” said Rodriguez, “Now I  average 32-35 hours.”

   Many Cast Members have felt the repercussions of COVID-19 on the number of hours they work. Disney’s Animal Kingdom had previous park hours of 8 am to 10 pm, with various changes based on special events. The park has cut its hours short, now closing at 5 pm. 

   “It’s a little bit hard sometimes to hear the guest because of the face coverings,” said Rodrigeuz, “ But, it’s things we have to deal with.”

   According to Rodriguez, some guests are deficient in following rules put into place by COVID-19. Guests are required to wear masks at all times and stand in extended lines. These protocols are put into place to account for safety.

   “It’s been awkward between cast members,” said Rodriguez, “We are all pretty good friends, hugs were the first thing that we do with each other. Now since we have to keep our distance from each other, we are sad about it, but those are the rules to follow if we want to stay open and keep working.”