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Suspect Richard McGuire, 42, told Orange County Sheriff’s deputies he had been on the island since Monday or Tuesday and had planned to camp there for a week, The Associated Press reported.
McGuire said he was sleeping in a building and didn’t hear numerous deputies attempting to make contact with him on the ground, on the water and in the air.
He also claimed he didn’t know the island, on Bay Lake across from Disney’s Magic Kingdom Park, was restricted despite multiple posted “No Trespassing” signs and two closed gates.
A Disney security representative said she asked the agency to press charges after she saw McGuire using a company boat to get to the island.
Orange County Marine deputies also told McGuire the area was restricted from a PA system to no avail, according to the arrest report.
Discovery Island was previously a Disney attraction that showcased exotic birds and plants before closing to the public in 1999 soon after the Animal Kingdom Theme Park opened.
The attraction originally opened as a pirate-themed experience called Treasure Island in 1974, according to Insider.
McGuire was arrested without incident. It was not immediately clear if he had a lawyer who could comment.
The Associated Press contributed to this story.