Speaking a different language

This and some of the subsequent posts are taken from my stint as a guest author on a Disney fan site, which I thought I’d share with you all. 

We all know that there’s the odd word or phrase that Americans and the British use differently. Generally, it’s not an issue, probably thanks to the huge amount of American TV we get over here. But it has caused me confusion on more than one occasion while in Disney or preparing for our holiday. So I thought I’d share a couple of examples and provide a little list of words that a Brit visiting Walt Disney World might want to remember.


This can definitely cause problems when planning your holiday. We write day/month/year. In the United States, it’s month/day/year. So if you’re going on holiday in the first 12 days of the month, it can be confusing! Booking dining, checking when your 180 day mark is, learning about or booking just about any other event – if you’re doing it online from a US site and therefore reading it, you have to pay close attention to the day to make sure you’ve got it right!

Hotel requests

In the UK, if we ask to be on the first floor, it means we’re asking to be one level up. In America, the first floor is what we call the ground floor. So if you’re asking for a specific floor level in your hotel requests, its important you know exactly what you’re requesting!




Fanny packs

When I hear this is gets me giggling like a 12 year old girl. Firstly, they seem to be the bag of choice for many a person wandering round the parks, but I’m not sure they’ve been sold in the UK since the 80s, so in themselves, they strike me as slightly odd – you certainly don’t commonly see them over here.   But the real reason is the name – a fanny pack is what we call a bumbag. While, over here your ‘fanny’ is not your butt – it means a very different part of the anatomy and while it is more slang than offensive, I still wouldn’t use the term in front of my mother! So say it to me and I can’t help but snicker!


If I’m asking for a certain kind of steak, I’ll be asking for a filet.t.t.t.t. With the T. In America, it seems to be pronounced ‘filay’ – like it’s French (which the word is, so it makes more sense than how we pronounce it!) In the UK, Jelly is a wobbly dessert you get with ice cream at kids parties. In the States, ‘jelly’ is what they use instead of jam – but without the ‘bits’. And I’ve never seen any Marmite anywhere in Disney, but I’m not sure if that is because it doesn’t exist or it’s just called something different!

Other stuff

I can’t think of a time this actually came up at Walt Disney World, but I’ll throw it in the mix. You talk to me about pants, and I’m going to think you mean underwear. End of. It will take me a good few minutes to realise that the conversation is actually about trousers. And during those few minutes many odd impressions can be made! And I’ve already told the story of my father asking for a plaster by describing it as brown and sticky!

It works both ways

  • I saw a woman looking scandalised when a Brit on the coach back said a little too loudly that he was dying for a fag (meaning cigarette). Although you never see anyone smoking around Disney, so that could also have been why!
  • I’ve had knowing smiles when I’ve asked where the toilet or loo is – perfectly acceptable over here, but apparently it’s polite to say bathroom or restroom (exactly why I’m not sure since if you’re in the parks you’ll neither be bathing or resting in it!)
  • You might get blank looks when you reply to the question ‘how long are you here for?’ with ‘a fortnight’.
  • A rubber in the States, is NOT an eraser, like it is here. Do not ask if they sell Mickey rubbers!

So here’s my list of terms that I’ve personally come across in the parks that you might want to know if you’re planning at trip to Walt Disney World. You’ll think you already know them – but I bet you get thrown at least once – I’ve been given crisps when I thought I was getting chips on more than one occasion.

British American
Lift Elevator
Loo/toilet Bathroom/Restroom
Bill (in a restaurant) Check
Bin Trash can
Queue Line
Fortnight 2 weeks
Aubergine Eggplant
Courgette Zucchini
Candy floss Cotton candy
Chips French fries
Crisps Chips
Sweets Candy
Jam Jelly
Icing (on a cake) Frosting
Trainers Sneakers
Pushchair Stroller
Dummy Pacifier
Nappy Diaper
Soft toy Plush toy
Plaster Band aid


The ones that I’ve never quite figured out

We were stood behind two girls in a queue and I was ear-wigging when one of them talked about getting bangs. At first I was shocked cause she really wasn’t old enough, but it turned out that I have a dirty mind and it wasn’t anything naughty at all. I then thought maybe it was to do with loud noises, but that didn’t make any sense either. It didn’t take that long to figure out it was actually to do with her hair, and I’ve been told since that it is what we call a fringe!

Hush puppy is another one – here it’s those horrible blue and red ice drinks they sell sometimes in newsagents. Over there, I think it’s some kind of food. Taffy, corn dogs and meat loaf are also a mystery to me.

And I have no idea what a monkey wrench is, but I’ve never needed to at Disney!


7 Responses to “Speaking a different language”

  1. Bryan 27. Aug, 2012 at 7:33 am #

    Really enjoyed your blog! I’m from the States and travel to Walt Disney World about once a year. I was curious on how folks in the UK view Disney. In my part of the country we use a few of the same terms as well, Bill, Queue, Jam, and Icing. I also agree that if you were to use a fortnight people would have a blank look on their face. However being from the south I was compelled to tell you what a “hush puppy” is.
    A hushpuppy is a savory, starch-based food made from cornmeal batter that is deep fried or baked in small ball or sphere shapes, hushpuppies are frequently served as a side dish. Most southern fish dishes will come with a side of hushpuppies. The term “hushpuppies” is clamed to come from the Civil War, in which soldiers are alleged to have tossed fried cornbread to quell the barks of Confederate dogs.
    I hope that has helped out. Buy the way try the hushpuppies…mmmm good….You ‘all come back…..

    • BritMick 27. Aug, 2012 at 7:46 am #

      Thanks for the information, Bryan! I love the idea of where the name comes from too. I’ll have to give them a go next time I them on a menu over there. Thanks for your comment. :)

  2. Kathryn 30. Aug, 2012 at 11:32 pm #

    Great post!

    Always makes me smile when I ask for a Deli sandwich with Chips at Catalina Eddie’s and the server, upon hearing my English accent, says “Chips are crisps, ok?”

    And as for a fanny pack…..still gets me sniggering too!

    • BritMick 31. Aug, 2012 at 8:02 am #

      It’s one of the few things, that even though I know it’s crisps, I always forget at least once and get a surprise after I order!

    • Bryan 01. Sep, 2012 at 8:53 am #

      Hey, thanks for the positive response! I have a couple of questions for you all? I realize the fish and chips and the UK pavilion at EPCOT and not even close but have you been to any place in the states that would be decent or acceptable. I ask because my teenage daughter is a bit of an Anglophile, loves Harry Potter and is a Dr. Who fanatic. As such we must always have lunch at the fish and chip shop, so I was just wondering. Second as to fannypack….they have been out of style for a while here in the U.S as well. So if you see anyone with one….please feel free to snicker all you want. Also I had to Google your version of fanny to find out what it means…..don’t do that…at least not at work…ttyl.

      • BritMick 02. Sep, 2012 at 9:35 am #

        Hi Bryan. I’m not sure I can help with a better version of fish and chips – I’ve not come across a good chippie in the States, although I’m sure there’s one out there somewhere. The ones in Epcot aren’t truly awful – they’re just different I guess. I might be wrong but I seem to remember some of the food at the Three Broomsticks in Harry Potter World at Islands of Adventure is a little more traditional. What I would recommend though, is purchasing some of the sweets and biscuits from the Tea Caddy there in Epcot. They are the real thing – I’d go for hob knobs in the biscuits, a twirl in the chocolate and maybe the rowntrees fruit gums in the sweets. Yum yum yum – and in my limited experience I’ve not found anything similar to those in the USA. Tell your Daughter ‘hello’ from me here in the UK. Oh and to watch Downton Abbey, if she doesn’t already – I think it’s shown over there, it’s great and terribly British!

        Oh dear, no definitely do not google fanny at work! Thanks for your comment.


  1. Speaking a different language | DisneyDigest - 24. Aug, 2012

    [...] of Disney-related information!Speaking a different language BRiTMiCK / Posted on: August 24, 2012BRiTMiCK – This and some of the subsequent posts are taken from my stint as a guest author on [...]

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