When you visit the happiest place on earth, you’ll get the opportunity to see Mickey Mouse, Cinderella’s Castle, rides, and animals.
One thing you won’t see, though, is a mosquito.
Think back to your last visit or pay attention more closely during your next visit.
You may experience heat and humidity, crowds, and an upset stomach from the junk food and rides, but you will not encounter many if any, mosquitos.
Is it something about the area?
If you want to take a peek behind the curtain, we will cover everything you ever wanted to know about why there are no mosquitos at Disney World.
Why Are There No Mosquitoes At Disney World? (7 Reasons)
Ironically, there are no mosquitos in Disney World because mosquitos are a significant problem in the area.
Disney World in Orlando effectively prevents mosquitos at the source and also has an elaborate “Mosquito Surveillance Program” to detect and eradicate any mosquito activity that does exist.
The Mosquito Surveillance Program utilizes a variety of techniques to keep visitors comfortable and healthy.
As the most aggressive mosquito prevention program in the state, and arguably, the country, the program does not cut corners or rely on one simple method.
1. No Standing Water
The program started in 1964 when Walt Disney hired an engineer and former army general named William “Joe” Potter to lead the initiative.
Disney and Potter met while at the New York World’s Fair in 1964.
Disney came with a completely different focus but quickly turned his focus to mosquitos shortly after talking with Potter.
Walt Disney hired him on the spot (even though Potter thought he was in retirement).
Potter’s number one point that he repeatedly told Walt Disney was that they needed to avoid standing water.
Potter had previously worked on-site at the Panama Canal.
He noticed that more of his men were getting bitten by mosquitos and dying of malaria near the standing water compared to the running water.
That’s because mosquitos lay eggs in standing water and not in flowing water.
The idea was to impede breeding conditions, so mosquitos don’t hatch in the first place.
There was one small problem: Disney had already installed a massive swamp around the Magic Kingdom.
To solve the problem, Potter drained the entire swamp and created ditches that promoted steady water flow.
The ditches, along with some fountains, still work toward the same goal today.
What happened to Potter?
Potter and Disney remained friends for life.
Potter lived in Orlando until he died at a ripe old age in 1988.
He was colloquially known as “Mr. Disney” around Orlando and received the official title of Disney Legend for his contributions.
2. Building And Plant Choices
The initial solution seems almost too easy, right?
Disney moved forward with the idea of discouraging standing water in all choices from that point forward, including building and plant choices.
Buildings were designed so that they could never allow standing water.
All buildings have extremely advanced drainage systems and even utilize rounded shapes instead of square shapes to even further eliminate the possibility of standing water.
The 3,000+ plant species you’ll find at Disney World were chosen specifically because they don’t hold standing water.
Disney World also has very intricate irrigation systems.
3. Garlic Spray
Mosquitos don’t like garlic.
Therefore, Disney World uses a natural garlic spray to keep the mosquitos away.
You probably can’t smell the garlic since a little bit goes a long way, and there are more overpowering smells coming from every food booth.
Walt Disney made it very clear from the forefront that he did not want to use pesticides or some other chemical solution.
He demanded a natural solution, and it’s been used ever since.
4. Mosquito Traps
In case the preventative methods and the garlic spray don’t work, Disney World also puts down mosquito traps.
In one year, Disney World sets about 2,000 mosquito traps.
The traps use carbon dioxide to kill the mosquitos.
However, that’s not the end of the story.
Employees collect the traps and freeze the dead mosquitos to study them.
The researchers study the type of mosquito and how they got into the park so that they can prevent it in the future.
5. Natural Predators
Humans generally don’t like mosquitos, but other creatures do.
In fact, some creatures find mosquitos rather appetizing.
The two main animals that Disney World uses to eat any mosquitos that gen into the park are bats and chickens.
You will find the bats around Fort Wilderness, and you’ll find chicken coops throughout the park.
6. Free Mosquito Repellant
Don’t worry about packing your own mosquito repellant.
Disney World offers mosquito repellant free of charge at numerous stations throughout all of the parks.
You won’t find the insect repellant stations on your map, so ask an employee for help if you want some.
Disney World also sells insect repellant in its stores, but that’s not necessary unless you need it for use outside of the park.
(If that is the case, though, you can buy it somewhere cheaper.)
Side Note: While you can get insect repellant in Disney World stores, you won’t find the following items:
- Lids and plastic straws
- Glass packaging
7. Company Policy
Disney World employees will not allow visitors to get sick on their watch.
If the mosquito population reaches an alarming number (still low for Florida), employees will favor precaution over customer convenience.
Basically, this means the golf course opens late and closes early to ensure people aren’t around during prime mosquito feeding time.
Reasons For Aggressive Mosquito Program
Why would Disney World put so much time and, more importantly, money into preventing minor discomfort?
As it turns out, there are a lot of reasons.
1. Customer Experience
Disney World wants customers to have an enjoyable experience.
When the visitors enjoy themselves, they are more likely to come back and spend more money.
No one will want to wait in line for a ride near a pond with swarms of mosquitos.
The ride will fail, and customers will feel disappointed.
Plus, customers will tell friends about their negative experiences, discouraging others from coming.
No one wins.
2. Health Precautions
More importantly, Disney World works so hard to prevent mosquitos because they can carry dangerous diseases.
Some of the diseases found in Florida mosquitos include:
- West Nile Virus
- EEEV infection
Even more alarmingly, NPR recently reported that scientists have spotted a tropical mosquito in the area that carries yellow fever, and an even more dangerous tropical mosquito that can carry numerous diseases was found nearby in Cuba.
3. Lawsuit Prevention
Disney World cares about the health of its visitors, especially if the park can be found liable for a patron’s illness.
Disney’s thorough Mosquito Surveillance Program covers the company in case someone does contract a disease from a mosquito bite while on its property.
With all the effort Disney puts into keeping mosquitos away, it would be an uphill battle for any guest to claim negligence on part of the park in a lawsuit.
Thanks to the Mosquito Surveillance Program, Disney World has faced a barrage of incidents and lawsuits over the years, but not one of those lawsuits involves mosquito bites.
There’s nothing wrong with Disney World protecting itself preemptively while simultaneously creating a better experience for customers.
The more lawsuits it has to pay out, the more expensive the already overpriced tickets and goods will get.
Other Insects at Disney World
Disney World’s pest control efforts go above and beyond.
However, they can’t eliminate all of the bugs.
You will find ants, bees, and other bugs from time to time.
1. Love Bugs
One of the main creatures you’ll find around Disney World is the “love bug.”
Despite the cute name, you probably won’t love them very much.
These tiny creatures with black bodies and small red heads don’t seem too difficult to handle at first as they don’t bite or transmit disease, but the problem is how many of these love bugs you will encounter.
Love bugs come out twice a year in Central Florida (May and September), and they arrive in large numbers.
In fact, one guest thought that they were experiencing light rain when driving only to learn that the actual problem was numerous love bugs hitting the windshield.
Another guest swallowed a love bug when talking.
Bees can be a nuisance.
No one wants to get stung.
Some people are even allergic.
However, we also need them for their contributions to the ecosystem.
Despite Disney World’s aggressive pest control program, they recognized that they should help when bee populations started to decrease as Disney strongly believes in conservation efforts.
Every year, Disney World displays gingerbread houses around Christmas.
Experts noticed that the bees absolutely loved the gingerbread displays as far back as 10 years ago.
Ever since, employees have used the gingerbread displays to attract bees once the season is over.
They take the gingerbread to the tree farm and let the bees enjoy them.
As a thank you for the sweet Christmas present, the bees contribute by pollinating the flowers and producing honey for nearby farmers to sell.
In fact, you may even find local honey as an ingredient in some of the treats in Disney World’s restaurants and snack stands.
If you get stung by a bee at Disney World and experience an allergy attack, medics on-site can help you.
However, you may want to carry your epi-pen with you, just in case.
Avoiding Bugs At Disney World
Despite valiant efforts on their part, Disney World can’t eradicate every bug in the park.
However, you can take steps to protect yourself even more.
Most of the ways you can protect yourself involve staying away from the places bugs enjoy and not inadvertently attracting them.
Follow these simple tips to avoid bugs during your trip to Walt Disney World.
- Stay away from the trash cans.
- Don’t post around greenery and plants.
- Keep sweets and sweet drinks properly contained.
- Wear long sleeves and pants (weather permitting).
- Clean spills.
- Leave the bees alone instead of provoking them.
Lizards And Alligators At Disney World
While a positive part of the experience and not a hazard for most guests, other guests may squirm a bit when they see the small wild lizards running around.
Most of the lizards aren’t dangerous or aggressive.
They won’t bite you or infect you with a disease.
You probably won’t even get too close.
In most cases, the lizards will run away when you get close to them.
Keep in mind that the lizards may also help keep bug numbers under control, so you shouldn’t hurt them if you encounter them.
Instead, allow them to roam around outside freely.
If you encounter a large lizard, that can be rather scary.
While larger lizards can be more dangerous, they usually aren’t any cause for concern either.
Leave them sunbathing and give them their space.
Florida is known for alligators.
They are strong, ancient creatures that provide insight into evolution as one of the oldest creatures still around, and they are beautiful.
However, even beautiful creatures can cause damage.
While rare, guests may encounter alligators on Disney World premises.
Alligators are extremely dangerous, and you should always be on the lookout while playing near fresh water in Florida and Disney World.
As we mentioned, alligator attacks are rare, but when they happen, they are absolutely devastating.
Many of us have heard about the tragic incident that took place in 2016 when a toddler got snatched up by an alligator while playing in the sand at Seven Seas Lagoon.
The boy’s father jumped into action immediately and tried to retrieve his son from the alligator’s strong jaws, but he was unsuccessful.
The world grieved with the boy’s parents at this unbelievably sad accident, including The Walt Disney Company.
Disney already had a system in place to remove alligators found in the park.
On average, they removed 23 alligators from the park every year.
In 2016, Disney World removed 83 alligators, and they removed 58 in 2017.
Disney removed 33 alligators in 2018 and 2019.
Avoid alligator encounters by staying alert around bodies of fresh water.
Alligators disguise themselves well, so look carefully.
You should also avoid dipping your feet into water unless you can see clearly and stay aware of any creatures swimming under your feet.
If you do encounter an alligator, stay calm. Keep your distance.
If you are close, slowly walk away in an attempt to avoid being noticed.
Once you get to safety, warn any guests nearby and notify an employee immediately.
Disney World employees have been trained on how to handle the situation.
Most alligator sightings don’t end as horrifically as the incident we referenced above.
Don’t let it ruin your day. However, you probably want to enjoy another part of the park for a while.
Birds At Disney World
Birds can sometimes cause a nuisance.
Luckily, you won’t see many birds in Disney World.
It’s difficult to control birds since they can easily escape by flying away, but Disney World does have a couple of tricks up its sleeves to minimize the problem.
Specifically at the EPCOT Center, you may hear bird sounds without actually seeing any birds around you.
The bird noises are actually coming from the speakers in the park.
The noises are actually the sound of birds in distress.
The sound of birds in distress discourages other birds from entering the area.
The noises generally sound loudest around the restaurants and trees since the birds tend to gravitate toward these areas.
While the sounds may not be the most pleasant thing to hear while you eat your food, the noises ensure real birds don’t steal your food while your back is turned.
Why Choose Florida For Disney World?
With the pests in the area, why did Walt Disney decide to open the park in Florida?
Florida was even believed to be inhospitable in the past thanks to the humidity, bugs, and alligators.
Disney had numerous offers for the location of his second park.
Two contenders included St. Louis and Niagara Falls.
However, always looking out for the comfort of his guests, Disney thought both cities were too cold to operate a year-round outdoor theme park.
Disney fell in love with Orlando as soon as he landed there to scope the area out.
As he swatted a mosquito out of his face walking off the plane, he enjoyed the temperature, and even more, he loved the impressive highway system that would connect Disney World to all major highways and cities in the area.
Yes, Disney had a creative mind, but he also had a business mind.
He knew a great site when he saw it, and as everyone in real estate knows, it’s all about location, location, location.
While he didn’t survive to see its opening, Walt’s brother Roy opened the park in 1971.
They put the pest control program together before the park even opened since they knew that they would need it.
However, the value of the location outweighs the cost of pest control.
Disney World is quite literally the happiest place on earth.
Where else in the world can you get away from the cold with the family and meet the real Cinderella and Buzz Lightyear and even get their autograph?
On top of the magical characters that you’ll encounter every day, the exciting rides and attractions exceed expectations and demonstrate the absolute latest technology so that you actually feel immersed in the experience.
As you go from one attraction to another, there’s a sense of wonder in the air throughout the entire park.
Disney was a visionary thanks to his brave innovations in animation and storytelling.
Even more impressive, though, was how he brought his vision to every person who encountered his creations.
You start to feel like you can be king of the jungle, like Simba; a princess, like Tiana; or a pirate, like Captain Jack Sparrow.
Even though the characters may experience struggles or deal with their own flaws, they always experience a happy ending.
You imagine and dream again.
You believe in happy endings again, even if just for the week.
The memories of the daytime parade and nighttime fireworks display over Cinderella’s castle will stick with you for life in a way you can’t experience at any other theme park.
Also, you won’t have to worry about mosquitos.