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All Aboard the Jargon Train: Defining Your Disney Language

The following conversation was overheard somewhere on Walt Disney World property*:

“When’s our ADR for dinner tonight at CRT?”

“I’ll have to check on the app.”

“While you’re on there, check the Times Guide for the second Wishes. We need plenty of time to monorail to the Poly and walk to the beach.”

“And because I want to Whip it up on the Lanai on the way.”

*(Not really. But it could have been. Except that part about “Whip it up”…I made that up.)

Get a group of DISnerds together in conversation and you might overhear a lively, coded conversation. To an outsider, much of this talk might sound like gibberish. But to an insider, it makes perfect sense. There’s no confusion about ADR (Advanced Dining Reservation) or CRT (Cinderella’s Royal Table restaurant). Insiders know that the app is the My Disney Experience (or MDE) app. They know that the Poly is Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort, where there’s a good spot on the beach to watch the Magic Kingdom’s Wishes fireworks across the Seven Seas Lagoon, and that you can buy Dole Whips at the Pineapple Lanai counter service.

Insiders use all kinds of quick tricks to shorthand their conversations about Disney. In doing so, they not only directly convey basic information via the text, but they also convey a lot of information via the subtext. In other words, our use of jargon can convey a lot more than just the things we say.

First, using jargon indicates that we’re members of a select group, like a secret handshake or a lapel pin. We know the secret language and how to use it. In rhetoric, this is known as ethos, which is when what the speaker says or what the writer writes makes her/him appear to possess certain knowledge. Conversely, using jargon also indicates who is not a member of the select group; those who don’t understand aren’t part of the group. Therefore, using jargon is both an inclusive and exclusive process.

Second, using jargon shows intelligence and depth of knowledge. It just makes you sound smart (unless you use it incorrectly…then you lose all credibility). In rhetoric, this is called logos, when what you say or write just makes sense.

Third, using jargon is just plain fun. Conversations are just more fun when you can use jargon to jazz them up. Think back to the conversation at the beginning of this blog. How much more boring is it to say “When’s dinner at Cinderella’s Royal Table?”

All Aboard the Jargon Train: Defining Your Disney Language

I’ve identified 7 types of jargon that my friends and I usually use when at a Disney park. There could be more.

Acronyms: These are words made from the first letters in a series of words. Examples include SCUBA (self-contained underwater breathing apparatus) and EPCOT (experimental prototype community of tomorrow).

All Aboard the Jargon Train: Defining Your Disney Language

Initialisms: These are non-words made from the first letters in a series of words. Examples include ADRs (advanced dining reservations) and AKL (Animal Kingdom Lodge).

All Aboard the Jargon Train: Defining Your Disney Language

Synedoche (pronounced si-nek-duh-kee): This is a figure of speech where a part of something is used to represent the whole idea. If you say “I saw it on The DIS”,  you could mean www.wdwinfo.com, www.disboards.com, The DIS youtube channel, the DIS Unplugged youtube channel, disboards on facebook page, The DIS on facebook page, or the DisUnplugged Fan Group page.

All Aboard the Jargon Train: Defining Your Disney Language

Metonymy: This is a figure of speech that replaces the name of a thing with the name of something else to which it has a relationship.

All Aboard the Jargon Train: Defining Your Disney Language

Abbreviations: In my example above, I used Poly, an abbreviation for Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort.

All Aboard the Jargon Train: Defining Your Disney LanguageJargon: Sometimes groups create words and phrases that are only understood by the group. Insiders know that “child swap” doesn’t refer to a place where parents gather to trade-in their children. And long-time listeners of the DISUnplugged podcast know about “cart cam”.

All Aboard the Jargon Train: Defining Your Disney Language

Catchphrases: Phrases that takes on special meaning to an insider group after repeated use. Think of “stay out of the damn lakes” (which means to stay out of the lakes, but also indicates to people that you listen to the DISUnplugged podcast) and #thankshanghai.

All Aboard the Jargon Train: Defining Your Disney Language

These are just the few examples that immediately came to mind. What fun and creative shortcuts do you use when you’re talking about Disney with your family or Dis-friends?

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