TMSM Explains The Walt Disney Legacy Award

cmt203230SMALLMany guests don’t know this but a Disney a Cast Member’s Name Tag is more than just a plastic ID tag telling you each CM’s name and hometown. A Disney CM name tag is also a way for a CM to alert a guest to what languages they speak other than English, how long they have worked for the company by their service award pin if they choose to wear it.

20Disney name tags also allow CMs the chance to show off any special awards they have won.  One of the most prestigious awards for a Cast Member to receive is the Legacy Award. Prior to 2011, each Disney location had a special way of honoring Cast Members. At Walt Disney World Cast Members received the “Partners in Excellence” award which could only be awarded once and winners received a Partners Stature pin to wear on the Cast Members name tag. In Disneyland CM’s received the “Spirit of Disneyland” award, but this award could be given to the same CM more than once, so to signify the number of times a CM had received this honor the Castle pin they received would have some variations. In 2011 the awards were unified by the “Legacy Award”. To this day previous “Partners” and “Spirit” winners still wear their original Partners pin recognizing their original award.

DLpin Spirit of Disneyland Award Pin

Partners in Excellence Award Pin

Several years ago Drew and I met a WONDERFUL Legacy named Kevin at Momma Melrose’s in Hollywood Studios. Kevin was by far one of the best servers we had been assigned to that trip, if not the best server we have EVER had in all our trips to Disney parks. He was funny, personable and always one step ahead of us. Any time I said to myself, oh man I need a refill soon, before the thought was finished there was Kevin with a refill.  Because we were some of the last dinners that night,  Kevin ended up sitting and talking to us for a few moments after we ate. As we spoke I asked him if he could better explain the blue name tag he was wearing because at that point it was still a rather new program and I honestly think his was the first I had seen.
Kevin explained that the blue name tag symbolized he was a Legacy Award winner. Legacy Cast Members are nominated not by guests, but by their co-workers for the Legacy Award, making the award all the more special and unique because co-workers were recognizing each others hard work. Legacy nominees must meet certain job performance markers and they constantly meet company standards in categories nicknamed “dream, create, and inspire”, which are also known as Guest Satisfaction, Cast Excellence, and Business Results. Legacy Award winners blue name tags have “Dream, Create and Inspire” engraved under their name recognizing that they are “consistently inspiring others, going out of their way to create happiness for guests and team members, and finding new ways to deliver Disney magic.”

Legacy-2The Blue Legacy Award name tag is a universal symbol and Cast Member award in Disney Parks in California, Paris, Hong Kong and Japan, plus operations in Shanghai, the Disney Cruise Line, Aulani, Hilton Head, Vero Beach and Walt Disney Imagineering. Each of these locations nominations are reviewed by a local panel of executive, other CMs, and park leaders and the panel picks the winners. Legacy Award winners represent all divisions of the Disney Company, to include back stage CMs that guests may never come in direct contact with while visiting the parks. In 2013 Disneyland Public Affairs stated that “Nearly 600 cast members, crew members and Imagineers were honored worldwide.” Each winner is awarded their Legacy name tag in a individual surprise ceremony where they are presented with their blue Legacy name tag. After becoming a Legacy winners wear their blue name tags for the duration of their Disney employment.
Over the last few years I have had the honor and privilege of interacting with several Legacy Award winners.. Every time I walk away from one of these interactions I walk away knowing that that person received their award because of the  amazing customer service levels that I had the honor of witnessing. After I learned what a Legacy was, and what a tremendous honor the award is, I have even found myself looking for blue Legacy tags just to see how many I can see in one day.

By the way, if you happen to see Kevin at Momma Melrose’s (like Nationer Tracey Mills did in the photo above) tell him Autumn and Drew say hi!!

*Legacy Name tag image courtesy of Disneyland Public Affairs, Jane name tag from Disney Parks Blog, and Partners and Spirit pin images from Ebay.


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