This past week marked the 4th anniversary of the official announcement of the closure of Walt Disney World's first water theme park, River Country.
River Country opened on June 20, 1976 and was in operation until November of 2001. Fans of River Country were obviously very upset over the news. There were rumors of the water park reopening during peak seasons and other rumors that the park would be demolished. But, on January 20, 2005 the rumors of the park's demise were confirmed by Disney officials.
The water park was on the shore of Bay Lake near Discovery Island and it was part of Disney's Fort Wilderness Resort and Campground. River Country matched this area of the resort because of it's rustic wilderness theming including lots of rocks and man-made boulders. It was described as the "old fashioned swimming hole" and it's original title before being changed was "Pop's Willow Grove. It featured a sandy bottom and unique water filtering system using water from the adjacent Bay Lake.
It was much smaller than Disney's other two water parks (Typhoon Lagoon and Blizzard Beach). Fort Wilderness Resort guests were given a discount to River Country and was a much quieter and less busy park than the bigger water parks. Some of the attractions included were the "Whoop 'n' Holler Hollow" (two water slides which ended at the sand-bottom lake and featured a tire swing, boom swing, a rope climb and a T-bar drop), Slippery Slide Falls (two water slides that ended into Upstream Plunge, a clear-water pool), White Water Rapids (long inner tube river) and Cypress Point Nature Trail (a trail among trees beside Bay Lake).
Pictures of the now-defunct water park are all over the internet as many fans have written articles and have setup little areas of their websites as a tribute to River Country. It still sits in the same location as it had, wasting away....which has lots of fans upset. But, at least it keeps the very slim hopes of the park being opened again, someday. I hope you learned something today..but, if you didn't.. at least we were "Talkin' Disney"
It's too bad River Country could not be turned into another Stormalong Bay, a special pool area just for those staying at Ft Wilderness.
I'm sure the park has fallen into bad disrepair, but does anyone have recent pictures of the area?
Maybe that's where Captain Nemo moved to when they paved paradise and put up a Pooh-king lot
Where is the "spit coffee all over my screen and shorted out my keyboard" smilie? Because I was not expecting that comment and nearly did just that- thank goodness I turned!!!
I forgot to come back yesterday and post a link (I'll do it later when I get off work) I found a wealth of info when I googled Walt Disney World River Country and clicked on Images.
There are pics from when it was open, and some great videos... also there are a bunch of pictures from after it closed.... close up shots, the photographer was definitely in the park taking them- green swampy water and broken walls and all!!