As a Disney fan, you’ve undoubtedly observed various instances where the Walt Disney Company appears to break away from commonly accepted grammatical norms, or “reimagine” the English language, so to speak. Truth be told, it can be challenging to stay on top of all the Disney-exclusive spellings and compounding of certain words and terminologies. While words like “supercalifragilisticexpialidocious” may be among some of the best-known examples, I’m primarily talking about Disney Park jargon and other unconventional Company spellings (and misspellings) that even the most contested Disney fans often get wrong. Let’s review with a Disney grammar lesson all those tricky “Disneyisms” that almost everyone misses.
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One of the most common mistakes made by Disney Park Guests time and again is the accidental addition of an apostrophe s when referring to a Park’s given Castle. To set the record straight, at Disneyland you will find Sleeping Beauty Castle, NOT “Sleeping Beauty’s Castle.” Likewise, Walt Disney World Resort is home to Cinderella Castle and NOT “Cinderella’s Castle.” On a similar note, you may also want to watch out for places like The Pinocchio Village Haus and Tom Sawyer Island in Disney World, which are sometimes mistakenly referred to as “Pinocchio’s Village Haus” and “Tom Sawyer’s Island.” The use of an apostrophe s in Davy Crockett’s Canoes at Disneyland is correct, though.
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Common Character Name Misspellings
Even if you’re the biggest self-proclaimed fan of some of these iconic Disney Characters, there’s a good chance you’ve been spelling their names wrong for quite some time. Here’s a look at some of the characters with names that are easy to get wrong.
- Tinker Bell—She is now a well-known fairy that first came onto the scene via Disney’s animated classic Peter Pan in 1953. Even so, that doesn’t mean folks have been spelling her name correctly for the last 70 years! Some of the most common misspellings of her name include “Tinker Belle,” “Tinkerbell,” or even the combination “Tinkerbelle” among many other variants.
- Belle—There is another “belle” that sometimes gets wrung the wrong way. I am referring to the titular heroine of Disney’s Beauty and the Beast (1991/2017), whose first name “Belle” sometimes gets mistakenly written as “Bell.”
- Isabela—From bells and belles, here’s another commonly induced name error, taken from a more recent Disney film. I am, of course, referring to that flower power-wielding member of the Madrigal family of Disney’s 2021 animated hit Encanto. Everyone knows her as “Isabela,” though many erroneously spell out her name as “Isabella.”
- Winnie the Pooh—How is it that such an iconic classic character can be subjected to one of the most common name misspellings? Still, the fact remains that many folks are prone to dropping the “h” from “Pooh” and calling him “Winnie the Poo” instead. On an interesting additional note, Disney’s spelling of “Winnie the Pooh” isn’t altogether accurate either. The first usage of the character’s name back in 1921 was actually hyphenated to read as “Winnie-the-Pooh.” The name was a combination thought up by Christopher Robin, taken from a real bear and a pet swan.
- Pumbaa—This warthog companion to Simba from The Lion King (1994/2016) is one of the film’s two most beloved supporting characters. Yet his name is one of the easiest to misspell, as so many folks are prone to leave the second “a” out of his name and write it as “Pumba” instead.
- Flik—With only a few callouts throughout Disney Parks still intact, the Disney-Pixar animated film A Bug’s Life from 1998 gets largely overlooked these days. And even those who remember the name of one of the film’s leading protagonists, Flik, may understandably be misspelling his name as “Flick.”
- Pinocchio—Everyone knows that tale about a wooden puppet brought to life in hopes of becoming a real boy. But interestingly enough, there are so many people who continue to spell the title character’s name wrong, with some variations being “Pinnochio,” “Pinochio,” “Pinnoccio,” etc. His father, Geppetto hasn’t escaped name butchery either, with such blundered renditions as “Gepetto,” “Geppeto,” and even “Jeppetto,” among many others.
- Ariel—She is best known for being the titular mermaid of Disney’s The Little Mermaid (1989). But what isn’t always known is the correct spelling of her name. Some folks are prone to easily misspelling her name as “Arielle.”
- Anna—She and her sister Elsa may be the leading lady royals of Disney’s Frozen franchise, but the surprising fact remains that Anna’s name is sometimes incorrectly spelled as “Ana.” This may be primarily due to the less-common pronunciation of her name throughout the films.
- Pocahontas—The title Disney Princess of the animated film Pocahontas (1995) has fallen victim to name butchery time and again as well. Some of the variations that have come up over the years include “Pocohontus,” “Pocohantas,” “Pocahontus,” etc.
- Rapunzel—Even the leading lady of Disney’s Tangled (2010) is known to have her name misspelled sometimes. One of the most common misusages is “Rapunzal,” although “Rapunsel, “ “Rupunzel, “ and “Rupansel” have all popped up as well.
- Darkwing Duck—Let’s get dangerous and combine the words “dark” and “wing” to create a new character. That may be what Disney was going for when they established the character of Darkwing Duck. But there are still so many folks who egregiously refer to him as “Dark Wing Duck.”
- Launchpad—On a similar note, this avian aviator has appeared in both DuckTales and Darkwing Duck. Launchpad may be an odd duck, but what’s even odder is the fact that so many of his fans misspell his name as “Launch Pad.”
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As previously highlighted, there is some genuine confusion at hand about those times when Disney decides to make two words into a compound word. Parkgoers see this firsthand regarding the different Disney “lands” found throughout various Parks. For instance, it’s a pretty well-known fact that the lands making up the first Disneyland Park in Anaheim all utilize compound words. Likewise, Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom Park also followed suit in such utilizations, resulting in the following lands: Fantasyland, Adventureland, Frontierland, and Tomorrowland. Over at Disney World’s Animal Kingdom Park, you also have DinoLand U.S.A., which takes on a compound usage but capitalizes both words. But then things get confusing when you see Hollywood Land and Cars Land at Disney California Adventure Park utilizing two separate words. The same rings true of Disney’s Hollywood Studios with Toy Story Land.
So, to review, it should be noted that the following are all incorrect land uses: Fantasy Land, Adventure Land, Frontier Land, Tomorrow Land, Dino Land/Dinoland, Hollywoodland, Carsland, and Toy Storyland. And let it also be known that under no circumstances should anyone ever mistake Disneyland as “Disney Land” or Disney World as “DisneyWorld” or “Disneyworld.”
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The aforementioned DinoLand U.S.A. has an additional odd issue going for it, aside from its compound, double-capitalized word usage is the omitting of a comma before its U.S.A. suffix. While grammatically incorrect, this isn’t altogether problematic. Guests could easily adopt this accepted fact and go about unbothered if it weren’t for the existence of Main Street, U.S.A., throughout various Disney Parks worldwide. As far as Main Street representations go, it is imperative that the comma be added just before the U.S.A. in its official title. Like it or not, it’s just an inconsistent Disney fact we grammatically inclined fans must accept.
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What’s the Name of That Attraction?
Some of the best-loved and widely recognized Disney attractions don’t always get called by their full titles or are sometimes written in an alternate way. Some of the best examples of this include:
- Tomorrowland Transit Authority PeopleMover: More commonly referred to as simply “The People Mover.”
- Big Thunder Mountain: The adjective is commonly dropped in casual conversation and the ride is most often referred to as “Thunder Mountain.”
- “it’s a small world”: The correct, way to write this does entail using all lowercase letters and quotes, but this deviation from the norm gets easily missed by most folks.
- Expedition Everest—The Legend of the Forbidden Mountain: This lengthy title is better known more concisely as “Expedition Everest.”
- Mickey’s PhilharMagic: The name of this 4D theater attraction is easy to remember, but the hard part is remembering the correct places to apply the capitalization, with some derivatives being “PhilHarmagic,” “PhilHarMagic,” or even “Philharmagic.”
- Fantasmic!: Just remember the exclamation point is part of the title. In fact, the same goes true with many show/performance naming throughout various Disney Parks.
- For the First Time in Forever: A Frozen Sing-Along Celebration: What a mouthful! Is it any wonder why it gets shortened into simply “The Frozen Singalong” more times than not?
House, Haus, or Hus?
Plenty of themed naming throughout Disney World uses foreign words. I’ve already touched on the matter of The Pinocchio Village Haus and the all-too-common accidental incorporation of an apostrophe s. It’s also worth mentioning how often folks mistakenly use the English word “house” instead of “haus” when discussing it. On a similar note, Akershus Royal Banquet Hall, within the Norway Pavilion in EPCOT, also sometimes gets referred to as “Akershouse” or even “Akers House.” And while on the topic of the Norway Pavilion of the World Showcase, let it be known that the Royal Sommerhus Meet and Greet location for Anna and Elsa has been subjected to word butchery also. Some of the most common misuses I’ve seen include “summerhus,” “summerhaus,” “summer house,” “somerhus, “somerhaus,” etc. On a similar note, the Germany Pavilion’s Sommerfest gets the same “sommer” issues as well. It also sometimes gets written with “fest” being a separate word.
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The Right Restaurant Names
I’ve already covered a couple of the common restaurant name mistakes, but those are by no means the extent of such instances. Over at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa at Walt Disney World Resort, for instance, two signature establishments often get mixed up. One is Cítricos, and the other is Narcoossee’s. Folks who forgo the accented in the first one can be easily forgiven, but the often accidental use of an apostrophe s, making it read as “Citrico’s” is questionable. Narcoossee’s, which does get the apostrophe s, is sometimes written without it. The “Narcoossee” name also sometimes gets misspelled as “Narccoossee.”
When Magic Isn’t Magical
Disney often forgoes the adjectival use of the word “magical” in favor of utilizing the subject form of “magic” more broadly. But that doesn’t mean Guests are inclined to do so. I’ve heard plenty of people accidentally refer to Magic Kingdom Park/the Magic Kingdom as “Magical Kingdom” over the years. Perhaps it feels more grammatically correct, but that doesn’t make it correct where Disney is concerned. And on a separate, loosely connected note, let’s discuss MagicBands. They are NOT “MagicalBands” or “Magical Bands.” And remember, this is intended to be a compound word with both words capitalized. All the same, I see so many instances where even folks who get the “magic” part down write “Magic Band” as two entities.
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I could think of many additional instances where Disney grammar deviates from what is commonly considered (or mistaken for) the societal norm. Despite the challenges involved in pinpointing the accurate Disney usage of a word, phrase, or statement, such instances serve as testaments to the originality and creativity at work within the Walt Disney Company.