Wild Bear Spotted at Walt Disney World Hotel

in Walt Disney World

Guests at around a campfire at Fort Wilderness while on their Disney World vacation.

Credit: Disney

A bear was recently spotted at Disney World – and no, we’re not talking about Winnie the Pooh.

Located in what was once swampland, Walt Disney World was always going to be a hub for wildlife. Florida is renowned for its alligator population. In fact, alligator spottings are a common occurrence across Disney property, with the creatures frequently sighted in the likes of Tom Sawyer Island, Disney’s Beach Club, and the former site of Splash Mountain.

A boat sails across Seven Seas Lagoon with Space Mountain in the background
Credit: Don Henry via Flickr

Thankfully, Disney has a vigorous alligator relocation program, which means the risk to Guests is minimal. Since 2016, over 200 alligators have been removed from Walt Disney World Resort. However, Guests are still warned to not enter fresh water, such as Bay Lake and Seven Seas Lagoon, to avoid incidents similar to the tragic, fatal attack on toddler Lane Graves at the Grand Floridian in 2016.

But even Disney can’t control all wildlife. Armadillos, snakes, and raccoons have all startled Guests at Disney World over the years. And recently, an even more surprising creature gave Guests a shock when it prowled through the grounds of a Disney World hotel.

Journalist Sam Walker shared a picture on Twitter snapped by another Guest that showed a Florida black bear roaming through Disney’s Fort Wilderness. The bear was reportedly spotted in the 1700 loop/Hickory Hollow area of the campsite.

Florida black bears are a subspecies of the American black bear and can be found throughout most of Florida, as well as the southern areas of Georgia, Alabama, and Mississippi. They mainly live in forested areas (but are increasingly spotted in urban areas) and are typically shy and reclusive, following a diet that consists mostly of plants and vegetation.

Over the past week alone, a Florida black bear has been removed from Tampa International Airport and spotted paddling in the water at a Destin beach. When they are attracted to human areas, it’s usually because they can smell food.

Florida black bear next to a bird
Credit: DGriebeling via Flickr

Although obviously alarming to someone who’s never spotted a bear in the wild before, there are currently zero recorded fatal attacks on humans by Florida black bears. However, some people have been bitten or scratched by bears believed to be defending themselves, their cubs, or food.

With that in mind, a bear roaming around a Disney World campsite – likely heavily populated with young Guests – isn’t ideal. Hopefully, this one has since been relocated to somewhere that isn’t one of the most-visited tourist destinations on Earth.

Have you ever spotted a wild animal at Walt Disney World? Share your story in the comments!


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