What happens when a water park built on top of a swamp goes untouched by human hands for more than 15 years? That’s what photojournalist Seph Lawless wanted to find out when he traveled to what used to be Disney’s River Country last week.
The results are equal parts stunning, eerie and beautiful.
River Country originally opened in 1976, one of the first modern water parks in the country. But as Disney World continued to grow, River Country quickly became dated — namely because of its unheated water and low prices that quickly became unviable.
The park closed for the final time in November 2001, and Disney announced in 2005 that the park would not reopen.
Since then, surrounding swampland has slowly but surely reclaimed the water park. Thick layers of algae cover once clear swimming pools, branches droop low into walkways and tree roots and vines clog the twisting water slides.
Lawless also captured Disney’s Discovery Island, another abandoned attraction that has been closed since 1999.
For more creepy photos of a dilapidated Disney World, visit
Lawless’ personal site.