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Here are some photos I have of my family’s visit to Disney’s River Country water park in WDW. It was a really cool waterpark but now lies to rot in ruins to this day. These photos were taken in 1996.
Disney’s River Country was the first water park at the Walt Disney World Resort. It opened on June 20, 1976 and ceased operations on November 2, 2001. On January 20, 2005, The Walt Disney Company announced that River Country would remain closed permanently. Along with Discovery Island, it is only one of two Disney parks in history to close permanently. Both parks were abandoned rather than demolished.
Positioned on the shore of Bay Lake, near Discovery Island in Bay Lake, Florida, River Country featured a rustic wilderness theming, complete with rocks and man-made boulders. It was described as an “old-fashioned swimming hole” with “a twist of Huckleberry Finn”. The original working title was “Pop’s Willow Grove”.
The park featured a sandy bottom and unique water filtering system using confluent water from adjacent Bay Lake, which was dammed off creating a natural-looking man-made lagoon. It was much smaller than the resort’s other two water parks, Typhoon Lagoon and Blizzard Beach, with the latter nearly four times the size of River Country.
River Country was featured in a musical number from the 1977 The Wonderful World of Disney episode “The Mouseketeers at Walt Disney World”, which included a song titled “River Country” and featured the then-current Mouseketeer lineup from the late 70s incarnation of The Mickey Mouse Club enjoying the attractions at the park.
River Country was closed down on November 2nd, 2001, due to the fact that a local brain eating amoeba, “Naegleria Fowleri”, was discovered in the water of Bay Lake. Rumors and stories have been spread around about the actual cause of the shutdown. One creepy fact is that the electricity and water continue to operate in the park to this day but the park itself doesn’t.
Upstream Plunge, a kidney shaped clean-water pool.
Slippery Slide Falls, two water slides that emptied into Upstream Plunge.
Kiddie Cove, a kids zone with two large water slides and a cove. This area was targeted toward preteens.
Barrel Bridge, a bumpy bridge with barrels under it, similar to the one at Tom Sawyer Island.
White Water Rapids, a 330 foot (100 m) long inner tube river.
Bay Cove, a half-acre (2,000 m²) sand-bottom lake which featured a tire swing, boom swing, rope climb, and T-bar drop.
Whoop ‘n’ Holler Hollow, two water slides, 260 ft (79 m) and 160 ft (49 m) long, that emptied into Bay Cove.
Indian Springs, a very small splash zone with fountains spraying kids. This area was mainly designed for guests under age 8.
Cypress Point Nature Trail, a trail among trees beside Bay Lake.
Mercury WaterMouse Rental