Menu

Just the Basics: A Cheat Sheet of Essential Disney Lingo

Are you making plans for an upcoming Disney vacation? Whether you’re heading to Walt Disney World Resort during the 50th Anniversary Celebrations or sometime later on (or even considering a future trip to Disneyland or aboard a Disney Cruise), there are certain terms and phrases you may want to familiarize yourself with beforehand. Some of the vocabulary exclusive to Disney may even seem like a foreign language to newbies, but thankfully, Disney“isms” are relatively easy to pick up. Therefore, we’re scrounging together this helpful cheat sheet of essential Disney lingo for you to have on hand, for wherever your Disney pursuits take you.

Related: Disney World Vocabulary 101 – Terms You Should Know Before You Go


Commonly Used Acronyms

The day-to-day use of acronyms in our daily life is more common now than ever before. So it goes without saying that the same is true at Walt Disney World Resort and other Disney designations. But if you’re wondering how to keep all those abbreviations straight in your mind, let alone questioning what they even refer to in general, here’s your ultimate list of examples: 

Locations:

  • WDW-Walt Disney World Resort
  • DL-Disney Land Park
  • DCA-Disney California Adventure Park
  • DCL-Disney Cruise Line
  • DS-Disney Springs
  • WWS-Wonderful World of Sports
  • MK-Magic Kingdom Park
Credit: Disney
  • EP-EPCOT Park
  • HS/DHS-Hollywood Studios
  • AK-Animal Kingdom Park
  • IG-International Gateway
  • FW-Future World
  • LBV-Lake Buena Vista
  • BB-Blizzard Beach
  • TL-Typhon Lagoon
  • BW-BoardWalk
  • TTC- Transportation and Ticket Center

Dining:

  • ADR-Advanced Dining Reservation
  • DDP-Disney Dining Plan
  • TiW-Tables in Wonderland
  • TS-Table Service
  • QS-Quick Service
  • AP-Artist’s Point Restaurant
  • BOG-Be Our Guest Restaurant
  • CG-California Grill
  • CP-Crystal Palace Restaurant
  • V&A-Victoria & Albert’s Restaurant

Events:

  • MNSSHP-Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party
  • MVMCP-Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party
  • SWW-Star Wars Weekends
  • F&G-EPCOT International Flower & Garden Festival
  • F&W-EPCOT International Food & Wine Festival
  • FoA-EPCOT International Festival of the Arts

Other Disney Specs:

  • HM-Hidden Mickey
  • GR-Guest Relations
  • WDTC-Walt Disney Travel Company
  • DVC-Disney Vacation Club
  • DME/ME-Disney’s Magical Express/Magical Express
  • AH/DAH-After Hours/Disney After Hours
  • EMH-Extra Magic Hours
  • EMM-Early Morning Magic
  • M&G-Meet & Greet
Elsa
  • MB-MagicBands
  • MDE/MDX-My Disney Experience
  • DD-Disney Dollars
  • MM-Memory Maker
  • AP-Annual Pass
  • PAP- Premium Annual Pass
  • SAP-Silver Annual Pass
  • SP-Seasonal Pass
  • PH/PHP-Park Hopper/Park Hopper Plus
  • TDS-The Disney Store

Discontinued:

  • FP/FP+-FastPass/FastPass+
  • DMGM-Disney’s MGM Studios
  • RC-River Country

Related: How To Speak Disney in 10 Easy Steps


You’re bound to come across plenty of other acronyms in use, but we feel we’ve covered all the necessary ones here. All the same, there’s no doubt that you’re still in need of more comprehensive explanations regarding some of the aforementioned acronyms as well as others. So here we present you with more thoroughly defined explanations.

Frequently Used Terms

  • Cast Members-In short, Disney uses this term to refer to any of its company employees. From character actors to custodians, hotel staff to customer service, each and every person who works for the Walt Disney Company is considered a Cast Member.
Cast Member Costumes
Credit: Disney
  • Guests-Whether you’re a vacationer to a Disney Park or other designation or a local day tripper, if you are a visitor to Disney, you are officially referred to as a “Guest” for however long you are on the premises.
  • Imagineer-When you hear references to “Imagineers,” just think of engineers with imagination. Disney’s Imagineers are the mastermind designers and visionary creators behind every elemental aspect that you see in the parks. Their handy work includes everything, from scenery and overall presentation to the intricate inner workings of your favorite attractions. They play a pretty important role, to say the least.
  • Hidden Mickey-These are cleverly disguised references to Mickey Mouse, noted by their distinct three-circle shapes, symbolic of the classic Mickey Mouse ears and head logo. They may be incorporated into anything, from architecture to design patterns, décor, or even within the meticulous placements of certain objects.
Hidden Mickey
Small File
  • Attraction-An attraction refers to any ride or show for Guests to experience within Disney Parks.
  • Extra Magic Hours-These are special extended hours of operation for those park visitors who are also staying on-premises at a Disney Resort.
  • MagicBand- Wearable wristbands that fulfill a broader purpose for being your general access source to everything during your Walt Disney World vacation. From serving as your room key to storing all of your reservation information for dining, rides, and more, you just scan your MagicBand at the available access point for whatever it is you are pursuing at the time.
Magic Bands
  • My Disney Experience App-An online portal and planning tool, which can be downloaded as an app for smart devices, in which you arrange and organize all the details of your trip, including any and all reservations for visiting the different parks, dining, participation in various attractions and extras, accommodations, and all else.
  • Annual Passes-A good-for-a-year admission pass with no block-out dates, offered at various Disney Parks across the globe. There are different levels with varying incentives included depending on the price that you pay.
  • Park Hopper/Park Hopper Plus-The Park Hopper option is an extra package available to Guests at an additional cost, which enables them to visit more than one Disney Park in a day without paying a separate entry fee each time. Park Hopper Plus covers waterparks in addition to Disney’s regular theme parks.

Related: 5 Reasons You Should Add a Park Hopper to Your Ticket

  • Memory Maker-While all Disney Guests may get photos taken by onsite Cast Members, which they can view via the My Disney Experience app and choose to purchase if they want, Memory Maker is an extra option available to purchase that enables you to access and download unlimited photos from your vacation.
  • Disney Dining Plan-An available extra to Guests to prepay for a certain number of meals and experiences in advance, including snack credits. Various forms of the plan exist and not all venues accept them.
  • Table Service-These are full-service restaurants in which you are seated and waited on directly by staff.
  • Quick Service-Usually counter-service or kiosk-oriented, restaurants designated as quick service do not offer full service accommodations the way that table service restaurants do. For these types of establishments, you place your order at the counter, and then either take your goods with you or find whatever seating may be available onsite of your own accord without any assignments.
  • Character Dining-Some restaurant venues offer character dining, which basically means that there are costumed Disney Characters onsite in the establishment who are available for meet and greets with dining Guests or otherwise viewable via an alternate format.
  • Disney Vacation Club (Members)-These are Guests who belong to Disney’s own timeshare program known as the Disney Vacation Club, which sometimes allots special perks, privileges, and even exclusive accommodation areas at some of Disney’s Deluxe Resorts. Disney Vacation Club benefits are applicable to many other Disney venues and extended ventures around the world as well.

Related: Disney Vacation Club Resorts and What You’ll Love About Them

  • Rope Drop-This is the official opening time for a park (or land within a park) and literally does entail dropping a rope (used to rope off the area until it formally opens to the public).
  • Backstage/On Stage: While “backstage” refers to private, behind-the-scenes areas accessible only to Cast Members, any place considered “on stage” is public access to all Disney Guests.
  • 101 Status-If you come across an attraction with a 101 status, this simply means that it is currently not up and running and may resume shortly.
  • Single Rider Lines- It’s no secret that many of the lines for some of Disney’s most popular attractions have the capacity to be pretty long. But with this option you get to ride on your own (or be paired with a random person or unfamiliar party) to enjoy an attraction with reduced waiting.
  • Swaps-These may assume various different terms, including “Rider Swap,” “Child Swap,” “Baby Swap, “Baby Switch,” “Stroller Pass,” or another alternative, but they all mean the same thing. They are an available riding alternative for those parties that may have a mix of members who are not all able to participate in a given attraction at a given time. The Swaps allow those members who do wish to go one round to do so with some of its members and then allow first dibs to the ones who previously sat the first one out.
  • Fuzzies and Face Characters-Disney characters come in all different designations, including full-fledged costumed characters, like Mickey and Pals, who are known as “Fuzzies.” Then there are Face Characters, who are actors in a dressed up role, but appear as human beings. These include Disney Princesses, Mary Poppins, Alice in Wonderland, etc.
Credit: Disney
  • Dark Rides-In short, anything designated as a “Dark Ride” just means that it is an indoor attraction that uses black lights.
  • Good Neighbor Hotels-While staying onsite at a Disney Resort Hotel is the way to go, Disney does have friendships with some nearby neighboring accommodations. And those that are not on Disney property but get the Disney seal of approval nevertheless are known as Good Neighbor Hotels.

Related: Walt Disney World Good Neighbor Hotels We Love

  • 4-D-While many are familiar with the term “3-D,” any shows happening at Disney Parks that are referred to as being “4-D” are those 3-D shows that add an additional dimension to the overall experience, usually in the form of smell, touch or some other tactile format.
  • Monorail-Here is a classic at Disney Parks, which can be considered both an attraction as well as a mode of transportation. Simply put, the Disney Monorail is a transportation system set upon elevated tracks (three separate tracks in Disney World), which take Guests on a loop to Magic Kingdom Park and its surrounding area resorts, the Transportation and Ticket Center, and EPCOT Park.  To learn more about it, click here.

Related: Fun Facts About Disney World’s Monorail System

  • Skyliner-Disney’s newest introduced mode for transportation, this wired sky-high ride-along system navigates Guests from specific, designated resorts to nearby parks like Hollywood Studios and EPCOT.

Related: Exciting Facts About Walt Disney World’s Skyliner Gondola System

  • Genie/Genie+-This is a newly introduced, complimentary planning service tool for Guests looking to visit Disney Parks to begin utilizing. You can use it to plan your itinerary, make reservations, and even prepay for ride options in advance. Learn more about it by clicking here.

Former Definitions

  • E- Tickets-While not a term you’re likely to hear on your Disney vacation, in the off chance that you come across an old-timer that refers to something as being an “E-Ticket” attraction, we feel this garners an explanation. When Disneyland first opened back in 1955, visitors used to purchase an admission book at the gates and then a separate admission once inside to ride various attractions. Then “Value Books” started being offered, with different attraction levels being assigned letters. Attractions known as “A” were often the least thrilling, least popular ones, whereas “E” ticket attractions became known as the most popular ones—the highest honor for any attraction. So in short, if you hear someone refer to something as an “E-Ticket attraction,” you know it’s good.
  • FastPass/FastPass+-This rider reservation system, recently replaced with the new Genie/Genie+, is exactly that—a rider reservation system in which Guests could prearrange certain rides that they hoped to secure well in advance of their Disney vacation.

Related: So What is FastPass?

  • Magical Express-Soon to be discontinued, This coach service by Mears has been delivering Guests arriving at the Orlando International Airport to their Disney Resorts (or Cruise Line terminals) for several years now.
Magical Express
  • Disney Dollars-Created in 1987 and first used in Disneyland before coming to Walt Disney World in the 1990s, these redeemable, good-as-cash paper money options featured Classic Disney Characters and could be used throughout various Disney designations (including Disney Stores) as an alternative to U.S. currency. While production for Disney Dollars ceased in 2016, the Walt Disney Company still accepts them.

We could go on and on with Disney-exclusive terms and lingo worth listing, but these should cover the basics and get you started on your next trip just fine. And as is always the case with Disney, newly emerging developments are always underway, creating a forever-growing compilation of new Disney definitions to be added to the mix. Fortunately, learning the language of Disney is easy to do. Fluency begins by becoming a Disney fan!

About Laura