An open letter to Disney about mandatory room checks.

Discussion in 'Disney Resorts' started by Three60guy, Apr 13, 2018.

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  1. Three60guy

    Three60guy CFO (Chief Fun Officer)

    Jan 21, 2009
    The following are written prepared remarks I read on March 15, 2018 to Mr. David Belrose, General Manager of the Disney Vacation Club’s (DVC) Old Key West Resort in Orlando, Florida where my wife and I are members. I prepared them so I could not only read them to him but also have documentation of what was said.

    It is my intent to share this with the Disney community here on so a fuller understanding about what is at stake with this issue. It should take only 10 minutes to read. But this subject is important. Or it should be important to every person who stays at Disney.

    I can summarize the issue in one short paragraph:

    “How would you feel if a governing board of your municipality, where you live, sent out people who were not law enforcement officers and would, once per day but at all different times every single day and by different people, require access to your home without a warrant, to make sure “everything was ok”? Oh and you were not given any official notice about this from your municipality. That is what is going on right now at Walt Disney World and other Disney properties.”

    The Courts have determined that people staying in a hotel room have the same constitutional rights as when you are at home. Namely, the 4th amendment to our Constitution, which protects citizens from unreasonable searches and requires a warrant from a judge to perform such a search.


    Here is my phone conversation with David Belrose, General Manager of Old Key West Resort where I read the following:

    The following are my prepared remarks and suggestions which come from reading literally thousands of comments from a Disney forum called from peoples experiences and views about a new Disney Security policy and my reaching a few conclusions about this new security policy which was implemented at Old key West resort on January 8, 2018. I asked to talk with you because it is hoped you would have big picture life experiences which would enable an open conversation on this subject and have the authority to help make changes. The last person I would have wanted to talk to are those who head your security departments because they have an vested interest in promoting the policy I’m about to discuss with you.

    Additionally, I am not an attorney.

    You should understand that the time and effort taken in these remarks are the result of 27 years of DVC member ownership where I have concluded that the INTENT of Disney Management is to do the right thing but in this particular case something went very wrong in the decision making process.

    With your permission I will continue.

    Please understand these suggestions are the result of 3 months of research, thought and consideration. It certainly is not a knee jerk reaction.

    Here is the overview:

    Agreeing to “minor inconveniences” in the name of safety from the infinitesimally small likelihood of something like a mass shooting is the beginning of the slippery slope to more and more “inconveniences” up to and including the actual loss of constitutional rights.

    Let me throw out a completely out of box thought about the new Disney policy of requiring in room inspections every day.

    The premise is that checking rooms daily would prevent a Las Vegas type of shooting event. In the mean while a whole lot of aggravation with guests is building over privacy and searches.

    It appears that Disney has taken the stand that the fear of another idiot coming in with military style guns etc. justifies intrusion of privacy with daily room checks on all of your guests at all Disney Resorts.

    What are the chances of this happening. Pretty darn low. So, how do we protect all involved?

    I submit, the same way we do with lethal automobiles. Idiots drive them every day. They drive down freeways on the wrong side and a host of other dumb ways. But do we check your use of these vehicles and your way of using them? Well, yes. When you take your drivers license exam. Nothing much later except for renewing your license but typically just checking your eye sight. But we have hundreds of thousands killed or injured every year. Still, there is a universal understanding that you can’t 100% of the time avoid car mishaps just like you can’t avoid that one idiot who is determined to do harm. But, and very importantly, we still have our constitutional freedoms.

    But in this situation, brought on by this new security policy, our freedoms and privacy are being challenged apparently everyday while at our favorite place in the world. Why? Apparently, because Disney is self insured and doesn’t want to expose themselves to liability. But think for a second what would change if Disney merely accepted liability. The same way we all do when we buy insurance for the inherent liability we expose ourselves when we use our own automobiles.

    I suggest all could return to normal if one of two things occurred:

    1. Disney accepts liability if a Las Vegas type shooting occurs.


    2. They build into the cost of staying at Disney an amount that would protect Disney for any possible occurrence and their liability.

    It’s done everyday. It’s called Insurance! It’s simple and straightforward and it works. People’s fears of privacy and intrusion would go away.

    One observation comes to mind. A non-trivial investment has been made by Disney Vacation Club members. Shouldn’t there be recognition that with this member investment a significant amount of trust be invested in those members? Doesn't Disney at least agree that they really are not the demographic who would put Disney at risk for a Las Vegas type of terrorist?

    Here is one additional idea:

    Disney could take a leadership role and
    Link Disney to the Transportation Security Administration or TSA with their Pre-check program. It’s called Known Traveler number or KTN. Both my wife and I have one.

    If a person is good enough to fly while by-passing normal security checks at an airport shouldn’t that person be trusted without daily room checks at Disney?

    I hope these suggestions are taken seriously. Why? Because I have not only a right to expect privacy in a room that I use (as long as I’m using the room in a reasonable manner and I’m not disturbing other guests). But I also have 4th amendment rights against unreasonable search. Disney has to have a specific reason to need to inspect my room not just a general “security” check or a trash pickup. As a DVC member, Disney had only limited access realistically before now according to actual practice. Disney Vacation Club members, would for example have their rooms made up, beds made and trash taken out after the 4th day. It also was not mandatory.

    A few words on Hotels and the Fourth Amendment:

    In general, the Fourth Amendment “requires police officers to obtain a warrant from a judge before searching or seizing persons, houses, papers, and effects.” Disney does not use sworn police officers but rather limitedly trained lay people. Courts have held that this constitutional protection also applies to hotel rooms. Before being able to suppress the results of an illegal search, a defendant must meet his burden of showing a reasonable expectation of privacy in the hotel room. This is done by establishing a subjective expectation of privacy in the place searched and society’s willingness to accept the reasonableness of this expectation. Thus, a hotel room, as “a temporary abode,” receives the same Fourth Amendment protections as a home, because the occupant of a hotel room has an expectation of privacy no less than a tenant of a house, or the occupant of a room in a boarding house. It makes sense to apply the same legal test to hotels as to apartments or homes, rather than assigning a lesser degree of privacy.

    In English, this means a judge could throw out the results of a room search based on an illegal search. The exact opposite of what Disney is trying to accomplish. A terrorist could possibly go free.

    One last point:

    The fact that hundreds if not thousands of cast members are implementing this new policy injects the very high degree of variability in its implementation. House keepers, in general, with their native language not being English and with their apparent lack of legal awareness, are being used as replacements for security cast members who are also not as aware of the legal implications of searches as sworn Law Enforcement officers. It is clear both don’t know how to implement this awkward policy. This adds to the problem. It’s like asking a housekeeper or lay person security personnel to be an astronaut as an extreme example.

    In summary, these new policies are invading people’s constitutional rights of privacy as well as invasive search conditions. In simple terms we do not feel as safe with this new security policy. We are being asked to trust a significant increase in the sheer number of people we don’t know and higher number of occurrences invading our space, precisely during a time when we do not feel safe doing so. Ironically these feelings are being created by the exact same policy which is supposed to protect us. We also do not feel very trusting of Disney who are not transparent in their sharing of this policy with people when they visit Disney. While Disney personnel will confirm the policy if asked about it they won’t tell you about it upfront, like at check-in. It’s unfortunate Ken Potrock, Senior Vice-President of Disney and General Manager of the Disney Vacation Club characterized the current improvement of activities of housekeeping “as upgraded support at our resorts” without further explanation in the Spring 2018 Disney Files Magazine recently.

    It is hoped that Disney will take this observation seriously and help to reverse the implementation of this less than well thought out policy. Even Las Vegas has implemented a less stringent policy. David Strow, the vice president of corporate communications for Boyd Gaming, owner of MGM, confirmed that staff will now conduct safety and welfare checks on any room that has a "do not disturb" placard on the door after two consecutive days. "All guests are advised of this policy upon check-in," Strow wrote in an email. "The policy applies to all Boyd Gaming properties nationwide, including our 10 hotels in the Las Vegas Valley." ** (link below)

    We all want to feel safe. But when the medicine is worse than the fear of a problem, it’s time to look at rejecting a policy which does little but generating fear and distrust from the very people Disney serves. It certainly goes against another Disney policy, a welcome home warm fuzzy kind of feeling. That "Welcome Home" saying is at the core value of DVC. And that may become the biggest problem for Disney when people become aware that Disney appears to suddenly feel Disney cares less about their guests feelings than reacting to a problem which may not occur with any more likelyhood of winning the lottery. Remember, no amount of security management can protect someone who is hell bent on creating a disaster. Guests should not be inoculated by the theater of merely doing something so it can be argued later in court that they didn’t do anything. The price of our privacy is too high of a price for merely theater.

    Thanks for listening

    Rees Roberts
    Sharon Roberts



    I have since had phone calls from Thomas Gauthier, Member Satisfaction Manager for DVC and Heather Moyer, Manager of Experience and Communication Strategy. My stated goal was to speak to Mr. Ken Potrock, Senior Vice-President of Disney and General Manager of Disney Vacation Club. The Disney Vacation Club has over 200,000 members. Today (April 13, 2018) I received notice from Heather Moyer that Disney is comfortable with their "legal position" and that Ken Potrock would not agree to a conversation with me. It is my opinion that Disney is comfortable with their legal position on this issue simply because it has not been challenged.

    Privacy is a human right. It’s a civil liberty. Unique to America. It’s like freedom of speech and freedom of the press. Privacy is right up there with these freedoms we all should respect. I am deeply offended that Disney would take an agreement we signed with Disney and attempt to take our Constitutional rights of privacy away from us while we stay at Walt Disney World.

    What we signed when we became DVC members and what your policy does today is not what was described to us when my wife and I bought into DVC in 1991. 27 years of housekeeping coming in every 4 days, for example, is not close to mandatory required entry to each guest room. Any normal non-lawyer would conclude that. And that has been the normal expectation until January 8th 2018.


    Since posting this, I learned from a number of posters that the point I raised about the 4th amendment only applies to the government. As stated in one of my later posts, I guess I should have gone to law school. (grin) My apologies. It is no wonder Disney stated to me they are comfortable with their legal standing with regard to legal access to each room every day. But, while they are "legally" correct, I still feel they are making a mistake from a more human point of view. People just do not appreciate knowing that someone (other than a limited number of housekeepers) have access to everything you own while staying there. Disney also appears, from the comments read, to want to do this on their schedule not yours. So much for a non-intrusive vacation. Thanks for taking the time to read this. I realize it was long but it was intended to share all of my concerns with Disney and now with you about this sensitive subject.


    Edit #2:

    What makes this difficult to communicate is what Disney is doing with this policy change.

    After reading posts #750 - #754 (page 38), it became clear the cost to Disney is the loss of Magic.


    The right of entry may be theirs but their business model is, in a major part, creating magical vacations. So, at what point did their business model change when Disney apparently decided their right to access guest rooms was at Disney's convenience instead of the guests they are serving?

    This policy kills the magic when people have to be concerned about taking something as simple as a nap in their room.

    Edit #3:

    Recently someone made a comment which was quoted in post #924 with regard to how much effort it takes to deal with this new policy:

    "It's a shame you have to organize a staff meeting for an afternoon nap!"

    People are making a point of having a meeting with the Resort Manager and the Housekeeping Manager to coordinate when a guest can have a nap without being disturbed.

    A shout out and thanks to the original poster of this comment:

    Here is that link to the comment in a different thread:

    Welcome Home!
    Last edited: Jun 2, 2018
  2. Barnabas T Bullion

    Barnabas T Bullion Mouseketeer

    Nov 27, 2012
    That's a few minutes of my life I'll never get back.
    gqmom, seshat0120, corndog and 73 others like this.
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  4. Bree

    Bree Runs on Coffee

    Jan 5, 2009
    I made it as far as your comment on the 4th amendment then stopped reading.

    I’ll just leave this right here
  5. MrWonderful

    MrWonderful Mouseketeer

    Feb 14, 2016
    I think most reasonable people will agree with you; But until someone with deep pockets is able to challenge them in court, and win... you got their answer.
  6. dansdad

    dansdad DIS Veteran

    Sep 21, 2011
    Me too as it does not apply.
  7. cruisin5

    cruisin5 DIS Veteran

    Feb 21, 2001
    If you don't like the new policy stay elsewhere.
    gqmom, WDW4DEMO, corndog and 23 others like this.
  8. Farro

    Farro It's a pasta! It's a grain! What?

    Jun 19, 2016
    I'm sorry, but the topic of mandatory room checks at Disney is not important to me. At all.
  9. Jennasis

    Jennasis DIS life goes on

    Jun 11, 2000
  10. _auroraborealis_

    _auroraborealis_ I like marshmallows. And adult beverages.

    Oct 18, 2015
    Housekeeping rules in the DVC contract are a minimum standard. DVD can provide more at any time without violating that contract.
  11. MamaBelle4

    MamaBelle4 DIS Veteran

    Feb 29, 2016
    It is important to you, so I'm glad you took the time to reach out. Genuinely I am.

    I don't think it is a constitutional right to have an expectation of privacy when you are staying on someone else's property, even if you pay for the privilege.

    I am not so callous to think that Disney is doing this solely as a save your rear move. I do not think it is effective but I do think it is an attempt at increased security.
    gdrj, bryanb, Kellykins1218 and 6 others like this.
  12. Sparty1833

    Sparty1833 Earning My Ears

    Apr 24, 2017
    While a link has been posted in a prevoious post
    I'll save everyone some time from clicking that link. The 4th amendment only applies to governmental searches, not searches conducted by private entities (ie Disney).
    mkh531, bryanb, BionicEar and 18 others like this.
  13. trvlgirlmq

    trvlgirlmq DIS Veteran

    Oct 13, 2006
    I appreciate your thoughtfulness and intent. This is the main reason we will no longer be staying on Disney property after our upcoming trip. I wouldn't stay this time if we did not have several non-refundable aspects to our trip. I expect to be able to nap, or shower or watch TV without being disturbed. I am on vacation and should have the reasonable expectation of not being disturbed during my private time.
  14. morrik5

    morrik5 1336 miles from our favorite campground

    Jan 27, 2017
    I would hate for somewhere like a Disney resort experience what Las Vegas had happen - there are so many guests and families there. Although it is upsetting for some to have the extra security checks, I would rather be safe than sorry. If you feel the need for some privacy for napping/showering or personal reasons, put the chain latch on the door (if they still exist) as well. This would hamper some easy direct entry by Disney security.
  15. jimmalru80

    jimmalru80 DIS Veteran

    May 24, 2000
    That is THE perfect response. Took the words right out of my mouth.
  16. verdure

    verdure Earning My Ears

    Feb 15, 2018
    Hiya! I'm new here so my opinion may not count as much but I bet your valid opinions would be taken more seriously if you left non-applicable constitutional quotes out of your arguments in the future. In fact, I think quoting the constitution out of context should be an automatic lose in debates but maybe that's just me. ;P

    That said, you should totally be able to feel the way you feel and open dialogue about it. I'm a private person at home but I honestly have no expectations of privacy while out in public and that includes hotels. I know that's just me, though. Also, if these random checks stop even one case of human trafficking or one shooting, I imagine it's worth it. However, I haven't stayed at Disney yet so maybe they're going about it all wrong. I never felt intruded upon at the Hilton who I believe now has a similar policy.
  17. londontime

    londontime DisDad #818. London. Allo Mairee Pawpins.

    Jan 10, 2016
    Article 8 of the European Human Rights Act would beg to differ on this point.
  18. DisneyWishes14

    DisneyWishes14 DIS Veteran

    Nov 21, 2011
    4th amendment doesn't apply and your entire assumption that the policy was put into place because of Vegas is entirely speculative as Disney never officially stated it was in response to the attack. It doesn't matter what their reasons are. They are well within their rights to institute this policy and, while we can express our concerns, there is no legal ground to challenge the policy. Nothing will come of this. I would advise to either do what Elsa does or sell your DVC points.
    gqmom, wilma-bride, IrishNYC and 6 others like this.
  19. Ninja Mom

    Ninja Mom Attention People of Earth, I come in Peace...

    Apr 2, 2012
    Thank you for taking the time to share your concerns with Disney management as well as those of us reading these boards. Your concerns are ones that many of us share. Do not be deterred that your approach or your argument was not perfect. You gave it a good shot and your opinion has been registered by management. That's what is important.

    There are people on these boards that can not pass up the opportunity to belittle or demean others for sharing thoughts that they do not themselves agree with. A good way to handle that can be found in this quote: "When they go low we go high".

    Keep up the good work. It is up to guests like yourself to advocate for the treatment they feel is correct. Know that others are joining you in that effort.

  20. Blissikins

    Blissikins Mouseketeer

    Jan 4, 2012
    Far be it from me (as a non-American) to explain your constitution to you but:


    "The ultimate goal of this provision [the 4th Amendment] is to protect people’s right to privacy and freedom from unreasonable intrusions by the government. However, the Fourth Amendment does not guarantee protection from all searches and seizures, but only those done by the government and deemed unreasonable under the law."

    The Great And Powerful Mouse does not yet count as the government.
  21. bluejasmine

    bluejasmine DIS Veteran

    Mar 5, 2005
    I have to agree with this...
    I do feel Disney checked all the legalities including liabilities before they implemented this room check, Im not happy with it but I dont have a choice if I want to stay on Disney property at least for awhile and I agree until someone actually takes them to court and challenges it I dont see any change any time in the near future.

    I appreciate you taking the time to post this and you obviously spent a lot of time working on this and reaching out to DIsney, I am impressed and thankful someone cares...

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