Orlando Slang

by David Roberts, an AOL Travel ContributorPosted Aug 30th 2010 12:35 PM

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Orlando Slang

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Words or phrases mean different things in different places. Here in Orlando, Florida, an innocent phrase could easily offend or, at the very least, confuse someone from out of town. Let's look at some common Orlando slang terms so you can acclimate yourself to the central Florida area.



1. Snowbird/Sunbird
– One of the most frequently used slang terms in Orlando, and even the state of Florida, snowbird or sunbird refers to people who live in Florida for the winter and go back north for the summer. These are the elderly people that locals get angry at for driving slow and leaving their left blinker on for an hour as they cruise Interstate 4. These are also the people that bought houses here 30 years ago and leave them empty for half the year. Orlando residents use this local lingo to describe people that are surprised when they return the following year to find that the road they always used or the store they always shopped at is closed.


2. He/She "works on OBT" – OBT is an Orlando slang to describe the area off Orange Blossom Trail, known for prostitution, drugs and strip clubs. Even if an individual works at a respectable job in that area, they are jokingly referred to as those who work on OBT. The "bad" area of OBT stretches from the North Rosemont area, a hotspot for drugs, to the South OBT area before the turnpike, where you'll find prostitutes.


3. Guests In Orlando local lingo, this term is used by Disney® employees to refer to the visitors, tourists, or customers at the Disney® parks and shops. This term spread rapidly to many of the other tourist attractions in the central Florida area. It is also used at Sea World, Universal, and some of the smaller local attractions. Use of the term gets a little old when a janitor is constantly cleaning up the mess his or her "guests" have left behind. In that case, the janitor might want to attract some cleaner guests.


4. He/she "lives on 33rd"
In Orlando slang, this term refers to the not-so-fine residents that live at the jail on 33rd Street. Someone visiting from out of town might think that 33rd Street sounds like a respectable address. However, most of the businesses in that area are bail bondsmen and gas stations. Most of the homes are either temporarily occupied by the homeless or used as a temporary shelter for a prostitute without the money to rent a hotel room.


5. "Charlie," "Frances," and "Jeanne" These names are spoken in a whisper (and often with a shudder) as central Floridians recall the triple hurricanes of 2004 that slammed into the area, one right after the other. For 30 years, locals had the idea that the Walt Disney World® theme parks had a hurricane diversion machine, as it seemed that each hurricane headed toward the area veered off course at just the right time. The night before Charlie, however, portions of Cinderella's Castle came down in preparation for the worst.


6. Outlet Strip Mall These malls dot the landscape in Orlando and are filled with all the expensive stuff that didn't sell throughout the year, all marked down somewhere just above reasonable prices. Some of them are actually real outlets looking to offload merchandise that couldn't sell, others simply use the name "outlet" to attract tourists and gouge them on slightly overpriced goods. The one real outlet that I have shopped in is located at the end of International Drive. The Disney® Outlet there actually sells all of the shirts and souvenirs from the previous year, sometimes at half of the original price you would pay in the parks.


7. Free Disney® Tickets Any tourist that believes that there is some kind soul out there who just loves giving away free Disney® tickets deserves exactly what they will get instead. Residents of Orlando understand this lingo as nothing more than a bad pitch for a timeshare rental when they see it on signs on International Drive. The claim is that it will only take 90 minutes, but what it really does is take up four hours of your time as you try to make the salesperson understand that all you want is your free Disney® tickets, which you may or may not receive. The same goes for the signs that line the highway advertising discount Disney® tickets. Will some of these tickets work? Sure, but there's about a 25% chance that at least one, if not all of the tickets, won't work.


8. Gypsy A gypsy is not a reference to a wandering magician. In Orlando slang, a gypsy is an illegal cab. Climbing into one of these cabs can earn you a very expensive evening trying to get somewhere that's only two miles away. The only cabs authorized to pick up at Disney® locations are Checker Cabs. Illegal cab drivers try to get around this by altering the name Checker to Check, Checkers, and Checke Cab Company. In downtown Orlando, make sure you find a licensed cab. Don't ask hotel staff for a cab. Staff members often get kickbacks for recommending a particular driver, and you may end up spending more.


9. Citrus Bowl Parking Deal The Citrus Bowl is where a number of great football games are played each year. It also happens to be in the seediest part of Orlando, where people who own dumpy looking houses put out signs and allow cars to park in their yards. Sometimes the field or house these "entrepreneurs" choose doesn't even belong to them. They collect the money and take off before the owner returns to find twenty cars parked on the lawn. Whether it's for parking or not, anytime you see someone with a hand painted sign advertising any sort of service in Orlando, the slang term "Citrus Bowl Parking Deal" is used as a warning.


10. "He/She is from Gotha/Bithlo" Gotha and Bithlo are populated by some very nice people. It just so happens that Gotha and Bithlo are two of the hickest hick towns in the South. Residents of either town are the butt of many a redneck joke. "How do you complement a woman from Bithlo?" Answer: "Nice tooth." Or, "Did you hear about the tornado that hit Gotha? No. Well, it did about $3 million worth of improvements." These are slang phrases people in Orlando use to refer to a redneck, a hayseed, a cowboy, etc. If you're in the area, stop at that small boiled peanut stand off Highway-50. It's run by a young father, his wife and four kids. They cook up the best boiled peanuts I've ever had, and that's no Citrus Bowl Parking Deal!


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