Black Bear Spotted at Disney World, Parts of Park Shut Down

More than dozen rides temporarily closed Monday as wildlife officials worked to capture the adult female bear, which will be relocated near Ocala National Forest.

Winnie the Pooh had some major competition at Florida's Disney World on Monday. Parkgoers walking the streets of the "Happiest Place on Earth" were in for a shock when a black bear was spotted attempting its own meet and greet, forcing parts of the Orlando resort's Magic Kingdom Park to temporarily close Monday.

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission confirmed that a wild black bear was spotted in a tree near Big Thunder Mountain Railroad in Frontierland of Magic Kingdom Monday morning, ClickOrlando reported. The agency noted that the bear was likely "moving through the area in search of food," adding that "during fall, bears are more active as they search for food to pack on fat reserves for the winter." The agency also confirmed that biologists with the Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission's Bear Management Program and FWC law enforcement officers were responding to the scene, sharing. "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."

A spokesperson for Walt Disney World also confirmed the incident, stating, per NPR, "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." At around 1:30 p.m., NBC affiliate WESH of Orlando's helicopter captured aerial footage time that showed what appeared to be the bear in a white tarp carried by multiple law enforcement agents. Wildlife officials later confirmed that FWC Law Enforcement officers safely captured the bear, an adult female, and would be relocating it to an area in or around the Ocala National Forest.

Amid the sighting, the "My Disney Experience" app showed long wait times Monday afternoon, and parts of the Magic Kingdom theme park were temporarily shut down for visitors' safety and to allow responding officials to safely capture and relocate the bear. Among the temporarily closed attractions were 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. Disney officials announced just before 1 p.m. local time Frontierland, Liberty Square, and Adventureland would reopen. It is unclear if other parts of Magic Kingdom remain closed at this time.