Shuttered Ride in Middle of Disney Park Is Perfect Place for Gators to Thrive, Photographer Warns
The remains of Disney World’s first water park may be a hot bed of alligator activity.
River Country opened in 1976 but was shut down in 2001 but never demolished. Since then, the attraction is anything but attractive, pictures recently taken by photographer Seph Lawless show.
"The images that I took show the complete abandonment of a once thriving Disney water park where there are water slides covered in vines and plants and flowers and walkways and places that are completely overgrown. Just abandoned and forgotten,” the photographer said.
Disney World shut down River Country after the splashier water parks, Blizzard Beach and Typhoon Lagoon, grew in popularity.
River Country is in the middle of Disney World, but masked by the overgrowth of trees and shrubs.
"I think that is creating an environment for alligators to thrive, to live peacefully, and to go undetected,” Lawless said. “I saw several over the course of shooting throughout the whole area, peacefully sitting there in the sun, just bathing."
River Country is right on Bay Lake and the canal that is attached to the lake goes to the 7 Seas Lagoon, the scene of the horrific alligator attack on 2-year-old Lane Graves. It is an easy swim for any gator hunting for food or prey.
“I think the alligators can thrive in these parts. Why wouldn't they? They can go up on land, they can go into the water, relatively unnoticed,” Lawless said. “They're going in these big abandoned sections that Disney personnel don't go in -- that no one goes in.”