How to speak both Disney and Universal like a pro

December 6, 2017, 6:24 PM · Millions of theme park fans visit both the Walt Disney World and Universal Orlando resorts every year. So it's understandable when some of us get confused and forget which resort we're in at a given moment.

While the fun might just blend together for many fans, insiders know the many differences between the two resorts... including the vocabulary that each company uses. Here are a few of the different ways that Disney and Universal describe pretty much the same thing.

At Disney: Cast Members
At Universal: Team Members

Is working at a theme park a show or a game? Take your pick, but neither of these corporate monikers is as clever as Legoland's "Model Citizen."

Ticket option that lets you visit more than one theme park per day
At Disney: Park Hopper
At Universal: Park-to-Park

You have to buy the Park-to-Park option if you want to ride the Hogwarts Express at Universal, which shuttles guests between the two parks. And you have to buy the Park Hopper if you want to get a full day of entertainment when you visit Disney's Hollywood Studios.

Front of line tickets
At Disney: Fastpass+
At Universal: Universal Express

Both systems allow you to bypass the regular, standby queue for a shorter alternative. To further confuse you, though, Universal Express comes in two forms: Universal Express, which gets you one use of the bypass queue for each attraction, and Universal Express Unlimited, which allows you into the bypass queues as much as you want. But you don't have to schedule specific returns times for either version of Universal Express like you do with Fastpass+.

Benefit that lets on-site hotel guests into the park early
At Disney: Extra Magic Hours
At Universal: Early Park Admission

Disney's Extra Magic Hours also includes extended hours after closing time for selected parks on selected days. Universal's EPA is basically just good for one or both of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter lands, depending upon the day's schedule.

Pre-paid dining program
At Disney: Disney Dining Plan
At Universal: Universal Dining Plan

Or just say "dining plan" and you're safe at both resorts. Not that this is easy... each resort's dining plan comes with more variations than we care to summarize here.

In-park photo packages
At Disney: Disney Photopass
At Universal: My Universal Photos

You'll need to know the specific name when you Google the website to download your photos after you forget the URL.

The shopping-and-dining district
At Disney: Disney Springs (formerly Downtown Disney)
At Universal: CityWalk

Disney makes things challenging by switching up the name of its shopping district every few years. Who remembers the Disney Village?

Your ride to and from the airport
At Disney: Disney's Magical Express
At Universal: Universal's SuperStar Shuttle

The difference is more than just a name here. Magical Express is included with your on-site Disney hotel reservation, while the SuperStar Shuttle is an upcharge ad-on.

Former cast/team members: What else you got here?

Replies (9)

December 6, 2017 at 6:39 PM · Disney - Guest Relations
Universal - Guest Services

Disney - Costuming
Universal - Wardrobe

Disney - Custodial
Universal - Park Services

Disney - OG
Universal - SOP

December 6, 2017 at 7:09 PM · I remember the Disney Village!!! Heck, I still call it that half the time :-)
December 6, 2017 at 7:43 PM · At Disney. Starbucks.
At Universal. Starbucks.
December 6, 2017 at 8:12 PM · Place where you can cool off on slides, lazy rivers and wave pools:

Disney: Water Park
Universal: Theme Park

December 7, 2017 at 9:44 AM · Disney: Mickey
Universal: Minions
December 7, 2017 at 10:17 AM · How about this? Disney's Hollywood Studios - MGM
December 7, 2017 at 10:22 AM · Disney: Thunder 50 Thunder bye
Universal: Future Lead Future Greeter



December 7, 2017 at 1:33 PM · Disney: Complimentary Parking with any annual pass
Universal: Either None, 50% or complimentary parking depending on what pass (Aka do your research)
December 8, 2017 at 3:45 AM · "Model Citizen" deserves an award. Genius!

This article has been archived and is no longer accepting comments.

Park tickets

Weekly newsletter

New attraction reviews

News archive