Why The Dude Who Trespassed On Disney World Island Is Relatable AF

by Clint Edwards
Originally Published: 
The entrance to Disney World is deserted on the first day of closure as theme parks in the Orlando a...
Scary Mommy and SOPA Images/Getty

For those of you who missed it, a 42-year-old Alabama man was arrested last Thursday at Disney World’s Discovery Island, and I know this word is used far too often, but I will use it now: Richard McGuire is a damn hero.

While everyone else is hunkered down in their homes, this champion found refuge at an abandoned island at Disney World. I mean, wow. I didn’t even think of doing that. In fact, my wife and I put half our thirteen-year-old’s college fund down on a Disney World vacation before this whole pandemic hit, and I’m pretty sure it’s non-refundable. The whole family has been on edge, wondering if we will actually be able to go, when what I should have done was say eff it, and taken matters into my own hands like this forward thinker.

According to the arrest report, Richard McGuire “stated that he had made entry to the island to go camping on Monday or Tuesday and had planned on staying on the island for approximately one week.” I don’t know how many of you have priced out the cost of spending one week at Disney World, but it’s pretty close to a down payment on a house, so this guy obviously found the most cost effective way to enjoy the Magic Kingdom.

Now I know that his inability to decide what day of the week it was when he set out on his adventure makes him sound a little off. And under normal circumstances I’d agree with you, but after being quarantined in my home for weeks, I find this completely understandable. Right now I’m actually writing this article from my son’s closet because it’s the only available room in my house, and I’m not sure what day or month it is, or how old I am anymore. It’s like my whole life became as confusing as those moments when the doctor’s office asks for children’s birthdates.

And what was it like for McGuire? He called the island a “tropical paradise,” according to the Orange County Sheriff’s Office. The 11-acre island opened in 1974 and became a zoo, featuring 130 species of animals. “Most are birds, but the park also has Galapagos tortoises and ring-tailed lemurs.” The island closed in 1999 and has sat abandoned for two decades. Since then, various explorers have made unauthorized trips to see the decaying and overgrown buildings and posted their videos and photos online. You can see a video here, and let me just say, after watching some of these videos, it does look a lot more appealing than this closet.

Walt Disney World remains closed to the public due to the Coronavirus threat on March 23, 2020 in Orlando, Florida. Alex Menendez/Getty

This is also the age of social distancing, and if you are going to take the CDC’s recommendations seriously, why not go to an abandoned island? I mean, wow! This guy went full Monty here. Not only did he get to hang out at Disney World (yes, it is technically part of the park), he also got to hang out on a private island in Florida, where no one is allowed to go. I’m not a doctor, but his chances of getting COVID-19 sound pretty low to me.

Now naturally, there were “no trespassing” signs, and yeah, I can see how the good people at Disney World were not amused with McGuire’s unauthorized visit, but with everything going on right now, the urge to sneak onto an abandoned island sounds relatable AF. And if you can find one that happens to be at Disney World, why not?

The more I read about this incident, the more this whole situation reminds me of Captain Jack Sparrow, and I’m wondering if the only reason he was caught was because someone burned the rum. This analogy really comes home when you consider catching the man required the Orange County Sheriff’s Office to use boats and helicopters. Talk about overreacting — I mean, come on. This all sounds like a scene from The Fugitive. McGuire told deputies he didn’t hear them calling out to him on a loudspeaker because he was sleeping inside one of the buildings on the island. And you know what? If I were on an abandoned island right now, I’d tune those haters out, too.

And what did Mr. McGuire get for his trouble? I hope you’re sitting down: Authorities charged him with one count of trespassing, a misdemeanor. He was also banned from all Disney properties. Now, it is not stated if he was banned from all Disney properties for life, or just for a short stretch of time. And, well… a misdemeanor really isn’t that bad, considering he got to hang out on a tropical island for a bit. If he were in view of the new Galaxy’s Edge, I would think this was well worth it. And let’s face it: If anyone can get around something as simple as a ban from Disney, it’s this champion. I have no doubt he will be screaming gleefully, hands in the air, riding Space Mountain the moment the park opens once again. As it turns out, McGuire has a YouTube channel if you want to know more about his Disney adventure.

Listen, I’m not one to get political, but “Disney World Island Man 2020” has a nice ring to it, don’t you think? Because without a doubt, this is the kind of out-of-the-box thinking we need in America right now.

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