While Disney’s Animal Kingdom is, of course, a Disney theme park and is more often visited for its rides and shows, many guests fall in love with the incredible animals that live there. As a kid, I was probably one of those guests who looked past these amazing creatures that call the park home, but as an Orlando-area resident, I’ve taken great joy in getting to know and spend time with the “cast members” who are the true magic of the 4th Walt Disney World gate. One of those animals was probably not one that most people stop to see: it was a Black Swan.
Rebecca the Male Black Swan has lived at Walt Disney World for a majority of his life, starting his tenure at EPCOT Center, back when the park featured a few small bird exhibits (also including Flamingos). Over his over 30-years on this planet, he delighted guests for many years in World Showcase, but then was an opening day attraction at Disney’s Animal Kingdom in April 1998. He and his mate were located at the very front of the park in The Oasis, in fact in the absolute first exhibit any guest could see. Sadly, the female swan passed away a few months back, and now Rebecca has joined her.
Regular WDWNT readers and viewers know Rebecca well. He has been featured in countless live streams, in tweets, and even in photo reports and such. We embraced him mostly for his quirkiness. He would grumpily honk at the other birds and animal keepers in his enclosure, chase ducks around and bite them, and had a charming slow waddle. Our love only grew when we found out that his name was Rebecca, the story being that they had thought he was female, mistakenly categorized him as such, and given him a female name. They decided they wouldn’t change it even after found out he was indeed male.
We made sure to stop and see him every time we visited Animal Kingdom, and what was funny was the discovery that many other guests would too. While many of our followers send us pictures and videos of the large bird, guests who weren’t even familiar with WDWNT had been visiting Rebecca for years, some even knowing him by name. Regardless if they did or did not, many would stop for a few minutes to say hello and see what the elderly swan was up to. Typically, this was a nap, a feeding time, or vigorous cleaning of his plumage.
What our story with Rebecca shows is that there is magic to every detail, great and small at Walt Disney World, and in the case of Disney’s Animal Kingdom, there are so many guests who have a favorite animals which they visit every trip which mean a lot to them. Whether they trigger a memory, spark and interest, or in our case, have arthritis and are very relatable to the family members I visit with, the animal “cast members” of this park are all an important part of Walt Disney World to many.
In 50 years of history here in Florida, Rebecca lived through a majority of it and brought joy to so many guests during that span. We, and many others, will miss him dearly.
The post Rebecca the Male Black Swan Has Passed Away at Disney’s Animal Kingdom appeared first on WDW News Today.