Disney’s River Country opened in Orlando, Florida in 1976 as part of the Walt Disney World complex, the first waterpark built at the resort. River Country was themed around a rustic wilderness old-fashioned swimming hole similar to Thunder Mountain and Frontierland in the Magic Kingdom and elements of the Wild West ran through both.
The park had a sandy bottom to its pools and used water pumped into a lagoon from the nearby Bay Lake. The park was much smaller than Blizzard Beach and Typhoon Lagoon, the other waterparks in Walt Disney World and was closed in 2001 as a result of low attendance and general disinterest, according to official sources. This was after the downturn experienced following the September 11th attacks.
In 1980, an 11-year-old boy was killed by a deadly infection caused by a bacterial infection, with high levels of naegleria fowleri in the water used in the park. Swimming is now forbidden in the lakes surrounding the old waterpark as a result of possible infection.
There were various plans mooted for the park to re-themed and reopened with various Disney properties such as Peter Pan and Pirates Of The Caribbean muted as possible franchises on which the new water park would be based however it was announced in 2005 that the park would not be reopening and has been left abandoned ever since. Despite the initial rumours, it is unknown what Disney plan to do with the site. As for now it is just an overgrown, dishevelled site. It is hardly recognizable as a place that once thrived, where happy families and children made lifetime memories. It remains one of Walt Disney World’s hidden secrets and along with other abandoned properties like Discovery Island, it has become a challenge for urban explorers. Local police however, don’t seem to take the trespassing lightly.
The below YouTube video shows the waterpark as it is now while many more videos and pictures exist of River Country in both its past and present state.
The following is a list of attractions in the park before its closure –
- Whoop ‘n’ Holler Hollow, two water slides, 260 ft (79 m) and 160 ft (49 m) long that emptied into Bay Cove
- Bay Cove, a half-acre (2,000 m²) sand-bottom lake which featured a tire swing, boom swing, rope climb, and T-bar drop.
- Slippery Slide Falls, two water slides that emptied into Upstream Plunge, a 330,000 US gallon (1,250 m³) clear-water pool.
- White Water Rapids, a 330 foot (100 m) long inner tube river.
- Cypress Point Nature Trail, a trail among trees beside Bay Lake.
- Indian Springs, A very small splash zone with fountains spraying kids. This area mainly attracted guest under age 8.
- Barrel Bridge, A bumpy bridge with barrels under it. Similar to the one at Tom Sawyer Island.
- Kiddie Cove, A kids zone with two large water slides and a cove. This area was targeted toward preteens.
Location: Orlando, Florida, USA
Category: Theme Park