What’s Up with Housekeeping at Disney World Resorts?

Whenever Walt Disney World resorts or cutbacks come up, readers complain or ask about scaled back or nonexistent hotel housekeeping. Specifically, whether it’s returned to normal, if there’s daily cleaning, and what can be expected of “Modified Mousekeeping.” This post attempts to answer all of that with official policies, our experiences, what readers have shared, and speculation about the future. (Updated January 16, 2023.)

As you might recall, Walt Disney World instituted a range of health safety protocol back when the resorts started to reopen. Disney released operational changes and policies for its resorts, reflecting all of this. One thing that covered was resort cleaning, which would be both enhanced and modified or scaled back, depending upon the circumstances.

A lot of attention was paid to surfaces throughout the parks, resorts, and even guest rooms. Obviously, a lot has changed since then–both in terms of what we’ve learned since and the nature of Walt Disney World’s operations, which are largely back to normal.

With that said, here are the current housekeeping policies via Walt Disney World’s official website:

Prior to Your Arrival – Your room will undergo comprehensive cleaning, with added attention to:

  • High-touch areas, like TV remotes and door handles
  • Floors, which will be steam cleaned and vacuumed between guests

During Your Stay – Your room will receive light housekeeping service every other day (unless you choose to decline the service). This service will include:

  • Removal of trash and used towels
  • Replenishment of towels and amenities throughout room and bathroom
  • Wiping and cleaning of the vanity and counter surfaces
  • Vacuuming, if needed

January 16, 2023 Update: Housekeeping continues to get back to normal. Walt Disney World has announced that, effective immediately, full housekeeping service has been reinstated at ALL Deluxe Resorts. Note that this is not a change for many Deluxe Resorts, many of which have been receiving full housekeeping since the middle of last year.

With that said, here’s Walt Disney World’s official, updated housekeeping schedule that is in place as of January 16, 2023:

  • Deluxe Resorts – Daily full housekeeping service.
  • Deluxe Villas – Guests paying cash rates to stay at Deluxe Villas (DVC Resorts) will receive daily full housekeeping service.
  • Moderate Resorts – Full housekeeping service every other day.
  • Value Resorts – Full housekeeping service every other day.
  • Disney Vacation Club Resorts – Guests staying at DVC resorts on points will continue to receive housekeeping service based on their length of stay. Disney Vacation Club Members and their guests may purchase additional housekeeping service by visiting the front desk or contacting housekeeping via their in-room phone.

Full housekeeping service includes: making the bed, replacing towels and amenities, cleaning the bathroom, emptying the trash and recycling, and tidying the room by dusting, wiping counters, and vacuuming.

You might notice that this update contradicts the official page on DisneyWorld.com. For whatever reason, that has not been updated in a while–and is no longer accurate. The above schedule is accurate and is directly from Disney.

This comes as Walt Disney World continues to deal with housekeeper shortages, which are likely to be a problem for a while. More on that in a bit-let’s start with some on the ground accounts. We’ve now done about a half-dozen multi-night stays in the last ~6 months at Walt Disney World.

Accordingly, we now have a good amount recent firsthand experience with Mousekeeping during our stays at Walt Disney World. The biggest thing we’ve noticed is that there has been a significant shift since around the end of the summer last year. Prior to that, I would’ve described housekeeping as hit or miss at Walt Disney World. (In fact, that’s exactly how this article used to describe our experience with housekeeping early last year.)

Even though this just became the official policy as of early 2023, it’s what we’ve experienced on several occasions. We’ve done stays during that time at Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort, Grand Floridian, and Yacht Club–all provided daily housekeeping. (Note that these stays were on the hotel side of each resort–totally different ballgame on the DVC sides, where applicable.)

Shortly after the original publication of this post, we also shared Housekeeping “Hassles” at Walt Disney World. Ironically, we have not experienced any of this issues in our stays since. That could simply be luck on our part–that does play a big role (just read the comments to that post with some regulars never having experienced the problems, and others having them with regularity).

To the contrary, the guest experience during our more recent hotel stays has been exceptional. Not only have we received daily housekeeping at the aforementioned Deluxe Resorts, but we’ve also had the same at both Value and Moderate Resorts. This includes two of the All Stars and Coronado Springs, both the outlying buildings and Gran Destino Tower. (The last one is no surprise–although not official, Disney aims to exceed expectations at Gran Destino.)

Based on anecdotal reports we’ve heard from readers, many have had similar experiences. With that said, this is not the official policy, so do not count on daily housekeeping at these hotels. Whether you’ll receive it is likely a result of resort occupancy, staffing, Cast Member workloads, and other variables. Consider yourself lucky if it occurs, but absolutely do not bank on it. If you “need” daily housekeeping, stay elsewhere.

Nevertheless, I want to draw specific attention to All Star Sports, where both housekeeping and the guest experience were especially good. During that stay, a manager of the resort stopped me to inquire about the newly remodeled room and how things were going, generally.

She indicated that feedback on the new rooms at All Star Sports has been universally positive. Guest satisfaction is up and Cast Members prefer the new rooms, too. This manager also offered interesting insights about resort occupancy and building closures, which confirmed what I suspected based on the low number of people out and about at the hotel. (Relevant because it likely explains the superior service–and why you shouldn’t expect the same if staying here when there’s one of the many winter cheerleading events!)

A lot of readers have shared their experiences with housekeeping during their stays at Walt Disney World, and those anecdotes are mixed. Some have reported that things are essentially back to normal–despite Disney’s official policy, they had their room cleaned daily (or close to it).

Others indicated that housekeeping barely set foot in their room, except for the infamous safety/security checks. These people stated that not even the every other day services were occurring. Many also have shared that they didn’t receive any Mousekeeping at all without calling the front desk.

The middle ground of reader feedback more or less reflects the official policy–that housekeeping took out the trash and towels, but not much else. (If you have experience with Walt Disney World Mousekeeping in the last year, please share it in the comments.)

One thing I do want to note is my perception that these reader reports skewed more negative towards the beginning of last year and have become more positive since about July or August. So if you do have a report to share, please include the approximate date of your stay, as that’s a key detail–things continue to change.

We’ve only done a few third-party hotel stays in Anaheim and only one in Orlando since last summer. Our perception is that things are likewise improving at real world hotels, but that’s hardly enough data points to draw a definitive conclusion.

Prior to that, we did spend a decent amount of time in Anaheim at a dozen different hotels, all for multi-night stays between 2021 and mid-2022. With the exception of two stays at the Grand Californian, our stays there were all at third party hotels, at every price point.

Across the board, our experiences in Anaheim were entirely consistent with Walt Disney World resorts. However, Anaheim is also a unique market–with a lot of parallels to Central Florida–so I’d stop short of generalizing our experiences in Southern California to the whole industry as a whole. (Las Vegas is probably also a similar story, but I’m not sure about other domestic destinations.)

In Anaheim, we were offered regular housekeeping at one hotel. At many of these hotels, we noticed garbage outside other guest rooms in the hallways, so clearly it was an across the board policy–not just housekeeping snubbing us. Even the new JW Marriott and Westin luxury hotels only provided daily housekeeping upon request (an increasingly common policy in the hotel industry).

We do a lot of Marriott stays, and this was a first for us–as were a number of other changes. Notably, Marriott eliminated its “Make A Green Choice” program, which gave Bonvoy members the option to receive 500 points for each day they declined housekeeping.

We were big fans of this, and always took advantage. We’re not trying to single out that brand as some sort of anti-Marriott agenda; they’re not the only chained brand hotel to quietly do away with its incentives for declining housekeeping. My guess is that hoteliers realized they could get away with cutting that bonus under the guise of health safety.

Similarly, Walt Disney World had been offering gift cards as part of the “Service Your Way” program for those who declined housekeeping at select resorts. This did not return when the resorts reopened, presumably removed with the same underlying motivations as other hotel operators.

Disney’s “Service Your Way” offer started a few years ago. It was one of the rare perks that got better as time went on, as Disney increased the dollar amount to entice more guests to decline housekeeping. We also always took advantage of this, and there were some occasions–like when booked in tandem with Free Dining–where it felt like one of those “there’s gotta be a catch?!” things. Disney was practically paying us to stay there.

Of course, there was a catch and none of these hoteliers were offering points or cashback for their purported reasons of environmentality or customizable service. Its motivations were purely economic, just like a lot of recent changes that offer coincidental environmental or other benefits.

While I cannot speak to Marriott or chains in other markets around the country, Walt Disney World’s motivation was staffing shortages. Even from 2017 through early 2020, the company was having tremendous difficulties hiring and retaining housekeepers. College Program participants were offered incentives to change roles, there were multiple job fairs, hiring bonuses, and wage increases–but the shortages persisted.

As you’re undoubtedly aware if you’re read this blog at all, staffing shortages for many roles have only gotten worse in the last year, and housekeepers are one specific role that is always advertised for job fairs and hiring bonuses. Right now, there are open positions on Disney Careers with a starting rate of $17 per hour and a $1,000 new hire bonus.

I won’t pretend to understand all of the nuances of the labor market for housekeepers in Central Florida, but I’d hazard a guess that there are a couple key factors at play.

The reasons for the current labor shortages are multifaceted. They have been further exacerbated by the United States having an aging population, and many baby boomers have left the labor force entirely in the last 2 years. All of this makes the housekeeper shortage one that higher wages alone cannot resolve. However, there are a couple of significant issues that often get overlooked.

First, legal immigration to the United States has slowed down in the last 5 years, plummeting in the last two. This alone leaves the country with a shortfall of over 2 million workers. This is of particular relevance for housekeeping roles, as they were disproportionately filled by immigrants. This could soon improve, as the backlog of immigrant visas is finally starting to be processed. Immigration returning to pre-2017 levels would likely have the biggest impact on addressing the housekeeper shortage.

Second, development around Central Florida has exploded during that same span of time. I’m not going to crunch the numbers on how many hotel rooms have been added to the Orlando market during that time, but it’s easily tens of thousands.

Hotels aren’t the only thing that has been built. Residential construction has also exploded, with huge swaths of undeveloped land now filled by seas of subdivisions. With more homes comes more demand for maids and residential home cleaners. In my cursory research, it appears those positions pay more than Disney. I’m also going to go out on a limb and guess they’re lower stress.

Ultimately, all of this is why I’m skeptical that housekeeping will ever return to its pre-closure normal. Not just at Walt Disney World, but for the U.S. hotel industry as a whole. While I don’t necessarily think Walt Disney World’s current “modified” Mousekeeping service will become permanent, I do think it’ll necessarily be scaled back in some way in light of all of the above.

One expectation is that the degree of service will vary with occupancy and load levels. Guests who travel during the off-season or stay at unpopular hotels are probably more likely to encounter full and regular housekeeping. It’s also possible that housekeeping upon request becomes the industry standard going forward. However, the days of consistent and unsolicited housekeeping–or an economic incentive for declining it–are probably gone for good.

Finally, it’s possible that Walt Disney World will institute more changes, and Mousekeeping service becomes a way of segmenting among the various tiers of resorts. Which is to say that it won’t be offered on a daily basis at Value or Moderate Resorts, but perhaps will be the standard at Deluxe Resorts and other luxury hotels. This would be a way of addressing housekeeper shortages and also guest demand for daily room cleaning. Probably not a popular way, but one that could make sense to the company if these shortages persist.

Planning a Walt Disney World trip? Learn about hotels on our Walt Disney World Hotels Reviews page. For where to eat, read our Walt Disney World Restaurant Reviews. To save money on tickets or determine which type to buy, read our Tips for Saving Money on Walt Disney World Tickets post. Our What to Pack for Disney Trips post takes a unique look at clever items to take. For what to do and when to do it, our Walt Disney World Ride Guides will help. For comprehensive advice, the best place to start is our Walt Disney World Trip Planning Guide for everything you need to know!

YOUR THOUGHTS

Do you expect full normal housekeeping to return? Think this is another cost-cutting measure by Walt Disney World, or agree that there are externalities that’ll make it difficult to restore housekeeping? What have been your recent experiences with housekeeping at Walt Disney World–and beyond? Would the reinstatement of regular Mousekeeping make you more likely to book an on-site Walt Disney World resort stay? Any questions we can help you answer? Hearing your feedback–even when you disagree with us–is both interesting to us and helpful to other readers, so please share your thoughts below in the comments!

301 Responses to “What’s Up with Housekeeping at Disney World Resorts?”
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