“Dumela – Welcome Home!” is one of the first things you will hear when you enter Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge. It is the home not only to a beautiful resort looking over a savanna filled with exotic animals; but also full service restaurants, including Jiko – The Cooking Place, Boma – Flavors of Africa, and, my personal favorite, Sanaa. You just have to try their Butter Chicken and Goan Seafood Curry! At the end of my last dining experience at Sanaa, I looked out at the savanna and thought to myself, “I wonder what it is like to make such wonderful dishes because this is magic!”

It was no surprise to learn that several of the culinary staff is from Africa in the Culinary Trainee Program. The participants will be involved in a yearlong training program that explores Disney’s culinary operation located in Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge award winning restaurants.

Chef David from Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge gave a wonderful description of the experience: “

[Participants] will be working with chefs from a diverse background who will assist to attain your goals and design your future. They will be able to explore the culinary world through on the job training as well as field trips to local farms, processing facilities, and other supporting vendors. [Participants] are encouraged to immerse themselves in our concept and be a part of the successful destiny of our resort through sharing ideas/inspiration from your culture, creative menu ideas, etc.”

Students of the current program have some wonderful things to say about the Culinary Trainee Program.

dakl_PierrePierre from Durban, South Africa: “I have never been in an environment where every service styles [are] available for me to train within, and work on my professional skills and knowledge. This is my first time working with such volume as well as in a la carte.”


Samantha from South Africa: “This is my first time away from home. For me, it is about independence, fun place, challenges, learning, and helping build myself professionally for my career.”


dakl_KhanyisileKhanyisile from Zimbabwe simply states, “It is fun and educational!”

When students return home after their program, they are able to use the skills they have gained their experiences and formal courses that are taught. Wade from South Africa states, “My friends and I plan on open a bakery when we all get back home. The three of us have been on this program and will be taking what we have learned and out it to use in our business plans”.

The Culinary Training Program recruiter, Sue, is currently taking applications for our next season that starts next year! If you have 1 to 2 years culinary experience and are seeking a program to gain valuable knowledge of this line of business, the Culinary Training Program is just right for you! Sue and the international recruitment team are heading out to Africa in October will be visiting the following cities:

  • Durban, South Africa
  • Cape Town, South Africa
  • Johannesburg, South Africa
  • Windhoek, Namibia
  • Gaborone, Botswana
  • Maun, Botswana

If you are interested in completing an application, please feel free to email us your resume at wdw.int.recruiting@disney.com. You are also welcome to visit our website, disneyinternationalprograms.com for more information and other opportunities!

Akihito, Disney International Recruiting