Last Updated on September 15, 2023 by Heather
For over 50 years Walt Disney World Cast Members have been sporting oval-shaped name tags just over their heart. Each name tag features the Cast Member’s first name, but have you ever taken the time to take note of accessories or even different colored name tags and wondered what they mean?
A quick glance of a Cast Member’s name tag can tell you where the Cast Member is from, how long they have been with the company, the languages spoken, and if they are classified as the best of the best among their peers.
First Name Company
Cast Member name tags, of course, feature their first name. Because this is a family entertainment company, Disney has always been a first-name organization. This started with Walt Disney himself. He felt that using last names was too formal and he wanted to create an environment where families could relax and enjoy themselves together. If you ever ask a Cast Member their last name, they will hesitate to share, because everyone goes by their first name only.
Receiving A Name Tag Is Special
The first day of every Cast Member’s career starts with a class called Traditions. New Cast Members are introduced to the foundation of the Disney culture and the importance of their “role in the show”. At the conclusion of every Traditions class Mickey Mouse (aka – the boss), himself surprises the new Cast Members and presents them with their official name tag. Many Cast Members share that this is a magical memory for them. Pinning their new name tag for the first time is when they knew they were officially a Walt Disney World Cast Member.
Cast Members Are From All Over The World
Walt Disney World could be considered its very own melting pot of culture magically representing all 50 states and many different countries. It’s actually a bit unusual to meet a Cast Member who is originally from Orlando, FL. To find out where a Cast Member is from you can simply peek at the line on the bottom of their name tag.
US Cast Member name tags will feature their hometown and state. You may also notice that a college or university is listed. If this is the case this indicates that they are part of the College Program, and they are students who have taken time away from their studies to live and work in the happiest place on earth. It can be fun to meet someone from your home state or your alma mater. Don’t be afraid to mention a favorite local sports team or cuisine. Everyone loves to talk about home!
International Cast Member name tags feature their country. If you visited EPCOT prior to 2019 you could even meet International College Students hosted by Walt Disney so that each country in the World Showcase was represented. Thankfully, this opportunity for international students is almost completely back to normal!
Name Tag Accessories
Cast Member name tags also feature a variety of accessories. These are not trading pins or flare but indicate the length of service and languages spoken.
For the first few weeks in a new role Cast Members may sport a little red ribbon that indicates their “Ears are in Training”. This means they are new and are learning. You may notice a trainer hovering nearby to support them. Be extra patient! I always say that everyone has had a first day at something and it is important to give them an extra smile or thank you. This little extra encouragement can really go a long way in boosting their confidence.
At the other end of the career spectrum, you may also notice little gold pins with numbers 1, 5 10, 15, 20…all the way up to 50! This indicates years of service. Cast Members celebrate each year of service and on milestone years they are awarded a gold service pin. After 10 years these milestone years are even celebrated with a special in-park event exclusively recognizing Cast Members. Be sure to ask them about it – they will tell you these celebrations are stunning, and Disney really goes above and beyond to celebrate their milestones.
Name tags also indicate the languages a Cast Member speaks. Everything from Spanish to Haitian-Creole and even American Sign Language. A language pin, scripted in the applicable language, allows guests to quickly identify Cast Members who can assist them in their native tongue. To wear these special pins, Cast Members must take a short test to prove their fluency.
Some Name Tags Are Blue
Disney Cast Members are known for providing world-class service and creating magical memories for families from all over the world. It is all in a day of creating pixie dust. Cast Members with blue name tags, however, have been recognized by their peers as being the best of the best.
A blue name tag indicates that they are the recipient of the Walt Disney Legacy Award. Fellow Cast Members nominate each other by filling out a lengthy survey outlining why the perspective nominee personifies the dream, creativity, and inspiration of Walt Disney himself. It is then moved to a committee that narrows it down. Very few are selected. To give you an idea, the Legacy Award is awarded across the entire Disney Corporation, and typically only 300 Cast Members are awarded annually.
Recipients are awarded a blue name tag to indicate they are Legacy Award winners, and they are recognized with a formal gala to celebrate their commitment to the legacy of Walt Disney.
You are probably wondering if Walt Disney is a first name organization is there a way to recognize Cast Members who go above and beyond? There are probably a lot of Bobs. How could they ever narrow it down to the correct Cast Member?
With the updates to the My Disney Experience app there is now a Mobile Cast Compliment option. This mobile feature allows you to note the Cast Member’s name, hometown, location, and date of interaction – and of course the compliment you wish to give. Using the information from their name tag and entering all of these details means that the Cast members can be easily located and recognized by leadership. All Cast Compliments are entered in their record and will aid them with opportunities for promotion.
Is That Really Their First Name?
One more secret behind the name tag. This may not actually be their first name. Cast Members are human too. They may forget their name tag from time to time. When this happens there is a supply available with gender natural name tags – Sam, Robin, Jessie, etc. that can be borrowed for the day. If you do plan to give a Cast Compliment, it may be a good idea to verify their name.
They will typically give a smile and sheepish laugh that yes, their name tag is at home on their dresser and provide you with their real name. If you forget to ask, don’t worry, leadership will still do their best to narrow it down to the correct Cast Member.
Style Of The Name Tag
There have been many styles of name tags over the years, but this year is extra special. To celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the Walt Disney World Resort Cast Member’s name tags are sporting the signature earidesent gold and feature the 50th anniversary logo. If you are visiting Walt Disney World this year you will see that they are truly beautiful and glisten in the sun. But keep in mind this style will only be worn for a short time and the next time you visit they may be different. That’s the magic of Disney!
So in closing, you can learn a lot from a Cast Member’s name tag but you can learn more by taking the time to chat with them. Cast Member’s are the magic in the parks and most of them love their jobs because they get to engage with so many different people each day.
On your next trip take some time to chat with a Cast Member and tell them thank you for creating the magic for you and your family, and don’t forget those cast compliments!
Also check out our other Disney World tips and talk before you leave.