When planning a Walt Disney World Resort vacation, guests encounter pieces of language unique to the most magical place on earth. To help you understand what Cast Members, other guests, and even your Travel Advisors are talking about we’ve compiled a list here for you. Please enjoy our list of Disney vocabulary terms and their meanings to study before your next trip. Also, check back because this list will continue to grow and evolve, just like the parks!
Disney Vocab In Alphabetical Order:
Advanced Dining Reservation (ADRs)
ADR’s secure your party a table at some of Disney’s most popular restaurants. Guests can make ADRs at the 180-day mark of their check-in date, starting at 6 AM EST online and 7 AM over the phone and can book them for up to 10 days past their check-in date. Here is our guide to the planning timeline in case you missed it.
Cast Member (CM)
Cast Members are the employees at Disney. Walt Disney believed the guest’s experience when visiting his theme parks is akin to being at a movie, so rather than calling his employees just that, the term “Cast Member” underscores to all that they are part of the production that is put on each day for the guests visiting the parks and resorts.
Table Service experiences that include an appearance by Disney Characters are considered Character Dining. Here is our dining guide, as well as where to find the Disney Princesses for character dining experiences.
Counter Service / Quick Service (CS / QS)
Counter Service or Quick Service is also referred to as Fast Casual. These terms refer to the snack stands and restaurants where guests walk to a counter, order their meal, and take the food to a table.
Disney Dining Plan (DDP)
Disney Dining Plans are available exclusively to guests of Disney Resort hotels, it is an optional pre-paid meal plan. Guests have the choice of 4 different plans with varying entitlements to a certain number of table service, counter/quick service, and snacks per day.
Disney’s Magical Express (Magic Express or ME)
Magical Express is the airport shuttle service operated by Walt Disney World to transport guests and their luggage from Orlando International Airport (MCO only) to all Disney World resort hotels and back again.
Disney Vacation Club (DVC)
It is probably easiest to think of the Disney Vacation Club as the Disney version of a timeshare. It is the lease of a deeded property that translates into a points booking system. You then use those points to book nights at multiple resorts throughout Walt Disney World, Disneyland Resort in Anaheim, Aulani, Disney’s Beach Resorts (Hilton Head and Vero Beach), as well as Disney Cruises.
Extra Magic Hours (EMH)
Each day, guests staying at select Walt Disney World Resort hotels can enjoy select attractions in at least one of the 4 theme parks, before or after regular operating hours. Extra Magic Hours are one of the perks of being “on property” at WDW.
FastPass+ (FP+ or FP)
FastPass+ is a complimentary benefit extended to anyone with valid admission. Each Walt Disney World ticket holder receives three advanced FastPass+ selections for a single park (per day). We have a whole guide on this!
A hard ticket refers to specific events at Walt Disney World that require a separate, from park admission, ticket. You’ll often hear something called a Hard Ticket Event, e.g. Mickey’s Not-So-Scary-Halloween Party (MNSSHP), Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party (MVMCP), and Night of Joy.
Disney Magic Bands are secure all-in-one devices that allow you to effortlessly access the plans and vacation choices that you’ve made with MDE. They are colorful, customizable, and waterproof wristbands that you can quickly and easily touch to a sensor called a touchpoint.
Memory Maker is package guests can purchase so to download, edit, and print all of the photographs taken by PhotoPass photographers and attractions throughout Walt Disney World. Memory Maker is currently included with annual passes. A discount is offered is purchased before arrival although not required. See PhotoPass.
Disney’s monorail is a single elevated-beam train providing service on three different tracks. There are two loops in the Magic Kingdom area, circling the Seven Seas Lagoon. One is an “express” track from the TTC to MK and the other loop is the Resort Loop. The third provides service to the Future World entrance at Epcot.
Minnie Van’s specific service offered in partnership with Lyft in which the drivers are Disney cast members. Recently, this service has been expanded to include more resorts and the Orlando International Airport.
My Disney Experience (MDE)
The My Disney Experience website and the app will play major roles in your trip. You’ll use the website and app to form your travel party and make your ADR and FP+ reservations. During your trip, you’ll be able to track your itineraries and access your Disney PhotoPass pictures. It also serves as a resource in the parks giving you a map (including indicating where you are), current wait times, menus, and the ability to preorder food at some restaurants!
On Stage/Off Stage/Backstage
Following Walt Disney’s belief that a visit to his theme park is part of a production, these terms refer to where Cast Members are. On Stage refers to when Cast Members are in view of guests or in a situation where they may interact with guests. Off Stage or Back Stage stage refers to behind the scenes areas where guests are not permitted.
Park Hopper (or Hopper as it is commonly shortened to) is an optional admission add-on that allows guests to visit multiple theme parks in a single day.
Park Hopper Plus
The Park Hopper Plus provides the same benefit of the Park Hopper add-on, plus the addition of access to the water parks, a round of miniature golf, and a round of golf.
Park Hopping is the act of visiting multiple parks in a single day. Having an annual pass or Park Hopper add-on is required for this. If you need more information, here are some Park Hopping Tips.
PhotoPass is a service that Disney offers with Cast Members taking your photos throughout the parks, most character interactions/meals, and on some attractions. The service is free and you may view the photos on the MDE app or at PhotoPass shops throughout the property. Things can get a little confused because there are other PhotoPass-branded products around the parks. Specifically, you may see ads for single-photo downloads, coffee cups and other merchandise with photos on them, albums, etc. available for purchase. Lucky for you, Heyday Travel Company has you covered! We have a PhotoPass and Memory Maker guide. The important thing to keep in mind is that PhotoPass is the service and Memory Maker is the product/photos.
It is as straightforward as it sounds, you trade Disney Pins with the Disney Cast Members and for many to a lesser extent with other guests. You can learn more about Pin Trading here.
The resort loop is the Monorail track that services the Magic Kingdom area resorts: starting at the TTC, to the Polynesian, Grand Floridian, Magic Kingdom, Contemporary, and then returning to the TTC, in that order.
Signature Dining is a dining experience that uses (2) Table Service dining credit per meal rather than the typical (1) credit.
The Skyliner is the newest mode of transportation offered on-site, a gondola system. The main station is located at Caribbean Beach with 3 different legs running to; the International Gateway entrance of Epcot by way of Riviera Resort, Hollywood Studios, and the Hourglass Lake station providing access to the Art of Animation and Pop Century resorts.
Table Service (TS)
Table Service refers to restaurants where guests will be seated and Cast Members will take their order and serve them tableside, also includes buffet and family-style experiences. These are also typically the restaurants that you’ll want to make ADRs for as demand can be high.
Tables in Wonderland
Tables in Wonderland is a dining discount membership available to Florida Residents, Annual Passholders, and Disney Vacation Club members that allow them to receive a 20% discount at select restaurants on food and drink.
Ticket & Transportation Center (TTC)
The ticket and transportation center is a major transportation hub at Walt Disney World, serving as a transfer point between boats, buses, monorails, and parking for Guests near the Magic Kingdom.
Other Common Disney Abbreviations:
AK – Animal Kingdom
AKL – Animal Kingdom Lodge
BOG – Be Our Guest
BBB – Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique
EP – Epcot
FOP – Flight of Passage
HS – Hollywood Studios
MK – Magic Kingdom
RoTR – Rise of The Resistance
Like I mentioned earlier, it’s best to keep checking back here for updates! Disney parks and resorts are always evolving, meaning the vocabulary is likely to expand as well. Heyday Travel Company strives to stay up to date and be your go-to Disney vacation one-stop resource, we even provide real-time weather and any refurbishments (construction or renovations) going on!
Feeling Overwhelmed? Let Us Help YOU!
Heyday Travel Company can plan a Disney vacation that’s perfect for you. We are a free Disney travel planner with expert knowledge of the entire Disney catalog and Universal Parks destinations. No matter where you want to go, our experienced team is excited to help you make it happen. We provide our service at no charge, so you’ll only have to pay for the vacation itself. If you want help planning a Disney trip that’ll make your dreams come true while also fitting your budget, let’s talk!