The Mosquito-Free Magic Of Disney World: How It’s Done

It seems as if Disney has everything available for the perfect vacation. That being said, there is also something that is noticeably missing.


If you pay attention while you are visiting Disney, you suddenly come to realize that there are no mosquitoes to bug you and bite you. In fact, mosquitoes are so noticeably absent from Disney that it makes some people wonder how they could possibly not be there.

After all, Disney is built on swampland and swamps are notorious for being breeding grounds for mosquitoes. Disney should actually be home to some of the biggest mosquitoes in the world but they have done a great job at keeping them away. How do they do it?

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Why Are There No Mosquitoes At WDW?

Most people who notice that there are no mosquitoes at Walt Disney World begin to think that there is some type of Disney magic going on behind the scenes. In actuality, no pixie dust is used to remove the mosquitoes, but a lot of elbow grease was used along with some good, old-fashioned, human ingenuity.

When Walt Disney was at the 1964 world’s fair, he met a man by the name of Gen. William ‘Joe’ Potter. That chance meeting was something that forever changed the course of Disney in a way that most people didn’t see. After all, it happened behind the scenes.

Disney knew he was on to something when he found out that Joe Potter was formerly involved with the Panama Canal. That part of the world is not only known for mosquitoes, it is known for malaria.

It would be difficult, if not impossible to earn a reputation as the Happiest Place on Earth if you were constantly swatting buzzing mosquitoes all day long. Disney enlisted the help of Potter to get rid of the mosquitoes, but he had a specific agenda.

Walt Disney knew that he didn’t want mosquitoes to be a problem at the upcoming theme parks. He also didn’t want to harm the environment or any future visitors by spraying a lot of pesticides and doing some serious damage.

When enlisting Potter to help get rid of the mosquitoes, he asked him to do so in a natural way. Fortunately, Potter was just the man to take care of the situation, and here are some of the ways that he did so.

Stop the Breeding Process – If there is one thing that most of us know about mosquitoes, it’s the fact that they need water to breed. This was a real problem because Disney was built on swampland and there was plenty of water around.

As it turns out, there was more to the breeding process than simply needing water. It had to be stagnant, standing water in order for the mosquito larva to survive and eventually grow into the flying insect we are all too familiar with.

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  • The next time you are at Disney, pay attention to any water that you see at the parks and resorts. Believe me, water is everywhere. What you won’t see, however, is stagnant water.

Here’s a YouTube video that shows a great example of a Disney Water feature. It’s an upside-down waterfall outside the Imagination pavilion at Disneys Epcot park!

All of the water at Disney is in motion in some way or another. You will have a hard time finding even the smallest pool of water that doesn’t have a fountain or waterfall involved with it.

Keeping the water continuously in motion stops the mosquitoes from breeding. In addition, it provides a pleasant atmosphere for Disney guests.

Fish – Another feature that was included in the larger pools of water is the right type of fish. They wanted fish that would eat the larva, which is why they decided on mosquito fish along with others, including goldfish.

The fish would provide a pleasant diversion for anyone who was looking into the water. Little did they know that the fish were also busy keeping the water clean from mosquito eggs and larva. It was a win-win situation!

Architecture – Something else that can lead to the breeding of mosquitoes is architecture. It’s not something that we often give thought to, but it had to be put into the planning process with Disney.

  • When rainwater hit the buildings that were being built at Disney, the runoff had to go somewhere. Every building that was built was designed in such a way that the water would run off and would not collect in pools at any time during the process.

This can even be seen in the design of Spaceship Earth, the big “golf ball” at Epcot. If it were simply designed as a big ball, water would run off of it in great amounts and standing water would be a problem.

There are actually tiny 1-inch openings all over spaceship Earth that causes the water to run inside so it can be directed properly. In everything that is built at Disney, anti-mosquito measures are taken.

Landscaping – Some plants, including bushes, trees, and flowers tend to gather water and they become breeding grounds for mosquitoes. Disney decided to not use any of those plants but to use landscaping that would naturally drain so that mosquitoes would not breed.

Garlic – Although Disney does not like to use unnatural pesticides, it has been reported by some cast members that they do use garlic spray. It isn’t enough garlic that the smell affects the people in the area but the mosquitoes hate it.

Carbon Dioxide Traps – It is also rumored that Disney incorporates the use of carbon dioxide traps to gather any of the mosquitoes that do happen to breed in the area. They may also look carefully at those mosquitoes that are captured to determine what they can do to lower the population even further.

Why Are There No Birds At WDW?

If you look around you at Disney, you are likely to see birds of all types. There are wild birds that fly throughout the theme parks and resorts as well as trained birds that are used in shows as well.

One thing that you won’t see, however, is birds bothering you while you are trying to eat. This is done specifically by design and it’s not something that you will see at basically any other restaurant.

At outdoor Disney restaurants, there are speakers located throughout the dining area that play the sounds a bird would make in distress. Other birds pick up on that noise and take it as being a warning that there is something bad in the area.

As humans, we just hear it as natural background noise but birds absolutely hate it. They will not come near the area but if you happen to drop a French fry in a parking lot, it won’t be long before a bird comes and grabs it from the ground.

How Does Disney Control Flies?

If Disney were full of flies and similar pests, it would really make visiting the theme parks a miserable experience. Fortunately, they have found a way to keep flies from being a problem as well.

You might think that there was some type of Disney magic involved in this, just as you might think that it was involved with the lack of mosquitoes. In reality, it is just a matter of using common sense. In fact, we could all learn a lesson from it.

  • Disney is good at keeping flies away because they are excellent at keeping things clean. This includes all areas of the resorts and parks but they pay particular attention to the garbage areas.

If something is spilled or if something is turning rotten, it is cleaned up very quickly. All garbage is picked up on a regular basis and nothing is left lying around to spoil in the Florida heat.

In addition, if there is an animal that dies or if they drop feces, the cast members are quick to pick it up and bag it up. Nothing is left on the ground long enough that it would be a problem that would attract flies and allow them to breed.

Why Are There No Rats at Disney?

Ironically, Disney is based on a mouse character, but rodents are not welcome at the park or in the resort areas!

Fortunately, they have a lot of help in the form of some feral cats.

Feral cats have been a part of Disney ever since it got started. They are at the parks at the same time as all of the human guests, but they tend to stay out of sight during the day. If you look carefully enough, you may just spot one on occasion.

Those cats will wander the park during the nighttime, quickly taking care of the rodent population. It’s a natural way to care for it.

If the cats get too comfortable with humans, they will be adopted out to one of the cast members. Until that time, they are well cared for by the Disney employees.

Disney also takes appropriate measures to ensure that rodents are not a problem. This includes occasionally trapping or using poison, although they try to keep that to a minimum. They will also sometimes use nonpoisonous snakes if the cats don’t take care of the population quickly enough.

Disney is a wonderful place to visit and they have earned the reputation of being the happiest place on earth. It is seen in all aspects of the care of the parks, including the little things that really make it a pleasant place to be.