Tag Archives: Disney vacations

Aaryn’s Best of the Best: My Top FIVE Shows To See At Walt Disney World Resort

Aaryn here!  Ready for the next Best of the Best post?  Well, here we go!

It’s no secret that Walt Disney World is our family’s favorite vacation spot.  With as many times as we have been there, I have had the pleasure of experiencing and enjoying many amazing attractions the Disney parks have to offer.   I have survived thrilled rides, savored delicious meals at various restaurants, and met with some pretty “goofy” and “magical” characters.   Yet another exciting aspect of visiting a Disney Park is the variety of live shows offered.   These shows are a great opportunity to take a break from the heat of the day, give your feet a rest and enjoy some spectacular artistry, participate in a story or laugh until your sides hurt!   In keeping with my ” Best of the Best” series, I have compiled a list below of the top five shows I have enjoyed at Walt Disney World. See how many of them you have experienced. Continue reading Aaryn’s Best of the Best: My Top FIVE Shows To See At Walt Disney World Resort

A Teen and His Mom: My Top Four Memories of our Walt Disney World Trip

For those of you who have been following along, you are well aware that my mom and I just took a trip to Walt Disney World this past May and we had the greatest time together.   I know that seems hard to believe considering that came from a teenager and what teenager enjoys spending time alone with his / her parents, right?  Well, I am one of the few that may be willing to admit that I actually enjoy the time I get to spend with my mom (and dad, but he didn’t come this trip).     Continue reading A Teen and His Mom: My Top Four Memories of our Walt Disney World Trip

Let’s Dine Back in Time: A Review of Disney’s Hollywood Studios’ 50’s Prime Time Café

For dinner tonight, let’s time warp back to the 1950’s, where black & white televisions were one of the hottest commodities, milkshakes were the best drink every made and mom’s home cooking was what every diner in town was trying to replicate.  If the idea of talking sock hops, watching I Love Lucy re-runs, and hearing Mom telling you to keep your elbows off the table peaks your interest, then 50’s Prime Time Café is one restaurant at Disney’s Hollywood Studios you do NOT want to miss experiencing! Continue reading Let’s Dine Back in Time: A Review of Disney’s Hollywood Studios’ 50’s Prime Time Café

An Early Morning Royal Feast: Breakfast in Cinderella Castle

During a recent mother / middle son trip to Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, Florida, my son wanted to make one of my Disney wishes comes true.   He wanted to help me cross something off my bucket list that has just never been an acceptable option when we go as a family (four guys and little ol’ me~ that’s a little too much testosterone for this meal!).   Since it was just the two of us this time around, my son wanted to give me my royal breakfast, an opportunity to eat in Cinderella Castle at Magic Kingdom.   This trip was our birthday trip and he was going to be eating at his favorite restaurant one day during our adventure, so he wanted to make sure that I had something that was my own, as well, so I was granted the wish of making reservations for the Fairytale breakfast at  Cinderella’s Royal Table! Continue reading An Early Morning Royal Feast: Breakfast in Cinderella Castle

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…..