Video shows Disney worker fighting off gator at Splash Mountain in 2009

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LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. — With the fatal alligator attack on 2-year-old Lane Graves at a Disney resort last week, many are wondering just how common alligators are in the park.

A YouTube search brings up multiple videos of gators seen in the park, including a 2009 video of a Disney employee using a pole to keep an alligator away from park-goers near the popular Splash Mountain ride.

The employee pokes the gator with a pole in an attempt to force it back into the water. But that doesn’t really discourage the animal, who seems determined to come out of the water.

Some people saw what was going on and appeared to be amused. One tourist even tried to feed it, throwing popcorn at the reptile.

“Disney has known about the problem of guests feeding the alligators,” a former employee told

He says he recommended a “fence … be erected to protect guests.” But he claims his warnings fell on deaf ears.

Wildlife experts say problems with the reptiles come when humans try to feed them. Feeding alligators is against the law in Florida.