It Wasn’t the Country Bear Jamboree, And It Shut Down Disney

A black bear was spotted in a tree at the Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida, on Monday, September 18, 2023. The sighting caused parts of the park to close temporarily, as Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) officials responded to the scene.

The bear was first seen by a cast member near Big Thunder Mountain Railroad in Frontierland. The bear then climbed up a tree, where it remained for several hours.

FWC officials closed several attractions and areas of the park around the bear’s location, including Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, Splash Mountain, and Tom Sawyer Island. Guests were evacuated from the affected areas and directed to other parts of the park.

Aerial footage from NBC affiliate WESH seems to show the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission and other law enforcement relocating the adult female bear from the park under a white tarp. It’s not clear how they caught it or if it was tranquilized. NBC News has reached out to FWC for clarification.

“In most cases, it is best for bears to be given space and to move along on their own, but given this situation, staff have captured the animal and are relocating the bear out of the park to an area in or around the Ocala National Forest,” the commission’s spokesperson said via email. “During the fall, bears are more active as they search for food to pack on fat reserves for the winter. This particular bear was likely moving through the area searching for food.”

The sighting of a black bear at Disney World is rare, but not unheard of. In recent years, there have been a handful of reports of black bear sightings in the area.

The FWC, in an email to NBC News, reminded people if they see a bear to never approach it or feed it and to contact the appropriate agency for help.


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