Alligator Attacks And Kills Child At Disney Resort. Is Disney Failing To Warn Guest About Dangers?

grand floridian

Surely you’ve heard the heartbreaking story out of Orlando (three separate tragedies in less than a week, with the terrorist nightclub massacre, the senseless murder of “Voice” contestant, and this) of a 2-year old dragged away and killed by an alligator at DisneyWorld’s Grand Floridian resort. From The Orlando Sentinel:

Matt Graves tried to pry his 2-year-old son Lane from the jaws of an alligator as he wrestled with the scaly beast on Tuesday. His wife Melissa screamed for a lifeguard to help.

The Nebraska couple, who since Sunday stayed at the Grand Floridian Resort & Spa near the Magic Kingdom park, were on vacation with Lane and their 4-year-old daughter.

It would be their last as a complete family.

After a 16-hour search for the boy sent helicopters overhead and boats into the man-made lake, divers with the Orange County Sheriff’s Office Wednesday found Lane’s remains. They recovered his body, intact, about 15 yards from the shore, six feet underwater. It appears Lane drowned in the roughly 172-acre lake after the gator pulled him underwater about 9 p.m., said Orange County Sheriff Jerry Demings.

The image above is of the lagoon and beach. What’s strange and troubling here is that guest are encouraged to go to the beach but there are “No Swimming” signs. By the look of the lagoon that seems to be good advice, since with so many better swimming options on the resort swimming in nasty lagoon water seems like a bad idea.

If you look at the photo below, as compared to the one above, you’ll see one of what look to be a grand total of 2 “No Swimming” signs on that vast beach.

The 2-year old who was killed wasn’t swimming, he was dipping his feet in the water. Now maybe Floridians know better, but with the millions of guests it would seem like a little better warning about going near the water would be warranted. Understandably today’s tragedy is a rare occurrence, but gators in the lagoon (according to employees and guest) are not.

For anyone who says, “there are ‘no swimming’ signs everywhere, it’s all the parent’s fault” please look at the two photos and tell me how there is some overwhelming amount of warnings in place. There aren’t – there are two tiny signs on a large, man-made beach set against a lagoon.

Hindsight is 20/20, but something a little more descriptive than two small “No Swimming” signs seems to be in order here.

The whole thing is just horrible for the family…

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  • Paul Hooson

    Yes. Unlike some other hotels and resorts, Disney failed to post warning signs. However, gator attacks are very rare, especially fatal ones. The small size of this child compared to an adult only helped to make this child a victim.

    Although any gator bite can cause very serious injury, if you hit a gator in the nose, a reflex will cause them to open their jaw. But, more likely this child died from drowning rather than crush injuries, as the body was recovered in complete condition.

  • LiberalNightmare

    Bad shit happens,
    We can cover the world with warning labels and watch lists, bad shit will continue to happen.

  • Par4Course

    A proper warning should have included notice of the danger of being attacked by an alligator. “No Swimming” signs often mean “Swim at your own risk – No lifeguard on duty.” Parents can be expected to see that their small child doesn’t wade out into the water and drown – but parents from Nebraska can’t be expected to know that wading in to a foot or two of water means their child is in danger of being eaten by a ‘gator.


      From what I understand they had a no swimming sign, but a lifeguard on duty. Curious.

      • Paul Hooson

        Wow. It all sounds like a massive lawsuit to me.

  • Vagabond661

    The obvious solution is to post “Alligator Free Zone” signs at Disney. That will keep the gators out.

  • pennywit

    Legally speaking, they are supposed to warn of certain dangers. I don’t know enough about the situation to say whether Disney met that obligation.