Theme Park Insider

Friday round-up: Building new fences, homes, and floating mountains

June 17, 2016, 5:08 PM · Disney builds its wall
It appears that we are getting much more than new warning signs around waterways at the Walt Disney World Resort. After Disney confirmed yesterday that it would install new, more detailed warning signs around its waterways, today guests saw work crews installing fences around the Seven Seas Lagoon, to block people from entering the water at all.

The moves come in response to Tuesday night's fatal alligator attack at Disney's Grand Floridian Resort, which claimed the life of a two-year-old boy.

Anna and Elsa move into their new home
Also at Walt Disney World today, the new meet and greet for Anna and Else opened in Epcot. The Frozen sisters return to their Norway pavilion home in the new Royal Sommerhus, which should offer a much higher capacity (and shorter wait times) than their old home in the Magic Kingdom's Princess Fairytale Hall, not to mention their original home in the Norway pavilion's shops.

How can one meet and greet have higher capacity than another, you're asking? Through the magic of multiple greeting rooms. Which means, yes, (spoiler alert!) multiple princesses working at once. If you're curious, the MK's Princess Fairytale Hall has replaced Anna & Elsa with Rapunzel and a rotating princess of the day.

May the Force be with you... getting out of that parking lot
Later tonight, the new Star Wars themed nighttime spectacular debuts at Disney's Hollywood Studios. Star Wars: A Galactic Spectacular will employ fireworks, projection mapping as well as the beloved John Williams score. Update: And here's one of the fan videos of the show:

Getting psyched for Pandora
Finally, an insider dropped us this picture of the floating mountains of Pandora, now under construction at the new World of Avatar land in Disney's Animal Kingdom.

Pandora

The new land opens next year. We can't wait!

Replies (17)

June 17, 2016 at 5:21 PM · I understand the desire to give the look of protection, but building a fence around the Seven Seas Lagoon? Good grief.
June 17, 2016 at 7:25 PM · The real solution will be to add more traps to reduce the alligators, as well as creating barriers to make it harder for alligators to enter and travel through the waterways. While not every alligator can be caught, Disney can do more to reduce the number so another the chances of another tragedy like this will be slim. Move things away from the shore, and things will be fine. it took 45 years for this to happen even once, and even more amazing is it never happened in the nearly 30 years that swimming was allowed. Disney needs to make changes to make sure it doesn't happen again, but the fact that only one or two other incidents involving allligators have happened at the resort since 1971 shows overall things are pretty safe.
June 17, 2016 at 7:59 PM · The problem is Randy that trapping is not a real solution, it just reduces the chances of an incredibly rare thing happening again. And without the security of having a fence between children and the water that predators may lurk, parents are unlikely to feel safe near the water again. Disney has to have its guests feeling safe. The trick is to having the fence as unobtrusive as possible (it shouldn't need to be very high to prevent alligators), but still instill a sense of security in guests.

As for multiple Annas and Elsas, just knowing there will be several stations reduces the magic a little, but nowhere near as much as waiting in a queue for hours to meet some girls dressed up in an outfit... the horror

June 17, 2016 at 8:14 PM · The fence is not as imposing as I originally thought it would be.
June 18, 2016 at 12:10 AM · star wars spectacular gave me the disney chills. a much needed win for disney and orlando fans
June 18, 2016 at 2:38 AM · This is bad.
June 18, 2016 at 6:23 AM · I have a feeling the fence is there not so much to protect people as to make people feel reassured. In that spirit, I am hopeful it goes away in the future, as I think it is an overreaction.
June 18, 2016 at 8:50 AM · In that spirit, it isn't enough. The low post and wire fence isn't enough. Alligators can get through. Kids can climb under. Parents can hop over when a ball gets tossed beyond the fence. They should put in a low three feet retaining wall with a metal top that reaches 6 feet.
June 18, 2016 at 11:53 AM · It seems like this was the perfect storm of an accident waiting to happen. Movie at the beach night, warning signs insufficiently telling of the danger and out-of-town visitors not familiar with the danger.

Even if this is the first incident in 45 years, I'm surprised that they allowed swimming before, like in River Country. Years ago I noticed warning signs in the town of Celebration, and I thought "Oh yeah, there are alligators in the water?" After that, I wondered why there were not similar signs around the resort.

I'm not an expert, but I'm wondering if there is a way to prevent the alligators from entering the Seven Seas Lagoon and Bay Lake. Someone said there are many interconnecting channels. I thought you could have a grate at the connecting points, but maybe baby alligators could get through? And if they get through on land, can you erect fences at those points? Maybe it is too hard and maybe the only way is to warn the people.

I feel like the reason Disney did not specifically warn of alligators, was because they didn't want to spoil the image of fantasy and magic. Alligator warnings would bring real world danger into the fantasy. But sadly, it took this incident to make them wake up. There were signs that said 'No Swimming', but the family probably thought wading was ok. I wonder if Walt was aware of the potential of alligator danger when he bought the land, that's not a small consideration. No, I'm not blaming Walt, just wondering.

The fences are kind of ugly, but probably at this point a necessary response. Hopefully, they can come up with better solutions in the future.

June 18, 2016 at 1:22 PM · " I wonder if Walt was aware of the potential of alligator danger when he bought the land, that's not a small consideration."

When Walt bought the land, alligators were an endangered species and sightings were quite rare.

June 18, 2016 at 1:51 PM · Actually, the Endangered Species Act was signed in 1973, seven years after Walt's death. But anyone who's spent any time in non-paved-over parts of Central Florida can tell you that the land has been crawling with wildlife since before people first arrived, despite people's best efforts to eradicate it.
June 18, 2016 at 2:49 PM · The Alligator was listed as endangered in 1967 in a law that proceeded the Endangered Species Act of 1973. The species was nearly hunted to extinction in the 1950's and 1960's. I would assume that Disney thought very little of their potential threat.
June 18, 2016 at 7:00 PM · This is a truly tragic incident, but facts are facts. Disney knew about the dangers of alligators attacking children at the resort. The website EmpireofMouse(dot)blogspot(dot)com has found a 30-year history of attacks and near-miss incidents at Walt Disney World involving people with alligators, but Disney did nothing about it, until a child was killed.
June 18, 2016 at 9:27 PM · Yes. That's a complete non sense overreaction. I am extremely sorry for the child's family. But. One incident in 45 years is no jaws. That's an excellent safety record. I heard this happens once a year in Florida.

By this logic all the beaches in the state would be closed. There are gators all over florida

June 19, 2016 at 6:07 PM · The fence is to keep people out of the lake. A Gator can easily get through that, or go over it, if he wants to, but he probably doesn’t. If it’s not a Gator, there are plenty of snakes as well.
Splashing around in the water, doesn’t matter if a person is actually swimming a backstroke or not, it’s “swimming” being in the water, and at night it attracts animals. Bottom line is…when you are in a natural habitat, respect that it may not be perfectly safe. There is no easy solution. If Disney were to try to keep the lakes clear, it would involve plenty of other potentially deadly items, such as toxins.
It is this simple…bodies of water CAN be dangerous…especially when it’s dusk or at night….when wildlife feeds. STAY OUT of there.
June 20, 2016 at 11:48 AM · If you have not seen the NEWS today, now they are showing a Gator so closed the area of the final plunge in Splash Mountain of a CM triying to scare away a gator. For me it just a bunch of bad PR for Disney. This was a terrible event for the family thought.
June 21, 2016 at 7:22 AM · 66.87.150.63...I think the exact opposite. All of these "new" stories of gators popping up through out WDW's history, and not a single one of them resulting in any accidents shows just how incredibly rare an attack is. Just being near a gator in and of itself doesn't cause an attack.

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