Festivals and Outdoor Ventures cast member Alex Fuentez-Cardenas has a passion for dreaming up specialty beverages, a talent that is on display during Disney Festival of Holidays at Disney California Adventure park through Jan. 8. The celebration of Christmas, Navidad, Hanukkah, Diwali, Kwanzaa and Three Kings’ Day includes food and beverage offerings representing these diverse festivities and beloved seasonal traditions — and that’s where Alex comes in.
While Alex was working in Outdoor Ventures, a production manager recognized that Alex’s previous experience crafting beverages made him a good fit for the festival team. He was invited to join in 2019, and today, he splits his time between Outdoor Ventures and the festival team. “Before we create any beverage, we ask what is the symbolism behind the holiday and how do we showcase that?” said Alex. “I want there to be awareness for all holidays so that everyone feels included.”
For example, to celebrate Hanukkah, Alex and his team created the Blood Orange-Pom Limeade, which features pomegranate and lime juices with cookie butter and blood orange syrups. “The 613 seeds in a pomegranate represent the 613 Jewish commandments, mitzvot, in the Torah,” explained Alex.
When creating beverages, Alex also draws inspiration from time with family celebrating Navidad and their dietary preferences. “My sister and I are close, and she and her spouse also work at the Disneyland Resort,” said Alex. “We cannot have dairy and I wanted to make sure people with dietary restrictions can also enjoy Disney Festival of Holiday offerings.”
One dairy-free option that Alex helped create is the Tiramisu Yule Log Cocktail, which is made with oat milk. “Getting to share the beverages I helped create with my family is one of the reasons why I love working here,” said Alex.
With almost five years of service at the resort, Alex has built strong ties with his fellow cast members. “We have an amazing team and getting to work with the same cast every day feels like home,” said Alex. “It gives me a sense of belonging.”