Disney Discovery Island Camper Discovered and Charged
Most people like the idea of going on an adventure, of doing things that are outside of the norm. There’s a romantic air to getting out into the wild, discovering new places, and surviving. You can find plenty of channels on YouTube dedicated to these pursuits, not to mention countless novels and nonfiction accounts on the subject.
However, there’s adventure and there’s trespassing, and the two shouldn’t meet if you want to stay out of trouble with the law. Richard J. McGuire of Mobile, Alabama may not have gotten that last bit of advice.
McGuire seemed to like the idea of living on an uninhabited island, a place where he could get away from people and be his own man. This was during the early days of the pandemic and lockdowns and getting away may have seemed like a good idea. So, rather than heading into the actual wilderness where most people with this mindset might go, he decided to head south to Walt Disney World, where he attempted to camp on Discovery Island. Interestingly, Discovery Island closed in 1999, and people haven’t been there very much since.
Even though the island is not in use, security in Disney World is still rather tight. A member of the security team contacted Orange County sheriff’s deputies when she saw a man using a boat in the area that was closed off to the public and that was filled with signs against trespassing. By the time the police arrived, staff from Disney were helping to get McGuire to shore.
The police say that they had been searching the island for McGuire by boat and on foot and that they had been using a PA system to warn him that he had to leave the island. However, he says that he did not see or hear them because he was sleeping in one of the buildings. The police say that getting around on the island was difficult because it was so overgrown.
McGuire claimed that he did not know that it was against the law for him to be there. McGuire told the police that he had come to the island a few days earlier and had thought he would stay there and camp for about a week. He says that he thought the island was a tropical paradise and that he didn’t realize the area was restricted.
He later said that he was not going to camp on the island and that he was exploring the island to get footage for his YouTube channel—see, there are tons of channels on this sort of thing. He was charged with trespassing, a misdemeanor, and has been banned from all Disney properties.
What is the Allure?
There is something magical about theme parks when they are open and filled with happy people, the scent of cotton candy, and plenty of rides. However, there is also something alluring about theme parks when they are closed down and abandoned. The exploration, rediscovering abandoned buildings, and having the run of the park, despite it being closed, is appealing to some people. Discovery Island is particularly interesting. It opened in 1974 and had an alligator swamp, a lagoon, an old dock, and an animal hospital. There’s a lot to see and experience, and for someone that is bored, it can be a temptation.
Whether you have a YouTube channel that would love this type of content or you just like the idea of exploring forbidden places, it’s a bad idea. Not only will you run afoul of the law, but it’s also highly dangerous and best avoided.