Disney’s River Country Map and Brochure (1990)

Location: Bay Lake, Florida

Date: 1976-2001

Disney’s River Country was the first water park at Walt Disney World. River Country was located along the shores of Bay Lake and near Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort & Campground, the park was themed as a rustic, old-fashioned swimming hole. It opened on June 20, 1976, and closed indefinitely on November 2, 2001, with The Walt Disney Company later announcing on January 20, 2005, that the park would remain closed permanently.

This made the water park the second of only two Disney parks in the company’s history to close permanently, with nearby Discovery Island on the lake closing in 1999. A new hotel, Reflections – A Disney Lakeside Lodge, was set to be built at the former site of Disney’s River Country starting in 2019 and was planned to open in 2022, but construction was halted during the COVID-19 pandemic.

What happened to the Disney River Country?

Disney River Country was the first water park at Walt Disney World Resort, located in Bay Lake, Florida. It opened in 1976 and was known for its unique filtration system that used water from Bay Lake. Unfortunately, due to declining attendance and concerns about the water’s quality, Disney River Country closed its doors in November 2001. Disney initially announced plans for a new water park on the same site called “Disney’s River Country 2.0,” but those plans were ultimately abandoned, and the area was repurposed for other resort developments. Disney River Country remains a piece of Disney history as the first-ever water park at the resort.

Disney’s River Country Map 1990

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