Thursday, January 21, 2010


Ahhhh, River Country - it was one of the oldest water parks here in America (not to mention a part of the Fort Wilderness Resort), but sadly since 2001, the river there was all but swampy and overgrown. Even sadder, I never had the chance to see what the ol' swimmin' hole looked like back in my childhood in the 90's, the final years of the place. Since 1976, when rustic themes created laid-back atmospheres in many homes and when we were 200 years old, the country-style recreation center had entertained many who passed its gates and tried the T-bar swings or the rock slides. In moving pictures, it became a staple feature in resort information channels, vacation videos, and Mickey's Fun Songs (yes, Mickey's Fun Songs, when Mickey, his peeps, and the camping children have fun at that park as they sing "By the Beautiful Sea").

So why did it close permanently? According to Walt Dated World, River Country was the stepping stone in the conception of two current water parks - Typhoon Lagoon and Blizzard Beach. Because most of the water was unheated, it was a seasonally operating park, and the rising admissions and the newer water parks were to blame. Also, another nail in the coffin was the Mournful Morning (September 11, 2001), which resulted in waning attendance. Because the main swimming hole had water from Bay Lake, the alleged contamination from bacteria also shut it down for good. River Country became an abandoned Disney attraction, with weeds and vegetation growing all over the place.

If you want a bit of a compare and contrast of the water park at present, please take a gander of the 2-part entry of the Imagineering Disney Blog (see link below). Pull out a Kleenex, see the post, and weep - those photos are much sadder than a funeral.


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