We visited from the UK...in 1998 and it started raining as soon as we arrived...I never even got to swim!...they had under cover games and I entered the 'how many marshmallows can you fit into your mouth' game..I remember it being a fun day in spite of the rain..

I lost my mothers engagement ring playing volleyball in water and it was never found. I love going there with my family and have great memories except loosing my ring. We stayed in fort wilderness in those days and went there many times.

In the last photo, what are those mostly blue circle things? On the right hand side...

I went to river country the summer before it closed, I was only a freshman in high school and it was the best water park of the three. I loved the slides and the low key feel. I wished they never closed it down. I have 4 kids I take to Disney every year and because river country is no longer open we don't even do the water parks. The best memories I have of a water park were there.

I loved River Country and wished it never closed. It had the best slides and a the best tube ride. River country was relaxing...I loved everything about it.

I remember going to the park as a child when we would stay at the forty wilderness camp ground this was and still is the only Disney water park I have ever been to it had been a dream of mine to go to blizzard Beach however I am not to sure as an adult I will ever be able to afford it if it's really sad to see this park abandoned and left to rot away like this there are so many memories that are just Locked up in there from when I was a child however I will never forget

It isn't a virus in the water but rather an amoeba which is in all still freshwater ponds and lakes in the warm south, during the hot months. No one should swim in unclorinated water then. I think it is such a shame that Disney's trend is to just abandon parks and attractions rather than refurbish or at least sell off or repurpose items. Heck, they even left benches and garbage cans

I think they should re open it... Not everyone wants to go to the big water parks where you spend 3/4 your time waiting in lines for rides. I think it would be wonderful for it to reopen for those of us who want to
Go our own pace

I was there in the 80's it was nice also safe as far as no violent rapids or tube slides. I stayed at contemporary so access was easy and I wondered at the time how would anyone get there if they did not stay disney property? I'm thinking that was a major sticking point, how to get outside people to the water park (access).

we went to River Country when I was about 6. I wasn't as strong of a swimmer as my brother, but my parents still took us both down Whoop N Holler... My first big water slide. I can still picture the park in my mnd. Sad that it was left to "die". Too bad Disney didn't incorporate it into its plans....

we went to River Country when I was about 6. I wasn't as strong of a swimmer as my brother, but my parents still took us both down Whoop N Holler... My first big water slide. I can still picture the park in my mnd. Sad that it was left to "die". Too bad Disney didn't incorporate it into its plans....

I was on the island once when I worked at WDW. It's like being in a Jurassic Park film. I wish I could film there--

We had so much fun at river country when I was growing up. It truly is a shame that Disney did not keep it up... They could use another waterpark. We go every year for a week & we try to breakup our days by going to a park one day & then water park the next. Wish they would rethink their options to restore!

Our family enjoyed going to River Country every year. It is such a shame that it closed down and is left to ruin. Only wish our grandkids could be enjoying this as much as our kids did!

We went there years ago and left shortly after arriving after reading the sign on the beach that read that they recommend that you wear nose and ear plugs while swimming in FL water !

Oh, please bring it back for all the older guys who went there and thought it was the greatest place alive! It would be a be hit there now!!!

In reply to by Mandamelody (not verified)

Mandamelody- I'm doing a class paper on WDW Resort and possible new revenue streams. would like to talk to you about this. RC to me seems like a no brainer- to turn it back into something usuable for guests staying on property- especially at the higher end properties on the monorail and Wilderness Lodge. could you email me


OMG! What a shame!!! Disney should be ashamed of letting this go!!! Yeah it was a small park... perfect for the people camping at the camp grounds... We still camp there and every time we go we WISH we could go back to RC. Disney, come on!!! This is terrible. That place was great! Especially when your trying to keep the "rustic" feel to go along with your camping trip... I feel like this property is seriously overlooked. Sell it to me... I'll keep it open and keep the fans happy ;P.

In reply to by Visitor (not verified)

I would like to point out that people like that are simply looking for trouble and money because Disney is a large and powerful icon and some idiots can't handle it. As for whoever did that, it was their own fault because everyone knows that you will burn your mouth if you bite directly into any freshly made grilled cheese sandwich. I should know because they were my favorite thing to eat as a kid.

In reply to by Mandamelody (not verified)

Well they should because its obvious several people want it back. Even people who have never been there!! Its wrong to have it sitting there deteriorating and wasting space. Its absolutely horrid. Honestly Disney! How wasteful.

In reply to by Mandamelody (not verified)

That stinks. They could've tried to save it. Did they even try??

In reply to by Disneyaddict1973 (not verified)

I agree!! As cool as avatar land sounds, I would much rather see another water park. Not to mention all the rides they had closed at disneyland while I was there. Space mountain, finding memo, captain so, the Matterhorn shutdown and Indiana Jones kept having technical difficulties. Honestly, fix that water park up instead of building new crap. You could always expand the park like you do constantly in disney world and disney!land. Besides, abandoned stuff is just plain creepy.

I wish they had saved it or improved it. That sucks because I would love to go there.If Disney can or could bring it back they should. I would have loved it. Boo Disney, quit giving up on stuff!!!

In reply to by Visitor (not verified)

yeah, not actually. The parasite wouldn't exist only in Bay Lake, if it was there, it would be in a lot of other lakes and rivers in the area. It was closed because it's capacity was way too low. After Typhoon Lagoon opened, people went to River Country a lot less. And once Blizzard Beach was opened, which dwarfs Typhoon Lagoon, no one would've gone to River Country. It was closed because it cost too much money to keep open, staff, and maintain.

In reply to by Visitor (not verified)

Yes, and that virus would also be in the main lake at WDW, because you pass right by River Country riding on the ferry from Fort Wilderness, and this same lake is where people parasail and jetski, so you can still die from playing in the water at WDW!

In reply to by Visitor (not verified)

Yes!!! Exactly!

In reply to by Janet Webber (not verified)

Well they shut it down because there was an brain eating virus that originated in a wildelife preserve just off the cost of the water park. something like a 98% mortality rate? Yha, so thats why it is abandoned, that and people didn't like it as much.

In reply to by Niki (not verified)

Discovery Island was filled with all kinds of birds and bird poo. We went there and had to dodge the flying "missiles" and it was not a great experience to say the least. It could be avery nice place. I have heard that it is going to be made into some kind of attraction.

Live nearby, and when my son was younger (might have been 2003?), we went to Fort Wilderness on an educational field trip with his school. We stopped at the kidney-shaped pool to collect water and look at it under a microscope for microbes. I was so surprised that they would bring visitors into that area, which was obviously in an abandoned state.

I was an adult the one and only time I went there with my family. Felt you had to be a pretty strong swimmer to really tske advantage of the amenities. Not much to di if you werent.

I use to love going to River Country as a little girl. We would stay in Fort Wilderness just for this waterpark. Its a shame Disney doesn't fix it up or turn it into something else. It was a big hit for the campground.

I loved this place as a kid. When we stay at Ft Wilderness and take the boat across to the hotels I point out some of the things you can still see. This would be great if they turn it into a small water park for the people staying as guests at Ft Wilderness

I never got to come here but have also heard about the fatal bacteria that caused this area to shut down. Sad since so many people hold so many fond memories of this place. Near there somewhere is also the abandoned Diacovery Island that has also closed.

Our very first trip to Walt Disney World in June of 2000 included a wonderful day of fun at River Country. We loved it! Happy memories!!

We camped at Fortwilderness while our famly was new and yound. Had many memories with our children at River Country. It was thr true sense of camping and Disney shuld have never shut it down but found a way to filter the water keeping the lake and RC separate similar to infinity pools. They could have used the water but treated. Disney does fantastic thing and could have done this. My wife and I are now in our late 50's still camping there but when we boat to the Magic Kingdom we see RC and still rember those days. Love you WDW.

In reply to by Visitor (not verified)

Whoops meant avatar!!!

Come on Disney!!! Put some money into getting this fixed and opened instead of that big money suck you call Avarar land!!!!!

In reply to by Carissa Marks (not verified)

Disney may be exempt from certain laws however it is certainly exempt from lawsuits. If people will sue Disney for a million dollars over a child burning their mouth on a grilled cheese sandwich I imagine they would for a potentially fatal bacteria. I should also mention I have been a cast member for 12 years

I remember going there when I was a kid (around 10 years old) I actually saved up my allowance for weeks so that I could renew my annual pass so when we stayed at Ft Wilderness I could spend a day at River Country. I really miss that park and am sorry to see it as it sits today

In reply to by Diane caccioppo (not verified)

sadly they arent :( i worked at typhoon and blizzard and talked to the water parks higher ups and they said they have no intentions of ever doing anything with rc :( this was last year btw

In reply to by Visitor (not verified)

Actually thats not true. I was a lifeguard at both typhoon and blizzard and we got to meet the higher ups and I asked about rc cause its always been a question on my mind and they said its because typhoon AND blizzard(as blizzard was open before it closed) were way bigger and getting more business and there just wasnt enough business in rc. They still do marathons and kayaking and all sorts of stuff in that lake so there is no way it was because of bacteria.

In reply to by Visitor (not verified)

I used to go to River Country all the time as a kid... I'm 40 now. At the time the other parks didn't even exist. RC actually had some fatalities from that bacteria. That is in deed the main reason it was abruptly closed.

This was the first water park my family and I had ever been to. It was the first place that I ever zip lined.

I remember this being my favorite water park. I would love to go back. Since they are bring back old rides with a new park this should be restored as well. I'll be the first in line if they grow up and bring back the good things Disney did

In reply to by Visitor (not verified)

You obviously missed the "filtered" part of the story, also Disney is exempt from many of the state laws. I found that out when I worked there back in the early days. Because it was already open and running- it would have been grandfathered in anyway.

Oh my gosh this place was fabulous. We used to camp at Fort Wilderness every summer and would spend a couple days at River Country. I can remember going home after the first visit -- having never been to a water park (there weren't any back around 1976) and struggling to explain to my friends exactly WHAT it was... So much fun. It felt big, and there was a lot of ground to cover. My favorite was the inner tube ride, which started and ended with small waterfalls you would go over. There would be a zillion tubes all tangled together and over you'd go... so much fun. The grounds were gorgeous, built around that lake, and the water even then was very murky, so it had a very "real" feel to it. The slide into the pool terrified me, as it ended about 8 feet above the water and you would just DROP. We would stay til they closed at 10pm and you would just be exhausted. It made Fort Wilderness seem like a destination. We have crept around the entrance recently, tried to peek through the barrier fences... It looks like a ruin. Very sad really!

Went there several times when I lived in Florida 30 years ago. We camped at Captain Kids camp ground for the weekend. Those were fun times! Always saying I have to go back...sorry to see its not open anymore...a real waste..

What a waste!!!!!!!!!!!!

I took the private fireworks cruise and they point this area out. I never knew it existed before our cruise,

I was there with my boys in the 70s..the only waterpark..and awesome for its time. I wish Disney would bring it back to life. It fit perfect with the camp ground. With todays technology Disney could revive it and make it out of this world. Come on Disney CEO do it for Walt! !

In reply to by Visitor (not verified)

Very interesting! I remember swimming in bay lake as a kid and loving it. I never really understood why they closed it. Thanks for the insight!

We loved River Country. But the White Water Rapids was not a lazy river as mentioned in the article. It was a fast water slide that you rode down in an inner tube. It was supposed to be like white water rapids on a river. Sometimes you'd get knocked out of your inner tube and have to try and grab on to another one to finish going down. The first time I went to RC I was 5 and too little to ride it, but eventually it was my favorite ride in the park.

I went to River Country several times. It was my favorite water park. However you are missing part of the story. The legislature in Florida passed a law that paid swimming areas could not use freshwater or lake areas because of the bacteria that is well known to grow in these waters in Florida. This bacteria can be deadly. This is the main reason that River Country was closed so quickly after this law was passed. I think that this could have been updated making concrete pools. This area does need to be reclaimed into something rustic that goes along with the campground area, maybe another treehouse villa area would be great.

I also remember going there when I was about 13 (I'm 32 now). What fun it was! Though we all did prefer Typhoon. And even though River Country was a bit 'old' and worn, we still enjoyed it :)

I remember going there when I was younger but we as a family prefered the other water parks...still ashame to see it like this

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