A viral TikTok claims Disney World is mosquito-free. Here are surprising ways the resort seemingly keeps pests at bay.

A viral TikTok claims Disney World is mosquito-free. Here are surprising ways the resort seemingly keeps pests at bay.
Disney World in Florida's buildings were designed to prevent mosquitoes from nesting.Background: Phelan M. Ebenhack/AP Photo; Inlay: Joao Paulo Burini/Getty Images
  • A TikTok video with more than 1.5 million views claims that Disney World is mosquito-free.
  • Disney World in Florida says it has "an extensive mosquito prevention and monitoring program."
  • The park's anti-mosquito tactics have included using garlic spray and mosquito-eating chickens.

A TikTok video claiming that there are no mosquitoes in Disney World has gone viral, and it's gotten people wondering about how the Florida resort keeps its parks' pests to a minimum.

The video, posted on June 6 by TikToker Michael McBride, has been viewed 1.5 million times at the time of writing. In it, McBride poses with a block of text about what he wrote are the Orlando, Florida, resort's anti-mosquito tactics.
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A viral TikTok claims Disney World is mosquito-free. Here are surprising ways the resort seemingly keeps pests at bay.
A screenshot of Michael McBride's TikTok; Disney World pictured in 2014.@idea.soup/TikTok; Matt Stroshane/Walt Disney World Resort via Getty Images
"There are no mosquitoes at Disney World, even though it's in the middle of the Florida swamps," McBride, who goes by @idea.soup on social media, wrote in his video. "Disney doesn't want anything to damage a guest's experience. So they have a Mosquito Surveillance Program."
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Disney World's FAQ page answers a question about how its staff controls mosquitoes throughout the resort. The website states: "We have an extensive mosquito prevention and monitoring program across property."

The FAQ page does not list details of the resort's pest-control tactics, and Disneyland, Walt Disney's California resort, does not offer information about mosquito control on its website.

According to Disney historians and fans, Disney World in Florida is known to keep the blood-sucking insects at bay thanks to intentional building designs, waterways, and more.
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Disney World's fountains and tunnels keep water flowing, which prevents mosquitoes from nesting

A viral TikTok claims Disney World is mosquito-free. Here are surprising ways the resort seemingly keeps pests at bay.
A fountain keeps water circulating in Disney Springs at Disney World in March 2019.DavidMartinPhotos/Shutterstock

In 1964, to help minimize the presence of mosquitoes at his new Florida resort, Walt Disney hired engineer and former army general William "Joe" Potter, according to the website for D23, Disney's official fan club.

Potter, who had previously worked in the Panama Canal Zone, told the Disney creator that his parks needed to avoid still water at all costs, since this is where mosquitoes lay their eggs, Disney historian and author of "Top Disney" Christopher Lucas told the Orlando Sentinel in February. "One of his things that he learned from the Panama Canal where people were dying of malaria was if you let water just sit there, you're going to have a problem," Lucas told the Orlando, Florida, newspaper of Potter. "He insisted to Walt, whatever we do, wherever there's water, we got to make sure it's either running off, moving or it's just not sitting there or you're going to have a lot of mosquitoes."
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Potter first drained the swamp around Disney World's Magic Kingdom park through a series of tunnels known as "Joe's ditches," according to D23.

Today, ditches and fountains keep water circulating through the park, Lucas told Reader's Digest in 2019.

Disney World's buildings and gardens keep water from pooling

Buildings in Disney World aren't just visually appealing: They're also designed to counter mosquitoes, Lucas told Reader's Digest.
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"They made every building there curved, or designed in a way so there'd be no place for the water to catch and sit there," Lucas told Reader's Digest.

Disney's landscapers also prioritize plants and flowers that don't allow water to pool, and ponds are stocked with mosquito-eating fish, Lucas told the magazine.

A viral TikTok claims Disney World is mosquito-free. Here are surprising ways the resort seemingly keeps pests at bay.
View of the Epcot International Flower and Garden Festival at Disney World in May 2016.Gustavo Caballero/Getty Images

The resort uses garlic spray as a natural repellent

According to Lucas, Disney World uses a natural garlic spray to ward off mosquitoes.
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"The amount that they use is so small that humans can't smell it, but mosquitoes are very susceptible to it," he told Reader's Digest.

The park also employs mosquito traps, according to a 2019 annual meeting report published by the Reedy Creek Improvement District, the organization that oversees the land on which Walt Disney World sits. Between May 2018 and May 2019, Disney's mosquito control program set more than 2,000 traps throughout the park, the report said.

Disney World has used chickens to help monitor mosquitoes

A viral TikTok claims Disney World is mosquito-free. Here are surprising ways the resort seemingly keeps pests at bay.
Disney World relies on chickens for mosquito prevention.Tao Xu/Getty Images
Disney has also employed flocks of sentinel chickens to eat mosquitoes, according to the same 2019 Reedy Creek Improvement District report.
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Chickens can be infected by mosquito-born viruses like the West Nile virus, but they are not harmed by the viruses, according to a publication by Penn State University.

To identify whether mosquitoes carrying viruses exist in the park, members of Disney World's Mosquito Surveillance program took more than 2,300 blood samples from chickens in the park between May 2018 and May 2019, according to the 2019 Reedy Creek Improvement District report. Walt Disney World Resort, Christopher Lucas, and Michael McBride did not immediately respond to Insider's requests for comment.
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