Disney World: Black bear on the loose forces parts of Florida theme park to shut down

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Parts of Disney World in Florida have been forced to shut down after reports of a black bear on the loose.

The Orlando resort’s Magic Kingdom closed a series of attractions after the bear was seen in a tree on Monday.

The animal is believed to be hunting for food ahead of the winter hibernation season.

Staff from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) arrived on site to capture the bear, Walt Disney World confirmed in a statement.

“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 told Sky News’ US partner, NBC News.

The wild animal sighting saw the temporary closure of attractions including 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.

A float with Peter Pan characters seen at the "Festival of Fantasy" parade at the Walt Disney World Magic Kingdom in July 2022
Image:
A float with Peter Pan characters seen at the “Festival of Fantasy” parade at the Walt Disney World Magic Kingdom in July 2022

Visitors to the theme park, described as the “happiest place on earth”, were left facing long queues as a result of the incident.

Frontierland, Liberty Square and Adventureland at Magic Kingdom Park were reopened on Monday afternoon, as the search for the bear continued.

The Walt Disney resort attracts millions of visitors every year
Image:
The Walt Disney resort attracts millions of visitors every year

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Aerial footage is said to have shown a bear in a white tarpaulin sheet being carried by officials moving out of a wooded area, NBC reports.

In 2016, a toddler died after being dragged by an alligator into a man-made lagoon near the Magic Kingdom.

The two-year-old boy was paddling in a foot of water on a beach near the Seven Seas Lagoon when the animal attacked.

The boy’s father tried unsuccessfully to pry his child from the jaws of the alligator, which was estimated to be between 4-7ft in length, police said.

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