Sightings of a black bear at Florida's Disney World caused parts of the "Happiest Place on Earth" to close on Monday, the theme park announced.
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission said it was aware of a black bear reported to be in a tree at the Orlando resort's Magic Kingdom.
"In most cases, it is best for bears to be given space and to move along on their own, but given the situation, staff are working on capturing and relocating the bear," the agency said to NBC News.
The bear was likely in search of food ahead of the winter hibernation season, the FWC said.
Walt Disney World confirmed in a statement that FWC staff were on site and working to capture the bear.
The "My Disney Experience" app showed long wait times Monday afternoon amid the bear sighting.
Temporarily closed attractions in Magic Kingdom included Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, Hall of Presidents, Liberty Square Riverboat, A Pirate's Adventure, Tom Sawyer Island, Walt Disney World Railroad including Fantasyland, Frontierland and Main Street.
But on Monday afternoon, Walt Disney World said it was reopening Frontierland, Liberty Square and Adventureland at Magic Kingdom Park as the search for the bear continues.
This is a developing story. Please check back for updates.
Bear sighting in tree at Disney World triggers closures at Magic Kingdom
A black bear was spotted in a tree at Disney World 's Magic Kingdom Park in Florida on Monday, prompting several areas of the park to be closed, officials said.
Park officials told CBS News they were reopening Adventureland, Frontierland and Liberty Square while biologists and law enforcement officers with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission worked on capturing the bear.
The areas are the home of such attractions as Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, the Swiss Family Treehouse and Tom Sawyer Island. The park opens to guests staying at 45 hotels at 8:30 a.m. and to the general public at .....
The bear was likely in the theme park looking for food, the commission said. During fall, which starts on Saturday, bears look for food and eat up to 20,000 calories a day to pack on fat reserves for winter, according to the commission.
Officials urged people to never approach or feed a bear. "If you see a bear ... give it space," the commission said.
Bear sighting at Disney World's Magic Kingdom forces closures
The Most Magical Place on Earth experienced a momentary loss of its enchantment on Monday as an unexpected visitor made its presence known. The peaceful atmosphere of Disney World was disrupted by the sighting of an adult female black bear, causing multiple rides to be shut down temporarily. The bear was first spotted by local authorities on Monday morning, leisurely hanging in a tree near the popular Big Thunder Mountain Railroad in Frontierland. The news quickly spread, catching the attention of Fox 35 in Orlando, who reported on the unusual occurrence.
In response to the sighting, Disney World Resorts took swift action, shutting down several rides and attractions, including Pirates of the Caribbean, Haunted Mansion, the Hall of Presidents, the Liberty Square Riverboat, Tom Sawyer Island, Jungle Cruise, and the Walt Disney World Railroad. To ensure the safety of both visitors and the bear, areas of Fantasyland, Frontierland, and Main Street were temporarily closed off. The unexpected closure left many guests disappointed and frustrated, as they were unable to experience the full magic of Disney World.
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC), in collaboration with local law enforcement, swiftly arrived at the scene to address the situation. Hours later, they successfully "safely captured" the black bear inside the Magic Kingdom, as confirmed by both FWC and Disney World Resorts in their statements to The Post. Aerial footage from Orlando station WESH showed the remarkable capture of the majestic creature. By 3 p.m., all rides and attractions, except for the Walt Disney World Railroad, were reopened, allowing guests to resume their magical adventures.
However, many questions remained unanswered. The exact location of the bear's capture, its size, condition, and how it managed to enter the park's premises were not disclosed by officials. The FWC speculated that the bear was likely in search of food ahead of its winter hibernation, as black bears need to consume nearly 20,000 calories a day during the fall to build up fat reserves. It is believed that the bear may have been scavenging for more than just the bare necessities. The FWC stated that typically, bears are best left alone to move along on their own, but due to the unique circumstances, efforts were made to capture and relocate the bear.
The FWC announced plans to relocate the bear to or near the Ocala National Forest in Marion County, Florida. This forest, located approximately 90 minutes north of the Walt Disney World Resort, would provide a suitable habitat for the bear to thrive in. The decision to relocate the bear ensures both its safety and the safety of Disney World visitors.
The unexpected appearance of a black bear at Disney World surprised both visitors and officials alike. The theme park, known as the "Happiest Place on Earth," found itself grappling with a wildlife encounter that is quite rare within its boundaries. As news of the incident spread, the "My Disney Experience" app displayed long wait times amid the bear sighting, further adding to the surreal nature of the day. Although parts of the Magic Kingdom had to be temporarily closed, guests remained hopeful for updates on the situation.
As the bear's capture and relocation efforts continued, Walt Disney World made an announcement that Adventureland, Frontierland, and Liberty Square would be reopened to guests. This decision reflected the ongoing search for the bear and the assurance that it was being handled by professionals. The park remained committed to providing a safe and magical experience to all its visitors.
The black bear sighting at Disney World's Magic Kingdom Park served as a reminder of the delicate balance between nature and the magical realm that humans have created. It was a testament to the diverse wildlife that coexists within the regions surrounding the park. As the story continues to unfold, both Disney World and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission urged people to exercise caution and not approach or feed any bears they might encounter. The importance of respecting the natural habitat of these magnificent creatures was emphasized, leaving visitors with a newfound appreciation for the enchantment of Disney World and the wonders of the wilderness.
Bear's shocking visit to Disney World forces multiple ride closures
"The Most Magical Place on Earth" briefly lost some of its magic.
An adult female black bear spotted at Disney World forced multiple rides to be shut down on Monday.
The popular ride was shut down along with several others, including Pirates of the Caribbean, Haunted Mansion, the Hall of Presidents, the Liberty Square Riverboat, Tom Sawyer Island, Jungle Cruise and the Walt Disney World Railroad, with areas of Fantasyland, Frontierland and Main Street temporarily closed.
Aerial footage from Orlando station WESH appeared to show the big beast's eventual capture.
As of 3 p.m., all rides were open again, except for the Walt Disney World Railroad.
However, no details on where the bear was captured, its size or condition, or how it wandered onto the property have been released.
The commission announced plans to relocate the animal in or around the Ocala National Forest in Marion County, Florida - about 90 minutes north of the Walt Disney World Resort.