Walt Disney World sits right in the middle of Central Florida. In fact, the land purchased by Walt Disney to secure the park’s current-day location was once covered in swamps, home to a wide variety of birds, snakes, rodents, alligators, and even bears.
As you’re probably aware, the wildlife that remains in and around Walt Disney World’s location sometimes finds its way into the parks, causing safety issues for guests. There have always been reports of guests running into snakes at Animal Kingdom or at their Disney World resort, alligator sightings in the many waterways around Walt Disney World, and even deaths related to some of the predatory animals that still call the property their home.
NEW: The FWC safely captured the adult, female bear spotted in a tree earlier today at Magic Kingdom Park. The bear was captured in a backstage area northeast of the Rivers of America. pic.twitter.com/mxXYCvYOHm
— Scott Gustin (@ScottGustin) September 18, 2023
Today, at Magic Kingdom, guests were taken by surprise when a huge section of the park, including Adventureland and Frontierland, didn’t open as normal. Initially reported as being closed for technical difficulties, it didn’t take long for the internet to figure out what was really going on. Cast Members had become aware of a black bear, a common form of Florida Wildlife, that had taken up residence in a tree just northeast of the Rivers of America, according to Scott Gustin.
Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission were called in and apparently have since removed the bear and relocated her to the Ocala National Forest. However, it isn’t every day that a predatory animal shuts down theme parks, especially at Disney World. The huge news made its way around the internet with rumors that the bear was first seen inside the cave system on Tom Sawyer’s Island, but Disney officially put the rumor mill to bed by publicly acknowledging and providing updates on how they were handling the situation.
Since the news broke, Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World has returned to normal operations. However, footage of the bear removal by officials has been posted to YouTube by Wesh2 News.
The three-minute-long video shows workers in bright yellow vests surrounding a heavily wooded area of Magic Kingdom. Once zoomed in, members of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission can be seen directing others away from a white sheet lying on the floor under trees. Images from the removal suggest that this is the bear in question and the method for how workers removed the bear safely. Later the sheet, with the bear presumably inside, can be seen being dragged out of the area.
Florida is home to an abundance of wildlife. From the Florida Panther to the American Alligator, Florida is unique in that it boasts a rich tropical environment that is teeming with life. Run-ins with potentially dangerous wildlife in Florida aren’t uncommon. As Disney World is directly in the center of the state, it isn’t unusual for run-ins to happen in the “Most Magical Place on Earth” either. Just weeks ago, a 920-pound alligator was removed from a lake in Orlando that sits not far from Walt Disney World property.
Guests to Walt Disney World should always be on the lookout for wildlife and be prepared for possible run-ins. As FWC stated that this particular incident was caused as the female bear searched for food, guests should also be continuously mindful of how they dispose of their waste.