Having visited the Walt Disney World® Resort in Orlando, Florida, several times while growing up, Elen was interested in what her friend Dana had to say about her experiences as a Germany Cultural Representative at Epcot.
After high school, Elen had participated in an apprenticeship program which combined higher education and practical experience in hospitality. She worked in a hotel in various departments including front desk, banquets, reservations, guest service, accounting, culinary, housekeeping and sales. She graduated from the program and accepted a job as a food and beverage coordinator for several hotels in her hometown of Berlin.
So when her friend mentioned the Disney, she remembered her experiences eating in the Biergarten Restaurant, and she knew right away this was the opportunity she had been hoping for. Not only was she accepted as a Cultural Representative, but she is now on her fourth one-year contract.
“I love my job in every way,” she said. “Working in the Biergarten Restaurant in the Germany Pavilion in Epcot is so much fun! I really love being in my role and representing my German culture. My role offers so much diversity! Sometimes I’m a seater, a stocker, a server. And sometimes I work in our quick-service restaurant, Sommerfest. These rotations make my work more exciting!”
We caught up with Elen to learn more about her experiences as a Germany Cultural Representative.
How did you adjust to life in America and working for Disney?
Working and living in Florida is just so much different than it is in Germany, but you adjust your lifestyle pretty quickly since you are never alone. I sort of knew what to expect because I had visited Florida many times before my first program.
Have you been able to go anywhere outside of Orlando?
I have been to South Dakota to see Mount Rushmore, New Orleans, New York, Washington, D.C., San Francisco, Los Angeles, Anaheim, San Diego, Las Vegas, Denver, Dallas and Grand Canyon. I also have been to Canada and a number of cities in Florida.
What advice would you give to future program participants on adjusting to life in America and at Walt Disney World Resort?
This is very practical advice, but for all the new participants, I recommend you bring at least $500 because you will need it before you get a full paycheck!
What do you think your future holds? Do you foresee a career in hospitality?
I definitely want to stay in hospitality or human resources and help encourage people to achieve a passion for guest services and motivate and educate them.
Fun facts about Elen
- Favorite Park: Magic Kingdom Park
- Favorite Attraction: Flight of Passage in Pandora at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Theme Park
- Favorite Disney Character: Marie from “The Aristocats”
- Favorite Disney Snack: Mickey pretzel with cheese
- Favorite Disney Entertainment: The “Beauty and the Beast” show at Disney’s Hollywood Studios
- Favorite Disney Movie: “The Little Mermaid”
Learn more about The Disney International Programs (including the Cultural Representative Program) at TheDisneyIP.com.