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Ellen and I were on the monorail headed toward the Magic Kingdom® Park not too long ago when I overheard a conversation between family members. I said nothing (because I did not want to inject myself into their conversation) as one member of the party explained his understanding of the park hopper. He had no idea what Magic Your Way Ticket with Park Hopper® Option is or what it does.

The conversation caused me to realize just how many people come to visit Walt Disney World® Resort here in Florida and, through no fault of their own, are very much ignorant of how the system actually works. Much of that ignorance boils down to a simple lack of knowledge regarding terminology.

In light of that, a post explaining some of the most confusing terms seems to be in order. If you’re planning a trip toWalt Disney World® Resort in the near future, you need to know and understand the following 10 terms:

1.Magic Kingdom® Park

The Magic Kingdom® Park is one of four different theme parks in Walt Disney World® Resort located in Florida. It was the first of the four opened, and undoubtedly the most popular among them. It is the home of Cinderella Castle, Space Mountain®, and classic attractions like the Jungle Cruise® and the Pirates of the Caribbean® Attraction.

It’s surprising how many people mistakenly believe that Magic Kingdom® Park encapsulates ALL of Walt Disney World® Resort. Some people even mistakenly believe that the Magic Kingdom® Park and Universal Studios are one in the same. By the way, the other three parks are as follows: Epcot (EP), Hollywood Studios (HS), and Animal Kingdom (AK).

2. Ticket and Transportation Center

The TTC is the gateway to the Magic Kingdom. It is completely separate from Magic Kingdom® Park, with the two being divided by Bay Lake and the Seven Seas Lagoon. The TTC is where parking lot trams pick-up and drop-off as well as the place to catch the monorail or ferry over to the Magic Kingdom® Park.

3. Park Hopper

The Park Hopper is an extra option that can be added on to daily theme park tickets. The park hopper option allows ticket holders to visit multiple parks on a single day. You could, in theory, visit all four parks using a park hopper. If your ticket also had an additional option attached to it, you could visit the two water parks as well.

4. Disney FastPass+ service

Disney’s FastPass+ system is a system whereby you can reserve the ‘right’ to skip the line for up to three attractions in a single park, on a given day.Disney’s FastPass+ is available at both Disneyland® Resort and Walt Disney World® Resort, though the systems work differently at the two properties. Guests staying on-site at Walt Disney World® Resort can book fast passes 60 days out; everyone else can book 30 days out.

5. My Disney Experience

Disney’s online portal for travelers is known as My Disney Experience. By signing up for a free My Disney Experience account, visitors have access to all sorts of tools and information. They can make dining reservations, book fast passes, check park hours, and so on. The portal can be accessed through its website or a smartphone app.

6. Disney’s Magical Express® Transportation

Walt Disney World® Resort provides free bus transportation to and from Orlando International Airport for all guests staying on property. The transportation system is known as Disney’s Magical Express® Transportation. It must be booked in advance; you can’t show up at the airport and get on the bus without a reservation.

7. Disney Dining Plan

Walt Disney World® Resort offers dining plans visitors can book along with their hotel stays and park tickets. From time to time dining plans are included for free, but Disney follows no particular schedule for such offers. There are three kinds of dining plans: Quick service, the Disney dining plan, and the deluxe dining plan. Ask your travel agent about the differences between the three.

8. Quick Service Restaurant

A quick service restaurant is Disney’s equivalent of fast food. Visitors order their food at a counter before finding a table where they can sit and enjoy their meals. Some Quick Service locations are completely indoors, others are outdoors, still, others combine both interior and exterior spaces.

9. Table Service Dining

Table service dining is offered at sit-down restaurants with professional servers. Some are casual while others are more formal. Most Table Service restaurants require advance reservations.

10. Signature Dining

Restaurants offering signature dining are very upscale and formal. All require advance reservations.

In Summary

There are plenty more terms that would be beneficial to know prior to a Walt Disney World® Resort visit. Perhaps those terms are fodder for a future blog post.

With 80,000 employees and enough real estate to make up a decent sized city, it shouldn’t be surprising that Disney has its own unique jargon. Your Dreamers to Travels agent knows the language and wants to make your trip as seamless and hassle-free as possible. If you ever have any questions – including questions about terminology you don’t understand – don’t be afraid to ask. We love to answer questions!

Matt and Ellen Gerwitz