Grand Floridian custodian Mike Hamilton was so concerned by alligators occasionally swimming up close to the shore of Walt Disney World’s Seven Seas Lagoon, he said he warned managers they should fence off the area.
Alligators have been commonly sighted at Walt Disney World, prompting both fascination and fear in surprised tourists.
Other tourists reported alarming experiences with Disney alligators, especially at the Seven Seas Lagoon, a man-made lake between Disney’s luxury hotels and the Magic Kingdom.
“They’re surrounded by quintessential alligator habitat,” said conservationist and television personality Jeff Corwin, who hosts “Ocean Mysteries” on ABC, owned by The Walt Disney Co. “The entire property is interconnected via canals so it is difficult to keep them out of the lakes,” former Disney executive Duncan Dickson said in an email.
Disney relocates alligators considered a nuisance, meaning they continually show up on the banks of waterways sunning themselves, don’t fear humans or have done damage.
One employee at the Disney property who did not want to be identified said in an email “There is such a problem on property with guests feeding the alligators thinking it’s cool.” Visitors at Buena Vista Palace regularly feed two of them from the balconies, he said.
In 1986, an alligator bit a boy at a pond at Disney’s Fort Wilderness campground.
Robert Niles, editor of ThemeParkInsider.com and a former Disney World raft operator, remembers having to delay the opening of Tom Sawyer Island one morning because a family of gators was parked on the dock.