05 August 2009

A sheltered cove

On June 20, 1976 Disney’s original water wonderland opened to the public. River Country, at the intersection of Bay Lake, Cypress Point, and Fort Wilderness, was a dream come true for every child who ever swam in a river. Water slides, sandy shores, and zip lines only tell half the tale. The creak of the boardwalk’s aged boards, the warmth of the rocks, and the moss slowly stirring from its resting place in the cypress branches all made this dream all the more real to the boys and girls who came to splash and play.Of the natural elements presented to guests of River Country, only the rockwork had been manmade. Thinking back, if those hills, crags, and outcroppings looked familiar, there is cause for that. The rockwork was created by Imagineering’s “resident rock expert,” Fred Joerger. He constructed the mountains of Disneyland and Walt Disney World Big Thunder Mountains, as well as both locations Jungle Cruise rocks and boulders, and the Polynesian Resort’s gurgling rocky waterfall found in the lobby.With the progression to Typhoon Lagoon, and the Blizzard Beach, Walt Disney World’s original swimmin’ hole was shuttered on November 1, 2001. Though it remained available for private events for years, time and decay eventually began to settle in and around the watery grounds. Today, gone but not forgotten, as guests are ferried to and from Fort Wilderness, they can still catch a peak of the White Water Rapids, the boom swing, and the creaking boards of the Cypress Point Nature Trail.


Haasiegirl said...

that is really beautiful. I love disney. We went last year in nov and had a blast.


AJ said...

Excellent post. I really enjoy renting a boat and floating over by River Country. It seems so ghostly over there right now. Thanks for reminding people of the early days.

Nicholas Tucker said...

Nice pictures.

Disneyana World said...

people always ask about RC when they rent out boats.

i walked back there a couple weeks ago and it's so sad.