Getting to Know the Disneyland Resort Sommeliers

Jim Ames

by , Event Manager, Walt Disney Parks & Resorts

In my last post, I told you about the education of a Disneyland Resort sommelier. Today, I’d like to introduce you to a few of the more than 200 sommeliers from all across the Resort. While you would expect to find them tableside, you’d be surprised at how many roles involve wine education.

Teri Ross, Guest Service Manager, Wine Country Trattoria, Certified Sommelier

Teri’s wine education has allowed her to expand her role at Disney California Adventure park. “Becoming a sommelier has given me many opportunities,” she said. “I have been able to train cast members, develop wine lists and be a part of the Food and Wine Festival. My knowledge has allowed me to branch out and discover new possibilities.”

Sean Layne, Area Chef, Big Thunder Ranch and Fantasyland/ToonTown Restaurants, Sommelier

Sean Layne, Area Chef, Big Thunder Ranch and Fantasyland/ToonTown Restaurants, Sommelier

Sean’s role as chef does not involve the use or serving of wine, but he uses his knowledge about wine all the time.

As he said: “The title [of sommelier] doesn’t mean very much in my role as a chef, but the education does. Learning about the different aspects of wine and liquor definitely helps me with creating menus and balancing tastes and flavors. When it comes to ‘tasting’ food, I have learned through the sommelier classes to look deeper and pull out flavors and characteristics that may not be easily apparent, but can make a huge difference when trying to balance a dish.”

Jessica Burd, Food Prep, Ariel’s Grotto, Sommelier

Although Jessica’s role at the Disneyland Resort is not related to the service of wine, her sommelier training will help her on her journey to becoming a chef.

“I want to be a chef at the Disneyland Resort,” she said. “Becoming a sommelier helps broaden my pallet and allows me to identify key notes in wines to better help me pair them with food.”

When asked about the training that goes in to becoming a sommelier, Jessica replied: “Most people assume we spend our sessions tasting expensive wines from all over the world. This was not the case. We studied soil types, weather, grape varieties, local laws. In short, much more than I ever expected.”

Regardless of their roles. these cast members represent the high level of service that is expected of a sommelier at the Disneyland Resort. Next time I’ll introduce you to two Advanced Sommeliers currently preparing for their Master Sommelier exams.