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ABANDONED DISNEY: River Country [Part 2]


Thanks for a great response to Part 1.  Here are a few more photos of abandoned River Country.  

River Country sure was “the kersplashingest, kid-laughingest, rope-swingingest spot imaginable for the wet set” as shown below in this 1976 WORLD Magazine article, Today the World has a New Country- sent to us by my pal, Hoot.  If you have any great River Country photos, send them our way!






Also enjoy [Part 1][Part 3], and [Part 4].


Related posts:

ABANDONED DISNEY: MK Fantasyland Skyway Tower
ABANDONED DISNEY: Haunted Mansion Hitchhiking Ghosts
If This Doesn't Scare You.....


References (8)

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Reader Comments (26)

I actually think it looks pretty cool overgrown. The plants grow very realistically around the fake boulders. In a way, the sterility and perfection of Disney's working attractions detracts from the realism they are trying to recreate. No matter how hard you try you can never perfectly recreate the chaotic randomness of reality.

January 3, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterTim

It breaks my heart:( We went to River Country in '76, must have been shortly after it opened, and I thought it was the most amazing thing in the world.

Remember that in 1976 the "country theme" was big. On TV we had The Waltons, Little House on the Prarie", etc. The nation was celebrating our bicentennial. Home decor reflected a rustic theme. Fake spinning wheels, eagle emblems, and decorated steel milk canisters were found in living rooms all over the U.S. A very simple and patriotic craze happening right along with Disco if you can imagine that.

River Country fit right in.

Today my 10 year son wears my River Country t-shirt to school. I saved it in perfect condition ever since 1979 but he loves it so it's his. He'll never have the chance to drink Country Time Lemonade and plunge into a Florida Lake. Gone are the days.

January 3, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterHoot Gibson

We should make River Country t-shirts for our soon-to-launch store.

January 3, 2010 | Registered CommenterAdmin

You should make t-shirts! My old shirt had Donald Duck and his nephews enjoying River Country But I'm sure other designs could be...........WAIT! I have a postcard booklet with a cool graphic that would be perfect. I'll dig it out!

January 3, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterHoot Gibson

Yeah, do!

January 3, 2010 | Registered CommenterAdmin

A bit of over-grown isn't bad. Especially for an old fishin' hole. The mossy swamp water in the pool ain't looking so good for swimming tho.

January 4, 2010 | Registered CommenterAdmin

"The nation was celebrating our bicentennial. Home decor reflected a rustic theme. Fake spinning wheels, eagle emblems, and decorated steel milk canisters were found in living rooms all over the U.S"

My parents had a steel milk canister on our porch affixed with some bicentennial/eagle emblems on it. Had forgotten about that. I always wanted to go to River Country, but we always went to WDW in Dec/Jan.

January 11, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMark

River Country was the first water park anywhere. It was amazing! I wish they would have kept it open. While it's tame as far as the rides now, it was a great place for kids or adults that wanted a quiet ride through the lazy river.

January 19, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMary

It would be fantastic to have at least part of River Country available to Fort Wilderness guests! I know they took a slide from River Country and put it at the Meadows pool but another pool at River Country would be a definite plus to the Fort Wilderness experience!

January 19, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMichele

I wish this spot would come back, along with Discovery Island. Those two locations are filled with memories of my childhood. I remember going on the slide that stops half way and I accidentally spread my legs and squeaked for a good 10 minutes.

While the slides were fun, I always went on the tubes over and over again. That slide was amazing. My boys have Typhoon Lagoon and Blizzard Country (both parks I've seen snakes swimming across the lazy River), but there's something to be said about a lakeside watering hole. Really made Fort Wilderness a full day experience.

We will be returning to Fort Wilderness in June of this year. We plan to spend the day there canoeing, bike riding, catching the campfire movie and just hanging out.

January 19, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJeremy

It is very surreal to see this fun little spot gone to seed. Last time I was there was in 1985 for a school trip. I remember my sisters and father going there in 1976 (when I was too young and couldn't swim yet) River Country proved that it didnt have to be glitzy Disney to be a fun place.

February 26, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAudrey M

omg i think it looks horrible to what disney looks like.i have been there ever since i was born and i am 45.if you go bye it ,it looks horrible the water is green and gross!!!!!!!!!!!!
thank you<3

July 18, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterzoie contrask

OK, I realize I am very late to the thread...

My question is: Was the real reason (stated or otherwise) that swimming around in lake water with its bacteria, etc. was unsafe? Anyone know?

October 28, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJMGIII

The reason I was told (NOT a former cast member, but a frequent in-state Guest tha asks a LOT of questions...) is that the State of Florida passed some VERY stringent regulations for water parks. One of which, for example, was to have to use chlorinated water as opposed to natural/spring water. Add on top of that, the fact that if you accidentally ingest water from Bay Lake, not ONLY do you get the bacteria, but also the gas/oil mixture from all the rental boats and ferries to MK and surrounding resorts. In short, a liability NIGHTMARE! It's just not worth it financially to have/keep it open in its' current state. Now, if you ask me (I know technically you didn't!) a total refurb would be a great idea, and a smart way for Mickey to wring a few more Disney Dollars out of us frequent FW campers!

December 9, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterKenny

The River Country of today is creepy looking. A perfect location for a horror flick. Throw in some teens, a blood hungry monster, a bit of lore to start it off and bam, let the gore fest begin.

January 15, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterkitchen canisters

Interesting shot of what I'm assuming is the chlorine storage areas for the other pools not fed from Bay Lake. Seems so strange to see a deluge shower and eye wash sink next to all that rock work.

February 27, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterBK31

such a disapointment......i took a field trip to river country in grade school. thought it would be a great place to take my children. had no idea it was closed. i thought it would be so much more desirable than the newer water parks.

June 12, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterangie

My husband and I spent lots of long weekends at Ft. Wilderness and LOVED River Country. I don't know why Disney ever closed it. I would love to see you launch River Country tee-shirts!!

June 18, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJoanne


August 20, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterbob

It's very sad to see River Country as it looks today. I'm sure the Toxic Avenger would love it, or make a good place for his movie sequal. I remember when it was first created at WED just after Fort Wilderness had been developed. WED Rockwork Disney Legend Fred Joerger who created some of Disneylands landmarks like Matterhorn, Pirates, Sleeping Beauty Castle, and Jungle Cruise, was involved with the Rockwork. I believe it was the first themed water park in Florida and for Disney. The elevated slides were very tricky to work out but a lot of fun designing and we had Disney's Legend Dick Nunis trying them out and giving calls daily on what needed to be fixed and what turns needed higher walls or banking. I wasn't able to try it out until 1979 but loved it, especially the Big Slide into the pool. It would be great if they could sort out what it would take to bring it back up or replace it with something better in the same theme for Fort Wilderness. PD

September 26, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterProfessional Dreamer

I remember going there all the time when I was younger (i was 12 the last time I was there just before it closed). Does anyone else remember getting a root beer float? :)

October 10, 2011 | Unregistered Commentersurferdude89

With Wilderness Lodge in the Yellowstone like Disney package now, it would be the time to bring nearby River Country back and correct any of it's problems to make it Guest functional once more, as Disney's "First Themed Water Park". It contained quite a few thrills and period themeing not found at the Lodge now, or other Disney water parks. Re installing the former steam trains to run from Wilderness Lodge, to stop at River Country, and continue to Fort Wilderness Campground Resort, and Pioneer Hall, with a return run would be a much welcomed experience once more and link the total package together.

Be the change is here! In honor of Throwback Thursday we start 'The River Country Revival Project. With the help of, we have created a petition that you will be able to support with a click of a button and where you can add comments. Today, we start to make a difference and let your voice be heard and signature be signed. Please share with as many people and organizations and groups as possible. Let's make a BIG SPLASH! (pun intended)

August 15, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterDisney's Lifeguards

It makes me feel so sad to see these pictures I have so many happy memories of river country, my 1st time to disney with my kids & grand kids, been lots more times since but river country will always be my favorite water park, loved it 😀 please, please restore it. I want to go again

June 15, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterPerfectdi

Honestly it's so very very sad to seen those places so abandoned, but now it's all in ruins. But i check that point about Disneyland resort, that facility lost million´s of dollars to been in jackpot in bankruptcy, all ruined to abandon those park´s like this. Like River Country, around the world ive see other abandoned fun places like Disneyland China, Six Flags New Orleans cause for the Katrina huracaine, a fun park in Chernobyl, lake Chipewa in Ohio. in all the around world of the abandoned fun places.

June 28, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterChristian Lopez

I wonder how they were able to keep snakes, and more importantly- alligators, from getting into the resort? I assume that all lakes in Florida have a real possibility of alligators, but I could be wrong.

July 7, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterChicago Dad

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