Celebration Buttons – Giving (and Receiving) Honor
One of the most fun and special (and free) things you can do at Disneyland is to get a “Celebration Button.” City Hall and the Guest Information kiosk located near the Central Hub have buttons for many types of celebrations, including:
- Happy Birthday
- Newly Engaged
- Just Married
- Happy Anniversary
- First Visit
- and more, including the catch-all “I’m Celebrating”
As you can see in the (slightly blurry) photo, I recently got 3 buttons, as I was celebrating my 40th birthday, 13th wedding anniversary, and launch of my new book. (For the record, today, November 26, is my actual birthday–help me celebrate by buying my book!) The Cast Members are always happy to give them out, and often will personalize them with your name, age, etc. (depending on the button) if you want them to.
Getting the buttons is fun. Even more fun is walking around wearing them. Throughout the day, Cast Members will tell you “Happy birthday!” (for example). Some make a bigger deal out of it than others do, but I’d be surprised if you go more than 15 minutes without a comment from a Cast Member.
Beyond the “official” greetings, some fellow guests–like my wife–will also tell you “Happy birthday/Happy anniversary/Congratulations.” She takes great delight in doing so, and is always pleased when she gets a surprised but grateful response from the button-wearer.
Cast Members have their own way of celebrating something significant. Look closely at their name tags. If you see a pin on it, usually bronze, it tells you something about how long they’ve worked at Disneyland. Here’s what they mean:
- 1 year – Steamboat Willie
- 5 years – Donald or Pluto
- 10 years – Sleeping Beauty Castle
- 15 years – Sorcerer Mickey
- 20 years – “Classic” Mickey
- 25 years – Tinker Bell
- 30 years – Jiminy Cricket
- 35 years – Pinocchio
- 40 years – Mickey again (I think this one has a diamond in it, but I’m not sure)
- 45 years – Walt and Mickey
- 50 years – Steamboat Willie again, with a diamond
Another distinction you might see is a blue nametag instead of the typical white ones. This is part of the “Walt Disney Legacy Award” recognition. Recipients of this Award are selected by their leaders, direct reports and/or co-workers, and are those “who consistently dream, create, and inspire each day by supporting the business objectives and goals of Walt Disney Parks and Resorts.” To learn more about this honor, listen to my podcast interview with Dean Gaschler on Stories of the Magic (episodes 14 and 15).
These buttons, pins, and nametags allow guests and Cast Members alike to enter into celebration and honoring of each other.
Honoring each other is an important part of being a Christian. [Tweet that.] It teaches us humility because it takes our focus off of ourselves. It teaches us grace as we celebrate with those who we may not be terribly fond of. It teaches us gratitude as others celebrate with us and recognize our milestones and achievements. It teaches us humility again as we allow others to suffer with us and comfort us in our time of need. And it teaches us community because honoring comes from others, which means we have to be around them for it to happen.
And don’t for one second believe that you have nothing worthy of celebrating or honoring. That you’re not “worth it.” Paul says, “But God has put the body together, giving greater honor to the parts that lacked it, so that there should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other. If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it.”
We all should have equal concern for each other. We suffer together and we celebrate together. Every one of us. Disney doesn’t offer “I’m suffering” buttons (that might spoil the magic just a little bit), but as Christians we are called to both suffering and celebration with each other. [Tweet that.]
We don’t walk around in our daily lives wearing, or looking for, buttons that tell us who to honor, celebrate, or suffer with, though in some ways it might be easier if we did. Instead, we rely on spiritual discernment, authentic community, and risky transparency. As we do, we honor one another and rejoice together, and we suffer with one another. It’s not safe or easy, but just as the Celebration Buttons add to the Disneyland experience and make it richer than it would be without them, doing so binds us together and makes our Christian life so much richer and more abundant than it would be otherwise.
Question: What “button” would you be wearing today? Who in your community of friends, family, and fellow believers can celebrate with you or suffer with you as you do? In the comments below, leave a couple of words for the button and one or two names.