Black bear sighting closes part of Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom

FWC officers capture bear
FWC officials carrying black bear in white tarp through wooded area near Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom
Posted at 1:18 PM, Sep 18, 2023

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. — Parts of Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom were closed Monday after a black bear sighting.

Lisa Thompson, a spokeswoman for the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, said Monday that officers and biologists with their bear management program were at Disney working to capture the bear.

"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," Thompson said.

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The bear was reported to have been in a tree at the Magic Kingdom.

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

Video from Orlando NBC affiliate WESH's helicopter showed FWC officials carrying what appeared to be the bear in a white tarp as they walked through a wooded area near the Magic Kingdom. The FWC told WESH that the bear would be relocated to an area at or near Ocala National Forest.

Disney's park app showed long wait times for rides Monday afternoon amid the bear sighting.

Among the areas temporarily closed were Big Thunder Mountain, the Liberty Square Riverboat, Tom Sawyer Island, Fantasyland and Frontierland.