Nightmares in the Water at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa

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There were no warning signs alerting guests of the hazardous alligators lurking about the Grand Floridian Resort and Spa where two-year-old Lane Graves was grabbed and taken underwater on Tuesday night, even though reptiles had been spotted in the water just days before the attack. And if you‘re from Nebraska, you are not likely to know that every fresh water lake or pond in Florida contains alligators.

Florida is home to more than a million alligators and nearly 20 million people. Between 1948 and 2016, there were 257 attacks with 23 deaths. That includes eight children. So what happened on Tuesday night at this resort, would not be outside of an alligator’s typical hunting habits.

The reports make it pretty clear that the boy and his family were attending an outdoor movie night, when around 9 pm the boy waded into about a foot of water in the lagoon. Lane’s father was close by, and when he heard the splash, he turned around to see an alligator with his son in its mouth. As if having your two-year-old son quietly whisked away by a giant predator isn’t horrifying enough, this poor man had to watch it, fight with it, and lose. That is a lifetime of nightmares.

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Tonight a New Hampshire man has come forward claiming that he was attacked by an alligator at the same Disney Park thirty year’s ago. Paul Santamaria was eight years old. He says that he wandered over to feed the ducks near a pond at the resort when an alligator attacked him. He screamed for his older brother and sister, and they rushed to his rescue.

“My sister grabbed me under the arms and started to have a tug of war with this alligator that was thrashing me around and trying to pull me into the pond. And my brother had started to look for anything he could throw at it to hit it with.”

“For a long time as a little kid, I didn’t sleep in my own room, I didn’t like water.”

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So apparently what happened this week is not new to Disney Resorts. It would seem to most that Disney would not build a sandy beach among their buildings if it was not meant to draw guests to the water. And if you are vacationing at a Disney Resort, and there are no signs warning of alligators, wouldn’t you believe you were safe?

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This poor man had to watch it, fight with it, and lose. That is a lifetime of nightmares.

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You can read more stories by Danna Colman here.

Writer and copyeditor. “What doesn’t kill us gives us something new to write about” ~ J. Wright

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