Camper on Closed Disney World Island Is Charged With Trespassing

It had the makings of an journey straight from Disney’s “Swiss Family Robinson” — being on an uninhabited island and dwelling off the land.

But for one Alabama man, the journey — on a former island attraction at Walt Disney World in Florida — was short-lived and resulted in an arrest.

The man, Richard J. McGuire, 42, of Mobile, Ala., was accused of trespassing on the theme park after he tried to camp on Discovery Island, a former zoological park that was closed in 1999, the authorities mentioned.

On Thursday, an Orange County sheriff’s deputy responded to a report of a trespasser on the island, which is east of Disney’s Contemporary Resort, in Bay Lake. A safety consultant for Disney advised deputies she had seen a person utilizing a ship earlier that day and that the world was closed to the general public, with indicators warning in opposition to trespassing.

As a deputy arrived, Disney employees members had been serving to a small boat with Mr. McGuire aboard to shore, in line with an arrest report.

Mr. McGuire advised the authorities that he had reached the island on Monday or Tuesday to go tenting and that he deliberate to remain there for “approximately one week,” the report mentioned.

Told that the world was restricted, Mr. McGuire mentioned he was unaware of that and described the island as wanting “like a tropical paradise,” the report mentioned.

Online maps present that the park, which opened in 1974, had a flamingo lagoon, a turtle seashore and alligator swamp. It closed 25 years later and photos and a 2017 video show the remnants of the abandoned attraction: deteriorating buildings, overgrown trees, a former animal hospital and an abandoned dock.

“On the curiosity aspect, I think for many years people have been enthralled by the idea of an abandoned attraction within Disney, the prestige and premier theme park location,” Mr. Williams said. “I myself have been interested in it since 2010, citing the mystery of why Disney left it there.”

Law enforcement authorities told Mr. McGuire that they had been searching for him on foot and by boat and air. Deputies used a public-address system to warn him to leave the island, the report said.

Mr. McGuire told deputies he had not seen or heard them because he was sleeping in one of the buildings on the island.

He was charged with a misdemeanor count of trespassing and was banned from Disney properties. He could not be reached for comment on Sunday, and it was not immediately clear if he had a lawyer.

“This serves as a reminder that trespassing is not permitted at Walt Disney World Resort,” a Disney representative said on Sunday. “We appreciate our security team and the Orange County Sheriff’s Office for assisting in this matter.”

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