Opening in 1976, Disney’s River Country was Walt Disney World’s first water park. Then in 2001 Disney shut down the park for what they called “maintenance.” In 2005 it was announced that River Country’s gates would never be opened again. What has become of this once beloved park? It seems it has been left starving and alone along with our shattered memories.
2. Once a joyous and fun family water park,
Located next to Disney’s Fort Wilderness lodge and across from The Contemporary Resort.
3. So full of life,
Some people consider this water park the first THEMED water park in the world! It opened about a year before Orlando’s Wet ‘N Wild.
6. These wicked cool slides.
The water park was featured in a popular Disney sing-a-long video: Mickey’s Fun Songs: Campout at Walt Disney World. Also featured in this video is Disney’s Discovery Island which suffered the same fate as River Country.
7. Its theme was set around the old fashion swimming hole from the days of Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn
The park was connected to Disney Bay Lake, so it did indeed use natural water in the park. A special filtration system was built to make the water safe and clean.
8. But the once popular and vibrant River Country has now been left to rot away…
10. The once wicked cool slides now lead into an abyss of sadness…
15. Sarah Mclachlan’s “I Will Remember You” plays in my head as I look through each picture…
16. EVEN THIS POOR INNOCENT RAFT WAS LEFT BEHIND!!!! NOT A SOUL WAS SAVED!!!!
18. Rumors for years have suggested that the park will be revived as a water park specifically for Disney’s Fort Wilderness Lodge Resort.
19. But until we know its ultimate fate, let us remember River Country as a place of clean water, safe and fun slides & rides, and wonderful family memories. Not the gruesome images that now haunt the park today.
No one really knows the true reasons why this delightful place was shunned by Disney. Perhaps lack of attendance? Maybe the natural water and Florida’s sudden concern for water born bacterias could have been a factor? Or Disney’s new and improved water parks Typhoon Lagoon and Blizzard Beach were what caused River Country’s demise. Whatever the reason, it was enough to cause Disney to turn its back completely and never return. River Country still sits alone today, sad and abandoned longing to be loved again.