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Abandoned Water Parks - Not just for New Jersey anymore!
December 16, 2009 12:16 PM   Subscribe

River County, Disney's first water park has been shut down since 2001 and permanently closed since 2005. It has not been dismantled. It was smaller than the two other (currently operating) water parks, and frequently much less crowded. In only a few years, relatively, weather, growth and neglect have damaged the slides and pools, many of which are still full of water. The entire thread with many more pictures is here

We've had several posts about abandoned amusement parks before, but never one from a company quite so large and global as Disney.

I went to this water park in the summers of 1991 and 1994. I had no idea it was even closed, much less in this state.
posted by FritoKAL (30 comments total) 22 users marked this as a favorite

 
*****turbed
posted by fixedgear at 12:21 PM on December 16, 2009 [5 favorites]


Disney World Without Us
posted by stargell at 12:27 PM on December 16, 2009 [3 favorites]


Someone should start buying up abandoned places like this and turn them into apocalypse-themed paintball ranges, so that I can live out my zombie-based fantasies.

Damn, I can't wait for 2012 when the world ends.
posted by !Jim at 12:32 PM on December 16, 2009 [8 favorites]


Wow, kind of sad. My family went there in the summer of '76 and again in '78 (though I think there was a competing, non Disney, water park in Orlando by then. I thought the White water Rapids was the best ride ever.
That said, I hope I never have to take my kids to Disney...
posted by evilelf at 12:35 PM on December 16, 2009


Yeah, that's how vegetation works in the South... all that sunlight and water means it grows very quickly. There's a lot of available energy, and both the plants and the insects thrive like nowhere else. It takes constant maintenance to keep things intact. Honestly, I'm a bit surprised it's in that good a shape after eight years of neglect.

I still don't know why sensible people would want to LIVE in that area. Yuck!

It's sad to see a Disney park in that kind of condition. I guess it's cheaper to just let it sit than clean it up, since it's not like any of it is toxic or hazardous, but it's still a shame.
posted by Malor at 12:35 PM on December 16, 2009


I guess it's cheaper to just let it sit than clean it up, since it's not like any of it is toxic or hazardous,

True, but I have to wonder if they'd make back the cost of dismantling it in a year or two in what they'd NOT be paying on liability insurance.
posted by anastasiav at 12:44 PM on December 16, 2009


The last time I was at Disney World we took a boat out to watch the fireworks from the lake. Our guide took us by River Country and pointed out various things that were visible from the boat. It was kind of spooky seeing it at night out on the quiet water, the ruins illuminated by a spotlight.

I imagine the River Country area will be reclaimed eventually. Google Maps has a good view of the location.
posted by jedicus at 12:47 PM on December 16, 2009


True, but I have to wonder if they'd make back the cost of dismantling it in a year or two in what they'd NOT be paying on liability insurance.

Florida is, according to everything I've read, very very very business-friendly when it comes to liability for things like injuries to trespassers.

It's so weird that there's a filter on that board for "undis" as though it were some kind of naughty word.
posted by Sidhedevil at 1:00 PM on December 16, 2009


Also, "River County" is a very evocative typo. It makes me think of those movies like Macon County Line with sadistic sheriffs and what-not.

River County would be a much scarier waterpark than River Country. Probably with a Deliverance slide where you squealed like a pig.
posted by Sidhedevil at 1:03 PM on December 16, 2009 [1 favorite]


Undisturbed? Is that what the word is? WTF?
posted by fixedgear at 1:09 PM on December 16, 2009 [1 favorite]


Undisturbed? Is that what the word is? WTF?

The censor was pretty sure they were going to say "undisney" and was having none of it.
posted by anazgnos at 1:14 PM on December 16, 2009


Wow, that brings back memories. I went there as a kid, I think it was '82. Thanks for the post.
posted by zardoz at 1:23 PM on December 16, 2009


Like evilelf I have fond memories of the White Water Rapids, in my case ca. 1978 and 1981, though I've since outgrown the urge to ever visit a Disney park again.

. for life after tourists.
posted by localroger at 1:24 PM on December 16, 2009


Oh hell. I spellchecked too. /sigh. Would someone modly mind fixing that? Or something. *embarassed face*
posted by FritoKAL at 1:30 PM on December 16, 2009


To add to your links, we also had a fun Action Park thread last year.
posted by tomcooke at 1:40 PM on December 16, 2009 [1 favorite]


Undisturbed? Is that what the word is? WTF?

The message board this was posted on (DIS), is apparently doing it to prevent people from mentioning a rival message board (UnDIS). This blog post provides some details, including this hilarious fail on the part of DIS:

On April 19, 2008 (during a UFC fight night) the powers that be (TPTB) on the DIS boards thought it would be funny to redirect links from the UnDIS back to a thread on the UnDIS titled “Get a Life” instead of the appropriate threads on the DIS people were linking to. Well TPTB screwed up royally and actually redirected their own members to the UnDIS instead of what they intended to do. After many DIS members started asking about hackers, what happened, etc. TPTB came up with a lame excuse about how the other board hacked in and redirected everyone and started the rash bannings of people who either had an account at each place and were signed on at both at that exact moment, questioned on the DIS what that board was/how they ended up over there, and innocent bystanders who they thought were members over there but were not.
posted by burnmp3s at 2:00 PM on December 16, 2009 [2 favorites]


Thanks, burnmp3s.
I was banned for being argumentative. I guess in some ways I was. Some asked if a 300 lbs person could fit on a certain ride and I replied why not try and lose some weight instead of stuffing yourself into a seat and risking your life. The bored is full of overly sensitive soccer moms who have a little bit of power. The board is relative when it comes to trip reports and restaurant reviews and ADR’s.
Oh, Internet, how I love you so. Sorry for the (slight) derail, carry on.
posted by fixedgear at 2:09 PM on December 16, 2009


It actually seems like it was a nice place to spend the day swimming, unlike some of the ugly concrete expanses that pass for water parks. The entrance to a tube slide looks like you're embarking on a speluking tour.
posted by Burhanistan at 2:14 PM on December 16, 2009


Google Maps has a good view of the location.

Hey, that's right by the Hoop-Dee-Doo Musical Revue!
posted by mikelieman at 2:51 PM on December 16, 2009


I remember this from when I was a kid, probably 78, 79? We weren't really a Disney family but spent three days there when we took my grandad to Fla. to see an eye specialist. For me it was really the best part of the park, the others being the monorail, the haunted mansion, and the A-frame hotel we stayed at (what was it called? the monorail went right through the middle of it).

The other part I remember was that they rented these little 2 person speedboats out in front of the hotel, but over the weekend, the line was always too long. But monday, the crowds disappeared and I took one out by myself (their mistake, you were supposed to have a drivers license and I was about 14. the guy doing the tickets was new) The amazing thing was that you could take these speedboats anywhere around the lagoon, there were no restricted areas. And there were miles and miles of lagoon to explore. You could follow some channels back into the swamp and you would never know you were anywhere near Disneyworld, and you could also follow right behind the big paddle wheel steamboat they had and jump its wake. It was insanely fun.
posted by vronsky at 2:56 PM on December 16, 2009 [3 favorites]


Here it is (the Contemporary)
posted by vronsky at 3:09 PM on December 16, 2009


Are those real rocks? They look like the ones tossed around in the orig Star Trek, the one where they beamed down to a barren planet surface.
posted by TWinbrook8 at 3:17 PM on December 16, 2009


Nature Bats Last, Roy.
posted by effluvia at 4:17 PM on December 16, 2009 [1 favorite]


The message board this was posted on (DIS), is apparently doing it to prevent people from mentioning a rival message board (UnDIS).

Obsessive Disney fans scare me.
posted by MikeMc at 4:42 PM on December 16, 2009 [1 favorite]


I find this refreshing—not sad at all. But then, I prefer forests to amusement parks.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 5:22 PM on December 16, 2009 [1 favorite]


I went to this water park in the summers of 1991 and 1994. I had no idea it was even closed, much less in this state.

You went there twice, and still didn't know it was in Florida? Must've been a helluva time.

Sorry.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 5:25 PM on December 16, 2009 [1 favorite]


So this behemoth of evil can get away with harboring a mosquito vector for all this time without any government interference?

Shameful.
posted by Jinx of the 2nd Law at 6:25 PM on December 16, 2009 [1 favorite]


So this behemoth of evil can get away with harboring a mosquito vector for all this time without any government interference?

WDW is its own government entity: it's called the "Reedy Creek Improvement District" and has most of the powers usually accorded to city and county governments in Florida.

Florida. It's really something else.
posted by Sidhedevil at 6:37 PM on December 16, 2009


This is fantastic. Coolest thing I've seen all day. I'm desperate to go there. After reading the thread, it sounds like somebody needs to haul ass out to Discovery Island and take some pictures to make tomorrow awesome as well.
posted by Bageena at 8:08 PM on December 16, 2009


I give it a big .

I loved River Country!!! We went there in 79 (our only airplane trip as a family and only one of three vacation in my parents entire life with me). I remember sneaking around going on bigger slides (I was 9 back then) and my mom freaked out with the fish in the water that she yelled at me from afar. I also remember going near the docs and seeing a fence underwater (I had a mask) and wondered if that was to keep the sharks out. That's when I really thought about what was going on, got freaked out, and told my parents I was done.

I'm sad this is gone. I so wanted to take my son there one day.

A lot of my childhood fun places are being torn away in IL--Santa's Village, Oak Lawn Roller Rink which is now a friggen Saturn dealership. That probably was the hardest blow since I spent every Sunday there avoiding the yelling/fighting back home.

Damn you WDW!!!
posted by stormpooper at 11:43 AM on December 17, 2009


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