My name is Cami Ripol, and for the past 18 years, I have worked as a Senior Language Services Specialist at Disney. In my role, I provide Spanish translations and manage translations into other languages for cast, crew and Imagineers across our Disney Parks worldwide. I also offer cultural and language guidance to make information easily accessible for our hourly cast and employees with limited English skills. I’m excited to kick off Hispanic and Latin American Heritage Month by sharing my story.
I was born and raised in Puerto Rico, the daughter of Cuban exiles, and I knew from a very young age what I wanted to be when I grew up. It was 1980, I was 10 years old, and a neighbor and close friend of my mother came over to visit. ABBA’s “The Winner Takes It All” dominated the airwaves, and this woman who knew no English was lamenting that she didn’t understand the lyrics. So, before she left that day, I handed her a paper with the lyrics to “The Winner Takes It All” in Spanish. She was so touched and grateful. She now felt like a part of the story. I learned that day that I could make a difference in people’s lives through language translation, and that doing so made me happy.
I eventually graduated college and completed a Master’s in Translation and Interpretation. My professional journey brought me to Disney, where I bridge the language gap for cast members with limited English skills. In my years with the company, I’ve understood that language translation allows all cast members and employees to feel welcome, valued, and engaged. A perfect example is our Traditions classes, Disney’s onboarding and training for new employees and cast members. At Walt Disney World Resort, it is offered in English, Spanish and Haitian Creole, the primary languages spoken by our cast in Central Florida.
My colleague Jacques Noel, College and International Recruitment Coordinator, perfectly explained his connection to the cast members he facilitates Traditions for. “Providing Traditions to cast in their language is super important. They feel more comfortable and are not afraid to ask questions or share their thoughts. I am originally from Haiti and give Traditions classes in Haitian Creole and Spanish,” said Jacques.
“Being able to teach Traditions in Spanish means a lot to me. I always see myself in the middle of this classroom as one of them. Not only because I speak their language, but because I know their culture. The connection I have with them is unbelievable. This is a perfect example of ‘Inclusion,’ the newest of Disney’s Five Keys.”
Disney is a global organization that celebrates the many cultures and languages of our cast members. Language inclusion is a pillar of how we communicate and connect with each other and our guests. My team and I are proud of the work we do to make everyone feel like part of our Disney family. We are committed to ensuring that our workplace is a welcoming and inclusive environment for all, and communication across languages helps make this world feel a little bit smaller.