A Louisiana tourist was arrested when he refused to get his temperature checked at the Disney Springs shopping district in Walt Disney World and complained to authorities that his $15,000 vacation was being interrupted. Kelly Sills, 47, of Baton Rouge was arrested on Feb. 13, and the Orange County Sheriff's Office released footage of the incident last week. Sills pleaded not guilty to trespassing.
The incident happened outside The Boathouse restaurant, where Sills allegedly went around the temperature screening tent to get inside the building, reports the Orlando Sentinel. He refused to go back through the screening and would not leave the property when Disney staff asked him to, according to the arrest report. During the arrest, he told deputies he spent $15,000 to go to Disney World and claimed to be a Disney stockholder.
"I paid $15,000. You can’t trespass me for paying $15,000," Sills told the deputies. "If I take $15,000 from you, I can’t kick you out... Bring me to jail for $15,000 grand, I’m fine... In front of my kids, too, at Disney World." Sills was staying at Disney's Saratoga Springs Resort & Spa.
As the sheriff's deputies took him away, Sills told them he was now willing to get his temperature checked. "Will you take my temperature before you kick me out, please?" Sills is heard asking in the body camera footage after he was cuffed. "They'll do that in jail, sir," a deputy replied. "Well, that's good," Sills replied.
During an interview with The Washington Post on Saturday, Sills said he would have "happily" agreed to do a temperature check, but he claims he accidentally entered through an exit. He accused security of escalating the situation and compared them to Nazis and the mafia. Sills also said he was in "a bit of a mood" after traveling. The arrest happened on the first night of a five-day trip with his family. He claims to have spent thousands on two hotel rooms, flights, and tickets to the Disney and Universal parks for seven to eight people. "COVID is a very serious thing, but so is my vacation with my family," Sills told the Post.
Disney spokeswoman Andrea Finger said conflicts like these are rare. The resort requires all guests ages 2 and up to wear masks and asks them to stay home if they have COVID-19 symptoms. The resort also has temperature checks at some entrances. “Guests have been overwhelmingly supportive of our protocols," Finger told the Post. “Millions of Guests visit our theme parks each year and in rare instances when things of this nature occur, we hold them accountable.”
Although most guests have followed Disney's coronavirus guidelines, there have been other incidents similar to Sills' arrest. One man was reportedly arrested after spitting on a Disney security guard when asked to wear a face mask at the Contemporary Resort. "There’s never a day when I don’t have a story," one Disney Springs employee told the Sentinel in early March. "I cried the first week I started. It was not a good time at all. Imagine going to work every single day where people ridicule you." The employee noted that many guests ask why Disney has a face mask requirement when the state of Florida does not.