ShanePerez.com

Friday, December 25, 2009

Discovery Island

In the middle of Bay Lake, deep within the heart of the Walt Disney World property, lies Discovery Island. It is a former wildlife attraction/sanctuary that was closed in 1999 and has been left to run wild since. This is the story of my trip there quite a few years ago when I lived in FL. In the time since, I've learned a few disturbing facts about the lake and as such would not recommend that anyone attempt to re-trace our footsteps. I've heard from more than a few people that there are actually alligators that live in the lake, something I hadn't even thought of, assuming this was just some other Disney attraction. Even more alarming, I've also heard that the main reason Disney closed the adjacent water park is because of the presence of Naegleria Fowleri bacteria in the water which can infect human nervous systems and nearly always results in death.

I'd heard about the island from some Orlando locals. They told us that there were rumors that there were bunches of animals still left running wild on the island. They hadn't visited it themselves but told us that it was about 100 feet off the shore of the also abandoned River Country water park and that boat traffic was infrequent on the lake. We arrived with a plan involving an inflatable boat, 150 feet of clothesline(to pull the boat back across for other people), a large hand pump, and a few oars. After an ordeal smuggling the suspicious supplies into the Fort Wilderness campground via the Disney Shuttle buses, we finally made our way through the abandoned Water Park and got to the shore. To our dismay, we discovered that the island was in fact at least 300 feet away and that passenger ferries crossed between the island and shore every 5-10 minutes. It would make paddling across virtually impossible. We left defeated and I vowed to return and conquer the island some day.

It would be nearly a year before I returned. This time, we ditched the boat plan, it was too cumbersome, obvious, and slow. The plan this time was to swim for it. We loaded up some waterproof bags with equipment and headed out to the park.


After making our way past some old water slides, we followed a path around the shore. Disney seems to like keeping all the lights on even in their abandoned properties in order to give the impression that they are still functional. A bit eerie, but we continued anyways.


We finally made it to the shore and could see our target. We would head for a beacon of light on the shore of the island. We'd arrived late enough that the ferries had stopped running and the only thing to worry about would be occasional lake patrols by Disney security. We put our clothes into the waterproof bags and waded into the still lake water.


We swam as quickly and quietly as we could, using our waterproof bags as flotation devices. Landing on the shore I couldn't help but feel like a navy seal sneaking up on an enemy target under the cover of darkness. We quickly made our way out of sight into the trees and stashed our wet gear under some bushes.


Now, while the island docks may be lit, the interior paths on the island are far from it. We knew we wouldn't be able to use any bright lights while on the island, so with some small red colored lights, we made our way through overgrown paths. Almost immediately, we realized we were not alone on this island. We could hear all sorts of noises in the trees surrounding us. We were literally surrounded by what sounded like thousands of birds. We could hear them cawing and cooing in all directions, some sounded almost like people speaking. With every branch we stepped on that made a snap, a group of birds would be startled and take off all at once, making even more noise. It was really quite a surreal experience.


The island had certainly not been maintained in any way since closing, we had quite a bit of trouble navigating it and figuring out exactly where the paths were. One of the first things we encountered were what looked like cages as well as what I assume were veterinary facilities and storage areas.



Venturing further into the island, we came across a storage building that was filled with all sorts of left over paperwork, photos, and some preserved snakes in odd containers.



The going was pretty slow on the island due to the limited lighting, heavily overgrown paths, and disorienting animal noises. Spiderwebs also slowed our progress significantly and we eventually had to resort to constantly swinging our tripods in front of us to clear them out of the way as we walked. After a while, we came to some larger areas that looked like they might have been canopied enclosures for birds as well as some sheltered areas for visitors.


In one of these sheltered areas, we came across one of the more interesting finds of the night. I'd been poking around the space when I heard a hissing noise coming from one of the corners. Shining a light into it, we discovered 2 young vultures, still unable to fly but incredibly aggressive. Despite being not much larger than chickens, they puffed themselves up while making some ungodly hissing noises and charging at us until we left the area.


After finding the vultures, we had been there 3 hours and only covered half the island. We knew the ferries would start running again fairly early in the morning and that people would be waking up and moving around the park grounds, so we decided to turn back and get ready to make the swim back. We stopped at a dock on the way back for the mandatory group photo looking back on the mainland before packing up our cameras and swimming back across. The swim back went smoothly and we discretely made our way out of the park, only getting a few odd looks while waiting for the first bus of the day back to the parking lot as the sun came up.

426 comments:

  1. Why didn't you just go back with the inflatable raft once the ferries had stopped?

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  2. Too hard to get into the park illicitly, too slow in crossing the lake, too visible from the shore, too small to carry 3 people, etc. We were all pretty strong swimmers and had no idea about the issues with gators and bacteria, so we didn't think it was too big a deal.

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  3. You get mad props for that. I could almost hear the James Bond theme playing while reading your post.

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  4. That is the coolest thing ever. Did you keep the photos you found? It would've been totally amazing if you stayed there for a whole day. Then you really could've gotten some amazing photos. Just pack some Full Throttles for the journey, but with as much addrenilan going, I'm sure no one would be able to sleep.

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  5. Gators and bacteria aren't that big of a worry. Pretty much every lake in Florida has both of these. Unfortinately night is the only time I see possible to get onto the island unless you created a big distraction with one boat on one side of the island and another boat on the other side sneaking on and letting someone off then vice versa to get the person back unless they were willing to swim back alone at night. Are these the only pictures you got from the adventure. Id love to see more pictures.

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  6. Indeed. We're all still here obviously so it's not that bad. I also know some other FL locals that went and did this the same way a few years after I did and seemed to pull it off without harm as well. It would probably be possible to spend the day on the island as long as you brought enough water/food and stayed away from the shore. I did get some more photos, but nothing of major consequence. Unfortunately in our short time on the island we didn't run into any decent sized buildings of any sort. I think there may be some on the northwest side of the island, and we were mostly up along the east coast of it.

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  7. Wow, these are awesome...congrats on making it out there! I think the animal noises in the dark would have been enough for me to hightail it out there. :)

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  8. more photos!

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  9. Can you say awesome? I sure can. The pictures tell the story all by themselves, and the fact that you swam through brain- eating amoeba infested water only makes this an even more fantastic adventure.

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  10. How did you get into river country? I would LOVE to explore river country as I spent every spring break enjoying disney world and have seen pictures of the abandoned water park, and want to sneak in, during my next visit. I need details

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  11. It's not hard to figure out, just go out there and take a look. It's real close to "The Settlement" at Fort Wilderness.

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  12. Just noticed the diet coke bottle with the snake in it. How long has coke been using that bottle shape? I don't think it has been ten years. That is really weird. Someone has more recently been collecting snakes!!!

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  13. does anyone have any more pictures :( i really miss DI and would love to see how everything is now.

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  14. I would also love to see more of this Island. It really is the Holy Grail of Modern Ruins for Disney theme park fans. Lots of people have gotten really great shots of River Country and the Legendary years at the Pop Century but there is soooooo little of Discovery Island. If anybody knows of any other site with pics of DI in its current form, can they post? It would be MUCH appreciated!

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  15. Reminds me of the game MYST... very creepy. Would love to see more photos.

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  16. one of those photos you took a picture of is of my sister! she worked at discovery island for a little while. did you happen to take those photos along with you or did you leave them there?

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  17. Amazing story. Thank you for sharing. I remember River Country fondly, but sadly we never went to DI as kids...

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  18. Thanks for sharing I remember going to both River Country and DI as a child and had lots of fun. I was just at Fort Wilderness with my own kids and was thinking it would be so cool to sneak into one of those places, Maybe next time I go I'll sneak into River Country:) No way I'm swimming that lake though.

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  19. You can find pics of River Country that were taken in November of last year here... http://www.disboards.com/showthread.php?t=2344523

    Pretty sad...

    I've lived in Florida all my life and remember going to discovery island and river country as a kid and loved it. What a shame...

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  20. (Insert dramatic 'DUM-DUM-dum' sound here.) mild version of jurassic park III lol

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  21. This is amazing. Im a huge fan of the Disney Parks and to think of what you went through to get these picks is pretty awesome. Though as I heard on the news tonight Disney isnt happy about you doing this. But what they dont understand is that this kind of stuff brings about a new excitement for the parks. There is true adventure in what you did and everytime I go to the parks from now on Ill be sure to look at that island on the way to MK and talk about what you did. Sure it was crazy and dangerous but thats more of what people need to be like nowadays. I salute you guys for what you do. This is a form of history, not life altering, but exciting stuff all the same. Im sure that after this more people will want to go to the parks just to look at that island and wonder what else is there. Who knows if there is enough positive feedback from the general public then the people at Disney might just ask you to explore the other side of the island and have you film it for all of us to see... Of course thats just me being hopeful.

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  22. You guys are wild! I grew up going to Discovery Island and it looks alot different now than it did back them. I am glad you did not meet any gators during your trip!

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  23. Google Maps shows a large building on the island right near the Google tag for Discovery Island.
    Also shows three or four other buildings on the around the island

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  24. How cool and ballsy and creepy and wild! Thanks for sharing...I just always figured nothing was ever abandoned at Disney World...now I know different...kind of like finding out there is not Santa Claus! So cool and thanks again for living the adventure and sharing it. I used to go into abandoned buildings in Butte, Montana, gives a different perspective on so many levels!!

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  25. So at what point does breaking the law/trespassing on private property matter?

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  26. It matters when you get caught.

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  27. Yes Disney isn't happy with you doing thid but they posted a link in their article so I could visit your site and see it lol! Loved the pics, Love this site. Thanks Disney for pointing us here.

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  28. And yet another law broken, another chance for someone to get hurt and Disney to get blamed. DUH, this IS Florida - lakes=alligators. Guess God does watch out for fools. SHAME for breaking the law and pretending you are cool for it. The rest of us will now pay more to keep idiots out of the places they do not belong. Maybe a little time in jail would convince you to stop.

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    1. Fuck off troll

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    2. hurr durr, faggot.

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    3. Someone was never taken to Disney as a child...

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    4. Love how you think you can use your own close-mindedness as an opinion for the rest of us... Idiot

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    5. I love how you can tell when reddit found this webpage..

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    6. Who are u to judge

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  29. Wow . . . that was a little harsh, wasn't it? I'm sure you are a pure as the driven snow.

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  30. Illegal, yes. Totally adventurous and awesome, yes! Always wondered what the place looks like, but being afraid of deadly bacteria and spiders would keep me away. The alligators don't frighten me (lived in Florida my whole life), but the more likely water moccasins do! Thanks for a glimpse into Disney's past!

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  31. Remembering my visits to River Country and Discovery Island with my kids...I didn't enjoy either experience! I hated the fact that I couldn't feel a definite concrete bottom to the pool which would have made me (a not so great swimmer) feel a little safer, and I remember the awful smell on the Island. That's the first thing that hit you. I did find a lovely hammock by the water's edge and lay there long enough for someone to snap my picture before I was dive-bombed by a large bird, maybe a seagull. Thank goodness he didn't poop on me! Great pictures of the sunset guys! I'm sure Disney is just upset about the possibility of a law suit if someone were to try this and drown or get bitten by the Baby Vultures!!

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  32. You're obviously not from Florida if you didn't think about alligators, water mocs, and amoebas before your swim. Lucky, you are. Thanks for sharing.

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    1. actually, bay lake is manmade so they try hard to keep everything out

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  33. Did you happen to see any murals in the buildings?

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  34. Amoebas are really only a problem when the water is very warm and you swim near the bottom of the lake. no real issue if you just surface swim. Disney does a decent job of trying to relocate many of the gators from Bay Lake, probably a few though. I've never seen a water moccasin on the lake, but there may well be a few. Still less dangerous than swimming in the Atlantic in the dark. I would be more worried about getting caught in the act by Disney than coming across anything else.

    Loved the pictures. I really miss both of those places. Discovery Island was a fantastic break from the Magic Kingdom on a busy afternoon.

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  35. So if you died doing this your stupid family would probably blame Disney for not noticing you trespassing. Good one.

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  36. Awesome, it is really interesting to see all these areas at Disney World just left to rot

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  37. I'm not sure any laws were broken here. The adventurers are already on Disney property, so going from one piece of Disney property to another is not trespassing. All Disney could say is "you're not supposed to be here" and perhaps escort you off of Disney property.

    I have to say I thought this is a great story. Yes, you could have been hurt or worse, but the only way to be constantly safe is to do nothing. If we in the US took that approach, we'd never have known about Yosemite, Old Faithful, or the Pacific. We'd be crammed together along the east coast. Kudos for having some spirit of adventure and for sharing.

    (BTW, do critics really have to resort to saying things like "your stupid family"? I hope your mother taught you better than that...)

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  38. I would like to see Disney take your documented evidence of trespass and prosecute your butt...
    What a stupid stunt...If you had gotten injured or even drowned I bet your family would try to sue Disney for your stupid actions....

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    1. you must lead a very exciting life...

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    2. Buzz Killington up here

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    3. Jealous much?

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  39. Sorry to disappoint, but the statute of limitations has already run out on this so nobody will be "coming after me". The risks were really not much more dangerous than swimming in any other FL lake. Alligators aren't all that aggressive, and I'm a very strong swimmer and have been a NAUI certified advanced open water diver since I was 19. We also had dry bags for camera gear that doubled as floatation devices. The swim was no more dangerous than someone going skiing, surfing, mountain biking, paragliding or any other socially acceptable outdoor activity. Sure we might have been caught and likely escorted off Disney property or maybe gotten some sort of trespass charge, but that would be the price paid for a unique and genuine experience. We didn't hurt anyone or anything and only put our own well being at risk. In the unlikely event that I were hurt or killed, my family would not pursue any legal action as they know of my hobby and are aware of my wishes to maintain personal accountability. What I choose to do with my body has nothing to do with Disney being negligent. I just choose to take a bit more risk than most people and end up both paying the price for it and reaping the rewards of a rich life full of exciting and genuine experinces that are so rare in the litigious, handrail, child safe, warning label on hot coffee, prepackaged theme park, lowest common denominator entertainment filled world most of us live in.

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    1. Totally jelly right now..sounds super exciting. Adventure on.

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  40. I think it's awesome and I hope you go back someday and take more pictures. There are no huge man-eating gators in Bay Lake. I'm sure there are a few young ones but as soon as they are noticed they are immediately removed. Be more concerned with whatever junk is underwater by the shore of DI.

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  41. "I just choose to take a bit more risk than most people and end up both paying the price for it and reaping the rewards of a rich life full of exciting and genuine experinces that are so rare in the litigious, handrail, child safe, warning label on hot coffee, prepackaged theme park, lowest common denominator entertainment filled world most of us live in."

    Right. But you still went there at night. That doesn't help any of us. Daytime = balls.

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  42. I used to work in the watercraft department at Disney and learned to dock the boats on the Discovery Island dock (now gone). I ventured a little ways up into the island but was really repelled mostly by the smell. I would advise against anyone trying to sneak on the island in the middle of August during the hottest time of the day...those birds, and more specifically what they leave behind, is what really makes the island impenetrable.

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  43. There were plans to do a full day stay on the island but I ended up having an opportunity to move to NYC and jumped on it before the trip happened. Off to bigger and better things I suppose.

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  44. No disappointment here...what you did was your choice. Adventure always comes with risk of many sorts. You did it to say you did it, not for a chest of buried treaure, which makes the effort pure for its own sake. It drives the Mouse folks crazy, but oh well for them. Rock on...

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  45. Awesome, absolutely awesome. And a lot of those pix, to us LOST fans, look like something left by the DHARMA initiative......

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  46. Very cool. Wish I was 19 again. I can only imagine how creepy the island was at night. I do know it is infested with Vultures. Disney can't do anything about it. I'm sure there are tons of snakes too. The photographs are what sets the tone. Very good photos. Awesome adventure!

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  47. Shane, your one crazy asshole. We never thought you'd be insane enough to do it or get caught. You made the Sentinal man! Naturally I had to comment on it. ;)

    Love and Bail Money,
    Carrie from HPA

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  48. What an idiot..

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  49. Are you a member of Flurbex? They explored there too.

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  50. HEy dued fricken awesome congrats but hey watch out they got eyes everywhere man its on the news you could get sued man I can quiet things down a bit bc i work as a manager at diseney and at all the posts they are talkin about you guuys and thinkin about sendin mails to hq to sue you watch it il try man epic. ON another note hey wtf what sick person would store dead snakes some weird oh who worked there i guess btw y id they ever close that attraction.

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  51. you guys are complete and total idiots. it's off limits for a reason. and you shouldn't have photographed the vultures because you were obviously upsetting them and should have just left. wildlife should be left alone and not bothered. enough said. don't go where you don't belong. it would have served you right to get attacked by an alligator or a poisonous snake. didn't your mother ever teach you to follow the rules? it's upsetting to me that people can't follow the rules and do as they are told. hence why America is slowly going down hill moral wise and in general. if anyone attempts this again it's a big mistake on their part.

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    1. wow you must be a badass in reality

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    2. Yeah, cause our founding fathers didn't take any risks or break any rules to make America the free country it is today. (Insert sarcasm)Grow a pair and take a risk once in awhile. What Shane did didn't hurt anyone, or damage any property. If something bad did happen, it'd be his problem, not yours.

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    3. you're an asshole. Where would civilization be without people breaking rules, taking risks, and being adventurous. The only reason America is going "downhill moral wise" is because of pussies like you trying to convince people to live there life in a fucking box, surrounded by a bubble, encased in bulletproof glass, covered in 6 feet of concrete. Rules were meant to be broken, risks were meant to be taken stop being a bitch.

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  52. Shane:

    You're awesome!

    Don't listen to those who have no trouble calling you an idiot but don't have the guts to write their name along their comment. Lame.

    As it was said, awesome, BUT daylight = balls.

    Dharma!

    Drew

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  53. Awesome story. Unless they put a wall up around it or line the island with signs saying "No trespassing" it's not off-limits in my book. Great story.

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  54. Well done. It impresses me that there is still power on the island. You'd think the micromanagers would have sent someone over there to trip a breaker and save them a few bucks.

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  55. All I could think of when reading this and seeing your pictures was Jurassic Park 3! Abandoned cages and snakes in jars? That is right out of a Crichton movie. Thoughts of pterodactyls or loose T-Rex's never crossed your minds? haha

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  56. Lovely photos, Shane. I've always been curious about what happened to Discovery Island after Disney closed it.

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  57. I thought the post was going to be the coolest thing I read all week (VERY cool, by the way; thanks for sharing)... but then I read the comments.

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  58. True story: I visited Discovery Island when it was still open. For some reason a few members of the Harlem Globetrotters were there filming something. They were passing a basketball over a sleeping gator/crocodile. No idea what this was for...I'll probably never know.

    Cool.....memories...

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  59. So Awesome! I illustrated the maps for Discovery Island in the early 90's. I loved that place!

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    1. that's so cool bro. No sarcasm legit, i always wondered who did the art for park maps.

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    2. that is really interesting . . i also have always wondered who did those.

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  60. Frigin Awesome. Wish I had the guts to do it myself! Thanks for sharing your adventure.

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  61. Neat trip. Thanks for sharing the pics and story.

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  62. Thanks for the trip down memory lane. I grew up camping at Fort Wilderness every summer for vacation, and we often visited this Island. It was quite lush and buggy even when it was still a tourist attraction. We swam in that lake every afternoon and lived to tell about it, but my Dad would often return home with a mysterious ear infection. I remember many varieties of birds and down off one beach there were giant tortoises. The pictures reminded me of "Jurassic Park!" I would have been terrified of Raptors :)

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  63. Nice pics Shane. I used to do the Urban Archaeology thing myself until the economy went bad and cops are looking for anything to make money for towns - aka busting trespassers. Where else have you gone? And have you ever gotten caught? There a couple of abandoned theme parks in Ohio that may be worth your looking at as well as Mike Tyson's abandoned mansion in Ohio as well. I'm from Massachusetts and most of the places I've gone are in the area, but again man, congrats on Disney. It's like a new-high in our industry. Keep up the good exploring.

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    1. dude you have to tell me where these abandoned parks are

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  64. Shane, very cool if it is truley real. I have a hard time believing that Disney would have not issued a cease and disit notice to remove the pictures from your board, as they have done this on other blogs, and the photos look a little to....well... staged.... all those flashes would have been seen from the island. and by patrol boating that randomly go by.

    but if this wasn't staged congrats, you are the man!

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  65. I dont usually make posts for things like this but I have to say- way to go! I would love to have an experience like this, i can only imagine what going into some of the buildings on the other side would of been like. I have to say, now that this has made news Disney will either gut the island or make it nearly impossible for anyone else to get on. Maybe in a "few years" more pictures will surface.

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  66. Cool post but as someone who worked on Discovery Island when it closed...this is sad to see, especially when I recognize all the areas in the photos and how terrible it looks now. :(

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  67. I think Disney is more ashamed then pissed off. They are just as careless for abandoning places like river country and discovery island. As wealthy as the Disney company is, they should be prepared to demolish when they close an attraction and leave it to the elements. Enviromental friendly my butt! So much for recycling all that rubbage left behind. These pictures and stories are just a testament to how Disney operates

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  68. continued from 9:01: Ps, to all the nay sayers, please do a documentary on your life, must be nice to 'always' live holy and do the right thing. Such audacity to call him an a-hole, idiot, etcetera when he's doing with his life what he chooses. Y'all act like the man sold intelligence info to the enemies! We're not at war, are we!?

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  69. Just saw this on the news here in west palm beach. Very cool. I'm just afraid when the media gets ahold of the term "urban exploration" we need to keep these places secret!

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  70. I just saw it on the news is West Palm too lol. Great pics. Was wondering what kind of camera/settings you used? I think that must've been a great adventure. Thanks for posting all the pics and info- very cool!

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  71. Guys, I hate to break your hearts but you went through a whole lot of trouble for nothing. Discovery Island and river country are not at the same location. You can walk to the closed river country in about five min from Ft Wilderness or Wilderness lodge, just take the nature walk beach path and walk past the scary and ominous “Cast Members Only” sign. I did it once by accident while enjoying a stroll with my husband. We ended up in river country and walked around about five min until a polite cast Member asked us to leave, that it was a back stage area. It is very cool looking and creepy as it is abandoned. I’m sure it was even more so at night, but all that effort of swimming with the gators at midnight was not needed.
    Discovery Island on the other hand would be an awesome adventure.

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  72. ^ Not sure what 9:37 is talking about, but DI is absolutely just opposite RC across Bay Lake.

    Great story and photos BTW.

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  73. Umm, we did swim to Discovery Island. Didn't you read the post? We passed through the River Country property to get to the closest possible point on the shore before swimming over and to avoid being seen from the beach.

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  74. Banned from a park that you may go maybe once every 10 years? Sounds worth it to me :P

    Keep it up Shane!

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  75. great pics. would love to see a lot more. next time the northern side of the island. forget about all the "hall monitors" out there calling you guys idiots for breaking the rules. i'm sure they've never broken any, right? i think it's awesome and keep up the good work

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  76. I went to DI in 1976. I wish I had revisited. If Disney ever opens up a "behind the scenes" tour of DI or River Country, I'm there! They could make a lot of money on these abandoned parks.

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  77. I love that kind of stuff. To be 19 again, sigh... There was an abandon Psycological jail thingy west of Detroit that all the local surburban kids used to explore. All kinds of tall tails came from that place. Keep up the good work and ignore all of those losers that are telling you that you "did something wrong and need to be punished." They are the same losers that sit on their ass and lock their doors 24 hours a day because someone is coming to murder them. ;)

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  78. Shane - how do you spell vicariously? Yeah - thanks...I want to be like you when I grow up...crap, I'm 40. Anyway - wish I were more like you.

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  79. Bro, I've been exploring since before you could grow a goatee.

    Make no mistake about it-- you didn't pull this stunt (I can't speak for your other experiences) in order to reap "the rewards of a rich life full of exciting and genuine experiences." Your exploration is secondary to the chance to boast and gather attention. Why else would you choose to publish the escapades instead of keeping it to yourself?

    Don't tell me publishing is in the spirit of the UE community. You're ruining it for everyone else. This is akin to explorers who vandalize their targets... maybe worse.

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  80. I love tales of urban exploration. (Let's hope some dumb teenagers don't try to repeat this.)

    I still say Disney and ABC are missing an obvious tie-in: LOST Island!

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  81. You also made it on a site called Widen Your World; a site about extinct Disney attractions.
    Check out:

    http://www.omniluxe.net/wyw/trislnd.htm

    amazing the attention this is gathering.

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  82. Bro (lol), people have been "exploring" since before we could even be called people. It's not a contest. I've never claimed to be the first to do this nor be doing anything that hasn't been done before by others. Clearly boasting about this was my highest priority since I waited 5 years to even write this up and post it anywhere public. I tell stories on here because I love the experiences I have and I want to share them with other like minded people. I used to have a site that was just image galleries with absolutely no information about locations, no names of places, no stories, nothing. It honestly felt like a bit of a waste, I always had these great experiences and stories that nobody would ever know about from just seeing a photo. I started writing things up again and alot of people seem to enjoy reading it, so I'll keep it up. I am generally pretty careful about what I write up and when, often waiting quite a while after I've done something to post about it. I wait out of respect for other explorers, but I'm not gonna do it forever, it's not like this was something that had recently been opened up in some way to explorers and I'm posting about it a week later. This is something I did 5 YEARS ago and it's been abandoned since 1999. Sorry if 11 damn years wasn't long enough for you to get off your butt and go explore it. You snooze, you lose. Not to mention that I'm sure Disney knows other people have been there since, there was definitely grafitti and other evidence of previous visitors when I went.

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  83. Shane,
    This just came to my attention. Cool little adventure and it brought back memories of my days as a lifeguard at River Cntry & watercraft pilot. (Most fun jobs ever.) Many of us Disney folk made it a habit of venturing into places we weren't supposed to (castle roof) just for harmless kicks. Now we've moved on and do it elsewhere. Read the rest of your blog...keep doing what you do! Plan on checking back and see what y'all are up to

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  84. Wow. I just found your blog. I remember going to RC and DI as a child. Thanks for the write-up and the pics!!! Awesome:)

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  85. That took a lot of brass, and I've got to say, I'm impressed. The mom in me wants to say, "You idiot..." but the 20 something in me (that still remembers what fun was like back when I had it) is giving you major thumbs up. lol.

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  86. This whole adventure sparks interest in a mystery novel. Looking forward to someone grabbing hold of it and putting it out. Who knows what REALLY goes on beneath the surface of this island? Great report, guys...regardless of the "morality" of what you did, it's a great piece of Disney history...

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  87. This was by far the coolest and creepiest thing I have seen in a long time. I remember DI fondly and its very screepy to see it like this... Thanks for taking the risk so we could all see these pics.
    As for the " shame on you" posters... get a life.. The only risk taken here was by the swimmers.. no one else. Other than the time it took you to read this and post your pointelss reply you weren't out anything. You are probably the same people who bitch about rules but then let your ill mannered kids make everyone else crazy in public places....

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  88. Don't you love that everyone who's calling you an idiot or something similar all sound exactly alike? It's like the same moronic troll keeps posting over and over again, just trying to get some semblance of attention. Quite amusing.

    Anyways, sounds like you had fun! Great pictures.

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  89. thanks for having such an adventureous spirit & enabling us to share in some of your experiences! It's facinating & fun to read.

    thank you :)

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  90. I came across your blog b/c a friend of mine is in the picture of the pictures. Someone posted the link on her FBpage.
    I think it is really cool, and I could totally see myself doing something like that. It just sounds like fun.
    All these people with their panties in a wad, need to get a life. I just can't understand why it upsets them so much. Did your fun really affect them? Did it cause harm to their life or the life of someone they love?
    I realize that at this point, I am actually bitching about their bitching so in a sense I am just as bad as them. But come on people, how about you use your passion and go out and make a positive difference in this world.
    (Maybe now they can spend their time calling me an idoit. I am sure I have some run on sentences and miss spelled words you can complain about).

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  91. BEST FRIEND AND FELLOW DISNEYPHILE SENT ME TO YOUR BLOG/LOVED IT!! YES YOU WERE NUTS TO DO IT AT NIGHT BUT NO WAY COULD IT HAVE BEEN IN THE DAYTIME/ LIVING IN TEXAS ALL MY LIFE,SWIMMING IN CANALS "INFESTED " WITH MR BADASS MOCCASIN THAT MY FRIEND WAS THE ONLY REAL DANGER I CAN SEE/ LOVED THE PICS ALTHOUGH MAYBE YOU NEED A LITTLE INSTRUCTION ON F STOP AND APERTURE FOR A COUPLE I SAW/ BROUGHT GOOD MEMORIES OF DI/ WENT THERE 2 TIMES (95&98) ENJOYED IT VERY MUCH/ GONNA SEND THIS TO MY DAUGHTER WHO WAS CASTMEMBER MAY06-07 I KNOW THE NAYSAYERS DONT MATTER 1 F---K N BIT TO YOU/WOULDNT HAVE DONE IT MYSELF NOW (58 YRS)BUT AS A KID (16 OR SO) GOING THRU THE RICE CANAL PIPES FILLED WITH RUSHING WATER,THRU THE LOCKS,UNDER A ROAD AND OUT THE OTHER SIDE (APPRX 100 FT) MANY TIMES FOR THE RUSH, WELL CANT SAY ANYTHING BUT YEAH BABEE!!!!(APOLOGIES TO BOB ZANY)GET MY RUSH NOW DOING SUMMIT PLUMMET AND THAT'S ALMOST TOO MUCH/ AS MY LATE MOTHER WOULD SAY "GOOD ON YOU MATE" JOHN DAY SOUR LAKE,TEXAS

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  92. I think this is so awesome! I remember taking a field trip here as a Girl Scout back in the early 90's... and now it looks like the island from LOST. Amazing.

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  93. I don't think disease, alligators and snakes should be such a big concern. Anyone who has taken the small speed boats knows you have contact with the water. Water skiers and tubes pulled behind the larger speed boats allow guests to enter and swim in the water.

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  94. How did you get into River Country?!?!?! I've been trying to get there for years!!!

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  95. Haha, I love it! Scares the crap out of me to think about swimming across at night and all of the animal noises, but it's awesome you did it!!! Why does everyone have to put you down for it? Where's their sense of adventure? Sheesh people! I say, nice job! (oh and I'm 44, a mom and a teacher, but I love this kind of stuff!)

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  96. Nice job Shane. The pics are really great. For the guy that said it might be staged pics, well in the middle of the night there is really not patrol around the island. Transportation boats only runs from 7am to 11 pm and the lake patrol is only there during the time that guests are allowed to rent the boats, so its pretty ease to shut some flashes w/o being spot by somebody at night.

    One more time Shane, great pics and thanks for sharing.

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  97. Shane, I stand in awe. Life is much too short to not take risks. I am 62 years old and my only regrets are the chances I have not taken. Please keep posting, I can live vicariously through you! May God bless you and keep you on your continuing adventure through this life.

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  98. Shane,love to keep looking at your pictures, and telling my friends about it. My family and I have been coming to Fort Wilderness since 1979.Swimming in the lake, and going to River Country and Discovery Island was a big part of our vacation.Our Philadelphia Zoo Pass gave us free access to State zoos and also Discovery Island. Such great memories!!!

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  99. Wouldn't it have been smarted to spend the day on th eisland and investigate the entire place and return the follwoing night??

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  100. Amazing! I hope you post ur adventures in NYC now that you live there...we live in the suburbs and have heard of many places we would love to explore but don't quite have the balls lol....for example I heard that you can see the old city hall by pulling some shenanigans on a subway train (ya know one of those myths)...good luck with your adventures...jessica

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  101. Awesome! Thank you for sharing it with us!

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  102. This is the most awesome thing ever, right out of a Michael Crichton novel. Props to you, sir and thank you SO MUCH for sharing this with us!

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  103. This is great - thank you so much for sharing!

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  104. WOW i herd of these people who did kinda the same thing with the ride horizons

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  105. Just a John Green copycat.

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  106. WOW!! I love it!! My husband and I have always thought how awesome it would be to explore DI. We'd never been to either RC or DI, but this kind of discovery I just love as a WDW fan who visits twice a year! Great pictures and story. Thanks for posting this and for allowing a little vicarious exploring for me!

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  107. Elisabeth Overstreet6/28/10, 5:12 PM

    the critics need to CHILL OUT. learn how to have some fun in life.

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  108. Shane - WOW! What an adventure! Thanks for sharing with all of us...especially those of us (me included) who don't have the guts to try something like that.

    @Anonymous (4/6/2010) - Coke introduced the 20oz plastic contour bottle in 1994 - LONG before the park closed. Nice try, but try not to be such a doubter.

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  109. Hi Shane, Yeah for you!, you owned your actions, and I see nothing wrong with it. Thanks for sharing. As for Disney, they'll get over it, and roll on..

    Shane, I first learned about you and your adventures today via the instant download of the DVD on Netflix --Urban Explorers-- which you were featured in.. So I decided to researched you and see what you have been up to lately. LOL I was not disappointed. I love your FREE SPIRIT...

    Personally, I was glued to the DVD when you went into the NASA silo. I just wish there would of been more photos, but the ones I did see were SUPER GREAT!!

    Again, thank you for sharing your experience, and doing the things that a lot of us would love to do but can't.

    Rock on my friend damaging nothing, taking only photos, leaving footprints of exploration, and sharing with the world what life was like in days gone by.
    ~Nyx DarkSky~

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  110. Shane,

    That was a great exploring adventure! I remember going there as a kid and then seeing it from Wilderness Lodge with my kids wondering what it was like on the island now.

    I wish I had your passion for urban exploring. Thanks for sharing your experience.

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  111. First of all let me say that I used to be a cast member that worked at Discovery island. It is truly sad that they have just let the place go to ruins. I have on occasion heard rumor about them revamping the island for a private get away resort or some such that never comes about. Considering that Discovery island was one of the last things that Walt designed it is just another sign of the "company" destroying his heritage.

    It looks like the building that you encountered were the first buildings to the left of the docks that were the feed storage, diet kitchen as well as housing for some of the animals and most of the snakes and reptiles. The cabana that is falling apart looks to be either the beer hut (used to sell red stripe) or the enclosure where there used to be toucans and iguanas. I am glad that it looks like you encountered only local Florida wild life. It would have been interesting to have seen the "new" hospital that they built in the back of the park just prior to it closing (note: The "Company" told the employees after Animal Kingdom opened that they would not be closing the island, thanks for the false promises)

    I have many fond memories of this place both as a guest and as a cast member. Thanks for making the trip.

    Oh and two things... They closed River country because it had gotten into such a state is disrepair that the cost to bring it up to code would outweigh what they would earn from it as it generally only got guests that were already staying at Fort Wilderness. As for gators, the only ones you will probably see are the people that graduated for the University of Florida. While it is possible that a gator might find its way into a Disney lake, Disney is pretty good at keeping them out and having them relocated after all we are talking about the same lake that has beachfronts at Fort wilderness and the contemporary resort and feeds into other water ways at Saratoga springs and downtown Disney. And you want to talk about lawsuits imagine a gator taking a kid from a beachfront resort.

    Good work... Makes me want to sneak in there myself...

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  112. For your next trip:
    http://www.solarius.com/dvp/wdw/discovery-island-map.htm

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  113. Gators - yesterday a fishing guide told us there are indeed a couple of gators in Bay Lake (which is a natural lake and not Disney made), one about 8'.

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  114. Thought of this immediately... The weird part about the link is...it's next to impossible to find proof that Disney owned it, though I remember looking into it and finding a PDF about its ownership...or something. (Aren't I unreliable? XD) But they can't deny Discovery Island because everyone remembers going.

    http://www.i-mockery.com/minimocks/disney-blunder/

    Anyway, awesome. I didn't know there was a name for sneaking into places...Urban Explorer, I'll have to remember that. I live in an old industrial town in Michigan (not the Northville Asylum like that person up there mentioned) and there's a million building waiting to be demolished. We went into the "old Acme building" (not sure if that was really the name of the business...very Loony Tunes) since it was slated to be demolished. Not sure what they used to do there...but finding the City's Christmas lights and old NASA boxes was about the extent of our awesome-ness.

    But Disney? Totally rocking, my eyes are open to a new activity! ^_^

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  115. Looks like Discovery Island is still living up to it's name. I was there when it was open (and I was a child), so this is especially interesting to see. Thanks for sharing your adventure.

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  116. "it's upsetting to me that people can't follow the rules and do as they are told. "

    Classic unintentionally hilarious line from an earlier Anonymous poster. A little sad, too. Following the rules without thinking is not moral, it is mindless. A sure sign this country and this world is in trouble...

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  117. Can you say... Federal Offense?

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  118. Shaddup, anonymous. Can you say adventure?! If I knew how to do this, I totally would!

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  119. Oh and I meant the anonymous person right above my comment, of course. :)

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  120. Andy Hair Candy8/25/10, 4:12 AM

    I admire this tale.
    it's so difficult to have a real modern day adventure, especially at an age past 10.
    this is fantastic, there is nothing more exiting than exploring for the sheer sake of exploring.
    i always enjoyed getting into abandoned houses, factories, hospitals, assylums and all that. i want my own team now...

    film student looking for urban explorers!!!!!

    L&R Andy Hair Candy

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  121. hi……………………
    You are a Great while writing in the blogs it is awesome I liked it too much good and informative thanks for the sharing.

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  122. I would have loved to have done what you did. The whole notion of an abandon Zoo on an island, makes me think of Jurassic Park. Its also making me think of Friday the 13th. Yeah I'd be more scared of Jason coming after me then an alligator, or a Disney security guard. Its human nature to explore the unknown, Disney should thank you. You should go again, dig deep into the woods and camp til morning, then get some day light shots, explore the whole island. Maybe you'll find Mickey's secret meth lab.

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  123. Very amusing to see how many anonymous posters are worried about lawsuits and would like to see you prosecuted. Confirms my idea that basically Americans should not be allowed to vote without an IQ test. The retards are all to happy to sign away their precious 'liberty' because of fear. In a country where retards can sue, retards can sit on a jury and retards are prosecuting... people are treated like... guess what.

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  124. As someone in a related blog site of this artist/ explorer said: "They should open up these areas to the visitors." If they did I have a name for it: Lost Disney or Forgotten Disney. Didn’t Disney produce the TV series “LOST”?
    ------------------------------------------------

    I also have always been intrigued with structures & parks that were either abandoned or closed for the off season. The first abandoned building I saw was a catholic church that within a year of abandonment peeled every inch of its painted ceiling. All of that eerie texture and the dark smell. . …. Anyway Shane Perez definately goes the eXtra Mile. Love the photos!

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  125. I remember last summer I went on a disney vacation with my family, and I was on my way over to the wilderness lodge on the ferry. I had no idea discovery island had even existed. When me and my sisters passed the island, we were all slightly creeped out of how weird it looked with the broken down dock. I remember thinking how cool it would be to go onto the island and take pictures, because some buildings were visible from the ferry. I think it's so cool that you actually got onto the island!

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  126. Wow nice.. and that comment federal offence??? really simple trespass is federal?? anyway wish I had the sack to do something like this.

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  127. very nice pics i love them

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  128. Alan Bradley2/12/11, 3:03 AM

    Find in Hidden Mickeys out there? :-)

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  129. Nice!! I have ALWAYS wanted to explore Discovery Island. Unfortunately it was closed before my time! Thank you for giving me a glimpse into this special piece of Disney History. If you guys go back to explore the other side of the island I suggest checking out one of the old Discovery island Maps first. Here is a link to one I found online. The Map and Key is found 3/4 of the way down the page: http://waltdatedworld.bravepages.com/id21.htm

    I'm sure Disney isn't all to happy about it but like someone posted above its good publicity. In addition I really don't think any laws are broken going to the island. I'm by there all the time on Disney boats and there are No "No Trespassing signs". I would suggest the next visit renting one of those little Disney boats at any of the Marinas to get over there. Like someone else suggested above, drop someone off then return later to pick them up!! Good luck and hope to hear of a return trip!!

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  130. Great pictures man. I remember passing by this place a few times. I went to WDW twice when DI was still open, but we never actually went to the Island. I remember asking one of the Ferry pilots about it and he told me it was pretty eerie. Kinda reminds me of Plum Island. I'd consider going there, but I'd have to be armed. Anyways, major props for this, and be safe.

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  131. You inspire me. I've been enthralled with Discovery Island ever since my Uncle explained what is was while mouse boating. (He's a Guest Relations Manager)

    Info is scarce, so to find something like this is truly compelling. I may even attempt something along the likes of this next summer when I visit DW for my Senior Trip. Yeah, it's a conspiracy. I commend you, sir. I commend you.

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  132. great job i saw a piece on you tube where they said you might be banned from disney did that happen? i live in orlando and i love what you guys do keep it up and stay safe....

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  133. Friggen AWESOME!!!!!!!

    You should post the pictures to Google Earth.

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  134. you are LEGENDS

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  135. Awesome pictures and great story. We are going to Walt Disney World Resort , I can only hope our trip is as adventurous as yours!

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  136. Wait a second-here is a prime example of waste and poor management-I cannot believe the talented team of Disney IMAGINEERS cannot create/development a wonderful space on this island! I'm not an imagineer--but I could imagine everything from a romantic secluded honeymoon cottages...with the popularity of the PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN--why not a Pirate Adventure experience. Come on Disney-make us proud. Nature takes back very quickly--save this area before it's completely destroyed.

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  137. That's awesome! I was on the Disney ferry in March with my mother when we noticed there was a dock and small building, we never would have thought that it was once an attraction! But thanks to you I have a little more insight on the history of the place. Also, you have alot of guts. I live in Florida and still get freaked out about the bacteria whenever I swim in lakes. Cheers! (:

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  138. Wow this is unbelievable. I've unfortunately never been to Disney World. I would like to go someday and just look out to Discovery Island and know that there was a time when it could be accessed and explored. How adventerous that must be! I hope that Disney will allow people to explore the island someday. And when I say someday I'm hoping it's within the next few years. Thank you Shane for going on that adventure for us!

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  139. Apparently, in the late 90s, Disney had plans to turn this into Myst Island, based on the best-selling computer game and its sequels. A small group of people would spend all day on the island, looking for clues as to what happened to the inhabitants of the island. This was one of Disney's responses to surveys that showed guests were getting sick of waiting in an hour lineup for a three minute ride. Disney was particularly interested in the subset who said they would gladly pay double for a three minute lineup to a ride that lasted a couple of hours. In the end, Disney decided that the cost of constructing the attraction on the island was too high to be recovered by any entrance fee acceptable to potential guests.

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  140. just took video of a rather large gator swimming in Bay Lake just off the boat dock for Fort Wilderness waiting to return to MK. It was much larger than 8 Ft. I'm talking July 2011!! The staff on every boat i took later that week said gators are a daily site for them. I couldnt believe it. thats why all of the signs at Poly, GF, etc say NO Swimming!! Great adventure. The view of DI from the Contemporary Bay View rooms is awesome at sunrise.

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  141. What's so strange about this to me is the condition of the buildings - like people just up and left. No clean up, no demolition, no typical Disney attention to detail. Wonder why. You ever wonder?

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  142. I am amazed and a bit amused at reading so many "Idot" comments from Rule abiding concerned citizens and Disney Fans in ironically a Kingdom that is built entirely upon the vision of human zeal for Adventure and Discovery. While it does not mean it's ok to break the law, this adventure was in pure essence a "Dicovery" fitting for Disney's name of the island.
    As far as alligators and deadly bacteria, are there not many beaches around Bay Lake the resort guest can play in the waters and many watersports? Disney #1 priority is Safety, and would not allow water sports or swimming in Bay Lake if it was not relatively safe with normal inherent risks of swimming in a lake. Chances of drowning or human debris is likely greater than snake, alligator attacks, or deadly bacteria.
    As far as Disney shame for leaving buildings. Like so many modern day ships intentionally sunk to create man made reefs, remaining structures on the island would not harm the environment and would give refuge to many birds and wildlife. Driving, flying to WDW, and taking boat across the lake if far greater impact to the wildlife and environment than some wooden buildings, signs, and pathways left to deteriorate naturally. Way to go! Yes, Disney company should be concerned for liability reasons, but honored their park likely was influential in inspiring mankind from when we first visited the Parks at young ages to take on new adventures and discoveries! Most of the Lands inside the park have elements of exploration beyond where the adventurer may supposed to be or within the exact guidelines. I am sure those rule following posters absolutely hate riding on Indian Jones ride knowing this fictitious character and adventurers who inspired the story also made trespasses or ventures a bit beyond the limits. Good thing Walt didn't follow all the rules people gave him. Going through River Country was just as bad as swimming to the Island. Just curious, does Disney have "No Swimming After Dark" policy on the lake or any signs posted on the beach Discovery is off limits?

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  143. p.s. just read a previous post stating there are now "no swimming" signs around Bay Lake. Working their in the early 90s I remember at least wading into Bay Lake, personally going out on small one manned boats, and I thought they had sailing and maybe even exclusive water skiing option on all or a section of the lake.

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  144. I worked as a firework cruise boat driver out of the Wilderness Lodge for 4 years and I can tell you right where you swam over is where I used to light up alligator eyes every night. We nicknamed the island Bird Island. It is the main nesting area for the Ibis. You can swim out in the deeper water on the north side of the lake and not worry about the bacteria. That is where you ski. It's only in the shallow shore areas. I used to drop people off on that island, mostly maintenance. If you decide to go back, try and find a college program boat driver. They usually work in the Recreation department of the bay lake 7 seas hotels. Toss them a 20 and I'm sure they would drive you over. If they know how to drive the boat.

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  145. Just saw this in an old news clip. Good stuff

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  146. This is so creepy yet cool!!

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  147. Good job dude! Wonder if anything's changed on the island since then...

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  148. Cool pictures. Dumb stunt.

    I'm glad it turned out well, but I don't like to think of the impact on my ticket prices if you'd been injured/killed. Disney would have been sued (and probably won given that the activity being undertaken was against at LEAST Disney policy), but lawsuits cost money and the additional safety precautions that came about would have cost money too.

    Please don't go out of your way to make life more restrictive and more expensive for everyone else, OK?

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  149. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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  150. wow mad props to you guys!! When is your next Disney adventure? Would you go again now that you know about the gators and bacteria?

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  151. and no way would I ever do something like that! I'm scared of my own shadow!!

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  152. On my first trip to DisneyWorld, I went as a temporary "cast member" because my high school marching band was performing in the parade. I saw all of the weird backstage goings-on and they asked us to not take pictures of their rather ghetto-looking place for costume changes. Ever since, I've wanted to explore every weird corner of Disneyland like that. What an incredible experience!

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  153. Just read the book "The Dark Side of Disney" and found your name and decided to look up the blog. This is such a cool thing that you did. I have always been a Disney fanatic but with that came a interest into the "behind the scenes" aspect of it. I, like the person above, was granted "temporary cast member" rights due to being in marching band and performing in the Main Street parade. I think that trip behind the scenes and the fact that we were told that we would pretty much get our cameras taken away and destroyed if we took pictures sparked my interest in what really went on "behind the magic." Thanks for sharing!! The pictures are amazing and although I don't have the balls to do it myself, I still think it's so cool/badass!

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  154. Thank you for doing this. These abandoned parts of Disney are real history and need to be documented. What would really be cool is if the cast members in the photos could be identified, I'm sure they'd be THRILLED to get at least copies of those pics returned to them. From what I hear they closed that place up so quickly, there's likely some of their old personal belongings still in their lockers. One of the coolest things I was ever able to do myself was walk through the old 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea show building before the demolished it and filled in the lagoon. The water was still crystal clear and we could see all the old show scenes still in pristine condition: The wrecked ships, the arctic circle, Atlantis, even the Giant Squid attack, all still there, just like a sub had passed moments ago, even though the ride had been abandoned for 13 years!

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  155. Unreal. I was linked to your River Country photos because we stopped there in 1999. DI is nuts. I'd love to see what else was there or spend time myself exploring. Also, to the person who said 'there must still be personal items in the lockers', it really does feel like Chernobyl with people getting up and out as fast as humanly possible...

    please, keep posting amazing things like this.

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  156. so is the water safe? i am considering a little quest of my own on my next visit to the park

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  157. I love the armchair police in this thread. Guaranteed they're the same bunch that whine about 'kids sitting in their room playing video games'... can't have it both ways. This is probably the only exploring worth doing in Central Florida. Lighten up, Francis(s)

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  158. Dude that would be awesome to do, same with he river country. You go to a place few people have seen in years and all the children have een there are grown up. Thats an eerie feeling to i guess.

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  159. That was an amazing 10 minute read. I could almost imagine it was me as you. Great story, great pictures. Wish i was there with you guys.

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  160. This is simply amazing. I want to do something as adventurous as this, I'm not the best swimmer, but dude, if I could I would so make the attempt to go here. it looks fantastic. truly. truly amazing. Go back again, and look at the North side, I'm curious about those buildings.

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  161. I loved the story, and I would love to try something like it someday. Probably not as daring, as I am kind of a wimp, but I'm glad y'all had a cool time. I'm also glad no one got hurt.

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  162. No doubt I did some things at an earlier age! Railroad trestle were the other guy froze up, that was fun, could have pushed him off into the river. When he figured that out he got motion in his legs..

    I am glad it worked out for you guys..

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  163. Simply outragiously cool ! Your entry sounds just like James bond sort of ... This must of been so much fun I was probably amazed at the river country pictures since Disney still keeps abandoned park lights on. Also reading about how you guys found doc and pictures from DI was cool too. Who cares if Disney was mad that you did this going to an abandoned Disney park? Shut up and take my money :)

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  164. This is great!! I'd love to see some more pictures of River Country as well. Somebody here had commented about pictures of the "new" hospital they had built on DI right before it closed, I believe there are some pictures of it here: http://www.abandonedfl.com/?p=241

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  165. This is AWSOME would love to see you do another trip like this again. Next time I'm at disney I'm going to look and see if i can see it from far. Great Job and all those tight ass who talk about law suite are perhaps dumb asses, you are not only a bunch of idiots but are perhaps the same idiots who are trying to screw this great country up great job guys love the pics and keep up the great work. ignore all those negative morons.

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  166. I went to Discovery Island a year or so before it was shutdown. I thought it was a little gem at Disney and didn't understand why they never seemed to promote it. The covered shelter area in the photo looks like where they would do animal show/tells for the little kids. They'd bring out birds and reptiles for a small audience and tell the kids all about them. Afterwards, they'd stay out a bit with the animals and answer questions from the little ones. They also had trails you could walk and see big turtles, flamingos & various birds. Its a shame they didn't revamp it. It was a great little nature park for kids and a peaceful little break from what can be overwhelming time at Disney.

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  167. So many comments on this! your 5 year wait finally paid off lol! Really enjoyed reading this bro, really cool. Have to admit it made me kinda jealous lol. My life could pretty much use one of these adventures. Kudos

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  168. Really enjoyed reading about this, very awesome.

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  169. Brought back a lot of memories of going there on our family vacation.

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  170. I think this is awesome!

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  171. Extremely impressive! Such an adventurous spirit in a world that looks down on that.. Don't listen to the hater.. Whenever something great is done, there is always haters.. Just wanted to show my support. We need some more of this in America! Thanks for sharing! Really enjoyed it! A lot of people talk about doing things like this, but no one has the balls to plan it and do it. Kudos for really doing it!

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  172. Went to Discovery Island in 1997, a girl in my group stepped in a fire ant nest. It was pretty cool. I also swam at River Country that year and could not stop thinking about alligators.

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  173. God that looks so awesome and Jurassic Park-y!!

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  174. I'm jealous...awesome story!

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  175. AWSOME, AWSOME< AWSOME. People that say other wise are JEALOUS!!! Thank you for taking us on your journey!

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  176. Abandon discovery island should be a game. You found old photos specimens in containers creepy vet and holding centers with all the bird noises.. it would be amazing.

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  177. Disney should re-open this. So many people want to see it! They'd make millions giving tours of "The Abandoned Island"

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