Cast Member Recognized for Helping a Claustrophobic Guest on Na’vi River Journey

Samantha Burns went above and beyond to assist a claustrophobic Guest at Disney’s Animal Kingdom on the Na’vi River Journey attraction.

Djuan Rivers and Joe Kalla present Samantha Burns with a special memento
Djuan Rivers and Joe Kalla present Samantha Burns with a special memento.
Credit: Disney Parks Blog

Disney Cast Members are one-of-a-kind. They are tasked with creating magical experiences for guests at Disney Parks around the world. Recently, Samantha Burns, went above and beyond to help a claustrophobic guest overcome her fears at Na’vi River Journey in Pandora – The World of Avatar.

The guest really wanted to experience Na’vi River Journey in Pandora – The World of Avatar with her young children, husband and friends, but felt anxious due to her history of claustrophobic episodes. She approached Samantha with a lot of questions about the attraction so she’d know what to expect. Samantha responded by asking the guest if she’d like her to ride with her through the attraction. She did, and according to the guest, Samantha held her hand throughout the experience, pointed out safety exits along the way, and also entertained the guest’s children as they moved through Pandora’s astounding bioluminescent rainforest.

Jennifer Fickley-Baker, Editorial Content Manager, Walt Disney World Resort

Djuan Rivers, vice president of Disney’s Animal Kingdom, and Joe Kalla, general manager of Park Operations at Disney’s Animal Kingdom presented her with a special memento.

A couple months ago I wrote an article about #CastCompliments. If you have a special moment with a Cast Member, taking the time to send out a #CastCompliment tweet to @WDWToday or @DisneylandToday would be much appreciated so CMs like Samantha Burns get recognized.

Steve is the founder and administrator of D-COT. If anything breaks on the site, @TheSwedishChef is the founder and administrator.


  1. This is neat! So glad she was recognized! This is why Disney is the best and has no equal :heart:

  2. How sweet. I love Disney cast members for that reason. They are usually so helpful and go out of their way to make everyone’s visit magical. Thank you Samantha.

  3. I read the post about this guest’s experience on FB a few days ago. It was really so wonderful. :heart:

  4. Its the small gestures that could really make the difference! People are always quick to complain when something goes wrong, but fail to acknowledge when something is done right, or in this case. Above and beyond :D

  5. I was so moved by this story when I saw it on FB last week. I am so glad they recognized her for what she did.

  6. This is why I love Disney!

  7. Yay :clap: Samantha thank you for your service.

  8. Always great to see lower CMs getting rewarded for their outstanding work :up: :cool:

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