Travel

Inside Disney’s Creepy Abandoned Water Park, ‘River Country’

Seph Lawless

When most of us think of Disney World, we imagine the perfectly manicured gardens of Main Street and the sparkling outline of Cinderella’s castle. What many visitors don’t know is that there is an abandoned park sitting on an island inside the Orlando property that looks like a set from a horror film.

Seph Lawless
Seph Lawless

River Country, Disney World’s first ever water park, opened its doors 40 years ago in 1976 and closed down in 2005. Although the company never gave an official reason as to why they closed River Country, many say it was because of the park’s usage of Florida fresh water. In 1980, an 11-year-old died from a bacterial infection he got from River Country’s swimming pool.

Seph Lawless
Seph Lawless
Seph Lawless
Seph Lawless

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For 11 years, River Country has been left to rot on an island just a few miles away from the Magic Kingdom. Photographer Seph Lawless decided to travel to the forgotten park and document how it has changed since it was abandoned so many years ago.

Seph Lawless
Seph Lawless
Seph Lawless
Seph Lawless
Seph Lawless
Seph Lawless

Once you get in, you can still travel across the entire property, which is connected by sets of wooden and rope-adorned walkways.

Seph Lawless
Seph Lawless
Seph Lawless
Seph Lawless

Branches have grown over the old water slides, while old inflatable rafts still lay haphazardly across the property.

Seph Lawless
Seph Lawless
Seph Lawless
Seph Lawless

Lawless isn’t the first to make the forbidden trek inside River Country. The video below shows a group of brave souls who traveled through the park in 2010. While walking through, they even hear bits of the park’s old banjo soundtrack still playing over five years after its doors were shuttered. Definitely not creepy at all, right?

If you’re thinking about trying to walk through River Country for yourself, you might want to think twice. Lawless has now been banned from all Disney parks after sneaking into the property. Instead, it’s smarter to enjoy his photos in all of their wonderfully creepy glory.

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Inside Disney’s Creepy Abandoned Water Park, ‘River Country’