Last summer, 2-year-old Lane Thomas Graves was with his family at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort and Spa. The family's plans changed when an outdoor movie was canceled due to stormy weather. Instead, they decided to hang out at the beach for the evening.
Lane was building a sandcastle on the beach with his parents and 4-year-old sister nearby. Suddenly, Lane’s father, Matt Graves, heard a splash in the water. As he turned, he saw an alligator grabbing Lane’s head and dragging him into the water.
According to the report, Matt Graves ran over to his son but was unable to free him from the alligator’s grip. Right after, the alligator pulled Lane underwater, disappearing into the Seven Seas Lagoon.
The death of Lane Thomas Graves was a complete tragedy and sparked a sadness across the nation. While it would make sense for Disney to respond by adding safety protocols and issuing an apology, both of which they did, no one expected the great honor that the resort is giving the Graves family.
On Monday, Disney unveiled a lighthouse sculpture to honor the child. It is a gold and blue lighthouse with two blue stars, representing Lane’s age. It stands near the Seven Seas Lagoon beach, where the attack took place.
The lighthouse serves as a symbol for the Lane Thomas Foundation. The organization was established by Lane’s parents after the accident in order to provide assistance and support to families whose children are in need of organ transplants at Omaha health facilities.
The family commented on the sculpture in a statement to TODAY, thanking everyone for the support they have received over the last year.
They said, “We find comfort that so many people continue to remember our sweet boy, Lane, and we believe the lighthouse stands as a beacon of hope and support for families in the depths of despair. We will continue to honor Lane and preserve his spirit through the Lane Thomas Foundation.”
What do you think about Disney’s efforts to honor Lane Graves? Let us know what you think on Facebook. Disney has been taking a lot of heat recently, as they were just issued a major lawsuit about one of their most popular movies.