Photos of rotting, abandoned water park at Walt Disney World

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33 Responses to “Photos of rotting, abandoned water park at Walt Disney World”

  1. mr_josh says:

    I’m kind of a Disney park fan, but man do I love seeing nature take back something like this. The perfect scene-from-a-movie environment that Disney Imagineers create makes an even better post-apocalyptic wonderland. (Too poetic?)

    They’re talking in that thread about making a similar trip to Discovery Island. Can’t wait.

  2. daev says:

    Wow. I went there a year after it opened. I was 13. Hard to believe the place looks like it does now. I had a blast, and now I’m saddened to see the place in ruin.

    Damn I feel old! LOL

  3. adamnvillani says:

    Central Florida is also home to some other closed amusement parks… Cypress Gardens near Winter Haven and the much weirder Splendid China near Orlando, full of miniature replicas of Chinese landmarks, often criticized as being a propaganda tool by the PRC government.

    • naufragio says:

      If Splendid China still exists, I’d love to see photos of that — all rundown. I went as a kid and thought it was awfully weird, but cool. When I later learned it was actually run by the Chinese government, well, it seemed even weirder. Supposedly they had problems with a lot of their performers trying to defect.

  4. Tavie says:

    I wish we could “favorite” posts the same way we used to – this is a gem. What always struck me about River Country was that the bottoms of the pools weren’t painted turqoise like the bottoms of almost every body of water at every other water park I’ve ever been to. More “watering hole”-ish that way.

  5. MrsBug says:

    So what was the reason it was shut down? Does anyone know?

  6. masonwest says:

    Aw… I remember going there when I was 10 or so – would have been just a few years after you Cory. The water was a lot colder than at the Typhoon Lagoon, but I really liked the back woods, Huck Finn feel it had.

    I didn’t know it had been closed down. Honestly, I’m not surprised, but it’s a bit of a bummer.

  7. Phrosty says:

    At first, I kept wondering how on Earth did he manage to gain access; but after checking the site out on Google Earth, it seems like it would be pretty easy.

    The guy who shot this is toying with the idea of going to Discovery Island next. I’d love to see those shots as well. It seems a bit trickier, though. Maybe if he sneaked back into River Country, donned scuba equipment, and swam a little northeast, he could manage to get on the island.

  8. mgfarrelly says:

    Oh WOW. This just hit my brain like a boot! I went to WDW when in the mid-80′s as really wee kid and remember this place vividly. I was describing it to a friend who just took her kids (like how the slides were very cool, and fast and the whole place had this weird ‘swimmin’ hole vibe that as a city kid was so bizarre to me) last year and she kept thinking she must have missed it.

    I love the list of spiders and insects out to get you that they were kind enough to post for the Disney laborers!

  9. fairyboatcaptain says:

    It really isn’t in THAT bad of shape. With a couple hours of cleanup there is some serious fun to be had tubing in a rainstorm on private property. Rufio would agree with me.

  10. hhype says:

    I remember loving this place when I was a kid and we went to Disney World. One trip 20+ years ago was in the off season so you could go on the inner tube ride over and over again because there was no line. During the peak season it was very crowded. They also had a nice sandy beach, but of course it was fresh water, which actually made it nicer than the ocean.

  11. blueelm says:

    Aw that actually looks like it might have been fun. Wonder why they decided to let it go?

    • Tavie says:

      They built some glossier, shinier water parks – Typhoon Lagoon and Blizzard Beach – that I think just turned out to be way more popular.

    • Anonymous says:

      Also, they were having a lot of problems keeping it clean, bacteria and all. It was a fun park, but I could never help but feel dirty when I went there.

      • getjustin says:

        I heard it had to do with a new state law that said that water in water parks had to come from a treated municipal source. Some of the water at River Country came from the lake right next door. These pictures are wonderful. Makes me want to trek down there when I head home for Christmas.

  12. waltbosz says:

    One of my oldest memories was when I visited Disney World when I was 4 years old. In my memories, there were massive mountains with slides carved into the rock. Looking at these photos makes me realize that it was probably just the fiberglass kiddie slides. That memory provides an interesting look into how a child sees the world, and how our brains saves memories. As a child, I couldn’t tell that the rocks were fake, so to this day when I recall that memory, I still see steps carves into a mountain that lead up to a dark cave slide.

  13. Anonymous says:

    freaky. i am on pg 280 of makers. it just came to life.

  14. Anonymous says:

    Two vast and trunkless legs of stone
    Stand in the desert. Near them, on the sand,
    Half sunk, a shattered visage lies, whose frown
    And wrinkled lip, and sneer of cold command
    Tell that its sculptor well those passions read
    Which yet survive, stamped on these lifeless things,
    The hand that mocked them and the heart that fed.
    And on the pedestal these words appear:
    “My name is Ozymandias, king of kings:
    Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!”

  15. Anonymous says:

    I think the one in California is open. But I am not 100% sure. I went for Spring Break but I am not sure if it was running or not. All I know is that there were people who were on the little Hick Finn Boats on the river.

  16. Anonymous says:

    I hadn’t thought about River Country in years, but I totally went there multiple times when I was growing up in Central Florida in the 80s. What a great park.

  17. PaulR says:

    Is it only me, or do a lot of the photos look like the setting for Redneck Rampage?

  18. rationalist says:

    Interesting content filter that forum has:

    Since 2001, the area has sat virtually *****turbed.

    I guess “undis” might upset Disney? Or did they spell it “undies”?

  19. Anonymous says:

    Great gallery! To hear a wonderful, very in-depth look back at River Country, I’d like to suggest checking out Lou Mongello’s WDW Radio show #55 which can be found here:

    http://www.wdwradio.com/WDW-Radio-Show-Disney-Podcast/Show-55-Feb.-24-2008.html

    It’s a fun look back at the history, attractions and demise of this very unique destination.

  20. Crazylegs says:

    As a kid, I loved going to River Country. While it may not have had the breadth of Typhoon Lagoon or Blizzard Beach, it had its own special vibe that made me love it. I’ve managed to cruise close to the old beach in a rented boat once or twice in the last few years, but I’ve never gotten close enough to see how overgrown the place has become. I’m actually heading to DisneyWorld tomorrow (Dec 17), so I’m thinking I might have a mission to fulfill while I’m there!

  21. Mark Crummett says:

    It’s for the new “Haunted Theme Park” attraction. It’s not closed; they’re aging it for a more realistic experience. You just can’t fake that kind of slime, nor would your customers want you to. They demand authenticity!

  22. phisrow says:

    What they don’t tell you is that the ruins of the abandoned water park are inhabited by a malodorous sex-offender they call “Captain Hook”….

  23. catastrophegirl says:

    i got hit in the head by the boom swing once, trying to grab for it.
    you know, back in the day when that got you “are you ok? you should be more careful kiddo” instead of parents threatening to sue.
    my mom always warned me not to do headstands in the water there because there were ‘amoebas are going to go up your nose and eat your brain’ warnings on the news for florida lake water all through the 80′s.

  24. nehpetsE says:

    To solve the mystery of why it was closed, we must hire the Scooby Doo gang.

  25. cstatman says:

    this is so full of awesome.

    I’ve never been to any disney park (yeah yeah) but? I think the idea of one going “back to nature” is brilliant.

    All the fiberglass rocks and artificial structure, slowly devolving back to real life? SUPER cool.

    I’m surprised the shots go out, I thought Disney was all about control.

    and? I would LOVE to see the ‘behind the scenes’ stuff, as it returns to nature

    Brilliant, thanks BB staff!

  26. Anonymous says:

    Here are several ‘before and after’ images of River Country. Very sad.

    http://www.imagineeringdisney.com/blog/2009/12/19/abandoned-disney-river-country-part-1.html

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