Photographer posts photos of abandoned River Country water park at Walt Disney World

Posted Monday, March 21, 2016 10:18 AM | Contributed by Jeff

Photographer "Seph Lawless," famous for his "ruin porn" of abandoned shopping malls and amusement parks, has posted photos of Disney's former River Country. The park closed in the fall of 2001, and never reopened.

See the photos.

Monday, March 21, 2016 12:25 PM

I totally get the fascination with abandoned places, but I just don't understand the risk of injury and arrest for trespassing folks take to get pictures and walk around.

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Monday, March 21, 2016 12:39 PM
99er's avatar

For the same reason people disregard the risk of injury and arrest when they speed.

For a photographer places like this can be a goldmine and even better if you are one of few, or the only one, to take pictures in that location. This guy is good unlike a lot of people who do trespass and take crappy cellphone pictures just for the sake of breaking and entering. I wouldn't be surprised if this guy even had permission to enter the park with a guide. Sometimes the actual outcome with the authorities isn't as bad as you would think though, especially if you are not disturbing anything and are pleasant when speaking to the police or owner. This isn't always the case but sometimes the risk is worth it. However entering an abandoned school to take pictures of the past is a lot different than climbing to the top of a crane or roller coaster just to claim you had the balls to do it in the form of a selfie.

Last edited by 99er, Monday, March 21, 2016 12:41 PM

-Chris
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Monday, March 21, 2016 4:11 PM
birdhombre's avatar

He claims to have been banned from Disney 4-lyfe, so I don't think he had permission. But who knows -- I've been following this guy on Facebook for a while, and I love his work, but he does like to play up the supposed "lawlessness" (get it? Lawless?). He claims he's been arrested for trespassing X number of times, though arrest records under his real name don't turn up much of anything, last I knew. Regardless, I like his stuff.

Edit: I swear I typed this before reading gator's post where he also said "4 lyfe" 15 minutes earlier.

Last edited by birdhombre, Monday, March 21, 2016 4:21 PM
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Monday, March 21, 2016 4:52 PM

I like his stuff, too, the shots are great. It's creepy and fascinating at the same time, and a little more than melancholy. I suppose he has a reckless streak in him, but I prefer to think he approaches his subjects more as a documentarian. And if he doesn't do it, who will? And how would we ever know what's become of these places?

I went to River Country once, back in the day when it was the only game in town. Seeing it again as it is now is a wonderful memory teaser.

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Monday, March 21, 2016 9:16 PM
OhioStater's avatar

It's the juxtaposition of deterioration and joyful, childlike memories that make it more than worth the perceived risk.

Very cool photos.

But I agree, the "lawless" angle would actually be a lot more powerful if it wasn't shoved down your throat (as if we don't get that you are breaking some type of law). Branding, I suppose, so more power to him.

Last edited by OhioStater, Monday, March 21, 2016 9:18 PM
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Monday, March 21, 2016 11:42 PM
kpjb's avatar

I love these urban exploration photo sets, especially those of things abandoned and left untouched, being reclaimed by nature. The ones where everything has been smashed and graffitied, not so much.

As long as they follow the mantra of "take nothing but pictures, leave nothing but footprints" I can overlook the illegality the same as I would someone smoking weed at home or speeding on an empty highway.


Hi

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Wednesday, March 23, 2016 12:17 PM

99er said:

...is a lot different than climbing to the top of a crane or roller coaster just to claim you had the balls to do it in the form of a selfie.

*slowly starts to delete pictures*


June 11th, 2001 - Gemini 100 VertiGo Rides - 82
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Wednesday, March 23, 2016 12:53 PM
HeyIsntThatRob?'s avatar

I think it would be cooler to pose with a Thor hammer myself, Showing dominance over a shuttered ride.

~Rob

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Wednesday, March 23, 2016 8:15 PM
Rick_UK's avatar

Irrespective of the rot and the ruin, those parks certainly feel like they come from a different era of Disney.

Which I guess they did.


Nothing to see here. Move along.

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