Walt Disney River Country Water park.
Opened it’s gates: June 26th 1976
Closed for the season, never to open again: November 11th 2001
If you grew up watching Disney or are a fan of movies such as the Fox & the hound and Old Yeller, you know Disney was a fan of the wilderness, the good frontier, the ol’ Country life. Walt Disney was the pioneer who set ground on many interesting projects when it came to his ultimate work of art, Disney World. One of his ideas was a water park where families could cool off from Florida’s hot summer days and relax when they just didn’t feel like going and spending a long day at the main park. His plans were to use the lake water that surrounded the resort. The ground was set to be included in his Fort Wilderness Resort & campground and because of this Disney seized the opportunity to make his first Water Park resemble a Watering hole. It included four water slides, a tire swing, boom swing, rope climb, and T-bar drop.
In 2001 Disney had moved on with other water parks, Typhoon Lagoon and Blizzard Beach. Not only was River Country becoming more outdated, but attendance became a problem after the 9/11 terrorist attacks. The last straw for the once fun-filled park, came from a law that was passed in Florida towards chlorination and water systems in public amusment parks. River Country closed for it’s seasonal off-time, it’s gates closed and nobody returned.
At one time the park’s original entrance was the host to Mickey’s backyard BBQ.
The deadly Naegleria Fowleri bacteria is said to be alive in the park’s water during the hot summer months. This could also have added to the reasoning of the park’s final season.
River Country still stands in it’s ruined state today. It has been untouched since it’s last operation and is now restricted property. Disney has not realeased any statement on plans for renewal or destruction. It rotts behind its gate and boarded fence and is guarded by disney security and Florida Police. If you are ever at one of the Disney world resorts, you can still see it across the lake.
For more information on the park or for more pictures: