PlanningThe ParksTips

Disney’s Secret Language and What It All Means

It might seem like Walt Disney World has its own language as you begin planning your vacation.  The reason for this feeling is that Disney really does have its own language.  Walt Disney World has a lot of different abbreviations, words, and phrases that make up magic.

If you are overwhelmed with all the lingo, we are here to help you navigate Disney’s secret language so you know what it all means before you arrive at Walt Disney World. Take a look at the list below so you can become well versed in this whole new language.

Cast Member:  all of the people who are working for Disney.  This includes transportation, ride operations, food service, and everything in between.  They are the ones making the magic for us.

Guest: anyone that is visiting any part of the Walt Disney World Resort Property.  This includes all the Disney Resorts, Disney Parks, Disney water parks, Disney Springs, the golf courses, and everything else that is within the Disney “bubble”.

Dark Ride:  an indoor attractions

Value, Moderate, Deluxe Resorts:  These are three categories given to the Walt Disney World Resorts.  Each category provides a different price point as well as different amenities for Guests to enjoy.  You can learn more about the differences between these categories HERE.

Theme Park Ticket:  This is the actual ticket that Guests need to purchase in order to enter one of the four Disney Parks as well as the two water parks.

Theme Park Reservation:  When Walt Disney World reopened in 2020, Guests are required to start making Theme Park Reservations.  This is when Guests book one of the four Disney Parks (Magic Kingdom, Disney’s Hollywood Studios, EPCOT, or Disney’s Animal Kingdom) for each day of their theme Park ticket. This is required, along with the purchase of a theme Park ticket, for entrance into one of the four main Parks.

Park Hopper:  Guests are able to add a Park Hopper option to their Disney ticket.  By purchasing this feature, Guests are able to hop between Parks after 2 pm.

My Disney Experience App

My Disney Experience (MDE): This is Disney’s official app for Walt Disney World.  Guests will need to make an account in order to use the app.  It is an essential part of a Disney vacation as it is where Guests will be able to make dining reservations, mobile orders, see wait times and so much more.  Check out our many articles on using this app on How to Disney.

Table Service (TS): For Guests that are wanting to experience a sit-down meal, they will want to visit one of Disney’s many table service restaurants.  These are full-service dining experiences.

Quick Service (QS):  If Guests prefer to eat on the go, then they will be more interested in Disney’s quick service dining locations.  They are counter service options where Guests can order their food and pick it up at a window before finding their own tables.

Advance Dining Reservation (ADR):  When wanting to enjoy a table service meal, Guests will need to make an advance dining reservation or ADR.  Guests are able to book their reservations through the My Disney Experience app starting at 60-days prior to travel.

Mobile Ordering:  Within the My Disney Experience app, Guests are able to place a mobile order.  More of us are doing this at home and it works that same way.  Guests choose a dining location, and dining time, and place their order.  When it is time for their meal, they will hit the Prepare My Order option and Cast Members will do just that.  This is a great way to avoid long lines at dining locations throughout the Disney Parks at the Disney Resorts during peak times.  Make sure you place those orders early as they do fill up.

Disney Genie
Credit: Disney

Disney Genie:  Disney Genie is a free planning service that all Guests can use through My Disney Experience.  It will help Guests navigate the Parks throughout the day providing tips and suggestions based on preferences.

Genie+Genie+ is a paid feature within Disney Genie.  Starting at midnight, Guests are able to add Genie+ for $15/day/person.  With the purchase of this feature, Guests are able to use the Lightning Lanes for specific rides.  Genie+ is a complicated, but great feature if Guests want to add it.  Use our tips HERE to make sure you know how to use them during your vacation.

Lightning Lanes:  Lightning Lanes are the actual queues that Guests use when they have purchased either Genie+ or Individual Lightning Lanes.  These are shorter than the standby lines allowing Guests to experience more during their day.

Individual Lightning Lanes:  These are rides in each of the four Parks that aren’t part of Genie+.  In order to use the Lightning Lanes for these attractions, Guests need to purchase them al-a-carte.  Find out more on how this works HERE.

MagicBands or MagicBands+:  These are fun accessories that Guests can choose to purchase for their Disney vacation.  These allow them to enter the Park, open their Resort door, tap in for Genie+ selections, and so much more. Disney doesn’t require these, but they are fun and do make it easier than digging out a ticket each time.

The MagicBand+ just came out and Guests with this upgraded version can use their band to interact with the Fab 50 golden statues throughout the Parks as well as with numerous features in Star Wars: Galaxy Edge.

These are some of the key phrases and abbreviations that knowing about will help you navigate your Walt Disney World vacation even better.

Jennifer Retzlaff

Jennifer became a lifelong Disney fan during her first trip to Walt Disney World in 6th grade. From that moment, Disney became a big part of her life. She quickly started to introduce her love of Disney to her family with a Disney honeymoon and then family trips when her youngest was 18 months old. She loves the magic that Disney brings to people through theme parks, cruises, and adventures. As a teacher, she tries to bring Disney magic into her classroom to help kids believe that “If You Can Dream It, You Can Do It.” She is also part of the Magic Vacation Planner team as a personal travel advisor. With this team, she can now help others plan magical vacations. She loves bringing her love to Disney to readers with How to Disney.

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