“Open sesame” is a passphrase opening the treasure cave in the tale of Ali Baba and the Fourty Thieves. In French at least, it is a widely used phrase to say jokingly when using keys or any other mean to open a locked door (especially if your friends have been waiting for you, the bearer of the keys!).
I don't think I have ever heard it used in English, though, and I was wondering:
- How widely understood is it? Is it a common cultural reference, or something only literary or classicaly-educated people would understand?
- Is it commonly used in media or kids’ books (other than variations on The One Thousand and One Nights)?
- How else would you put it? Are there other idioms that pertain to opening of doors and gates?