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.


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

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

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 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)

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.

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