Disney Unveils New Warning Sign in Wake of Alligator Tragedy
Walt Disney World Resort officials have announced they are installing new signs and temporary barriers on resort beach locations following a tragic incident on Tuesday in which 2-year-old Lane Graves was snatched by an alligator at the Seven Seas Lagoon near the Grand Floridian Resort.
“We are installing signage and temporary barriers at our resort beach locations and are working on permanent, long-term solutions at our beaches. We continue to evaluate processes and procedures for our entire property, and, as part of this, we are reinforcing training with our cast for reporting sightings and interactions with wildlife and are expanding our communication to guests on this topic,” Disney said in a statement released to PEOPLE.
The new warning signs, which appear in red, read: “DANGER. ALLIGATORS AND SNAKES IN AREA. STAY AWAY FROM THE WATER. DO NOT FEED THE WILDLIFE,” and feature images of an alligator and a snake.
A sign at the Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress hotel, which is located just minutes away from the Grand Floridian Resort where Lane was attacked and killed on Tuesday, reads “Please Be Aware of Alligators, No Swimming.”
Previous signage at the Grand Floridian simply told visitors: “No Swimming Allowed, Thank You.”
Disney employees attended meetings on Thursday to discuss precautionary measures being taken to prevent further incidents with gators on resort property, a source tells PEOPLE. (A representative for Disney could not confirm this information to PEOPLE.)
Employees were told they should feel empowered to take action if they see anyone wading in lagoons or lakes on Disney property (and if guests refuse to leave, they will be asked to leave the property) and should tell guests to get out of the water and notify security. If guests refuse to remove themselves from the water, they will be asked to leave the property.
“They are not messing around. They’re taking this really seriously,” the source tells PEOPLE. “They’re trying to tell us that each of us is responsible for keeping our guests safe from gator attacks. We can get in a lot of trouble if we don’t report what we see. They kept telling us ‘This is your job. This is your responsibility.’ We aren’t allowed to say that this isn’t up to us.”
At the same meeting, employees were told guests seen throwing food or chum in lake or lagoon water will be asked to leave the property.
A dive team found the toddler’s body on Wednesday at 3:30 p.m.
On Friday, the Orange County Medical Examiner’s office revealed that the body was released back to the family.
“Arrangements are underway to bring him home to Nebraska,” the statement continued.
Sheriff Demmings says the parents of Lane Graves are “distraught.”
“They do appreciate all of the prayers that have gone forward to allow those of us working to do our jobs to recover their son so that they can move forward at this time with a proper burial,” according to Demmings.
An official donation page has been set up for the Graves family.