Disney Parks name tags have become an icon much like many other seemingly random Disney items like the famous Disney trash cans (an interesting story for another day)! What started as method to identify employees in 1955 of the newly opened Disneyland, name tags quickly took on a life of their own within the company. This is the fascinating story of a little badge and the names on it.

The first name tags at Disneyland were metal with Disneyland in blue written across them and a number. The number represented the employee. All Cast Members were issued a badge. During the first few years most were seen with only a number on them. Some employee such as executives received a badge with their full name in place of the number.

It wasn’t until 1962 that the Cast Members first name was standard on all name tags. And it was only the first name. Why you ask not the last too? That is because of Walt. Walt believed his company was a first name company where it didn’t matter if you were at the top of the ladder or in an entry level job. To the guests of his Magic Kingdom you were known by a first name and there to help. A side note on Walt, he did not like being called Mr. Disney. Those who would meet him and call him Mr. Disney were often replied to with “call me Walt, Mr. Disney was my father.”

So in 1962, the gold metal name tag went away and what appeared was a plastic thin oval version. Through the years the oval changed some and eventually around 1985 took the shape of what we have come to recognize today – an oval with an icon bump out on top. This current look is an homage to the original Disneyland version. There have been a variety of other shapes also used for many different departments, people and celebrations but the most common is what is used today.

There literally have been hundreds of styles of name tags over the years. Today, they have been simplified and are uniform by department, park (Disneyland, Disney World, oversees parks), business line and employee recognition. They typically all contain the hometown the Cast Member printed below the name. They also contain service pins signifying the years the Cast Member has been with the company. Some showcase different languages the Cast Member knows.

In recent years you may have noticed blue name tags which represent Cast Members who have received the Disney Legacy Award, the highest honor for a Cast Member. One thing that is common among nearly every employee of Disney is that they are worn over their left chest. I say nearly all Cast Members wear them over the left chest because there is one department that is given the freedom to wear them on their lanyards and that is Walt Disney Imagineering. When I worked for Disney I could always spot an Imagineer because not only did they have a special Mickey icon on their name tag they typically were wearing them on their company ID lanyard.

A side note on working for Disney and forgetting your name tag. You don’t forget it. If you do you get one issued to you for the day and in my case I got to be Eric. That day was the one and only time I wasn’t Ryan!

Walt was insistent his employees at Disneyland were easily identifiable and proudly wore a badge in 1955 and later one with their name on it. He made sure they were worn on their left side and they always had it on while in guest areas. The only person to not be required to wear a name tag was Walt himself. I guess that is the perk of being Mr. Disney.

Ryan Gross

Travel Specialist

 

Look up, look down, and pay attention to the detail created by Disney Imagineer’s and Cast Members because hidden surprises are around every corner.

Looking for Hidden Mickeys is a fun activity and provides an opportunity to explore all the creativity the Imagineer’s put into designing Disney. They can be found throughout the resorts, parks, Disney Cruise Line, and even on some Disney products. Or, it can even be as simple as a Cast Member being creative with the placement of dinnerware on the tables at a restaurant.

Our family makes a game to see who can find the most Hidden Mickeys. We noticed it forces us to slow down and truly enjoy our surroundings and appreciate the little touches of magic that goes into creating all the magic. Since there are thousands of hidden Mickey’s all over Disney World, there are enough to keep you busy to discover new ones during many future vacations.

Let’s have some fun finding a few Hidden Mickeys.

Can you find the Hidden Mickeys on Disney Cruise Line?

Keep an eye out in the parks and resorts. Some are more obvious than others, but they are all fun to find.

If you like to participate in the Disney pin trading activities, keep a lookout for special pins with Hidden Mickey’s.

Enjoy your scavenger hunt – Disney style.

Janene Jaroscak

Travel Specialist

 

After you enter Epcot and take your picture by Spaceship Earth, the big golf ball, everyone rushes to their favorite attractions. Test Track, Soarin’ and Frozen Ever After to name a few. What some people don’t realize is that there’s a lot of really cool hands on areas as well as having the opportunity to not only learn more about our world, but there’s also a lot to learn about some of the different countries that are part of our world.

Epcot consists of the World Showcase and Future World. Future World has pavilions that are dedicated to such topics as the ocean, space, transportation, agriculture, and innovation. Not only are their fun attractions at some of these pavilions, there’s also an area of hands on fun and learning. For example, after Journeying into the World of Imagination with Figment, you enter into the ImageWorks – The “What If’ Labs. It’s a sensory-inspired play space allows you to wave your arms like a conductor of an orchestra to create music, create a symphony of sound by jumping on squares on the ground, and record sounds and play it back in different speeds.

At Living with the Land, you’re able to sail through the greenhouses of The Land Pavilion on a boat to see firsthand how Disney’s horticulturalists are using innovative growing techniques and cross-breeding high-yield crops with the goal of sustaining our growing global population. And if you’re so inclined to learn more, you’re welcome to make a reservation for a walking tour of Behind the Seeds, which takes a deeper look at sustainable high-tech horticulture.

As if Future World doesn’t have enough to offer and experience, the World Showcase has even more. World Showcase is home to 11 countries. Each country will provide you with some learning about their culture, their people, and their community. Upon entering each country, you’ll be transported to another section of the globe by seeing familiar famous landmarks, smelling the cuisine specific to that country and even hearing the native language being spoken by cast members from these countries.

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Depending upon the country, you’ll also be able to learn more about that country, the culture, and the goods that they provide. For example, upon entering China, you’ll be able to journey through ancient and modern China by watching a short Circle-Vision 360 degree film called Reflections of China. You’ll follow along as the Tang Dynasty poet Li Bai guides you through the sights and sounds of China.

After leaving Reflections of China, you might find yourself in the middle of a performance of the Jeweled Dragon Acrobats, which is an acrobatic troupe from China that performs breathtaking feats of strength, agility and balance. You might also find that the film left you a little hungry for some authentic Chinese cuisine. Whether you’d like to sit, relax and enjoy a table service meal at Nine Dragons Restaurant or want to grab a quick bite on the go at the Lotus Blossom Café, you won’t be disappointed.

There are a lot of things to discover at Epcot both in Future World and World Showcase. These are just some highlights of the many ways to learn more about exploring our world and the other countries within our world. We hope you’ll have a chance to take advantage of all it has to offer the entire family. You might have fun learning something new along the way!

Leigh Miller

Travel Specialist

The word chill is an adjective meaning very relaxed or easygoing. Disney Cruise Line has the goal of giving teens aged 13 to 17 a very relaxed experience by offering a menu of spa treatments on all four of their ships at the teen exclusive Chill Spa.

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If your teenager is interested in visiting Chill Spa, you must wait until you board the ship before you can book a treatment as this is not an option to book online. Head to the Senses Spa and request your appointment type and treatment as soon as you can – appointments will go fast, especially for your days at sea. Treatments include facials, massages, hair care, and beauty and wellness treatments such as wraps, manicures, and pedicures. Is your teen interested in attending a boot camp? Chill Spa also offers a Fitness Frenzy option that includes 3 specialized boot camp classes a personalized metabolism test. Let your teen indulge in multiple treatments with the Me! Bath Ice Cream Pedicure and the Truth or Hair styling session on formal night and they will be dressed to impress at dinner. Parents looking for side by side treatments with their teen can sign up for the Mother/Daughter Paradise Massage or the Father/Son Chill Out Massage.

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This past July my daughter was able to experience a treatment on the Disney Magic while sailing to Barcelona. To celebrate her recent birthday becoming a teenager, she selected one treatment to enjoy and she chose the 50 minute Heavenly Massage. As parental or guardian supervision is required for all treatments, we both showed up about 15 minutes before her appointment time where I filled out the necessary paperwork and consent forms before heading to the treatment room. Teens receiving a massage or wrap are requested to wear a swimsuit for their appointment so make sure your teen is prepared for their type of treatment. The massage was performed in a quiet room with soothing music and lasted a full 50 minutes. Before starting, the masseuse inquired if there were any areas that needed special attention and my daughter mentioned she was experiencing tightness in her lower back. After listening carefully, great care was taken for her lower back in addition to a general body massage. At the end of the treatment she was given cucumber water to flush out her toxins and instructions on staying healthy.

Hanging out, having fun, taking a breather, and just being yourself is the philosophy of the Chill Spa. Let
your teen be pampered to perfection on their next Disney cruise and you will have them thanking you for months afterwards and giving you the parent of the year award.

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“I loved going to Chill and after I went I felt really relaxed. I would totally do it again if my mom let me.” -Kirsten, 13

Michelle Browne

Travel Specialist

 

Ahoy! I welcome you to take a tour with me to explore the exceptional features of a popular upscale water-front dining experience offering indoor and outdoor seating with exceptional views. In addition to helping you travel through a variety of food choices you will find while dining at this family-friendly restaurant, I will also explain why The BOATHOUSE will provide you with a unique experience for kids of all ages in your family.

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Don’t sink your chances of dining here. While walk-up patrons are welcome, reservations here or at any restaurant on Disney property are highly recommended so be sure to discuss your dining preferences with your agent from Me and the Mouse Travel. You may use your Disney Dining Plan. Two credits are required.

BoathouseSeafood and Steak offerings are the main event. If you are a seafood fan, you will find a variety of starters and main courses featuring “authentic fresh daily” seafood options that your palate will love exploring. Featured on the menu is an Original Lobster Bake for Two which includes: 1¼ pounds of Whole Main Lobster, Shrimp, Mussels, Clams, Oysters, Andouille Sau-sage, Red Potatoes, Corn on the Cob and Boathouse Lobster Broth. Other seafood offerings include Maine Lobster Bisque, Firecracker Shrimp, and New England Lobster Roll. Dock Side Buckets with fresh cut fries are offered as follows: “Coconut Fried Wild Sea of Cortez Shrimp”, “Crispy Panko-Fried Fish of the Day”, “Fried Wild Caught Atlantic Surf Clam Strips”.

If you are like me and seafood is not your thing don’t despair. You can sink your teeth into your choice of a variety of steaks – a NY Strip Steak, Filet Mignon, Chicago Cut Rib Eye or Porterhouse.

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There are also many other delicious “shore” options that will delight your taste buds such as grilled chicken breast, BBQ/Baby Back Ribs, and a variety of pasta including seafood choices.Mouth-watering rolls and butter are served and one basket may not be enough.Salad varieties include Garden, The Wedge, The Chopped, and Caesar, and Buffalo Chicken salads.

Sandwich selections such as a variety of burgers, pulled pork, club, Angus brisket French dip, and my favorite “the filet mignon sliders” are served with fresh cut fries. For your sweet tooth, you may want to end your meal with Key Lime pie in a Mason jar, Mango Sorbet, NY Style Blueberry Cake Cheesecake, a Root Beer Float or Whiskey Carmel Cornbread Cake. If you are looking for a dessert for a party of 4, try S’mores Baked Alaska or Florida Sunshine Cake.

Kids’ menus are available for children ages 9 and under. You will find special entrées, beverages and desserts designed with kids in mind.

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Live musicians perform most nights offering old school rock and roll, country, or pop music.

If you find you have time before or after your meal, be sure to explore The Boatique gift shop which is adjacent to The BOATHOUSE and features themed authentic nautical items. You will find many unique gifts personalized with fun sayings.

Amphicars

The BOATHOUSE is the only place in the world to enjoy an interactive experience by land and water by taking a Captain’s Guided Tour in a vintage Amphicar. What is an Amphicar? Great question! Amphicars are dream boats that look like vintage cars from the ‘30’s, ‘40’s and ‘50’ but, SURPRISE – THEY FLOAT! Stop by the marina and book a 25 minute water tour of Disney Springs. The cost of the ride is $125. In addition to the Captain, an Amphicar will hold 3 adults or 2 adults and 2 small children. Be sure to capture the memories of your Amphicar water adventure by asking about flexible photo packages. Before you depart on your Amphicar sailing, a picture of your family will be taken outside the car, inside the car and in the water. At the end of your water adventure, visit The Boatique gift shop to select your photo packages. Flexible packages and pricing are available. BONUS: You will receive a souvenir magnet(s) with your photo package depending on the option you choose. Other boat tours are available through The BOATHOUSE marina.

***Please note that all menu items and boat tour pricing are always subject to change***

Want to know more about The Boathouse and other fantastic dining options at Walt Disney World? Visit our blog for more Walt Disney World Restaurant reviews and other “Helpful Hints and Tips”. Contact your Me and The Mouse Travel specialist, who is happy to recommend and book all your dining reservations for you.

Traci Perjack

Travel Specialist

Looking for something to do while on your cruise on your own, in a group, or with your family?  Well then look no further than Trivia challenges during your fantastic voyage!

Trivia levels vary on time of day and location within the ship.  In the family lounges, or lounges that allow those under the age of 21 to enter – anyone can partake in Trivia challenges!  You’ll find these challenges to encompass more family friendly topics (Disney parks or movies trivia, Pixar trivia, ‘do you know your family’ game show type trivia).  Fast paced, honor system, and tie breaking trivia fun is had by all.

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Trivia found in 21+ lounges host challenges covering more movie/quote trivia outside of Disney, or very obscure Disney trivia – covering more Walt Disney himself era trivia that the adult audience may have a better chance of knowing.  A little more competitive, adult trivia tends to carry a little more ‘clout’ with it if you win!   (I won, twice, on my last cruise…I would know 🙂

While bragging rights are the BEST part of winning Trivia on board your cruise ship, the “bling” you get for winning is also pretty cool. Although I cannot guarantee every cruise ship in the Disney Cruise fleet gives these out to winners, the Disney Dream and Disney Wonder sure do!

After winning our trivia rounds (Movie Quotes/adult and Pixar Trivia/family), we were asked to wear these ‘medals’ with pride for the remainder of our cruise.  You better believe we did!

Trivia is so much fun and a great ‘filler’ between larger activities.  Don’t be afraid to join in on the fun!!

Amy Sowinski

Travel Specialist

Oh my favorite thing…food on VACA!! What’s even better? Having a meal where you can get a great portion and awesome food for the money (or quick service credit) you are spending. Below is the top 5 based on food quantity and/or quality based on my personal experience along with our agent’s and guest’s favorites!

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Megan Thompson

Travel Specialist

I thought it would be fun to explore what kid’s thoughts and reactions were in relation to visiting Walt Disney World! My expert panel of kids have all recently visited and were excited to share with us what made their Disney vacation so memorable!

A big step in planning a Disney vacation is a figuring out where you are going to stay. Disney’s on property resorts are amazing, they offer such a great continuation of the Disney experience. The kids were questioned about what their favorite aspect of staying at their Walt Disney resort was:

“All the art work”. (Art of Animation) Isabelle (14)

“The Herbie Car being at our resort”. (Pop Century) Ashton (11)

“The Pool”. (Pop Century) Hannah (11)

“The pool, theme, and monorail”. (Polynesian Village) Hunter (14)

“The beignets at French Quarter”. (Port Orleans French Quarter) Jonathon (16)

“I liked the headboards that light up”. (Port Orleans Riverside Royal Guest Room)
Kirsten (13)

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Disney World has 4 theme parks: Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Animal Kingdom, and Hollywood Studios. The kids were asked which of the 4 theme parks was their favorite? We had a tie for the favorite theme park being Magic Kingdom and Epcot. Magic Kingdom was the first of Disney World’s 4 theme parks. It opened in 1971 and is comprised of 6 different lands: Main Street USA, Frontierland, Fantasyland, Adventureland, Liberty Square, and Tomorrowland. Epcot (Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow) was Disney’s second theme park at Disney World opening in 1982. Epcot was created with the notion of future and technology in mind. Epcot is comprised of 2 themed lands: Future World and World Showcase and is the 2 nd largest Disney theme park coming in behind Animal Kingdom Park.

Walt Disney World has many fantastic attractions and among kids, who were questioned, this is a list of their top “must ride” favorites. Make sure that you can add these onto your family’s ride plans:

Pirates of the Caribbean” Gracin

Space Mountain” Hunter

“7 Dwarfs Mine Train” Hannah

Test Track” Ashton and Peyton

Dumbo” Meagan

Soarin” Isabelle

Under the Sea” Erica

Expedition Everest” Hunter

Spaceship Earth” Kirsten

While at Disney your family has an amazing opportunity to experience some of the best food and dining around. The snacks at Disney are simply not to be skipped. The favorite among the kids panel is the “Dole Whip”.  A Dole Whip is a non-dairy frozen masterpiece!

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It can be ordered in a cup or it can be made into a float (I recommend this). This not-to-be-missed snack can be found in the Magic Kingdom at Aloha Isle or The Polynesian Resort at Captain Cooks. A “Churro” and the “Mickey Mouse Ice Cream bar” were also frequently mentioned!

Picking where to dine while on your Disney vacation can be super exciting. There are so many great options! Chef Mickey was the favorite among many of the kids. These are some of the favorites:

Chef Mickey, I loved having all the characters come around to greet and take pictures
with you”. Erica (also enjoyed by Jonathon and Peyton)

The Polynesian Luau– the fire dancing was really cool”. Hunter

Sci Fi Dine”. Hannah, Ashton and Evan

Casey’s Corner”. Isabelle

T-Rex”. Gracin

Be our Guest, I liked the gray stuff”. Jillian (also enjoyed by Kirsten and Hunter)

When I was a child I remember my families first trip to Walt Disney World and even though I dreamt about what that visit would be like, the real Disney World surpassed everything I had imagined. When talking to the kids about their vacations, I asked them what was something that surprised them about the parks. Here are some of their reactions to Disney:

“How kind and helping the people that work at Disney are”. Erica

“How much there is to do at Disney. There is something for everybody”. Hannah

“That it’s not just for little kids”. Isabelle

“The rides are fast”. Ashton

“It’s very clean and the water slides at the pool were so much fun”. Gracin

“There is something new to do on every trip”. Kirsten

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One of the best parts of assisting families in planning their Disney vacation is helping them build wonderful memories! It was so much fun getting to hear some of the kid’s favorite memories from their Disney vacations:

“Going on Splash Mountain with my dad, and being able to ride in the front”. Hunter

“The Polynesian Luau”. Erica

“First time seeing the castle”. Hannah

“Building my own car on Test Track”. Ashton

“Riding Space Mountain with my dad” Evan

“Remembering the times in Epcot”. Peyton

“First time on Everest”. Hunter

“Playing at a Disney Band Workshop”. Jonathon“Getting Character Photo’s”. Kirsten

We look forward to creating more Disney memories with your family! Contact your Me and The Mouse Travel Specialist to book your next Disney vacation!

Beth Rodgers

Travel Specialist

 

Halloween decorations and parties are in full swing at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida. It only seems fitting that another legend makes a comeback too! It’s the ‘Return to Sleepy Hallow’ that’s returning to Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort & Campground.

If you’re a brave soul, this is definitely something you don’t want to miss! At Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort & Campground, if you dare, you’ll have a chance for a priority photo opportunity with the Headless Horseman himself. Continuing with the night of thrills, you’ll also have a seat at a group viewing of the 1949 Disney animated classic film “The Legend of Sleepy Hallow” inside the resorts historic Tri-Circle- D Ranch stables.

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Not only will you have the priority photo opportunity with and be able to view a Disney classic movie with premium seating, but you’ll also receive a Halloween treat bag. All brave souls ages 3 and up will receive an exclusive limited edition pin.

Doesn’t seem too spooky, you say? Just be sure to watch for galloping ghosts and be ready for an up close and personal encounter with the Headless Horseman himself! To keep in the spirit of Halloween, they will only be taking place on select nights in September and October at 8 pm or 10 pm. Hopefully, you’ll be lucky enough to visit on a full moon! Contact your Me and The Mouse Travel Agent to reserve your spot today!

Leigh Miller

Travel Specialist

A Disney cruise to Alaska – something for everyone in your family with the HUGE added bonus of exploring some of the most gorgeous, natural beauty in the world.


Our family checked off a huge item on our bucket list – exploring the Last Frontier: Alaska. The beauty of Alaska is something everyone should experience at least once in their lifetime. For fellow travelers we met on our journey, many of them were returning to Alaska for their 3 rd , 4 th , even 7 th time, and now I understand why. Combine a journey into the wilds of Alaska up the Pacific Ocean with the service and entertainment on board a Disney cruise ship, and you’ve got a perfect family vacation.

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Before we had even boarded the ship, we were meeting friendly faces from our cruise group Facebook page where we had all shared plans and hopes for our families’ vacations. We continued to run into each other and meet other new friends throughout the voyage.

For our dinners, we requested to be seated with another family. We were paired with a family with kids about the same age as ours, and it was nice to look forward to seeing them each night, enjoy a meal together and chat about what we had done or seen during the day. They can easily become friends just as your serving team does as they travel with you each night to a different restaurant, and you may also see them at breakfast and lunch at various locations.

On-board fun included Disney shows, the music and comedy of Buckets and Boards, Disney trivia, Disney animation classes, dance parties, cooking classes, Bingo, tween and teen clubs for the kids, 80s Trivia at the pub, movies, and of course relaxing on the pool deck, taking an occasional nap, and food. Lots of food.

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After a day and a half of sailing north, we finally arrived at Endicott Arm where we had an amazing viewing of not only the glacier but also all the lazy sea lions floating by on chunks of ice. Whales were also spotted on our way to the glacier, causing everyone to run for their cameras. Having a verandah was a highlight of our stateroom as we were able to enjoy the glacier and the marine life from the comfort of our own private sitting area.

Exploring just Southeast Alaska, we had three ports of call to look forward to:

  • Skagway – a gold rush town now full of shops and small eateries and a great place to
    catch the salmon spawning. Hike to a lake up on a mountain, or visit the old Gold Rush
    Cemetery and learn about Soapy Smith, Skagway’s very own con-man who finally paid
    his dues.
  • Juneau – the capital of Alaska and accessible only by boat or air, this sprawling town has
    lots of shopping for tourists, tours to Mendenhall Glacier, and a tram up the mountain
    to a great view and a raptor rescue center.
  • Ketchikan – also a mining town, Creek Street was a red-light district filled with brothels whose buildings now serve as shops on a quaint wooden boardwalk lining Ketchikan Creek.

While we enjoyed all three ports, Ketchikan was easily our favorite port. With a Native tour guide and just a small group of us discovering the town, we saw the greatest amount of wild life of any of our port stops with eagles, bears, and otters. We were also treated to a special visit to a totem pole park where our guide appeared out of nowhere in his regalia, complete with a wolf head and beautiful red robe.

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No matter where you were in Alaska, and though it didn’t matter which direction you looked, the waterways, mountains, lush trees, beaches, snow-capped mountains, wildlife,…it was with you everywhere you went.

I have traveled all over the world and have seen some amazing places. Australia still reigns at the top of my list, but Alaska is coming in close behind it, and I’m already looking forward to my next adventure back!

Nancy Wideman
Travel Specialist