O-town – Orlando. This might have actually been a cool thing to say at one point. Nobody is really sure though, so we only say it in a sarcastic tone to be safe.
The O-Rena – Nickname for the place that used to be called “the Orlando Arena”. It was renamed “T.D. Waterhouse Centre”, then renamed “Arena in Orlando”, then renamed “Amway Center”. It now holds the distinguished title of “Amway Arena”. Long live O-Rena.
The Orlando Tragic – A term of endearment for the Orlando Magic, our basketball team that has been less than victorious in recent years. (They play at the O-Rena.) (Long live O-Rena.)
Publix Bags – What everyone else in the United States calls “plastic bags” or “grocery bags”.
Pub Subs – Some of the best subs around, made with love in the Publix Deli. In Orlando, Publix is the be all and end all of grocers.
The JYP – John Young Parkway
Kirk – Kirkman Road
Turk – Turkey Lake Road
Crime Hills – Nickname for Pine Hills, probably the most dangerous neighbourhood in Orlando.
Works on OBT – Is a prostitute. Refers to Orange Blossom Trail, a scary stretch of road known for its extremely sketchy behaviour.
Hotel 33rd/Lives on 33rd/Stays on 33rd – A way of saying someone is a shady character. 33rd Street is where the jail is located.
Metro – MetroWest. A master-planned startup community on Kirk near the Attractions, often referred to as New Money. The high-class vision for Metro has definitely been breaking down in recent years, which is unfortunate because of its convenient proximity to all the good hospitality work in Orlando. Police sirens ring late into the night, and some of the Metro residents should probably be staying on 33rd – they have a lot of money, but nobody is quite sure where it is coming from.
The 789 – The wealthier or more distinguished side of Winter Park, derived from the zip code, 32789. Also referred to as Old Money, this area is considered more sophisticated than the 792 side of Winter Park. “Trying to get into that 789” is a common goal for those in the area, and houses in the 789 are often even appraised at a higher value.
Park – Anything “on park”, “near park”, or “by park” can only be referring to Park Avenue in Winter Park, which is almost unanimously shortened to Park or Park Ave. Absolutely beautiful area, and the part of the city we love to show off.
White People High School – Nickname for WPHS or Winter Park High School, based on its pale population distribution.
U Can’t Finish – Nickname for UCF or University of Central Florida, because of its reputation for one-class schedules and decade-long AA degree pursuits.
FCAT – The Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test. A cringe-worthy standardized examination that is required yearly for the majority of your education and controls how the school is funded for the next year. The test is painfully dull, and the only good thing that comes out of it is a free peppermint. Peppermint is supposed to help you think, and the morning peppermint dosage is the school’s final, patronizing attempt to try to whip a passing grade out of everyone.
Hurricane Day – A day off school that is much like a snow day, but sadder. Instead of snowball fights, children are dragged along to fight over a dwindling supply of dry ice, generators, and bottled water.
Hunker Down – A ridiculous command that roughly translates to “be prepared.” Hunker down became the most overused buzzword in local news history during the days of Charlie, Frances, Ivan, and Jeanne (Hurricanes of 2004 that were so catastrophic we are still on first-name basis with them). Hunker Down is also the name of a popular Hurricane Day drinking game; take a shot every time a local news station uses the phrase.
Florida Winter – Anything below 80 degrees.
The LBV – Lake Buena Vista, also known as Tourist Town. Many outsiders do not realize that Disney is actually located in the fine city of LBV, not in Orlando, and rather far from it.
Restaurant Row – A massive strip of restaurants on Sand Lake Road near Turk. Major Tourist Town, but the wide selection of eateries pulls the locals in fairly often.
I-Drive – International Drive. The most scammy, dilapidated, neon, chain-restaurant-infested and knockoff-Disney-merch-filled street in the city. Unfortunately, I-Drive is the gateway to all of our finest attractions, and often many outsiders’ first impression of the city. I-Drive is perhaps the main cause of any trashy reputations of Orlando.
Gypsies – Not people; rip-off taxicabs in the LBV. Basically, the only cabs that are authorized for pickup on Disney property are Checker Cabs. Many gypsies try to sneak past this regulation with company names like “Check Cabs”, “Checkers Cabs”, and “Checke Cabs”. The LBV Gypsies are unlicensed and guaranteed to take you on some funky route far away from your destination to accrue higher fares.
Free Disney Tickets – A phrase used interchangeably with the word “scam”. Nobody, I repeat, nobody is going to give you free Disney tickets. Free Disney Tickets is a popular draw on I-Drive and throughout the LBV that will usually deplete six hours of your vacation day and is absolutely inescapable without buying into a timeshare. Just remember, if it’s free, you can’t afford it.
Mouse House – A rather brusque term for Disney property, usually used by those who do not work in hospitality.
The Happiest Place on Earth – The Disney adage, and a way of life for those who have found good work in Orlando’s booming hospitality industry.
The Attractions – A broad term that refers to all the theme parks in the area. Also commonly called “the Parks”.
MGM Studios – The old name for Disney’s Hollywood Studios, one of the four Disney theme parks.
Cast Members – The name for Disney employees that sounds way more magical than “Disney employees,” and is tied to the philosophy that everyone at Disney is an integral part of a big fairytale kind of story. May be used in conjunction with the sentence “Mickey Mouse writes his/her paychecks.”
Characters – Does not refer to fictional characters in movies, but the life-sized icons strolling around Disney property for photos and autographs. (Mickey, Minnie, Donald, Goofy, Buzz, Woody, Jessie, Duffy, the Princesses, etc.) Meeting them for autographs, photos, and hugs is often referred to as “doing the characters”, as it is a classic and necessary stop when you are in the parks.
Character Integrity – The umbrella term for Disney’s masterful way of keeping the magic of the characters alive. There are no “costumes”. There is one Mickey, and he is a very busy mouse – the one you saw in the parade is the same one you hugged at breakfast this morning and the same one you will see at Epcot tomorrow. If a cast member plays Goofy in the parade and wants to tell someone, the only acceptable code is “I’m friends with Goofy,” NOT “I play Goofy.” or “I dress up as Goofy.” Orlando locals really respect these nuances and will likely be irritated if you question the authenticity of any Disney magic. Even aside from the nostalgic, Santa Clause-type reasons not to spoil the characters, Disney magic really is the backbone of our economy.
Guests – The polite Disney word for tourists that has swept almost every corner of Orlando’s hospitality industry. Be our guest, be our guest, put our service to the test.
Orlando’s Finest – Tap water. Very hard to come by on the tourist side of town, but a much sought-after alternative to the four-dollar water bottles that are almost unavoidable.
Orlando Slantinel – A negative nickname for the Orlando Sentinel, the local newspaper, in reference to purported bias in the publication. A very popular expression amongst the older readers, who reminisce on “how it used to be.”
Florida Left Turn – A U-turn. Apparently other states have breaks in their medians so you can actually turn left to get to your desired location, rather than looping all the way around every time.
Bug Bites – A very Florida term for any kind of insect irritation, especially fire ants or mosquitos. Other states use more specific terms like “spider bite” or “bee sting”, but basically everything in Florida is referred to as a bug bite.
Get the Raid – A frantic command that is ingrained in our Floridian brains. Refers to the Buick-sized cockroaches that roam the area and the trusty can of Raid that everyone keeps in their house.
Socks – Things you wear to go bowling.
The South – A region of the United States located very far north of us.