Last month, a real black bear meandered through Magic Kingdom, forcing several rides to remain closed for a portion of a day. Today, a newly released video shows the black bear’s capture.
New Footage Released of Black Bear in Magic Kingdom
The video, shared by Local6 News, details the process of the capture and eventual relocation of the bear.
The female black bear ultimately weighed in at about 150 pounds, according to Florida Fish and Wildlife. In the video, Cast Members state that they saw the bear running along the railroad tracks.
It was right along the railroad tracks, which terrifies us because that gives it access to the entire park. So, we hazed it.Disney Cast Member, quoted in video from Local6 News
Walt Disney World Cast Members have been specially trained by Florida Fish and Wildlife to use air horns and other methods to manage the behavior of wild animals that may come onto the property. After the Cast Members herded the animal toward Rivers of America, she climbed into a tree about 35 feet in the air.
This posed its own level of risk, as she was positioned over the water. Ultimately, Florida Fish and Wildlife decided that it would be safer to relocate the bear, rather than try to contain her, from Magic Kingdom to the Ocala National Forest.
Unfortunately, her position over the water made this a dangerous option for the bear.
Florida Fish and Wildlife representatives in the video stated that they were concerned she would fall into the water if they hit her with a tranquilizing dart.
Ultimately, the Cast Members constructed a net to help break the fall of the bear and redirect its fall toward dry land.
[S]he’s in a portion of the tree where [s]he’s going to be easy to dart, but if [s]he falls straight down, [s]he’s going to be falling into the water. So, the Disney staff are putting together some cargo nets to try to see if we can suspend that to keep [her] from entering the water.Florida Fish and Wildlife Worker
As the black bear was tranquilized, she landed on dry ground.
At that point, she was lost from view in the wooded area between the Native American Village and the railroad tracks. With cast members poised at the far ends of the track connecting the area to other parts of the park, the entire operation decided to wait for the bear to fall asleep before continuing to avoid agitating her further.
Let’s give [her] 20 minutes. Everyone stay on the edge. Let [her] calm down and fall asleep. If [she] feels safe, [she]’ll lay down.Florida Fish and Wildlife Worker
The black bear eventually fell asleep and was collected by Florida Game and Wildlife, then released in the Ocala National Forest.
You can watch the video for yourself below:
Black Bear Captured in Magic Kingdom
On the morning of September 18, 2023, after the park opened, Cast Members spotted the black bear in a tree near Big Thunder Mountain Railroad in Frontierland. Since the park was open to guests, Adventureland, Liberty Square, and Frontierland experienced a delayed opening, and guests were kept out of the lands while the search was on for the animal.
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.
During the fall, bears are more active as they search for food to pack on fat reserves for the winter. This particular bear was likely moving through the area searching for food.The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission
At the time, the following attractions were temporarily closed to guests:
- Big Thunder Mountain Railroad
- Walt Disney World Railroad – Frontierland
- Pirates of the Caribbean
- Walt Disney’s Enchanted Tiki Room
- Jungle Cruise
- The Magic Carpets of Aladdin
- Swiss Family Treehouse
- The Hall of Presidents
- Haunted Mansion
Just before 1 p.m. that afternoon, Walt Disney World made the call to open the three lands to guests. According to WESH 2, around 1:15 p.m., those involved with the search for the bear were seen carrying a large black figure in a white tarp, which you can see in the photo above.
Watch the video from WESH below.