While normally the Disney mascot is a happy mouse, this week Walt Disney World had a surprise guest mascot in the parks. A wild black bear managed to wander onto the park’s premises on Monday. The bear was seen in a tree in the Magic Kingdom Park in Disney’s Florida theme park. The bear, who they found out was a female, caused the closure of several areas of the park.
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission was called and managed to capture the bear in the afternoon of the same day.
The Commission states that typically when a bear is spotted out of place, they try to let the bear continue on in peace by giving them the space to continue on with their business and move on at their own pace. However, because of the circumstances of the bear in a highly populated place, surrounded by people, specifically lots of children, they deemed it best for the safety of the guests and the bear to capture and release the bear. They took the bear to the Ocala National Forest, just outside of Orlando.
While the bear was present in the parks, they made the decision to close areas nearby where the bear was. This resulted in the closure of Frontierland, Liberty Square, and Adventureland. They later reopened these areas after the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission managed to capture the bear and they advised the area was clear.
Neither the park nor the Commission have made official statements regarding how the bear got into the park.
At this time, the Commission did state they believe the bear was looking for food in the park. They acknowledged how this is the time of year when bears begin eating up to 20,000 calories a day in order to gain the fat they need to have on reserve when they begin their winter hibernation.
In their statement, the Commission did also take the opportunity to reiterate the importance of not approaching or directly feeding bears or any wildlife. “If you see a bear … give it space,” was what their official statement said.