These Photos Of An Abandoned Disney World Water Park Will Totally Creep You Out

Waterslides full of weeds.

1. River Country was Disney World’s first water park. It opened in Orlando, Florida, in 1976 and officially closed its doors in 2005. #RIP.

Disney World still operates two water parks: Blizzard Beach and Typhoon Lagoon.

2. At its peak, River Country boasted four water slides, a sand-bottom lake, white-water rapids, and a tubing river.

3. The park was not without its problems: In 1980, an 11-year-old died from a bacterial disease he picked up while swimming in the park’s lake.

It turns out that the River Country’s vaunted system of using Florida’s fresh water was to blame. The child’s death was caused by amoebic meningoencephalitis, which was known to run rampant in Florida’s water system.

4. River County was left to languish and deteriorate naturally for the last 11 years, and photographer Seph Lawless was able to gain access and shoot some creepy but mega compelling photos of the park’s lost grandeur.

Seph Lawless

5. Next month marks the park’s 40th anniversary, and Lawless wanted to chronicle the once great park’s slow return to nature.

Seph Lawless

6. The images evoke an eerie, swampy, almost prehistoric vibe.

Seph Lawless

7. “Being inside the abandoned park felt like a creepy real-life Disney ride,” Lawless told BuzzFeed of his visit to the abandoned park. “It was surreal and really beautiful.”

Seph Lawless

8. Here’s what a washed-out waterslide looks like:

Seph Lawless

Seph Lawless

 

9. The waterslides were especially moving for Lawless. “They were completely covered in vines and flowers. I think it was just about the most beautiful thing I’ve ever witnessed on any project I’ve done.”

Seph Lawless

10. A faux waterfall stands empty now.

Seph Lawless

11. Somebody left a top hat in the middle of one of the park’s rope bridges.

Seph Lawless

12. The Upstream Plunge Pool is covered with algae now.

13. And now the park’s diving bridges and platforms are still.

Seph Lawless

14. It’s hard to believe that at one time, this place was teeming with thousands of tourists.

Seph Lawless

15. “I think Disney World symbolizes an ugly side of capitalism in America, and I think because of that some people would enjoy seeing it crumble to the ground,” Lawless told BuzzFeed.

Seph Lawless

16. “I think that’s why I want people to see the beauty in these images above all else.”

Seph Lawless

17. For more from Seph Lawless, head over to SephLawless.com or check out his Instagram!

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