Videos obtained by WKMG-TV offer a glimpse at Disney World’s abandoned Discovery Island when police searched for a trespasser camping out there in April. 

The six-minute video, taken from police body cams, starts with Disney staff showing Orange County sheriff’s deputies pictures of the man, 42-year-old Richard McGuire. Police then crossed Bay Lake and searched for McGuire — with guns drawn — through the deteriorated remains of what was once a live animal attraction for Disney. 

McGuire happened to be recording himself in videos recently posted on the Southern Pirate Outdoors YouTube channel. In his videos, he suggested there was some sort of mystery that he needed to solve, saying, “What are you protecting on this island?” He was later arrested and charged with trespassing. 

Located in the lake between Disney’s Contemporary Resort and Fort Wilderness Campground, Discovery Island once hosted a kind of proto-Animal Kingdom, with exotic birds, lemurs and Galápagos tortoises. In 1999, a year after Animal Kingdom opened, the island closed to the public, with the animals being relocated but the structures remaining behind.

That’s made it a cherished target for “urban explorers,” some of whom have spoken to Theme Park Tribune (anonymously) about their exploits in other parts of Disney World. 

Report: Disney outlets to reopen

Two Orlando stores with discount Disney World merchandise will be reopening soon, according to a report from WDW Magic

The website does not specify when the reopening will happen. The two Disney’s Character Warehouse locations at the Orlando Premium Outlets on Vineland Avenue and International Drive have been closed since March 18, soon after Disney World shuttered due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The stores carry a variety of merchandise from Disney World, other Disney theme parks and even Disney Cruise Line, at heavily discounted prices. The outlets have gained a level of infamy among diehard Disney fans for both being a target of EBay resellers — who will wipe out entire sections of the store in one visit — and for showcasing Disney merch that failed to sell in the parks. 

Disney’s Polynesian Resort will reopen in summer 2021 with ‘Moana’ touches

One of Walt Disney World’s original on-site hotels, the Polynesian Resort, won’t reopen to most guests until summer 2021.

Disney announced the new reopening schedule in a statement to travel agencies Monday. “This schedule adjustment also allows us to complete some refurbishment work at the Resort hotel, including enhancements to the Great Ceremonial House and Guest rooms,” Disney said. “We expect work to begin in early October and look forward to sharing more about these changes in the future.”

Those enhancements will include new textures, patterns and other details inspired by the 2016 film “Moana,” as first reported by the Orlando Sentinel

The “Moana” touches fit with the resort’s existing Polynesian decor and will match changes made earlier in 2020, when carpeting with “Moana” characters was added to the hotel’s Ohana restaurant. 

As part of the delayed reopening, the Polynesian Resort station on the Disney World monorail will close in October. The Disney Vacation Club wing of the hotel will remain open.

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