It may be the “Most Magical Place on Earth”, but that doesn’t stop Walt Disney World in Florida from seeing some unfortunate incidents happen from time to time.
The Lake Buena Vista Resort has seen some interesting occurrences lately, not least the recent Reedy Creek fallout between Disney and Florida Governor Ron DeSantis. From ride breakdowns requiring boat evacuations to rope drop scooter injuries, Guests sometimes have a Disney experience less magical on their Disney vacation at the Disney Parks.
Now, it has been revealed that Disney has instigated a sting operation to catch some of its own Cast Members at the Walt Disney World Resort.
Disney housekeeping (AKA “Mousekeeping”) has only recently returned to its pre-COVID routine, with standard housekeeping making its comeback at select Walt Disney World Resort Hotels back in March 2022.
Pre-pandemic, Guests would be treated to Disney’s housekeeping every other day for most Disney World stays (unless staying as a Disney Vacation Club member). When COVID hit, the cleaning schedule was altered to account for housekeepers not being allowed to enter the room as frequently during the Guests’ stay.
Current Disney Resorts operating the normal cleaning schedule include Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge, Disney’s BoardWalk Resort, Disney’s Contemporary Resort, Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort, Disney’s Wilderness Lodge Resort, Disney’s Yacht & Beach Club Resorts, Disney’s Riviera Resort, Disney’s Old Key West Resort, Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort & Spa, and Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa (offers daily housekeeping cleaning).
Amid the celebrated return of the Disney Resort Hotel housekeeping service, however, Disney caught some of its own Cast Members stealing at Disney’s Port Orleans Resort – Riverside last month
According to a sheriff’s arrest report from the Orange Country Sheriff’s office, Walt Disney World pulled a sting operation alongside police that led to two housekeeping Cast Members getting arrested at the Disney Resort.
On March 9, 2022, Disney and the Orange County Sheriff’s office worked together to investigate suspicions regarding ongoing thefts at Disney Resort Hotels. The sheriff’s office report was not released until this week but details a pretty impressive series of events.
The report explains that Disney set up a decoy hotel room at Port Orleans Resort after being suspicious of two Cast Members – Raphmarie Cartagena Torres and Aishaleam Abraham Rodriguez. After setting up room number 8097, which was not being used by real Guests, sheriff’s detectives covertly watched a live video feed from a neighboring hotel room on Disney property.
According to the arrest report, Torres, 27, of Orlando, was the suspect in a series of ongoing thefts. The initial report does not detail how many thefts previously happened at the Disney Moderate Hotel and how many other items were taken before.
Disney had left $200 in cash as “bait” inside the decoy room. The sheriff’s report states that “the money was placed in a small black backpack and put in camera view.” Other items, including an Apple iPad, Apple AirPods, and other personal items, were also left in the hotel room.
At about 9:50 a.m. on March 9, the Disney Cast Members under suspicion entered the hotel room with instructions to clean the Walt Disney World Resort room. The sheriff’s report details that:
“upon entry (Raphmarie) is seen immediately making entry into the front pocket of the backpack, and removing the cash from the interior of the bag. She is observed counting the money while engaging in conversation with (the other employee.) Raphmarie counts out $65, places it on the television stand, and a hand is seen removing the money from the stand. Raphmarie is then seen rummaging through the rest of the bags in the view of the camera, to include the rest of the bookbag as well as a suitcase on the bench next to the television stand.”
The two housekeepers did not apparently take any of the Apple products or other personal items left in the room by Disney.
Once they left the room, sheriff’s detectives confronted the two Disney Cast Members, who each had $65 in cash that matched the serial numbers from the decoy room money. Both women were arrested and charged last month with theft by an employee, according to Orange Circuit Court records.
Though it is rare for incidents such as these to happen at Walt Disney World, it is interesting to see how Disney and the police work together to foil those suspected of theft. Of course, if you ever suspect housekeepers of stealing items from your Disney Resort Hotel Room, contact the front desk or police ideally before the end of your Disney vacation.
To try and avoid situations like this arising when off enjoying the magic of Magic Kingdom, EPCOT, Disney’s Hollywood Studios, Disney’s Animal Kingdom theme parks. or Disney Springs, keep valuables hidden or in the room safe.