It’s a near inevitability that a traveler today will be toting a Dumbo-sized lot of expensive equipment. My own family of five (two adults and three teens) typically visits Walt Disney World with 5 iPhones, two computers, an iPad, a Digital Single Lens Reflex camera with several lenses, and two or three pocket digital cameras, plus wallets filled with cash, credit cards and the like. That’s a lot of expensive stuff to leave in a hotel room. One way many guests deal with this is by storing some of their gear in their hotel room safe.
There’s a safe in my hotel room?
Yes, there is a safe in every Walt Disney World hotel room.
Is there a charge for this?
No, it’s included in the cost of your room.
Where will I find the safe?
There is considerable variation in this from resort to resort or even between different room configurations at the same resort. However, the vast majority of Disney World hotel safes will be either in or next to a closet, usually built into the wall. Some safes in deluxe resort rooms or in 1, 2, and 3 bedroom Disney Vacation Club Villas will be on a sturdy post inside the closet.
How do I access the safe?
Some of the safes have key access and some have combination access. The combination safes have printed instructions on the front of the door. Typically you select your own four-digit code and then use that code to access your belongings. Key lock safes will have the key inserted into the lock upon your arrival. To secure your gear, simply use the key and take it with you.
What happens if I lose the key or forget the combination?
Speak to the front desk of the hotel and they will assist you. There will be a fee for a lost key. The key tag at Port Orleans Riverside notes that the lost key fee is $35.00. This may vary by resort.
Will my hotel housekeeper have access to the safe?
No. While a housekeeper will enter your room to clean, they will not have access to the contents of the safe.
How large are the safes?
There is a substantial variation in this depending on the resort and your room type. Generally, the newer the resort and the larger the room, the larger your safe will be. The smallest safes (found in many value resort rooms) will have an internal area of approximately 7″ x 10″ X 2″. Many moderate resort rooms will have safes that are approximately 14″ x 9″ x 3″. The largest safes will be those in the larger DVC villas, with an internal area of approximately 14″ x 14″ x 6.”
Those small safes sound pretty small. What can I fit in there?
With the small safes, you’re really only going to be able to hold what one TouringPlans reader called “trip killers.” those things that would cause complete and total disaster if lost (the money and paperwork that would let you eat and get home). Even the smallest Disney World safe will hold passports and cash, an iPad, a phone, and possibly a pocket camera, if you balance everything properly. You might be able to fit a small netbook inside, but if you do, then not much else (other than paper like passports) will fit. The larger deluxe/villa safes will fit most laptops and some DSLR cameras.
I have a small safe and a lot of pricey stuff, what do I do?
My first suggestion is to bring less stuff. I’m not being flip, but really if you’re particularly worried about losing something, then your first line of defense is not to bring it. This certainly applies to something like expensive jewelry, which you are unlikely to need at Disney World. I’ve also learned to pare down my wallet when I travel. When I’m home, my wallet contains a zillion store credit cards, grocery cards, membership cards, etc. When I go to Walt Disney World, I carry just my ID, ATM card, health insurance card, and few major credit cards. Everything else stays at home.
Another strategy is to keep your valuables in your possession. You can bring a bag or backpack with you on every ride at Walt Disney World. There are also lockers for guest use at the parks. However, both those options bring with them a host of additional concerns.
But I have something big and valuable that I really want to leave at the hotel.
Every Disney resort has a large safe for the hotel. You can bring your items to the front desk and they will store them in the vault for you. It works much like a safe deposit box at a bank. There is no charge for this.
If you have a suitcase or bag you need stored, the Bell Services desk at the hotel can hold this in a locked area.
Many travelers use items like laptop locks, laptop alarms, and locked and slash proof suitcases. You can find many options for products like these on Amazon or specialty retailers like Travelsmith.com.
A few months ago I had a chat with an Adventures by Disney guide, who visits hotels all over the world, about how she keeps her belongings safe on the road. She told me that she never uses hotel safes and instead keeps her many electronics in a locked suitcase in her room. She has never experienced a theft. Other guests who became part of the conversation added that they usually keep their electronics in a suitcase under some dirty clothes. (The dirty underwear deterrent. :-))
Is that what you do?
I’m lazy and usually forget to stash my gear at the Disney hotels. I have left cameras and laptops out in the open at Disney hotels many dozens of times and never found a thing out of place. Perhaps I’m just a trusting soul, but I feel comfortable just leaving my stuff in my room.
Do you take any precautions?
I do have tracker software installed on my laptop, iPad and iPhone (Find My Phone via iCloud). If they were to disappear, I could use that to track them. I also make copies of all the cards I take with me (ID, tickets, credit cards, etc.) to make it easier to replace if lost or stolen. When I travel internationally, I make several copies of my family’s passports and keep them in different locations.
I also have name/phone labels on all my cameras. But that’s more because I have a minor habit of leaving them in restaurants at Walt Disney World. They’ve always been returned to me quickly when this has happened. There are many online vendors which sell inexpensive permanent label stickers.
In the past, I have photographed the contents of my suitcase, both clothing and other items. This can facilitate replacement if something goes missing at a hotel or in a situation like an airline losing your luggage.
Additionally, I’m vigilant to make sure that my room is securely locked when I leave. Some Disney hotel rooms need an extra tug to make sure the lock is fully engaged.
Can you think of anything I should be putting in my safe other than currency or electronics?
The only time I’ve ever had anything go missing from a Disney hotel room was when a housekeeper inadvertently picked up my daughter’s favorite stuffed animal while changing the sheets and sent it to the Grand Floridian laundry. If you’re the parent of a child with a “lovey,” then you’ll understand when I say that I would have rather lost my wallet than this particular plush bunny. An object doesn’t necessarily need to have monetary value to need safekeeping.
I’m afraid of forgetting something if I put it in a safe. Any suggestions?
This could easily happen to anyone. When a have used a safe in a hotel, I typically write myself a big note and put it right in front of the room door so I’ll see it before I leave. Another trick is to leave something in the safe that you can’t leave without, like your car keys or your shoes, so that you force a reminder.
What’s your philosophy on hotel safes? Do you use them at Disney World? At other vacation destinations? Do you have another preferred method of storing your valuables? Let us know in the comments below.