TBT: Gone But Not Forgotten (Brain-Eating Amoeba Edition)

17 Jul

In case you cannot tell from the title, today’s throwback will involve River Country and Discovery Island, both “attractions” which were not simply closed, but abandoned.  Which makes it extra sad and depressing.  Happy Thursday!

River Country – OK, I’m not going to lie, my memories of River Country are very limited because I had only been there once, but I’m bummed I’ll never get to give it a second chance.  Why did I only get to go there once when I went to WDW pretty much every year?  Because, my mom would never want to go back.  You know how on the water slides where you sit on a tube, you go side to side and you wonder how you don’t flip over?  Well, my mom flipped over.  Thus endeth River Country for us.  

River Country opened in 1976 and was designed to be an “old fashioned watering hole.”  It had man made boulders and sandy bottom pools and was designed to make you feel like you walked into the Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.  The official version of the reason for closure was the park declined in popularity, when you had Typhoon Lagoon and Blizzard Beach with more “thrilling” water rides.  Then, there’s the “brain-eating amoebas”.  River Country used water which was filtered from the lake, which was said to have contained, you guessed it, brain-eating amoebas.  Fun!  The lack of popularity is the more likely reason, but the fact that the park was just abandoned and has been since closing in 2001 (officially declared in 2005), is a little odd.  Why had Disney done nothing with the space?  

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Discovery Island  – Speaking of creepily abandoned instead of demolished and/or replaced by something else, we have Discovery Island!  Discovery Island was the Animal Kingdom before there was the Animal Kingdom.  OK, it didn’t have lions or elephants or tigers or anything, but it did have animals!  It opened in 1974 and was were you could observe wild life.  In fact, it was the last known home of the dusky seaside sparrow, which, unfortunately, is now extinct.  The majority of the animals that were there were birds (at least from what I remember).  When the island closed, all the animals were relocated to the Animal Kingdom, which I’m pretty sure won’t be abandoned.  Again, odd that Disney had done nothing to this area except left it as it was since it closed in 1999.  There were rumors of development projects, but nothing ever came of them.  Sad.


12 Responses to “TBT: Gone But Not Forgotten (Brain-Eating Amoeba Edition)”

  1. Run, Karla, Run July 17, 2014 at 8:47 am #

    I used to love River Country! So sad that they just abandoned it. I’m not sure I ever went to Discovery Island. So funny how when you’re a kid, you’re at the whims of your parents. I wonder if they never took me or if I just don’t remember it?

    • kebe51 July 18, 2014 at 1:43 pm #

      I honestly barely remember it so you may very well have been there and just not recalled. But yeah, I thank my parents for introducing me to Disney awesomeness, but am so glad I get to go as an adult and do what I want when I’m there lol

  2. Jenn July 17, 2014 at 8:47 am #

    I honestly can’t remember if I’ve been to either of these! I’ll have to ask my dad. I’ve seen the abandoned photos and they’re so creepy! As well as some of the other abandoned attractions around the parks (Wonders of Life a few years ago, the Imagination Pavillion upstairs in that glass pyramid and where all the games used to be, etc).

    • kebe51 July 18, 2014 at 1:46 pm #

      Those abandoned attractions make me so sad besides the fact their abandoned, but they had some of my favorite parts of WDW! Wonders of Life had Cranium Command (I think that was my first TBT post) and the games at the Imagination Pavilion were awesome! How do we make Disney bring them back? Do you have that kind of pull there with your new job? lol

  3. prairieprincessrunners July 17, 2014 at 9:21 am #

    I remember both of them being talked about, but never went to either–the draw of both Typhoon Lagoon and Blizzard Beach made River Country seem kinda meh.

    I wonder if they were left abandoned at this point due to the costs involved with repurposing them…especially with the economic downturn that hit in the late 2000s? I mean, getting rid of the pools and sand in River Country alone would be quite a costly venture. That being said, I’m sure if they thought of an idea tomorrow to make money off of that land over and above the cost of redeveloping, they would do it in a heart beat.

    Oh and as an aside–brain eating amoeba = throwing up in my mouth just a lil! Oy! So gross. lol


    • sandykarpie July 17, 2014 at 2:45 pm #

      I’ve heard there is still music playing. Not sure if this is true. Perfect for tbt🙂

      • kebe51 July 18, 2014 at 1:38 pm #

        Music is still playing at Discovery Island? Or River Country? Or both? I actually haven’t heard anything but I do love doing Disney research!🙂

      • prairieprincessrunners July 18, 2014 at 2:53 pm #

        The music would make is spookier, no?

    • kebe51 July 18, 2014 at 1:50 pm #

      Sorry for the amoeba description, but that’s what they were! lol But good point about the cost of re-purposing them. Still, you gotta figure they could’ve come up with SOMETHING in all this time…unless there really are brain-eating amoebas that they’re trying to keep people from.

  4. Emily July 20, 2014 at 9:36 pm #

    Sadly I never went to either…. But I’m also very intrigued by abandoned theme parks, well abandoned buildings, towns, you name it. I wonder what that says about me??

    • kebe51 July 21, 2014 at 2:24 pm #

      It says you are intrigued by abandoned things lol Nothing wrong with that! Abandoned things are mysterious and we are meant to be intrigued by mysterious things🙂

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