Many people consider Walt Disney World to be one of the best vacation destinations in the world with some of the best resorts. This may be true, but Disney Hotels are not immune to some pretty nasty things in hotel rooms.
Let’s take a look at the top ten things you should do as soon as you arrive at the resort.
1. Upgrade your room.
It’s hard to be unhappy in Disney World especially when you get off of the Magical Express and enter your hotel, but being extra happy may get you farther than you realize. As you walk up to the Guest Services desk, being polite, friendly, and excited just may get you a room upgrade. On the other hand, being rude, demanding, or inconsiderate of the Cast Member might get you a less desirable room. If a room upgrade isn’t offered, consider asking for one. It doesn’t happen very often these days, but the worst they can say is, “No.”
2. Check the peephole from the outside.
Once you’ve arrived at your room, before you even go in, check the peephole from the outside. Ill-meaning people can replace the peephole glass with one that works in reverse. A peephole is meant to magnify things outside on the door while not allowing people outside to see inside. If they are reversed or replaced, people outside can see inside. This is a set up to return later and vandalize the room or steal items from unsuspecting guests. Do yourself a favor and look through the peephole from the outside. If you can see in, notify Guest Relations immediately and request a different room.
3. Check for intruders.
Once you have confirmed that your room is safe from the outside, go ahead and use your MagicBand to enter your room. Send dad, mom, or another responsible (and maybe intimidating) adult in first. This person should do a quick sweep of the room to make sure that there are no unwanted guests. Then do a more detailed check under the bed, in the closets, in the shower, behind doors, and anywhere else that someone could hide.
You may think I’m being an alarmist, but there have been stories in the past of people remaining in a hotel room and harming arriving guests. It’s better to be safe than sorry!
It’s not always the case that intruders are in the room already. If the Cast Member at the front desk pronounces your room number aloud in the lobby, ask for a different room. Anyone who heard your room number could scope out your belongings and find a way to get in your room if they really want to.
4. Familiarize your traveling party with the fire escape map and emergency evacuation plans.
While you’re at the door, close it and look at the back. On the back of every hotel room door is an emergency evacuation plan with a resort map. In the unlikely event that there would be a fire or another emergency that would require you to quickly exit your room, everyone in your family including the young ones should be familiar with the resort map and designated meeting spots. You might even want to run a drill or at least walk to the meeting location so everyone knows where it is.
5. Examine the bed.
Most of the time, Mousekeeping does a good job of cleaning the room, but some things can be left behind. Check under the bed, behind the headboard, under the mattress, and around the nightstand. Look for things you wouldn’t want kids to find as well as any sign of bed bugs. If you find anything, immediately call the front desk to notify them. If the finding is particularly offensive or if they deem it necessary, they will move you to another room.
By the way, you should avoid putting your suitcase on the bed. If the room has bed bugs, it wouldn’t take long for them to get onto and even in your suitcase. This is a souvenir you don’t want to take home with you! Instead, put your suitcase on the luggage rack provided or in the shower at least until you’ve inspected.
6. Unplug the alarm clock.
How many times have you been rudely awakened by an alarm clock set by a previous guest? It’s happened to me, and it’s not a fun way to start your vacation morning. Since most people have a smart phone with an alarm clock, unplug the one provided in the room to be sure to avoid any inadvertent early wake-up calls. If you must use the alarm clock in the room, just be sure that you check every alarm since some have two alarm functions.
What’s more, if you have young kids or you prefer not to be disturbed, tell the front desk not to call during certain hours. They will honor this request, and they can even call at a certain time to give you a wake-up call. If you arrange it ahead of time (and pay a small fee), you can even get a wake-up call from Mickey Mouse and friends!
7. Disinfect commonly touched items.
If you’ve flown to Disney, you probably have some disinfectant wipes in your carry-on that you used on the plane. If you don’t routinely pack these wipes already, you should consider it in the future. Many people disinfect items that people touch a lot including TV remotes, light switches, doorknobs, and the bathroom sink knobs. You never know what germs are hiding out on these seemingly innocent items.
In addition to disinfecting items, it is smart to remove the bedspread completely. Sheets are very easy to wash, but the bedspread isn’t. Even between guests, these bedspreads may not be cleaned. Just remove them since you don’t know what could be on them!
8. Check for anything broken.
Once you’ve inspected your room for anything dangerous, check for things that could make your stay unpleasant or cost you money at checkout. If any piece of furniture is broken or if lights are burned out, notify the front desk. They can bring you replacement bulbs and record any broken items so that you won’t be charged for these items later on.
9. Be careful what you leave out.
Although most Mousekeepers are quite honest, there may be some who are tempted by high-value items left out. Never leave tech devices like laptops, tablets, phones, or cameras out where someone could easily take them. There is a lockbox in every room in which you can hide valuable items, or you can take them with you. Also, if you brought a lot of cash with you, carry it on you at all times or put it in the lockbox. Leaving any money out is dangerous and could be a sign of a tip to Mousekeeping.
On the other hand, if you do intend to leave a tip, use the paper and pen provided to clearly mark that the money on the table, dresser, nightstand, etc. is meant as a tip.
Beyond valuable items, you should never leave any prescription medicines out on the counters or dressers. Carry them with you, or stash them in a suitcase or even in the lockbox.
10. Use the deadbolt and DND sign.
While you are in the room, be sure to use the deadbolt and the Do Not Disturb sign. Whether it’s another guest or someone from Mousekeeping, you don’t want someone walking in on you. The DND sign shows Cast Members that you don’t want to be disturbed and the deadbolt assures you that even if they do open the door, they won’t get very far.
Some people like to leave the DND sign on the door the whole time. They don’t want their room cleaned everyday, and they don’t like people being around their stuff. They call the front desk every morning and request clean linens. Mousekeeping will leave a bag on your door with the items you requested, and no one will enter your room. If you’re staying for a long time, you might need Mousekeeping a couple days in to remove any trash or used linens that you accumulated. Alternatively, you can leave pizza boxes or any trash outside your door. Mousekeeping will pick up these items and leave your room untouched.