If you know me at all, this post will not be surprising. Our recent trip to Florida has left me with plenty of great photos of all four Disney Parks, including ride photos, glowing night pictures, and many pictures of furry friends. Since I’ve always been drawn to animals, my camera had a hard time ignoring them. In this post I’m going to give an overview of the animals you’ll be seeing when you visit Disney World, and not the ones on exhibit!
There are a ton of species that are native to Florida that make their way into the parks. The most common of these are probably the lizards. If I were to bet, you could probably find a lizard in every single bush in WDW if you looked hard enough. During our time at the Polynesian, which was a two night stay, I’d guess I saw at least 25 lizards on the walkways and paths. I even caught one by the pool!
I saw this little guy and a few of his friends while we were waiting in line for Frozen Ever After. Most are skittish and run for cover if you make a move towards them, but if you’re patient and move slow you can get pretty close. Another amphibian we saw was frogs. I was able to pick one up outside of the Beach Club one night on the way to the beach. Unfortunately it was too dark to take a good picture of him. Well, that and he hopped out of my hands to freedom about 5 seconds after I snatched him up.
We also found a frog about the size of a quarter on the wall of the Beach Club hot tub. I was able to transfer him to some nearby shrubs, and would like to credit myself with saving his life from a hot watery doom.
Another animal you’ll see a ton of if you head to WDW is the White Ibis, a bird native to Florida. I called them Florida ducks, one because I had no idea what they were, and two because they were pretty much everywhere we went. They are very good at begging for food, though it’s best not to feed them because it interrupts their natural behavior.
Of course there were actual Mallards around Disney World too, but I saw way more Ibis than ducks. It was oddly noticeable too that there were way more ducks at Magic Kingdom as opposed to every other park. After Magic Kingdom closed on our last day I got this very moody shot of a duck sitting on top of the waterfalls by Cinderella Castle.
My time working at Disneyland, I fell in love with the ducks in the park. Not only are they fun to watch, but their assistance with popcorn spills was always welcome. Just make sure you’re kind to the ducks, they don’t deserve to be chased around!
Another animal you’ll see plenty of are squirrels. I’ve had some amazing luck with WDW squirrels in the past, they seem to be much more confident with people than squirrels outside of the parks. On my last Disney trip I pet a squirrel in Epcot. This past month I was able to increase my squirrel touching tally to two, when Bernie came along.
While in line for Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, we saw this little cutie and his family in the rafters of the queue building. It seemed as though they had made Big Thunder their home. I got as close as I could and was able to pet him twice! Then he followed me for a bit, and I was able to get this shot. I actually had to back up because he kept getting too close to the lense.
Honestly, that was one of my highest moments of the entire trip. I wasn’t paying much attention to the guests in line around me, but I’m pretty sure my interactions with Bernie had an audience. There is something special about seemingly having a connection with an animal, especially one that is supposed to scared of people.
We were also able to get pretty close to another squirrel in Animal Kingdom, and I was able to catch him midair while walking around Asia after close.
You may be wondering why in the heck I’m writing about squirrels, because you probably have squirrels running around in your backyard. Maybe you have ducks and lizards in your neck of the woods too. But, since these wild animals live in and around the Disney Parks, they are much more comfortable around humans so you can get much closer to them than you usually would outside of the Disney bubble. To me they add to the magic of the entire park experience, and it wouldn’t be the same without them.
What experiences have you had with animals in the Disney Parks? Let us know, along with any questions you might have, in the comments below. Planning a trip to a Disney Resort? Check out our planning guides to help you along the way. If you enjoy what you’re reading please subscribe to the blog and like our social media pages which you can find on the right side of this page. Thank you for reading, we really appreciate it!