Many have noticed that security has been heightened over the past two years in all theme parks in response to mass casualty events. Disney is no different. From bag checks to metal detectors, Disney has implemented strict security measures to ensure the safety of their guests.
Recently, Disney changed their security policy at the their resorts that will go into effect in the coming weeks. Guests have been informed and these security changes have already begun for the Magic Kingdom Resorts surrounding Bay Lake and will be rolled out to all of the other resorts soon. You will no longer find ‘Do Not Disturb’ hanging doorknob signs in any of their rooms on property. They have all been removed and replaced with ‘Room Occupied’. This will alert cast members that there are guests currently in their rooms but will not prevent cast members from coming in. Now, of course Disney courtesy still applies and guests will be given notice before the cast member will enter the room. As always, cast members will still knock on the door and announce their department and intentions such as housekeeping or maintenance before entering.
The sign change is coupled to a new policy that requires cast members to enter each room at least once a day to ‘ensure the safety and security of the guests and their property’. While cast members will knock and announce their intentions, guest will no longer have the option to keep cast members out as in the past cast members would ignore room with ‘Do Not Disturb’ signs. You still can opt out for daily housekeeping, a program that offers guest a reward in the form of a gift card (the amount depends on the length of their stay) and helps to reduce the environmental impact of the resorts by conserving energy and resources. However, the hotel cast members still have a right to enter your room for a daily check whether it be for maintenance or simply checking on the security of their guests and their guest’s property.
Some may see this as an invasion of personal space and freedom, but we live in a very different world and certain preventative measures ensure the safety of everyone, even if it takes an extra 5-10 minutes to get through security, or if it takes 5-10 minutes for a cast member to check on a resort guest and their room. The reality is that many of these checks will occur with standard housekeeping and maintenance while resort guests are out enjoying the 4 theme parks, two water parks, the many amenities and activities at the resorts, and or other spots for food and shopping and fun across Walt Disney World.
While Disney has not publicly stated the reason for this change and/or have not linked this change to recent events, many have speculated that this change is in response to the October mass casualty event at the Mandalay Bay Resort in Las Vegas that occurred late last year. According to WDW News Today, because many of the multi-story resorts have the similar vantage points of crowded areas and Disney transportation, Disney has sought to better prevent any mass casualty incident from occurring on property.
Another change that is in beta testing is a little less invasive and more technologically advanced. Walt Disney World is testing out a Bluetooth concept for resort rooms. This new technology would allow resort guests to open their resort room using their MyDisneyExperience App on their cell phones. Disney’s Polynesian and Grand Floridian Resorts will be a part of the initial phase of testing. This follows a trend with resorts across the country. For safety reasons, this technology would only work in close proximity to the room for obvious safety reasons. For now, this will not negate the current magic band system already in place in every resort. While one day Disney may go to Bluetooth only, it is unlikely that change would happen for a few more years. Magic Bands are not going away any time soon.