'It Could Have Been Us': Parents Recount Spotting 10-Foot Alligator with Their Kids at Disney Resort Where Toddler Was Killed
Two Kentucky parents say they fear their kids could have suffered the same fate as Nebraska toddler Lane Graves after they spotted a 10-foot alligator at the same Disney World beach where the 2-year-old was snatched and killed.
Allison Taylor tells PEOPLE that in April, her sons Bryce, 5, and Ayden, 7, and her husband were headed down to the swimming pool at Disney World’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa when a couple approached and warned them to stay away from the lagoon.
“Don’t go to the beach because there’s an alligator out there,” the couple told the family, recalls Taylor, who noted that the pool sits adjacent to the beach.
The Taylors quickly returned to their room overlooking the Seven Seas Lagoon, looked outside and spotted the 10-foot reptile on the sandy beach, she says.
“It could have been us,” Taylor said after learning of the tragic death of Lane on Wednesday after an alligator dragged him into the lagoon near the Grand Floridian.
“It absolutely could have been anybody. The parents were in arms reach of their child and it still happened.”
PEOPLE has also obtained video from a separate vacationer who spotted a massive alligator in the same lagoon in April. On Wednesday, Disney officials revealed they “routinely” remove alligators from the lake. Though there are “No Swimming” signs and the resort employs lifeguards to keep people out of the water, there is no warning of alligators.
Taylor says she is deeply saddened for the Graves family.
“I’m heartbroken,” she says. “I cried all the way to work this morning thinking how devastating this is for them.”
Related Video: Hometown of 2-Year-Old Boy Killed After Being Snatched by Alligator Reacts to Tragedy
Taylor, 32, said her two boys were frightened after seeing the alligator so near to where they would have been.
“They did not want to go that area after that,” she says.
She was shaken as well.
“I have a 5-year-old who is very adventurous and there’s no telling what he would do,” she says. “Even if you said don’t go in the water, he’s the type to go in anyway.”
Taylor, who lives in Louisville, Kentucky, says prior to the trip it didn’t even cross her mind that alligators lurked in nearby waters. “But when I saw one I thought, ‘Of course, it’s Florida.’ ”
Taylor says she thinks Disney should give guests more explicit warning about possible danger, aside from the “no swimming” signs already up near the lagoon.
“Disney has visitors from all over the world. There should be more warnings, maybe pictures along with the signs,” she says.
Especially for guests who can’t quickly read or translate the wording on the signs, “by the time you flip open your guidebook, it’s too late,” she says.
She also wonders why the resort sets up the beach area in such a welcoming way with lounge chairs, towels and movie nights.
“If you don’t want people to get into the water, you shouldn’t make it so inviting,” she says. “They should warn people more, or not make that a feature of the resort.”