Disney Has Greatly Improved Your Next Hotel Stay
Normalcy has returned to Walt Disney World, as all Disney resort villas have reopened.
This week, we’ve had the opportunity to identify the various changes that hotel management has made to protect guests.
Here are some of the many ways that Disney has improved your next hotel stay.
I’ll stress the importance of contactless interactions more than once in this article. The reason why is evident by now.
Each time two people interact, they increase the odds of transmitting Coronavirus.
To stop that from happening, Disney’s gone back to square one.
The company has cast aside one of the longest standing practices in the hotel industry.
When you enter a Disney resort, you’ll walk up to a sign that reminds you to utilize My Disney Experience for hotel check-in.
The sign encourages you to get your room number and key via the app.
Guests have had the option to do this for years now. The difference in 2020 is that Disney enforces it.
I know from my time in the hospitality industry that hotel lobby interactions are vital to a customer’s overall satisfaction with a hotel stay.
Unfortunately, such behavior is impractical and reckless during the pandemic.
Now, cast members will still hold down the fort in the hotel lobby. Disney understands that you may have questions or needs that you can’t address on the app.
So, you’ll notice something else if/when you need a cast member’s advice.
The hotel lobbies have added plexiglass windows to prevent cast members and customers from exchanging droplets.
This move may sound decidedly less hospitable. However, when you’re at the counter, you’ll be grateful that the preventive window is there.
Other Hotel Lobby Changes
Some other aspects of your hotel stay will seem different.
For example, you’re used to seeing a valet whenever you reach the resort.
This person’s responsibility is to park people’s cars. So, you can guess what I’m about to say.
Hotel managers have correctly decided to discard that practice for the time being.
Similarly, the Bell Services team has undergone some changes.
Don’t worry! These professionals will still deliver your luggage to the hotel room. However, they won’t escort you.
Otherwise, the employee would violate social distancing practices.
Disney’s not even opening Club Level services for this reason. So, a stranger walking you to your hotel room is entirely out of bounds.
For that matter, you can’t use valet laundry services, shipping services, or dry cleaning during the pandemic.
In fact, you can’t do airline check-in when you leave the hotel.
For now, you’ll have to carry your bags onto Magical Express and check them at the airport yourself.
Management has taken a hard look at all the services that require personal interactions. Most of them simply aren’t smart until Coronavirus impacts fewer people.
A Sanitized Experience
Perhaps the best changes I’ve seen at Disney resorts involve plastics and social distancing.
As you walk into stores, you’ll notice more signs. These indicate entrances and exits for gift shops and restaurants.
By clearly defining the flow of traffic, Disney protects guests. Similarly, the stores and eateries have capacity limits.
Sometimes, you must wait to enter a place because the current crowd is too large. It’s another way to protect guests.
In fact, this strategy even applies to elevators. Disney requests that people limit each elevator ride to four passengers or one family.
Once a person enters the room (after using My Disney Experience to open the door), more changes are evident.
Disney has wrapped plastic covers around several high-touch items.
In the showers, the various soap, lotion, and shampoo dispensers have these coverings. Cast members remove and swap them with each cleaning.
Perhaps the smartest move involves the remote control. These devices are germ magnets since most guests touch them.
So, the cleaning crew wraps them in plastic before each new guest arrives.
Since they wipe down the devices after every visit, the remote is effectively factory clean.
For clarity, the plastic wrap even states “Cleaned” so that guests have more confidence.
The timing of the situation is unfortunate since Disney had recently embarked on an initiative to reduce the use of plastic.
These tactics are necessary until Coronavirus subsides, though.
You may not even notice the other brilliant thing Disney’s doing. Hotels will socially distance tenants.
Your room won’t have a neighbor occupying the next space. While Disney is limiting park capacity, it’ll do the same at resorts.
So, you shouldn’t have to worry about loud neighbors anytime soon.
New Priorities for the Cleaning Crew
High-touch areas are Disney’s worst nightmare at the moment. These places are where humans are most susceptible to COVID-19.
So, Disney has trained its cleaning crew to emphasize specific parts of the room.
For example, the door handles require more wipe-downs. All guests enter the room and the bathroom, which means that each of them touches these handles.
Similarly, light switches and room temperature controls are high-touch spots. And don’t even get me started on the coffee maker.
There’s a reason why you’ll see another sign when you enter your room. It will describe all the places where cast members have prioritized cleaning.
I’m talking about plates and glasses, shower nozzles, bedding, and electronic devices.
You know that USB outlet you want to use? So, did the last five guests.
Nobody understands guest behavior like Disney. So, the company has anticipated your needs and reactions and taught its staff to clean accordingly.
Other Hotel Changes
All Disney quiet pools are open, which means that you can swim during your hotel visit.
Lifeguards will monitor the areas and enforce social distancing.
Smart guests won’t need the help, as they’ll pay attention to signs on the ground.
Disney has marked foot traffic paths at the pools, giving everyone directions about where to walk/not walk.
Also, cast members have moved lounge chairs far enough apart that you won’t worry about other guests.
Please don’t try to move then. The lifeguards will growl at you if you even hint that you might do this.
Pool workers have spent a lot of time measuring the lounge chairs to ensure that they’re the appropriate distance apart.
If you do touch anything (preferably not the lounge chairs), keep an eye out for the plentiful hand sanitizer stations throughout the area.
In fact, Disney has inundated its resorts with these stations. So, your hands can smell weird but clean wherever you go!
You may wonder about mask requirements at the pools. Obviously, you don’t have to wear them while swimming.
I should also mention that the pools operate at 20 percent of capacity right now. So, these areas are much less crowded than usual.
Currently, Disney doesn’t require masks for lounging guests who have exited the pool, either.
The thought process is that you’re outdoors and socially distant already.
However, the hotels could change these rules if the pandemic grows worse.
As you can see, your next Disney visit will differ from any that you’ve ever had before.
Thankfully, park officials have done so much to safeguard your health that you’ll forget about Coronavirus-related worries and bask in the glory of the Disney Bubble!