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'It looked like a tropical paradise': Man arrested for trespassing on private Disney island

A foot, air and marine search was launched to locate Richard McGuire. Deputies asked him to leave, but he refused.
Credit: Orange County Sheriff's Office

ORLANDO, Fla. — One Alabama man went from "tropical paradise" to behind bars Friday after the Orange County Sheriff's Office says he was trespassing on Walt Disney World property.

According to deputies, 42-year-old Richard McGuire set up camp on Disney's Discovery Island, intending to stay for a week as an escape during quarantine.

The problem? Discovery Island is a private property of the Florida theme park as clearly marked by numerous "no trespassing" signs.

But according to an arrest report, McGuire couldn't resist the serene and lush landscape.

"It looked like a tropical paradise," McGuire reportedly said.

The arrest report also claims he told deputies that he had arrived the Monday or Tuesday before his arrest and intended on staying for a week.

McGuire was first spotted by a Disney security representative who claimed she saw him get into a boat at the island's dock 

In an effort to locate McGuire, deputies launched a foot, marine and air search, which initially turned up unsuccessful until one marine unit spotted him.

Deputies say they made announcements over public address system to tell McGuire he had to leave, but he refused.

Once deputies caught up with McGuire they say he claimed to not hear them during their initial search since he was asleep in an island building, he also claimed to not know it was private property.

At the request of the security guard, charges were filed on behalf of Walt Disney World and McGuire was taken to the Orange County Jail.

Discovery Island, previously referred to as Treasure Island, now sits as abandoned property in the middle of Disney's Bay Lake just off to the side of the Magic Kingdom. 

It once was the site of a zoological park before being closed to the public in 1999, according to the Associated Press.

RELATED: Detectives: Former Disney employee stole props from Haunted Mansion ride, sold them online for nearly $30K

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