Walt Disney World Gator Attack: Why I’ll Still Continue to Visit

Grand Floridian Water

This week has been a heart string tugger for sure. I’ve battled the feelings of excitement of planning a trip to Orlando in October versus the internal terror of what I’ve constantly been seeing on the news hour after hour, and now day after day.  I feel guilty for feeling excited about looking forward to another trip to Walt Disney World and, while in the early planning stages, have been going back and forth in my mind about what this week has been with the Walt Disney World gator attack.

And, yes, I do mean internal terror. When I see an image of Seven Seas Lagoon, I cannot help but feel sick to my stomach. With each new piece of information that’s released, my heart jumps into my throat and then drops to my knees in one fell swoop.

Why?

Been there, done that.

I know the bliss that the theme park provides to millions of visitors each year. The Kid and I have waded in the water on the beach shore of Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort have never thought twice about what could be in it. We’ve rolled up our shorts and headed to the beach area at Poly while waiting for our reservation for ‘Ohana. I felt no sense of worry or fear over alligators. And, as a mom that still hovers over her now teen daughter, if I would have thought for a second that there was a gator close by, we would never have waded around. I read the signs that said ” No Swimming”. In my head at the time, did I correlate that with wading? Nope.

We stayed at Grand Floridian in April. Mr. Locke and The Kid stood by the water’s edge and watched the Electrical Water Pageant. Not once did I fear them being there. I was excited, just like all of the other parents and kids doing the same thing.

I know about alligators in Florida; heck, I’ve even taken an airboat tour in the Florida Everglades and went hunting (with a camera) for them. We pulled up right alongside a mama gator with new babies and, once again, I was more curious than fearful.

All it took was this horrific tragedy to snap me out of my blissfully unaware-ness. No one ever thinks that something bad will happen on vacation, right? That’s why we go on vacation: to escape our everyday lives. Even for a brief moment, if that pure bliss of heading to the WDW theme parks gives us an escape to a fairy tale world, it was worth it.

Walt Disney World Gator Attack: Why I’ll Still Continue to Visit

Grand Floridian Walt Disney World

I want to grab those parents and hug them, cry with them, tell them it’s not their fault- because it’s not. I want to tell them that’s thousands of parents let their kids wade in that very same water every year.

Will the tragedies in Orlando this week keep my family away? No way. We need an escape from reality more than ever. We need to laugh and skip through the Walt Disney World theme parks. We need each other. I need my family. I need to have faith, that all-important faith that good will prevail, that monsters don’t lurk around every corner, and that the parents of this sweet boy will find peace.

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