Florida, thanks to its many swamps and humid climate, is known for its mosquitoes. However, Florida’s most famous tourist attraction, Disney World, is mosquito free. How do they do it? Some might say it’s a part of the Disney magic. In reality, there is a dedicated team of people that work on what Disney calls its mosquito surveillance program. Read on to learn how the most famous mouse in the world fights off mosquitoes.
Why Disney Gets Rid Of Mosquitoes
In part, Disney gets rid of mosquitoes because they are irritating. The parks are almost entirely outdoors and already contend with Florida nature. The weather almost entirely alternates between unearthly heat and rain. Imagine trying to walk around an amusement park with a cloud of mosquitoes following behind. Mosquitoes are attracted to body heat and people’s breath, so it would essentially be a disaster.
However, Disney’s main reason for fighting off mosquitoes is due to the possibility of disease. Mosquitoes potentially carry a wide variety of aggressive illnesses.
- Yellow fever
All of these diseases, at the very least, land the sick person in the hospital. However, they often unfortunately end in lower quality of life or someone passing away. It wouldn’t really do for a guest to die in the self-proclaimed “Happiest Place On Earth”.
How Do They Do It?
Disney has a comprehensive mosquito program that is one of the most aggressive mosquito control projects in Florida. The process is long and involved.
- Disney sets carbon dioxide traps all over their massive property. Once the mosquitoes are trapped, Disney freezes them order to study them. This analysis helps the parks determine how to eradicate them. Disney looks at species, concentration of species, how old the sample mosquitoes are, and if they were about to reproduce.
- As a first line of defense, Disney uses natural predators. In particular, they use chickens. Chickens don’t get sick from the diseases that mosquitoes carry, but the viruses still show up in their blood. This allows scientists to monitor if any outbreaks are happening. These chickens live in coops all around the edges of Disney parks and guest areas.
- Disney also sprays pesticides around their property, particularly where mosquitoes are populous. This includes any bodies of water around resorts or in the parks. They are particularly careful around the animals at Animal Kingdom and World Showcase Lagoon at Epcot.
- In addition to the pesticides, the park uses growth regulators. Growth regulators limit mosquito larvae, killing them before they can even hatch. Disney sprays these control agents twice a day. The most important is at twilight, when mosquitoes really start to swarm.
What Happens When The Issue Is Uncontrollable?
Sometimes there are too many mosquitoes in Florida even for Mickey Mouse to conquer. This is usually when they are tied to an endemic that is simply too large to control entirely. In this case, Disney places safety over customer service. The golf courses and water attractions in the parks opened late and closed early. These measures keep guests safe during mosquitoes’ most active hours.