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The suspect, Richard McGuire, told Orange County Sheriff deputies he did not know he was trespassing when he was arrested on Thursday despite the property having numerous “no trespassing” signs throughout.
“Richard stated that he was unaware of that and that it looked like a tropical paradise,” the arrest report reads.
McGuire, 42, had arrived at the private island on Monday or Tuesday and told authorities he had planned to camp there for a week.
However, a security representative for Disney says she saw McGuire using a company boat to get to the island and is requesting the police proceed with pressing charges, according to The Associated Press.
Orange Country Marine deputies stationed on Bay Lake say a public address system was used to tell McGuire he was not allowed on the property, which he reportedly ignored, according to the arrest record.
Several deputies searched for him by foot, boat and air, but McGuire maintains he didn’t hear any attempts for contact since he was sleeping in one of the island’s abandoned buildings.
McGuire was taken to jail without incident. It was not immediately clear whether he had an attorney who could comment at the time of his arrest.
Discovery Island was Disney’s initial zoological-themed amusement park before the opening of Animal Kingdom. It was previously named Treasure Island when it first opened in 1974.
The island is clearly visible from the Walt Disney World Monorail, Disney’s Wilderness Lodge, Contemporary Resort and Fort Wilderness Resort & Campground. It is adjacent to Disney's other abandoned theme park, River Country, which closed in 2001.