Video of a Disney employee trying to keep an alligator away from the popular Splash Mountain ride in 2009 is getting a fresh look after a gator killed a 2-year-old boy Tuesday night at one of the park's premier resorts.
The attack on Lane Graves, a young boy who was playing at the edge of the water at a Disney resort, has led to questions about the presence of alligators at Disney and the organization’s response and safety protocols. While there was a prominent “no swimming” sign on the beach where Lane was snatched, there was not a sign warning about alligators.
Reports of guests at Disney’s parks and resorts feeding stray gators have emerged in the aftermath of the incident, and the 2009 video, broadcast by Inside Edition, appears to show someone throwing a few morsels of food to the beast. In that footage, a park employee uses the blunt end of a pool skimmer to nudge the aggressive gator back into the water and away from the Splash Mountain ride. The gator makes several attempts to stay on land, but is repeatedly pushed back into the water.
“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,” an ex-Disney employee told TheWrap.com.
Another video, shot at the Coronado Springs Resort at an unknown date, shows guests throwing food – including chicken – into the water at a lurking alligator.
Mike Hamilton, a custodial employee at the Bora Bora Bungalows, told The Orlando Sentinel he recommended a fence to protect guests, but his concerns weren’t addressed.