ORLANDO, Fla. – A Louisiana man who said he spent $15,000 on a Disney World vacation learned to his misfortune that “the most magical place on Earth” has very real rules to maintain public health during the coronavirus pandemic.
Kelly Sills, 47, of Baton Rouge was arrested Feb. 13 after he refused to get his temperature checked at a Disney Springs restaurant, the Orange County Sheriff’s Office told news outlets. He later pleaded not guilty to trespassing.
An arrest report said Sills skipped the restaurant’s temperature screening tent, refused to go back to be tested and wouldn’t leave the property once asked to by Disney and the deputies.
After being told he was on private property, Sills repeatedly told authorities that he paid for his vacation and that “you can’t trespass if you’re paying $15,000,” according to a video recording from the sheriff’s office.
Sills told The Washington Post on Saturday that he would have “happily” consented to a screening but walked into the restaurant through an exit and didn’t realize his mistake. He criticized a manager for escalating the conflict and compared Disney security to Nazis and the Mafia, the newspaper reported.
“COVID is a very serious thing, but so is my vacation with my family,” Sills said.
Sills’ attorney declined to comment, The Orlando Sentinel reported.
Sills is only the latest person arrested for refusing to follow Disney’s health rules. Also in February, a man was accused of spitting on a security guard after being asked to wear a mask and was charged with battery.
Disney spokeswoman Andrea Finger said most guests have followed the rules, which enabled Disney World to reopen in the pandemic.
“Millions of guests visit our theme parks each year, and in rare instances when things of this nature occur, we hold them accountable,” Finger said in the statement.