Nothing will stop Christian Miranda from achieving his culinary dreams, and nothing will stop his Disney team from having his back.
Since childhood, becoming a chef has always been the goal for Christian, who is Deaf and has a visual disability. Thanks to his dedication, Christian has proven that the kitchen is a place that welcomes anyone with a passion for good food. And the story of Christian’s success is uplifted by his team’s determination and efforts towards inspiring a culture of belonging.
Christian began working on Batuu in June of 2021 as a busser at Docking Bay 7 Food and Cargo, but shortly after sharing his interest in cooking professionally, he stepped into his current role as a cook. Working alongside a team at Disney dedicated to facilitating accommodations for cast members, Christian’s leadership found creative ways to help him transition into the kitchen.
“From basic kitchen safety to communicating orders by creating a system that uses pictures, a lot of the actions we’ve taken to accommodate Christian are new,” shared Chef Jerry Gonzalez, Christian’s former leader at Docking Bay 7 Food and Cargo. “It’s been a great learning experience for the leaders, but also for the rest of his team. You can tell that they really want to see him succeed.”
Many members of his team have even learned basic American Sign Language to be able to interact with and get to know Christian better! While they share that they’re still a long way from communicating exclusively through ASL, Christian is moved by their efforts.
“At the beginning, I had an interpreter with me as I got to know the team. Shortly afterwards, we were able to move on without one. Of course, there were some challenges at first with communicating smoothly, but the team quickly became like a family to me.” Christian attributes a lot of his success to his supportive team and their passion for diversity and inclusion. “The team is definitely my favorite part about working here,” Christian gushed. “Establishing relationships with them has made this a special experience.”
In addition to teaching the job and finding communication opportunities, the leaders at Docking Bay 7 Food and Cargo also seek resources and technology to aid in Christian’s professional development.
“Our team reached out to vendors to see if there were any pieces of sensory technology or equipment that Christian could use to continue learning,” shared executive Chef David Njoroge. “Disney is a place where everyone is welcome, so it was important for us to look at how we could establish a program not just for Christian, but for future cast members throughout Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge and beyond with sustainable practices.”
Although the journey is far from over, Christian’s team is determined to continue developing programs, resources, and mentorship opportunities to enable and support all cast members.
Christian encourages others interested in inclusion to learn some of the basics of ASL. “If I were to move to a new location in the future or if another Deaf cast member joined the team, it would be good to have those skills.” Christian is proud of the work his team is doing and adds, “For now, I’m taking it step by step. My goal is to become a chef in fine dining here at Disney and with some more time and support, I know I can make that dream a reality!”
Meet the team behind Christian’s Disney journey.