When Disney River Country opened in 1976, visitors flocked to Orange County, Florida, to ride the winding slides and traverse the wooden bridges.
The park closed down 25 years later, and today, it lies abandoned.
In 2016, A Cleveland-based photographer who works under the pseudonym Seph Lawless documented ghostly portraits of the once busy attraction in his photo series “Dismaland.” (This is also the name of Banksy’s 2015 art exhibition, a fake apocalyptic theme park near Bristol, England.)
But River Country will not stay abandoned for much longer. Disney is planning to demolish the decaying park and turn it into a timeshare resort and hotel, GrowthSpotter reports.
Check out Lawless’ photo project below:
River Country in Orange County, Florida was Walt Disney World’s first water park.
It is one of just two Disney parks, along with Discovery Island in Orange County, to close permanently. Both parks were left to deteriorate.
Lawless took about 150 photos of the decaying park, he told Business Insider.
Almost everything is covered in water and moss.
Vines and weeds overrun this slide, one of five in the park.
This is the 330,000-gallon Upstream Plunge pool, which Disney drained and filled in 2016.
Leaves, paperwork, and ripped cardboard boxes fill the manager’s office. Much of the wallpaper is peeling off.
A mysterious top hat rests on this bridge.
“I want the viewer to feel like they’re completely alone while looking at my images,” Lawless said. “I want to bring that sense of abandonment to the viewer on a very intimate level.”
Lawless, who considers himself an activist before an artist, travels around the US to photograph abandoned locations.
When he began the project, he hoped that Disney would take notice and continue to renovate the park at least for the wildlife living there.
“I have no problem asking that of a multibillion-dollar enterprise such as Disney,” he said “No corporation should be powerful enough to hide the truth and not clean up their mess.”
“It’s always a surreal feeling shooting anything abandoned,” he continued. “It was also very beautiful — like witnessing something out of this world.”
Construction on the hotel and timeshares is set to begin in 2019, according to The Orlando Sentinel.
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