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Essential Disney Phrases You Need to Know

If you have been planning a trip to Walt Disney World, you might feel like Disney has its own language. You aren’t wrong. There are a lot of words, phrases, and acronyms that go along with a Disney trip.

Before arriving at Walt Disney World, you must be aware of and familiar with these essential phrases. To ensure you understand what they are, we will walk you through them so you can speak the Disney language during your trip.

My Disney Experience App

My Disney Experience (MDE)

The most important phrase for a Walt Disney World trip is My Disney Experience or MDE. This is Disney’s official app, the Walt Disney World, and it is the key to all the magic.

Through this app, Guests can access wait times, Park hours, order food, open their Resort door, and more. Many of the other Disney phases we will discuss will be accessed through My Disney Experience.

After you have booked your trip to Walt Disney World, download My Disney Experience onto your phone. Please get familiar with all it has to offer. We have great posts on How to Disney that can help you navigate some essential features. Use those to become more comfortable with it before you arrive at Disney.

EPCOT Mornings
Credit: V Mills

Park Pass Reservations

After you have booked your Walt Disney Worl vacation package, the following phrase you might hear a lot if Park Pass Reservations. Following the shutdown in 2020, Guests are now asked to make Park Pass Reservations.

Guests with a valid Theme Park ticket must reserve one of the four main Disney Parks: Disney’s Animal Kingdom, Disney’s Hollywood Studios, Magic Kingdom, or EPCOT. This and a valid Theme Park ticket are needed to enter the Parks.

Guests must have a valid Theme Park Ticket (admission) and a Park Pass (reservations) to enter these four Disney Parks during their vacation. As there is a capacity limit, we highly recommend ensuring that Guests make these as soon as possible.

These are made through your My Disney Experience account via the website. Don’t wait to do this, as you could miss out on your top Park choice if you do.

jiko- DD
Credit: Disneydining

Quick Service and Table Service Dining

Dining is a big part of a Walt Disney World vacation experience. Disney has two major dining options for Guests during their vacation.

Quick service is one option that Guests can choose from when in Disney. At these locations, Guests don’t need to have reservations. Instead, they can order at a counter with a Cast Member or through My Disney Experience.

Table service locations are where Guests need dining reservations ahead of time. These locations offer a more extended experience where Guests have servers throughout their meal.

Both are great ways to experience delicious food, but Guests need to determine what type of dining they prefer during their Walt Disney World vacation. We typically recommend doing a combination as it is a great way to experience both during your trip.

Credit: DIsneydining

Advance Dining Reservations

For those wanting to experience a table service meal in Walt Disney World, you will want to make advance dining reservations at the 60-day mark. For many, making reservations two months before your vacation might seem extreme, but many of the most popular table service locations book up that early at Walt Disney World.

Guests can make reservations through the My Disney Experience app. These are important for table service meals at Walt Disney World.

Mobile Check-in

Once you can make your ADRs, you will use the mobile check-in feature in the My Disney Experience app to check into your reservations. This allows you to check in with the restaurant without waiting to see a Cast Member.

Once your table is ready, you will be notified by text to head to the front to get seated.   This is a fantastic way to check in quickly and be notified via text when a table is ready.

mobile order
Credit: Disney

Mobile Ordering

Another Disney phrase dealing with dining is mobile ordering. If you want to dine a Disney’s quick service locations, you will want to use mobile ordering to bypass long lines.

This feature allows Guests to choose their dining location, choose a time, and place an order all within the app. Guests then can click “prepare my order” once they are ready to eat and it is within their pick-up window.

This, again, is a way to lessen waiting in line to talk to a Cast Member. Be aware that limited time slots are available, so if your kids have to eat at noon, you might want to be on the app early in the morning to snag those dining times before they fill up.

disney genie
disney genie

Disney Genie, Genie+, Individual Lightning Lanes

These new vocab words, for many, constitute a significant part of a Disney trip. Disney Genie is the free planning service that Guests can use while in Disney. This service gives Guests tips and suggestions throughout their day in a Park. It will suggest rides, quick service locations, and even shows.

Genie+ is a paid feature found on My Disney Experience. This feature starts at $15 per day and gives Guests access to over 40 lightning lanes (entrances) throughout the four Disney Parks. This saves Guests time in line and gives them more time throughout the day to enjoy their vacation outside the lines.

In each of the four Disney Parks, some rides aren’t included with the purchase of Genie+. To use the Lightning Lane entrance for these rides and bypass the long standby line, Guests must purchase them individually or al-a-carte. These rides change but are typically the top rides at Disney.

For additional information on Gnie+ and how to use it in the Parks, check our posts and suggestions on How to Disney.

You will find that Walt Disney World has a language all its own. We hope that by breaking down some more widespread phrases, you will be more prepared for your trip to Disney.


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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