Bed bugs at Disneyland’s hotels?

Bed Bug on a bed

Bed bugs have become a real problem throughout the United States over the past ten years.  They often show up in hotels and according to online reports they are allegedly even a problem at Disneyland’s Grand California Hotel and at Disneyland Hotel.  Consider this woeful tale, that was posted on August 25, 2012:

We stayed for 2 nights at the Grand Californian in July 2012. The first night only my husband was bitten, my the second night all 4 of us had bites. Mine being the worst, I went to the dermatologist to be certain and absolutely they were bed bug bites. We had to quarantine our luggage for 2 weeks and treated everything in them. Luckily we never brought them into our house but still we were on the look out for them for weeks after returning home.

It was a VERY expensive 2 night stay and I was thoroughly disgusted that they allow this infestation to continue. Typical Disney fashion they deny that they have a bed bug problem..maybe a class action lawsuit against them might open their eyes but yes, they do have deep pockets in which to fight off legitimate claims from their loyal customers. Save the extra expense and stay off site.

Now here is the inside scoop.  There is actually a working ranch at Disneyland, backstage.  It is called Circle D and it dates back to the park’s founding.  It was once open to the public but not anymore.  They train and take care of their animals there and guess what?  They have dogs that are trained to sniff out bed bugs, and dogs that can sniff out bombs too!

While I worked in safety at Disneyland and was assigned to the hotels I never came across any bed bug incidents but I was told about the dogs.  Apparently they are used to confirm outbreaks.  The downside to bug sniffing dogs is that, according to a Rutgers University Study done in 2011, “the accuracy of the dogs in detecting bed bugs averaged just 43%.”

Don’t blame Disneyland for the bed bugs.  The problem is that they have guests form all over the world and the bed bugs will hide in luggage and travel with the guests.  These bugs are unwelcome guests!  But once they get into a hotel room they quickly breed and are too small to detect with the naked eye, usually.

The bed bugs hide all over the place and while there are heat treatments that can kill them, the process is expensive and not always easy to pull off in an active hotel.  The normal protocol is to strip the affected room of all fabric and toss out the mattress and this is usually done to the adjacent rooms too.  That is the industry standard but I don’t know how Disneyland handles this.

If you do stay in a hotel and have a bed bug incident be sure to record the situation on video and take pictures.  Usually you will have welts on your skin and the bed sheets will be smeared with dried blood and bed bugs you may have smashed in your sleep.  Record all that evidence!

If the hotel won’t listen to you then call the local health department.  In Anaheim that would be the Orange County Health Care Agency.  File a report by clicking here.

And be careful as the bugs will try to hitch a ride home with you on your clothing and luggage.  Sequester them and do not put these materials in your house until they can be cleared by a professional bug exterminator.  If the bugs do get into your home call an exterminator right away and be sure to hire one that has experience with bed bugs.  They are resistant to most pesticides – even DDT, which was banned in the U.S. back in 1972.  But there are other treatments available.

You should definitely demand a refund as it costs a lot to stay in a hotel and you shouldn’t have to suffer from bed bug bites in the process.  Reporting hotels to the local health care agency will help but don’t forget that you can also flame the hotels on Yelp and other social media websites, such as Foursquare.

2 responses to “Bed bugs at Disneyland’s hotels?

  1. Reblogged this on Julia's Disney Blog.

  2. aner garmendia

    We just came back from a Disney Cruise in the Mediterranean (July 25 to August 6, Spain, France, Italy, Croatia, Malta). The trip itself was awesome (food, entertainment, service, excursions, etc.) but we hade the nasty visit of bed bugs. I got more than 100 bites; my wife nearly a hundred. The first day I got a few (in the middle of the cruise) I thought they may have been mosquito bites while onshore. The second day I got dozens of bites. I got an allergic reaction too. When I reported the incident the staff did find bedbugs. They did on the same day change us to a better room and offered medical treatment. However, their only compensation was 150 US$ per person. After we moved to the new room no one ever asked us how we were doing.

    The room next to ours had also bed bugs. The people there were also moved.

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