Fact Check

Was There a Shark in the Water at Disney's Magic Kingdom?

Most internet reports of shark spotting should be taken with a large grain of salt.

Published Jan 27, 2023

 (GREGG NEWTON/Gregg Newton/AFP via Getty Images)
Image Via GREGG NEWTON/Gregg Newton/AFP via Getty Images
Claim:
A shark was spotted swimming in the water at Disney's Magic Kingdom in Florida.

In January 2023, the TikTok channel Mouse Trap News posted a video positing that a shark was seen swimming in the waters at Disney World's Magic Kingdom, near Orlando, Florida.

This item was not a factual recounting of real-life events. The article originated with a TikTok channel that describes its output as being humorous or satirical in nature, as follows:

"‼️Real Disney News That is 100% FAKE‼️"

Disney is often the subject of internet rumors and hoaxes. In the past, some have shared the baseless rumor that Disney planned to open a theme park dedicated to its villains. One rumor that's true is that there's an exclusive, invite-only hotel room in the Magic Kingdom's Cinderella's Castle.

That said, there's nothing new about false rumors and fake images and videos of sharks swimming unexpected places. These videos often go viral online during extreme weather events like hurricanes and flooding.

For background, here is why we sometimes write about satire/humor.

Sources

Evon, Dan. "Does Hurricane Florence Now Contain Sharks?" Snopes, 7 Sept. 2017, https://www.snopes.com/fact-check/hurricane-now-contains-sharks/.

Palma, Bethania. "Did Disney Consider Opening a Villain-Themed Park Called 'Dark Kingdom'?" Snopes, 8 Jan. 2023, https://www.snopes.com/fact-check/disney-villain-themed-park-dark-kingdom/.

Palma, Bethania. "Yes, Cinderella's Castle at Disney World Has an Exclusive Hotel Room." Snopes, 24 Dec. 2022, https://www.snopes.com/fact-check/hotel-room-in-disney-world-cinderella-castle/.

Bethania Palma is a journalist from the Los Angeles area who has been working in the news industry since 2006.