All posts by Tina

Scavenger Hunt: Mission…Blue Tag!

During our last few trips to Walt Disney World Resort (we like to call it “home”), I decided to go on a scavenger hunt.  No, I wasn’t looking for sorcerer cards, hidden Mickeys or even certain Characters.  Well, “characters” is debatable, I suppose.  I was actually in search of Cast Members with blue name tags.  Have you seen them?  They are not very easy to find, or at least they hadn’t been for me over the years.  This past trip, however, I determined that I was going to find myself someone boasting a blue tag and find out his/her story.  Boy, was I in for a magical adventure!

Every Cast Member (CM) wears a name tag.  In fact, it is considered one of the most valuable pieces of one’s costume.  Should a CM lose or arrive at work without his/her name tag, he/she is handed one to use for the time it takes to make a new one (and, apparently, there are only TWO PEOPLE who make the name tags for the entire Cast – TWO!).  The funny thing about that temporary name tag?  It has a completely different name on it!  For the time it takes to make a new tag, the CM takes on one of two preselected personas (we’ll keep those two names secret)…and that CM is always from Orlando, Florida!  Of course, now you know I’m in search of those name tags, as well!

Blue tags are issued only by award.  They cannot be purchased, nor can be they be earned for years of service.  They are solely distributed after a committee of peers has reviewed various accolades and commendations made by other Cast Members.  These commendations emphasize this particular individual’s service to the company and/or Guests as outstanding and exceptional.   This is what makes this person so fascinating to me.  Can you believe I found THREE people this past trip wearing blue name tags?  I thought I had hit a treasure chest filled with Pixie Dust!!!

Robin - photo taken by T.M. Brown
Robin – photo taken by T.M. Brown

The first person I actually met donning one of these tags is the individual I want to highlight later in this piece, but I cannot go without mentioning the other two Cast Members.  Having had the opportunity to experience the Backstage Magic Tour this go round, I had a feeling I would find at least one person wearing the tag.  I actually found one of these blue tagged Cast Members in Costuming backstage at Disney’s Hollywood Studios.  His name was Steve.  Sadly, I know nothing else about him.  I saw his tag in passing.  We exchanged smiles and he saw me utter the words, “Yeah, blue tag,” but that was about the extent of our conversation.  The third person I found wearing the blue tag ID was at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa.  Robin was watching over the famed Easter Eggs that had just been placed on display a few days earlier in the lobby of the deluxe resort.  We struck up a conversation before I had noticed her wearing the esteemed tag.  She filled me in on more of the background of the honor and on the committee that awards them.  In fact, she even mentioned to me that she had been on the most recent committee.

I loved talking to Robin and appreciated all the information she divulged.  However, the highlight of my blue tag hunt was a conversation with a woman by the name of Curlie.  Curlie is a custodial Cast Member, though I did hear that all Cast Members are part of the custodial staff (that’s a great story for another time!!).  She normally works the area around Casey’s Corner at Magic Kingdom, but the day I found her she was taking care of the property around Cosmic Ray’s Starlight Cafe in Tomorrowland.  I had just had dinner with some Florida family who had come to spend the day with me.   Curlie was waiting off to the side with a smile on her face.

Picture of a Magic Kingdom Cast Member named Curlie.
Curlie ~ photo taken by T. M. Brown

She asked how our day had been going and I immediately noticed the blue tag.  She was my first – so I was ecstatic!  One of my goals for this trip had been attained!  I began to ask her questions and that led to a 20 minute conversation about the honor of wearing the blue tag, the process on how one is awarded…and then her life’s story as it pertains to being a Cast Member.   At the time I met Curlie, she was just months away from celebrating 42 years in her role at the Walt Disney World Resort.  She has been working there for as long as I have been alive (yes, I gave away my age – it’s okay, I’ve earned these years).  If the 42 years in itself are not amazing, Curlie will boast 26 years of perfect attendance come April 17th.   PERFECT ATTENDANCE!!  She has a tremendous work ethic and was such an inspiration.  She is an early riser and gets herself to work before it’s time to clock-in.  She has her breakfast backstage, gets herself ready to go and then puts herself onstage with a smile on her face.  She shared what she loves about the job, how she enjoys bringing her grandson to the Park and how well organized she keeps her utility closet (supposedly the best organized closet in the Magic Kingdom).  Every word that came out of Curlie’s mouth was full of enthusiasm, love for her job, passion for the quality of her work and a desire to ensure the Guest’s happiness.  I walked away from that conversation feeling as though I had just met a new friend.   I hope to have the privilege of introducing my sons to her during a future trip!

Well, finding Cast Members with blue tags may not be an unsolved mystery for me anymore, but I don’t think it is going to stop me from keeping my eye out for them.  There are fascinating stories out there and I love to listen to each and every one of them!  Keep an eye out for Curlie!  She will be dressed in white, donning a blue tag and wearing the biggest smile on her face as you pass by.  Say hi – you’ll be glad you did.

Richard - photo taken by T.M. Brown
Richard – photo taken by T.M. Brown

NOTE: This story was written back in late March 2015.  Since that time, I have met several more Cast Members donning the blue name tag, including perhaps the most famous, Richard, who is frequently found at the entrance to Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa.

Ellen is a Cast Member at Magic Kingdom in Walt Disney World.
Ellen ~ photo taken by T.M. Brown

In fact, over the past year, we have become close friends with a particular Cast Member, Ellen R., who recently earned her blue tag!! Congratulations, Ellen R.!!   We know firsthand that you deserve to be wearing that very prestigious honor!

Until the next step…..

Taking the first step of many…..

Well, I finally took the step…..a major leap of faith, to be honest.  With so many blogs available to read and many of my own friends having taken on this task, it has been a little daunting for me and I have been dragging my little insecure feet.   Fortunately, I have some wonderful, supportive friends out there who convinced me it was finally time to begin documenting the adventure.  I have so much to share, so much to say.  I have just been looking for the opportunity to get it out there and see what kind of a difference I could make with anything I might have to write.

The title of my blog is “Footprints in Pixie Dust.”   When I think of embarking upon a journey, I think of the many steps taken and the various impressions they leave behind.  Some of those steps I wish I could take back, while others I wish I had simply taken just a little more time to let my foot sink into the dirt.   As a wife and mom, I realize that the impressions I leave now with my husband and sons will have an impact greater than I can imagine, longer than my thoughts can fathom.   Of course, I hope the imprint left is more positive and meaningful rather than the opposite, particularly when it comes to my boys.  I have always looked at the three of them as potential world changers and, each and every day, I have the chance to see them grow into those roles.  I cannot tell you how excited I get when I see them succeed, grow, learn something new, rise up when knocked down or affect someone else in a very positive way.  They are leaving footprints now, as well, and I see their steps making a difference.

The “pixie dust” portion of the blog title obviously gives away and speaks to my love for anything Disney-related.   As time goes on, you will begin to see my fascination in Walt Disney, the man, as well as the genius behind the magical empire he left behind for us to enjoy.  I chose to incorporate “pixie dust” into the title as I will likely blog quite a bit about our various adventures visiting Walt Disney World, but also in light of the fact that our journey thus far has been so blessed and I only hope it will continue to be so.  There are times it truly feels as though each day has been “sprinkled with a little pixie dust” and prayer.  Yes, a woman of faith talking about magical moments.  It’s okay – God understands (it’s okay to chuckle here).

So, as I conclude my very first maiden post, my very first step into the world of blogging…I hope you find yourself comfortable and able to relate to our journey.  I look forward to having you follow along and perhaps find yourself a little “pixie-dusted”  along the way.

Until the next step…