Disney World hotels in Florida are rethinking the use of the "Do Not Disturb" signs and replacing them with signs that read, "Room Occupied" instead. The move away from the traditional signage is one that many hotels are either adopting or thinking of adopting soon and for some, the reasoning behind the change is a haunting reminder of a hotel incident in October of this year. The new policy appears to be a response to the October mass shooting in Las Vegas that killed 59 people and injured nearly 600 more. The gunman shot at a crowd of 22,000 gathering for a concert from his room on the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino and was able to smuggle weapons up to his room using the "Do Not Disturb" sign.
Florida Disney Resorts including the Polynesian, the Grand Floridian, the Contemporary and Bay Lake Resorts now have "Room Occupied" signs in place of "Do Not Disturb." According to Disney World, that change gives employees the right to enter any guest room for maintenance, safety, or security reasons. As previously noted, many believe that the Las Vegas gunman was able to stockpile his arsenal undetected because he utilized the "Do Not Disturb" sign for a week leading up to the incident that left 59 people dead. Multiple hotels in Las Vegas have also revised their "Do Not Disturb" policies in response to the shooting, including the Orleans Hotel and Casino on the Strip.
Disney World's new guest information pack details the new decision, attributing it to maintenance and general safety. More hotels are expected to make the changeover in 2018, but the decision is being felt differently by guests. The new information from Disney reads.
"The hotel and its staff reserve the right to enter your room for any purposes including, but not limited to, performing maintenance and repairs or checking on the safety and security of guests and property."
A hotel employee will be required to enter a room at least once every 24 hours, even if the "Room Occupied" sign is on the door. Staff must knock and announce themselves before entering the room.
Many see the new rules and regulations as an invasion of privacy, which is understandable. However, others see the change from "Do Not Disturb" to "Room Occupied" as a sign of the times we live in today. Hilton Hotels recently changed its "Do Not Disturb" policy for its hotels worldwide. The Hilton Hotel staff will also have to have somebody visually inspect the room every 24 hours, much like Disney's new set of regulations. Visitors of both hotels and resorts are given the information upon arrival and check-in.
As of this writing, the change is currently only affecting Disney World resorts in Florida, but the change from "Do Not Disturb" to "Room Occupied" will more than likely spread out to the west coast resorts as well. Disney and Hilton will address individual concerns if guests take issue with housekeeping or maintenance entering their rooms when they are not in them. The "Do Not Disturb" signs will soon go the way of the ash tray in all hotels going forward and replaced with "Room Occupied" with a new set of regulations. You can read more about Disney World's decision to make the change via AOL.com.