Reflections of Mousekeeping on the Disney College Program

by Cami Scovotti

Housekeeping. That dreaded, high-need role that nobody ever seems to want to talk about.  This was my (first) role during my college program in the spring of 2014, and I’m here to shed a little light on the subject.

Let’s start at the beginning, (And when we get to the end…stop).

When you first arrive to check in for your college program, you go through all the lines, meet new people, and get your schedule for casting, traditions, and your housing meeting. If your role is Housekeeping, you will also get an invitation to “housekeeping town hall” which will take place immediately following your housing meeting.

I cannot stress enough how important it is to attend this “town hall”. I joked that it was more like a support group, but honestly it really helped. During the town hall, you will sit in a meeting with all the other housekeepers, and a handful of resort managers.  They tell you about their experiences and how they got to where they are now, several of them starting out in the college program as well. I remember one manager telling us that he met his wife on his college program, so we too should be on the look out for our “happily ever after”. He was almost immediately interrupted by another manager saying “yeah yeah yeah whatever, just remember you’re here to work. And if you think you can call in and nobody will care because you’re a CP, you’re wrong” (she ended up being my favorite manager at my resort).

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At the Town Hall, they’ll tell you all about the role. They express to you (as I will at least a thousand times in this article) how hard of a job this is– you will be working very hard, you will be physically exhausted. You can’t give up though. The first two weeks are the worst, but you’ll get the swing of things. Housekeeping is also a pretty lonely job. I remember them telling us that this meeting would probably be the last time any of us would see each other unless we made those connections now. It’s good to make friends who have this role, you will need someone to talk to who understands what you’re experiencing.  Especially if they work at your resort, but I will get back to that later.

So now you’ve started training. Great! Your first day will be at Disney University, you’ll be taking a class called “Housekeeping Core.” It’s an eight hour class where your instructor will tell you literally anything and everything you need to know about housekeeping. All the dangers of housekeeping, and what the consequences are of falling victim to those dangers, (like being pricked by needles in trash cans). They’ll teach you the procedures of what to do if you find a weapon, an unauthorized animal, bed bugs, or heaven forbid, a guest who has passed on  in their sleep. My instructor was incredible. She had a personal story for every topic she discussed. She was a wealth of knowledge for the role. If your instructor is the same way, ask her as many questions as you can think of.  Now is the prime opportunity to do so.  You’ll also learn how to clean bathrooms and make beds that day. (So ladies, this is not the day for wearing heels). They have every single type of bed that Disney offers in that classroom, so no matter what resort you are placed in, you’ll know what to do.

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The next day of training you have will be your resort orientation and Safety in Motion class. This is a pretty relaxed day as you’ll primarily just tour your resort and learn all about it. At my resort we took a group photo, which was given to each of us at the end of the day, and we were all given a huge lunch box with our resort’s logo on it.  (That reminds me, keep a lunch box on your cart. Even if you don’t plan on taking a break, keep it filled with water and granola bars to keep you going throughout the day).

So now you’ll start your actual on the job training. You will spend 3 days with a trainer, they’ll teach you the routines for cleaning the rooms, and as the days go on they will work you up to being able to clean at least one room on your own. After this you begin what’s called “ramp ups,” the first day you will have nine rooms to clean. Take this day pretty easy, learn how you do things, what’s the fastest routine for you, that’s what day one is for. The next day you’ll have eleven, then thirteen, fifteen, seventeen, and finally eighteen. When you can clean eighteen rooms on your own, you’ve finished training and you can finally remove the red ribbon from your name tag.

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Now here is where Auntie Cami steps up on her soap box:  and when I say this I mean I literally cannot stress this point enough. Please read this next statement, and then read it again, write it down, tattoo it your arm, lean out your window and shout it to the world, whatever you have to do to emphasize this to yourself:

Make a team with your fellow CPs. Work together. Get each other’s phone numbers, help each other with your rooms. Nobody goes home until all of you are done.  What my teammate and I noticed during our program was that certain demographics of housekeepers would help each other, other demographics likewise, but they didn’t care to help CPs. You have to help each other. Some days you’re going to have eighteen check out rooms, and you might have a small jolt of panic when you see your board, but if you make a team, you’ll get through the day so much easier. What my teammate and I did was look at our boards in the morning and then come up with a plan like “okay you do these rooms, I’ll do these, we’ll take lunch and then do these last five rooms together” something like that. There was some days where all my occupied rooms were still sleeping, so I would go help him with his rooms, and then after lunch he would help me with mine.  Teamwork makes the dream work, y’all!

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Some other things you need to know about housekeeping:

1. It’s required to leave a “magic touch” in each room. This could mean leaving towel animals, or setting up their Mickey doll to be holding the tv remote, and watching the Disney channel. Take some time to watch videos and learn how to make towel animals, they’re easy and quick to make.

2. Any food/drinks (not alcohol) that you find in rooms that are SEALED, you can keep. A lot of families will leave behind 12 packs of water bottles. HOARD THEM.

3. You can accept tips in this role. But don’t expect them, don’t get upset if you don’t get a tip, just think of it as a lovely surprise when you do.

4. Lost and found items you have to turn in, but if it’s something you want to keep, you can fill out a form and if it isn’t claimed between 30-90 days (depending on the value of the item) you can have it.  Three housekeepers my program got brand new iPads.

5. You work 8-4:30 five days a week, guaranteed. These are really good hours. You’ll be especially thankful when your roommates at work at the Magic Kingdom until two in the morning and you’re working steady smooth hours.

6. Your leaders are there to help you, but you might have to seek them out. They have a lot of cast and a lot of operations to take charge of. Don’t let that intimidate you and stop you from reaching out to them, chances are they would love to sit and talk with you. They will support you.

I am here to support you too. If you have any questions whatsoever, or need help, you can reach out to me via social media. My Facebook (Cami Scovotti),  camidreamsofdisney.tumblr.com, or Instagram @benandcamidcp

You can also read more about my experiences in housekeeping in my book, Cami Earns Her Ears, available on Amazon.

Good luck, Mouskeepers. Keep it magical!

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