Walt Disney World was held hostage by a bear that was on the loose for several hours in the Orlando, Florida, theme park Monday, as accounts indicated almost half of the Magic Kingdom was closed as a result.
As of just before 1 p.m., Disney said it made the decision to reopen Frontierland, Liberty Square and Adventureland at Magic Kingdom, as crews remained “on site and working on capturing and relocating the bear.”
“We are working with the Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission and have made the decision to reopen Frontierland, Liberty Square and Adventureland at Magic Kingdom Park,” a Disney spokesperson told Fox News Digital.
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) confirmed it “is aware of a black bear reported in a tree on Walt Disney World property at the Magic Kingdom.”
“Biologists with the FWC’s Bear Management Program, as well as FWC Law Enforcement officers, are on scene. 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,” FWC said in a statement.
During the fall, bears are more active as they search for food to pack on fat reserves for the winter, according to the commission, adding, “this particular bear was likely moving through the area searching for food.”
“The FWC reminds people that if you see a bear, to give it space and never approach or feed it. To learn more about bears and how to avoid conflicts with them, visit MyFWC.com/Bear or BearWise.org,” the statement added. “Contact the FWC’s Wildlife Alert Hotline at 888-404-FWCC (3922) if you feel threatened by a bear; observe a sick, injured, dead or orphaned bear; or to report someone who is either harming bears or intentionally feeding them.”
The confirmation comes after multiple reports from WDWMAGIC sources earlier Monday said a bear was spotted in a tree near Big Thunder Mountain Railroad in Frontierland.
WDWMAGIC sources said employees, known as Disney cast members, were stationed at the Liberty Square and Adventureland entrances, preventing guests from entering the park’s western side.
The company’s “My Disney Experience” app listed all of the attractions as “Temporarily Closed.” As of 10 a.m., the Magic Kingdom rides Country Bear Jamboree, Big Thunder Mountain, Hall of Presidents, Haunted Mansion, Jungle Cruise, Magic Carpets of Aladdin, Pirates of the Caribbean, Swiss Family Tree House, Walt Disney World Railroad and Walt Disney’s Enchanted Tiki Room were all reportedly closed.
The site Mickey Views cited a source as saying a cast member discovered the bear during a routine pre-opening check of the caves on Tom Sawyer’s Island.
The animal was found inside one of the narrow underground passageways on the island, according to the blog, prompting Disney to adjust the opening procedure for the park.
Only the right side of the park was opened, as crews worked to remove the animal. The incident reportedly doubled wait times at attractions over the rest of the park.