Employees have been warning Disney officials about the potential alligator threats for longer than most people care to believe, or so it would seem. In a recently released video highlighted by Tomo News, as seen above, the gator threat is nothing new for Disney, and on the heels of the tragedy concerning two-year-old Lane Graves, this situation could turn into a PR nightmare for the happiest place on earth.
Lane Graves’ family has stated that they’ve been overwhelmed by support, but many people think the tragedy could have been avoided if Disney had taken proper steps to solve the alligator issue before it became an actual threat. Disney is taking steps to improve safety for its guests by installing signs and putting up temporary boundaries. In a statement, Disney officials confirmed they were making strides toward permanent solutions as well.
The video by Tomo News states that staff members have been warning higher-ups that some Disney guests, particularly those staying the bungalows, have been feeding the alligators. Gators aren’t usually aggressive toward humans unless they associate said humans with food or food sources. Lane Graves was attacked directly across the lagoon from where the bungalows are located.
People are sounding out all over. Fox News commentators highlighted the situation in a recent special focus.
— Morgan Cody (@Morgan_Cody_1) June 19, 2016
— Moi (@TalynBug) June 18, 2016
Shockingly, Lane Graves may not have been the first child put at risk by the alligators in Disney’s lagoon. A father from San Diego told reporters that his child was approached by an alligator only a year ago.
He recounted the story for reporters, stating, “He was playing, and looking for bugs and stuff. Then, all of a sudden, I looked past his head and I see this alligator, maybe six or seven feet, bee-lining it straight for him.” His son was five years old at the time.
He went on to say, “The manager couldn’t care less. I remember her words, ‘These are resident pets. They’ve known about them for years, they’re not dangerous, they’re not going to harm anybody,'” said Hiden. “I was very upset, very angry, very shocked and I say, ‘I hope to God I never read about a young kid killed by an alligator like that one almost did to my son.'”
His story made headline news shortly after Lane Grave’s body was discovered at the bottom of the lagoon.
San Diego Father Says Gators At Disney Also Went After His Son.So your reported to Disney employees right away? Rite https://t.co/3FHJBWNykc
— Fight for my kids (@CTarian) June 17, 2016
Many people are, of course, heartsick that it took such a tragedy to get Disney to take proactive steps toward protecting guests from alligators on resort property. Some of the video and other media that has been made public since the tragedy is shocking. Several videos show guests feeding alligators and still others show employees shooing the reptiles away from guests with sticks and even wrestling with them on park grounds.
Several sources say that Disney removes alligators from the premises when they’ve gotten too big. The question is, how big is considered too big?
Disney removes gators from its lakes when they are too big according to park employees @WFTV
— Martha Sugalski (@MarthaSugalski) June 15, 2016
It remains to be seen how Disney will handle this public relations threat. So far, they’ve posted signs and fenced the beaches, citing them as off-limits to guests. People all over the world continue to show support for Lane Graves’ family, and it’s probably safe to say that they will be first to support any measures taken to protect other families from suffering a similar tragedy.
[Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images]