Girl Scouts recount gator encounter at Disney World

Girl Scouts from Tampa got a scare from a gator during a canoe trip at Fort Wilderness.

A group of Girl Scouts from Hillsborough County had a run-in with a reptile at Walt Disney World a month before the tragic death of a 2-year-old boy at one of the complex's resort.

The troop saved money from cookie sales for two years to make the weekend trip last month to the Disney Fort Wilderness Resort.

Smiles turned to screams on the canoe trip after a large alligator was spotted.

"Girls were screaming," said Amy Schmitzer, one of the mothers who was chaperoning the trip. "The gator came right into the water and swam right towards the canoes."

"It went under the water and that was the scariest part because you didn't know where it was going to end up," said 9-year-old Grace Schmitzer.

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The gator didn't end up bothering the group, but the sighting surprised everyone.

"Looking back, we really thought for a good amount of time that that was a fake alligator," Amy said.  

Schmitzer believes there should be warning signs since the fantasy of being at Disney World can make you forget about the reality of living in Florida.

"We're not at a state park where you know this is going to happen.  You know up front there's going to be stuff here ... maybe we weren't prepared," Amy said.

 


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