Bedbugs – onerous little predators resurging worldwide – can be found in some U.S. cities. But will you meet them in Orlando along with Mickey and Shamu? The answer is “probably not,” though even the slimmest possibility gives some vacationers the heebie–jeebies. Of the 327 hotel properties in Orange County (part of Disney and all of Universal), for example, about 3 percent have had reported bedbug problems. “Reported,” however, is not the same as “still have,” and once discovered, bedbugs are eradicated.
Orlando is a tourist town after all, and it takes that reputation seriously. No one wants to see a New York Times story with “Orlando has bedbugs” in the headline. (Besides, New York has a serious problem with the bloodsuckers while Orlando does not.) Orlando and its hotels deal with anything that could hurt tourism – and the dollars it brings – quickly and completely. Disney even has bug experts on staff.
But Orlando does provide and ideal location for a bedbug scourge – as does every tourist destination in the world – and it remains vigilant. People visit from all nations and bedbugs love suitcases – and they love the suitcases beside them in the gully of a plane or back of a bus. In addition, a bedbug problem is not an event, it’s an ongoing battle. Orlando could be 100 percent free of bedbugs today, yet have 100 of them tomorrow as 50,000 new tourists arrive for a vacation.
Bedbugs don’t know the difference between a Motel 6 and a five-star resort – and they proved it by invading New York City’s Waldorf Astoria. Consequently, you can’t guarantee absolute protection on your vacation, but staying home isn’t completely risk-free either if relatives spend the night. It’s a small gamble worth taking.
If you still have the willies, consider the following resources that note the names of affected hotels – but also remember that the problem has probably been corrected by the time you read it:
To learn more about bedbugs, download this fairly gross PDF put out by the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation.
To file a bedbug complaint with the Florida Department of Business & Professional Regulation, call (850) 487-1395 or file a report online.