Walt Disney World has reopened its beaches, a little more than a week after an alligator snatched and drowned a toddler at the water’s edge.
The beaches will not be open at night. Guests can use them from one hour after sunrise until one hour prior to sunset. Employees will staff the beaches. “Movies under the stars” that had been held on the beaches will now take place on the hotel lawn areas.
On June 14, an alligator attacked 2-year-old Lane Graves of Elkhorn, Neb., as he was by the edge of the Seven Seas Lagoon at Grand Floridian Resort & Spa. His body was found the next day. The cause of death was listed as drowning and traumatic injury.
After Lane’s death, Disney also roped off the lagoon and posted “danger” signs warning of alligators and snakes.
Some visitors have questioned why Disney didn’t do more to warn visitors before Lane’s death. There had been “no swimming” signs, but some guests pointed out that the beaches had lounge chairs and movie nights, creating an inviting atmosphere. It was unclear whether the lounge chairs are now back at the beaches.
Boat rentals, which had been halted, are back in operation.
Disney says it is working on a “permanent solution” for its beaches and hopes to have one by Monday. Until then, fireworks viewing is not allowed from the beach.
Several hotels with beaches are located on Disney property; Polynesian Village Resort is the other one on Seven Seas Lagoon. Contemporary Resort and Fort Wilderness campground each have beaches on Bay Lake, which is connected to the lagoon by a water bridge.
Disney has made other changes, including removing a line from the Magic Kingdom’s Jungle Cruise ride that referenced crocodiles watching guests’ children.
The state’s wildlife agency said Wednesday it concluded its investigation and is confident one of the six alligators it caught and killed since June 14 was the one that attacked Lane.
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