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The 5 Weirdest Hidden "Cast Members" at Walt Disney World

Snake

Walt Disney World employs around 60,000 human Cast Members. But millions of other creatures help play a part in maintaining the guest experience.

Have you ever wondered why there are so few mosquitoes around to bite into guests, despite the fact that the entire resort was built on swampland? Or why legions of rats aren't constantly rampaging around Walt Disney World's restaurants, devouring scraps of food and spreading disease in their wake? The answer, of course, is that Disney has employed special measures to control such pests. As we like to publish articles that are a little different to the typical theme park website fare here on Theme Park Tourist, we thought we'd take a moment to introduce you to some of the creepy-crawly creatures that are watching your back at Walt Disney World!

5. Ladybugs

Ladybug

The landscaping of Walt Disney World is a major task undertaken by more than 750 Cast Members. The resort's horticulture staff plants 3 million bedding plants and annuals, along with 4 million shrubs, 13,000 roses and 200 topiary every year. There are 2,000 acres of turf at Walt Disney World, requiring 450,000 mowing miles every year to keep in shape. That's the equivalent of 18 trips around the Earth at the equator. Of course, protecting all of these beautiful plants from pests is a huge task. Pesticides can be used (and are) - but carry the risk of causing unwanted pollution. Step in the humble Ladybug, huge numbers of which are regularly released to help control the population of aphids, whiteflies, thrips, mites and other soft-bodied insects. Not only do they play an important role, but they look quite pretty in themselves, too.

4. Chickens

Chickens

Next time you chow down on a chicken burger or nuggets at one of Walt Disney World's eateries, spare a thought for the dead bird's living relatives at the resort. Surprisingly, they play a part in helping to keep those pesky mosquitoes out of your face. Mosquito populations are constantly monitored by Walt Disney World's own government, the Reedy Creek Improvement District. Samples are captured and dissected to check their age and ability to carry and transmit diseases. Where do the chickens come in? Flocks are kept on the resort, and are checked weekly for the presence of antibodies to viruses borne by mosquitoes. The results are used to decide on further action, such as spraying chemicals and other anti-mosquito acts.

3. Big-eyed bugs

Geocoris
The aptly-named big-eyed bug.

Ladybugs are not the only "friendly" insects that act on behalf of Walt Disney World's horticulture team. In fact, in 2009 alone, more than 10.5 million such insects were released. The bugs with the coolest names that are employed by Walt Disney World are the big-eyed bug (Geocaries punctipes) and minute pirate bug (Orius sp), which gobble up small caterpillars and insects.

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There are 69 comments.

What a fantastic article!!! I've heard of WDW using certain insects and animals to control pests but never knew which ones. I'm glad I now have those answers...another informative article enjoyed on Theme Park Tourist!!!

Where are the snakes kept?

They are free-range snakes...haha...they are just there...

Seriously?

Oh yes! Saw a snake at Ft. Wilderness Campgroup that was nearly 4 feet long!!!

When I went to high school in Florida I was told there are a 1000 snakes per acre in Florida. Sounds a bit high to me but I know there are a lot. Black racers also eat rattlesnakes, so they are a really good snake.

Saw snake at Tom Sawyer island

Animal Kingdom by Dinosaur is where i usually see them.

Animal Kingdom by Dinosaur is where i usually see them.

Thanks! Slightly shocked by how popular the article has proven to be :-)

Finally, the recognition that ladybugs deserve!

Part of the 'Behind the Seeds' tour at Living With the Land is being able to release ladybugs into the greenhouse. :)

You left out the Dragonflies!! Dragonflies are Disney's environmentally friendly mosquito control. Watching from our Fantasmic seats as the graceful flyers scooped up mosquitoes one by one in mid-flight was practically a pre-show in itself.

We actually saw a real snake on that little island at Magic Kingdom. We were so used to fake stuff at WDW, that we stood staring at it debating what it was- until it started to slither away. Surprised the heck out of my family!

I, too, spent almost an hour watching the dragonflies flying back and forth over a small patch of fenced grass while they hunted (and found) mosquitoes. Just before a show that took place in front of Sleeping Beauty's castle. And later, saved a very small snake from getting stepped on by another tourist in the Wildlife Kingdom. It was the width and length of a wooden pencil. Just going about its business and trying to avoid all the feet around it.

My fiancé and I saw a snake in the bushes at Epcot while watching the laser light show! Who knew it was supposed to be there?! Very cool

We visit WDW about five times a year and have never seen a snake till last summer. We actually saw a large rattle snake swimming across the moat at the castle

I doubt it was a rattle snake you saw. In Florida there are birds known as snake birds(cormorants) that look like a snake slithering through the water.

I doubt it was a rattlesnake it was prob a water moccasin aka cottonmouth ...

Disneyland also has cats in their park to help with rodents. We got a pic of one in California Adventure.

I'd rather 1000stray cats then snakes. Terrified and now knowing this will be on terrifying high alert if I ever go there...

I TOTALLY AGREE WITH YOU!

I TOTALLY AGREE WITH YOU!

Black racers and many other snakes you'd see on the park grounds are native florida wildlife...LOL they will be everywhere because they are indeed wild...

Black racers and many other snakes you'd see on the park grounds are native florida wildlife...LOL they will be everywhere because they are indeed wild...

Black racers and many other snakes you'd see on the park grounds are native florida wildlife...LOL they will be everywhere because they are indeed wild...

I don't like snakes either....not at all!! But this is Florida and Disney doesn't put the snakes there they are just there. This is swamp country, but we never talk about it. Most snakes are those black racer, very long and creepy, but they are harmless and pretty much don't like people. I just scream and go the other way.

I saw a snake while walking the trail on Polynesian Hotel property. That nasty ugly snake had to be 5 ft long!!!!! Clear as day and looking at us like we were in its way. I hate them!!

I saw a snake thirty years ao on the road in Fort Wilderness! How about the alligator in the water queue at the end of Splash mountain! I still can't believe that one! Look on YouTube!

In Florida it is pretty much a given. If there is water (not salt water) there is a gator. No one should ever let small children or pets run around lose near any water. The gators are surprisingly quick in spite of their size.

Terrified of snakes. Haven't seen one at WDW but I will be watching for them now.

Now maybe people will stop freaking out about bugs during their visit. Lol. So many reviews on resorts about bugs and I saw a snake. Cracks me up. Bugs can easily get in rooms and it is amazing being swampland how little of a problem it actually is. Many mistake the huge water bugs for roaches too. Hello swampland!!! I guess being from Texas and having six foot snakes, coyotes, and all kinds of bugs including tarantulas in my yard makes me not as scared. And I live in a city of over a million people. I love this info being provided. Thanks.

I also crack up at the "bug" in room comments. Hello, built on swampland! And many waterbugs are mistaken for roaches too. I grew up in the country so bugs don't phase me. And I crack up when people blame resort for bed bugs when they are actually brought to Disney by travlers suitcases. Most don't realize they can be picked up on plane then brought into resort. East Coast had a bad case few years ago thus travelers brought them with them. As for snakes, not a fan but we have so many in San Antonio even in the city. I have learned the good from bad so even though I might jump when I see one. I know they are keeping critters away.

Don't forget about bats. They eat Mosquitos as well. I was at Epcot at dusk, just under the big geodesic ball, and saw something swooping above. Someone told me it was bats but not to say it loudly, lest some guests freak out.

That is good to know. We had three in our yard swooping around us recently. Swoop on if killing mosquitos!

Very informative. This is something I think everyone should know about Disney's extra work to keep their patrons comfortable. How they go above and beyond to do so.

Disneyland also has cats. We saw one for the first time in California Adventure and got a pic!

Our son found a snake at Pop in February. Very interesting article. I prefer natural pest remedies to chemical. I dislike snakes but I dislike rats even more.

Never saw a snake on Disney property all the times I went So glad because they are my biggest fear. Always wondered why but now I know they are there. Now I'll be on the lookout.

Glad to hear some snakes are employed! They are of no threat to humans and do a great job controlling the rodent population. A shame everyone is so terrified of this harmless creature!

I've been to WDW over 20 times and have never seen a snake. Thank God :) but only Walt knows what's he's doing. Good job looking out for us ♡

Disney also employs cats to help the snakes with pests. I've seen them around the backstage areas in the past.

DLRP uses Falcons to control the seagull population & keep them off the castle, where their droppings are obviously unsightly but it also destroys the forced perspective of the structure!

January of 2011 I actually stepped on a dead rat in one of the dark caves on Tom Sawyer Island at Magic Kingdom. I love Disney and don't hold it against them, after all, it was dead. But I steered clear of Tom Sawyer Island when were there last year!

I have seen snakes multiple times at Epcot. At the entrance and near the entrance to soarin. On the pavement both times.

AWEASOME, thanks for this, as a lover of annoying people with useless yet very cool information you have made my week...

oh so many people are going to be bored by me with this.. i thank you...

they wont...

I gave a horrific phobia of snakes. Knowing that they are around, I won't be back to WDW or any other properties. I see one and end up having an seizure because of my fear. I always loved WDW, not anymore!

If you don't like snakes then don't come to Florida. Most snakes avoid people they don't like us either. I'm not a fan of the black racer because it can be territorial I prefer the more docile indigo or rat snake, I practically grew up at Disney and go every week during the different festivals and I have never seen a snake not that I would be freaked or anything.

If you won't go somewhere because of snakes you should probably avoid the lower half of the United States and the upper half or the east half or the west half or any part of north america, central america, or south america. Actually, pretty much the only safe place you can go is Hawaii.

You may want to see a psychiatrist.

Snake. Typhoon lagoon. Lazy river.

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