// Miracle Strip Amusement Park//

Panama City Beach, Florida.

Opened: March of 1963

Closed: September of 2004

Miracle Strip Amusement Park was once considered the Coney Island of Florida. It had over 16 differen’t rides and attractions that were unique. This set Miracle’s rides apart from any other Amusement park fair. With differen’t themes and creative ideas, the rides were transformed into big attractions for guests. The most famous and popular ride from the day of the park’s opening, to it’s closing was “The Starliner”. The Wooden Coaster was one of the largest for it’s time.

In 2003, after nearly forty years the park announced it’s plan for closure. The Owner Billy Lark sold the land to developers, seeing it as a better deal then having to deal with the rising financial problems and not gaining attendance to keep the profits. The 2004 season was it’s last.

Many of the rides including the starliner have been sold to other theme parks. While the land is still there and most of the remaing park is gone, for awhile it was abandoned and forgotten. In December 2009, it was announced that a smaller version of the park was to be recreated at the Peir Park outdoor shopping mall. The main roads across from the beach front park are now silent, you can no longer hear the bells, music and laughter. The lights are gone. Memories are all that remain.

For more information on the rides, the history or pictures of it’s Heyday and downfall:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Miracle_Strip_Amusement_Park#The_Starliner

http://www.lostparks.com/mstrip.html

http://www.flickr.com/search/?q=miracle+strip+amusement+park&w=all&m=&s=int&mt=&referer_searched=

Florida's Splendid China

A set of pictures featuring images of the abandoned Splendid China amusement part previously featured on this blog.  

(We are not affiliated with the “abandoned places” live journal group).    

// Africa, U.S.A.//

Location:  Boca Raton, Florida

Date of Opening:  March 10th, 1953.

Date of Closing:  September 4th, 1961.  


When it was opened in 1998, Disney’s Animal Kingdom was heralded as a cutting-edge free range animal park.  However, it wasn’t the first, but perhaps its predecessor, Africa U.S.A. had long been forgotten by the masses.  Opened in 1953, it was the realized childhood dream of a man named John Pederson.  He wanted to make the dead town of Boca Raton famous, and so set out to make his dream of a cageless zoo a reality.  

The park featured many different animals from the African Savana, and they were allowed to roam free through a large plain.  Guests to the park could pay $1.50 to take a ride on a tram that would guide them through the enclosure, and allow them to see the animals in a natural environment.  The park was also home to the famous Watsui Geyser, and a large lagoon.  Legend has it that Walt Disney himself fancied buying the park before his death.  

However, things began to look grim for the park.  It’s founder, John Pederson found himself locked in political battle after political battle, struggling to keep his dream afloat.  He eventually sold the park to get away from the stress, but returned to see it to its end.  There were several developers vying for the property as development in the area expanded.  In 1961, the animals were auctioned off, and the land sold.  It became the Camino Gardens subdivison, and an era was over.    

However, a small park remains on the site to remember it, along with the remainds of the geyser and a sign commemorating Pederson’s accomplishments.  

For More Information:  

http://www.waymarking.com/waymarks/WM7FW1_Africa_USA

http://www.africa-usa.com/sentinel/sun-sentinel2.htm

http://www.africa-usa.com/pbpost/march23.html

http://www.africa-usa.com/

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.

Interesting facts:

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:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Disney’s_River_Country

http://www.disboards.com/showthread.php?t=2344523

http://waltdatedworld.bravepages.com/id220.htm

// Disney’s Discovery Island//

Location:  Orlando, Florida

Date of Opening:  April 8th, 1974

Date of Closing:  April 8th, 1999

In the early sixties, Walt Disney was searching for land to build his new theme park.  Under false names, and identities, Walt’s company began purchasing all of the land located around one small island, hidden within what is now known as Bay Lake.  That island, originally known as Raz Island,  became Treasure Island in 1974 and was developed by the Disney company into a wildlife retreat full of tropical birds.  Originally intended to be pirate themed, many species of tropical birds were added, along with soil, and plant life.  It’s name was changed again in 1978 to “Discovery Island”.

The island wasn’t as nearly successful as the company hoped.  Located in the middle of the lake, there were only two ways to reach it, both from Disney hotels.  It also required a ticket separate from the parks.  There were no rides, only a bird show and a scavenger hunt.  There was a beach, but no swimming was permitted.  

In  1981, the park was accredited by the American Association of Zoological Parks and Aquariums, but even that could not save the island’s rapidly waning popularity.  The park closed on its 25th anniversary in 1999, and the animals were relocated to the newly opened Animal Kingdom park.  

The Island is still empty, and easily visible from Disney’s Fort Wilderness campground.  

For More Information:  

http://allears.net/tp/di.htm

http://modernruins.blogspot.com/2008/01/disneys-discovery-island.html

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Discovery_Island_%28Florida%29

http://www.insidethemagic.net/2010/04/explorers-invade-disneys-abandoned-discovery-island-and-river-country-water-park/  

http://shaneperez.blogspot.com/2009/12/discovery-island.html

// Florida Week ‘10 //

Because of this blog’s long hiatus, and my recent trip to florida, myself and my partner are going to be holding a special week dedicated to the abandoned places of Florida. 

Do you have any places that you want featured this week?  If so, send a message to the ask box, and we’ll be happy to research it for you. 

Thanks to everyone who has stuck with us! 

A blog of abandoned places in the United States and beyond.