Monday, September 03, 2018

WDW Vacationland Magazine, Summer 1976

Hey hey! It's time for part two in a series of "Walt Disney World Vacationland" magazine posts! These magazines seem to be rather scarce compared to the Disneyland counterparts - I guess nobody ever went to Walt Disney World. It's the only explanation. Anyway, here's Ken!

Walt Disney World Vacationland Magazine Summer 1976 – River Country and Treasure Island

Returning to the Summer 1976 issue of the Walt Disney World Vacationland is the second of four posts.  Today’s articles feature two lost/abandoned attractions that required an admission fee.

The first article is titled “The World Has A New Country” referring to Walt Disney World’s River Country water park. I love the illustrations as well as the article referring to the Ol’ swimmin’ holes of past summers.  It was located near the Fort Wilderness Campground on the south shore of Bay Lake.

As mentioned in an earlier article, it appears Bay Lake may be the next target for resort development.  News was reported that Disney is now going to remove the remains of the abandoned River Country to build a huge 1,000 room resort hotel in addition to DVC units on its site.  I haven’t heard what the theme of the hotel will be.  At least they’re going to clear out this abandon area of decay and put it to use.

 In “Treasure Island the Tropical paradise” this attraction was kind of a precursor to Disney’s Animal Kingdom in the sense that it featured a large variety of birds and eventually became an accredited zoological park.  The theme obviously was lightly inspired by Robert Lewis Stevenson’s “Treasure Island”. 

The name Treasure Island lasted until it was finally recognized as a zoological park and then changed its name to Discovery Island.  Like River Country, this park (island) was closed and abandoned to decay.  It was in close proximity to River Country located in Bay Lake.

I hope you’ve enjoyed today’s article on these two abandoned attractions.  There’s more to come from the Summer 1976 issue of Vacationland Magazine.  Stay tuned.

Short but sweet! I have always been intrigued by Treasure Island. It's a pity that it has been closed and abandoned.

Thank you, Ken Martinez!


Nanook said...


Ahhhh... the memories - once again. And, thanks again. (Kersplashingest, picnickingest...)

TokyoMagic! said...

I wish I had visited WDW much sooner and was able to see both of these attractions before they closed. I love that color artwork for River Country. I wonder who the artist was?

Wasn't Treasure Island used as a filming location for Disney's Treasure of Matacumbe? Guests can "see and also touch" the macaws on the island? Aren't macaws capable of biting through a broom handle, not to mention human fingers? Not that I've ever heard of them actually doing it, but that had to be a lawsuit just waiting to happen. I wonder if the man-eating alligators that live in Bay Lake now inhabit the abandoned Treasure/Discovery Island?

Thanks for sharing more of your collection with us, Ken!

Chuck said...

Both of these locations are a treasured memory. Thanks so much, Ken, for sharing!

Note that the River Country copy doesn't once use the phrase "water park." The concept was so new, I don't believe the word had even been invented yet.

Glad to hear they're finally doing something with the property, although more accommodations - which equals more people - would not be my first choice. I hope the new hotel's theming is based on Chicken Little.

That aviary on Treasure Island was a standout. That was also where I started pronouncing the word flamingo "flaming oh." It just seemed natural, like putting chewing gum in my Wheaties.

TM!, although I'm embarrassed to admit I've never seen it, IMDb says Treasure Island was used for shooting the climax of Treasure of Matecumbe. One more reason to put that back on my "watch me" list. They also filmed a scene from The Mouseketeers at Walt Disney World on Treasure Island. That place has got a film pedigree right up there with Bronson Caves and Malibu Creek.

JC Shannon said...

I was just wondering the other day about what ever happened to all the water parks. Here in Montana, we have an abandoned water slide and pool near Big Timber. I pass it on the way to Billings, it is just sitting there on I90 rotting away. Sad. I really like Ken's post today. I am a huge fan of brochures and pamphlets relating to Disney parks. The great graphics, and witty descriptions make them stand-alone must haves for the collector. Thanks again to Ken and thanks to Major as well.

K. Martinez said...

Nanook, Glad you enjoyed. If it wasn't for the ephemera, postcards and pictorials, my memories would've long faded into oblivion. Some of those memories already are.

TokyoMagic!, yes, the final climactic scene from "Treasure of Matecumbe" was filmed on Treasure Island/Discovery Island. I heard they're going to turn the island into an "Gator Dream Suite" were the local alligator population participates in a drawing to see who gets exclusive time on the island.

Chuck,I think it's better to develop it into something thriving than to have it decay like like it has been. As a young kid, decay and abandon never were a part of my thinking about Disney. Now it's reality. It's just gotten so big now that that is inevitable.

JC Shannon, It seems the water parks really have to go big or they don't survive anymore. They've become successful as part of an existing theme park resort, but independently they don't seem to thrive as much. Interestingly, the Six Flags parks, Cedar Fair parks and Walt Disney World have water parks as part of their destinations, but the Disneyland Resort does not.

Melissa said...

With the water situation in California, I doubt we'll be seeing many new water parks out there soon.

Melissa said...

Oh, I forgot:

*shakes fist back in time at the writer who coined "kersplashingest" before I had the chance*

TokyoMagic! said...

Chuck, Billy "Pop" Atmore was in both of those productions that used Discovery Island as a filming location. I wonder if Disney used it for any other films or TV shows?

Ken, a "Dream Suite" for Bay Lake's alligator population? HA, HA!!!

TokyoMagic! said...

Ken, that color River Country artwork is now reminding me of Bob Bates' artwork on the Knott's Berry Farm attraction posters from the early 1980's!

Anonymous said...

I wish I had seen this place, it sounds like it was a lot of fun.

I know of at least two water parks that closed over wheelchair access and injury issues. More of the "managed risk" scenario.