Planning for a trip to one of the Disney Parks is daunting, no matter how many friends give you the best advice. Even with our handy guide to help you, you’ll still do well to start by learning the lingo of the mouse! Find out just what all the Disneyese means and decode the thousands of threads, books, blogs and all the buzz surrounding “The Happiest Place on Earth!”
Disney Dialect, Decoded
It’s supercalifragilisticexpialidocious! Even though the sound of it is something quite atrocious, that little lyric going to be in your head for the rest of the day. The same is true for many Disney-isms. As an innocent bystander to a Disney fanatic conversation, it might sound like complete nonsense.
If you have ever wondered what people were referring to when they use gibberish and jargon and endless acronyms when they speak of their Disney vacation, you are not alone. I remember sitting at a moms group drinking coffee, listening to my friend Katie mumble on and on about “value” and “deluxe” and “cast members” and “character meals.” While some of it was self-explanatory, other parts were truly mind-boggling.
In all honesty, I believe one could become a scholar of Disney — there must be a Ph.D. to be had for the number of hours you’ll spend researching your first (and second and third) trip to Walt Disney World! And then there are the other Disney Parks. Disneyland will require some electives and night school and will not be covered in this crash course. Read on for a list of some of the most common Disney jargon you’ll hear and consider this only a primer to your Disney Parks education (which has a bit of a learning curve to it)!
Employees of Disneyland and Walt Disney World (international Disney Parks locations are rumored to use similar terminology, though I cannot speak to that!) Disney Store employees may also be referred to as such.
Counter/Quick Service Meal
Any restaurant at Disney with an ordering counter (think fast food-style ordering). Part of Disney dining plans.
Extra Magic Hours
A perk for those that are staying “on-property” (see below), Extra Magic Hours allow Disney resort guests to enjoy special hours before the park opens and after the park closes to the general public.
A new(ish) system at WDW that allows you to book a timeframe to come back to a popular ride and enjoy it without suffering the lines (similar to the “old” FastPass system). The FastPass+ system could have its own post or even a few chapters in a Disney guidebook. What you need to know is this: they are ready to reserve before your trip using My Disney Experience. Make sure to get on the site and make your reservations so you don’t turn into a pumpkin (while waiting).
This colorful bracelet is your key to the kingdom. Really. It’s everything from your on-property room key to your connection to your Fast Passes and even your charge account. Customize them ahead of time and have them sent right to you!
Disney Magical Express
The complimentary bus that sweeps you off your feet (and handles your luggage) from the airport to your Walt Disney World Resort guest room. Make sure to make reservations for your return trip–you don’t want to make this (or any) costly mistake!
Mom is always the one stuck behind the camera. Not anymore! Utilize Disney’s professional photographers with this package and be in all the family photos. These folks are staged near all the most memorable places and can often be found at character encounters as well.
Tip: Book in advance to save money. It can be purchased as an add-on at any time.
Referring to lodging options at 25 different resorts/hotels within the 42 square-mile Walt Disney World property boundary, all accessible through one main Disney website /reservation line.
A special ticket upgrade that allows you to move from one park to another throughout the day; a great option for families with older children! Traveling Mom recommends Undercover Tourist for discounted Park Hopper tickets.
The official opening of any of the Disney Parks.
Table Service Restaurants
Just as the name states, this dining plan option is a sit-down meal. This includes character meals.
There are people that devote what we assume must be a LOT of time to deciphering the best way to navigate the parks based on attraction/ride interests, age, length of stay — all of these variables analyzed into what are called touring plans.
This is the name for the truly magical nightly display that Disney provides for captivating onlookers, big and small, young and old, and keeps the magic alight, even when the sun goes down.
Answers to Acronyms
Pretty much every resort is turned into an acronym. Here are some common ones:
ADR – Advanced Dining Reservations
AS – All Star Sports
AM – Can refer to All Star Music OR All Star Movies
AK/MK – Animal / Magic Kingdom, respectively
CM – Cast Member OR Character Meal
EC – Surprisingly, this is generally used for Epcot
CRT – Cinderella’s Royal Table (dining)
MVMCP – Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party
Keep in mind, these are just a few examples. Everything has an abbreviation. Most are just the first letters of major words, but some take a little thinking to use or read in context and have it all make sense in the end. Doing your homework and research will likely lead to a better, more successful trip for your family. Understanding the advice and online forums that you come across will only help you in your quest for creating the perfect trip to WDW!