Location: River Country
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|June 20, 1976|
|November 1, 2001|
|January 20, 2005|
|January 20, 2005|
|Lake Buena Vista, FL 32830|
|Latitude — 28.4112759|
|Longitude — -81.5646439|
River Country was Disney's first attempt at a water park at Walt Disney World, and opened on June 20, 1976. It was themed to look like an old-fashioned watering hole with a twist of Huckleberry Finn. It was about 1/4th the size of Typhoon Lagoon and Blizzard Beach. It is currently closed and has been taken over by nature. One of the problems River Country faced is that the water was fed from Bay Lake and was not chlorinated. State laws requiring pools to have water from chlorinated municipal water systems was one reason for the closing.
River Country was included as part of Disney's Fort Wilderness and located on the shore of Bay Lake. Artificial rocks were used as part of the water slides construction. The park was the cheapest to run of the three water parks in Walt Disney World.
River Country's problems started with it being a rather small park, leading to frequent sell out days. This led to the construction of the larger Typhoon Lagoon and Blizzard Beach. With the opening of these resorts, River Country's popularity waned. Adding to its problems were the facts that the pools were not heated, and that they shared water with Bay Lake. Terrorist attacks on the U.S. on September 11, 2001 caused a huge decrease in tourism, which may have been the final nail in River Country's coffin. It continued to be used for private parties for awhile, but this has ended due to massive deterioration of the park.
 Current Status
Since Disney has discontinued upkeep and maintenance of the park, plants have taken over most of the walkways and beaches. The pool, too, has been taken over by aquatic plant life and is currently unusable. Much of the artificial rock work has been damaged and has not been repaired. To get the park back in working condition would require a great deal of work and capital, of which Disney is not willing to expend.