by Makena W.
Everybody on the WDW Radio Cruise was given a yellow lanyard by the wonderful Mei-Mouse Fan Travel agents in the D-Lounge when we boarded. It was our “Key to the Kingdom” and served as our “admission ticket” for many exclusive events like the Richard Sherman concert and the Farewell Party. Maybe most importantly, we were easily recognizable to each other. Everywhere we went, people would ask about the lanyards, making comments like “Oh there are a lot of you onboard, right?” or “What are those yellow lanyards for?” Here are just some of MY experiences and interactions regarding the lanyards (keep in mind there were about 500 of us onboard). Since I had my lanyard on the whole entire trip (except for formal night – it clashed too much!), there were times that people were asking me questions and I had to look to see what they were talking about!
Clayton was our cruise director. He is one of my favorite Cast Members that I have ever encountered. He was a lot of fun and interacted with everybody on board. The first night before the Golden Mickeys, he said “How is the WDW Radio Group doing tonight?” Or course, everybody involved cheered and clapped as loud as we could. Clayton seemed to be everywhere and would often walk up to my family and ask if we were enjoying the WDW Radio activities as well as the DCL activities. On the last night, he also mentioned us after the final show ended. “I hope you all in the WDW Radio Group enjoyed your cruise.” Once again, we screamed like maniacs.
I already talked about Club Pirate in my last blog, but it also applies here too! About halfway through the night, we got a shout out from the crew. It was a comment along the lines of “The WDW Radio group back there is tearing up the dance floor!” I don’t remember this one exactly; I was having too much fun but it was great hearing our group mentioned at the party!
On Castaway Cay, I had the pleasure of meeting Captain Jack Sparrow. It is every girl’s DREAM to meet him. Anyway, the first thing he noticed when we walked up was my lanyard. He picked it up from my around my neck and said “I have seen a lot of these. What are they for?” I was so taken of guard I stuttered when I said, “We are all Disney fans and part of the WDW Radio website and podcast. It’s like a huge family reunion.” He nodded and moved onto talking to my brother.
I made this its own category because elevators seemed to be the place where people asked the most about the lanyards. I had gotten a few “What are those lanyards for?”, “Where can I get one?” or “What is WDW Radio?” Some of the questions came from other guests and some from Cast Members (but that is a separate section on its own). It was even BETTER when (for example) everybody was heading to the same place at the same time. I distinctly remember walking into an elevator almost filled with people. Everybody except 2 or 3 people had the famous yellow lanyards. We were talking to each other because we were so excited to see Richard Sherman at the opening ceremony then all headed off in the same direction, even joining up with other yellow lanyards coming out of the next elevator! I could only imagine what the other people were thinking and how confused they were.
The Cast Members were the only people outside of the group that knew about the WDW Radio Group. What I noticed is that they were all aware that Richard Sherman was onboard, and they asked all about him when they talked to us. On one occasion, my mother and I were alone with two Cast Members in an elevator. As soon as the door closed, one of them said “Oh, you guys are a part of the huge group, right? How many people do you have on board?” After we responded with almost 500, the other one said, “Oh. You guys are the group with one of the Sherman Brothers.” We verified this right before the elevator door opened and we were on our way. On another occasion, my family was talking with Clayton when a member of his entertainment staff joined the conversation (obviously attracted by the yellow lanyards like Pooh to honey). She was so excited that she was one of the ushers assigned to the Walt Disney Theatre during the Richard Sherman concert and wanted to thank us for giving her that experience – evidently she was the envy of the rest of the staff! We told her that we were simply guests of the group and were as excited as she was to sit and listen to Mr. Sherman for a while. When she left, Clayton explained that only the staff assigned to the theatre was permitted to enter. As a result, it was the most popular position on the cruise that day!
At Animator’s palate, a 150 year old turtle gets to talk to a few very special guests at dinner. Between the appetizers and the main course, Crush actually ‘swam’ to a screen near us. Everybody in the WDW Radio Group sat in the same area and it was the first night, so it seemed like everybody had on their lanyards (maybe because we were just so excited to finally be onboard). Crush did not talk to me, but instead to a WDW Radio person nearby. I couldn’t hear clearly what was being said, but I heard bits and pieces. I remember him saying something about all of the “yellow dudes in the human tank”.
Before the Golden Mickeys, Rona Rivers (a fake reporter) goes outside the Walt Disney Theater and interviews people. It starts about 15 minutes before the award show begins and it makes the time fly by compared to waiting for the other shows. Rona was interviewing somebody with a yellow lanyard (I forget her name) and Rona asked what it meant. When she said it was for the WDW Radio Group, everybody inside cheered and made a lot of noise (we seemed to do that a lot).
After all the fun was over, I was sad to finally take off my yellow lanyard for the last time. I will miss getting away with wearing a lanyard all the time. “The Curse of the Yellow Lanyards” made me really feel like part of a group – a family. But the real question is: was it a curse, or a blessing?
Do you have some of your own wacky interactions with people over your yellow lanyard? Leave a comment below! I would love to hear you story.
This week’s “Where in the World?” is pretty easy, so don’t overthink it!