Disney makes changes after alligator attack at its Florida resort


(CNN) — On Friday, Walt Disney World roped off the lagoon where an alligator killed a 2-year-old boy.

New warning signs were put up around the resort, saying “Danger, alligators and snakes in area. Stay away from the water.” and, in what may be seen as a poor choice of words, “Do not feed the wildlife.”

Is this too little, too late?

A video shows a fence going up at Disney’s Grand Floridian Hotel, the site of Tuesday’s horrific attack.

Meanwhile, a growing number of Disney resort visitors have been telling CNN of their own close calls with gators.

David Hiden described rescuing his son as not one, but two alligators, closed in on him at their Disney resort last year. “So I quickly grab my son, grabbed him out of that shoreline and brought him up to safety.”

And this week’s tragedy wasn’t the first time an alligator has been a problem at the Grand Floridian. Allison Taylor says only another guest’s warning prevented her 5- and 7-year-olds from going to the beach where an alligator was said to be lying. “I think we all live in this Disney World bubble where nothing bad is going to happen because it’s Disney,” she said.

But was Disney part of that bubble by missing to post potential warning signs? YouTube videos show alligator run-ins at Disney rides and resorts, including guests feeding alligators, which is against Florida law.

Fred Abbott of Jacksonville is one of the few attorneys to ever win a lawsuit in Florida involving an alligator attack. He says previous signs that only warned Grand Floridian guests not to go swimming in the lake intentionally left out any mention of alligators so as not to frighten guests.

“They put the hotels right on the edge of the lake and they mixed people with the water, which they know they alligators are in, so at a minimum they had a duty to warn,” he said.

Disney officials say they’re evaluating their procedures for reporting sightings and interactions with wildlife, and how their staff communicates warnings to guests.

Abbott believes Disney is likely to face large lawsuits, maybe several, but he says it shouldn’t be about the money but something far more precious.

“They bill this as ‘the happiest place on earth.’ For children, it should be the safest place on earth for children,” he said.

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