For years, Disney World guests have seen alligators at the park and at least once at Splash Mountain. Here, a park staffer is shooing away the reptile without harming it.
In the effort to find Lane Graves, authorities killed five alligators in a lagoon near the Grand Floridian, where there were no signs warning of gators. There, the Nebraska family had been watching a movie as their toddler played in the lake.
“But there are notices posted against swimming in the lake,” says the Orlando Sentinel on Wednesday. “… It's unknown how many gators are in the lake, which spans roughly 172 acres and connects to other waterways.”
Duncan Dickson, a former Disney executive who now teaches at UCF's Rosen College of Hospitality Management, told the Sentinel that traffic on the lake during the day keeps the alligators away, but twilight brings them back.
- Disney could add lifeguards by the lake, instead of just by pools. The guards may just be there to warn tourists of the dangers. “Witnesses ran and got a lifeguard from a nearby pool, but by the time he got there the boy was gone,” writes the Daily News.
- Tell parents that the park does monitor for alligators. “The park has a full-time team that monitors the complex, and if they spot a potentially threatening animal they call the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, which then responds,” says CNN.
3. Say What You’re Doing for the Family
On Friday, Disney hadn’t yet said what it was doing for the family. In the absence of information, speculation may emerge.
An article in People on Thursday said the Graves family had returned to Nebraska and the article offered this hypothesis: "Disney Could Face Multi-Million Dollar Lawsuit in Tragic Alligator Case, But Will Likely Offer Settlement, Legal Experts Say."
@Disney is going2pay huge to Graves family who lost their son to an alligator. And justly so. "NO SWIMMING" signage clearly ineffective.
— AndThat'sTheWayItIs (@ABWright824) June 16, 2016
That also leaves the possibility for speculation about the brand. Some say there will be a short-term downturn in Orlando tourism, including trips to Disney World, but others say no one's canceled flights. Speaking to AFP on Tuesday, Disney visitor Jay Pierce of Indiana said he would've canceled the family trip if the nightclub massacre had happened at the resort instead of a spot for locals.
Speculation About the Brand
On Friday, TheStreet.com says Disney will weather the "PR nightmares" because it's "built 45 years of goodwill and brand equity with safe parks."
"Disney's Orlando operation can weather the bad news because of the reputation it has forged with consumers for the rigor in which it maintains a safe environment at its parks and hotels," Groves quotes of Peter Kreisky, chairman of Kreisky Media Consultancy, who has advised companies planning to build their own theme parks and studied Disney's worldwide network of parks. Kreisky continues: "Not only is the Disney brand strong enough to withstand terrorist scares and this alligator incident, but the company takes extraordinary measures to protect itself from the unpredictable behaviors of millions of diverse visitors and the negative publicity that can generate."
Meanwhile, Disney stock continued to climb on Friday.
What do you think, marketers?
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