Walt Disney World (FL)

Understanding Walt Disney World Lingo

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Did you dip your toe into a Facebook group for Disney World planning and feel like everyone is speaking a foreign language? Maybe it looked something like this?

“We’re really excited for our trip! We’re staying on-site, and doing a split stay at CBR and AKL. Big day on Friday, rope dropping DAK to do FoP, hoping we can get a Rise ILL for later when we hop over to DHS. My niece is a CM doing the CP, we’ll see her at Epcot since she’s working GotG…”

What the heck is that?

Simply stated, Disney fans have a dizzying array of acronyms and nicknames for pretty much every aspect of a Disney trip. Learning the jargon is probably the most unexpected task associated with planning a trip for newbies. We’re here to help you learn the lingo so you can get in on the fun!

BTW, after you’ve been around the Disney block a couple of times (or you finish reading this article), you’ll know that the above quote reads:

  • We’re staying on Disney property at Caribbean Beach Resort and Animal Kingdom Lodge on the same trip.
  • On Friday, we’ll be at Animal Kingdom 45 minutes before it opens so we can ride Avatar: Flight of Passage with a shorter wait.
  • We’re heading to Hollywood Studios later in the day, and we’re going to try to make an Individual Lightning Lane reservation to ride Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance without waiting in a long line.
  • My niece works for Disney as part of the College Program, and she’ll be at Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind at Epcot.


This is a big one that you’ll hear very frequently. CM stands for Cast Member, which itself probably requires explanation. You see, Disney does not have “employees,” it has Cast Members, which is a reference to the fact that they are “on stage” and “part of the show” when they are in guest areas. Some Cast Members are participants in Disney’s College Program, which is know as the CP.

Rope Drop

Back in the early days, Disney’s Cast Members would stand at the park entrances with a literal rope that blocked people from entering the park before it opened. At opening time, they would drop the rope, allowing guests to enter. Thus, “rope drop” has come to be synonymous with park opening.

This is not just a fun little bit of Disney trivia, it’s also a strategy. Being present at rope drop puts you in position to head to the headliners and do the most in-demand attractions before the masses arrive. I often tell people that if getting a lot done at Disney is important to you, being there at rope drop is the single best tip I can offer.

In closing on this point, “to rope drop” does not mean rolling up at the moment the park opens. If the park opens at 9, and you arrive at 8:59, you’re still going to be behind a sizable crowd of people. In some instances, Disney may even let you queue up before the official park opening, making getting there early all the more important. For best results, plan to arrive 30-45 minutes before opening and be ready to make a beeline for whatever you’re targeting as soon as Disney lets you.

crowd at hollywood studios for rope drop
The crowd before rope drop at Hollywood Studios

For more on rope drop and other touring strategies:


The Disney experience requires you to be a bit tech savvy these days. For better or for worse, these will be a critical part of your trip.

  • MDE/MDX: these terms both refer to the My Disney Experience app, which is the system (and app) you’ll use for ticketing, making ride reservations, mobile food orders, and all sorts of other things in the parks.
  • LL refers to Lightning Lane, which refers to a special queue used to experience an attraction with minimal waiting at a designated time. You’ll need a reservation to access the Lightning Lane.
  • G+ refers to Genie+, which is a paid service you’ll use primarily to make Lightning Lane reservations. It’s accessed using the My Disney Experience App (as are ILLs mentioned below).
  • ILL refers to Individual Lightning Lane. That is also a ride reservation, but it is NOT part of Genie+, it is something you pay for a la carte.

Additionally, you may see reference to VQ and/or BG, which mean Virtual Queue and Boarding Group, respectively. They refer to yet another way to experience high-demand attractions with a shorter wait, where you log into the MDE app at particular times of day and hope to get a number that will correspond with the order you’ll be allowed to ride (Group 1 gets called first, then Group 2, etc.). They are part of the same process — Boarding Group is the term for the number you get, and the process as a whole is referred to as a Virtual Queue because you’re in line, but you don’t have to physically stand in line.

To be frank, it’s all a bit confusing. For more on how to use the My Disney Experience App and the different ways to access attractions with less waiting, check out these articles:


There are a few important acronyms that you’ll encounter when getting food at Disney:

  • ADR stands for “Advanced Dining Reservation.” It’s what normal people would simply call a reservation, and we recommend them at most Table Service restaurants
  • CS/QS: CS and QS stand for Counter Service and Quick Service, and they are used interchangeably to refer to the same thing – “fast food” restaurants. You’ll order your food, pick it up yourself, and then eat it wherever you are able to find space (as opposed to someone waiting on you).
  • TS refers to Table Service restaurants, where a host seats you, and a server takes your order and brings your food.

There are literally hundreds of places to eat at Walt Disney World, and perhaps for that reason, the otherwise very popular use of acronyms is less common when it comes to dining destinations. With that said, a few of the more popular options do get the acronym treatment:

  • CRT stands for Cinderella’s Royal Table, the princess-themed character meal located in Cinderella’s Castle at the Magic Kingdom.
  • CM is Chef Mickey’s, the character meal featuring the Fab Five located at the Contemporary Resort.
  • BOG is Be Our Guest, the Beauty & the Beast-themed restaurant in the Magic Kingdom.

You may hear people talk about the DDP, which stands for Disney Dining Plan. The DDP essentially allowed guests to pay for their food up front (or have it rolled into a vacation package, in the case of “Free Dining,” which was a promotion Disney ran in the past). Neither the DDP nor Free Dining are currently being offered, but references to both are still common in Disney online communities.

For more on dining at Disney World:

Parks & Attractions

The lingo for the two oldest parks is easy enough — MK for Magic Kingdom, and EP for Epcot (though it’s often just spelled out, since it was originally an acronym itself). The other two parks are a little quirky:

  • DHS refers to Hollywood Studios.
  • DAK is the acronym for Animal Kingdom.

In both cases, the “D” stands for “Disney’s,” from the official names for the parks, even though they are rarely used when spoken. And occasionally they’re not used when written either: although DAK and DHS are both common, you do see people just use AK or HS.

In the park, you’ll need to be aware of PhotoPass (sometimes PP), which is Disney’s photo service. Photographers around the park will take photos of you, and those photos, and on-ride photos, will show up in your MDE app. You can purchase them a la carte, or get all of them by purchasing Memory Maker.

Attractions are commonly referred to by their initials. So, iasw would refer to it’s a small world, Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind is known as GotG, and Flight of Passage would be FoP. Yes, Monsters Inc. Laugh Floor and Alien Swirling Saucers follow this same pattern. Once you become familiar with the various attractions, it’s pretty easy to figure it out by working through the acronym. Some attractions may be referred to by a unique word or two (e.g., Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance is often shorted to “Rise”), but they are generally easy enough to decipher.

There are a couple of terms in the attraction space that require some explanation:

  • “E-Ticket Attractions” are the super headliner attractions at Disney, those that generate the most demand (and the longest waits, most of the time). It is a reference to the ticket books that you bought in the early days of Disney parks. During that era, you could buy a book of tickets that had A, B, C, D & E tickets. E-Tickets were the most expensive and valuable, and were used for the best attractions. Disney no longer uses tickets for attractions, but Disney fans still colloquially refer to attractions by their tier.
  • A “Dark Ride,” in Disney parlance, refers to an attraction where you board a ride vehicle that slowly takes you through various show scenes that tell a story. They may be cars, boats, or even giant sea shells. Haunted Mansion, Peter Pan’s Flight, and its a small world are all examples of class Disney Dark Rides.
  • “Park Hopping” is the act of starting in one park (where you have your reservation) and then jumping to another park. You have to wait until 2 pm before hopping to the second park as this goes to press, and it requires a special ticket add-on known as a Park Hopper.
  • Character meet and greets are divided into two categories —Face Characters and Fur Characters. A Face Character has a visible face, and is able to talk with guests, like Cinderella and Snow White. Fur Characters, in contrast, have costumes that obscure their faces, and they communicate through gestures and the like. Note that Fur Characters are not necessarily furry — Mickey Mouse is a great example.


First and foremost, you’re either staying off-site, or on-site. On-site refers to guests staying at Disney resorts, plus a few other resorts that are treated as Disney resorts for all intents and purposes. These include Shades of Green and the Swan and Dolphin resorts.  Off-site refers to anything else.

For those staying on-site, Disney Resorts are grouped into tiers at Disney — Deluxe, Moderate, and Value.

  • Deluxe resorts are the most expensive, have the highest level of theming, and more amenities than the other tiers.
  • Value resorts are the least expensive, with fewer amenities for less cost
  • Moderate resorts fall somewhere in the middle, balancing cost with amenities.

You may also hear reference to DVC, which stands for Disney Vacation Club. There are DVC rooms, called Villas, at most Deluxe resorts (in addition to some DVC-only resorts). The DVC Villas that are 1 BR or larger are more like condos, with separate living areas, kitchens, and laundry in the rooms.

There are special park hours for guests of Disney resorts:

  • All Disney resort guests can take advantage of ETPE, or Early Theme Park Entry, which allows entry 30 minutes before the general public.
  • EETPH stands for Extended Evening Theme Park Hours. It allows guests to enjoy Epcot and Magic Kingdom 2 hours longer on select nights. It is available to guests staying at Disney’s Deluxe and DVC Villa resorts, in addition to the Swan & Dolphin properties and Shades of Green.

As is the case with attractions, resorts are also commonly referred to by their initials. For example:

  • Port Orleans French Quarter is POFQ
  • CBR is Caribbean Beach Resort
  • AoA refers to Art of Animation
  • Animal Kingdom Lodge is known as AKL

Once you’re familiar with the various resorts, the acronyms should be pretty easy to decipher. A few resorts are more commonly referred to by nicknames:

  • The Swan and Dolphin (and now Swan Reserve) are often collectively referred to as the Swolphin
  • Disney’s Polynesian Resort is lovingly known as The Poly
  • You’ll see people refer to the Grand Floridian as the Grand Flo at least as often as its initials, GF.

In closing on resorts, a “split stay” is when someone stays at more than one resort on a single trip.

Disneyland & Other

While many of the terms referenced here work anywhere or are Walt Disney World-specific, there are a handful of acronyms that commonly pop up in Disney discussions that explicitly refer to other destinations:

  • DLR refers generally to Disneyland Resort in California
  • DCA refers to Disney’s California Adventure park
  • DLP refers to Disneyland Paris
  • DCL refers to Disney Cruise Line
  • MCO refers to Orlando International Airport, the most popular airport for those flying into Orlando.

Are you fluent in Disney lingo? Do you have a favorite that we missed? Let us know in the comments!

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Jamie Rosemergy

When not planning for or traveling to Walt Disney World with his beautiful wife and impossibly adorable child, James practices law in St. Louis. He also really likes cheese -- and loathes kale. He can be found on twitter at @jrtoastyman.

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