Get to Know the Safe in Your Disney World Hotel Room

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.

Pedestal style safe at Bay Lake Towers. One foot rule on top gives a sense of the external dimensions. The inside is smaller.
Pedestal style safe at Bay Lake Towers.

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.

Art of Animation wall safe. That's an iPad and iPhone inside. The depth is somewhat misleading because the thickness of the door intrudes upon that space.
Art of Animation wall safe. That’s an iPad and iPhone inside. The depth is somewhat misleading because the thickness of the door intrudes upon that space.

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.

My attempt to get a 13" MacBook air into a safe at Port Orleans Riverside. The laptop did not fit and instead became quite stuck. I spent several panicky minutes trying to extract it. Do NOT try this yourself.
My attempt to get a 13″ MacBook air into a safe at Port Orleans Riverside. The laptop did not fit and instead became quite stuck. I spent several panicky minutes trying to extract it. Do NOT try this yourself.

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.

Beach Club villas studio safe. Holding iPad and 13" MacBook Air.
Beach Club villas studio safe. Holding iPad and 13″ MacBook Air.

Any alternatives?

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.

Pop Century safe holding iPad.
Pop Century safe holding iPad.

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.

Erin Foster

Erin Foster is an original member of the Walt Disney World Moms Panel at DisneyWorldMoms.com, a regular contributor to TouringPlans.com, and co-author of The Unofficial Guide to Disney Cruise Line. She's been to WDW, DL, DL Paris, Hong Kong Disneyland, Aulani, DVC Vero Beach, and DVC Hilton Head. She's a Platinum DCL cruiser and veteran of 10 Adventures by Disney trips. Erin lives near New York City, where she can often be found indulging in her other obession - Broadway theater. Erin can be reached on Twitter @MsErinFoster.

12 thoughts on “Get to Know the Safe in Your Disney World Hotel Room

  • February 27, 2014 at 1:17 pm
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    This is why only second-string stuffies go on vacation with us…

  • February 27, 2014 at 1:53 pm
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    On our last trip, we did a split stay at the Poly and the Beach Club. There was a substantial size difference of the safes at those resorts. The one at the Poly was huge compared to the safes at the BC. The one at the BC was more comparable to the size of the safes at the moderates (at the POFQ, at least).

    One time, we tore apart a hotel room desperately looking for “lamby” only to finally discover that we had left her in the car the night before! We no longer take their super-favorite loveys.

  • February 27, 2014 at 4:58 pm
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    We always use the safe for out electronics and cash. That said, one day I forgot to close the safe and didn’t realize that it was hanging wide open until we were in a park. When we got back to the room later that day, the electronics and the envelope with $500 in it were untouched. That was the day we know folks were in our room to switch out the refrigerator, fix the ac unit, as well as housekeeping.

  • February 27, 2014 at 5:16 pm
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    Three comments:

    1) A few years back, my sister’s bear was accidentally sent to the hotel laundry (at a non-disney hotel), and was lost for several days. We got the bear back after my dad got in touch with the head of housekeeping and offered a $100 reward for whoever found the bear. In most operations, there are a half dozen (or more) places where a lost item might wind up, and offering a reward makes people know you really care and will also make them rack their brains about where else they might want to check.

    2) I’ve also left all kinds of electronics out in the open in Disney hotels, and they’ve never been touched.

    3) I’ve worked in security in the past, and hotel safes aren’t all that secure (think about it: if you lose the key, or forget the combo, or the previous occupant forgot to unlock it before checking out, the front desk can have it open within minutes). I’ve seen more than one hotel safe that can be opened with two wires and a 9V battery (though I haven’t checked out the Disney safes in detail). Hotel safes keep honest people honest, and not much more. The good news is, most people are honest, so you don’t have much to worry about.

  • February 27, 2014 at 5:51 pm
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    Another great post Erin. Thanks!

    We’ve also had a favorite stuffed animal (Brown Dog) inadvertently picked up in the sheets by the Grand Floridian housekeeper. We let them know immediately and, on the last evening of our trip, there was a knock on the door. A GF employee delivered Brown Dog along with a picture of Goofy and an autographed note from Goofy saying that he and Brown Dog had been at the Magic Kingdom riding attractions the whole time. My son still talks about his Brown Dog sneaking out with Goofy. Priceless.

  • February 28, 2014 at 9:03 am
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    Wow, great post. What’s next, a 1,000 word story about where the ice machines are located?

    • February 28, 2014 at 9:17 am
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      I know you’re giving a silly dig here, but ice machines may be a good topic for a post. I’ve actually answered dozens of real questions about ice machines while working on the Disney Moms Panel. Guests from other nations don’t often have ice machines in their home country hotels and sometimes don’t understand how the process of acquiring ice works. Some Americans who are new to travel have similar concerns. Other things that seem obvious to frequent guests – towels, shampoo, and safes – may flummox new or foreign visitors.

      • February 28, 2014 at 10:03 am
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        I have to say, these kinds of articles about safes, towels, theme park lockers and the like are by FAR my favourite on this blog. I feel like if you have a question about something big you can google it and have 10,0000 websites with that info on it, but the little specifics? Much more difficult to find.
        In 2012 I was 21 and travelled transatlantic(ally) for the first time as a grown up. No parents with me. I would have *killed* to have known about the little things like the safe in the room as it would have made the overall experience of being responsible for my own passport and documents so much less overwhelming.
        Thanks Erin for these kinds of posts 🙂

        • March 3, 2014 at 8:08 pm
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          Seriously? I mean, I learned all this stuff (ice machines, safes, vending machines, TVs, etc etc) years ago without the benefit of “blog posts”. It would seem to me that anyone with a pulse could figure all this stuff out without even breaking a sweat. We may be very near the end of civilization as we know it if people can’t figure out how an ice machine works…

      • February 28, 2014 at 10:17 am
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        “Disney Moms Want To Know: Do You Have To Dial 9 To Reach an Outside Line?”

        • March 3, 2014 at 8:04 pm
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          “Which button do I have to press to turn on the TV?”

          Sorry, I couldn’t resist.

  • April 23, 2014 at 9:48 am
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    Just wanted to chime in with a (moderately) interesting story. the only thing i have ever had stolen out of my bag at disney was all of my underwear! We arrived on a late flight and our bags were left overnight with the magical express staff. at first i thought i just had a brain fart and didnt pack any underwear, but then, the girl i was travling with said that her underwear was all missing as well! i couldnt help but laugh because it just seemed totally outrageous so we went down to guest services and they paid to replace all the missing underwear. needless to say, the manager on duty was mortified and assured me everything would be followed up on. i know things getting stolen shouldnt be taken lightly but boy, it really makes for a pretty good story and for a good laugh. the crazy part is, we had things in those bags that were much more expensive than some underpants, but they remained untouched. so so strange…

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