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Lighthouse Sculpture To Be Installed at Walt Disney World To Honor Toddler Attacked By Alligator

Wednesday, June 14 marks the one-year anniversary of the date when an alligator living in the Seven Seas Lagoon attacked two-year-old Lane Thomas Graves at the water’s edge at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort and Spa.

The family has since founded the Lane Thomas Foundation to honor Lane and to support families the way others have supported them. The foundation’s mission is “to serve as a beacon of hope in the depths of despair, to create a strong base of support for families in crisis.”

Disney has released a statement from George A. Kalogridis, president of Walt Disney World Resort: “To provide continued awareness of the foundation and its mission, we’ve commissioned an original sculpture of the lighthouse the foundation uses as a symbol of love and hope, to be installed on our property this summer.”

It is not known exactly when or where the sculpture will be installed.

Since the incident, Disney has added warning signs along many of the lakes and canals across property. A rock wall was constructed along the edge of the Seven Seas Lagoon to discourage guests from entering the water. The Graves family did not sue Walt Disney World or the Walt Disney Company over the incident.

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About the author

Jason Diffendal

Jason has been a lifelong fan of the Disney parks since his first visit at age 2. His biennial pilgrimages during his childhood accelerated into semi-annual visits by the year 2000, when he also Joined the Disney Vacation Club. Luckily, Jason’s bride-to-be was also a Disney fan, which allowed his infatuation with the Disney parks to continue, and ultimately culminated in their wedding at Disney's Wedding Pavilion in September 2003. Early in 2007, Jason began his involvement with the planning for what became Celebration 25, the unofficial fan gathering to commemorate the 25th anniversary of Epcot®. Soon thereafter, Jason met Tom Corless at a pin trading meet in New Jersey, and became part of the WDW News Today podcast starting with Episode 17. Jason has been involved with the WDWNT Network ever since, and can't seem to escape no matter how hard he tries.

20 Comments

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  • A sculpture of love and hope sounds nice and very Public Relations like for Disney. They have meanwhile still never re-hired the team that monitored the alligator and snake issues, nor the behind the scenes safety/anti-terrosim cut backs. Disney has kept it’s PR and bottom line costs wayyyy above safety of guests. While this was a terrible incident, it wasn’t an accident, it had never happened in Disney’s (or other Florida theme parks/attraction areas) in the past because companies put in adequate resources for actual prevention. The Thomas family received a confidential settlement to not take this case further. Disney should be ashamed of their cheapness in this case. I get it, nobody dies when they close areas, keep only a couple out of dozen entrances open or cut back so much in quality in other areas, but in this case, someone did dies. God forbid anyone wants to do harm at a park, they have put their profits over common sense and responsibility.

    • You have no clue what you are talking about and have no real knowledge of the security procedures in place at WDW. Your assumptions (seemingly based on what you’ve gleaned as a customer with no insight into actual company procedures) are bad enough, but to then tack on fear mongering that comes only from your own personal insecurities is reckless and does nothing but spread misinformation.

      Care to back any of that up with facts, numbers or real information?

      • Sadly, I belive Decker. And I’m glad this site voices and allows the truth…most media sites are tightly under reins from Disney to not report anything that puts them in a negative light.

        I’m a cast member and the cut backs obvious to guests are somewhat noticeable to those who have visited over the years, you can imagine what they are behind the scenes. For example, none of us are ever screened, for anything, except taking food or anything that would cost Disney money. We can be fired for calling 911, all emergencies go thru a Disney number, and they filter what gets to media and have managers show up before guests get assistance. I know for a FACT they fired the wildlife teams a decade ago that would have prevented this. My heart goest out to the family. Disney let them down.

        • Its not the truth, wake up! You cannot control wild animals, just a very unfortunate accident. God rest his soul

          Please troll elsewhere.

          • Ron, WAKE UP, they used to have teams to monitor and remove large gators, snakes, and other hazards. Disney has ELIMINATED these services a decade ago as a cost saving measure. This child died as a result of this. There’s no way you can call that an accident. Sure, something can happen, but they remove large gators like that from all over Florida, but it requires resources that Disney has cut.

        • So you find this company detestable and are made to do things that seem against your personal values (all of which have never been proven) and yet you still work there?

          Sorry, I’m not buying it.

          • Nobody honestly care’s if you ‘buy’ it. If you think that anything possible to be done for safety, why don’t you go talk with Lane’s parents. Of Chase’s (bus driver killed him after working mandatory overtime double that of DOT). Or the family of Justin (Monorail pilot who was killed cuz disney cut staff from 12/shift to 2, and the one left to go to Dennys, oh yea, his manager was let go for costs too). These are just a few, there’s hundreds that Disney pays dearly so suckers like you can live in their own naivety. Just because they don’t care about safety more than profit and their image, doesn’t mean I can’t work there. I do what I can, but even if you drop dead in front of me, I know not to call 911, but to call Disney ops, who will delay treatment until you are ‘off stage’.

            I’m not anti-disney. Disney themselves admittedly do not like the theme parks (read Bob Iger comments of his disdain for the USA parks). I wish they did better. And wish they could balance profitability with guest experience…and safety. It’s insulting they do anything for this family, when they keep cutting back safety areas that will leave other guests and children harmed at the same time. Believe it, or not. Still true.

      • They had a spot that looked like an inviting beach. They don’t have procedures in place for wildlife. Heck Epcot is teaming with rats, and we are told to tell guests when pointed out, even if they hold it up to our face that ‘we don’t see them, but will have our manager investigate’ To think that WDW give 1 penny to safety beyond ‘image of safety’ isn’t fear mongering Ray, it’s delusional tbh. Sorry this family had to learn on one of Disney’s cut backs with such a terrible ending.

  • RIP Lane. I left my own little temporary memorial/tribute to him when I was there in December. Just left a flowered lei from the Polynesian on one of the lagoon’s fence posts at the GF on Christmas Day, and I scattered some of the flowers as far as I could over the rocks without going past the fence posts or ropes myself.

  • To be fair it is Florida. I read a statistic that there are five alligators for every one person in Florida. While its good to monitor areas, you cannot prevent them from appearing.

    • Yes, well done Disney. NOT! You have erected a monument to your lack of staffing to control a known hazard which has left this family without their son. A total slap in the face, considering the other cut backs you do in safety, and never hired management to take care of this very common issue in Florida. This was a known hazard, and still is. The answer (fences) less expensive than hiring wildlife management teams back. Yes, something to be proud of. Not making the safety and experience of guests more important to the bottom line, and then erecting a monument to your irresponsibility. (Standing ovation by the sheeple)

      • I have been to disneyworld 50+ times. At no time in twenty years did I ever let my daughter on those beaches or near that gross water at any resort I stayed in. I never even let her stick a toe in. Never let her get close that is what the pools are for. I didnt need signs or someone else telling me. I never expect disney to keep me safe around water. That is my job. The state is one big swamp. Even Walt cant fix the gator problems especially when people feed them. When all of the ducks are on land and not in the water look,out! It is unfortunate this his parents had a lapse in judgement. It wasnt his fault. He was just doing what little ones do. It is a good thing for the memorial. It will keep hopefully the accident in the minds of future guests and help prevent another one from happening

  • That is a very good and kind gesture of Disney world to honor the little boy to be remembered by for it was a very sad day that happened. I cannot imagine what the park was knowing of what happened that night unexpectedly. But sad for the parents to see their son get killed at the happiest place on earth. Knowing the family should not have gone near there to start with but there should of been a guard on duty to stop them. In a way it may be the parks fault but the parents fault too for they should of not allowed their child to play near open waters at night time for that is when alligators are active and can see you better than you can see them. What’s done is done and it was still sad that he died like that,. Wasn’t meant to happen but it did. I prayed alot for that family ever Sense that happened and the park. It is a nice thing to have a lighthouse sculpture in his memory but also for lighting to make it safe for the guest too as well as the gates and warning signs a light is needed as well.

  • Reading some of these comments pain me, Disney does have a wildlife management team that works hand in hand with Florida’s fish and wildlife commission. Yes they may of had cutbacks several years ago, but for some of you that say Disney does not care are flat out wrong. I personally have seen a team on bay lake looking for Wildlife at night with a spotlight.
    I do however believe this is partially the parents fault for ignoring the No swimming signs all around Bay lake. Maybe if the signs would of stated stay out of the water, would that have been better to get the point across? the kid physically went in the water, instead of the alligator, if the child would of contracted a flesh eating bacteria, and he died a week later would the reaction and Media been the same?

    I’m from South Louisiana, we swim in the bayous and small lakes here, knowing in the back of our minds that they have gators, snakes, alligator gars and all kinds of other harmful wildlife and bacterias. It’s nature. the Florida Disney property is essentially a wildlife preserve, they work hard at keeping some of the harmful wildlife out of Bay lake, and surrounding areas, but it impossible to get rid of them all. infact if they did get rid of them all the parks wildlife food chain would break down.