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Black bear sighting in tree at Disney World triggers closures at Magic Kingdom

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission said Monday afternoon that it successfully captured the adult female bear and will relocate it near Ocala National Forest.
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Sightings of a black bear at Florida’s Disney World caused parts of "The Most Magical Place on Earth" to temporarily close Monday afternoon, the theme park announced. 

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission said it safely captured the adult female bear that was reported to be in a tree at the Orlando resort's Magic Kingdom. 

Around 1:30 p.m. ET, NBC affiliate WESH of Orlando’s helicopter captured aerial footage of what appeared to be the bear in a white tarp carried by multiple law enforcement agents moving out of a wooded area.

In an update after 2 p.m. ET, the FWC said its biologists with the agency’s Bear Management Program and FWC law enforcement officers had the animal.

“Staff have captured the animal and are relocating the bear out of the park to an area in or around the Ocala National Forest,” FWC said in the update.

Magic Kingdom in Orlando, Fla.
Magic Kingdom in Orlando, Fla.AaronP/Bauer-Griffin / GC Images

The bear was likely in search of food ahead of the winter hibernation season, the FWC said.

Walt Disney World confirmed in an earlier 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. 

Later in the afternoon, Walt Disney World said it was reopening Frontierland, Liberty Square and Adventureland at Magic Kingdom Park during the bear search.

CORRECTION (Sept. 18, 2023, 3:53 p.m. ET): A previous version of this article misstated the Florida theme park’s nickname. It’s “The Most Magical Place on Earth,” not the “Happiest Place on Earth.”