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  1. #1

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    Year of a Million Problems: The Cast Member Name Tag Debate

    YEAR OF A MILLION PROBLEMS:
    The Cast Member Name Tag Debate

    Alright, so I've been thinking about this whole "problem" with the CM Name Tags that will be introduced as part of the Year of a Million Dreams (pictured below). The name tags will include the hometowns (hometown not on image) of the Cast Members working at the Disneyland Resort. This name tag feature, was, in the past, reserved soley for CMs working at the Disneyland Hotel and at the pavillions in Epcot's World Showcase at Walt Disney World.


    YEAR OF A MILLION DREAMS NAME TAG (HOME TOWN MISSING FROM IMAGE)
    IMAGE: Alyssa3467

    Back in June, MiceChatter melmel posted a thread about the new nametags in the Break Room forum:
    Quote Originally Posted by melmel
    The new nametags have been announced. Instead of "Class of..." the nametags will list the CM's home town, or the town they live in currently.

    I can't decide which town to put.

    This information needs to be input to the portal by May 31. After that, the CM's nametag will default to "Anaheim, CA"
    That thread back in June didn't cause any controversy, and most MiceChatters didn't care too much about the change. In fact, many felt that it was a good change from the "Class Of" nametags used for the 50th Anniversary.


    AL SPEAKS:
    MiceAge columnist shares the problem with the new name tags
    However, recently it was noted that the addition of CMs hometowns on regular non-hotel CMs creates a problem by Al Lutz who recently talked about this issue and the problem it creates in his 9/12 Lasseterland column:

    For decades it was forbidden for a Cast Member working in the park to have their hometown on their nametag like the CM's at the hotel did. The home towns were put on nametags at the hotel to spark conversation amongst visiting guests, and the Disneyland Hotel never tried to pretend it wasn't anything but a big, modern hotel next to Disneyland.

    But in Disneyland, having your hometown on your nametag was strictly forbidden. The reasoning was that a Cast Member working in New Orleans Square was a member of that community and part of the show being portrayed there. It would be totally contradictory for a person in New Orleans Square to have Yorba Linda proclaimed as their hometown on their nametag. A chambermaid working in a spooky southern mansion would seem far less spooky and period specific if she wore a nametag advertising any of the modern day, mundane suburbs of Southern California. The training materials written by WDI show writers for every Disneyland location instruct the trainees that they are a resident of Fantasyland or Critter Country or Tomorrowland, and the training guides give them background information on how those different types of people would act in those themed communities.

    Al's column sparked a little controversy on these boards regarding the name tags:

    Quote Originally Posted by Sediment
    Casinos in Vegas use nametags with hometowns on them. So, it must be a good idea.
    EPCOT World Showcase also uses them, but then, it seems pretty cool to have someone from France working at the France Pavilion.
    Quote Originally Posted by pineapplewhipaddict
    CM tags?...Jay is very out of touch. I wonder if anyone has possibly explained the old doctrine to him? If not, somebody needs to speak up now...he just seems genuinely misinformed and ought to visit the parks more to understand them. Those "Disney Parks" labels have to go. Yuck.
    Personally, I do happen to find it to be a bit less magical to have a CM's hometown featured on their name tag, unless they're from Paris and actually working at the France pavillion at Epcot, or greeting me at the Disneyland Hotel.

    However, I find very little credibility in the arguments against adding the CM's hometown to nametags. Now, hear me out:



    THE HAPPIEST HOMECOMING ON EARTH:
    How the 50th Anniversary name tags ruined themes first
    May 5, 2005 marked the beginning of Disneyland's 50th anniversary celebration, which was officially called The Happiest Homecoming on Earth. The Happiest Homecoming on Earth introduced new Cast Member name tags that, for the most part, were welcomed with open arms by the Disneyland fan community. Beneath the Cast Member's name, the name tags prominately featured the year they became a Disneyland Resort Cast Member. Whether it be "Class of 1976" or "Class of 2006," the name tags matched the "Happiest Homecoming" theme.


    HAPPIEST HOMECOMING ON EARTH NAME TAG
    IMAGE: www.nametagmuseum.com

    I find it interesting now that many in the Disneyland fan community have become strongly voiced against the Year of a Million Dreams name tags. Why you ask? Well, much like the CM's birthcity being contradictory to the the Disney storytelling of a CM working in the Fantasyland community, the Happiest Homecoming name tags contradict this as well. If we are to believe that a Cast Member is part of the overall story of a land, we shouldn't be seeing the year they became a Cast Member.

    Here's why: Let's say a Cast Member is working at the Haunted Mansion and their nametag proudly says Class of 1995. This strongly contradicts the period-specific theme of New Orleans Square. 1995 is not representative of the time period that New Orleans Square is meant to represent, nor is it representative of turn-of-the-century Main Street, USA; the future time period of Tomorrowland; the old west of Frontierland, or the 1890s of Critter Country. Not only are hire-dates contradictory to the "story" of a land or attraction, but we should be assuming that Cast Members working in Frontierland have always been part of the Frontierland community. Cast Members working in Tomorrowland have always lived in Tomorrowland. The guy working at the Candy Palace on Main Street has always lived in small town America, and he's only following in the footsteps of his dad and grandfather, who were candymakers themselves...

    So why the sudden uproar over seeing Cast Member hometowns? For the past 17 months, we've been seeing dates that contradict the theme of every land a Cast Member has worked in, emblazoned upon their name tags.



    GENERIC NAME TAGS:
    How five decades of Disneyland name tags have failed to continue the "story"
    Not only that, if a name tag is truly supposed to be a part of a land or attraction's overall "story" and "theme" why are we seeing the same design on every nametag throughout the Resort? Shouldn't we be seeing something that represents the 1930s jungle adventure that is the Indiana Jones Adventure? Shouldn't we be seeing something that represents early 1900s Main Street, USA? Shouldn't we be seeing name tags that represent a town of Cartoons?

    These generic name tags work at Disney's California Adventure, as the park is themeatically set in the here and now. It's contemporary setting doesn't contradict any themes or time periods, and people from all over can work in the park as California is certainly a melting pot of society.

    But as for Disneyland, if we aren't complaining about generic name tags, or even the 50th anniversary name tags, why all of a sudden now, are we complaining about home towns appearing on them? Is it really that big of a deal if we've gone for 5 decades without griping over the lack of land-specific name tags?



    What's the real problem?
    Maybe there is no real problem with any of this at all. Maybe we're all just frustrated and now that we're in the middle of a good time for the Disneyland Resort, we need a villian.


    JAY RASULO - IMAGE: Disney

    Could it be that these name tag issues have even arisen because we really just don't like Jay Rasulo?
    Last edited by MasterGracey; 09-20-2006 at 12:06 PM. Reason: Adding credit for images, spelling errors (thanks Frogberto :))

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  2. #2

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    Re: Year of a Million Problems: The Cast Member Name Tag Debate

    I'm all for name tags themed to each land. And the "Class of" thing just seems to say the current year, so it should go.

  3. #3

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    Re: Year of a Million Problems: The Cast Member Name Tag Debate

    It's just a nametag
    Katie
    Founding member of the BA I LOVE us!!!
    FIGHT ON!!!!!!









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    Re: Year of a Million Problems: The Cast Member Name Tag Debate

    Good lord, well researched.
    I think that the nametag is an interesting exception. The themed costuming differentiates the cast members, but the name tags unite them. EVERY SINGLE one has their own. That's what makes them identifiable as CMs.
    Also, consider this good rep.

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    Re: Year of a Million Problems: The Cast Member Name Tag Debate

    I think they should have their hometown location like WDW's has on it or their class (Which year they started working at the park)

    But the name tags do look spiffy.

  6. #6

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    Re: Year of a Million Problems: The Cast Member Name Tag Debate

    I don't care whats on it. I never look at the nametags anyway....maybe barely a glance. i had no idea they even had the "class of..." on them.

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    Re: Year of a Million Problems: The Cast Member Name Tag Debate

    Nice, informative post.

    But please...

    For me, what's on a nametag other than a name is not worth even thinking about.

    I REALLY don't care. I don't need to know where a CM lives or when they were hired by Disney.

    If I want to strike up a conversation with a CM, I will no matter what their nametag says. As long as is states their name (so I can use it when I say Hi to them), that is all that I need.

    All the rest is just unnecessary fluff. Having a nametag that said Chula Vista on a CM that is working in NOS would not spoil my "experience" at DL in the least.

    As mentioned before, it is just a nametag.

    There are better things to worry about... Geeezzzz

  8. #8

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    Re: Year of a Million Problems: The Cast Member Name Tag Debate

    Yarrggh, me swabby's not be caring about nametags ... unless they be made of aztec gold ...


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    Re: Year of a Million Problems: The Cast Member Name Tag Debate

    The name tags need to be the same and generic across all lands. The reason for this is so that Cast Members are indentifiable as genuine Cast Members. The detraction from the story is held at bay by limiting the badge as much as possible: standard design with first name only. By adding in extras the name tag is being given more prominence in the Cast Member costume. Generic items across the lands need to be kept at the absolute minimum. While a name tag may go unnoticed by most guests, this is the attention to detail that established the "Disney way".

  10. #10

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    Re: Year of a Million Problems: The Cast Member Name Tag Debate

    Quote Originally Posted by lazyboy97O View Post
    The name tags need to be the same and generic across all lands. The reason for this is so that Cast Members are indentifiable as genuine Cast Members. The detraction from the story is held at bay by limiting the badge as much as possible: standard design with first name only. By adding in extras the name tag is being given more prominence in the Cast Member costume.
    You took my argument for land-specific name tags in the wrong context. What I meant was that if people are complaining because nametags with CMs hometowns are breaking the theme of a land or attraction, why aren't they complaining that a generic Resort-wide nametag is breaking the theme of a specific land or attraction?

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    Re: Year of a Million Problems: The Cast Member Name Tag Debate

    Quote Originally Posted by MasterGracey View Post
    You took my argument for land-specific name tags in the wrong context. What I meant was that if people are complaining because nametags with CMs hometowns are breaking the theme of a land or attraction, why aren't they complaining that a generic Resort-wide nametag is breaking the theme of a specific land or attraction?
    Because they may realize that such a name tag is needed to properly identify Cast Members.

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    Re: Year of a Million Problems: The Cast Member Name Tag Debate

    Quote Originally Posted by MasterGracey View Post
    why aren't they complaining that a generic Resort-wide nametag is breaking the theme of a specific land or attraction?







    I don't know...Maybe because the entire Park IS DL, and therefore a generic, name only, nametag would fit wherever that particular CM is assigned to???


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    Re: Year of a Million Problems: The Cast Member Name Tag Debate

    Quote Originally Posted by PirateMickey View Post
    I don't know...Maybe because the entire Park IS DL, and therefore a generic, name only, nametag would fit wherever that particular CM is assigned to???

    That's sort of like saying "well, we know that the CMs aren't really part of the New Orleans Square community, so just slap their real hometowns on there and be done with it." And people are talking about that being wrong.

    If a specific land is trying to tell a specific story in a specific time period, it seems like a generic Resort-wide nametag messes with that story just as much as a nametag with someone's hometown on it does...

    I understand the need for instand CM-recognition though, and I'm not necessarily saying that land-specific nametags are something that should be considered or that the hometown name tags are wrong... but I'm just saying that Al's (and his supporters') argument on this issue isn't strong enough.

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    Re: Year of a Million Problems: The Cast Member Name Tag Debate

    Quote Originally Posted by MasterGracey View Post
    If a specific land is trying to tell a specific story in a specific time period, it seems like a generic Resort-wide nametag messes with that story just as much as a nametag with someone's hometown on it does...
    Both do mess up the story of the land, but to different degrees. By placing more information on the name tag it comes more into focus. The name provides two simple, generic if you could say that, piece of information that identifies Cast Members and the informal and friendly mood of the the park. There is no need or enhancement of the story for a guest to know when a Cast Member began working or where he originates. EPCOT'S World Showcase and Disney's Animal Kingdom become exceptions to this as the locations on name tags were those being represented. Meeting an actual African or Canadian in Africa of Disney's Animal Kingdom or the Canada Pavilion adds a layer of depth as we are both in that very place.

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    Re: Year of a Million Problems: The Cast Member Name Tag Debate

    Last Year during the 50th Anniversary, I went to both Walt Disney World, and Disneyland. When I was at Disney World, I purchased a name tag. It was gold, and I had my name put on it. I wore it during my entire vacation, and many times, I was stopped by other guests who thought that I was a cast member.

    The same thing happened on my recent trip to Disneyland. Many people thought that the gold name tag meant that I was a Cast Member.

    Now there is a booth, just as you enter the park that sells these name tags. The name tags sold years ago at Disney World said, Guest of Honor on them. My name tag just says my name, and has the Happiest Homecoming on Earth saying on it. My WDW name tag says the Happiest Celebration on Earth. No where on any of my name tags does it say Guest.

    I think that if they are going to sell these name tags to Guests, they should say Guest somewhere on them.

    I also think that Cast Member name tags should say Cast Member on them. That's all they need. Their name, and Cast Member.

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