Now, through October 15, we celebrate Hispanic Latinx Heritage Month by sharing inspiring stories from members of the Disney Parks, Experiences and Products cast. Today I feel honored to share this story about Steve Limones, an entertainment artist at Disneyland Resort.
Raised in a Spanish-speaking home by parents who emigrated from Ecuador to northern California, Steve Limones and his family quickly adapted to American culture. “Growing up, I thought,‘ I have to be like white people, ’because that’s what I knew,” Steve said of his experience going to a private Christian school in a predominantly white community. “I would be embarrassed if I had to speak Spanish.”
Steve knew from an early age that his ultimate dream was to sing, act, and dance as a performer at Disneyland. When he went to study musical theater in high school, Steve’s background became more central. “My teachers didn’t know where to place me,” he said as he recalled being cast in standard Hispanic roles, rather than roles that were traditionally played by white actors.
While working at Disneyland through college and later acting professionally after school, Steve jumped at the chance to perform at the Tokyo Disney Resort, where she eventually met her husband, James. Back in California, Steve was cast on Disneyland shows such as “ElecTRONica” and “Mad T Party,” and later became part of the iconic barber quartet, the Dapper Dans. “In many ways, it seemed to me that my childhood dream came true.”
While Steve’s dream could come true, it wasn’t until he was released on “A Coconut Musical Celebration” that he experienced an awakening. “A Musical Celebration of Coco” is a festive and colorful show that tells the story of the Disney and Pixar movie with authentic music, dance and costumes, which is offered in the Family Square of the Disney Adventure Park California.
“Seeing an audience full of Latinos, some crying, some nodding when I talked about Day of the Dead [as part of the show]… It’s a real authenticity with which the audience has a deep and emotional connection, ”Steve said, recalling his first performance on paper.
That moment represented a fundamental change in Steve’s perspective. “I started to see that being Latin was really very special,” Steve said. “Seeing that I come from a culture so rich in tradition, life, family, art and music … I finally understood what it meant to be proud of my heritage.”
From that moment on, Steve carried his heritage as a badge of honor. “My Spanish speaker was kind of a superpower,” Steve said. “It was something that allowed me to be unique and different.” Inspired by more information, Steve and her husband even began celebrating Day of the Dead by creating a offering, or an altar in the home that displays photographs and special objects to honor loved ones who have been — and will be forever — part of their lives.
Now, when Steve thinks about his heritage, especially during Latinx Hispanic Heritage Month, he wants to continue the conversation. “In a lot of ways, it’s about inclusiveness,” Steve said. “The fact that we recognize this month raises awareness and allows people to ask questions so they can learn about different cultures and peoples and embrace areas where we are all equal.”
Latinx Hispanic Heritage Month is now celebrated until October 15th. Disneyland Resort cast members recognize the month with events, roundtables, and stories about the culture, representation, and alloying of Latinx culture and Hispanicism.
At the resort, guests can visit Family Square at Disney California Adventure Park, a celebration of the family’s eternal bonds and Day of the Dead, which runs through November 2nd. Guests can also enjoy the spirit on their next visit to the downtown Disney District, where you can find Latinx performance groups ranging from mariachi and Latin pop to reggaeton performing on the main stage. throughout the celebration. See a list of schedules here.