Theme Park Worker Codewords (And What They Stand For)

There's always been a certain magic associated with theme parks. They are a gateway to a magical land that transports us from our everyday lives into a world full of wonder and amusement. In actuality, though, they're often nothing more than impressive machines run by teenagers in costumes. And here's the thing: Many theme park employees speak in a secret code. Sometimes it's to create the illusion of magic; other times it could be to make fun of you behind your back. Either way, knowing a few of these alleged code words and what they mean could come in handy during your next visit.

Photo: Noemí Galera / flickr / CC-BY 2.0

  • "White Powder Alert"

    If you hear someone running through Disneyland shouting "white powder alert," what does it mean? Is it anthrax? Is it cocaine? Nope, it means someone has dumped the ashes of a loved one on a ride. Apparently, this happens frequently enough to warrant its own code. A word of advice: Don't do this. Scattering ashes on private property without permission is illegal, and they will just get swept up when the janitors come through. Honor your loved ones in a different way. 

  • "Code V"

    Also referred to as a "protein spill," this code is a more pleasant way to say that someone yakked their stomach contents onto Disneyland's pristine walkways. It guarantees a smiling employee will respond quickly without grossing out innocent parkgoers. "Code V on Splash Mountain" sounds much better than "Someone upchucked an overpriced churro all over Br'er Fox."

  • "Code 101" and "Code 102"

    Here's a little secret about Disneyland: we vastly outnumber the employees. Perhaps fearing riots and out-of-control mobs, Disneyland likes to say "code 101" and "code 102" when talking about ride malfunctions. "Code 101" signifies that the ride is shutting down due to technical difficulties, and "code 102" means it's back up and running. 

  • "Signal 70"

    Disneyland gets crowded, but kids reportedly don't get lost there. If a child does get separated from their group, the employee who finds them will do everything possible to keep the kid calm. This means using terms like "signal 70" or "lost parent." They allegedly never say "lost kid" out loud, as that might frighten the child even more. 

  • "Signal 25"

    If you hear someone shouting "signal 25" while you're busy getting your picture taken with Mickey Mouse, you might not think anything of it, but it could mean something dangerous is happening. "Signal 25" reportedly indicates there's a fire somewhere in the park.

  • "Cast Member"

    People who work at Disneyland never refer to one another as employees. Everyone is a "cast member," which means that Disney requires you to be in character all the time. They don't want you focusing on the 9-to-5 grind, but rather bringing joy to guests by thinking of it all as one big performance.