“Disneyland will never be completed, as long as there is imagination left in the world.” Walt Disney said that in reference to his original park, Disneyland. However the same can be said about Walt Disney World. Although many restaurants, shows, shops and attractions have stayed essentially the same since they each opened, others are changed or replaced as, for example, interests decrease or budgets allow.
Well, that can be said for what happens in the areas of Walt Disney World that guests visit, such as the parks and established hotels. However if it’s an area guests don’t have access to, Disney can sometimes take its time doing anything with it, or sometimes just abandon it for years.
Case in point, Discovery Island.
Discovery Island is an 11.5-acre island in the middle of Bay Lake, which, if you’ve ever been to Walt Disney World, is the body of water behind the Contemporary Resort Hotel. Between 1974 and 1999, Discovery Island was an attraction that was open to guests, who could observe its many species of animals and birds. It closed shortly after Disney’s Animal Kingdom theme park, which was also themed to animals and nature, opened. You could only access the island by boat, so with no legal way for guests to get there, the island was abandoned, and left for nature to take over.
In late 2018, we wrote an article about the history of Discovery Island and included some video that a so-called “urban explorer” had taped in May, 2017. It was the first time most people had seen of Discovery Island since its closure 18 years earlier.
Fast forward to spring of 2020, and we reported that a man had been arrested after he was caught camping out at the abandoned island. About a week later, there turned out to be even more to the story.
We thought the whole saga was finished by then, but apparently not. Local new channel WKMG has obtained the video footage from one of the body cameras the police used during the manhunt. Although there’s no footage of when they found the trespasser, there’s some amazing video of what Discovery Island looks like now, 21 years after it it was closed, and over 3 years since the last time the urban explorer had shot his video.
The property definitely appears more run-down than it did previously. But of course, 3 years in Florida means lots more plant growth in the summer, to say nothing of high winds from summer storms and even occasional hurricane-level winds.
Still, it’s a shame they let the island just sit there, languishing.
Feature Photo: pxfuel
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This post first appeared on Your Mileage May Vary