Monday, April 10, 2017

The abandoned Disney's River Country theme park in Florida

Disney's River Country opened on June 20, 1976  and it was the first water park at Walt Disney World in Florida. Positioned on the shore of Bay Lake, it featured a rustic wilderness theme, complete with rocks and man-made boulders. Using a unique water filtering system and a a half-acre (2,000 m²) sandy bottom,the park featured a natural-looking man-made lagoon. 

During the 80's, Disney's River Country was struck by 3 tragedies. In 1980, an 11-year-old boy was killed by a deadly infection caused by a brain-eating amoeba which is found in warm bodies of fresh water. Then, in 1982 and in 1989 there were two drownings. However, and despite the competition by Disney's two newer and larger parks, Disney's Typhoon Lagoon and Disney's Blizzard Beach, visitor numbers didn't suffer. 

As it did every year, the park closed at the end of the warm-weather season in November 2001, with the expectation that it would reopen in spring of 2002. However, after the September 11 attacks, there was a decline in business across Disney World, with many parks cutting back their hours and many events being cancelled. In April 2002 Walt Disney World announced that River Country might reopen if there is enough demand. Soon, the park fell into disrepair and in 2005 Disney announced that the park will never reopen. It is only the second Disney park to shut down (the other is Discovery Island, which similarly was left to deteriorate rather than be demolished.

SEE ALSO: More abandoned amusement parks and abandoned theme parks around the world // More abandoned places in California // More abandoned places in the United States // LIST OF ALL DESERTED PLACES
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