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Rock wall added to Disney beach where boy was killed by gators

Posted by on Aug. 6, 2016 at 2:25 PM
  • 8 Replies
By Jim Hayward
Palm Beach Post Staff Writer
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. — Disney World is nearly finished adding a rock wall around beaches of the lagoon that borders its Magic Kingdom resorts, acting as a barrier between guests and underwater predators that include alligators blamed in the death of a Nebraska 2-year-old in June.
New signs and a rope fence were added to the beaches behind Disney's Grand Floridian Resort and Spa immediately after the June 14 incident in which Lane Graves was snatched from the beach. The death put a spotlight on guest safety and wildlife on Disney World property.
But the project involving the creation of a large rock barrier around Seven Seas Lagoon was much more involved and is still ongoing behind the neighboring Polynesian Village Resort. Work was completed at the Grand Floridian in late July, according to WDW News Today.
Photos taken this week and posted on the Tikiman's Unofficial Polynesian Village Resort website show work progressing past the main beach at the Polynesian and nearing the end of the resort at the Transportation and Ticket Center.
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The fence and signs still stand in front of the rocky shoreline, creating a deterrent for anyone on the beaches. The signs read: "DANGER: Alligators and snakes in area. Stay away from the water. Do not feed the wildlife." Elsewhere on resort property, including outdoor dining areas, are signs that read: "PLEASE DO NOT FEED THE WILDLIFE: Feeding changes their natural behavior and may be harmful to their health."
Prior to the attack, signs posted near the water advised against swimming but did not warn of alligators. Issues were raised recently about the feeding of gators, with one report saying that firefighters in the area were giving them food and told to stop.
The beaches are open during the day but closed from an hour before sundown to an hour after sunup. Guests are also allowed on the beaches at both resorts during the popular nightly fireworks show at the nearby Magic Kingdom, but they're asked to leave immediately after.
The boy’s father, Matt Graves, told rescue officials that two alligators were involved in the fatal attack, according to a report in early July. The man, who was on vacation with his wife and son, was bitten and suffered lacerations while trying to save the boy by prying him from the gator's jaws, rescue officials said. The 2-year-old was wading on the beach behind the Grand Floridian in just a few inches of water.
But experts say that it's not unusual for an alligator to attack in shallow water or even dry land. They routinely eat wading birds, raccoons and dogs along the shoreline, according to a story in Sarasota magazine. Experts told the magazine that the best way to encounter an alligator is at an attraction that puts a wall between you and the animal.
State wildlife officials said they’re confident they caught the alligator that killed the boy. Officials said they killed five during the 16-hour search for the boy's body, which was found intact about 15 yards from shore in the lagoon. Disney World covers more than 27,000 acres in central Florida, with many areas preserved for wildlife.
In late July, the parents released a statement saying they will not sue Disney World over the incident. Matt Graves and Melissa Graves said they hope to "keep (Lane’s) spirit alive" through their work with the Lane Graves Foundation, which they set up to raise donations for various charities.
The death was the first alligator attack at Disney World since an 8-year-old was injured in 1986. More than 240 alligators have been caught and killed over the past decade on Disney World property, according to a report after the boy's death.
State records kept since 1948 show 348 attacks on humans across Florida and 24 fatalities. Once endangered with a population around 300,000, Florida alligators now number around 1 million. Experts warn that any body of fresh water can be home to one or more alligators.
by on Aug. 6, 2016 at 2:25 PM
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Replies (1-8):
MrsDavidB25
by Stacey on Aug. 6, 2016 at 2:34 PM
1 mom liked this
I still feel so bad for these parents. It has only been 2 months but I bet it feels like an eternity already for them without their son.
Traci_Momof2
by Ruby Member on Aug. 8, 2016 at 8:26 PM

I just saw this on the news tonight.  I think it's kind of ridiculous that they feel they need to build a wall.  Those parents should not have let that little boy in the water to begin with.  Sometimes when you break the rules, even the seemingly small ones, you end up with dire consequences.

Anonymous
by Anonymous 1 on Aug. 8, 2016 at 8:27 PM

It should have been there all along. Along with signage.

Lunarprancer
by Betsy on Aug. 8, 2016 at 8:49 PM
They had too though if you know what I mean.

Quoting Traci_Momof2:

I just saw this on the news tonight.  I think it's kind of ridiculous that they feel they need to build a wall.  Those parents should not have let that little boy in the water to begin with.  Sometimes when you break the rules, even the seemingly small ones, you end up with dire consequences.

kman88
by Gold Member on Aug. 8, 2016 at 8:52 PM
I live 5 minutes from his family. His bdayis next month and they are having a huge celebration of his life. 💙 I couldn't imagine. My dd is just a couple days older than he was.
Anonymous
by Anonymous 2 on Aug. 8, 2016 at 8:53 PM
Firefighters were feeding gators? What the heck? They know better than that!
Anonymous
by Anonymous 3 on Aug. 8, 2016 at 8:54 PM
It's sad that people's stupidity leads to having to wall up nature.
Anonymous
by Anonymous 4 on Aug. 8, 2016 at 8:57 PM
Lesson to everyone, gators are in nearly all fresh water in FL.

Lesson to resorts, protect visitors better. If you have ads with people walking in the very same water and playground equipment 50 ft away, expect guests to believe you have provided safe waters.
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