If You See a Disney Employee with a Blue Name Tag, This Is What It Means

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Hint: It's actually an honor to have one!

Despite whatever costumes, wigs, and makeup a Disney Cast Member (that’s Disney-speak for “employee”) is required to wear for work, all employees must wear a name tag that states their first name and hometown. From cruise captains to line cooks and ride operators, in Disneyland and Disney World, everyone who works for the mouse will have a tag. If you’ve been to a Disney park or on a Disney cruise, you’ve probably seen hundreds of them with changing styles, graphics, and colors worn by employees from all over the world. But if you ever saw a blue name tag, you may not have known just how rare it is, or how it’s one of the Disney secrets you’ll wish you knew sooner. Brush up on all of your Disney trivia before Disney World’s 50th anniversary coming up.

What does a blue name tag mean at Disney?

Generally, the background of the oval label has been consistently white except for a special handful that proudly wears a blue tag. The blue name tag is certainly not random and if you’re an avid Disney-goer, you may have caught glimpse of a few and wondered why they were different.

Cast Members wearing a blue name tag have earned the prestigious Walt Disney Legacy Award, specifically reserved for employees who have done an exceptional job executing Disney’s mission to dream, create, and inspire. This award is the highest honor a Cast Member can receive and will hold onto that honor for the duration of their employment at Disney. Though even employees with a blue name tag must watch out for the three words Disney employees can’t say!

How blue name tags were started

The global recognition program began in 2011 in order to showcase employees who embody the values that were important to Walt Disney himself. Before 2011, each Disney location had its own way of honoring Cast Members with various awards but found that recognition for outstanding Cast Members was not consistent throughout. The awards were then unified to create one esteemed and selective employee honor. Speaking of an honor, do you know about the hotel suite in Disney World’s Cinderella Castle that almost no one gets to stay in?

How someone earns the award

This special honor only occurs if a Cast Member is nominated by a fellow Cast Member. The award is extremely selective, with only a few hundred honorees out of a staff of over 200,000. The panel of judges who review and select winners is comprised of a board of executives, managers, and some additional theme park employees. This recognition program spans all Disney theme parks along with Imagineering and the Disney Cruise Lines.

These Cast Members have proved that they will go above and beyond to make Disney the most magical experience for all guests, while consistently working long hours with large crowds and exhausted (maybe irritable) families in the blazing heat with a notably small paycheck. (And now during a global pandemic, no less!) Make sure to give many thanks and kudos if you see one of these Cast Members walking around in the park.

Things are changing for the 50th

For Disney World’s upcoming 50th anniversary celebration, starting on October 1, 2021, all Disney World Cast Members’ name tags are getting a bit of a makeover. “All Walt Disney World Cast Members—no matter how long they’ve been here —will be wearing brand-new name tags they were given for the 50th Anniversary Celebration, which lasts for 18 months,” explains Christopher Lucas, author of Top Disney100 Top Ten Lists of the Best of Disney. “Disney designed a new shining, shimmering signature color for the tags that they are calling ‘EARidescent.’ It includes metallic gold, royal blue, and royal purple. It will be used all around the parks, but the new name tags will be its most notable placement.” But don’t worry—those special Legacy Cast Members will still be decked out in blue to commemorate their contributions. “Disney Legacy Cast Members will all still have special blue name tags, but they will be trimmed with the EARidescent shade to keep consistent with the others,” Lucas adds. For more on the hidden magic of colors at Disney, find out why Disney World uses purple traffic signs.