Is Disney the Prime Villain in the Death of Lane Graves? [VIDEOS]

Is Disney the Prime Villain in the Death of Lane Graves? [VIDEOS]

Is Disney the Prime Villain in the Death of Lane Graves? [VIDEOS]

Should Disney have done more to protect little Lane Graves and other Disney World patrons from dangerous alligators lurking in their lakes?

Alligator in Disney World’s Magic Kingdom, photographed in 2004. Credit: weitkamp.com/2004

Keyboard justice mobs have been turning Matt and Melissa Graves, Lane’s parents, into an internet whipping couple, calling them negligent, stupid, and basically the Worst Parents in the World. Disney World itself has taken a back seat in social media in the blistering attacks on the Graves family.

Over the weekend, however, Disney World began quietly installing fencing around the area where Lane was snatched.

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They also began placing signs which look like this:

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Disney also released the following statement concerning the signs and fences:

We are installing signage and temporary barriers at our resort beach locations and are working on permanent, long-term solutions at our beaches. We continue to evaluate processes and procedures for our entire property, and, as part of this, we are reinforcing training with our Cast for reporting sightings and interactions with wildlife and are expanding our communication to Guests on this topic.

However, disturbing reports also began emerging of Disney’s possible long-time negligence concerning alligators.

Several employees at the Polynesian Resort Village had become alarmed at the feeding of alligators by guests over the past 14 months. Some staff members suggested to Disney that a fence be erected around the lagoon near the Village, but their requests were ignored. One insider told The Wrap, an entertainment website, that “Disney has known about the problem of guests feeding the alligators well prior to the opening of the bungalows. With the opening of the bungalows, it brought the guests that much closer to wildlife. Or, the wildlife that much closer to the guests.” A custodian at the Polynesian Resort Village also told his employer that alligators were swimming much too close to guests.

Polynesian Resort Village.

Polynesian Resort Village is next to the Grand Floridian Hotel where Lane Graves was killed.

In 2013, an attorney from San Diego, visiting Disney World with his family, was staying at the Coronado Springs Resort, and noticed a six-foot alligator swimming close by his five-year-old son, who was wading calf-deep in the water. He immediately pulled the boy from the water, and then noticed a second alligator nearby.

The attorney took pictures of the gators and informed the hotel manager, who told him that,”Those are resident pets, and we’ve known about them for years. And they’re harmless, they’re not going to attack anybody.”

This shocking video shows a Disney employee fighting off an alligator near Splash Mountain in the Magic Kingdom of Disney World.

This video shows how an abandoned ride at Disney World could be providing a breeding ground for alligators, giving them perfect access to the hotel and resort areas.

Legal experts claim that Disney might have a multimillion dollar lawsuit on its hands. Matt Morgan, an Orlando attorney who has sued Florida theme parks for negligence, said, “The Walt Disney Corp. has a duty to warn their hotel guests of any dangers that they either know about or should know about. If Disney had knowledge that there were alligators in the lagoon and did not take steps to inform their guests of such dangers, then they could be liable.”

Judge Alex Ferrer, himself a Floridian, appeared on Fox Business News with a similar prediction.

Meantime, Matt and Melissa Graves issued the following statement on the death of the little son Lane:

“Words cannot describe the shock and grief our family is experiencing over the loss of our son. We are devastated and ask for privacy during this extremely difficult time. To all of the local authorities and staff who worked tirelessly these past 24 hours, we express our deepest gratitude.”

Time will tell if their shock and grief will turn into rage towards Disney, and if that rage will turn into filing a massive lawsuit against the entertainment behemoth. At this time it certainly appears that Disney — not Matt and Melissa Graves — bears responsibility for the horrific death of little Lane Graves.

Written by

Kim is a pint-sized patriot who packs some big contradictions. She is a Baby Boomer who never became a hippie, an active Republican who first registered as a Democrat (okay, it was to help a sorority sister's father in his run for sheriff), and a devout Lutheran who practices yoga. Growing up in small-town Indiana, now living in the Kansas City metro, Kim is a conservative Midwestern gal whose heart is also in the Seattle area, where her eldest daughter, son-in-law, and grandson live. Kim is a working speech pathologist who left school system employment behind to subcontract to an agency, and has never looked back. She describes her conservatism as falling in the mold of Russell Kirk's Ten Conservative Principles. Don't know what they are? Google them!

2 Comments
  • Mike says:

    I wouldn’t say “prime villain”, but they certainly appear negligent in not having posted signs. That might not have been good for business, but it would have been prudent to warn visitors.

    I had not heard about visitors feeding the gators, but knowing human nature, not surprising. The Park Service warns you about bears and bison. Disney should have done the same with gators.

    • GWB says:

      Well, they did have signs. They said “No Swimming”, instead of “GATORS! Big, frickin’, eat-your-dog-or-small-child gators!”. Because scaring your customers is usually a bad idea.
      Of course “No Swimming” doesn’t really say “Hey, maybe you should stay several feet from the water because a ‘gator might eat you” as much as it says “Hey, this water is icky.” Heck, I spent time in Bosnia – I’ve showered in “icky water”. But there weren’t no frickin’ ‘gators in it!

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