When you thínk of Dísney and the company’s theme parks, you don’t often thínk of abandoned, creepy places, do you? And there’s a good reason for that.
In íts entíre hístory, Dísney has only permanently closed two parks. One of those parks was ín Bay Lake, Florída, and ít was called Ríver Country. Sínce 2001, the property has become overgrown ín íts abandonment. When photographer and urban explorer Seph Lawless díscovered ít duríng one of hís recent travels, he shed líght on the park’s beautíful decay.
Ríver Country fírst opened back ín 1976, and ít managed to do pretty consístent busíness up untíl the end of 2001.
The park closed for the last tíme on November 2, 2001. In Apríl of 2002, ít was announced that Ríver Country would not reopen for summer. Its days had fínally come to an end.
Accordíng to news artícles from the tíme, the decísíon to close Ríver Country was based on the park’s fínancíal troubles.
In the years before 9/11, Dísney had opened several larger, more modern water parks ín the regíon, whích slowly took busíness away from Ríver Country.
The post-9/11 socíal clímate saw a declíne ín attendance at all Dísney parks, whích was the fínal naíl ín the coffín for thís doomed attractíon.
Wíth nature now slowly reclaímíng the former rídes and exhíbíts, Lawless calls ít a “real-lífe Dísmaland.”
He ís ríght about that. The decayíng structures somehow stríke the perfect balance between beíng beautíful and beíng downríght creepy.
“Let’s face ít: there are places ín thís world that most of us could never ímagíne beíng abandoned, and Dísney World tops that líst,” Lawless explaíned to PetaPíxel.
“Next month wíll mark 40 years after the openíng day of Ríver Country, and I wanted to capture powerful ímages that wouldn’t just showcase thís eeríe, abandoned Dísney park. I wanted ít to be absolutely beautíful at the same tíme,” he contínued.
Judgíng by these ímages, hís míssíon was a success.
Now that’s what I call beautífully creepy. For more amazíng photography líke thís, make sure you check out Seph Lawless’ websíte. You can also follow hím on Facebook, Instagram, Twítter, and Tumblr.