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Disney's River Country

In the mid-1970s, Walt Disney World had yet to evolve into the sprawling multi-day destination that it is today. It still only had one theme park, the Magic Kingdom, surrounded by a selection of resort hotels. EPCOT Center wouldn't open until the start of the next decade, so Disney decided to install another attraction to keep guests on site for longer - its first water park.

Disney's River Country was located on the shore of Bay Lake, and boasted a rustic "wilderness" theme. Packed with rocks and boulders, it was designed to resemble an old-fashioned swimming hole. The water for its pools and slides came from Bay Lake via a filtering system, and abundant sand was used to enhance the natural feel of the park.

Disney's River Country (1)

Source: Auntie Rain Flickr

When Michael Eisner took over as Disney CEO in 1984, he took a more competitive approach than his predecessors. He decided to build a full water park, Typhoon Lagoon, to take on nearby Wet 'n' Wild. River Country's capacity was limited, and its days were numbered. It shut on November 2, 2001, but remains in place today - it was abandoned rather than demolished.

We don't advocate trespass, and making your way into the abandoned River Country these days could be quite dangerous. Instead, we thought it would be fun to take a look at the park and its former attractions from skies, using the magic of Bing Maps.

First, let's take a look at a map of River Country:

Disney's River Country map

There were relatively few attractions on offer at the park, which was much smaller than the current Typhoon Lagoon and Blizzard Beach water parks. They included:

  • Upsteam Plunge - a small, kidney-shaped pool.
  • Slippery Slide Falls - two water slides that emptied out into Upstream Plunge.
  • White Water Rapids - a 330-foot-long water slide.
  • Bay Cove - a sandy-bottomed lake featuring a tire swing, rope climb and other apparatus.
  • Whoop 'n' Holler Hollow - two water slides that dropped into Bay Cove.
  • Indian Springs - a play area for younger children.
  • Cypress Point Nature Trail - a trail through the trees alongside Bay Lake.
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Comments

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....

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