Animal Guests by Kim Lawton

On a recent visit to Walt Disney World, I was reminded of another favorite thing of mine. I am always telling you about the details, those little things that make Disney magical. But this time I was reminded that the Parks sit in Florida and sometimes fellow Guests are of the wild variety. I have seen many different wild animals while visiting WDW. Walt Disney once said, “I have learned from the animal world and what everyone will learn who studies it, is a renewed sense of kinship with the Earth and all its inhabitants”. The Walt Disney World complex encompasses over 40 square miles; an area about the same size as San Francisco. Conservation and preservation are important aspects of the Walt Disney World project.

Approximately 25% of the land is set aside permanently for wilderness preserve. A conservation area was established in 1970 to ensure the land would not be developed.
The most recent animal I encountered was a bird of prey, probably a hawk. It flew down and landed on the bushes in the Luna Park Pool area of the Boardwalk Hotel. It was the second time on two different trips that I saw this bird. Both times the hawk spent about 10 minutes going in and out of the bushes, preening itself and scoping out the area before it flew off. The first time it came by was on a rainy afternoon; the second the sun was out. The bartenders told us it visits a couple times a week. Later we saw it perched on the swan icon of the Swan Hotel.

Florida is home to many diverse Birds of Prey in various colors, sizes, and shapes. I cannot say exactly what species the bird was but we guessed some type of hawk. Florida Birds of Prey could be anything from a Kite to a Bald Eagle. The bird we saw appeared to be somewhere in between more the size of a hawk. It was quite interesting to watch and try to figure out what it was.

These encounters add to the magic that is Walt Disney Word. While visiting, you can see animatronic animals and observe animals in their habitat at Animal Kingdom. You might even see animals native to Florida since these animals are allowed to visit the Parks and surrounding areas just like Guests! Observing and sharing the magic with these animals can enhance your visit so keep your eyes open!

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