Why Are There No Mosquitoes At Disney World?

There are a lot of potential annoyances to account for when you're planning a trip to Disney World. From long lines to sweltering humidity to swarms of overwrought children screaming for a little facetime with their favorite cartoon mouse, a trip to Disney World is often laden with stressors. One thing you don't have to worry about, however, is the presence of nagging mosquitoes. Considering the theme park's location on the outskirts of a vast Floridian swamp, the Magic Kingdom's bug-free bona fides seems practically, well, magic. So how does the happiest place on Earth live up to its reputation in the pest control department?

Joe Potter to the rescue

As it turns out, the mosquito management at Disney is the result of a highly coordinated effort in park design and maintenance owing much to founder Walt Disney's relationship with veteran, engineer and MIT graduate Joe Potter. Joe Potter had served as regional governor of the Panama Canal Zone, a location with an infamous malaria problem. A true autodidact, Potter versed himself thoroughly in pest control to contain the incidences of insect-born illness within his governorate. 

After meeting Potter at the World's Fair, Disney hired him on the spot to assist with his nascent "Florida Project". The future theme park magnate had just purchased an ample piece of land in the Sunshine State — a plot that was plagued by alligators, crocodiles and, of course, mosquitoes. Fearing the effects a malaria outbreak might have on his plans for the land, Disney made mosquito control an early priority in Disney World's design. Fortunately for Disney, Potter had just the special sauce the cartoonist was looking for.

Keep that water moving

What Potter learned during his time in Panama was that moving water was the mosquito's greatest foe. Mosquitoes mostly lay their eggs in standing water, and find it difficult to procreate and take root in a location without at least a few stagnant pools lying around. Potter helped Walt outfit Disney World with exceptional drainage and without any standing water at all. Guests rarely notice this detail, but every single water element in the park maintains perpetual motion whether it be generated by a massive waterfall a la Splash Mountain or a subtle artificial current.

But controlling mosquito reproduction was only the first half of the battle. In case any errant mosquito managed to slip the perimeter, the park also implemented a state-of-the-art mosquito surveillance system, which deploys garlic spray and natural predators like bats to keep any invading bloodsuckers under control.

So next time you're waiting on that three-hour line for the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, take a moment to appreciate the fact that you aren't being eaten alive.