The 42-year-old said he didn’t hear numerous deputies searching the private island for him on foot, by boat and by air because he was asleep in a building. He told the deputy he didn’t know it was a restricted area, despite there being numerous “no trespassing” signs.
Orange County Marine deputies on Bay Lake used a public address system to tell McGuire he was not allowed to be on the property, but he remained on the island, anyway, according to the arrest report.
Let’s look inside the abandoned Disney resort in Florida…
According to David Bulit, a Florida explorer, photographer and writer, located in the middle of Bay Lake, there is an island known today as Discovery Island, which is owned by Walt Disney World. The island though has a long history going as far as the early-1900s when the island was called Raz Island.
The Raz family owned the island, using the land for farming up until the late-1930s when the land was purchased by Delmar “Radio Nick” Nicholson for $800, renaming the island to Isles Bay Island. He lived on the island with his wife and pet crane for 20 years before selling the property which would be used as a hunting retreat and again renamed, Riles Island. The property was finally purchased by Disney in 1965.
The island was renamed Blackbeard’s Island but remained undeveloped until 1974. The Buena Vista Construction Company added nearly 15,000 cubic yards of soil, increasing the island to 11 acres. Over 1000 tons of boulders and trees were exported from other countries such as China, South Africa, and the Himalayas, to be used in creating an entirely new landscape for Disney’s new attraction, Treasure Island.
On April 8, 1974, Treasure Island opened. It was accessed by either taking a direct trip from a resort dock or as part of the “Walt Disney World Cruise,” a tour of the Seven Seas Lagoon and Bay Lake that stopped at the Island. Though the island was named after the 1950 film of the same name, the island’s loose pirate theme was largely overlooked by the dozens of animal exhibits.
In 1978, Disney renamed the park, Discovery Island, losing any references to pirates and focused more on the island’s rich, botanical settings. Charles Cook was the park’s head curator and was often seen posing with birds in Disney publications and also on various TV broadcasts when the island’s conservation efforts were discussed. As an extension of other responsible environmental practices on the part of the company, the animal care on Discovery Island was a very public and important component.
Disney’s conservation efforts were recognized in 1981 when it was made an accredited zoological park by the American Association of Zoological Parks and Aquariums. The park was also widely known for housing the last Dusky Seaside Sparrow before it died in 1987, and then officially declared extinct in 1990.