Disney’s River Country

Walt Disney World, Florida

Closed 2001

The Disappointed Tourist: Disney’s River Run, Ellen Harvey, 2021. Oil and acrylic on Gessoboard, 18 x 24″ (46 x 61 cm). Photograph: Etienne Frossard.

Disney’s River Country was the first water park in Walt Disney World in Florida. It was located on Bay Lake and was themed as a rustic, old-fashioned swimming hole. It opened in 1976 and closed in 2001. This painting is based on an uncredited photograph.

As a child my mates and I would spend all day at the Margate Lido swimming in the outside pool which has been defunct for years of course! I would have loved to have been able to take my children there as they grew up (They of course never knew it in its heyday) and with a grandchild it would have been great to continue with the association. Seaside holidays have changed. It was part of my youth which is now lost. Of course, we got a bit of money and started taking our kids to Orlando. We went a lot to River Country at Disney – also a ‘country swimming pool’. It was wonderful but now it is closed, abandoned, derelict and very sad to see. You can see it on the internet if you look it up. So – two swimming pools – on two different continents. Both defunct as a result of changing tastes. Anon.