Walt Disney World is supposed to be the most magical place on earth. It’s the place where you can forget about your troubles and let yourself go into the fantastical, fictional world created by the park. Unfortunately, things are getting a bit too real at Walt Disney World right now as part of the expansive resort is currently under a rabies alert.
Walt Disney World has confirmed to USA Today that two cast members were scratched by a feral cat that was carrying rabies. Neither employee has contracted the disease. The cat wasn’t found in or near any of theme parks but rather in an office building parking lot.
While this is certainly disconcerting, it’s ultimately a minor detail for the larger resort. Walt Disney World covers 40 square miles and the alert covers two square miles, a stretch around Interstate 4 and Epcot Center Drive, one of the main drags of the resort.
Still, it is better to be safe than sorry. If there was one cat carrying rabies in the area, the possibility of others being around certainly exists, and nobody wants what appears to be an isolated incident to become anything other than that.
The rabies alert will last for 60 days “or until further notice,” but the Florida Department of Health makes it clear in a statement that areas not covered by the alert should not consider themselves to be safe. Clearly, if this is an issue anywhere it’s a potential issue everywhere, especially in the area immediately surrounding the alert.
The purpose of the alert is simply to raise public awareness on the issue so that people will take better care if they find themselves in potentially dangerous situations.
When Walt Disney World was first under construction, the company worked out an arrangement with the state of Florida to create the Reedy Creek Improvement District. The district encompasses the entirety of the resort and it basically allows Walt Disney World to function as its own city. It means the resort is not part of any other city in Florida and it handles much of its own municipal responsibilities.
For what it’s worth, the 60-day rabies alert will last through the end of August, which means it will still be in effect when Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge opens at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, when a larger influx of visitors is almost certainly expected. Although, that park is well outside the area of the alert. Still, it’s worthwhile for people planning a trip in the coming weeks to be aware.