Footage taken in 2009 at Walt Disney World has emerged that features a Disney employee trying to scare off an alligator by the popular Splash Mountain ride. The video shows the problem of aggressive alligators at the popular family destination may go back a lot farther than just last week.
Toddler Lane Graves was visiting Walt Disney World’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa luxury hotel last week when he was attacked and killed by an alligator on the edge of the Seven Seas Lagoon. Lane was found drowned at the bottom of the lagoon the next day.
Some ‘No Swimming’ signs were posted, but on the warm evening, guests did not equate dipping their toes in the lagoon with swimming. No alligator warnings could be found.
Days after the attack, some Disney employees came forward to admit that they had warned management of an alligator problem. Guests had been feeding alligators at the Polynesian Resort, which is close by and also situated on the edge of the man-made Seven Seas Lagoon. They say they had warned management that gators had been getting bolder, and had been ignored when they urged the resorts to put up a barrier.
This new video that has emerged shows an alligator right in the Magic Kingdom theme park. As guests enjoy the park’s famous water flume ride, they are blissfully unaware of an employee using a stick to try and direct the alligator away from the ride.
Another video that surfaced since the attack shows children throwing chicken and lettuce to alligators at Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort, another hotel on the property.
“Disney knew these alligators had become desensitized to humans, as they had begun to associate guests with food, and did not act in a proactive manner,” said an employee to The Wrap.
In central Florida, wherever there is water, there are alligators. The reptiles can travel from one waterway to another by crossing over land. Many man-made channels are found throughout the Walt Disney World property.
Walt Disney World, after 45 years of operation, has never had an alligator attack before. The Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission works closely with Disney, relocating alligators that reach a length of four feet, or any that come too close to places where human activity take place.