Disneys Abandoned Theme Parks in Florida
There are two abandoned theme parks located in Disney World in Florida, on Bay Lake, that I never knew about. I knew there were islands there, but never realized that they were actual parks, once upon a time. It's really a shame that this property has gone to waste. I know their meaning to leave the natural habitat for the birds, etc.c, however, it's really not natural, if the old equipment, rides, and buildings are still standing on the property.
Abandoned Discovery Island
Discovery Island is one of the two abandoned parks that's located on Disney property. It was a zoological park that Walt Disney bought, back in 1965. It opened with the name of Treasure Island in 1974, before the name was changed to Discovery Island. It's an 11 acre island that can be seen from the Contemporary Resort. We seen it when we were staying at the Fort Wilderness Resort and Campground, when we took a ferry to Disney's Magic Kingdom. I seen the island, but never knew that it use to be a theme park that closed in 1999.
This park was going to originally have a pirate theme, with intentions of having forts, and shipwrecks, to represent the pirate days. This park was adorned with all sorts of birds, including flamingos, pelicans, and peacocks.
In 1989, Disney paid $95,000 to settle out of court, for a controversy charge against them for 16 counts of bird abuse. The park began to lack popularity, and many were still upset about the abusing of the birds by the employees on the island. After 25 years of the park being open, it ended up shutting down in 1999. The natural animals that were on the island, remained there, and the other animals were moved to Animal Kingdom.
The area of the abandoned park is off-limits to everyone. It still has natural birds that nest there. The water around the island is known to have alligators in it, and the old abandoned River Country water park, across from the island, had rumors that the water park closed due to bacteria in the water.
Discovery Island is definitely not the happiest place on earth.
Disney's Discovery Island - 2017 Update
Abandoned Disney's River Country
The other park that was abandoned by Disney, was the very first water park that Disney had in Florida, and it was called, Disney's River Country. It was located across from the abandoned Discovery Island, which wasn't abandoned at the time. It occupied 6 acres of land, and it opened in 1976. Ticket prices for River Country back then, was $4.75 per person, and children that were between the ages of 3 thru 11, were $3.75. By the time the park closed down in 2001, ticket prices were up to almost $17.00 per person.
In comparison today to Typhoon Lagoon, which is 56 acres, the River Country water park was only 1/10th of the size.
I watched several videos of the River Country that was filmed back in the late 1970s, and to be honest, it looked like a swamp. Things they allowed children to do there, such as swing on a rubber tire that swings out over the water, is something they'd never do today, due to safety factors.
No one knows for sure exactly what caused River Country to shut down. There's been speculations and rumors, but it was confirmed in 2005, that the water park would not ever be opening again.
Some say it was safety reasons, for there were some drownings there, and some say it's probably because of the deadly amoeba bacteria that was found in the water. There's also talk of how there was too much competition, for Sea World, and Wet 'n' Wild was doing rather well during that time.
With Blizzard Beach and Typhoon Lagoon now being open, there was no reason for Disney to re-open River Country which was only causing them grief. Now the abandoned water park is just a memory stuck in time.