Man arrested for camping on the abandoned Discovery Island at Walt Disney World

A man from Alabama was arrested at the end of April for trying to camp on Walt Disney World’s Discovery Island during the ongoing health crisis. As reported by USA Today, the 42-year-old described the abandoned island that sits in Bay Lake as a “tropical paradise.”

The man was reportedly planning to stay on the island for about a week and was sleeping inside one of the abandoned buildings. He claimed he was “unaware” he was trespassing, which seems a bit difficult to believe due to the number of No Trespassing and Private Property signs that surround the area. He was charged with misdemeanor trespassing after being caught by police.

This is just the latest chapter in Discovery Island’s bizarre history. Ever since it closed to the public in 1999, the former zoological park has been a magnet for urban explorers and people hoping to catch a glimpse of Disney history. The island used to offer guests a chance to see a variety of animals within a tropical island setting, but rising maintenance costs and the opening of Disney’s Animal Kingdom led to the shuttering of Discovery Island.

Now, the island has been allowed to be reclaimed by nature. Many of the buildings and walkways are still standing almost frozen in time despite the island being abandoned over 20 years ago. Rumors have popped up from time to time suggesting Disney may have a future plan for Discovery Island, but none of those have come to fruition.

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David is a Disney travel expert who created Notes from Neverland in 2018 after visiting Disney theme parks countless times. Previously, David spent way too much time writing about sports, and was featured in Sports Illustrated, MSN, Yahoo!, and in many other publications. Learn more or contact us.

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