Bear on the Loose at Disney World Prompts Closures


Portions of the popular Walt Disney World theme park in Florida were shuttered temporarily after a wild bear was spotted on the premises.

Rumors began to circulate about the closures on Monday afternoon, with users taking to social media to share digital maps of the park, with roughly half of the attractions at the Magic Kingdom listed as temporarily closed. WDW Magic, a site dedicated to news about the destination, cited multiple reports from unnamed sources that the closures were enacted after a bear was spotted climbing a tree somewhere on the park’s premises.

The sire added that park employees, known as cast members, had been stationed at Liberty Square and Adventureland entrances, preventing guests from entering the park’s western side. A number of the park’s most popular rides and attractions were impacted, including the Haunted Mansion, Jungle Cruise, Hall of Presidents and the Country Bear Jamboree.

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Committee (FWC) was the first official entity to confirm the presence of a black bear in a tree in Disney World. A statement was shared to X, formerly Twitter, by WESH reporter Christina Watkins.

A file photo of the Walt Disney World Magic Kingdom. A bear sighting at the popular Florida park resulted in the closure of numerous attractions on Monday.
Matt Stroshane/Walt Disney World Resort via Getty Images

“The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) is aware of a black bear reported in a tree on Walt Disney World property at the Magic Kingdom,” the statement read. “Biologists with the FWC’s Bear Management Program, as well as FWC Law Enforcement officers, are on scene. In most cases, it is best for bears to be given space and to move along on their own, but given this situation, staff are working on capturing and relocating the bear.”

The agency added that, during the fall season, bears are known to undertake broader searches for food as they prepare for hibernation during winter, so that’s the most likely situation surrounding the sighting.

“During the fall, bears are more active as they search for food to pack on fat reserves for the winter,” the statement continued. “This particular bear was likely moving through the area searching for food.”

In response to various requests for comment from Newsweek, Walt Disney World said that, as of about 12:45 p.m. ET, it had made the decision to reopen the Frontierland, Liberty Square and Adventureland portions of the park. The search for the bear, however, remained ongoing as of an hour later.


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