I am, like a lot of people, still in shock of all the horror that has happened in Orlando over the past week. The latest horrific event happening somewhere a lot of us spend vacations.
Matt and Melissa Graves were with their children Tuesday night on one of the beaches at the Grand Floridian. According to CNN, 2 year old Lane was wading in the water along the shoreline while his parents were on the beach with his sister, who was in a playpen. Lane was grabbed by an alligator and dragged into the water. The parents tried, unsuccessfully to save him. Unfortunately, he did not survive. However, they did find his body intact on Wednesday afternoon. So at least the family can have a proper burial.
I can honestly say this story has had me feeling sick ever since I heard about it. I have a son who is two and we bring the kids down to Disney World when we are able to. I snuggled with my son for a long time last night, just thinking about that poor mother in her hotel room at a resort that is located somewhere that is supposed give you “magical” memories. I am heartbroken and horrified for this family. I can’t imagine seeing what they saw that night.
The internet, of course, is full of opinions. Everyone is very quick to place the blame on someone. First of all, that’s not our job. If it gets to that point, there is a legal system in place to figure out where the blame is to be placed. Second, this is not the first family to let their kid splash on the beaches. I’ve seen it many times during past trips and I’ve seen many pictures of kids in the water on these beaches that have been shared in Disney groups.
There are signs that say “No Swimming,” but not everyone takes that to mean “Stay out of the water.” I’ll be honest, if I see a “No Swimming” sign I don’t go near the water and don’t let my kids near the water, but I also know about alligators in the waters in Florida. So is it Disney’s fault? I don’t think so. Then is it the family’s fault? I don’t think so. What I do think is that it is a horrific tragedy and we need to let this family grieve without throwing opinions at them.
Something else I have heard in the past couple of days is that people are afraid they are going to run into an alligator while they are in Disney. Obviously, we all like to take trips to Disney World, some might be going this summer, and this is something that will probably be in the back of your mind. I will say that in the times that I have been there I have never seen an alligator, but I know they have been spotted by guests over the years.
The truth is there are alligators in Florida and if there is a body of water, there is always a chance of having an alligator in it. People in Florida have found them in their pools. In the article, CNN states that there are 1.3 million alligators in Florida, so it stands to reason some would end up in the bodies of water in Disney. The company does have a full-time team that looks for animals that could be considered dangerous and calls the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, who will take care of the situation.
Disney closed all the beaches on property yesterday and I’m sure there are going to be some changes in the near future. We’ve been on some of the beaches, but haven’t ever been near the water. We’re usually closer to the paths than the water. The picture below shows the same beach that we were on during our last trip, but we were back by the path, not even close to the lounge chairs.
If you are going to Disney World over summer break and are worried about the alligators, just be cautious. Though I don’t think seeing alligators is going to be a common occurrence, especially so close to a busy area. The biggest and most important thing to remember is not to go in the water. I can’t stress that enough. Disney has multiple pools and splash areas at the resorts for a reason. Please, please do not go in the lagoon and lake waters.
The bottom line is that this is a terribly horrific tragedy. I can’t begin to imagine the pain the parents are feeling right now. My mind won’t let me go there with my own kids, so I really can’t imagine, but the pain has got to be incredible. I am heartbroken for them and they have a very long road ahead of them.
Please keep this family in your thoughts and prayers. They are going to need a lot of healing.
Need FREE help planning your trip? Contact me today at Dream Makers Travel Agency! Getting your tickets for the parks and special events, reserving your FastPasses, and making your dining reservations are all included in the planning.