Walt Disney World worker fired, rehired after alligator tweet

Posted at 12:35 PM, Jul 18, 2016

Many Disney stories are about standing up for what is right in the face of adversity.

Walt Disney World worker Shannon Sullivan took on this battle, even when it was against her employer.

Sullivan shared a photo of a sign posted in a break room addressing recent safety concerns about alligators at the popular resort, according to the Orlando Sentinel

"If a Guest asks if we have gators in the water around Tom Sawyer's Island (or any other bodies of water), the correct and appropriate response is, 'Not that we know of, but if we see one, we will call Pest Management to have it removed.' Please do not say that we have seen them before. We do not want our guests to be afraid while walking around Frontierland."

"I was very offended by it and I was pretty vocal about it," Sullivan told the Orlando Sentinel. She had been working in the Magic Kingdom theme park as part of the Disney College Program, which hires interns to fill a variety of roles around the parks.

Shortly after the post, a manager fired Sullivan and she was escorted from the park.

Sullivan admitted she understood she could be fired for the tweet, but she felt it was inappropriate to mislead the public.

"At this point, it became my morals and my integrity and what I believe in," she said. 

This is the latest controversy faced by Walt Disney World following the tragic death of 2-year-old Lane Graves after an alligator dragged him from the beach at Disney's Grand Floridian Resort & Spa.

After public criticism about the lack of alligator warnings around the resort's bodies of water immediately following Graves' death, Walt Disney World added new fences and signs to keep guests away from possible dangers.

Disney officials said they do not know who posted the sign in the break room and that it was not an official directive, according to the Orlando Sentinel.

Sullivan, who had a great deal of social media support, got a hero's ending to her story. 

The Orlando Sentinel got in touch with Walt Disney World about Sullivan's firing. The next day, Magic Kingdom Vice President Dan Cockerell visited Sullivan to reinstate her position. She has returned to work until the end of July, which is when her internship ends. 

Sullivan has no regrets and told the reporter she had been on the resort beach only a short time before the attack happened.

"I think you need to be telling people to be cautious, letting them know this could happen," she concluded.