A wild black bear caused disruptions at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida, after being sighted on Monday, September 18. The animal was discovered in a tree by a Magic Kingdom employee during a standard pre-opening inspection. As a result, certain sections of the park, such as Frontierland, Liberty Square, and Adventureland, had their opening time pushed back, and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) was notified for aid.
Following the arrival of the FWC, the black bear was successfully captured, leading to the eventual reopening of most of the previously closed-off areas of the park. As per a statement issued by Walt Disney World, the FWC emphasized the importance of giving bears enough room to move and function independently. Nevertheless, given the unique circumstances, the bear was apprehended and will be relocated to a suitable spot within or around the Ocala National Forest.
The FWC also provided some insight into why the bear may have ended up at Walt Disney World. As fall approaches, bears become more active in their search for food to build up fat reserves for the winter. It is likely that this specific bear was roaming the area, in pursuit of sustenance.
According to the FWC, there are estimated to be more than 4,000 black bears in Florida, with a significant population located in central Florida. While the presence of bears in Florida is not uncommon, their appearance within a theme park like Walt Disney World is certainly unusual and can cause disruptions.
Several rides were temporarily impacted by the bear sighting, including popular attractions such as Jungle Cruise, Pirates of the Caribbean, Haunted Mansion, Big Thunder Mountain Rail Road, and Walt Disney’s Enchanted Tiki Room. However, with the quick response from the FWC and park officials, these rides were able to reopen once the bear was safely removed from the park.
Wildlife encounters are not unheard of in Florida, as the state is home to a diverse range of species. It is important for visitors to be aware of their surroundings and to follow any instructions or warnings given by park officials.